Atherton Market Conditions September 2015

  • Market slows
  • Pending sales rise
  • Inventory still very low
  • Prices remain strong
  • Homes staying on the market longer

Perhaps it’s the beginning of the autumn slowdown but the Atherton real estate market had a less frantic pace in September. Sales remained strong and inventory continued to be a constraint but both buyers and sellers seemed to be more deliberate. Multiple offers are still common, particularly for homes priced in the lower end of their price band. Other homes have sat on the market a while. With the low level of inventory, many buyers are revisiting homes they had previously viewed, realizing they may just be the best properties available.

The median sales price in September was $5.9 million, up 21% from $4.95 million in August. September’s price was, however, 13% lower than September 2014’s $6.8 million. September was the second straight month where the median sales price was lower than a year earlier. Remember that price indicators can be volatile here due the low number of sales.

The price per square foot in September was $1,452, which was 11% higher than August’s $1,309 and 33% higher than a year ago. The average sale in September was for 104% of the list price, that was up from 103% in August and 99% in September 2014.


10 sales closed in September, three more than in August and double the sales of a year ago.


Note that in each of the past several months, pending sales and inventory numbers have been restated (pending sales downward and inventory upward) the following month, so we need to take caution with the following data. As currently listed, inventory fell by one unit from August’s 28. It will likely be restated higher, so inventory has actually increased a bit. Pending sales show a jump from five in August to 11 in September. September’s number will be lower, so there was not really much of a change from August. Inventory relative to pending sales has been trending upward the past few months, from 2.1 months in April to 5.6 months in August. We will likely be in the five month range once the data is finalized.


A month ago, the average length of time homes were on the market jumped from less than 20 days to 49 in August. September did not show much change, with homes staying on the market an average of 44 days. August and September are more in line with the norm here. The average for the past 12 months was 58 days.


Analysis by Price Range

Four homes priced under $3 million were actively listed at the end of September, up from three at the end of the prior two months. Two sales went pending in September, one more than in August or July. September ended with a three month supply, up from two months at the end of August. 15% of Atherton’s inventory and 18% of its pending sales were priced below $3 million.


Homes priced from $3 million for $4.9 million accounted for nearly half of all pending sales here (45%) but only 15% of inventory, reflecting the strong demand for homes in this price range. Five sales went to contract during September, two more than in August, while inventory was unchanged at four. That dropped the supply from 1.3 months at the end of August to 0.8 months at the end of September.


With the exception of August (when there were no pending sales), the $5 million to $9.9 million price range has had three sales go to contract every month since May. In September, that was 27% of all pending sales. Inventory fell from nine in August to five in September, representing 19% of all available homes for sale.


52% of Atherton’s inventory was priced at $10 million or more, while only 9% of pending sales were in this segment. 14 properties were on the market at the end of September, two more than at the end of August. One sale went pending, unchanged from both August and July.