San Mateo County Real Estate, January 2024

Dramatically Improving Economic Indicators Suggest a Brighter 2024 Housing Market

■ In the last 2 months of 2023, the average, weekly, 30-year mortgage interest rate dropped from 7.79% to 6.61%. With the fall in inflation this past year, the Fed is widely expected to begin dropping its benchmark rate, probably in multiple steps, in 2024. The consensus forecast among analysts is for further declines in mortgage interest rates.

■ After its end-of-year rally, the S&P Index was up 25% and the Nasdaq up 45% in 2023 (though it has ticked down in early 2024). This plays a major role in Bay Area household wealth.

■ On an annual basis, the 2023 median house sales price was down 6% from 2022 (the peak of the market), while on a quarterly basis, the Q4 price was up 1% year-over-year.

The 2023 market was characterized by high interest rates, financial market uncertainty, surprisingly strong demand (considering first two issues), and an extremely low supply of new listings – which maintained upward pressure on prices, even as housing affordability dropped. Sales numbers plunged due to loan rates and the inadequate supply of homes for sale, while for prospective sellers, the motivation to move was reduced by the mortgage lock-in effect. With interest rates falling, and economic conditions and consumer confidence rebounding, the big question is how much do rates need to fall for buyers and sellers to start participating in the market in normal numbers again? Right now, the direction is trending positive.

Note: As often seen in recent years, the complex economic, political and social factors affecting interest rates, inflation, consumer confidence, and housing and financial markets can change quickly in unexpected ways. Forecasts and predictions are best guesses based on the interpretation of recent economic data and trends.

“Inflation around the globe is slowing way faster than expected. If economists are right…next year [will see] inflation back to normal levels for the first time in three years.” Wall Street Journal, 12/24/23, “For Much of the World, Inflation Will Be Normal in 2024 – Finally”

“Consumer sentiment…soared 14% in December [due to] substantial improvements in how consumers view the trajectory of inflation…All age, income, education, geographic, and political identification groups saw gains in sentiment…[2024] inflation expectations plunged from 4.5% last month to 3.1% this month.” University of Michigan, Consumer Sentiment Index, December 2023

“Housing starts surged to a six-month high, sales of previously owned homes picked up from a 13- year low and builder optimism boosted by increased interest from prospective buyers. Meanwhile, Americans’ home-buying plans rose this month by the most in more than a year. The bounce back comes as mortgage rates have declined by…the biggest drop over a comparable period since 2009.” Bloomberg News, 12/20/23

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remained below 7%…after 17 consecutive weeks above. Lower rates are bringing potential homebuyers who were previously waiting on the sidelines back into the market…Heading into the new year, the economy remains on firm ground with solid growth, a tight labor market, decelerating inflation, and a nascent rebound in the housing market.” Freddie Mac, 12/21/23 & 12/28/23

Changes in economic indicators didn’t begin to affect market psychology until early-mid November, right before the big holiday slowdown, and the homebuying process takes 30 to 60 days from loan qualification and offer acceptance to closed sale. Significant effects on sales statistics will not begin to show up until early 2024 data starts to become available.

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis.

Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Photo use under the Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, December 2023

A Sudden, Positive Shift in Economic Indicators

“For the third sixth straight week, mortgage rates trended down, as new data indicates that inflationary pressures are receding. The combination of continued economic strength, lower inflation and lower mortgage rates should likely bring more potential homebuyers into the market.” Freddie Mac (FHLMC)

Stock and bond markets – which greatly impact household wealth, consumer confidence, and interest rates – were generally characterized by deep pessimism in October, but with significant changes in economic indicators such as inflation, and a continued pause in benchmark rate increases by the Fed, financial markets abruptly shifted to enthusiastic optimism in November. That translated into a dramatic plunge in mortgage rates, which has caused mortgage applications to increase over recent weeks.

Since the homebuying process usually takes 30 to 60 days, from loan qualification and making an offer to a closed sale, sales might see a bounce in December, or – since the mid-winter holiday period typically sees the annual low point in new-listing (and thus sales) activity – more likely in early 2024 (subject to these positive trends continuing).

