Compass data show that the Bay Area luxury single-family home market currently looks a lot more like it usually does in the spring. (“Luxury,” in this case, means homes listed above $3 million in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and above $2 million in the rest of the Bay Area.)
Homes at these price points are selling in about 60 days, instead of the holiday season norm that’s usually between 80 and 90 days.
There’s more to the atypical holiday rush than just a greater number of people staying home, said agent Deidre Joyner. People are also feeling panicked about getting out of their smaller spaces to make working and schooling from home easier. “COVID has acted as an accelerator and has motivated many buyers to step into the housing market for the first time to alter their living situation,” she said. “Now a small apartment is not ideal for both living and working from home. Now yard space is important.”
Both agents say they’ve altered their usual advice and told clients interested in selling to put their homes on the market now. Souza says he has an Oakland property coming to market that he would have never normally listed in mid-December. “As agents, we often hold inventory and advise our clients to wait until spring to avoid less activity with buyers traveling and being distracted by the holidays,” he said. “Now with the inventory still historically low in our area, and buyers staying put, we are advising our clients to market the home when it’s ready.”
Data show other agents are doling out similar advice, with an abnormally high number of new listings coming to market during a period that is typically only a last resort for those who need to sell fast. There were more than 600 Bay Area luxury single-family homes listed in October. A typical October number is about 350.
Joyner says she is seeing a slight hesitation on the part of buyers in the investment market and calls the shared amenities involved in condo sales “challenging,” but there is no slowdown on the horizon for the single-family market as we move into 2021. “I predict that single-family homes will remain strong through spring 2021, especially if they are presented well, strategically priced and if they have extra spaces such as an oversized backyard, a detached garage or a basement to utilize and possibly expand,” she said.
Emily Landes is a writer and editor with an interest in all things real estate.