In the News

A sea change in real estate is brewing. Here’s what it could mean for the Bay Area

A national change affecting how real estate commission is negotiated for brokers has the potential to shake up the industry’s Bay Area scene. But how depends on who you ask.

The National Association of Realtors announced Friday a $418 million settlement to end a wave of lawsuits flooding the home-selling world. The lawsuits had alleged a conspiracy between the NAR, multiple listing services and brokers to keep commissions high by requiring home sellers to pay buyer-broker commissions. NAR’s legal counsel approved the settlement agreement early Friday morning. Lawyers for the trade organization anticipate the settlement will be filed in the coming weeks, though it’s still subject to court approval.

“NAR has worked hard for years to resolve this litigation in a manner that benefits our members and American consumers,” Nykia Wright, interim CEO of NAR, said in a statement. “It has always been our goal to preserve consumer choice and protect our members to the greatest extent possible. This settlement achieves both of those goals.”

The NAR has come under fire from multiple lawsuits taking aim at the industry’s compensation structure, in which sellers pay a commission — often around 6% — that is divided between representatives for both sides of the transactions. In many cases, sellers have entered into commission-sharing arrangements as a prerequisite for marketing their homes on multiple-listing services.

As part of the settlement, NAR agreed to institute a new MLS rule prohibiting offers of broker compensation on the MLS, meaning that offers of broker compensation could not be communicated via the MLS, but they could continue to be an option consumers can pursue off-MLS through negotiation with real estate agents. NAR also agreed to enact a new rule that would require MLS participants working with buyers to enter into written agreements with their buyers.

The organization said changes will go into effect in mid-July.

Here in the Bay Area, Vanguard Properties co-owner Frank Nolan told me his brokerage already started mandating buyer-broker agreements a few months ago, but Nolan was nonetheless cautious of commenting on the NAR settlement. “We need to see how the dust settles,” he said.

A Compass representative said the brokerage’s teams are not commenting at the moment.

Coldwell Banker also declined to comment.

Broker Jennifer Rosdail, a KW Advisors partner, told me that moving ahead she expects that the Dept. of Justice is going to want the disclosure of broker commissions to be even more transparent and nationally codified, but she expects the current settlement to have little effect on the California landscape.

“The overall effect is that we are going to talk about broker compensation a lot more,” she said. “I don’t think that much is going to change; I just think the way we talk about it is going to change.”

She said she doesn’t expect commissions to decline but does foresee possible negotiations on how to structure commissions in order for buyers to save money on taxes, for example.

Avenue 8 co-founder and co-CEO Justin Fichelson told me be believes the settlement could affect bottom-tier markets more.

“There’s no question that this will be an even more heightened issue for lower-priced markets where buyers can’t afford to pay for their agent’s commissions. For Avenue 8, which specializes in premium markets, it’s a different story, but for the bulk of lower-end markets, this could be a serious issue,” he said.

Matt Parker is CEO of Walnut Creek-based proptech Alokee, which advertises that home buyers can “keep up to 90% of the commission” and “pay only for the showings and features” they used at closing. Parker said this settlement is “the biggest news to hit residential real estate, perhaps ever,” and that if it stands, it has “huge consumer-benefitting ramifications in San Francisco,” where the average commission on the buyer side stands just over $35,000, with an average total commission north of $70,000.

“This settlement opens the door for innovative new companies to bring AI and equitable solutions to a new ecosystem; this ruling is a boon for startups and progressive, fast-moving companies as well,” he said. “As a tenured real estate broker who has exited one real estate startup and owns another multi-state startup, I never thought I would see this day come in real estate.”

The settlement will likely encourage the agent and the buyer to have an upfront conversation about scope of services, responsibilities owed to each other and compensation at the very beginning of the agency relationship, says Cameron Platt, co-owner of Abio Properties in the East Bay.

“Locally, the effect will likely be to preserve the status quo whereby the overwhelming majority of buyer representatives are paid through escrow at the successful close of a transaction, either from the seller’s proceeds or via a negotiated credit,” he said. “I see this as a positive, as asking buyers to pay for real estate services out of pocket could have a chilling effect that leads to buyers forging ahead in one of life’s largest financial transactions without the benefit of dedicated professional help.”

But in the new landscape, its now going to be imperative for buyer representatives and agents to demonstrate their value to would-be buyers, says Toby Schifsky, vice president of real estate education at Kaplan.

“This affects them more than anybody in the process. This new landscape means a steeper climb for all agents who are going to have to prove their value to potential clients,” Schifsky said. “The NAR, in its announcement, did not recommend a fee, which suggests agents will have to enter into negotiations with their buyer clients even before helping them with their initial search.”

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Sales of S.F. homes over $3 million picked up in January. Is it a sign or an anomaly?

Pricier homes in the city have been selling faster to start the year than they did the year before, but the bump might not last, according to new real estate data and analysis of current market conditions.

Sales of properties worth $3 million or more were up over 70% in January compared to the same month in 2023, according to Compass Chief Market Analyst Patrick Carlisle, who also noted that open-house visitor numbers have surged along with the number of homes going into contract.

After hitting a low point in December, new listing activity picked up in January with the number of new listings rising about 14% from January 2023, according to a new Compass data.

However, Carlisle also noted that the 70% increase “may or may not be an anomalous spike.”

KW Advisors agent Jennifer Rosdail told me she sees the market “picking up in fits and bursts” as opposed to a steady climb. She said a December decline in mortgage rates by close to an entire point was quickly cancelled out in January, a change that might have contributed to that January sales increase in the city. Another possible explanation for the increase, she said, is that single-family home inventory is now climbing up again, sending those buyers on the sidelines waiting for the right listings into action.

Rosdail gave an example of how she just showed a $3.5 million home in the Richmond District on Presidents’ Day to a couple who had been looking in the city for 10 months. “They want a big house in the Richmond District under $4 million,” she said. “When one pops up, they go see it.”

