Two updated charts for house and condo values by selected district or neighborhood.
The San Francisco Bay Area Apartment Building Market
The Paragon Commercial Brokerage – Reis Reports
2nd Quarter 2013 Market Update
“Welcome to what is arguably one of the worst cities in America to be a renter, but among the best to be a landlord and apartment investor. San Francisco led the top-50 U.S. metropolitan areas in average rent growth during the second quarter, jumping 7.8% to $2498, while Oakland was No. 2 and San Jose was in fifth place. The rent increases have investors rushing to purchase existing properties.”
The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2013, “Bay Area Rally Sends Rents Soaring”
The West Bay area of metro San Francisco (SF, Marin and San Mateo counties) continued to boom through 2012 and into 2013, even as it became increasingly expensive. The 136,980-unit market-rate investment grade San Francisco apartment market has rock bottom vacancy and high rents. While the pace of population growth is not high in the densely developed and expensive West Bay, it is still solidly positive at an estimated 9,770 in 2012 and a forecast 11,270 in 2013. Even higher increases are predicted for later years by Moody’s Economy.com. It seems people will pay any price to live in San Francisco, as long as a growing number of advanced, high paying jobs are available.
The East Bay apartment market (Alameda & Contra Costa Counties) also tightened further in early 2013, although rent gains remained more moderate.
The Bay Area has a long history of boom and bust dating back to the Gold Rush of 1849 and continuing through the dot-com bubble and bust little more than a decade ago. When the previous tech boom ended, not only did the number of jobs plunge but so did the population. Moody’s Economy.com does not expect a repeat. Instead, employment is forecast to keep growing at a somewhat slower pace, surpassing the 2000 employment peak some time in 2015. Reis predicts a leveling off of the current strong conditions in the apartment market, rather than a frenzy followed by a collapse. The well timed arrival of new supply will keep rent gains in check, while pent up demand will ensure the units are absorbed, barring an unexpected economic shock from outside the Bay Area.
The first three charts below pertain to San Francisco County alone and then only those listings and sales reported to MLS. The specific numbers should be considered approximate, but the trend lines apply to and illustrate the overall Bay Area market: low supply + high demand = higher prices.
The supply and demand dynamic, super-charged by improving economic conditions, rapidly rising rents and extremely low interest rates, has led to a rapidly appreciating market. This chart tracks average dollar per square foot values.
In the analyses below, the San Francisco Metro Area is comprised of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties, while the Oakland-East Bay Metro Area consists of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. When mixing many buildings of very different size, quality and location, all the statistics should be considered very generalized and approximate. The county of San Francisco itself typically has significantly higher rents and values than the other counties.
SAN FRANCISCO METRO AREA RENTS & VACANCY
OAKLAND-EAST BAY METRO AREA
In the West-Bay SF Metro Area, the Civic Center/Downtown submarket led the rest in units sold over the past four quarters at 1,370, and dollar value of sales at $266 million. Among submarkets with substantial sales price per unit, Marina/Pacific Heights leads in price per unit at $478,442. Generally speaking, as the market appreciates, Gross Rent Multiples are heading higher and Cap Rates lower.
OAKLAND-EAST BAY METRO AREA
For the 3-county, west SF Metro Area, 2,300 apartment units are expected to complete construction in 2013, followed by 3,600 in 2014. The three years to follow are expected to see less new supply, but still more than 1,000 units completed in each year. Whatever number of apartments is built, however, Reis expects net absorption to match it as pent up demand is met. The only question is at what rent level.
In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, apartment developers are re-starting projects shelved during the recession, and the under construction total has risen to about 1,760 market-rate units. There are also 1,226 subsidized and senior housing units under construction. Relatively few units, however, are expected to complete construction this year, allowing the vacancy rate to fall to a low point of 2.5% at year-end.
SELECTED SUBMARKET SNAPSHOTS
The 15,771-unit Civic Center/Downtown submarket has a first quarter 2013 vacancy rate of 3.5% and an average asking rent of $1,604 per month, the lowest among eleven submarkets according to Reis. The 417-unit second phase of Trinity Plaza was projected to complete construction in summer 2013. The 750-unit Crescent Heights broke ground in January 2013 for completion in April 2014.
In the 9,787-unit Russian Hill/Embarcadero submarket, the vacancy rate is 2.5%, and the average asking rent is $2,767 per month, the highest in the West Bay area according to Reis.
In the 8,084-unit Marina/Pacific Heights submarket, the first quarter vacancy rate is reported by Reis at 2.0%, the lowest in San Francisco proper, with an average asking rent at $2,368 per month. “The Marina, the tract with the highest creative class concentration in San Francisco, has a reputation for being chock-full of young former fraternity members,” according to the Atlantic Cities. “As the San Francisco Chronicle notes, ‘Today the apartment buildings, shops, and restaurants seem to be bursting at their seams with beautiful, young and fit 20- and 30-somethings.”
