2020 was quite the year. Fires that raged in Australia and California, murder hornets migrating through Washington, record-breaking unemployment rates . . . oh, and a pandemic. We all learned a new COVID vocabulary and have an in-depth understanding about how vaccines are made. It became normal to wear a mask and stay far apart from others.
The world turned upside down and life became dire for so many people – yet somehow the real estate market became hotter than ever. On March 19th, when we were told to “shelter in place” (and most of us thought we would do so for 2 weeks, not that we would still be basically at home 10 months later), it seemed likely that the market would crash. Buyers in escrow were scared and some cancelled – others no longer qualified for their loan when the stock market fell and so did their reserves.
It was shocking to see what happened next in the real estate market. Certainly in hindsight, it is logical, but at the time it was unexpected. Families that were stuck at home desperately wanted more space. Nothing to make a house seem too small like father, mother, and kids all on zoom calls. With so many activities closed, people craved large yards. Or an extra room to create a gym. Many people realized that “work from home” was going to be somewhat permanent, so that meant they could move to Alamo or Danville from the South Bay or Peninsula – without the commute to worry about, they can enjoy better prices here. And buyers fled the City, where the “walk score” was suddenly not all that.
All of this combined to create a sellers market like we’ve never seen. And consider, we have been in a sellers market for a few years already – it just became very intense. And then the year came to a close and the inventory does what it always does at the end of the year – it dropped. I’ve monitored the inventory since 2008 when I started this blog, and the past few years have had low inventory in general. Alamo, for example, has opened the year with 22-24 homes on the market several years in a row. But 2021, Alamo opened with only 16.
Here’s a snapshot of all the inventory, and you can see the numbers are creeping up as the month comes to an end. Every so slowly!