She said there’s solid competition for the best houses — which are typically around $3 million and up in San Francisco — but they are still not selling at as high of a price as one might think.

Sotheby’s International Realty agent Joe Lucier, part of the CaenLucier team with broker Stacey Caen, told me he thought that the January increase could be directly correlated with Wall Street, and more precisely, how the S&P 500 has risen more than 20% compared to where it was in mid-February 2023.

“i do think it has a lot to do with the stock market — there are a lot of people who are invested in tech in the Bay Area. It’s a lot about how people feel,” Lucier told me. “This time last year we had no idea where the market was going. Now we believe the market has found its floor over the past 12 months.”

The median house sales price in January was up about 2% year over year to $1,575,000, while the median condo sales price in San Francisco in January 2024 was up about 1% to $1,057,500, according to Compass data. Of the listings for sale on Feb. 1, 28% were houses and 72% were condos, co-ops, TICs and townhouses.

“I definitely see a lot of optimism in the market in general and it’s very clear all around that the market will be much more active in 2024 versus 2023,” Avenue 8 co-CEO Justin Fichelson told me. “Rates are trickling down and certainly stabilizing and buyers and sellers are definitely feeling more comfortable with the market. It’s without a doubt going to be a much more active market in the city this year than last.”

Other finger-in-the-air evidence to suggest newfound buyer confidence can be seen at 2623 Divisadero St., which listed in 2022 and again last fall but failed to find a buyer. But after just two weeks on the market in 2024, the luxury home landed in contract for $7.9 million and is currently pending. The listing agent is Carrie Buchanan-Goodman with Sotheby’s International Realty.

For condos, the supply of those listings is considerably higher than home listings, and while condo and house sales numbers are similar, condo inventory is 130% higher. But condo market conditions also appear to be heating up in 2024, with market condition varying significantly between neighborhoods. Carlisle said one of the big questions in 2024 is how many homeowners having held off listing their houses since mid-2022 will actually move forward with selling.

In terms of listings accepting offers, year over year, the number of accepted offers in January 2024 was up more than 30%. The number of new listings in 2023 was the lowest in decades.

Over the past 12 months, approximately 57% of San Francisco houses sold between $1 million and $2 million, most of them with 2 or 3 bedrooms.

Generally speaking, the percentage of all-cash purchases in 2023 has been running at its highest rate in nine years.

Statewide, the California Association of Realtors forecasts that compared to 2023, the number of state home sales in 2024 will increase 23%, the California median house sales price will rise 6.2%, and the average 30-year mortgage interest rate will decline to 6.3%

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Home price relief evaporates for San Francisco Bay Area homebuyers

After a grueling downturn, home prices in California’s Bay Area are finally rebounding — to the chagrin of buyers still in the market.

The median house price in the area gained 5% in August to $1.26 million versus a year earlier at $1.2 million. According to the latest data from Compass, this marked the first time in 13 months that the price didn’t decline.

Rate cuts, lag times and the ‘Triple D’: What Bay Area real estate agents expect for 2024

A host of questions persist about the Bay Area residential real estate industry’s road forward in 2024 and answers for them depend on who you ask.

Housing economists vary somewhat on their assessments of what’s to come during the next 12 months, but according to statistics from, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area can expect a -0.8% year-over-year decline in sales mixed with a -5.2% year-over-year price decrease.

For more nuanced opinions from those with their ears to the ground, I reached out to a number of agents from brokerages across the region to get insight on what to expect this year.

San Francisco: Rate cuts could spike buyer demand

Here in the city, a number of agents have said that the December decrease in the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage from 7.07% to 6.83% has begun to stir the local market, and Compass Chief Market Analyst Patrick Carlisle is among them. He told me he foresees a strong start to 2024 with consumer confidence climbing and the doom-loop narrative in San Francisco beginning to fade.

“For someone who believes downtown will recover, as it has from past crises, this is the place to get the best deals in the Bay Area,” Carlisle predicts.

Still, low inventory among single-family homes plagues the city and the question is really is how far and how quickly interest rates will fall, both to improve housing affordability and to motivate homeowners to sell their homes in normal numbers again, he said.

Meanwhile, KW Advisors agent Jennifer Rosdail told me she foresees the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates sometime in the spring, likely in May, and if it happens, it would catalyze the market.

“I think we’re going to see buyers getting ready and waiting for that first interest rate cut, and it’s going to be very fiercely competitive because of the lack of inventory,” she said. “I expect that by May we’re going to have a lot of competition for anything that’s out there. So, a smart buyer would go buy something as soon as they can and then refinance later, but a lot of them don’t have the confidence to do that.”

Rosdail believes if rates do get cut, that’s when the people who own an existing home will be willing to trade up for a new one. But it could take time for buyers to see that heightened inventory materialize.

“Their homes aren’t going to hit the market until the summer or even the fall, so the inventory is not going to loosen up until three, four or five months,” she said. “It’s going to take some time before they put their house on the market. But from when it actually happens, I think there’s going to be a lag time before the inventory problem is relaxed.”

Vantage Realty founder Mary Macpherson told me she’s feeling “cautiously optimistic” for a stronger 2024, pointing to signs of life toward the end of the year with properties getting a lot of bids and new data showing mortgage applications were up 20% company-wide.

“Our buyers, who mostly sat on the fence last year, are now ready to write offers — we just need the inventory,” Macpherson said. “And our selling clients who didn’t move last year — some who stayed put due to the rate hikes — are now active again and considering their next steps.

We’re in a bit of a wait-and-see mode as inventory starts to roll out this month and next, but we’re feeling good about what this year will bring.”

And so far, the year in the city has started with a Pacific Heights duplex penthouse asking $20 million going into contract on Jan. 3 after going on and off the market since 2019. Gregg Lynn from Sotheby’s International Real estate is the agent.

