Real estate

The first quarter real estate sales results ended in the most unusual way with almost all activity put on hold for the last two weeks of the quarter. Surprisingly, the coronavirus epidemic didn’t have much impact on sales other than maybe a few sales that might have closed in March slipped into April.

Bottomline: prices are up and sales volume, mortgage rates and the stock market are down.

The average home price for the first quarter for the coast now stands at $1,429,000, (median price $1,325,000) up 2 percent from a strong first quarter 2019 and up 7 percent from full year 2019. Sales prices ranged from $535,000 for a 1,180-square-foot house in La Honda to $5 million for a ranch in Pescadero on 186 acres. Distressed sales really aren’t a factor anymore and now account for no sales. Homes under $500,000 are tough to find. Sales under $600,000 aren’t plentiful either, making up one sale and there were only two sales under $700,000.

Sales volume for this quarter was weak and was the second-lowest level in last five years. Forty-nine homes sold this quarter compared to 59 sales in 2019 and 2018, 48 in 2017, 64 homes in 2014, 17 in 2009 (our worst year), and 95 in 1999 (our best year). Volume is down 17 percent from 2019 and down 48 percent from 1999.

Inventory has been declining from late 2011 as prices started to rebound. As of March 31, there were 71 total listings (down from 77 last year) of which 52 were available.

Tight inventory this quarter made homes sell faster. Average selling time is 46 days this year compared to 54 days in 2019, 39 days in 2018, 58 days in 2016, and 51 days in 2005. Sixty-two percent of all sales occurred in less than 30 days. What also shows how things are changing is the percent of homes selling over list price. Forty-three percent of all sales in 2005 went over list price compared to 10 percent in 2010, 37 percent in 2015 and 47 percent in 2018. Now 24 percent sell over list. Homes sold for 98 percent of list price

This chart shows average home prices by quarter from 2007 to present. While most years prices in the first quarter are the lowest of the year, this year is going to be like nothing we’ve seen before cause of the shutdown. That being said I expect sales volume to take a big hit next quarter.

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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