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Hillsborough Real Estate Market Analytics

Just Published by Geoffrey Nelson: Hillsborough Real Estate Off-Market Annual Review 2017.  Exclusive Non-MLS sales data you won't find on Redfin or Zillow! As seen on Facebook...


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June 28, 2017

Hillsborough 2017 Mid Year Review: Hillsborough is on a pace for fewer sales this year, reflecting the high demand and low supply, while also surging boldly on the key metric of price per sq. ft. For 2017, the Mid Year price per sq. ft. average for Hillsborough homes is currently a solid $1,115 per foot. And many premium properties regularly command $1,300 - $1,500 per foot thus far for the year.

Scanning the sales data below we see an eight-figure closing of the De Guigne Estate on Crystal Springs Road listed at $29,850,000, and closed on June 16 for $23.3 Million. But more significantly, we see robust strength and demand in the popular price point of $4.5 - $6.0, with many representative sales closing with multiple offers over asking under two weeks on market. Some standout examples include 35 Bayberry Place in Lower North (map below) listed for $5,295,000 and closing at $5,900,000 at $1,352 per sq. ft; 632 Fairway Circle in Lower North, listed at $5,100,000 and closing at $5,320,000 at $1,446 per sq. ft.; 413 Hillsborough Blvd listed at $4,595,000 and closing at $4,800,000 at $1,472 per sq. ft. Impressive showing, and these are just to name a few.

Non-MLS sales continue to be a presence in the overall market with quiet sales conducted at 25 Conifer Lane1803 Floribunda1738 Manor Drive219 Bridge Road, and 735 Seabury, to name a few. Please see complete list of Hillsborough Mid Year 2017 Sales Price below.


Hillsborough 2017 Mid Year Review Sales Statistics





Winter 2016 State of the Market ...






(from Spring 2015 Archive...remarkable how my predictions all came true!)

As I predicted in previous blogs, Hillsborough Price Per Sq. Ft. (PPSF) is rising boldly to new levels, with Spring 2015 momentum putting us squarely into the $1,000+ per sq. ft. average range. We have several examples this Spring that will make $1,000+ per sq. ft. the new norm. This is based first and foremost on land values rising, with well located Hillsborough homes receiving urgent demand regardless of their condition. With towns like Palo Alto commanding $1,300 - $1,600 per foot regularly, Hillsborough is quickly escalating its own benchmark value for the important PPSF metric. And why not? Hillsborough's legendary heritage as the ultimate Peninsula luxury suburb largely predates any other town, Palo Alto and Atherton included. Elementary and Middle school scores are perrenial 960-990 APIs; the SFO airport is 10 minutes away; downtown San Francisco only a 25 minute trip; and downtown Burlingame and San Mateo are increasingly upscale cosmopolitan venues.

Some of the "Pending Sales" on this chart will close soon at/near $1,000+ per sq. ft.. I will update the spreadsheet accordingly soon!   *Click or Tap chart below to Enlarge Data*






(from Winter 2014 Archive...remarkable how my predictions all came true!)

"The percentage of Hillsborough sales closed at $1,000+ per sq. ft. has doubled from 2013 to 2014."

Residential Real Estate analysis is a mosaic of science meets emotion, or math meets art. Unlike commercial real estate, which relies on cut and dry metrics to define value, residential real estate values are influenced more strongly by emotional or aesthetic variables such as: curb appeal, land orientation, degree of quiet and privacy, sun exposure, feng shui, quality of architectural finishes, and caliber of luxury amenities. This is why Zillow estimates can often miss the whole point. Only an expert real estate agent in the trenches can articulate all of your home's assets and calibrate how they define your value and desirability. But for the purposes of pure mathematical analysis, if we were to take one variable as an illustration of comparable real estate value growth across the Peninsula, Price Per Sq. Ft. is usually the key metric.