Another positive sign from the luxury market comes south of the city in the luxury-laden community of Woodside, the most expensive listing in the entire Bay Area — Green Gables — has just come back online for $110 million after failing to secure a buyer during the pandemic.

East Bay markets: ‘Triple D’, ‘Diapers’ and ‘Upgraders’

Linnette Edwards, a partner and associate broker with Abio Properties in the East Bay, told me that as 2024 unfolds, the real estate market navigates on a trajectory defined by what experts term the “Triple D effect”: downsizing, divorce and death.

“This trifecta continues to steer the market on a slow and steady course, almost akin to being on cruise control,” she said. “Boomers, in a bid to assist their children, have emerged as a pivotal force, notably contributing to their offspring’s property acquisitions. Cash offers persist at elevated levels.”

Edwards — who specializes in the East Bay markets of Alameda and Contra Costa counties — noted that it’s likely Alameda could surpass Contra Costa County in inventory this year with help from upgraders looking to leave Oakland to move for schools and safety.

With respect to interest rates, she said as rates persist above the 5% mark, the inventory for single-family residences is projected to remain constrained. “In this market scenario, certain segments of housing find themselves in a static position — coined as the ‘Diapers’ and ‘Upgraders.’ This stagnation, however, has sparked a parallel trend: a flourishing market for remodels, with homeowners choosing to stay put and enhance existing properties,” Edwards said. “Buyers remain hesitant with little motivation to buy.”

Edwards also warned that the landscape for brokerages in 2024 appears turbulent, with some anticipated to shutter, and she expects agents to either exit the industry en masse or migrate to brokerages offering comprehensive assistance.

Wine Country city centers on upswing

Philippa Ward, global real estate advisor for Engel & Voelkers in Napa Valley, told me she anticipates pent-up demand will drive both sales and prices upward this year — at least moderately.

“We are still seeing a lot of activity in the winery and vineyard markets,” she said. “Many of those buyers are cash but the positive movement in the stock market has made buyers much more comfortable with the current pricing for properties in those realms.”

Ward also noted that houses in town as opposed to out of town or on hillsides are still a priority for second home buyers due to fire risk and dwindling insurance availability, but the Wine Country market is still experiencing a lot of self-insuring for trophy properties. In addition, locals who have seen the work Napa and Sonoma counties have done to prepare and prevent wildfires have more confidence in living off the valley floors.

Vanguard Properties broker Josh Dempsey, who also specializes in the Napa Valley area, told me that within the last month, his brokerage started to see a pickup in demand that correlated with interest rates coming down in December. Aside from that, Dempsey also noted two approximately $9 million sales in the St. Helena area are set to close this month, which he said are not directly correlated with interest rates. “That’s more people feeling confident and feeling like the market is stable and they can buy when they want and not feel foolish about it,” he said.

Dempsey told me that much of the way through 2023, he was anticipating 2024 being worse than 2023, but in the last 30 days of the month, he started to switch his thinking to become more optimistic. And in that same vein, he now sees thriving town centers in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. “All those city centers in their own way are trending up,” he said.

“I think we’re going to see continued interest in folks living in the Napa Valley on a full-time basis, whether that be through retirement or work from home. It’s a trend that’s not going away,” Dempsey added. “There are more people who are willing to work from home or commute in once in a while than we’ve ever had.”

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San Francisco real estate agents reveal who’s buying homes in the city

The residential real estate market wasn’t good for home sellers heading into the new year as the median price of existing single-family homes in the Bay Area in December represented the largest month-over-month decline of any region in the state.

But according to a new report from traffic analytics firm, people are still moving to San Francisco and the city’s population was only about half a percent below pre-pandemic figures by last August, with a 2.2% population increase from March 2021 to September 2022. The caveat: The survey also found that people currently heading to the city often earn less money than those who left during the pandemic.

But buyers are still circling for homes, a number of local brokers have told me, and many of them — though by no means all — are relocating into the city from somewhere else. Here’s what real estate agents are saying about some of their buyers and sellers so far this year.

“I have clients buying who have moved here from Texas,” Compass (NYSE: COMP) agent Karen Mendelsohn Gould said. “I have a family selling and going out of state. I have two move-up buyers (who are) families staying in S.F., and I have a seller who moved to Marin.”

“Activity has been positive this January,” Compass agent Jessica Grimes said. “Yesterday we ratified a Marina home for a couple relocating with their infant from London, joining the arts community here in San Francisco. Tomorrow, I am showing one of our team’s off-market listings to an investment banker, also from the U.K. Our six off-market listings represent half and half — three families staying in San Francisco, just transitioning to different homes, while the other three are relocating to Marin, Hillsborough and Connecticut.”

“Many people looking today just began this year. We of course are also seeing people move back to the city who moved away after the arrival of the pandemic,” Vanguard Properties co-owner Frank Nolan told me. “We’re also seeing a spike in pied-à-terre buyers.”

Meanwhile, many real estate brokers are seeing only local buyers. “I don’t have any out-of-town buyers,” KW Advisors broker Jennifer Rosdail told me. “The buyers I have popping up are trade-ups and people who have been renting who are deciding it’s finally time for them. They are hitting a certain point in life or just trading up.”

Dale Boutiette at Compass said he’s seen several buyer profiles recently: a young couple who moved here from New York City for work; empty nesters that lived in S.F., moved to the suburbs to raise their kids and are now back after kids left the house; downsizing longtime S.F. residents; East Coast parents buying for a daughter who is starting Ph.D. program at UCSF; and a young family in tech that moved to S.F. last year for work and are now buying.

Joe Lucier and Stacey Caen at Sotheby’s International Realty told me they had a couple in their 50s relocating from Boston to the Bay Area for a job at Apple looking at a $4.4 million view condo in Pacific Heights. 

