Market Statistics

What You Get for How Much Where in San Francisco

2010 Home Sales at Median Price by Neighborhood

Buyer demand has been strong since the autumn sales season began in mid-September. Overall median home prices continue to remain stable – as they have for the past 12–16 months – jogging up and down within a narrow band of value. Inventory is about 12% higher than 1 year ago, but Months’ Supply of Inventory remains at about 4 months of inventory, which is considered a relatively balanced situation between buyer’s and seller’s markets. However, for every 10 listings that have sold in the past 4 months, another 8 have expired without selling: buyers are choosing those properties they consider fairly priced (which typically sell quite quickly) and ignoring the rest. Average Days on Market for those houses, condos and TICs which did sell was 54 days in October, which is the lowest figure in over 2 years.

Below are specific San Francisco home sales which closed at or near the median prices for houses and condos sold in the neighborhood specified – however, they are not necessarily representative of typical values.

Specific SF HOUSE Sales at Median Price — by Neighborhood

Pacific Heights, $3,500,000, 4BR, 4.5 BA Victorian on California Street, 4509 sqft, panoramic views, decks, 6 fireplaces, 2 car parking, $776/sqft

Sea Cliff, $3,000,000, 1951 4BR, 3.5BA on El Camino del Mar; 3491 sqft; water, Golden Gate and Mt Tam views; Zen garden, 8000 sqft lot, 2 car parking, $859/sqft

Clarendon Heights, $2,800,000, modern 3-level 6BR, 5.5BA on Villa, 4580 sqft, panoramic views, all new systems, 4 car parking, $617/sqft

Russian Hill, $2,250,000, 1906 3BR, 2.5BA on Hyde, 2090 sqft, deck, garden, library, 2 car parking, $1077/sqft

Telegraph Hill, $2,000,000, 1912 3BR, 2.5BA Edwardian on Vallejo cul de sac; spectacular views of bay, bridge and downtown; roof deck, separate apartment, leased parking

Marina, $1,875,000, 1930 3BR, 2.5BA on Cervantes, 2180 sqft, seismic upgrades, bonus office, 2 pkg, $860/sqft

St Francis Wood, $1,825,000, 1956 4BR, 3.5BA on San Pablo, 3740 sqft, ocean views, bank-owned sale, 2 pkg, $488/sqft

Lake Street, $1,759,000 (median is $1.85m), 1913 3BR, 2.75BA, North of Lake Craftsman on 18th, 3465 sqft, family room, needs restoration work, 1 pkg, $508/sqft

Eureka Valley, $1,475,000, 1905 4BR, 2.5BA Victorian on Noe, 2389 sqft, family room, sunroom, 1 pkg, $617/sqft

Cole Valley, $1,450,000, 1907 3BR, 3BA on Cole, 2040 sqft, new systems and foundation, garden, deck, 2 pkg, $711/sqft

Forest Hill, $1,400,000, 1926 3BR, 3BA detached Spanish-Med on Magellan, bonus family room, deck, yard, 1 pkg

Lower Pacific Heights, $1,232,000, 1883 4BR, 2BA Victorian on Pine, needs complete renovation, 1760 sqft, 2 pkg, $700/sqft

North of Panhandle (NOPA), $1,230,000, 1910 2BR, 1.5BA Craftsman Edwardian on Hayes, 1950 sqft, seismic upgrades, decks, 2 pkg, $631/sqft (more…)

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The Sky Remains in Place in the SF Luxury Market

Due to the significant differences between the market for homes over 1.5 Million and homes under that price point I though that comparing it with the statistics in my Lowest Sales Volume in 15 Years? Not so fast . . . article, would be useful.

Below is a chart that shows closed sales.  The highest number of closed home sales for 2010 so far was in March.  This is unusual, but will make sense as we analyze other sales data, below.

Closed Home Sales Over 1.5 MM in SF over the past 25 Months:

Unlike the market for all home sales in San Francisco, for which ratifications peaked early in April in 2010, the luxury home market peaked at a more traditional time, in May.  The chart below shows the luxury home market that was perhaps affected INVERSELY by the government tax credits – it’s possible attention was focused on properties for which the tax credits were available.  We also see that ratifications in June and July remained relatively strong.

