Following years of stable market conditions, changes are coming for home buyers and sellers.
Historically high sales prices typically attract the most attention in stories about real estate. Meanwhile, in Pleasanton, the number of homes for sale and the actual number of homes sold gets less notice because, during the last five years, those amounts haven't changed much.
Even with astronomical sales prices, many current Pleasanton homeowners have not put their homes on the market. And most of the new residential construction in Pleasanton has been either apartments, condominiums or townhomes. These factors contributed to the limited, but stable, supply of single-family detached homes.
Meanwhile, job growth throughout the Bay Area coupled with low mortgage interest rates has kept demand for home ownership high. This demand showed up in the median sales price for single-family homes in Pleasanton during 2018 topping more than $1.2 million. Even at these prices, home sales have remained steady during the last five years.
Questions about the sustainability of these conditions were answered in surprising ways during 2018. During the second half of the year, prices did drop on a month-to-month basis from a high of $1.32 million during May to $1.24 million during September. However, the 2018 median of $1.2 million represented a 10% increase from the 2017 median sales price.
"If you're looking in Pleasanton and if you're a savvy buyer, you're going to be starting in the three-quarter of a million-dollar range and that's going to be a bargain for Pleasanton," said Nancie Allen, 2019 president of the Bay East Association of Realtors.
Homeowners responded to these record-breaking prices by putting more homes on the market. Inventory increased from 774 homes for sale during 2017 to 873 in 2018.
"We're definitely seeing an increase in inventory and homes are staying on the market longer," Allen said. "For buyers, you're going to see more options available to you and less competition for those options."
Buyers may have more time to shop, and sellers may need to be more patient during 2019. A home was on the market during the last half of 2018 an average of 32 days compared with 30 days during the same period in 2017.
"For sellers in Pleasanton, even though it's such a desirable city to live in, we're seeing much longer average days on market," Allen said. "Longer days on market mean a healthier, stable market for buyers and sellers."
Asked about the impact new home construction is having on the Pleasanton real estate market, Allen said, "People do love new construction, and Pleasanton is the kind of town where the new construction is going to draw certain buyers. But the tried-and-true older homes in Pleasanton are still going to be a huge draw. You're going to see two different kinds of buyers -- the kind that like the new and the kind that still love older homes."
While the Tri-Valley and Pleasanton continue to change, Allen said home ownership remains desirable: "Buyers love the small-town feel of a place that has a ton of businesses, easy transportation with BART in and out, and a good school system. And that's why people love Pleasanton."