Foster City Market Update

I haven’t done a Market Update for Foster City in a while. Foster City is a planned community, in fact it was the first one done in California. What that means is there are areas with Apartments, Condos, Townhouses and Single Family homes sprinkled around the city. Each group of housing finds some properties on the waterfront, next to parks or within a more neighborhood setting giving loads of choices for prospective residents.

Altos Research breaks down their research two ways for me. One report features single family homes, and the other condos and townhouses. The price spread for the condos is very wide with one complex averaging over $1 million per unit. Homes on the water generally fetch over $100,000 or more above similar properties without a waterfront facing.

Let’s look at last week’s single family homes. There were 19 houses for sale averaging 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. These aren’t huge houses, the average size is a bit over 2000 square feet sitting on lots around 6000 sq feet. If I were to guess the average age, I’d say they are around 25 years old.

The median price was $1,099,000 and the least expensive house was $899,000. We don’t see many single family houses in the $800,000’s any more in Foster City. The spread of prices went up to $1,448,000 for a large house totally redone with a waterfront lot.

Prices are staying steady but the average days on the market are lengthening. Because of this, Foster City is now a Cold Buyer’s Market meaning the Altos Market Action Index is at 17, well below the line of a Seller’s Market which is 30.

What is interesting is that the lower priced homes are sitting on the market longer than the upper tier. This might be because of the difficulty for buyers sell their current house and move up.

There is mortgage money out there but the hoops necessary for buyer’s to get approval have increased and this higher bar is effecting entry level buyers. If someone is moving from a home that can sell for more than $900,000 they are having less difficulty in moving upward.

The Median prices for single family homes in Foster City is down from its peaks from last year. Again I think this is due to the tight money market. If the loosening of interest rates impacts the home mortgage market we might see some changes here. But, who knows? Inventory effects this chart more than anything else. Altos Research believes that the market may have paused around the plateau we’re seeing here. The average days on the market is around 70 days. Not particularly a long period of time from normal real estate marketing standards, but long in comparison to the past couple of years. We are having to retrain seller’s expectations on this. If the house is priced correctly it will sell. Some, in fact, are selling within 30 days – or less.

The single reason a house will not sell is Price. Last week 3 houses sold.

Let’s take a look at the Condo and Townhouse markets. Condos in Foster City have pretty much held their value. There aren’t many other cities in San Mateo County that can boast that. When it comes to Townhouses, they too have not dipped in value. Foster City’s schools are considered some of the best in the area and this attributes to values remaining strong.

Prices range from $329,888 for a small condo up to $1,195,000 for a huge condo. In between these prices one finds larger condos and townhouses. Remember, a townhouse sits on a piece of land that the owner owns, so it is similar to a single family house but with attached walls.

Currently the median sized unit is about 1260 square feet. Townhouses are generally averaging 1400 to 2000 square feet, and some are larger than single family homes. There were 35 for sale last week.

The average days on the market are just a bit longer than the single family houses in Foster City at 74 days. As you can see that is static. What we do see is prices are moving upward, and the Market Action Index says that it’s a Cool Buyer’s Market – with the tipping point at an index of 30.

Most condos are 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Most townhouses are 3 or 4 bedrooms and 2 and a half bathrooms. All townhouse have some kind of small yard or patio and many have green belts surround them, as well.

The chart of Median Prices shows prices bounced last week but Altos says we’re far away from that peak last year. That peak last year was when several of the very high end condos were sold and that skews the stats.

Condos or Townhouses with waterfront views sell for significantly more than the others. All of the developments sit with pools, some have tennis courts, and other ammenities as well.

Foster City is a city surrounded by parks, trails and water. Situated in the middle of the Peninsula, at the cross hairs of US 101 and Highway 92 leading to the East Bay, it’s a great place to live and commute from.

If you’d like to see the full report for either single family homes or condos or townhouses let me know. I’d be happy to share it with you.

Moving? Know the value of your home …