During the first half of 2015 we’ve watched real estate prices across the Peninsula continue to rise. In Portola Valley the average sale price rose 17% to a new high of $3.2 million which, on average, purchased a 3,100 square foot home on just under an acre of land. The price per square foot metric crossed the $1,000 benchmark for the first time, closing out the period at $1,044/sf. Yet this looks like a very good value compared to nearby Palo Alto, where the first half average price per square foot was $1,427 for a significantly smaller house and lot.
The lack of inventory continues to be the challenge. Sellers are staying put. At the end of June there were just 15 homes for sale—a level approaching all time lows, and new listings in the first half of the year totaled only 48, down 20% from this time last year.
Closed sales ran the gamut from a low of $1.45 million for a two-bedroom hideaway in Los Trancos Woods, to a high of $10.8 million for a spectacular modern home on four acres in Westridge. New or fully remodeled homes fetched the highest prices, many of them designed in the mid-century or contemporary architectural style very much in vogue right now.
Today’s strong market presents a window of opportunity for owners with property along busy thoroughfares or in remote locations. These traditionally less desirable locations are almost impossible to sell in a down market; however, in a strong market they are snapped up by eager buyers who are looking to move into the area, but are unable to afford the prime spots. Los Trancos Woods and the Santa Maria area are two such examples where we’ve seen good activity in the first half of this year and where sellers are taking advantage of these favorable conditions.