Even in the middle of a global pandemic, homes are still selling quickly in Pleasanton. Why? Supply and demand. The homebuyers and sellers who understand the special nature of the current real estate market will be successful.
During last month, there were 40 single-family detached homes for sale in Pleasanton compared with 103 for sale during September 2019. The 61% drop in choices for homebuyers has increased competition and pushed prices higher.
The median sales price for a single-family detached home increased $115,000 from $1.15 million during September 2019 to more than $1.26 million during September 2020.
The buyer response to higher prices was to make offers more quickly. As sales prices increased, the time a home was on the market dropped from an average of 35 days during last September to 34 days during this September.
The lack of choices, higher prices and brisk pace of sales isn't scaring buyers away.
The number of pending home sales in Pleasanton increased from 50 during September 2019 to 66 during September 2020. Pending sales also increased from August to September this year. This is notable because buyers typically leave the market during the late summer and real estate activity cools during the fall.
This year, buyers are staying in the market later in the year.
"Low inventory, multiple offers and homes selling for more than the asking price," is how Tina Hand, 2020 president of the Bay East Association of Realtors, describes the current Pleasanton real estate market.
Hand said sellers are receiving up to 10 purchase offers from potential homebuyers.
Asked how a homebuyer can compete in the current low-inventory and high-priced environment, Hand said, "It's not always the highest offer that gets accepted. The terms of the offer can be just as important."
She explained that homebuyers should understand what sellers are looking for, including when they want or need to move. These insights can help a buyer craft a successful purchase offer.
Hand said knowing if "the seller needs to get a certain amount of money or are they selling as-is, do they need a rent-back?" should all be factored into the purchase offer terms.
Sellers also need to understand the current market dynamics and set their expectations accordingly. Hand said that sometimes, sellers can ask for whatever they want, but may not always get it.
"There is some negotiation going on, definitely," she said. She cited examples of sellers accepting requests to fix pest damage and other issues.
Both sides of a real estate transaction have something in common in this hot market: playing by the same, Alameda County Public Health Department rule.
Hand explained, "The way we show homes is completely different and buyers have to sign certain forms and make an appointment with an agent. They understand it's not quite business-as-usual."
Buyers are willing to play by the county rules regarding touring properties because they want to see what they are purchasing. Hand said, "I know we all have to work in a virtual environment, but I don't know of any agent or client who have purchased a home sight-unseen."
Sellers also know the process has changed to keep all parties safe. Hand said, "Everyone has learned to figure out how to work within the rules."
Editor's note: David Stark is public affairs director for the Bay East Association of Realtors, headquartered in Pleasanton.