Accepted Offers on SF Homes over $1.5MM over the past 25 Months:

Our final measure is the months supply of inventory which is generally used to show whether it is a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market.  The market earlier in the year was a definite buyers’ market, but with the glut of ratifications in February that ate up the sitting inventory from Fall 2009, the late spring and summer market turned an advantage towards sellers.  Looking at luxury home sales over the past six months, the main factor seems to be pricing.  There were 196 homes sold in San Francisco over $1.5MM in the last six months and 144 homes either expired or were withdrawn.  Of those that sold, 80 sold over their original asking price at an average of 105.33% in an average of 24.35 days on the market.  The remaining 116 sold homes were reduced on average about 10% before receiving an offer and sold for 92.04% of their original asking price after an average of 78 days on the market.

As always in San Francisco, pricing is king and these numbers prove again s to go you that just because a seller “wants” or “needs” a price, buyers won’t move until they are perceived as a value – and then they rush to outbid each other.

The large number of listings withdrawn or expired without selling combined with low short and REO sales volume tells us that a large percentage of sellers over $1.5MM are attempting to delay until the market brings them the price they want.  After 2 years of waiting, I wonder if luxury sellers will finally be ready to sell at the prices the market will bear … It will be interesting to see what the fall brings.

Months Supply of Inventory:  SF Homes over $1.5MM over the past 25 Months:

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Lowest Sales Volume in 15 Years? Not so fast . . .

There have been hundreds of the-sky-is-falling articles everywhere, in every major newspaper, about how sales drastically slumped in July when compared with May, or when compared to July of last year, both nationally and in the bay area.  Today it was on the front page of the New York Times and it has been a frequent topic in the SF Chronicle …

But with statistics, context is everything, and these articles show a fundamental lack of understanding of current context and are misleading regarding what’s going on in San Francisco (which is, after all, the best place on earth).

The first chart below is of the last 2 years’ home sales in SF. July 2010 is indeed well below May 2010, as well as well below July 09 and July 08. However, this is almost completely a function of the fact that deals that would have naturally and typically accepted offers (ratified) in May 2010 were rushed into April so as to meet the Federal Tax Credit deadline. Because of that crush of April ratifications, closed sales in May and June soared way over the sales rate of past years, AND May ratifications this year were much lower than normal. Typically May is one of the highest ratification months of the year; low May ratifications translated to lower July closings. Typically, July is one of the highest closed sales months because of the high May ratifications. With the unusual events this year, the numbers were thrown off – which created the dramatic percentage declines everyone is chattering on about.

Remember: closed sales are 30 – 60 days behind the market (the time of offers being accepted). To get a sense of current market activity, one looks at ratifications, as in the second chart below.

In the third chart below, the Months’ Supply of Inventory for SF  houses and condos is shown over the past 2 years. MSI, at a moderately low 3.8 months of inventory, hasn’t budged in three months – again one can see the effect of the April tax credit rush on the chart — and it is almost exactly the same as in July 08 and July 09.  (The lower the MSI, the hotter the market.)

Closed Home Sales in SF over the past 25 Months:

Below, we see the huge surge of ratifications in April which (stealing normal early May ratifications) led to the large decline in May. Thus May’s number of accepted offers is below past years. But June 2010 ratifications are above last year’s. And July’s ratifications are above July 2009 and July 2008. That is not an indication of a collapsing market. Yes, the market surged in April due to the expiring tax credit, but except for the initial effect on May ratifications (and the resulting effect on July closings), the expiring tax credit hasn’t affected June and July ratifications at all.

Accepted Offers on SF Homes over the past 25 Months:

Since the SF home market started recovering in spring 2009 from the “crash” of autumn 2008, Months’ Supply of Inventory has been very stable, delineating a relatively stable market, running typically between 3 to 4 months of inventory. This is generally considered a moderately low MSI, signifying a relatively strong and consistent buyer demand. Again, it is unchanged for three months, and almost identical to the MSI recorded one year ago and two years ago.

Months’ Supply of Inventory: San Francisco Houses & Condos

None of this is to say that the market might not change tomorrow. It is to say that the most recent statistics don’t currently indicate any dramatic change in market conditions in San Francisco.

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The San Francisco Home Market – August 2010 Update

Despite the constant news of dramatic changes in the real estate market – Values soar! Values crashing! Market up or down ___% from last month! Double dip recession! – the home market in San Francisco has exhibited a remarkable stability over the past year. As shown in the charts below, median prices for both houses and condos are virtually unchanged from one year ago; buyer demand remains steady; months’ supply of inventory remains steady; foreclosure sales are stable; low interest rates continue. Statistics jump around within a relatively narrow percentage band: there has certainly been no definitive trend up or down. It is neither a crazy buyers’ market nor a crazy sellers’ market: it’s a relatively healthy, balanced market, where the basic rules of real estate generally apply: well-priced, well-prepared, well-marketed homes typically sell quickly and homes without those characteristics don’t.

