Thursday, October 25, 2018

Q3 2018 Silicon Valley Real Estate Update - Stabilization in Effect as Home Prices Continue Decline

Q3 2018 has been yet another eventful quarter in our continuing shifting stabilizing Silicon Valley Real Estate Market. Please find our update to help guide your real estate decisions!

Home Prices Peaked

Home prices peaked in the month of May and this market shift came very quickly. As mentioned in our Q2 update, the reasons were exhausted home bidders, unaffordability of prices, the drop in the NASDAQ Index in April, tax filing deadlines, coupled with a rise in inventory for the summer months. Homes started to sit on the market and Buyers took a wait and see approach which has continued until now and likely the rest of the year. The conundrum is that there are still Buyers out there, however affordability continue to be a concerning factor.

Exhibit 1 – Santa Clara County Real Estate Snapshot July to September 2018

Taking Santa Clara County as a sample comparing to data from Q2 2018, the amount of Active homes increased in the Single Family Home category by 31% while Condominium/Townhomes increased by 93%. Subsequently the days on market also increased dramatically for Sold and Active homes in both categories. What is interesting is that Sold Units more than doubled the amount of units in Q2. This shows that Buyers demand is still there paired with more quantity of homes on the market during the summer months to purchase. In short, inventory and days on market are up, but Buyers are still purchasing homes but they are taking their time and looking for better pricing and more favorable terms. The crazy bidding market is gone and the Buyers in the market are at an advantage.

Exhibit 1a – Santa Clara County Real Estate Snapshot June 2018

Source - MLS Listings Database REIL June 2018


On a Macro level there are many factors currently in-flux which are contributing to the stabilization of Real Estate such as the NASDAQ index, Trade Wars, Protectionism and Rising Interest Rates.

Health of Equity Markets

The key concern is the health of the Stock Markets, especially the Technology-heavy NASDAQ index, which is the source of the majority of the down payments in the Silicon Valley. Notice the drop back in April and now another two recent drops in October. Oddly the economy and companies have generally been showing good overall health. There have been some companies that have revised lower guidance on earnings but most have shown decent earnings. Investor sentiment seem to be expressing concern across the board especially of a possibly overheated Technology sector and therefore companies being overvalued. We have just experienced the largest sell off in the second and third weeks of October and the markets have continued to show volatility since.

Exhibit 2 – NASDAQ Snapshot October 25, 2018 

Source – Yahoo! Finance

Trade Wars

The trade war with China is causing concerns about the impact to both economies. Companies who export from China are seeing their margins wiped out and goods from China could get more expensive here in the States. Companies that export to China will see a hit in revenue due to the counter tariffs from China. There is much concern from investors on the ultimate impact to profitability and this subsequently will affect equity values and our economy.


The current protectionist policies are making the visa and residency process even more difficult than they have previously been. Many key believers in purchasing real estate in the Silicon Valley are typically from abroad. With this uncertainty, Buyers are holding off on their home purchases, heading home or heading to countries with simpler more transparent visa processes.

Interest Rates

Federal Reserve interest rates have been increased 3 times this year. This will ultimately impact affordability. Some Lenders have been able to keep interest rates around the 4.5% to 4.75% range. Some other lenders have touched the 5% mark.

Exhibit 3 – Federal Reserve Interest Rate

Source – St. Louis Federal Reserve

Despite concerns about affordability and rising rates, interest rates are still at historical lows.

Exhibit 4 – 48-Year History of the 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate

Source – St Louis Federal Reserve

Seasonality, Buyer and Seller Advice

As we approach the holiday season, regardless of the overall market conditions, this tends to be the slower season for Real Estate overall. If you are a Buyer, this is your market to obtain deals due to the season and current market conditions. Lower down payments, under list price offers, contingencies and long closes are all possibilities. If you are a Seller, homes are still moving if we price them properly it should move in 17 to 30 days. The hardest part is to understand the market and not going after peak pricing that passed us in April. That market has passed us at this point.

In Conclusion

To be clear the market is still a healthy and more balanced. Silicon Valley Homeowners have been spoiled by homes selling in a week with multiple offers which was never scalable. With the latest concerns especially around the equity markets and rising interest rates coupled with the slower typical seasons, Real Estate in 2019 should continue to stabilize and could possibly also mirror the volatility of the equity markets. Though we cannot predict the future, it is likely that 2019 will be another more stable and balanced market for real estate.

We wish you the best as you close out 2018! Reach out to us at so that we can analyze your specific real estate situations!

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