I find this sort of amazing given what’s been going on in the world this year, but our real estate market has continued to do remarkably well through the fall season. The combination of super low interest rates and the desire to have a better space to shelter in has kept demand from buyers strong. At the same time, fewer property owners have put their homes on the market — for Berkeley as whole, the number of homes for sale from January through November this year was down 14% compared to the same period last year.
With low supply and high demand, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing high prices and a strong seller’s market. Note, though, that condos (where you may share outdoor spaces or an elevator with other people) and multi-unit properties (which are challenging in this environment where tenants may not be able to pay rent) are not faring as well.
Berkeley Hills, Fall results:
There were 81 active listings in the hills from September through the end of November, which is actually on the high side of normal despite the year-to-date figures for Berkeley as a whole. 53 properties sold, in an average of 40 days on the market. 40 days on the market is a long time for our area, but looking at the data, the reason is quite clear. 1960 San Antonio (commonly referred to as “The Spring Mansion”) sold this fall after literally years on the market. The fact that that property finally sold says something about the strength of the market, but it’s also an extremely unusual property (if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a 12,000 square foot historic fixer), so its time on the market is an outlier. Leaving that data point out, the average days on the market was only 15. Three quarters of the fall sales were for more than list price, and those that went over averaged 14% over list. 5 of the 53 properties that sold had price changes (4 reductions and 1 increase) before finding a buyer.
The median sold price in the hills was $1,535,000, which is up 6.6% from the summer, and up 8.6% from Fall 2019. The average sold price per square foot was also higher at $786, up 1.1% from the summer, and 7.8% higher than last fall.
North Berkeley, Fall results:
There were 40 active listings in North Berkeley from September through the end of November, which, like in the hills, is slightly on the high side of normal (making up a bit for earlier in the year). 32 properties sold, in an average of 18 days on the market. 81 percent of the fall sales were for more than list price, and those that went over averaged 24% over list. 2 of the 32 sold properties had price reductions before finding a buyer.
There were 3 condos in the sales this fall, and these three all sold quickly and above list price. There are others, though, that have been sitting on the market well beyond the typical two weeks.
The median sold price in North Berkeley over the fall was $1,388,750, which is up 5.2% from the summer, and up 3.8% from Fall 2019. The average sold price per square foot was also higher at $920, up 3.6% from the summer, and 9.2% higher than last fall.
Usually, the market slows down substantially in December and January, but that doesn’t seem to be the case so far this winter. With fewer people traveling, we’re not seeing the usual dip in activity, and winter seems to be shaping up to be another very strong quarter.
Sending you all my best wishes for the holiday season and the new year — stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane, and here’s hoping we’re all able to get back to the people, places and activities we love in 2021!