Statistics are broad-brush generalities subject to fluctuations due to a variety of reasons. Median prices in particular may be affected by other market factors besides changes in value. All information contained herein is derived from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and omissions, and is not warranted. Sales not reported to MLS are not included in these analyses.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Homes Accepting Offers
The number of SF homes – houses, condos and TICs – accepting offers is remaining stable, though running a little higher than this time last year. (April was an abnormally busy month due to the expiring Federal tax credit.)
Paragon Real Estate Group

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SF House Median Sales Price
The Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. Though it has gone up and down a bit over the past year, the median sales price for SF houses in July 2010 was virtually unchanged from that in July 2009: no definite trend up or down has manifested itself. The average median for the past 13 months is $756,000.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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SF Condo Median Sales Price
The median sales price for SF condos has remained remarkably stable for the past 12 months, with the average median sales price for the past 13 months being $675,000. Certainly no definitive trend in value up or down is apparent from the median price.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Distressed Home Median Sales Price
Distressed properties are those that are being sold by banks pursuant to foreclosure, and short sales, which require banks to reduce the outstanding loan amount for the transaction to close. The median price for such sales has generally fluctuated between $450,000 and $525,000, which, looking at the earlier charts, one can see is a substantial discount from overall median house and condo prices in San Francisco. However, the majority of such sales are located in the less affluent neighborhoods of the city.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Luxury Homes: For Sale vs. Under Contract
The red bars show the number of active luxury home listings in any given month (in this case, defined as houses and condos with list prices of $1,500,000 and above), and the blue line shows the number of listings which accepted offers. In July, the percentage of higher-end listings which accepted offers was about 15%
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Inventory of Homes for Sale
The dark red bars show the total number of homes that were for sale during the given month, with the lighter bars showing how many were actively for sale on the last day of the month – the difference being those listings that accepted offers, expired or were withdrawn. As we get deeper into summer, both numbers have declined slightly.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Average Days on Market (DOM)
This chart measures the average number of days between going on market and accepting an offer. The average in July was 55 days, the lowest in 13 months but basically unchanged since March. In July, houses had the lowest average DOM with 48 days; condos were at 59 days; and TICs were at 75 days: this reflects the respective heat of each market segment. The average days-on-market for “For Sale” homes is 79 days, since it tracks those listings that have not received an acceptable offer.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Months’ Supply of Inventory (MSI)
MSI is defined as the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of homes for sale, at the current rate of sale: the lower the MSI, the greater the demand. MSI for all SF homes has stayed generally stable at 3-4 months, which is considered moderately low. However MSI varies widely by property type: for houses, the MSI is a low 2.9 months; for condos, 4.4 months; for TICs, 5.4 months; and for 2-4 unit buildings, a relatively high 7.4 months of inventory.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Distressed Homes as % of Sales
The hash-marked sections delineate the number of distressed property sales (bank-owned and known short sales) against total home sales. The percentage of such sales is noted at the top of each bar: generally jogging up and down between 14% and 17%. Since 2010 began, within any given month, there are usually 400 – 450 distressed properties for sale; 110 – 130 distressed-home new listings; 80 – 100 accept offers; 55 – 75 close escrow; and 30 – 40 expire without selling.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Percentage of Listings Under Contract
This chart shows the percentage of home listings which accepted offers within the given month. Except for the surge in April and the doldrums of the holidays, that percentage has typically remained between 16% and 20%. In July, houses had the highest percentage under contract (22.5%), followed by condos (15.4%), TICs (13.5%), and 2-4 unit buildings (10.7%): the higher the percentage under contract, the hotter the market segment.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Sales Price to Original List Price
The darker blue bars show the percentage of original list price , typically about 100%, achieved by SF home sales that occurred without a price reduction, i.e. they sold quickly. The lighter bars show the percentage of original list price achieved by those listings that went through one or more price reductions before selling. The difference is typically 10 – 13% of the original list price amount. (January’s numbers are almost certainly caused by faulty reporting.) A well-priced, well-prepared and comprehensively marketed home (of general appeal) will usually sell quickly for the highest price.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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New Listings
The number of new listings in the city are up a little over July of last year, but down from the peaks of the spring selling season. Usually, the market will see a surge of new listings after Labor Day.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Homes Sold vs. Listings Expired & Withdrawn
The green bars denote sold homes and the purple bars denote expired and withdrawn listings. In July, when many of the spring listings that did not sell expired, the number of expired/ withdrawn listings was almost equal to the number that sold. Listings expire or are withdrawn typically due to being perceived as overpriced.