“When I asked if they were looking in Peninsula locations closer to Apple, they said, ‘Absolutely not! We are city people,’ Lucier told me. “What was interesting to me was the fact that reduced time requirements in tech offices will now allow people who work in tech to live in S.F. and not have to commute to (Silicon Valley) everyday.”

“There seems to be some energy and momentum gaining in San Francisco real estate — all of the usual suspects are back, first-time home buyers, move-up buyers and renters eagerly awaiting the spring inventory surge,” said Compass broker Aaron Bellings. “All signs are pointing towards a strong spring, so far so good, and the players (buyers) haven’t changed. They’re getting ready.”

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Here’s how many of San Francisco’s newest condos have sold so far this year

Some of San Francisco’s most recent condo developments still have large swaths of unsold units after sales failed to tick up during the third quarter — a time when inventory and sales expectations rise each year.

While large downtown condo towers such as the 392-unit Mira (280 Spear St.) and the 298-unit Harrison (401 Harrison St.) have filled up, others have fallen far short. For example, the Serif at 960 Market St., delivered last year, has only sold just over 50 of its 252 units. Likewise, One Steuart Lane has sold 40 of its 120 units.

Meanwhile, a mere 13 of the 146 units at the Four Seasons Private Residences, 706 Mission St., have sold, according to a third-quarter condo report from Compass Development Marketing Group. City records show the last new deed dates to June 1, indicating that no sales closed in the third quarter. On top of that, Steph Curry’s high-profile $8 million deal on the 30th floor — announced two months before the pandemic in 2020 — also never reached fruition.

Sotheby’s International Realty agent Gregg Lynn — one of the few brokers who’s so far sold three condos at 706 Mission St. — noted that this past year has been “remarkably quiet” for condos South of Market. Other agents like Vanguard Properties co-owner Frank Nolan reported October sales that were better than the summer months with expectations that November will be even stronger.

Coldwell Banker Northern California President Jennifer Lind told me the condo market in the city has been lagging behind the single-family home salesfor the past couple of years. However, unlike the single-family home sales, the amount of condo units being sold in October increased month-over-month and increased slightly since the summer, she said, adding that the sales prices of condos are holding steady and seeing a slight uptick compared to September.

“This is indicative that despite a slowdown there is still demand in the market, this is especially true of condo units that are well priced,” she said. “We had several agents last month sell condos in the city for over the asking price in less than 20 days.”

However, KW Advisors broker Jennifer Rosdail told me that it’s been hard to move condos this fall. “I think there’s plenty on the market, it’s just not really moving,” she said. “Stuff is sitting. There are lots of people looking but no offers.”

Rosdail said that many condos are even struggling to sell below 2018 levels and that there’s about six months of inventory on the market right now in the city. “I think it’s a good time to get a deal on a condo,” she said. “The question is when can they afford to do it?” noting that interest rates are set to go up again. “People say marry the house and date the rate,” she said. “Maybe have a medium-term engagement with the rate.”

According to a November sales report from Compass (NYSE: COMP), the three-month rolling median sales price for a 2-bedroom condo in the city was $1.25 million, down about 7.5% year-over-year. However, a number of buildings have units priced far below that.

For example, Compass agent Dunja Green told me that One Eleven, located on Minna Street in the SoMa, has currently sold 15 of its 39 units and now has 1-bedroom condos starting as low as $500,000 and 2-bedroom units starting at $870,000.

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San Francisco records major drop in median house sales price

It hasn’t been the October the San Francisco real estate industry was hoping it would be.

Third-quarter median home sales prices have retreated dramatically from spring peaks, a decline brokers attribute to changing market conditions prompted by increases in interest rates and declines in stock markets and consumer confidence.

The median price of closed sales fell from $2 million in the second quarter to $1.65 million in the third quarter, a huge 17.5% decline, according to September data from Compass (NYSE: COMP). It’s a 9% year-over-year decline. During the same period, the median sales price for condos dropped from $1.3 million to $1,147,500.

Compass Chief Market Analyst Patrick Carlisle told me that economic volatility generally makes buyers more cautious and that changes in the market are best described as a correction.

“Low interest rates effectively subsidized increasing home prices for years, and increasing interest rates have delivered hammer blows to affordability since spring,” he said, noting that overbidding statistics continue to decline while days on market climb. “Soaring stock market values made households feel wealthier, a major factor in home markets, and now the reverse is occurring.”

Not all Bay Area counties posted declines. For example, Napa County recorded a 13% increase in median home sales price during the same period.

By and large, though October is a month of high sales expectations in the city, and sales have so far been patchy. Some big listings in Pacific Heights and Telegraph Hill have come to market, but on the other side of the token, some sellers have held listings back or even delisted them. One high-profile example is the Pink Painted Lady at 714 Steiner St., which went up for sale in May for $3.55 million and was just pulled off the market on Sept. 29, according to Zillow. Owner Leah Culver confirmed that she took the listing down and told me the current state of the market factored into that decision.

I spoke to a number of brokers who also weighed in on current market conditions. Sotheby’s International Realty agent Stacey Caen said she feels the city is in the process of a 10-15% market correction and that historically, once the market finds its footing there will be a period of pricing stability before the next up-cycle begins.

She said she and her business partner Joe Lucier are recommending that their buyers to be judicious in their purchases but to make deals while sellers are more receptive to negotiating than they have been over the past decade. She also noted that brokers with experience in detailed valuations are more important than ever for buyers and sellers looking to transact with confidence.

“AAA properties are still attracting premium value,” she said. “Custom packaged luxury properties in top locations are still commanding top dollar.”

The market is also somewhat segmented now into various sub-markets, Coldwell Banker agent Joel Goodrich said. He told me that currently, the $10 million segment is slow while the $5 million to $10 million range market on the north side of town is much stronger, as is the $2 million to $5 million range in Pacific Heights and the surrounding areas. Buyers from out of the area are also looking.

“Empirically, we are starting to see some international buyers back — we have had buyers from India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam and France,” he said. “We have also had some national buyers from Southern California, Utah and New York.”

