Over the past decade, San Marino CA real estate and Arcadia CA real estate have emerged as “Mega Markets” in the San Gabriel Valley. Driven by foreign buyers, largely from China, these markets saw enormous gains that outpaced any neighboring city by a long-shot. Although foreign buyers were active in cities like Pasadena CA, South Pasadena CA, and La Canada Flintridge CA, it was Arcadia CA and San Marino CA that really captured their attention. Both cities have historically solid real estate markets, feature outstanding school districts, and provide quality homes in lovely and safe neighborhoods. They also border San Gabriel CA, a hub for Asian culture, food, and shopping.
As I explained in a recent post, “An Extraordinary Home Sale – Arcadia CA Real Estate,” I recently completed a sale in the Lower Rancho section of Arcadia that was truly astounding. Flooded with interest, almost solely from Chinese buyers, I ultimately received 40 offers – the most I have ever received on a property. Prior to this experience, my sense was that there had been a marked decrease in foreign buyers purchasing homes in Arcadia CA and San Marino CA due to policies making it more difficult to get money out of China. My Lower Rancho Arcadia sale made me question this premise and drew me to do more research on these two important markets.
It is important to note that Arcadia is a much bigger city than San Marino and currently has homes for sale as low as $485,000 and as high as $10,800,000. San Marino currently offers homes for sale between $1,200,000 and $9,500,000. The northern neighborhoods of Arcadia, such as Upper Rancho, Highland Oaks, and Lower Rancho, are more comenserate to San Marino CA real estate, yet the city performs quite similarly to San Marino as a whole. The chart below, showing median sales price on single family homes in both cities, shows their similar trajectory.
Although Arcadia appears to be on another upturn and San Marino is on a downward trend, they both continue to be very strong markets with Chinese buyers continuing to be the predominate demographic. With that said, neither market is on the tear that they were between 2012 and 2015. One idication that things have changed is the increase in available inventory. As of 7/18/18, there were 68 active listings in San Marino (far over recent levels) with an average days on market of 127 days and 218 active listings in Arcadia with an average days on market of 162 days.
So we know things have slowed a bit, but what else has changed? To address this question, I am going to focus on the smaller San Marino CA real estate market and assume that Arcadia is seeing similar conditions. The chart below shows the distribution of homes sold each year based upon their size.
The chart shows that the division of homes sold has been adjusting. In 2018, the number of homes sold in the 2,000 – 3,999 square foot category has decreased, while the number of homes under 2,000 square feet and over 4,000 square feet has increased. To me, the most telling category is the steady increase in sales of homes over 5,000 square feet (a 7.2% increase since 2013). This category has definitely increased due to the abundance of new construction in the city. Most of these homes are very lavish and built to appeal to Chinese buyers. The 2,000 – 3,999 square foot category (the largest of all) seems to be the one compressing.
One additional fact that remains clear to me is that Chinese buyers love a small home on a big lot – especially when the lot is wide. This situation provides a lot of opportunity for expansion or re-build. I believe this is why the Lower Rancho home sold so well. I put a good price on a solid 2,500 square foot house that rested on a 16,000 square foot lot in a great neighborhood. It was just what the buyer pool was looking for.
Anyone considering selling San Marino CA real estate or Arcadia CA real estate should be mindful of the current market situation. Both markets are still very strong, but they have shifted some. Whatever you are selling, it is important to put an enticing price on it. There is too much inventory sitting around, and you will want your listing to rise to the top of the heap. If you are considering selling, you will want an expert to help you navigate the process and maximize your proceeds. Call me at 626-840-9149 to set up an initial consultation.
To learn about choosing a Realtor, “How to Select the Best Pasadena Realtor.”
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Carrie Benuska, Keller Williams Realty, 125 S Lake Ave, Suite 150, Pasadena, CA 91101