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San Francisco Values: Recovering, if Ever So Slightly

Of the 11 neighborhoods we are tracking for 2 bedroom condominiums in San Francisco, 6 showed sale prices higher in the first half of 2010 over 2009 numbers.  For the 13 neighborhoods in which we are tracking single family homes, 8 showed improvement in the same period.  Interestingly enough, for TICs, all three of the neighborhoods under consideration showed improvement.

I can almost hear you asking, well, what does this mean?  I think it means that the market is stabilizing and sluggishly trying to improve, but that it depends very much on the inventory being offered.  In Glen Park, for example, there were a couple of very large, brand new homes sold that were very dissimilar to the inventory that closed in 2009.  The extreme sale prices for these homes (over 1.6MM) had a dramatic affect (+19%) on the average sale price out of only 11 sales in the first half of 2010.  I would say this is an anecdotal improvement in values.  I would contrast this with the 3.3% improvement in values in Pacific Heights/Cow Hollow based on 27 sales, which I think is a more valid reflection of marketplace recovery.

As always, if you want to check in on the value of your home, I’m happy to work it up for you!

Now for the details (click on image to see larger):

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Market Update: July 2010, Mid-Year Review

Median prices and average dollar per square foot figures are generalities, which may be affected by other market factors besides changes in value. All information contained herein is derived from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and omissions, and is not warranted. Sales not reported to MLS are not included in these analyses.
Median Sales Prices
The Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. Many agents believe that SF homes values started to climb in the last quarter, and, as shown in the chart, houses and condos did hit their highest median prices since 2008. However, they’re only about 1% above late 2009, and still within 3-4% of prices 15 months ago. The new quarter will show whether an established upward trend in prices has begun, instead of the recent zigzaging up and down. Remember that sales prices are 30-60 days behind the market: closed sales in June generally reflect offers accepted in April and May.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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Homes Accepting Offers
Despite all the news reports about declining home sales, in San Francisco at least, though we have seen a drop from the unusual spike in April (expiring Federal tax credits), activity in June was still the 4th strongest month in the last 2 years, 7% above June 2009, and almost equal to June 2008 (before the market downturn in September 2008). Last year, sales did not significantly slow in the summer.
Paragon Real Estate Group

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What’s Going to Happen Next?

The San Francisco Home Market: Bounce Back or Double Dip?


Yesterday, an extended piece on The Today Show rated San Francisco as the #1 housing market ripe for recovery. To see the video, go to, scroll down the page to the “Tech & Money” section, then click on the video “5 Housing Markets Ripe for Recovery.”
The following criteria for evaluating areas that are stabilizing and poised for recovery:
-low rate of foreclosures
-appreciation (per National Assocation of Realtors)
-strong job market and low unemployment

San Francisco was the # 1 pick, in front of Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Memphis, and Charleston WV.

I hope the Today Show’s expert Barbara Corcoran is right!

Unfortunately, she may not be.  We live in a constant storm of analysis and opinion as to what is happening and will happen in real estate. Due to national statistics in December (and other economic indicators), some have predicted a nasty “double dip” in the home market subsequent to the recovery which began last spring. But the market goes into hibernation in December: there are far fewer transactions, mostly by first-time buyers purchasing at lower price points, while families and upper-end buyers generally withdraw for the holidays. When the data is reduced and skewed, it’s less reliable. January isn’t much better because it takes a while for the market to wake up.
Data is from sources deemed reliable but may contain errors, and is not warranted. Sales not reported to MLS, such as many new-development condo sales, are not reflected in these statistics. Median price is that price at which half the sales are above and half are below.


Therefore, the market data for February, as seen in the charts below, is of particular interest. While it’s unwise to make too much of one month’s data (a failing of many pundits), it is surprising how sharply February’s statistics indicate a strengthening market. That is not to say a double-dip isn’t possible — the state, national and world economies are still fragile — just that we are not yet seeing indications of one here in San Francisco. Those who have spent the last year waiting eagerly for further price declines have so far waited in vain. (For the record: according to the Case-Shiller index, home values in the 5-county SF Metro Area have increased 4 – 5% in 2009, but the city accounts for only a small percentage of those sales.) It will be interesting to see if the trends seen below continue, as spring gets under way — and what implications that might hold regarding price movements.

Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageHome Listings Accepting Offers
Considering February is a short month (with 2 national holidays), market demand was comparable to the highest levels we’ve seen in the past 18 months. February’s number was 50% higher than January, 80% higher than one year ago (during the market’s dark days), and 12% above February 2008.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageMedian List Price of Homes Accepting Offers
The most recent market data available is of listings accepting offers. (Sales prices are 30-60 days behind the market, as they reflect when the offer was accepted.) And the median list price of homes accepting offers is generally within a few percentage points of the final sales price. Assuming the steep December/ January drop was a seasonal anomaly, this chart shows little indication of either significantly increasing or decreasing prices. Indeed, the definitive trend is how stable the overall SF median price for homes under contract has been since spring 2009: $700,000 plus or minus about 3%.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageMarket Activity by Property Type
House and condo sales dominate the SF market, with TICs and 2-4 unit buildings far behind. The low number of closed sales in February reflects the reduced offer activity of the holiday season, and February’s accepted offers will close mostly in March and April. The average time it took for sold houses to accept an offer (59 days) was lower than that for condos (75 days), TICs (109 days) and 2-4 unit buildings (110 days), which reflects the heat of each market segment.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageNew Listings Coming on Market
New inventory has been increasing since early January, but as can be seen in the other charts, it is not keeping up with buyer demand. We may see a greater surge of new listings with the beginning of spring – certainly the hope of many buyers. This is a week by week chart of the past 6 months.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageHomes for Sale (w/o Accepted Offers)
Despite the increase in new listings, the number of active homes for sale — house, condo, TIC — over the last 3 months has been lower than at any time in the past 2 years. This reflects the anecdotal word from the field: strong buyer demand; lots of buyers touring open houses; very limited supply of appealing, well-priced homes to buy; often leading to multiple offers on those that do appear on market.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imagePercentage of Listings with Accepted Offers
At over 22%, February had the highest percentage of San Francisco home listings with accepted offers of any month over the past 2 years, indicating a market heating up. When looking at homes between $500,000 and $700,000 — the price range with most sales in SF — the percentage increases to over 24%, the highest percentage for that price range in the past 2 years.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageAverage Days-on-Market for Homes Accepting Offers
The lower the days-on-market, the faster listings are accepting offers. February saw a big plunge in average days on market (to 47 days) for homes accepting offers. In fact, the change was so dramatic, it may be anomalous — or it may simply reflect pent-up demand, as buyers returning from the holidays jump upon an insufficient supply of inventory. It is the lowest average days-on-market number in the past 2 years.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageMonths-Supply-of-Inventory (MSI)
MSI is defined as that number of months required to sell the existing inventory of available homes at the current rate of sale: the lower the MSI, the stronger the demand as compared to supply. At an MSI of 3.1 months, February had the lowest MSI figure for SF homes of the past 2 years. The MSI for SF homes between $500,000 and $700,000 is an even lower 2.7 months. Usually MSI figures this low would be considered a clear “Sellers’ market,” but with difficult financing conditions and uncertainties regarding the economy, the balance of power between qualified buyer and motivated seller is currently more complicated.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageInventory Absorption: SF Home Market
The longer gray lines delineate “residual inventory”, i.e. that number of listings actively for sale on the last day of the month which were listed prior to the first day of the month: simply put, listings which have not accepted offers within 1 month of going on market. January and February saw the lowest amount of residual inventory in the last 2 years. Also the ratio of properties which have accepted offers to residual inventory is at the highest level in 2 years. Two more statistics indicating a strengthening market.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageSold Listings vs. Expired Listings
The green bars indicate sold listings and the purple bars the expired/ withdrawn listings in any given month. (Again, the low number of sales in January and February reflect the low number of accepted offers during the holidays.) Even with the relatively strong demand in SF since last spring, for every 3 homes that sold, another 2 listings expired without selling. The current market is unlike our (very hot, perhaps irrational) market of 2 – 3 years ago, when it seemed that virtually everything sold quickly. Most Buyers now ignore listings they consider overpriced, and homes not priced within 5% – 8% of perceived fair market value usually don’t even receive offers.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageLuxury Homes Accepting Offers
This 2-year chart delineates the number of San Francisco homes priced $1,500,000 and above which accepted offers in any given month. Luxury home sales rebounded in February 2010 from the doldrums of the holiday season, back up to the highest levels seen in the past year — but still substantially below the activity seen before the market meltdown in September 2008.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageLuxury Homes: % of Listings with Accepted Offers
At 19%, February saw the highest percentage of high-end listings ($1.5m and above) with accepted offers since July 2008, an obvious indication of increasing demand amid relatively low supply. A year ago, the percentage was a very low 7% (following the crash in the luxury home market after September 2008), and 2 years ago, during the hot luxury market, the percentage reached a high 28%.
Paragon Real Estate Groupclick for larger imageMortgage Rates
As March began, the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate loans once again fell below 5%, which is very low. Many analysts believe rates will increase after the Fed ends its bond buying program at the end of March, and though opinions vary, the consensus forecasts an approximate 1% increase by the end of 2010. 6% is still a low rate historically, but the increase would add significantly to the carrying cost of home ownership.