KW Advisors broker Jennifer Rosdail told me the preponderance of properties sitting at a price too high for the current state of the market is resulting in some properties selling right away and many that were priced for the market a few months ago just sitting.

“The market right now has become active for properties at the right price,” she said. “Unfortunately, the right price is lower than sellers want it to be.”

Rosdail told me she believes this next week of October will produce an uptick in offers because of the Fed’s hike in interest rates expected at the beginning of November. She added that the last three homes she sold garnered between four and five counter offers.

Other broker teams have reported solid sales this season, such as Compass agent Nina Hatvany, who said her team has closed a lot of sales so far this month.

“The trick has been pricing listings about 10% down from where we would have priced them in the spring and also encouraging buyers to take advantage of the lower pricing now, with a view to hopefully refinancing their more costly mortgages in a few years when hopefully rates are down,” she said.

Statewide, California’s median single-family home price also fell to $821,680 in September, off 2.1% in the month and down 8.7% from the $900,000 high set in May.

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Rick Cunningham, principal of the Cunningham Group in the Los Angeles area, is rebranding his Northern California Keller Williams offices as KW Advisors

The owner of a number of Bay Area Keller Williams Realty franchises is renaming his group, uniting offices in Northern and Southern California under the same marketing umbrella.

KW SF Bay Area offices — located in San Francisco, Napa, Burlingame, Oakland, Los Gatos and Palo Alto and owned by The Cunningham Group’s owner, Rick Cunningham — will now fall under the umbrella of KW Advisors. Cunningham owns about 20 KW market centers in California and Hawaii and just united 15 of them under the new brand late last week.

Nicole Aissa heads the San Francisco area — which stretches from Napa to Palo Alto — while Tina Jones oversees the East Bay and is based in Oakland, Cunningham said.

Cunningham told me he instituted the rebranding — specifically with the name “Advisors” — because he’s being selective about the agents he hires and provides with back-end legal support.

“Consumers now are expecting a much higher level of education, experience and results from their agents,” he told me.

The rebranding of his existing brokerages is also being done because his agents are doing more business outside of their local areas, Cunningham said.

“Real estate is not so hyperlocal anymore,” he said. “I don’t want to call it KW San Francisco when they have clients who are buying second homes in Napa and they think they can’t use their agent. The reality is they can.”

Cunningham, who is based in the Los Angeles area, also said he does billions of dollars of commercial real estate every year for Keller Williams and wanted to make sure his commercial agents also had a brand that worked for them.

He said KW Advisors is very growth-minded right now and that he just took on a new Palo Alto office and is growing by a clip of about 16 agents per month.

In 2020, Keller Williams Realty formed KW SF Bay Area, a collective that brought together agents and operations from KW San Francisco, KW Peninsula Estates and The Cunningham Group’s network of offices from Napa to Carmel. That collective included about 400 real estate agents serving San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

Keller Williams Peninsula Estates was No. 8 on the San Francisco Business Times list of Bay Area residential real estate brokerages List, with $2.74 billion in sales volume in 2021. Keller Williams San Francisco was No. 16, with $1.19 billion in sales volume last year.

In 2004, Cunningham was recruited by Keller Williams Realty as the first core agent/investor of the Hollywood Hills office, and from there he founded The Cunningham Group, a real estate team within Keller Williams.

Headquartered in Austin, Keller Williams Realty is one of the largest real estate companies

in North America and has other California brokerages that are not part of Cunningham’s rebrand.

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Price reductions in S.F. home sales soar more than 100% year-over-year

Active listings keep climbing in San Francisco as sales have dropped since interest rate hikes.

Broker Jennifer Rosdail with Keller Williams San Francisco told me that she foresees a bump in sales activity before the next federal interest rate hike, which is set to take place at the end of the month. She told me she feels strongly that this month, house hunters who haven’t yet secured a home are going to realize rates go up again on July 29 and and start actively writing offers before it goes into effect.

“There’s a lot of the sitting inventory and they’re going to realize they have a lot of choices,” she said.

She told me she’s also recently seen buyers reach for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) — especially those buyers who know they don’t want to keep the house long term — something she saw none of during the pandemic when interest rates were at historic lows.

“People are starting to go for ARMs again — 5- to 7-year ARMs — because of the interest rates being lower on them,” she said.

On the condo side of sales, Compass Development Marketing Group Senior Director for the West Krysen Heathwood told me sales volume is down and prices are staying steady for now.

“In San Francisco’s condo market there are many qualified buyers looking to purchase now realizing that while interest rates have risen, they are still historically low, and there are fewer buyers vying for the same home,” Heathwood said, also noting that agents are “seeing some buyers who are sitting in the ‘waiting room’ to see what happens next.”

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San Francisco homebuyer pool begins to shrink for low-end properties

Hatvany told me there’s been a change in buyer behavior across all price points but particularly for condominiums as they tend to be lower price points than single-family homes. Recent rate hikes, she said, have meant that buyers are no longer willing to get into big bidding wars to win listings.

“Over and over we are hearing, ‘I don’t want to get into a bidding war’ when last month we had buyers happy to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure a property before rates went up,” she said. “Buyers are definitely experiencing fatigue from being outbid multiple times, and then the combination of a recent rise in inventory and rates has made them more discerning about what they are willing to ‘pay up’ for, and has caused some buyers to retreat to the sidelines to wait and see if something better comes along.”

Hatvany told me there’s been a change in buyer behavior across all price points but particularly for condominiums as they tend to be lower price points than single-family homes. Recent rate hikes, she said, have meant that buyers are no longer willing to get into big bidding wars to win listings.

“Over and over we are hearing, ‘I don’t want to get into a bidding war’ when last month we had buyers happy to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure a property before rates went up,” she said. “Buyers are definitely experiencing fatigue from being outbid multiple times, and then the combination of a recent rise in inventory and rates has made them more discerning about what they are willing to ‘pay up’ for, and has caused some buyers to retreat to the sidelines to wait and see if something better comes along.”

