Low inventory, high prices and Google: San Jose housing market soars

The Bay Area’s red-hot housing market is showing no signs of cooling. While the number of homes sold may have dipped since last Fall, prices continue to soar and those properties that are on the market aren’t there very long.

Ken Robertson of San Jose found this out recently. He and his wife Karen listed their three bedroom, two and a half bath Craftsman-style house in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood last Thursday. Asking price: One-point-five million.

“Look like a guy who’s ready to sell a house. Happy to sell a house,” said Robertson and he stood, smiling, on his front lawn.

Even at seven figures, hundreds of people came over the weekend, and as recently as Monday night, too see and wish upon a star. Five days later, he’s accepting one-of-seven offers, according to Intero realtor Alicia Duarte…

“It doesn’t surprise me, not with the market we’re in, in Willow Glen. It’s just an area that’s in high demand, and the inventory is really low,” said Durate, as she stood in a nicely-renovated kitchen with a large marble-topped island in the middle.

High demand and low inventory is the binary phrase explaining the blessing - and curse  - of selling and buying real estate in the South Bay. In Santa Clara county, realtors say there are only 350 single-family homes for sale. In a normal market, there would be 1,200. So the lack of supply, and tech-driven demand is moving inventory. The average listing lasts just nine days before it’s sold.

In some cases, realtors say properties are selling even sooner, when the sign goes up announcing an impending sale. Dozens of buyers bid pre-emptively in hopes of avoiding a bidding war few survive. There’s a term for this.  It’s called the ‘Google effect.’

Experts say Google and other high-tech companies movement into downtown San Jose, and throughout the South Bay has increased demand for good homes close to mass transit, and award-winning school districts.

“I expect any home that I put on the market to be sold, in contract, within two weeks,” said Coldwell Banker realtor Geoff Hollands.

He says this three bedroom, two bath townhome in a gated community in San Jose’s Almaden Valley neighborhood came on the market last Thursday, and will be sold by next week, if not this weekend.

“As long as there’s low inventory and not enough homes, and interest rates are still incredibly attractive, the market’s going to continue to go up,” said Hollands, as he showed the lower level bedroom..

For buyers, the future holds higher prices pushing the dash for new digs to new heights. But for sellers such as the Robertson’s, timing the market is leading them to a place in the sun in Florida.