Only in expensive San Mateo County would a home price of $1.35 million be a bargain. Not only that, but the spread between the coast and the rest of the county is increasing and now stands at $689,000.

The strong performances for the county in the second quarter and the coast in the first quarter propelled prices upward. While both are at all-time highs, the price gains now seem more moderate with the county showing a 1 percent increase over past 12 months and a 4 percent increase over full year 2018. On the Coastside, prices are up 1 percent over first half 2018 and up 2 percent over full year. 

The average price now stands at new high of $2,040,000 (on the coast it’s $1,351,000) compared to $1,966,000 in full year 2018, $1,392,000 in 2012, $878,000 in 2009, and $1,210,000 in 2007. Over the past five years, county prices are up 28 percent and the coast is up 21 percent.

While prices peaked in 2007, sales volume has been declining since 2004 and is still off its high. For the first half of this year, 1,919 homes sold compared to 1,975 in 2018, 2346 in 2013, 1,725 in 2009 and 2,259 in 2007. Inventory has increased to 617 homes (up 25 percent from last year and the coast is up 26 percent) to where it now represents 1.9 months’ supply of total listings. (On the Coastside there is 5.1 months’ inventory.)

Not surprisingly, this has increased average selling time to 27 days (or 44 days on the coast) compared to 20 days in 2018, 22 days in 2014, 57 days in 2012, 79 days in 2009, and 28 days in 2005.

Where you also see strength is in the number of towns where the average price tops $1 million. Of the 27 towns in the county that make up our real estate listing area, all now exceed that amount while 19 did in 2017, seven in 2009 and 17 in 2007. 

Atherton is the most expensive city in the county with an average home price of $9.6 million. The other cities where the price tops $3 million in descending order are Hillsborough, Portola Valley, Woodside and Menlo Park. Every other city is above $1 million. And the cheapest place to live here now is in East Palo Alto with an average home price of $1,056,000.  

These factors are contributing to homes selling for more than full price (104 percent in 2019, 108 percent in 2017, 104 percent in 2014, 96 percent in 2009, and 100 percent in 2007). Coast stands at 98 percent.

This chart shows homes prices for both areas since 2007, with the coast being cheaper than the rest of the county. 

Steven Hyman is the broker and owner of Century 21 Sunset Properties. He can be reached at 726-6346 or at

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