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Cocktail Chatter: How’s Real Estate Doing?


This is what I was asked at every party this past holiday season.  I’m sure you heard folks discussing this as well.  I’m happy to report that the news is not as bad as you might think!

Despite all the hype, the median home price (house and condo) in the city was remarkably stable in 2009, running between $685,000 and $710,000 from April through October 2009, then ticking up to $731,000 in November.  It is too soon to tell if November’s increase in median price is the beginning of a trend or just an anomalous blip. This is after the general 15% to 25% decline in values from their times of peak value in most neighborhoods.*  In comparison, in 2007, the median home price in the city hit $829,000.

While prices are down from each neighborhood’s “peak,” the city-wide median home sale price has been disproportionately affected because the low end has been disproportionately active.  This activity is being driven by the low interest rates available on government backed mortgages below $729,000.  Loan interest rates are a vital part of the home-purchase affordability equation because of their impact on both qualifying for a loan and the ongoing monthly cost of home ownership. Interest rates hit at all time low in late November. While it’s harder to qualify than in past years, the rates are fantastic.  If your home (or the home you want to buy) is well-priced and that price is below about $910,000, activity/competition will be high.  The further the value/price is away from $910,000, the fewer buyers there will be who can get a great interest rate, and there will be commensurately less activity.  ($729,000 is just about 80% of $910,000 and most loan products offering great rates require a minimum 20% down payment.)

More listings accepted offers in October than in any month in the past 2 years.  You can see that this is the case in the chart of recent sales.  All of these closings took place since December 1, 2009.  When I pulled the same sample data for my piece in August 2009, I had to include almost 2 months to get enough data! New ratifications began to taper off in November, which is common for the holidays, but the number of accepted offers was still higher than in November 2008 or 2007. The holiday season was a good time for buyers to make offers because there wasn’t as much competition from other buyers and sellers are eager to move on with their lives.  Now that it’s January, it can be a good strategy to have your agent review recently expired or withdrawn listings.  These homes may still be for sale – just taking an official break from marketing while waiting for spring.

These have been stressful times for all of us.  Before you worry about the value of your home, I encourage you to ask an expert.  Realtors spend all our time discussing, researching and thinking about property values.  So if you need to know about your home – just ask one of us!

*The southern neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures have seen 25% – 40% declines. As has been the case since the foreclosure crisis began, the majority of bank-owned (REO) house sales occur in the city’s less affluent, southern border neighborhoods running from Oceanview to Bayview-indeed, a little more than half of all house sales in those neighborhoods are either REO or short sales. For REO condos, the main neighborhoods are SOMA, South Beach and Mission Bay, where most recent condo development has taken place. read more →

Update on “Decline from the Peak”

We have a lot to be thankful for in San Francisco. We have largely survived this real estate downturn without the enormous declines we are seeing on the news. However, they have been significant. Anyone in the market today on the seller side certainly can tell you that.

I thought it was a good time to check in and update the article from earlier this year “How Much Have San Francisco Home Values Declined Since their Peak?” Thankfully, many neighborhoods have not had a change since April, when values were even lower than in February, and some have even climbed a percent or two.

Below is an analysis of San Francisco neighborhoods comparing Average Dollar per Square Foot ($/sqft) at what is estimated to be peak value, to the average for sales occurring 10/15/08 – 4/1/09 (the market period right after the 9/15/08 financial markets meltdown), and then to the average for more recent sales occurring 5/1/09 – 10/30/09 (as home sales volume – and financial markets – surged again).