In the realm of price per sq. ft., $1,000 per ft. has been a milestone threshold in recent years denoting a high premium in Hillsborough real estate. The average price per sq. ft. has hovered around $700 - $800 per foot recently in Hillsborough, thus  reflecting the $1,000 per ft. sales as the upper echelon. 2014 should finish out with a healthy increase to nearly $900 per foot on average. Palo Alto, by comparision, regularly commands $1,400 - $1,700 per sq. ft.

The percentage of Hillsborough sales closed at $1,000+ per sq. ft. has doubled from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, Hillsborough posted 152 total closed sales, with 17 of the sales, or 11%, closing at $1,000+ per sq. ft. So far in 2014, there have been 138 sales, but 30 of those, or 22%, have closed at $1,000+ per sq. ft. This trend is a prelude to Hillsborough's escalation toward a $1,000 per sq. ft. average sales price. The trend is also indicative of Hillsborough's sheer value and growth potential in comparison to nearby luxury communities such as Palo Alto and Atherton. View All Hillsborough Real Estate Sales Prices Here.



From the Archives...

Geoffrey Nelson's Hillsborough Annual Analytics 2012

A bravo performance for 2012 and even more promise as we embrace the Spring 2013 market….For 2012, our Hillsborough real estate market recorded its highest total sales volume since 2005. The $415,489,406 total volume was up substantially from 2011, and at the highest level since 2005’s $421,470,933. Median Sales price was up from 2011, Average Sales Price up  Average Price per Sq. Ft. was up, and days on market were down. Perhaps most impressively and presciently, Q4 2012 posted strong momentum, both on and off the market. High-end sales over $4,000,000 perked up, with at least 3 luxury homes over $4M selling off-market in Q4 for top dollar, ranging from $4,500,000 - $6,825,000. Selling at the tail end of Q4, and closing February 2013, we had a $13,000,000 transaction on Ralston Avenue’s “New Mansion Row” area, in addition to another Ralston home that went pending over $10,000,000. For those sales recorded through MLS, I was fortunate to have represented the #1 Hillsborough Sale for 2012 on Fagan Drive. Designed by Arthur Brown Jr. originally as the circa-1917 carriage house for the Paul Fagan Estate, this home sold over its asking price of $4,950,000, with multiple offers closing at $5,290,000. I also represented the buyer this January of a classic Lower Hillsborough 1-acre estate listed at $8,350,000.

In the perennially tight $2,000,000 - $3,000,000 range, multiple offers and over-asking performances were prevalent. Several examples including those on Summerholme, Pepper, Marialinda, Greenview, and others, sold quickly for their land, locations, and upside potential. The competitive climate due to limited prime inventory and increased buyer confidence was reflected by the Average Days on Market being just 68 days, as compared to 2010’s 90 Days or 2011’s 73 days. And where are the buyers coming from? We saw high demand from San Francisco’s financial-sector buyer, and also traction from Silicon Valley buyers such as Facebook, or company founders having just sold their companies, and also venture capitalists. This buyer profile continues to value the strength of Hillsborough schools, the easy SF commute, synergy with the downtowns of Burlingame and San Mateo, and the relative “value” compared to markets of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton. Buyers from within Hillsborough, Burlingame, and San Mateo increasingly perceived 2012 as an opportune time to invest in a Hillsborough home. In addition, the overseas buyer continued to demonstrate liquidity and a desire to “park” money in the solid investment of real estate.

Low interest rates and the prevalence of cash buyers will converge on a marketplace of slim availability.The 2013 market should prove competitive, brisk, and poised to again decrease its days on market with listings selling even faster. Scarce inventory will be the challenge for buyers, as well as the opportunity for sellers. As always, my business approach excels with off-market, non-MLS intelligence. I am constantly networking and researching these off-the-radar properties to show my buyers. I also maintain a log of off-market transactions for the purpose of having the most astute metrics on sales comparables.  I look forward to again elevating the success of my clients with the highest caliber of Hillsborough real estate service.  Thank you again for your trust and referrals.

