Smart home technology has been catching on in a big way in recent years. A consumer poll by Coldwell Banker found that homebuyers would pay more for smart homes and that those properties would sell faster, provided that the smart home features are installed before move-in.

Now, Coldwell Banker – the original Silicon Valley real estate start-up – is taking that trend to a whole new level. Our company has announced that it has signed a supplier agreement with Worthington Group, Ltd., to directly supply the industry’s first Smart Home Staging Kit directly to sellers who list their homes with Coldwell Banker.

The Smart Home Staging Kit allows participating sellers to enhance their homes and meet the guidelines of the newly released Smart Home Definition that was jointly developed by Coldwell Banker and CNET, the leading online technology reviewer. Coldwell Banker agents will market qualified properties as a Smart Home bearing a Smart Home icon on the listing and inclusion on the brand’s smart home resource site,

Available on, the kit will include:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm
  • Nest Cam Indoor security camera
  • August Smart Lock
  • August Connect
  • Lutron® Caséta® Wireless Lighting Starter Kit

Products can be purchased as a complete kit directly from Worthington Group or separately as individual items. Worthington is offering clients of the Coldwell Banker brand’s affiliated sales associates a promotional rate of $999 for the complete kit. On, consumers can also opt-in for installation by service providers or elect other service providers of their choice.

A recent survey conducted by Coldwell Banker found that roughly half of Millennials and 42 percent of U.S. broadband households surveyed would “smart stage” their home to attract buyers. The survey also found that more than one-third of Americans now associate smart home technology with a move-in ready home — something that 71 percent of Americans would want if buying a house today.

“Smart Home technology is a consumer driven movement,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “Our research confirms this technology has a positive influence in the appeal of a home -– and agents agree. Our homes, like cars, are providing convenience and a sense of security like never before.  We want to bring the two together for our customers.”

The Smart Home Staging Kit is also available for buyers and homeowners who wish to upgrade their homes.

Below is a market-by-market report from our local Northern California offices:

East Bay – Inventory is higher than it was a year ago, but still low by historic standards, according to our Danville manager.  Buyers are more cautious and willing to make contingent offers.  Pretty houses on pretty streets still sell briskly. Our Oakland-Piedmont manager says that heading into the Labor Day weekend, inventory is a bit lower so the number of multiple offers went up slightly. Many more homes coming to the market after labor day at the same time the number of new buyers to the market is increasing. Some homes that have been on the market for many more days than average are now selling as buyers are looking past some of their quirks.

North Bay – Generally this has been a slower two weeks in all price ranges, with many would be buyers either on one last vacation or getting the kids back to school.  That’s the word from our Greenbrae manager. We are anticipating numerous new listings coming on after Labor Day, as stagers talk about being slammed and we are seeing many new ones appear in our office.   That said, our local office still had 29 new opens in what is usually a slow period.  The market is still active, and buyers are hoping for more inventory after Labor Day. Our San Rafael manager says it’s a fairly quiet market.  The same activity is going on; homes or condos/townhouses priced below the median price points that are in a good location are still receiving offers in the first week – some with multiple offers. However it appears to be back to a normal market. It appears we are still experiencing a shortage of inventory. As we finish out the month of August the current inventory for active homes and condos/townhomes in San Rafael are 58 active single-family homes, high $2,000,000 low $669,000 and condos/townhouses (excluding the retirement communities) have 17 active listings with a high price of $699,000 and a low of $289,900.  He expects the fall market will be brisk with the return of students back in school and the end of summer vacations. Our Santa Rosa manager said August “recess” (back to school and last minute vacations) seems to have lingered – from its usual 2 to 3 week period to more like 6 weeks. Activity and energy uncharacteristically “off” for the entire month of August. New listings quite slow. Previews sales have slowed since June with inventory growing. There were 25% fewer units sold above $1M in July 2016 compared to the same period last year. Pending sales, on the other hand, were fairly strong in July, outpacing pending sales in July of 2015 by 50%. Inventory above $1M has grown by 18% this July compared to last year. Closed units for this price point dropped by 25% from June compared to July of this year.

Monterey Peninsula – Peninsula agents saw an incredible response to “Car Week” this year. Thousands of car enthusiast descended upon the Monterey Peninsula and the auction houses have reported record sales since the economic downturn. That seemed to spill over into property interest as reported by our agents in our offices and open houses. There was a significant sale that was ratified during Car Week, but was not with a car enthusiast. Our local offices continue to bring on new listings in all price categories, but agents sense a bit of cooling off in the ultra-high end of $10 million and above. August office sales will close with a significant increase in our average price of over 22%, so the momentum continues. But our manager is anticipating some slowdown for back to school and as visitors return home. The Monterey Peninsula continues to be an international destination for golf and vacation homes.

Placer County – Our Auburn manager reports the local market is slowing, but it is still a seller’s market with about 2.5 months of inventory.  There were 15 lot/land listings taken during this past couple of weeks and 5 of the 6 sold land listings were during this period.  The average listing price in the Auburn and surrounding areas is $675,000 and the average sales price $448,000.  We are still having a few appraisal issues.  Our main source of buyers is still from the Bay area, especially the San Jose area.  There are currently 27 listings in Auburn area.  There was one new listing during this period and one listing went pending.  Interestingly, the average Previews price for this period was $1,133,000 and the sales price was $996,000.

