When is the best time to sell my house in San Mateo?

Vicki Moore
Published on December 6, 2016

When is the best time to sell my house in San Mateo?


Over the years, I’ve tried to answer one of the most important questions that people ask on a regular basis:  When is the best time to sell my house in San Mateo?

In the past, the housing market has been so predictable I could tell home sellers exactly what was going to happen.  In 2000, a house was put on the market for sale, a few days later, multiple offers came in, we’d close within 7 to 10 days.

I remember a friend being so irritated because I had to cancel dinner.  Remember, that was at a time when we didn’t have email and nobody wanted to fax 200 pages of disclosures.  So we picked up and delivered.  I had to remind her that when she was buying her condo, I was there for her every step of the way.  Now I had to give someone else that same service.  I was eating at McDonald’s twice a day.  There was one in the same parking lot as my office.  I didn’t have time to do anything.  Eating with one hand and driving with the other.  I loved it!

San Mateo Homes Absorption Rates

Then the market got  more complicated.  I had to run statistics to figure out what was coming using absorption rates – which, by the way, is still how I predict the future.

The absorption rate is a quick way to see if the San Mateo real estate market is increasing in inventory or declining. It’s just one piece of information used to evaluate pricing. It’s a snapshot of the market.

What I look at is how many months’ inventory there is on the market.


Today there are 27 homes for sale in San Mateo.

There are 44 homes under contract.  Obviously, a sellers’ market, right?

Now if that were reversed:  44 houses for sale and 27 under contract.

That tells us that there’s 1.6 months of inventory on the market.  If no other houses came up for sale, it would take 1.6 months for all of the inventory currently available to sell.  So now what?

Still a sellers’ market.

Well, The National Association of Realtors defines a balanced market as one is which there is 6 months of inventory. More than 6 months, it’s a buyers’ market; less is a sellers’ market.

Best Time of the Year to Sell a Home in San Mateo

I would create ugly charts like this one to find out the best time of the year to sell.  This shows if homes were selling for over or under the asking price and by how much.

By looking at this, you can see that in the years 2011 through 2014, the best time of the year to buy a home in San Mateo is in December and January.

The best time to sell is a little more random, but overall, the best time to sell is March through June.

best time of year to sell a house


The Future of the Real Estate Market

I read a lot of data from a variety of sources because our market, here in Silicon Valley, is unlike any other in the United States.  We cycle around what the biotech and hitech companies are doing.  If they’re growing, hiring more people, the housing market is going to be more favorable to sellers.  Basically, I look at what the nationwide reports are saying and make adjustments for what I think will be happening here based on the predictions of local experts.

Q4 2016 Zillow® Home Price Expectations Survey

The most clear information I’ve seen lately is a report done by Pulsenomics.  They surveyed 100 housing experts nationwide.   93 responded.

Forty-three percent of these housing experts agree that 2018 will shift to a buyers’ market.

Based on this survey, if you’re thinking about selling your home in San Mateo, either sell next year or wait until 2019.



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