Different areas reached peak values at different times – in 2006, 2007 or 2008 – and the asterisked notes denote the estimated peak value period that pertains. The price ranges of the sales included were chosen to be in a standard range of value for the area and property type specified – thus attempting to eliminate both the ultra high end and the ultra low end, which often distort averages.

Dollar per square foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, or exterior spaces. These figures are usually derived from appraisals, tax records or condo maps, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. There are often surprisingly wide variations of value within neighborhoods, and averages may be distorted by one or two sales substantially higher or lower than the norm. They may also be distorted by confidential sales, which are not uncommon at the upper end of the market. (For confidential sales, the list price, and not the sales price, is used for the calculation.)

Key to Estimated Peak-Value Period for the Chart Below:
*             Peak values estimated to have been reached 1/1/06 – 6/30/06
**           Peak values estimated to have been reached 1/1/07 – 6/30/07
***        Peak values estimated to have been reached 1/1/08 – 6/30/08

Changes in Average Dollar per Square Foot Values
for Selected San Francisco Neighborhoods & Property Types

or District
Property Type
Price Range
Avg $/sq.ft. at Peak Value10/15/08 – 4/01/095/1/09 –
Change from 4/1/09Total Change from
Est. Peak Value
$300k – 800k
$507/sq.ft.$294/sq.ft.$280/sq.ft.– 5%– 45%
Ingleside/ Hghts / Oceanview*House
$400k – 800k
$580$449$444– 1%– 23%
$400k – 800k
$600$457$450– 1.5%– 25%
Central/Outer Richmond **House
$700k – 1.4m
$569$488– 14%
Inner Mission**Condo
$500k – $800k
$621$496– 20%
Central/ Outer   Sunset**House
$500k –  900k
$626$533$501– 6%– 20%
Miraloma/ Sunnyside**House
$500k – 1m
$677$598$550– 8%– 19%
Hayes Valley/ Alamo/ NOPA***Condo
$500k – 900k
$684$602$559– 7%– 18%
$500k – 900k

+ 2%

– 18%
or District
Property Type
Price Range
Avg $/sq.ft. at Peak Value10/15/08 – 4/01/095/1/09 –
Change from 4/1/09Total Change from
Est. Peak Value
Bernal Hghts***House
$500k – 1m
$651/sq.ft.$556/sq.ft.$567/sq.ft.+ 2%– 13%
St Francis Wd/W.
Portal/Forest H **
$800k – 2.5m
$687$585– 15%
Noe & Eureka Valleys***Condo
$500k – 1m
$751$675$613– 9%– 18%
South Beach***Condo
$500k – 1m
$785$681$640– 6%– 18%
Potrero Hill**House
$700k – 1.4m
$753$648– 14%
Telegraph Hills***
$600k – 1.2m
$798$692– 13%
Noe & Eureka Valleys***House
$800k – 1.5m
$891$755$707– 6%– 21%
Pacific Hghts/  Marina (Dist 7)***Condo
$600k – 1.2m
$809$763$733– 4%– 9%
Most Expensive North SF Areas***House
$1.5m – $4m
$975$797– 18%

Averages are generalities and cannot account for the varieties in location, condition and amenities found in SF homes. Averages may be affected by unusual events or short-term trends, and do not necessarily reflect values for specific properties.  Average dollar per square foot values fluctuate even in a stable price market as they are impacted by individual sales, and changes of less than 3-4% should probably be ignored. All data from sources deemed reliable, but not guaranteed and may contain errors and omissions. Sales not reported to MLS – such as many new condo-development sales – are not included in this analysis.
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Recent Sales (Over, Under or At ask)

As I mention in my article on volume, more activity puts pressure on prices. As you can see in the table below, the number of transactions where the property is selling for more than the asking price, is sharply up from earlier this year, where even for single family homes, under 20% of transactions were yeilding a sales price over asking. We’re at a whopping 54% of single family home transactions closed in the last two weeks coming in over asking price.  To see more about earlier in the year, click see “Have we found the Floor?” from July 31, 2009

Last 2 weeks’ home sales in SF:   
 Over AskUnder AskAt AskTotal 
% of sales54%28%18% 
% of sales24%58%18% 
2-4 Unit Buildings29112
% of sales17%75%8% 
% of sales37%45%17% 

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