In January of this year, there were 43 percent more homes for sale in Santa Clara and San Benito counties than at the same time last year, says a recent report in the Mercury News. And in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties, collectively the “San Francisco metro area,” there were 25 percent more homes available for sale than the year prior. According to the real estate site Zillow, which supplied the data for the story, this signals an opportunity for buyers and a potential for lower prices.
Zillow’s senior economist, Aaron Terrazas, said, “There’s no doubt that the winds have shifted very rapidly in the Bay Area housing market.”
In January, there were 7,792 homes on for sale in the San Francisco metro area compared to 6,233 in January of 2018. And in the San Jose metro area, which comprises Santa Clara and San Benito counties, there were 3,011 homes for sale, which was up from 2,102 the year prior.
Both of these metro areas saw more homes for sale in January than at at any other point since 2016.
The increase in inventory means sellers may have to lower their expectations on what they think they’ll get for their home, and buyers will have better odds of their offers being accepted. Still, real estate experts say the Bay Area market will have to cool off quite a bit more before it can be considered remotely affordable for first-time buyers.
Mike Gaines, a San Jose-based real estate agent, said that part of the reason more homes have come on the market recently is that more homeowners have been tempted to sell by watching sales in their communities. Gaines said they see their neighbors sell their homes for a lot of money and they don’t want to miss a golden opportunity.
“We’ve got a lot of folks who want to get out of here,” Gaines said. “They feel this year will be the best opportunity to get their home on the market and get it sold, so they can move somewhere.”
Despite the increase in supply, Bay Area home prices are still rising, just a bit more slowly than last year. Median home prices in the San Jose metro area had been increasing 25 percent year over year since last spring, but in January they increased just 7 percent year over year. The median home price now stands at $1.2 million. In San Francisco, the median home price was $957,400 in January, representing an increase of 5 percent over the previous year.
The San Jose metro area had the highest increase in inventory of the major metros in Zillow’s study, followed by Seattle, with a 37 percent increase. While across the U.S., the average increase in inventory was just 1 percent over the prior year.
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