Bay Area Tops National Luxury Market Rankings in New Survey
Beverly Hills 90210 step aside. The next hit TV series could be called “Woodside 94062.”
The inaugural Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Market Index found that Woodside is the hottest luxury housing market in the nation, surpassing Beverly Hills and other posh Southern California locals like Del Mar and La Jolla.
In fact, there’s clear evidence that the epicenter of luxury is definitely moving northward with the Bay Area placing four cities in the top 10 luxury rankings. Woodside neighbor Portola Valley ranked third, Hillsborough finished fourth, and Atherton came in 10th.
The home to venture capitalists and international entrepreneurs, Woodside was the top performing luxury market for 2013 based on critical metrics including annualized sales in units, volume and average and median sale price.
The Coldwell Banker Previews report was just the latest indication of the strength of Silicon Valley and its influence on the local housing market. All four local communities in the top 10 are less than 30 minutes from the corporate headquarters of Apple, Facebook and Google, to name just a few of the tech giants. Woodside alone is home to 24 billionaires on Forbes’ list of richest Americans.
“Silicon Valley is the center of the technology universe, and buyers are flocking to our market to be a part of it,” Scott Dancer in our Woodside office told the national media in recent interviews.
Besides tech company founders and executives, the region is home to countless investment bankers, venture capitalists and other well-heeled buyers with deep pockets – all chasing very limited inventory.
They say a high tide lifts all boats. If that’s the case, the surge in the luxury market can only be good news for our overall housing market.
Below is a market-by-market report from our local offices:
North Bay – Sales over a million dollars doubled from last month and same time last year, our Petaluma manager reports. Inventory is starting to come on strong. The open house activity due to months of scarcity has been phenomenal. Fifty groups though one home and the rest between 20 and 30 groups. Multiple offers continue to be the norm. Properties are going pending just days after being put on the market. Listings, although steady, are still not keeping up with the demand, our San Rafael manager notes. Most sales are with multiple offers. In Sebastopol, agents are seeing more activity in the Previews luxury market. Our manager says it finally feels like a spring market with lots of activity. Our Southern Marin manager notes that the Previews luxury market continues to sell at twice the pace of last year. There is still an abundance of inventory in the $3 plus million market in Southern Marin. CB Southern Marin has three accepted offers above $4 million during the last two weeks. Almost everything under $1 million obtains multiple offers. From $1 to $3 million, there is much demand and the best properties receive multiple offers. Above $3 million is twice as active as 2013, but there is still a strong supply of listings.
San Francisco – Our Lombard Street Office manager says both the home and condo monthly supply is less than one month. Offers are going in the 10 -25% over asking price range. Almost everything is attracting multiple offers. Our Van Ness Office manager reports that volume for the first quarter surged 52% on year over year sales.
SF Peninsula – Hillsborough continues to be one of the best values on the Peninsula, according to our Menlo Park manager. Inventory is down from last year and all price ranges are selling. The “sweet spot” right now is $2 million to $2.5 million. The multiple offers just keep coming for Peninsula homes overall. The intensity and competition is greater than ever before. There were 28 offers on a Belmont property last week that sold for more than $400k over list price. One Foster City property just had 7 offers but also sold for a similar amount over asking. The one thing every buyer would like to find now is an available property that could be purchased off market. Open homes are very busy with upwards of 300 parties coming through on a weekend to view Peninsula homes. In the Palo Alto area, agents are still grappling with historically low inventory. It is a battle to get any listing whatsoever, our local manager says. Our Redwood City-San Carlos manager said it continues to be a very challenging market. Two of condos in San Carlos sold with multiple offers well over asking. Lack of inventory is still the main concern. Open houses are well attended in the San Mateo area, where inventory is up slightly.
East Bay – Inventory is up by 7% from last month and sales activity is up 27% from last month, our Fremont manager reports. Multiple offers range from five offers to a high of 27 offers. Our Pleasanton manager says agents are seeing more inventory but there still are multiple offers on $1.2 million and under homes. Buyers are getting a lot more creative in their offers. Walnut Creek area agents are starting to see a slight increase in market activity both with listings and sales. Sales are increasing in all corners of the market with buyers being aggressive with their offers. The move up market is increasing.
Silicon Valley – Lots of offers are getting written and lots of frustrated agents going in super high, and still getting beaten by an even crazier offer, according to our Cupertino manager. Sellers are very happy, however. The Previews luxury market has been steady. Our Los Gatos manager reports that the average sale price in the town of Los Gatos is up 22% when comparing March of 2013 to March of 2014. The average sale price in March of 2013 was $1,150,000 compared to $1,406,000 in March of 2014. Multiple offers continue to dominate the market as buyers scramble to find whatever inventory is available. Prices are still rising as well as inventory in the San Jose-Almaden area. It seems that almost all listings are getting multiple offers too.
South County – Many South County agents will agree that the first quarter of 2014 was very slow in terms of real estate activity. The lack of inventory negatively impacted sales. During that time agents (on behalf of their buyers) were writing over-list priced offers, often times with no appraisal and inspection contingencies. Multiple offers were the norm. As April arrived, however, the listing inventory in South County seemed to improve, with more and more homes coming on the market. It is evident that sellers have finally realized
that this is the time to sell their homes as they are able to command and receive “top dollar.” There are significant signs that the market is becoming more balanced. The Saratoga Previews luxury market is “warm” but not hot, our manager reports. Sellers of expensive homes are feeling more confident that now is the time to put their home on the market. However, in many cases, they’re trying to grab more appreciation than the market will bear. Therefore inventory and days on market will continue to grow.
Santa Cruz County – Listing inventory is increasing, according to our Santa Cruz area manager, and buyers are actively making offers on well price properties. The Previews luxury market, however, has been slow.
Monterey Peninsula – The Peninsula real estate market finished Q1 up significantly in dollar volume, but down 20% in unit sales. As a result the average sales price experienced a 98% increase over last year Q1. Some significant sales in the upper end market really catapulted the average sales price into the $1,800,000 level. The high-end market is obviously rebounding, while the mid range price point is following and picking up momentum. This weekend there are two large events in town – the Pebble Beach Food and Wine and the Sea Otter classic. The PBFW is located at Spanish Bay and Pebble Beach, attracting well-heeled food and wine aficionados, while the Sea Otter Classic bike race is located Laguna Seca raceway. It is reported that the two events attract around 40,000 visitors to the Monterey Peninsula. Agents will do their best to capture their attention as future homeowners on the Monterey Peninsula. Agents are looking forward to a strong Q2 with inventory levels around the four-month supply. It is still a good opportunity for out of area buyers to purchase a vacation home on the Monterey Peninsula.