Local sales data for Santa Clara County — January 2009

What a difference a month makes!  Of course we are in the slow season and foreclosure sales are affecting all areas and all price points, forcing sellers to compete with bank-owned prices to attract buyers.  However, January finally saw the beginning of the high-end market hitting the brakes — and I think this is just the beginning.  Saratoga only posted 2 sales for all of January and Los Altos posted only 8 sales.

We had 602 sales for Santa Clara County in January and currently have just over 4200 properties for sale.  Each chart here shows the percent CHANGE over the prior year in both the Average Sales Price and the Median Sales Price for single homes only, not condos — enjoy!

Chart Analysis:

Almaden Valley hit the brakes.  As I noted last month, Almaden was moving along at a relatively stable pace of 10% to 15% down, but I was right to believe that foreclosures would eventually take their toll on prices here.  Almaden had only 5 sales in January.


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Blossom Valley looks like it is bouncing off a bottom!  Foreclosures are everywhere but sales are strong.  Many homes have multiple offers and the best values are going fast.  Some sales are 40% off their high of 2005 and we continue to find great values here for our first time buyers.


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Willow Glen is following the Almaden trend where high-priced homes are not moving.  We still had 22 sales in WG (compared to 25 last January) so the sales volume is not the issue.  Lower priced homes are selling well and the higher priced ones are sitting, so the price trend gets pushed down as a result.


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Downtown San Jose is still dominated by distressed sales and prices are still struggling to stabilize.  The Burbank area has 2 bedroom homes in nice condition for $250k and you can get into the Rosegarden at $500k.  Downtown SJ is another place for first time buyer gems or investor properties that will cash-flow even with 20% down.


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Cambrian has a trending chart that looks worse than it feels.  Prices are off 25% from last year, sure, but that is basically the same as most of the county.  I still believe that most of Cambrian is ON SALE right now and there are some great opportunities out there in the very nice Cambrian school system.


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Campbell is starting to show the weakness we have seen in nearby Cambrian.  Many of the short sales are now turning into bank-owned foreclosures.  Campbell is a very desirable location so well priced properties are still moving quickly.  Having 12 sales in January is basically the same paces as 13 sales last January so I would say demand remains solid.


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Los Gatos seems to be avoiding the high-price hit that neighboring Saratoga is suffering.  I cannot explain this behavior at the moment but feel that we will see the same dive in average price in the months to come so I am watching it very carefully.


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Saratoga prices finally hit the brakes as I have predicted it would for the last several months.  There were only 2 January sales in Saratoga, both in the $800s, so this is why the chart looks like it is falling off a cliff.  However, this reinforces my belief that we have not yet seen seller capitulation in Saratoga.  There are currently 126 Active homes for sale in Saratoga with an average list price of $2.4M, and they have been on the market for an average of 84 days.  If Sellers want to get moved we will begin to see price adjustments down in Saratoga.


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Santa Clara seems to be stabilizing at about 20% off last year’s price.  There continue to be MANY foreclosures in the area between Monroe and the railroad tracks.  If you are looking to get into Santa Clara there may not be a better time as prices are very attractive.


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Sunnyvale is bouncing back.  The Lakewood areas North of 101 have dozens of foreclosures and short sales that are selling in the $300s and low $400s.  But, their low prices are being balanced by the higher sales prices for the rest of Sunnyvale that also seem to be moving.  We recently had an Eichler listed at $999k come on the market and was sold in 3 days — seems solid to me!


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Cupertino seems to be bouncing back much the way we see Sunnyvale bouncing back however the chart is clearly still trending down.  I’ve seen our first Cupertino foreclosure so we should stay tuned to see if others are coming to market in the months to come.


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Los Altos prices are definitely trending down, but if you look more closely you will see that prices are only off about 10%-15% from last January’s prices.  However, with only 8 sales in January and 76 active homes for sale it will take a while to go through that inventory at this pace.  I think in the coming months we may see the same actions as needed by Saratoga sellers where they are forced to reduce their listing prices if they want to get moved.


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Mountain View had it’s pop in December so it is now resuming the normal price-adjustment path.  The chart feels stable but we do have 5 active short sales in MV so it will be worth watching to see how these close and effect sales prices.


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Palo Alto prices are still trending down.  Again, the “on sale” season for Palo Alto may be just starting so if you are thinking to get into Palo Alto, 2009 may be the best time you have to negotiate your way into a great home.


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We bring you this information to help you make an intelligent decision about your next move.  Timing the market is impossible and unwise.  Your motivation for buying or selling — like getting married and want your first home; just had a baby and need a bigger place; want your children to get into a better school; loved one passed away; job transfer out of the area; or looking for your first investment property — should outweigh your concerns of market timing.  The market is always here, people are buying and selling every day, people are getting financing every day — when are you ready to make a move — this is the real question.


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