First published in the Dec. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
By Christian Leonard
San Marino Tribune
Despite a recent market slowdown, San Marino’s home values continue to increase, surpassing an estimated $2.5 million earlier this year.
The midmarket San Marino home value — including single-family houses, condos and co-ops — was roughly $2.37 million in October 2020, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. In October 2021, that figure was about $2.52 million, reflecting a one-year increase of 6.1%. October’s number also reflects a jump of nearly 77% from 2016, when the typical home value was an estimated $1.42 million.
Zillow’s index is a seasonally adjusted estimate of home values in the midmarket — 35th to 65th percentile — range.
While the housing market has been on the rise for the past several years, values have increased rapidly this year. In Los Angeles County, Zillow data shows, home values increased by about 0.6% from October 2018 to October 2019. The one-year increase grew to 8.8% between October 2019 and October 2020, and 16.8% between October 2020 and October 2021.
Housing market experts have attributed the increasing prevalence of $1 million homes across Southern California to rising incomes, low mortgage rates and a pandemic-induced flood of demand from well-off residents tired of renting, according to the Los Angeles Times.
San Marino has somewhat bucked the county’s trend, however — unlike those of neighboring cities, home values here have increased at a slower rate than they did before the pandemic. Between October 2018 and October 2019, values jumped by 12.2% in San Marino, about twice the rate estimated for the past year.
The city’s homes are also typically far more expensive than those in neighboring cities, including Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge. Among those, only San Marino and LCF have typical home values of more than $2 million, according to Zillow data, with the latter’s estimate at just above that mark.
However, the surge in home values is showing signs of slowing as the market approaches the winter months, according to the California Association of Realtors. The organization also reported that the share of California houses sold above asking price in September fell to its lowest percentage — 60.2% — since February. Prior to September 2020, less than half of sales were above asking price.
“Slower sales activity suggests that the market is returning to its typical seasonal pattern and further market normalization can be expected in the upcoming months,” CAR Vice President and chief economist Jordan Levine said in a news release. “While the market is showing signs of cooling off in recent months, 2021 continues to outpace last year’s sale level so far and is expected to post a gain at year-end.”
Heightened home values, while good news for owners, has prevented would-be buyers from entering the market. In the third quarter of 2021, according to CAR, an estimated 24% of households could purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California, down from 28% in the third quarter of 2020 and 56% in the third quarter of 2012.