Real estate

2019 was somewhat of a mixed bag for Coastside real estate. Home prices hit another all-time high with slight appreciation. Sales volume showed slight decline in volume for the year. Price reductions, which were noticeable in late 2018, continued through 2019. In fact, 28 percent of all sales had reductions. Mortgage rates dropped thanks in part to two rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. And the stock market had a great year, increasing 22 percent this year and up 56 percent since the 2016 election.

The first quarter featured the highest prices of the year. That pushed the average home price for the coast to another all-time high of $1,338,000, up 1 percent from 2018. Prices ranged from $400,000 for an uninhabitable cottage in La Honda to $10.25 million for two homes (9,000 square feet) on 507 acres in Half Moon Bay.

Sales volume peaked in 2004 and, while improving from the lows, it’s still way off those levels. It hit bottom in 2009 and has been increasing mostly since then. In 2019, 264 homes sold compared to 266 homes sold in 2018, 282 in 2017, 315 in 2014, 151 in 2009 and 429 in 1999, our best year. Volume is down 1 percent from 2018 and down 38 percent from 1999.

Inventory started to rise in 2005 as volume dropped and has declined since 2010 as sales improved. Inventory levels have been very low since mid 2014 on. As of Dec. 31, there were 58 total listings (down 19 percent from 2018) of which 37were available and 21 sale pending. List prices range from $445,000 for a cottage in La Honda to $10 million for a ranch on 245 acres in Montara.

Not surprisingly given minimal changes in prices and volume, homes sold slower with an average selling time of 44 days compared to 34 days in 2018, 41 days in 2017, 134 days in 2009 and 57 days in 2004. In all, 55 percent of all sales occurred in less than 30 days and 27 percent of all sales went over list price with all homes selling for 98 percent of list price. Distressed sales have become insignificant.

This chart shows average home prices and unit volume from 2000 to present. Over this period, prices increased by 87 percent with big increases in the past five years. The Dow Jones has done better over this period and is up 165 percent.

Steven Hyman is the broker and owner of Century 21 Sunset Properties. He has a master’s degree in international finance and a bachelor’s degree in economics. He can be reached at 726-6346 or at

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