Sacramento County – Listings are Increasing, according to our Elk Grove/West Sacramento manager. The average list price is over $70k more than the average sales price. Sales have declined in August, which is typical and seasonal. Open house activity has continued to remain strong. Inventory is still low in comparison to this time in years past. Multiple offers have slowed down, but homes under $350k are seeing multiple offers in many cases. Our Folsom manager said there’s been an increase in contingent offers. The average traffic per Open House was 7-25 people during this two-week time period. Our Sacramento-Fair Oaks manager reports it’s still a hot market at $350,000 and under with multiple offers prevalent. Softer between $400,000 and $750,000 price points. Best office closing month of the year in August. Inventory is increasing. Buyers are increasing, but careful about making offers.

San Francisco – Our Lakeside office manager is seeing a steady, but somewhat slower paced market.  There seem to be more transactions falling out of escrow, but usually there is a Buyer waiting nearby to pick up the pieces. Our Lombard office manager says the local market is seeing a typical summer slowdown in sales and agents, but there seems a buzz about a number of post Labor Day listings. A trend that seems to be evident is that the condo market is cooling while the single-family home market remains hot, with the vast majority of SFH sales going over asking and yielding multiple offers. The only exception – homes over approx.. $2m. Should be an interesting September.

San Francisco Peninsula Our Burlingame manager said the local market is coming out of a seasonal slowdown but is still affected by a lack of inventory. Seasonal slow with back to school, notes our Palo Alto manager. All multiple offer sales seem to have fewer buyers. He expects an increase in the coming weeks. The Redwood City-San Carlos market is a very unpredictable market, according to our local manager. Pricing is becoming a very dominant determining factor in time on market. The upper end market seems to be affected the most. The market up to $1,200,000 still seems to move quickly. Agents are spending a lot of time educating their clients on pricing in this market.

Santa Cruz County – The housing market in Santa Cruz has been wild in 2016 with unpredictable fluctuations of inventory levels and activity on listings. Currently the inventory of single family residences has decreased to under 400 and the number of sold properties has doubled over the last couple weeks.  The Previews Market is hot in Santa Cruz right now. There has been an uptick in listings over $1 million changing to pending and sold. Recently our office has had two listings over $5 million go pending.

Silicon Valley – Things are definitely taking a breather before Labor Day, according to our Cupertino manager. Homes that are well priced and in the top schools are still hot. Proximity to the new Apple Spaceship is a huge draw. Our Los Altos manager reported continued signs of our seasonal adjustments with an increase in inventory as the summer vacation season comes to a close and school reopens.  The anticipated spike in new inventory has happened.  This increase in inventory has had a direct impact on those homes which had been “lingering” on the market and we have seen additional price reductions on homes with higher than average DOMs.  The market remains robust with strong activity on properties in move in condition and priced to sell, resulting in multiple offers that typically achieve a sale price that is over asking price.  Fewer sellers wish to “test the market,” by bringing their homes on the market at higher prices than previous sales and pendings.   In short, the increase of homes coming on the market are being absorbed rather quickly. The luxury market (homes priced over $3.5M) is steady with days on market increasing and frenzy bidding or multiple offers being the exception as opposed to the rule. San Jose Almaden agents have seen a little bit of an uptick in listings with the start of the school year.  The average sales price for Almaden is at $1,325,000, which is down 6% from last month but up 5% from August of 2015.  Blossom Valley’s average sales price is $694,000, down 5% from last month but up 4% from the same time last year.  Cambrian average sale price of $1,016,000, up 7% from last month and up 10% from August of 2015.  Santa Teresa has an average sales price of $740,000, up 2% from last month and flat from last year at the same time. Our San Jose Main office manager reports sales are keeping pace with inventory as homes that are priced at or just below current market are getting all the attention.  Price is so important in today’s market and just a tad over market scares buyers away.  More than once agents have seen price reductions to market of just below and then a flurry of activity occurs.  Buyers want to take advantage of the historically low interest rates and not risk higher payments.  Pricing in this market is becoming very crucial and sellers are advised to not hope for a less than asking price offer if they list their house at above market pricing. Saratoga has slightly fewer listings than last year at this time, and our manager reports a steady luxury market.

South County – All signs are pointing to a dramatic shift in the South County real estate market, according to our local manager.  At the beginning of this year, the prevailing theme was that it continued to be a seller’s market.  As inventory remained very low and prices crept ever upward, sellers could demand and obtain “top dollar” for their homes.   Within the last several months, however, more and more homes are being offered for sale—with sellers believing that their prices should be commensurate with past sales.  Unfortunately (for sellers), this new expanded inventory necessitates prices to be adjusted in order to garner offers.  In addition, many buyers are suffering from “price fatigue” and are finding that waiting for prices to fall is a very good purchasing strategy.

Tahoe & Truckee – Our local manager says the 2016 real estate market in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee has been a remarkable year for both sellers and buyers.  Through August 15th of 2016, residential sales continue to significantly outpace sales for the same period in 2015.  Sales through August 15th are up 17% from the previous year with a total of 806 residential properties sold in the market as compared to 696 sales in 2015 for the same period.  There continues to be considerable activity in the market as many Buyers and savvy investors are actively looking for homes. For Seller’s there is demand for properties in the market with inventory down.  For Buyer’s, even though inventory is down from last year, there are quality properties to choose from throughout the north Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas.  With current home prices and favorable mortgage interest rates, real estate investors are taking advantage of this market and acquiring homes in many of the Lake Tahoe and Truckee resort communities.


Market Watch is a bi-weekly column by Coldwell Banker San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento-Tahoe president Mike James exploring the local Northern California housing markets. Click here to view past issues.