Real estate

Home prices for San Mateo County actually declined a bit for the first time in many years while the price for real estate on the coast rose a bit. Other metrics like sales volume, selling time, etc. were negative for both.

Home prices for the entire San Mateo County decreased by $34,000 while the coast’s prices increased by $9,000. The price gap between the two narrowed a bit to $624,000 meaning the coast is still cheap by comparison!

County home prices peaked in 2007, dropped, then set new records from 2013 through 2018. Prices decreased by 2 percent last year. (Coastal prices rose by 1 percent to another high.) Now the average home price stands at $1,962,000 (it’s $1,338,000 here) compared to $1,996,000 in 2018, $1,751 in 2017, $878,000 in 2009, $1,210,000 in 2007, and $842,000 in 2000. Since 2000, home prices for the county are up 138 percent, while they are up 87 percent on the coast. The Dow Jones is up 165 percent over the period.

Sales volume actually has been declining for six of the past seven years for the county as a whole due to limited inventory and rising prices. Volume of sales on the coast decreased by 1 percent in 2019. Volume peaked in 2004 with 6,506 sales, bottomed out in 2008 to 3,876, rose till 2012 with 5,162 sales. It stood at 4,241 in 2017, 4,099 in 2018 and 3,972 in 2019.

From the last highs, volume has dropped by 39 percent for the county and 34 percent for the coast. Inventory is tight and now represents just 0.7 months’ supply. (The supply on the coast is 2.6 months.)

Because of above factors, average selling time increased to 28 days. (The coast stands at 44 days.) That compares to 22 days in 2018, 49 days in 2012, 71 days in 2009, and just 28 days in 2005.

For the first time ever, all of the 27 towns in the county that make up our listing area now have an average home price topping $1 million (up from 26 in 2018, 10 in 2012 and 17 in 2007). Atherton is the most expensive with an average price of $8.7 million. There are six towns with prices exceeding $2 million (Hillsborough, Woodside, Portola Valley, Menlo Park, Burlingame, and San Carlos). The least expensive town in the county is East Palo Alto with a price of $1,015,000.

Where you also see the change is in percentage of sales price to list price. Back in 2005 that number was 100 percent, and it was 97 percent in 2009, 106 percent in 2014, 109 percent in 2018, and 104 percent in 2019. (Sales on the coast average 98 percent of list.)

This chart shows homes prices for both the county and the coast since 2007.

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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