Up and until two weeks ago the San Carlos housing market was fairly predictable. The last half of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 were characterized by low inventory, frustrated buyers and demanding sellers. Through the end of April we were having difficulty keeping 50 Active Single Family Residences on the market. In the last two weeks we have shot up to 67 properties, with more on the way. Additionally, properties that would have sold easily, earlier in 2008 are now becoming a more difficult sell. At the same time, we have properties that are still selling immediately with multiple offers. Welcome to the ups and downs of the new San Carlos real estate market.
Before looking more closely at San Carlos it is probably wise to look beyond our city limits. The mid-peninsula real estate market has been all over the map for the last ten months. Certain areas have done well, including San Carlos, Belmont, Menlo Park, the Palomar Park and Emerald Hills areas of Redwood City, and the Highlands and Baywood areas of San Mateo. Most other peninsula areas have seen a difficult housing market over the past 10 months. So what do the above areas all have in common? They all have excellent elementary schools. I believe this is the number one reason for those markets posting relatively solid housing numbers. Everything that a city can offer in addition to its elementary schools is a bonus…..and thus the reason San Carlos has done so well.
So where does this leave San Carlos as we get ready for the second half to the 2008 housing market? With our sudden increase in inventory, buyers are getting more particular and demanding. Homes that are in prime locations, have a good layout and are priced appropriately will continue to receive multiple bids. Homes that are in an average location and are reasonably priced will most likely not receive multiple bids and need to put more effort into an overall marketing and pricing strategy.
This new market is presenting a challenge for agents as well. A few years back I did not think there would ever be a time when I would pass up a listing, but I have found myself in this situation a few times in just the past month and a half. Sometimes you will have a seller that is simply not realistic on the true value of their home. I can certainly understand where the sellers are coming from….everyone generally thinks their home is wonderful, which is the way it should be for any homeowner. The problem is that buyers may not believe it is just as wonderful at an above-market price. While our market is still healthy, we have not suddenly turned back the hands of time to spring of 2004. The bottom line in San Carlos is the following: (1) San Carlos is still in high demand, (2) sellers who are willing to take an objective look at their home and price it according to its location, layout and condition, will do well.