A recent article in the San Mateo Daily Journal really caught our attention. The article essentially stated the Realtors feel that the residential smoking ban in Belmont has hurt the condo market – so much so that they say it could be a reason that not a single condo or townhouse sold in Belmont in the month of September. This piqued COWs interest, not because we are worried about Woodside’s condominium market, since there isn’t one, but it made us wonder about the welfare of our COW-munity’s real estate market in general.
Then, we came across an article from Altos Research Real Estate Insights entitled; Housing Boom? Not in Woodside, noting that sales have been flat since 2006 in Woodside well before some other cities and towns started having trouble.
So we took a look at the figures. Over the last 4 years, there have been ups and downs in the market, but the main trend is that it takes longer to sell a property. The average days on market in Woodside went from 75 in 2004 up to an average high of 116 so far this year. Also the number of houses sold went from 100 in 2004 to only 60 so far this year!
Why is this down trend occurring? Could it be solely attributed the general slump in the real estate market or the credit crunch? Or is there something more, since some of our neighbors do not seem to be affected like Woodside has with this slowdown. Portola Valley averages just 67 days on the market. Palo Alto’s average is 60 days. Hillsborough homes are on the market an average of 66 days and Atherton homes only 53 days. And all of these towns have a higher price per square foot, except Portola Valley. So in most cases, buyers are paying more and buying faster in our neighboring towns.
Could part of the answer be the unreasonable and time consuming building and planning process? Many COW-munity members do believe that word of the unwarranted hassle of dealing with Woodside’s Council, Planning Commission, ASRB and staff has spread around the Bay area and many potential buyers are heading towards cities other than ours.
The data does have one positive though. The price per square foot in Woodside has definitely continued to rise. The average price per square foot in 2003 was $670.06 as compared to this year when the average has been $851.17.
So, COWs, despite having to deal with some un-pleasantries when building or remodeling and having to spend far more than we should have to in order to get permits to make our pastures what we want them to be, at least, values continue to go up. Now, once we want to sell ……that’s another story.