KW San Francisco agent Jennifer Rosdail told me she’s been noticing that homes listed below $1 million are selling closer to their listing prices now, and by contrast, those above the $1 milliondollar range continue to experience robust offers over asking.

“Buyer frustration is out there and it’s big,” she said, noting how those with smaller budgets are most affected by the rate hikes. “People starting to worry about interest rates is starting to affect the low-end of the market. … People who could afford $800,000, $900,000 to $1 million are just dropping out of the market.”

Rosdail told me she is seeing the same trend in Oakland and on the Peninsula.

In the East Bay’s Lamorinda region, Abio Properties co-owner Linnette Edwards told me she is witnessing buyers “fence sitting” and dropping out there as well, although she noted that fivebedroom homes with outdoor space are still “selling at premiums.”

She said most homebuyers in the $2 million and over range are not as adversely impacted by interest rates, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting what they want either.

“I have clients who have flown out here for the second time from Boston who can afford up to $4.7 million, and they are frustrated,” she said, noting that competition is still fierce amongst serious buyers with limited inventory and high demand.

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S.F. real estate market sees rise in homes selling well above asking prices

The number of new residential real estate listings in San Francisco is creeping up, a typical feature in the run-up to the spring selling season, but there is no sign yet that the fundamental imbalance betweensupply and demand will significantly change.

Bay Area real estate markets, so far, remain largely insulated from the threat of rising interest rates, inflation and market volatility based on the uncertainty surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Compass Chief Market Analyst Patrick Carlisle said that while some buyers and sellers have been affected by declines in stock portfolios or have paused their plans awaiting more clarity in the international or economic environments, the prevailing dynamic remains one of very high buyer demand with an inadequate supply of homes for sale.

“Depending on the specific market and market segment, some of the statistical measures of market heat have matched or exceeded all-time readings,” he stated in his latest Bay Area report, released this week.

For February 2022 in the city, which saw 290 new units come on the market, the sales-price-to-list-price percentage was 121.6% — the highest since before the pandemic — indicating multiple offers on each listing. The median sales price of $2,390,170 was also the highest for a month since last June.

Currently, the city has close to 1,000 active units now on the market compared to about 500 in early January, a welcome sign for potential buyers competing against multiple offers, especially for single-family homes.

“The inventory is starting to arrive and the buyers are ready for it after being told that interest rates are going to go up,” Keller Williams San Francisco partner Jennifer Rosdail told me. “So, they’re excited to grab something before they can’t.”

Rosdail told me the inventory has been slow to arrive but that it also feels more like a “normal year” compared to the past two, which featured sharper ups and downs. She said that while international turbulence has caused some of her clients to fret over the stock market and inflation, this uncertainty hasn’t deterred them from buying homes in the city.

“A classic hedge against inflation has always been to hold real estate instead of cash,” Rosdail said, noting that her most recent listing in the city got 15 offers and went for more than $400,000 over asking.

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From selling points to a seller’s market — what Bay Area real estate experts forecast for 2022
Jan 7, 2022

To draw up a picture of what’s likely to come this year in residential real estate in the Bay Area, I spoke with several real estate professionals who work in San Francisco, the East Bay and the North Bay, all who concluded that 2022 would see a continued seller’s market for single family home sales.

Broker Jennifer Rosdail with Keller Williams San Francisco told me she foresees that the threat of higher interest rates could to cause more buyers than ever to jump in the pool to compete for what is still a limited supply of homes. She also noted that buyers are coming back to town who saved up money during the pandemic, which could add to the competition.

“I think any gloom and doom people are preaching over these interest rates is just going to cause the buyers to act more decisively because they’re afraid their affordability is going to shrink,” Rosdail told me.

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Agent Advantage: Jennifer Rosdail | Market a House into Something Buyers Want
June 9, 2020

For Jennifer Rosdail, marketing extends far beyond communications. Her marketing philosophy stems around creating a product that the market wants. This involves training and convincing sellers to see your vision as the market expert along with helping buyers understand how they can add value to the house they’re buying.

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Agent Advantage: Jennifer Rosdail | Use Newsletters to Grow Referral Business
May 30, 2020

Jennifer Rosdail’s repeat and referral business is over 80%. She keeps up with her clients through a monthly newsletter that covers content from her blog. She started the blog newsletter in 2007 and continues it to this day as a way of keeping top of mind to her clients.

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San Francisco housing market off to hot start in 2021
Feb 24, 2021

This is a re-posting of an article written by Ted Anderson of the San Francisco Business Times.

Demand for homes has ticked up in San Francisco this winter with new numbers from January showing just how hot the market has become.

The city is experiencing one of the busiest midwinter selling seasons in history, according to a recent Compass Real Estate report, which showed San Francisco saw a 67% increase in home sales compared to January 2020. Midwinter is typically a very slow period for sales, but the pandemic changed that dynamic with huge year-over-year increases in monthly home sales volumes.

December was also the busiest month of 2020 for closed sales in San Francisco, according to the Compass report, something that has never been seen before.

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Winter real estate outlook for S.F. appears warmer than usual
Nov 13, 2020

The ongoing Covid crisis, combined with other factors, may actually bode well for the city’s residential real estate outlook during what is usually a chilly time of year.

The pandemic upended normal residential real estate market seasonality this year in San Francisco, pushing the demand usually expected in April — normally the hottest month for listings going into contract — into the typically quieter summer season.

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Condos hit by price cuts in San Francisco. Here’s how much they’ve fallen
Sep 28, 2020

San Francisco’s condo market is adjusting to a new normal of lower prices and higher inventory,

Prices are falling and high-rise condos — especially those with no separate entrances, elevators, restricted HOA amenities and no private outdoor space — have been hit the hardest, according to Compass Chief Market Analyst Patrick Carlisle.

