Not A Normal Year
Each year the San Carlos housing market has a predictability factor that allows agents to advise their clients on when to buy and sell a home. For example, the time period of March through May is generally accepted as the time of the year with the highest inventory and most transactions. September through October offers a secondary window of high activity. The summer months can be tricky due to vacation schedules. Similarly, the second half of November through January can be seem like a ghost town for both buyers and sellers as people are simply preoccupied with holiday activities. For 2012, you can throw all of it out the window.
2012 has been the year of a massive correction in the San Carlos housing market. With the giant backlog of buyers still trying to get into the limited inventory of homes in San Carlos, the correction is not yet complete. The time of year has not mattered for 2012, when it comes to inventory. Inventory levels have been at historic lows since January and have remained that way for the entire year.
Remember How We Got Here
It’s just not 2012 that saw historically low inventory levels. This has been building for the last four years. With the bite taken out of the San Carlos market by the national downturn of 2008, many sellers did not want to sell at a loss. Consequently, our inventory levels were mostly made up of (1) those who could no longer afford their home; (2) trustee/probate sales; and (3) those who felt comfortable enough to sell their home at a loss off of the high, and purchase another home. Combined, these three groups do not normally account for average levels of inventory. What you are witnessing now in San Carlos, is (1) a four year backlog of buyers who tried to time the bottom of the market, (2) an improving economy, (3) rock-bottom interest rates; and (4) very little inventory.
Plain and Simple
Because of the massive backlog of buyers and the optimal purchasing environment that exist right now, sellers should not fear putting their home on the market right before the traditional holiday season. One of the benefits to running a site such as this, and conducting the number of transactions that I have been fortunate enough to complete in San Carlos, is that I get a unique perspective in calibrating the true demand on our city. The following is a fairly bold statement, but I can only call it as I see it: I believe the demand on San Carlos right now is greater than at any point in the past, including 2005.
The buyer pool has been growing for the last four years while the inventory levels have been dropping. Even with escalating prices in 2012, the pressure has not been released on the buyer demand. In conjunction with the other contributing factors mentioned in this post, the pressure coming from overflow buyers from Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Burlingame is also responsible for the upward movement of our market.
As long as this type of demand keeps up, listing your home at the traditionally more quiet times of the year should offer very little difference your ultimate sales price.