The luxury housing market around the Bay remains strong as we head toward spring, with sales and prices climbing in most areas. But inventory shortages are starting to have an impact in some communities where listings are even more scarce than they were last year at this time. And that’s saying something.

Sales over $1.5 million in Silicon Valley jumped 22 percent in January from a year ago, according to our latest Coldwell Banker Previews luxury market report. The upper end of Silicon Valley’s luxury market was particularly robust with 50 sales over $2 million, double the number last year, and 19 sales over $3 million, nearly triple the seven sales at that level a year ago.

Meanwhile, the median sale price of a luxury home in Silicon Valley climbed to $2.1 million in January, up 9.4 percent from a year ago when the median stood at $1,920,000. Prices were also up from December’s $1,915,000 median.

But up in the North Bay, a severe shortage of listings is starting to impact sales. Marin County luxury market report announced 24 sales over that $1.5 million level in January, down from 29 in January 2014. And the median sale price dropped to $1,915,000 from $2,385,500 in December and $3,075,000 in January 2014.

One of the reasons for the decline in the median price was the mix of homes that sold changed in January with fewer multi-million-dollar transactions than the previous months. There were just 10 sales over $2 million in January compared to 16 in December and 23 last January – again, one more fallout from the inventory shortage.

The East Bay luxury market, however, continued its torrid pace in January, driven in part by house-hunters from San Francisco and Silicon Valley looking for more affordable high-end properties. There were 140 sales over $1 million, up 52 percent during the month from a year ago. There were also 14 sales over $2 million, up from 11 in January 2014.

There’s talk of more listings coming on the market all around the Bay in time for our spring home buying season. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that these new listings materialize. The buyers are more than ready!

Below is a market-by-market report from San Francisco Bay Area :

SF Peninsula  We are still in a severe shortage of listings in every town on the Peninsula. The open house attendance has been huge with buyers waiting in line to get into some of the listings.Buyers are so anxious to become the winning offer that we have instances where they have contacted the seller by phone and mail to plead their case in advance of the offer date!  Multiple offers are very common up to $5 million. If you thought the bidding wars last year were bad, the first two months of this year are hyper-heated.  The buyer demand is higher than ever and inventory is still at a very challenging low point.  However, agents expect a decent amount of upcoming inventory, but still not enough to satisfy the demand.  It is not unusual for properties, particularly those listed under $2,500,000 to sell for 30%-40% over the list price.  The Average Days on Market seems to be 7-10 days, but only that long because sellers may want to have open houses on two weekends with a Brokers’ Tour in between the open houses. In Palo Alto it’s the same story: highly intense demand and extremely low inventory. It finally seems that there is more inventory coming on the Redwood City-San Carlos market. In almost all cases there are multiple offers on the properties. It seems that buyers are really beginning to understand the market and are more prepared to make a strong offer. There’s still tension caused by low inventory but it seems to be easing. The Woodside-Portola Valley luxury market continues to a bit slow but our manager is seeing some new listings coming into the office.

East Bay – Things were slow in February until the last week and then things got busy. Lots of multiple offers, lots of sales, and fortunately, lots of listings. There is still very low inventory and a high demand – resulting in multiple offers and driving the sales price up.  In many transactions the sale price is in excess of 10% of listed price.  Open houses are brisk and busy (50-150 attendees). In Half Moon Bay, inventory is slowly increasing, but they are selling as quickly as they come on the market with multiple offers. Properties near ocean and properties with ocean views are selling within a week and for more than asking. Our Oakland-Piedmont manager says hopefully more inventory will be coming to the market in the next couple of weeks. Agents are getting listings but they are taking a while to get on the market. Open house activity was huge this last weekend. While we had a few open, everyone had over 100 people in attendance. There is no shortage of buyers out there. Prices are still going WELL over list and even the best-written offers are getting beat out. Some buyers are wondering if there is anything they can do to be successful. Some are stretching beyond what they expected just a month ago. Luxury listings and sales are both increasing in the Lamorinda market. In Pleasanton, it’s low inventory, multiple offers at right price point.  A single story Dublin home priced in the high $600k had 23 offers. Finally an influx of new listings in the San Mateo area, our manager reports.

Silicon Valley – Most all properties are being bid up between 10 – 20%, notes our Cupertino manager. Buyers are getting desperate, she said.  Los Altos  reports that Mountain View inventory still extremely low, and properties are getting multiple offers. A bit more inventory than usual came on in Sunnyvale, but even then the houses are all still getting multiple offers. A Los Altos Hills prime view lot sold 2 years ago for $3M, this year had 8 offers and sold for $5.3M. The median price range of the Los Altos Hills buyer is $4M, and there are many of those buyers. There are a number of houses that have sold for considerable amounts over list price as buyers were bidding up the prices. We have about 2 months of inventory on the market. The correctly or underpriced homes sell with multiple offers within a month, and the rest sit on the market. Los Altos median price range for an original floor plan is easily $2.5m, and if the house has updates, the price can shoot upwards. Even the $4M homes are selling swiftly. Sunnyvale prices have increased yet, again. Little house 1,500 sq ft (3 bed 2 bath) listed at $1.2M had 33 disclosures out, over 10 offers, and sold just around 20% over list price. Inventory in this town is basically sold within one week of the introduction to the market. Our San Jose Almaden manager reports the median home price is higher than last year and close to flat for the prior month.  Inventory is up a little bit from last month but down from the prior year.  Almaden median home price for February is $1,270,000, which is up 27% from last year and down 2.3% from last month.  Inventory is at 30 homes, which is up just 6 from last month but down 3 from last year.  Blossom Valley median home price is $655,000, up 9.4% from last year and flat from last month.  The inventory in Blossom Valley is at 59, up 4 from last month but DOWN 21 from last year.  The median home price in Cambrian is $783,500, up 4.5% from last year and up 1.8% from last month. Inventory in February in Cambrian was at 26, down 3 from last month and down from 24 homes the previous year. Willow Glen active inventory is slowly increasing. YTD we are actually ahead of last year at this time. Open house traffic has been extremely busy with heavy traffic on both Saturday and Sunday. Most homes are selling within one week on the market with just one open house. Agents are having a tough time getting in showings before offers are due. The spring selling season has started early in Willow Glen.

Market Update