In January 2023, buyer demand saw a substantial rebound due to a similar drop in interest rates in late 2022.

San Mateo County Real Estate, November 2023

Rising Interest Rates Continued to Impact Supply & Demand in October, But Early November Brings Big Shift in Economic Indicators

The heart of the autumn selling season was dominated by global conflict, falling stock markets – and interest rates jumping to their highest point in 23 years, further discouraging buyers who require financing, and prospective sellers reluctant to abandon their current loan terms. Then on November 1st, the October jobs report came out, the Fed extended their pause on raising its benchmark rate, and the Treasury Department issued revised guidance pertaining to upcoming bond sales – and by November 3rd, stock markets had logged their best week of the year, and interest rates had seen a near-record decline. The housing market typically begins its big, holiday slowdown in mid-November, with listing and sales activity declining to annual lows. Considering the volatility that has characterized economic and political conditions, it’s too early to speculate on how these shifts will play out in the coming days, weeks and months. Ideally, rates will continue to normalize and consumer confidence to recover into the new year, with significant improvements to both housing affordability and the equation for homeowners contemplating a sale.

Even if the expected holiday slowdown occurs, sellers of appealing, well-prepared and well-priced homes may still see a quick sale with multiple offers: There are still qualified buyers actively looking to purchase (with financing or all cash). For buyers, mid-winter usually offers reduced competition for listings, and an enhanced ability to aggressively negotiate prices on unsold properties: It can be an excellent time to buy for those who stay in the game.

This report will review trends in home prices, new and active listings, speed of sale, overbidding, listings going into contract, and sales volumes in both the general market and the luxury segment. We have also updated our Bay Area home price tables and maps with detailed data on current values and market dynamics in the cities, towns and other submarkets within the region.

San Mateo County Real Estate, October 2023

Economic indicators have been challenging since the fall selling season began: Interest rates continued to rise through early October and stock markets generally continued to fall from mid- summer, YTD highs. The country faced yet another threat of a federal government shutdown, which happily didn’t occur, but, unbelievably, another such crisis may soon confront us again. Markets remain volatile and hard to predict, often reacting negatively to positive economic news (such as employment numbers) as they wait for new inflation numbers and try to parse the possible reaction of the Fed. Any definitive impacts on real estate markets of these recent developments, should they continue, won’t substantially show up until Q4 data begins to become available, and, of course, volatility also means that indicators can turn around quickly.

In the meantime, the Q3 median house sales price was up about 2% from Q3 2022, and with a September surge in new listings, the total supply of active listings just hit a YTD high, though still somewhat below this time last year. Year over year, the number of home sales in Q3 was down about 14%, mostly due to the comparatively low supply of listings for sale during most of the summer, though also affected by interest rates. Luxury home sales of $5 million+ increased in Q3 2023 on a year-over-year basis.

The CA Association of Realtors® (CAR) recently issued their initial 2024 market forecast:

“California housing market will rebound in 2024”
CAR forecast: Existing, single-family home sales will increase in 2024 by approximately 23 percent, and the CA median home price is expected to climb by 6.2%. The average 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rate is projected to decline to 6%. Housing supply will remain below normal despite a 10% to 20% increase in active listings, as market conditions and the lending environment continue to improve. [However] the percentage of CA households able to purchase a median-priced single family dwelling will remain very low by long-term standards. CAR Chief Economist, 9/20/23

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Photo use under the Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, September 2023

“The surprisingly quick recovery [of the housing market] suggests that the residential real-estate downturn is turning out to be shorter and shallower than many housing economists expected after mortgage rates soared last year…There still aren’t enough homes for sale to meet demand.” The Wall Street Journal, “The Fall in Home Prices May Already Be Over,” 9/8/23

Generally speaking, the market rebounded much more strongly in 2023 than seemed possible at the end of 2022, when, after hitting historic peaks during the pandemic boom, economic and demand indicators hit their lowest points since the great recession. The decline in the number of sellers putting their homes on the market continues to be an enormous factor in the balance – or imbalance between supply and demand, in the recovery in home prices, and the decline of overall sales volumes. In August, the average, weekly, 30-year mortgage rate, as published by FHLMC, ticked back up over 7%, a situation which continues to significantly impact housing affordability. Perhaps in response, the percentage of buyers paying all cash has been running at its highest national level in 8 years.

