The City of San Mateo is the largest city in our immediate area with a population of about 92,000 people and it also covers the most land. Therefore it’s obvious the spread of homes and their prices is vast. Last week there were 182 single family houses for sale in San Mateo and 17 sales. This was an increase in the number of houses for sale. The price range for houses went from a low of $299,000 to a high of $2,795,000 and the Median Priced house was $847,000. This house likely sits on about a 5500 foot lot, is about 1700 square feet in size, has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and is about 60 years old, built after WWII when there was rapid construction for returning soldiers and their growing families. The good thing is there is a trend downward in the median price in San Mateo.
An easy way to see the spread of the market is by dividing it in Quartiles. Number 1 offers the top priced tier of homes, those in San Mateo Park, Baywood, Baywood Knolls, and Aragon. There were 45 of these for sale last week with a Median Price of $1,529,500. These are the oldest homes in San Mateo, the largest homes and have the largest lots. We saw 4 sales last week and 2 listings.
Quartile 2 has homes all over the city, but most are in the hills. They’re smaller in comparison to Quartile 1, the Median Price was $975,000 last week, with 5 sold and 2 new listings.
Quartile 3 has more modest homes, smaller in size, and could be in the flatlands west of 101 or just east. These saw 4 sold, 3 listed, and a Median Price of $689,000.
The last, Quartile 4, offers the entry level house with a Median Price of $499,450 these are the smallest houses, often needing updating and are generally either north San Mateo or in North or South Shoreview. There were 4 sold last week and 5 listed.
A picture is always worth a thousand words and looking at the chart for price is always interesting. We are always talking to people waiting for the bottom of the market, and mid-year is never, ever when that happens. If you’re interested in buying at the lowest price, always pick New Year’s week. Prices go up after that and San Mateo is no exception. Some of the reason for prices diving at year end has to due with inventory — we generally have little at that time — and mid-year we generally have lots to choose from. There is no exception about this today. We’re right up there and in comparison to the peak of the real estate market in 2007, prices are somewhat stable for San Mateo.
The second most interesting picture is that showing the inventory of housing and we’re not as high as last year at this time, but considerably higher than the past 4 years. Why is this? I suspect many people have their houses for sale to try and beat the loan reset they expect to see, especially if they bought their house within the past 3 to 5 years when many Alt-A loans are now due to reset. What does this mean to you if you’re thinking of buying a new house this year? Does it mean you have more negotiating room? That’s hard to say. If the seller want to sell and still have some money left over to pay commissions, they won’t negotiate much, if at all. Many seller’s are just “above water” and trying not to have a short sale on their credit record.
The Market Action Index devised by Altos Research, shows San Mateo is moving up a little and is a Cold Buyer’s Market but sits at 19 in this index. If it is able to move up just a little bit, it become a Buyer’s Market and shows that San Mateo may be turning the corner. Only time will tell on this one and if you’re interested in following this, let me know and I’ll set you up with your own reports coming to your email box.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about the 3 zip codes of San Mateo real estate. Each one is unique.