Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market In Atherton

The phrases “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market” can lead to poor assumptions. In Atherton, most houses sell under the asking price (list price). This simply reflects that buyers and sellers expect the price to be negotiated downward. It does not reflect a “buyer’s market”.

Atherton real estate tends to follow Silicon Valley real estate. However, with its higher price, there are significant differences. Since 2012, the average selling price in Silicon Valley has almost always been above the average list price. The average Atherton selling price has almost always remained below the average list price.

If you compare the graphs of Atherton and Silicon Valley above, you can see that in 2000, 2018, and 2022, both showed a significant increase in the ratio of average sales price divided by average list price. The 2000 dot com boom had a stronger impact on Atherton real estate than average Silicon Valley real estate. The desire to beat expected interest rate increases in 2018 and 2022 drove sales price vs. list price up for both, but the Silicon Valley average was already higher.

The graph of Atherton house sales price per sq. ft. shows a dramatic increase in 2000 and a subsequent fall in 2001. The year 2000 could be rightfully called a seller’s market. The local wealth generated by the dot com boom increased the money supply of potential home buyers. However, 2018 does not show a noticeable price change. There is a short upward spike at the end of 2021 but that slightly preceeds the strongest sales price to list price ratio that occurred in the first quarter of 2022.

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