Real estate

Only in expensive San Mateo County would home prices of almost $1.5 million be a bargain. The spread between the coast and the county is relatively unchanged at $669,000. The strong performances for the county as a whole in the first quarter, and the coast in the second quarter propelled prices upward.

Despite the economic turmoil, both are at all-time highs showing good gains. The county shows a 4 percent increase over past 12 months and 9 percent increase over full year 2019. On the coast, home prices are up 8 percent over first half 2018 and up 9 percent over full year.

The average price now stands at new high of $2,129,000 for the whole county (it’s $1,460,000 on the coast) compared to $2,040,000 in 2019, $1,392,000 in 2012, $878,000 in 2009, and $1,210,000 in 2007. Median home price for the county is $1,619,000 and on the coast it is $1,325,000. Over the past five years, county prices are up 28 percent and the coast is up 22 percent.

While prices previously peaked in 2007, sales volume has been declining since 2004 and is still off its highs. For the first half of this year 1,456 homes sold compared to 1,919 in 2019, 1,975 in 2018, 2,346 in 2013, 1,725 in 2009 and 2,259 in 2007. Inventory has increased to 680 homes (up 10 percent from last year and coast down 23 percent) to where it now represents 2.5 month’s supply of total listings. (There is 8.1 month’s supply on the coast).

Not surprisingly, this has increased average selling time to 28 days (on the coast it’s 33 days) 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 whose average price tops $1 million. Of the 27 towns in the county that make up our listing area, all but two now exceed $1 million, while all did in 2019, 19 in 2017, seven in 2009 and 17 in 2007.

Atherton is the most expensive city in the county with an average home price of $8.9 million. The other cities whose prices tops $3 million are Hillsborough, Woodside and Portola Valley. Every other city is above $1 million except for La Honda and Loma Mar.

These factors are contributing to homes selling for more than full price (103 percent in 2020, 104 percent in 2019, 108 percent in 2017, 104 percent in 2014, 96 percent in 2009, and 100 percent in 2007). On the coast, homes are currently selling at 99 percent of asking.

This chart shows homes prices for both areas since 2007 with the coast being less expensive.

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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