Is the local Belmont housing market slowing?

We’re hearing a few rumblings from sellers thinking it might be a good time to cash out before there’s a full market correction. We’ve also heard from buyers that they might try and wait out the market, and see if there’s a decrease in home values anytime soon. And many of our colleagues are sharing the same sentiments, as the number of multiple bidders appears to them to be waning.

And they’re not necessarily wrong. The market has shifted as we have been espousing in several of our more recent blog posts.

But our observations on why the market seems to be “cooling” has more to do with home values surpassing the purchasing power of the average buyer, than a market experiencing a correction. Because while the mid-peninsula may be realizing a chill in the air when it comes to the number of multiple bids, the lower priced cities such as South San Francisco have never seen more activity. In reality what has happened is that the strong demand for homes under $1,200,000 has forced buyers to look elsewhere.

Housing markets tend to move a little slower than the stock market, where one may see sizeable swings in individual stock or sector valuations on a daily, even hourly basis.

We’ve been talking about the shift to a more normal market, where the number of homes for sale is at equilibrium with the number of buyers looking for a place to purchase.

We believe that our market is not there yet, but it may be getting closer. Any decline in consumer confidence could make that shift happen more rapidly.

It’s important, however, to make a distinction between a much over used term “market correction” and a more accurate term “market shift”. In fact, we’d argue that there is no correction in the housing market like there is in the stock market.

A change in the balance of supply vs. demand is a market shift. A market correction is where the market itself decides values are too high, and forces a correction with a widespread sell–off.

Consider it this way. Thousands of homeowners on the peninsula would all have to be convinced at once that the market has reached an unsustainable level and cash out to create a flood of housing inventory to result in the type of market correction that is being bantered about.

A housing market shift is typically fueled by an outside force—such as the tech bubble bursting in 2000, where wide-spread job lay-offs in the sector forced many homeowners to sell at once, flooding the market with homes for sale. That was not a correction in home values, it was a market shift.

When will the market dynamics change so that buyers are once again in control? When inventory levels surpass demand. Imagine an hour glass where the sand is slowly flowing from top to bottom. The sand begins to pile up and form a small mountain at the bottom of the glass. Until all of a sudden, it collapses. When will that one grain of sand cause the entire pile to cascade down? That’s impossible to predict. So it is in the world of real estate, that while market shifts are inevitable, forecasting when they will occur is an impractical task.

And now a look at the numbers in Belmont for March 2017:

Belmont home sales indicated the number of units sold in 2017 increased by less than 1% over the same period last year. Sellers received 1.7% more of their asking price, and the time it took to sell their homes dropped from 11 days to 10.

And while the median price for a Belmont home in March at $1,723,000, increased 18.2% YOY, the size of homes selling this March were 16% larger than last year. Adjusting for the size of the homes selling in these two periods, the actual YOY appreciation might be closer to 2%.



Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 20 years of experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at

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The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.


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