The first quarter of 2014 started slowly in Pacific Union’s Contra Costa County region as a shortage of homes on the market held back sales. Inventory gradually loosened throughout the quarter, and by the end of March we saw a double-digit increase in home sales – solid performance during the typically slow winter season.
Relaxed loan standards and an increase in jumbo loans helped spur sales in the market for homes priced at $1 million to $1.4 million – a significant share of Contra Costa County properties – with many selling above list price. The market for higher-priced homes up to $4 million also saw sales climb significantly higher throughout the quarter, as foreign investors and tech-industry executives increasingly were drawn to the region’s attractive homes and excellent schools.
Looking Forward: We expect to see a slight increase in inventory in the coming months, but well-staged homes that are competitively priced will still get multiple offers. The average sales price will rise moderately, perhaps 5 percent through the second quarter. With mortgage rates expected to stay at historically low levels for at least the next several months, the second quarter should be quite robust.
Defining Contra Costa County: Our real estate markets in Contra Costa County include the cities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Sales data in the charts below includes all single-family homes in these communities.
Median Sales Price
The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.
Months’ Supply of Inventory
The months’ supply of inventory is a measure of how quickly the current supply of homes would be sold at the current sales rate, assuming no more homes came on the market. In general, an MSI below 4 is considered a seller’s market; between 4 and 6 is a balanced market; and above 6 is a buyer’s market.
Average Days on the Market
Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.
Percentage of Properties Under Contract
Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.
Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price
Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.
A Closer Look at Contra Costa County