2017 was a busy year in the real estate market with historically low inventory and a large buyer pool. Similar, in fact to 2016. And as we’ve come to expect with the seasonal fluctuations, the year has opened with very few homes on the market.
How low? In all of Alamo, only 23 homes were offered for sale across all price points on New Years Day. Similarly, in Danville: 27; in San Ramon: 25; in Walnut Creek: 31. For the larger towns, this is even more remarkable: consider that the populations are (in rough numbers) Alamo at 15,000; Danville at 45,000; San Ramon at 75,000; and Walnut Creek at 70,000.
But we can expect inventory to grow quickly, and sellers are wise to get to the market while inventory is low because the buyers are plentiful and eager for new listings. With seasonal fluctuations, we can expect the inventory to peak in mid-summer as it did in 2017, with 60 properties in Alamo, 115 in Danville, 110 in San Ramon, and 115 in Walnut Creek.
How about prices? We’ve been seeing prices steadily increase over the past few years. In fact, in Alamo (per MLS data), 208 homes sold in 2017 vs 207 in 2016. Also, interestingly, the median sold price is exactly the same for both years: $1,630,000. But whereas the median price per square foot was $500 in 2016, it was $548 in 2017.
In Danville, the increase is even more obvious: sales volume up from 813 to 826; median sales price up from $1.1 to $1.2; and the ppsf up from $472 to $490.
Likewise in San Ramon, the sales volume was up from 1040 to 1093; median sales price up from $900,000 to $947,000; and the ppsf up from $447 to $468.
And in Walnut Creek, interestingly enough, volume sales went down from 1053 to 1002, but the same good news on prices: median sales price up from $800,000 to $875 and ppsf up from $470 to $496.
Considering that last year about this time, I was reporting similar statistics comparing 2016 with 2015, this is great news for home owners. Now the question is, what will 2018 bring? There is certainly a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace regarding the new tax laws. The limitations for deductions for both property taxes and mortgage interest will affect home owners in our area rather significantly. I’ve heard lots of doom-and-gloom speculation but I suspect it will not directly affect our real estate market as much as people anticipate.
Time will tell, but my first open house of the new year gave me confidence in the 2018 market: it was very busy, with a steady stream of serious buyers from 1 to 4pm. All eager to watch the inventory grow.