After the usual summer slowdown from spring (though, unusually, August saw the highest monthly number of San Mateo County luxury home sales since spring 2022), the autumn selling season began after Labor Day and runs until early-mid November, when the market typically begins its big, mid-winter holiday slowdown. By Thanksgiving, the number of new listings coming on market has plummeted, and December or January commonly sees the lowest level of monthly sales activity.

In the meantime, we expect to see substantial activity this fall. September often sees a considerable jump in new listings coming on market. We also expect that year-over-year median home sales price appreciation will soon turn positive again after 12 months of declines.

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, June 2023

Recapping the Spring 2023 Market

Median home sales prices have been climbing rapidly from mid-winter lows, though remaining well below peak prices hit in spring 2022.

The number of new listings coming on market over the past 12 months was the lowest in over 20 years (and almost certainly much longer): This is commonly ascribed to the “mortgage lock-in” effect. As buyer demand rebounded in 2023, this has contributed to upward pressure on home prices. Sales volume over the 12-month period was the lowest since the post-2008 recession. New listing and sales volumes have risen from their nadirs in mid-winter, but remain historically low.

Average days on market – the time it took for sold listings to go into contract – have plunged in 2023. The percentage of home sales closing over asking price has rapidly increased, and the average home sale is now, once again, selling above its original asking price.

Luxury home sales remain down from spectacular peaks seen at the height of the pandemic boom, but have been rebounding since late 2022. From April to May 2023, luxury sales doubled.

With bank crises, fed actions, inflation readings, and U.S. debt-default fears, interest rates have been volatile in 2023, with significant ups and downs. As of early June, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are running about a quarter percent below 7% (but rates can change quickly).

The 1st and 4th largest insurers of CA homes, State Farm and Allstate, have announced they will no longer write new policies in the state due to rising claims costs.

It is too early to quantify the exact financial, political and market effects of their actions, or if other insurers will follow suit. Similar issues have come up in other states, such as Florida and Louisiana, and occurred with earthquake insurance in CA in the mid-1990’s, leading to the creation of CA Earthquake Authority.

Long-Term, 12-Month-Rolling, Overview of Supply & Demand

Ultimately, it always boils down to supply & demand: When buyers compete for too few listings, home prices rise; when sellers compete for too few buyers, prices drop. The next chart reviews broad, long- term trends in new listings and sales: Each monthly reading reflects activity over a 1-year period. (Note that 12-month-rolling data = clearer trend lines, but can disguise and lag shorter term changes).

One critical factor missing from the following chart is speed of sale: As a market heats up, new listings sell more quickly: During the pandemic boom, homes typically sold at their fastest rates ever. When demand declines during a downturn, listings take longer to sell: During the 2008-2011 market recession, days-on-market often doubled or tripled from historical norms – the average listing could take months to sell. Even if the new-listing count stays the same, the inventory of active listings available to purchase can climb or fall considerably depending on speed of sale, and how long the boom or slowdown lasts.

After the 2007-08 housing & stock market crash, buyer demand plunged, foreclosures and inventory soared, home prices cratered. Once the crisis passed, the quantity of listings coming on market dropped no more flood of foreclosures, homeowners were moving less often, less new-home construction – just as buyer demand jumped with the high-tech hiring, population and wealth boom. Increasing demand vs. decreasing supply created strong upward pressure on prices. When the pandemic hit, a number of factors – interest rates, stock markets, contagion, work from home, increased migration, family care, etc. came together, and the number of new listings quickly escalated, but did not keep pace with the tremendous rise in demand, leading to enormous median home price increases over a 2-year period.

