August and the Los Gatos Housing Market
The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow. Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).
August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels
This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):
Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now
For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?
One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract. Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%. (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)
The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market! (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)
What has been true for most of 2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).
What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions
Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.
Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much. Price carefully! The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price. Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.
The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble. When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents. While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.
September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.