Fun with Numbers

A friend of mine asked me to do a little analysis for him on what Foster City single family home prices were in 1998 and give him an average. 1998 seems like yesterday to me, in fact I’ll bet if I went through the pockets of some of my pants hanging in my closet I’ll find a dinner receipt from Chevy’s from some night in 1998. (No jokes about weight gain, please!) Actually I’ll bet half of my wardrobe was purchased in 1998! The Denver Broncos won their second Super Bowl in 1998! It all seems like yesterday to me. Here’s the thing…the most expensive house in Foster City, one of those big places on Sea Island Lane, sold for $840,000 in 1998. After that it was a 4 bedroom waterfront on Monterey that went for $784,000. 198 single family homes sold in 1998 in Foster City and 36 of them sold for $450,000 or less. Also, of the 198 sales, 30% (61 of them) went for the asking price or over. Is it just me or don’t those price ranges seem like a long time ago? In the last calendar year 110 single family homes sold in Foster City and only 3 of them went for less than that pricey house on Sea Island sold for in 1998…one of them was gutted by a fire and sold in that condition, and the other two were attached houses at Williams Landing!

So I thought that in light of all of that horrible news we’re constantly bombarded with about the “bubble” bursting and home values plummeting I’d throw out some numbers that I think are significant:

14…The total number of single family houses currently on the market in Foster City.

14…Total number of single family houses in Foster City priced over $900,000

7….Total number of Pending Sales, or 50%

 2….Number of non Eichler ranchers currently for sale in Foster City

 18…Total number of single family houses sold in Foster City in the last 3 months(Remember, it’s a dead market)

14…Total number that sold for over $1,000,000

38.8%…Percentage of homes in the last 3 months that sold at or over the asking price, better than 1998.

Now let’s get a little perspective by looking at the total number of single family homes currently for sale in our neighboring sister Peninsula cities:

San Mateo….139


San Carlos….49

Redwood City…195

When I look at Foster City’s current inventory I’m shocked at how low it is. There’s over 4500 single family homes in this town…14 is very low inventory and the fact that there are so few ranchers on the market tells me what an opportunity is out there right now. In spite of the bursting “bubble” and the treacherous “subprime”and the “mortgage meltdown” Foster City’s real estate economy is doing pretty darn well, thank you very much.


  1. Amelia G. says:

    Hey- that is good to hear. Wow! Thank you!!
    -Happy Foster City Homeowner

  2. Just out of curiosity, how does the market for condos and townhouses look by comparison? Is it in the tank or is it OK?

  3. I know, I know…I’ve omitted that segment of the market so far. I’ll have a big post about it soon…I promise. There’s good news there too!

  4. Jim – can you elaborate on the “lack” of ranchers in the FC market? Are buyers typically looking more for Ranches than multi-story homes?

  5. In the last calendar year 110 single family homes closed escrow…39 of them were non-Eichler ranchers, or 35%. 2 is a real small number to me(14%)considering how many ranchers are on the market in other communities around us. I guess I do indeed think that of the overall pie of buyers out there a rancher has the highest common denominator. They tend to be a little less expensive and stairs can be an issue with some folks. Also a buyer for a 5 bedroom, 3 bath multi story home tends to have a pretty specific need, like lots of kids, and a 3 or 4 bedroom rancher has more broad appeal. Foster City’s rancher floor plans are really nice too and are actually superior in my opinion to comparable homes in San Mateo, Belmont…etc. Clifford Wong’s new rancher listing on Crane is a great house, priced right and I’ll be shocked out of my mind if it doesn’t get multiple offers. I had a similar listing last year that got 11 offers and went $129,000 over asking. Anyway, sorry if I prattled too long…I can get rolling.

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