Reverses in economic conditions led to the 2022 market correction. Due to the “mortgage lock-in effect” – a reluctance of homeowners with very low interest rate mortgages to sell – the number of new listings sank, but housing costs increased with rising interest rates, consumer confidence slumped with inflation and stock market declines, buyer demand fell, days-on-market rose, and prices declined. In 2023, demand rebounded while new listing activity remained severely depressed, and prices started to rise again as buyers competed once more for scarce listings. (2023 changes do not yet stand out in the 12- month-rolling data. See 1-month-rolling charts later in this report for more recent, shorter-term trends.)

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, May 2023

The Spring Market Continues to Recover & Accelerate

The specifics for San Mateo County will be covered in great detail within this report. But looking at the overall Bay Area, buyer demand has continued to rebound from its late 2022 nadir. Though mortgage applications are still well down year over year, many buyers have accepted higher interest rates as the new normal and decided to move forward – and, in the last 2 months, rates have been trending downward. A significant minority of buyers are paying all-cash. Open houses are seeing increased traffic, more listings are selling, and selling more quickly with multiple offers. Median sales prices have generally ticked up in 2023, though still down across the Bay Area from the market peak seen last spring. The magnitude of these declines varies widely between different markets, and prices in the vast majority remain much higher than before the pandemic.

Even with the increase in demand, sales activity remains far below last spring due to a number of economic and supply constraints. While increasing from mid-winter lows – with some very big sales occurring – luxury home sales have generally seen even larger declines as compared to the peak of the pandemic boom, when sales volumes often hit spectacular new highs.

The number of new listings has also dropped from historic norms. This is mostly ascribed to the “mortgage lock-in effect,” i.e. owners with very low, long-term, fixed-rate mortgages are reluctant to sell to then buy at much higher prevailing rates. This decline in new listings has major ramifications for supply and demand dynamics, and increases pressure on prices even in a reduced activity environment.

Some uncertainty clearly continues with inflation, interest rates, stock markets, bank crises, high- tech layoffs, and now, as of early May, federal debt-limit negotiations. But, so far, the 2023 housing market has generally been steadily moving in a positive direction.

Report created in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. Please see notes at end of report.

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, April 2023

The Market Continues to Recover, But with Many Dynamics at Play

Buyer demand continued to rebound from the depths of the mid-winter slowdown: The number and percentage of listings going into contract, and overbidding percentages continued to climb, and days-on-market to drop as the spring selling season gained traction. Buyers generally shrugged off the local banking crisis, the main effect of which, so far, has been a significant drop in interest rates in the 4 weeks after SVB collapsed.

But though conditions have improved considerably, the market remains significantly weaker on a year-over-year basis, and across the Bay Area, median home sales prices have generally declined. However, it’s worth remembering that the market in Q1 2022 was severely overheated, and approaching the peak of a historic, 10-year boom. This will distort many year-over-year comparisons.
The number of new listings coming on market continues to be extremely low, as many potential sellers hold off from listing their homes due to the doubling of interest rates since early 2022: This constitutes a huge factor in market dynamics and is undoubtedly holding back sales activity.

Across the Bay Area, year-over-year sales declines in the highest price segments have outpaced drops for less expensive homes, and their demand-to-supply ratio – the number of sales compared to the number of listings for sale – is much weaker. Luxury home sales have been hit harder since the market correction began in mid-2022, though they too have been rebounding in 2023.

April, May & June sales volumes are commonly among the highest of the year, and this is especially true for luxury home sales.

Report created in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers approximate, and may change with late-reported activity.

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.
Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, March 2023

2023 Market Indicators Turn Positive (But Interest Rates Climb Again)

After the acute decline in market activity occurring in the 2nd half of 2022, buyer demand rebounded dramatically and most market indicators turned positive in early 2023: Open house traffic, number of offers, and overbidding and absorption rates all saw improvement.*

It is too early for significant effects to show up in home prices: Indeed, through February, 3- month-rolling median house sales prices saw year-over-year declines across all Bay Area counties. (These percentage declines should be regarded cautiously until substantiated over the longer term.) Even with the striking improvement in demand over late 2022, most year-over-year indicators remain depressed, but these comparisons are with the severely overheated conditions prevailing at the peak of a 10-year housing market upcycle. The market was still just waking up in February. March through May is typically the most active listing and sales period of the year, and should soon provide much more data on supply, demand and price trends. Over the last 3 years, spring markets were deeply affected, in very different and often surprising ways, by the onset of the pandemic (2020), the pandemic boom (2021), and soaring interest rates (2022).