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Large real estate firm merges Bay Area offices under new collective
Jun 2, 2020

Keller Williams Realty announced Tuesday the formation of KW SF Bay Area, a new collective bringing together agents and operations from KW San Francisco, KW Peninsula Estates and The Cunningham Group’s (TCG) network of offices from Napa to Carmel.

The new collective will include about 400 real estate agents serving San Francisco and San Mateo counties and will offer agents streamlined operations, communications and marketing to help share more resources and referrals. Senior executive team leader Nicole Aissa will head KW SF Bay Area.

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Judge strikes down S.F. Realtor group’s effort to muzzle new off-market home listing policy
Jun 1, 2020

A San Francisco group of real estate agents trying to block new restrictions on off-market listings has seen their first challenge slapped down by a federal judge.

Top Agent Network (TAN), a members-only platform for real estate agents based in San Francisco, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit earlier last month against the National Association of Realtors, the San Francisco Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors over the new protocol — dubbed the Clear Cooperation Policy — which took effect May 1.

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Is S.F.’s real estate market feeling effects of coronavirus scare?
Mar 10, 2020

Realtor Jennifer Rosdail with Keller Williams Realty told me the local market is still busy when it comes to buyers and offers, and that except for hand sanitizer being more apparent as a staging tool, there are few differences so far from the normal hot spring market that kicks off after Super Bowl Sunday. 

“Yesterday, I had clients lose out on a home in Glen Park even though they were way over asking price and had all cash and no contingencies,” she said. “I have observed that people who have pulled money out of the stock market are feeling good about real estate.”

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SF residents fight City Hall to get nameless street on maps
May 4, 2019

My thanks to Kathleen Pender for taking notice of and researching the unusual access to 3352 John’s Way.

The band U2 might want to live “Where the Streets Have No Name,” but for some residents of an unnamed street smack in the middle of San Francisco, it’s been hell getting an Uber, a pizza delivery or an ambulance. And it’s especially hard trying to sell a home that potential buyers can barely find.

That’s why some residents — and one enterprising real estate agent — have been trying to get Google, Apple and the city to get their street, informally named John’s Way, on the map. They’ve had some luck with Google and Apple, but you know what they say about fighting City Hall.

The street is really a private dead-end alley in between Market Street and Corbett Avenue in the Twin Peaks neighborhood. The alley has garages and parking spots for residents.


The six residents on the Market side of the alley have Market Street addresses and front doors facing Market. But finding and getting to them is extremely difficult because of a unique set of circumstances. There’s no parking or sidewalks beneath them, and they sit atop a giant retaining wall accessed by a steep zigzag ramp.


It’s much easier to access the homes from the alley, so they use their back doors as front doors. Visitors, delivery people and house hunters would have an easier time finding them if they had a John’s Way address, but they can’t get one because it’s not on city maps.

The homes on the other side of the alley have Corbett Avenue addresses and most of their homes face Corbett, which is easy to find and relatively accessible. But there are two apartment complexes and one home on the alley that have Corbett Avenue addresses but no direct access to either Corbett or Market. Their only access is John’s Way.

Greg Tarbox lives in that home. “It was awkward at first,” Tarbox said. He has found ways to direct delivery people to his home, although some still get lost. Whenever he needed an Uber, he’d give an address on nearby Clayton Street and wait there.

“It’s a unique setting,” Tarbox said. “It’s a little like Barbary Lane,” the fictional street in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” he said. “It’s that spirit. People cooperate.”

The alley is jointly owned and maintained by 17 property owners whose land touches it. Each year the city sends one property tax bill for the alley and the owners divvy it up. Unlike the owners of the infamous Presidio Terrace, an upscale private street that was auctioned off by the city for nonpayment of property taxes but later returned to owners, the owners have never been seriously delinquent.

In 1985, John Pletz, an owner who has since died, asked a deputy in the tax collector’s office what would happen if the taxes weren’t paid. In a letter to neighbors he wrote, “As unbelievable as this sounds, he replied, ‘The property will be sold at auction and probably a developer will buy the property and build an apartment or condominium units.’”

View the current listing at 3352 John’s Way here.

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‘Full House’ house debuts, looking nothing like Tanner family home
April 26, 2019

The San Francisco Victorian pictured in the opening credits of “Full House” and its spin-off “Fuller House” is going on the market next week, probably at a price just under $6 million.

If it goes for $6 million, it would set a new high price for the neighborhood, said Jennifer Rosdail, an agent with Keller Williams. “One sold with a ton of renovations for $5.8 million. That’s the highest sale ever in Lower Pacific Heights.”

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IPO millionaires may not be top factor in predicted spring rush on S.F. housing
Apr 12, 2019

San Francisco anticipates booming housing sales in spring, fueled by a stable of new millionaires with fresh IPO wealth, but another variable may also be at play.

San Francisco realtor Jennifer Rosdail said the low interest rate of 3.72 percent right now is really what’s behind the expected uptick in buyer interest. She said last spring they hovered around 4 to 4.25 percent.

So far this April, Rosdail, a longtime agent in the city, said that she’s seen San Francisco houses sell at $800,000 over asking on the high end and all the way down to $75,000 below asking on the low end. She said home sales in the $3 million-plus market are the ones more likely to be affected by the new millionaires coming out of this season.

“I don’t know how significant a couple thousand of millionaires are — we have so many,” she said. “San Francisco is a humbling city to be a millionaire in,” she said.

The San Francisco metro area has more than 314,000 millionaires — the 8th most in the world — and the third most billionaires with 74, according to Wealth-X’s 2018 global ranking.

Rosdail, who remembers interest rates for a 30-year mortgage as high as 6.75 to 7 percent more than a decade ago, said just a one-point increase in the interest rate represents a 20-percent decline in affordability for buyers. She said that at this point in spring, buyers can afford almost 20 percent more than they could in the fall.

