Saratoga Housing Market Update - June 2007

It was as if they were made of gold.  You know a school district cares when they track every registration form that leaves their office for planning and budgeting purposes.  The result?  Saratoga Unified School District's API score of 952 out of 1000 is second in Silicon Valley only to Los Altos, which edges out its southeastern cousin at 960.

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And it's that time of year, when parents who want or have to make a move are packing their kids into the trusty family automobile and hauling them to find Silicon Valley real estate in the right school districts.  Saratoga is seeing no shortage of activity with 40 closed sales in May 2007 compared with similar numbers of 37 and 35 in the two preceding years.

That doesn't seem like news until you combine the slight increase in sales with the dramatic decline in new listings year-over-year.  With only 48 new listings in May 2007 --- a 10-year low where the average is 80.6 over that period --- there's been a 16.6% increase in Saratoga median home prices from May 2006 to 2007.  But the market isn't completely stacked towards the seller in all market segments.

Some Evidence of Seller Overconfidence 

There aren't that many condos or townhomes in Saratoga to speak of so the median price line is easily affected by small groups of sales.

Of the 102 single-family homes in Saratoga currently for sale, 35 have been on the market for longer than 100 days.  16 of those are in the price range above $3.5 million.  Sellers are signaling for help in this range with 6 listings having undergone published price reductions (along with two others that have been on the market less than 100 days).  My buyers in this range can feel comfortable bringing out the red pen.

24 total are in the price range $2.5 million and above.  Of the 8 homes between $2.5 and 3.5 million that have been on the market over 100 days, 5 have had published price reductions.

The average DOM for homes currently for sale is 105.9.  The "official" DOM stat, which is based on the DOM of all the homes sold during that period is much lower, at 32. 

You can see from the disparity that some homes are selling very quickly.  Saratoga is showing some signs of seller overconfidence evidenced by the drop in the percent of list price received: down from last year's 100.17% to 99.38% this year. 

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The fact is that, over the last ten years, Saratoga is traditionally an area where you negotiate down from the list price.  Sellers were pricing in too many percentage points above the over-asking sales prices.  The lack of new inventory is probably going to soften the landing for a few sellers, but it won't make an undesirable home sell faster --- especially with comparable areas like Los Gatos, Monta Vista, and Los Altos nearby.