As has been the case for the last 14 months, the biggest wildcard remains interest rates: After dropping considerably in January from a November peak, they climbed again in February, with big impacts on loan application rates. It has been very challenging to predict short-term interest rate changes. Another major factor is the substantial decrease in the number of new listings coming on market, a critical issue with wide ramifications if it continues.

*Sales in one month generally reflect deal-making in the previous month, and often pertain to listings that have already been on the market for months longer. Many real estate statistics are lagging indicators, and even dramatic shifts in demand may show up only very gradually in their readings.

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

San Mateo County Real Estate, February 2023

Early 2023 Data Suggests Buyers Are Beginning to Jump Back In

December is typically the month that sees the year’s lowest level of deal-making activity – i.e. listings accepting offers (going into contract) – which leads to January usually posting the lowest monthly number of closed sales. (Sales typically close 3 to 6 weeks after going into contract.) In the 11-county, greater Bay Area, accepted-offer activity in December 2022 and closed sales volume in January 2023 generally hit their lowest monthly points in 15 years.

Typically, after the long holiday slowdown, the market just begins to wake up in mid-January before accelerating into spring. That being said, inflation has dropped substantially since June and interest rates since November, home prices are well down from last spring, stock markets are up 8% (S&P) to 15% (Nasdaq) YTD as of 2/3/23 (albeit with continuing volatility), and despite escalating layoffs in high tech, early indications in 2023 point to rebounding buyer demand. Open house traffic has jumped, more buyers are requesting listing disclosure packages, and there have been increasing reports of multiple offers and (often unexpected) overbidding of asking price. Based on this preliminary data (much of it still anecdotal*), it appears that buyer demand severely repressed by economic conditions in the 2nd half of 2022 has begun to bounce back.

A similar rebound began in mid-late summer 2022 for similar reasons – a significant drop in mortgage rates and a large rise in stock markets – which then quickly faded when positive economic developments went into reverse. Market activity then slowed further through the rest of 2022. There are currently considerable hopes for a more lasting economic recovery in 2023.

During the long high-tech and pandemic housing boom – which peaked in April/May 2022 – as each new year began, the classic dynamic was for buyers to jump back into the market much more quickly than sellers, creating an immediate imbalance between supply and demand. Too few new listings compared to the quantity of motivated buyers sparked often ferocious bidding wars, leading to considerable home price gains virtually every spring. It is too early to conclude, after the general price declines and steep drops in market activity seen in the 2nd half of 2022, that a sustained recovery in market conditions is now underway, and if it is, how quickly it will develop and its impact on prices in 2023. Many economic conditions remain challenging – with critical indicators still much weaker on a year-over-year basis – and forecasts by economists and analysts vary widely. Hopefully, economic conditions will continue to improve, providing the foundation for the recovery in real estate. In the meantime, preliminary indicators are surprisingly positive, and the CEO of Compass recently stated his belief that Q4 2022 saw the bottom of the market.

The “spring market,” which can begin as early as February in the Bay Area, is typically the biggest selling season of the year, especially for luxury homes, and more data regarding new listings coming on market, listings going into contract, sales volumes, speed of sale, overbidding and sales prices will soon become available.*

* Most “hard” data in real estate is based on closed, recorded sales, a lagging indicator which generally reflects deal-making activity in the previous month, when offers were negotiated. January sales, the basis for many analyses in this report, mostly reflect the December 2022 market when new listing activity and buyer demand were typically at their lowest ebb in years. February and March listing and sales data will begin to better reflect early 2023 conditions.

Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers approximate, and may change with late-reported activity.

Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis.

Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.

Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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