That’s the conclusion from David Stark, the public affairs director for the Bay East Association of Realtors headquartered here in Pleasanton. Stark, in his first in-person appearance in almost two years, spoke to the Pleasanton Men’s Club under the very warm tent at Barone’s Restaurant Tuesday.
The median sales price for a single-family home in Pleasanton is now $1.6 million and the low inventory of homes on the market that he outlined in a presentation two years ago remains. The effect of the pandemic and the shutdown was a 90-day downward blip that was quickly overcome when the real estate industry figured out how to do virtual showings and other innovations.
2020 saw an inventory bump after the first 90 days and then another one in the fall, a unique situation according to Stark.
Just how hot is the market? A good measure is the days on the market. The highest number this year was 15 days in January, when the real estate market traditionally is on an extended holiday. Typically, the market picks up after the Super Bowl. Since then it has bounced around 10 days in all three cities. A more typical market would be 30 days or more.
The bottom line: Stark believes the numbers show that the market is sustainable. Thanks to the low interest rates and the demand the board has added a new statistic, tracking pending sales. These are homes under contract and they have been closing at the expected rate.
Stark pointed out another key factor that is driving people from the South Bay, the Peninsula and San Francisco to the Tri-Valley—the type of single-family homes that make up our communities. Most of the homes in our cities were built later than 1970 so they have decent size lots; three, four or five bedrooms; two or more bathrooms and thus have space for a “staycation” in the backyard and rooms for people to work at home.
That’s led to plenty of sales at 10% or more over the listing price. On a $1.6 million median priced Pleasanton home, that's another $160k. Stark also pointed out that despite very low interest rates, homebuyers still had to come up with a 20% down payment for a conventional loan.
Given the over-asking prices, some Realtors may resort to low balling the list price. Why? Because it ensures showings said Realtor Scott Piper. That tactic has completely distorted the Oakland Hills/Piedmont market he said and hoped it would not be established here.
The same work-at-home factor now has propelled Brentwood into the picture now that could be permanent or just a couple days a week required in an office. Homes cost significantly less and many are newer and larger. The delta variant has slowed office reopenings dramatically so that’s a story to be written in the long term.
The Tri-Valley’s location (equidistant from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley) plus its type of housing stock will continue to make it desirable for people looking to raise their families here.