-Geoffrey Nelson, March 2013


Hillsborough Real Estate Year over Year Sales Comparison
Total Sales
Avg. Sales Price
Median Sales Price
Avg. $ per Sq. Ft.
% List Price Achieved
Avg. DOM
Total MLS Sales Volume
2012 149 $2,865,444 $2,750,000 $715 96.48% 68 $415,489,406
2011 137 $2,627,551 $2,200,000 $697 95% 73 $352,091,813
2010 125 $2,718,857 $2,375,000 $679 94% 91 $339,857,100
2009 100 $2,738,331 $2,335,000 $684 94% 77 $273,833,088
2008 94 $3,035,748 $2,507,500 $789 96% 48 $285,360,358
2007 127 $2,959,768 $2,600,000 $791 96% 69 $375,890,530
2006 123 $2,963,690 $2,500,000 $787 97% 69 $364,533,850
2005 152 $2,772,835 $2,500,000 $723 98% 56 $421,470,933
DOM=Days on Market. Data per RE Infolink MLS Listings and SAMCAR. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and reflects only those single-family sales reported to MLS.


Here is the Market Summary excerpt from Geoffrey Nelson's 2010 Hillsborough Annual Analytics Report, published Feburary 2010:

HILLSBOROUGH HOMEOWNER’S UPDATE: 2010 positively reinforced the market's continued recovery and stabilization with increased volume and encouraging activity from key buyer demographics. If December/January is any indication of the spring market to come, the numbers were inspired: from Dec. 1, 2010 - Jan. 31, 2011, a solid 24 Hillsborough listings went sale pending, including some with multiple offers and one closing at over $1,000 per sq. ft. For this same period last year (12/1/09-1/31/10) there were 16 sales. Increased confidence at all price points was evidenced from Hillsborough's key buyer demographics:

  • Families, couples, and individuals coming down from San Francisco
  • Move-up buyers from surrounding areas such as San Mateo and Burlingame
  • Hillsborough homeowners scaling up or scaling down within Hillsborough
  • Incoming executives for industries such as biotech, high tech, and investing
  • Overseas buyers in increasingly liquid positions

Beyond the post-Lehman Bros. fallout and TARP phases of 2008 and 2009, the year 2010 and thus far 2011 have proven healthy transitional periods in getting buyers back into the marketplace, perceiving values, and more fundamentally, getting them off the sidelines and on with their lives. This is reflected by 2010's 125 total Hillsborough sales with total volume of $339,857,100, the best output since 2007, and in fact shadowing 2006's 123 sales and $364,533,850 in total volume. By comparison, 2005 embodied the old seller's market posting 152 sales and $421,470,933 in total volume. 2010 off-market activity,although not reported in MLS,was also steady. In our new adjusted market, the capabilities of the Realtor have never been more critical. World-class marketing plans, effective negotiating, connectivity with buyer profiles, and off-market networking are just some of the driving forces that influence success in this new sales environment. I look forward to demonstrating these strategic virtues and much more should you consider buying or selling in Hillsborough this year. For over 100 years,Hillsborough has been one of the most desirable communities in the country. The neighborhood synergy of top schools, sophisticated estates, and proximity to hallmarks of technology, finance, and education continues to inspire high demand from home buyers. With demand on the rise, and supply not burgeoning, I look forward to another promising year in Hillsborough real estate.

Best Regards,

Geoffrey Nelson


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"The percentage of Hillsborough sales closed at $1,000+ per sq. ft. has doubled from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, Hillsborough posted 152 total closed sales, with 17 of the sales, or 11%, closing at $1,000+ per sq. ft. Through November 2014, there have been 138 sales, but 30 of those, or 22%, have closed at $1,000+ per sq. ft. This trend is a prelude to Hillsborough's escalation toward a $1,000 per sq. ft. average sales price."
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Phone: (650) 455-3735
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