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Is San Mateo's Housing Market on the Rise?

The number of homes for sale county-wide has increased in the past couple of months, but it remains to be seen if the market can stand on its own.

True to local brokers' , spring seems to be the time to buy a home in San Mateo County.

The number of local home sales in the County rose 65 percent from February to March, with 366 closed sales in March — more than the 322 recorded sales in March 2010. So far in April, the city of San Mateo alone has had 28 closed transactions.

“The housing market is certainly showing strong signs as we head towards the summer,” said Steve Blanton, the executive officer of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors (SAMCAR). “As the economy and job market continue to inspire confidence in buyers, we are seeing more transactions closing.”

Inventory also rose last month, when 675 new homes came on the market in the month of March alone.

If you're on the fence about buying a home in San Mateo County, you have more homes to consider while prices rise at only a moderate pace, says Blanton. The average price for a single family home rose to $700,000 in March, a 10 percent increase from February, according to sales statistics from SAMCAR.

In comparison, the median price of a single family home in March 2010 was $800,000. That's a 12.5 percent drop since last year, which many local realtors attribute to the swell in home sales sparked by the Federal Tax Credit of 2010.

Out of the 28 closed transactions for the city of San Mateo in April, only three had a sales price of over $1 million.

Local realtor Alan Canas of The Alan Canas Team said he doesn't see the price of homes increasing at all. “What we're seeing is that with more inventory, the price is leveling off,” he said. The increase in the median price for a single family home in San Mateo County from February to March could be a coincidence because of the types of homes on the market — due to recent remodeling or the number of bedrooms, for example.

In the first quarter, the price of homes slightly increased because there was less inventory, said Canas. As more inventory comes on the market, the price of homes will go down. Also, home prices tend to increase directly after the holidays, said Canas.

Sellers who are pricing their homes correctly are also seeing a drop in days on the market, according to SAMCAR. 

Canas warns that it's still too early to tell if the housing market is truly improving. “We'll know that when we hit August and September,” he said. “Then we'll see how many days on average its been on the market.”

For Peter Aiello, a managing broker at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 33.9 percent of the homes in his region — encompassing six cities in the county, including San Mateo — that have closed escrow so far in April sold for the list price or more.

Because there are fewer homes on the market than this time last year, says Aiello, the ones that are on the market are in great shape — “staged and priced properly and being sought after by the same buyers.”

For more statistics on the San Mateo County housing market, including Average Sales Price, Number of Units Sold, and Average Days on the Market, check out Aiello's blog: www.thepeninsularealestatebroker.com.

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