2013 was a banner year for real estate throughout the Mid Peninsula, and Portola Valley was no exception. With 78 closed sales, up 24% over 2012, and an average price of $2.8 million—a new all time high, total sales volume for 2013 was $219 million. This is a robust 47% increase over 2012, and exceeded the prior high of $200 million reached with the dot.com bubble in the year 2000.
We had 95 new listings, on par with the prior two years. Unlike some of our neighboring communities, there was no significant shortage of inventory in Portola Valley. Properties moved on and off the market quickly. The number of days on market at 48 was down 28% from the prior year, and here again, was on par with the low of 47 days in 2000.
The median price of $2.27 million, just slightly above the prior year, masked the real story. There was a significant increase in higher end sales with 26 properties trading above the $3 million mark versus only 16 in 2012. We also had two outliers. On the high end, the secluded 28 acre Villa Laursiton estate sold for $13 million just prior to going to auction, after having been on and off the market since 2010. On the low end, a small rustic cabin in the Los Trancos Woods neighborhood sold for $580,000.
Prices and volumes have been climbing back up gradually since the economic crisis of 2008 and the fallout in 2009 when Portola Valley’s median price fell to $1.65 million. At that time, only those who had to sell were selling, so the mix of sales was skewed toward the lower end. We are now well into the next real estate cycle upswing. Sellers who have been sitting on the sidelines recognize that the rising market will not continue indefinitely. Many will bring their homes to market this year to take advantage of the favorable conditions which will create more opportunities for buyers. So, buyers take heed, in comparison to some of our neighboring communities, Portola Valley offers excellent relative value and less competition.
Even with the California Association of Realtors’ projected uptick in long term mortgage interest rates to 5.3% this year, our local housing market is expected to remain strong. The Bay Area economic outlook is favorable and projections for 2014 Silicon Valley IPOs, are especially bright!