Santa Clara 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.

Santa Clara 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.

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