“If interest rates went up a lot, that’s the only thing that’s going to calm it down,” she said. “I do believe that’s more important than the new millionaires.”

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Castro Victorian tenancy in common asks $699,000
Oct 17, 2018

While $699,000 gets you a three-bedroom home in Boise, Idaho, it can also net you a one-bedroom abode in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, arguably a more exciting and colorful locale.

Featuring one bed, one bath, and 588 square feet, 546 Sanchez comes with a renovated kitchen and bath, as well as a terrace with a view and two fireplaces. Period details like crown moldings and ceiling medallion can still be found here.

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Sunset home with serious curb appeal seeks $998K
Sep 6, 2017

There’s something special about corner homes in the Outer Sunset. A closer look at splendor of the neighborhood’s Art Deco specimens, specifically, are exposed via a wider stage.

Take, for example, this circa-1940 Art Deco house at 1701 40th Avenue.

Featuring three beds, two baths, and 1,377 square feet, this abode’s exterior, surrounded in part by brick skirting, has benefitted from a fresh look since it last sold in 2005. A new paint job and a new color on the front door (eye-popping yellow) bring cohesion to this home’s facade.

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Data, dispossession, and Facebook: techno-imperialism and toponymy in gentrifying San Francisco
July 20, 2017

As Ippolito and Araiza’s mural infers, the gentrification of the Mission is correlative to a real estate marketing strategy that preys upon Mission Latinx culture to boost property value. While this transpired with gusto during the first Dot Com Boom (Graham & Guy, 2002; Mirabal, 2009), it has resurfaced with a vengeance during the contemporary era (Maharawal & McElroy, 2018). For instance, real estate speculator Jennifer Rosdail has rebranded much of the Mission’s geography as “The Quad,” a quadrilateral “meta hood” in which “quadsters” reside. These new Mission residents, Rosdail describes, “work very hard – mostly in high tech – and make a lot of money,” enjoying “the mix of lux and grit” (Rosdail, 2014). By rebranding the historically Latinx neighborhood, one set of cultural geographies is replaced with another. This is premised upon tech speculation, or practices in which future real estate value is premised upon the desires of those imbricated in techno-capitalist economies.

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Hayes Valley landmark Victorian asks $1.95 million
Dec 5, 2016

Once upon a time, the neighborhoods west of Van Ness were full of Italianate Victorians with boxy frames but classy facades.

Then 1906 came along, and most of those Gold Rush and post Gold Rush-era homes went the way of so much rubble and kindling. Another sacrifice to the gods of tectonic upheaval.

Click for SF Curbed


Developments in development: Shifts and uncertainty
November 20, 2016

I must have angered the universe with my last happy-go-lucky, things-are-looking-up column because now there is tension, fear, but most of all uncertainty in the air. By that I do mean the election, but I’m not sure that the election alone is at the center of the unease that seems to have touched the development and real estate world locally.

For one thing, as realtor Jennifer Rosdail reported (prior to the election) on her blog, employment in the region is generally up, but home sales are down. In fact, condo and single family home sale prices have dropped, and sale rates were at a ten year low for two months running.

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City helps 2 teacher couples buy homes in SF
Oct 8, 2016

Two teacher couples in San Francisco have managed to do the impossible. No, not score same-day reservations at the French Laundry or walk downtown without smelling urine. Even crazier. They bought their very own single-family homes. In the city. On their meager salaries.

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kron4VIDEO: New program helps SF teachers become homeowners
Oct 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)—The Bay Area is an expensive place to live making it more and more difficult for teachers to afford to live in the cities they teach in. It has created a shortage of teachers in the classroom and a huge problem for the city of San Francisco. KRON4’s Hermela Aregawi reports in the video report about a new program to help these teachers become homeowners.

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francisco teacher to take advantage of the news that he backed a loan to buy a home has moved into her new digs and she tells k. c. b. s.’s making goals be she couldn’t be more grateful if anything at that single family home at play more space and we’ve ever had we had two young can now at his grave and bridget early a social worker at every middle school in the mission said it would not have been possible in the city had for the mayor’s down pena fifties loan program which helps teachers like her along with other public workers like firefighters in the past she and her teacher husband did not qualify theory we made too much money which is %hesitation area and karen disco because i mean we’ve you know can vary for grant now they’re in an outer sent a district home that was going for more than a million king still need to be worked out and there are still very stringent requirements for the program but early daschle afternoon at at the city to work here’s then it’s all been worth it i am i right where i’m i can get it in a cave very eighty l. wherever as we really line people especially people who are like from here is just now idealists k. making full speed t. c. d. investigators

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The Walk-Through: a Glen Park home
June 24, 2012

Twice a week, The Chronicle features a local home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character.Address: 181 Randall St., Glen Park, San Francisco

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628x471 (1)S.F. housing costs drive out yet another family
June 25, 2014

In April 2012, I wrote a column about taking my eight-months-pregnant sister on Muni and the rudeness she encountered. Just one well-mannered rider out of dozens…

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How Mom and Dad can help first-time home buyers
July 12, 2014

Unless they are awash in stock options, many people trying to buy their first home in the Bay Area need help from the Bank of Mom and Dad….

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The New SF Real Estate Map Has Some Losing Hipster Cred, Gaining House Value
July 26, 2010

Danny Della Lana, who lives on the west side of San Jose Avenue in what was once considered the Mission District, had just discovered in an e-mail that the new map from the San Francisco Association of Realtors moved him into Noe Valley.

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S.F. increases down-payment loans to 1st-time home buyers
March 16, 2014

Have you heard that the City is willing to help 1st-time home buyers through their MOH programs? My cousin is the cover girl “Melissa” in this article. I mentioned these program to her (I’m the unnamed “Realtor” mentioned in the article). This lead her to purchasing her new home (I served as her Realtor for this too). Are you a first time buyer? Let’s chat.

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