The 16,018-unit South of Market (SoMa) submarket has a vacancy rate of 5.0%, highest among the submarkets, and an average asking rent of $2,517 per month, the second highest market-wide. In the close vicinity of both the financial district and the high-tech, bio-tech hubs in the city, this is a very strong market. This submarket has dominated new supply recently, but while 1,032 units remain under construction here, new supply is spreading to other areas.
The 8,381-unit North Marin submarket has a vacancy rate of just 1.5%, the lowest among the submarkets, and an average asking rent of $1,608 per month, the second lowest according to Reis.
In the 14,713-unit Central San Mateo submarket, the first quarter vacancy rate is reported by Reis at 2.9%, with the average asking rent given at $2,006 per month, highest in the suburbs.
Note: Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for “San Francisco” are for a 5-county area, of which the city’s housing market is a very small part. Since they are published 2 months after the month of the Index, are 3-month rolling averages, and the time between offer acceptance and closed sale typically runs 4-8 weeks, Case-Shiller is generally 3-6 months behind the market itself, i.e. when offers are being negotiated in the present. Case-Shiller publishes 4 main indices for SF Metro Area houses: an aggregate index for all price ranges, and then one index for each third of unit sales – low price, middle price and high price tiers.
The aggregate C-S Index for the SF Metro Area is up approximately 30% – 34% from its low point, but is still approximately 20% below its peak in 2006. Please note that for a drop of 30% to be recouped, the increase must be about 43%.
When the market fell from its peak in 2006-early 2008 (different areas and different market segments peaked at different times), the scale of the decline varied widely, mostly by price point. With the recovery that began in 2012 and has accelerated in 2013, the magnitude of the price recovery, as compared to previous peak values, has also varied by price point and area.
The lowest price range (terribly affected by foreclosures and distressed sales) fell most dramatically – an approximate 60% decline from its peak. It is now recovering dramatically on a percentage basis – up 38% from its low point – but is still way below its 2006 peak. It simply has much more loss to make up.
The upper price range (the top third of unit sales) in the 5-county metro area fell much less than the 2 lower price tiers (low and middle) during the bubble pop. On a percentage basis, it’s increase from its low point – about 25% — is not as great as for the lowest price tier, but is now getting close again to its previous peak value. In the city of San Francisco itself, many neighborhoods have now reached or surpassed previous peak values reached in 2007-2008.
This chart below illustrates the short-term monthly changes in the C-S high tier price index: the recovery in 2012 accelerating in 2013. May’s reading jumped 3.7% from April’s.
And then looking just at the city of San Francisco itself, which has, generally speaking, among the highest home prices in the 5-county metro area: many of its neighborhoods are now blowing past previous peak values. Note that this chart has more recent price appreciation data than available in the Case-Shiller Indices and that the rate of appreciation accelerated in the March-May timeframe. Note that median sales prices and C-S Index numbers do not correlate exactly.
Median prices almost always conceal large disparities in the prices of the underlying individual sales – this is particularly true for larger cities: in San Francisco for example, median house prices by neighborhood range from $465,000 to $4,000,000, and there will be similar disparities in Oakland and San Jose. But median prices can be valuable to show appreciation trends, and to some degree, to compare general home values between different areas. The last quarter was a period of rapid price appreciation virtually everywhere on this map.
It’s typical for the market to slow down during the summer months (not as bad as the Thanksgiving to New Year slow down but still a slow-down). However, looking at the Weekly Charts below, statistically there is little sign of a cooling market – which doesn’t mean that it might not be: these supply and demand statistics won’t change if a listing gets 3-5 offers instead of 10-20 as long as it goes into contract. But even if it is cooling – which is not a certainty – it would still be a very-high-demand/very-low-supply market by any historical measure.
When a market is this strong, it’s not unusual for demand to keep up through the third week of August. Some listing agents believe late July/August is a better time to list – with inventory so low – than after Labor Day, when new listings surge again and there’s more competition. Other agents always wait til September.
These weekly market charts are for SFD and Condo listings only.
The number of Active Listings has been falling since summer began and is now at a level roughly comparable with February; it’s about equal to the number available last year at this time. It’s not unusual for inventory to continue to drop as the summer progresses — until that turns around after Labor Day. September is usually the month of the year with the highest number of new listings.
The number of New Listings coming on the market has been falling from the spring “burst”, but new listings in the last 3 weeks are about 13% higher than the same period last year – which is a positive sign.
Blue Columns = Number of Listings Accepting Offers;
Red Columns = Number of New Listings Coming on Market
Over the past 5 weeks, new inventory is still being gobbled up as fast (actually faster) than it is coming on market:
Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers: Except for the slight (typical) decline in the 4th of July week (you see the same thing in the Memorial Day week), the percentages have continued to be very high, similar to the percentages we’ve seen since mid-February (which has been a red-hot demand period). Two years ago, the percentages ran 6% – 7%; now they’re twice that.
Hayes Valley, NoPa, Alamo Square Condos
Inner & Central Richmond Houses
Richmond District Condos
Inner Mission Condos
St. Francis Wood Houses
Midtown Terrace Houses
Miraloma Park Houses
July 2013 Report
Virtually every area of San Francisco and the Bay Area has been experiencing dramatic home-value appreciation in the past 12 to 18 months. Some that were hard hit by distressed property sales, which experienced the largest price declines, have surged in price but remain 20% – 30% below previous peak values reached in 2006 – 2008. As a state, California is still about 25% below its 2007 pre-crash median home price. And in San Francisco itself, many if not most neighborhoods now appear to have re-attained or moved slightly beyond previous high points.
But in this past quarter, a handful of neighborhoods and districts in the city have leapt well beyond the highest average home values achieved in the past. Interestingly, comparing these white-hot areas with one another, there are often huge differences in property type, era and style of construction, and neighborhood culture or ambiance. But all of them have been very affected by affluent – often newly affluent – high-tech professionals of one age group and level of affluence or another. Naturally, these neighborhoods are highly desired by other buyers too – often professionals in finance, bio-tech, medicine and law – but the high-tech-buyer dynamic has generally super-charged these markets in particular.
However, please note that the difference we’re talking about between these neighborhoods and the rest of the city is between white hot and red hot: Honestly, they’re all very hot markets right now.
The Inner Mission
Super hot, super hip, generally young: this neighborhood has seen very dramatic changes since the early nineties as a classic process of gentrification occurred — changes which have recently accelerated. Houses here are often large, classic Victorians, while the condos are mostly modern, built within the last decade or so. This area has a large, vibrant and diverse commercial district centered around Mission and Valencia Streets, but is still close to Noe Valley and the Castro. This chart focuses on the condo market, in which values are approximately 15% above the previous peak.
This link goes to the numbers table behind this graph:
Inner Mission Numbers Table
Noe Valley – Eureka Valley (Castro) – Dolores Heights
These neighborhoods are part of a district that includes Cole Valley, Ashbury Heights, Clarendon & Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle, Mission Dolores and Glen Park, all of which have seen enormous recent appreciation. Housing here is typically older, built in the first 4 decades of the last century; there are many parks for kids and pets; the streets are tree-lined and the ambiance of the neighborhoods is relaxed and family friendly. This district surged in popularity and price in the mid-late nineties, was one of the last to peak in value in 2008, and has been at the forefront of the market rebound which started early here, in 2011. Among other advantages, it has relatively easy access to highways south to Silicon Valley. The district also has a large condo market, but this chart focuses on house values.
South Beach & Yerba Buena
After the Embarcadero freeway came down in 1991 and then AT&T Park built in 2000, this area changed from a place for B and C-class offices and car stereo installations to the home of some of the most dramatic and expensive condo and loft buildings in the country. More condos are now sold here than anyplace else in the city and high-floor units with staggering views often sell for millions of dollars – one sold for $28 million. It’s popular with a number of demographics – high-tech and bio-tech workers working in offices nearby in SoMa and Mission Bay, financial district professionals, and empty-nesters who want to enjoy city life and have all the amenities, but without the responsibility of maintaining a house. Affluent foreign buyers are also a significant segment. Its neighborhood ambiance is very urban. This chart is for condos below the price of $1,800,000, but the dynamic for ultra-luxury condos is also white hot, with an average dollar per square foot value of over $1200.
Like Noe Valley and Glen Park, this was originally a blue-collar neighborhood filled with Victorian houses. Noe Valley soared in value first, becoming wildly popular, and now people who want a similar family-friendly neighborhood ambiance, but at a more affordable cost, have increasingly turned to Bernal Heights. It also has easy access to highways south to the peninsula.
Hayes Valley-North of Panhandle (NoPa)-Alamo Square
This condo market is made up of two totally different types of property: Edwardian flats that have been turned into condos and brand new, ultra-modern condo developments. The Hayes Valley commercial district is very hot and hip, similar to, but still different from the Mission’s Valencia Street. Buyers who are priced out of the nearby Cole Valley-Haight Ashbury condo market often look here for a similar neighborhood ambiance at lower cost. Hayes Valley is also close to the Civic Center cultural cluster of museum, opera, symphony, ballet and other performing arts, which attracts another buyer demographic as well.
If you have questions or would like information regarding a neighborhood not listed above,
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Statistics are generalities which usually mask large disparities in the underlying individual sales: they are best used as indicators of longer term trends. Average and median statistics are often affected by factors besides changes in value – buyer profile, inventory available to purchase, significant changes in the distressed or luxury home segments – and how they apply to any specific property is unknown. Only a certain percentage of sales report square footage: average dollar per square foot values and average size are based on those that do. However average sales price is based upon all sales, thus there may be inconsistencies between the three statistics. All data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision. Numbers should be considered approximate.
Potrero Hill Houses: another challenging place for statistics because of the low number of sales and the variety of houses that do sell. Median and average prices jump all over the place, but there’s a relatively clear, consistent story for dollar per square foot.
Bernal Heights Houses