Real estate listings begin their September flow onto the S.F. market

September 15, 2021

More homes are starting to hit the market in San Francisco as the real estate industry appears to be headed on its annual ascent into high season.

As of Friday, there were 920 active units listed on the MLS for San Francisco, with 201 listed in the “coming soon” feature. By Monday, that number had grown to 1,113 active San Francisco listings with 165 listed as coming soon.

Vanguard Properties co-owner Frank Nolan told me that while the number wasn’t huge, it shows a healthy pipeline of business on its way.

“Most stagers and professionals related to preparing a home for the market are booked out for the next few weeks and into October and this means more inventory,” he said. “My guess is that what we will see are very typical big rises in inventory for the next four to six weeks, then as it starts to fade, demand will increase and the bottleneck race towards the holiday will happen quickly.”

San Francisco-based Green Couch Staging co-founder Jeff Schlarb agreed, telling me the home staging company was “very busy” at the moment.

The difference in the listing market now compared to this time in 2019 is very slim. Two years ago, when the market was still functioning on normal seasonality before the pandemic, there were 1,150 listings on the market — just a 3% difference from Monday’s MLS figures, San Francisco Association of Realtors President Marc Dickow told me.

“We are definitely seeing more new listings starting to come on this week,” he said. “I’m hopeful in the next few weeks we’ll continue to see an uptick.”

While new listings coming to market peaked last year in September, the total number of active units on the market reached its zenith in October at more that 1,800 units, according to data from Compass. In terms of prices, home values have also continued their upward trajectory in San Francisco, rising from a median sales price of $1,710,000 in 2020 to $1,900,000 in 2021.

Keller Williams agent Jennifer Rosdail told me she’s seen 434 new residential listings in the last seven days in San Francisco compared to 70 the week prior that and 71 the week before that. While some buyers are returning to the city now to hunt real estate, she predicted that the smaller downtown condos — previously useful for someone working full time from an office — are still going to take more time to fully recover, especially in light of several companies deciding to further delay their return-to-office plans.

“I haven’t see those pied-à-terres become valuable again,” she said. “They will be. I just think people are going to wait until there’s a true four-to-five-day per week return to work,” she said.

With regards to single-family homes, Rosdail said she noticed Sunnyside and Bernal Heights pick up since June, and while demand for housing continues to surge in the western half of the city, she predicted strong activity on those other neighborhoods. “I feel like competition on the eastern side of the city is really going to pick up,” she said.

Nolan’s advice to homebuyers was not to get too greedy with choices during the fall and expect the bump in listings to persist. “My recommendation to buyers is to jump at something that they see that they like even if they feel there is a lot of inventory coming out as it does not last for very long,” he said.

Since Labor Day, one of the most high-profile listings to hit the market in the city has been 3498 Jackson St., a Presidio Heights mansion that was once home to Hills Bros. Coffee Co. scion Herbert Gray Hills and his wife Winifred. The French eclectic style home was designed by renowned San Francisco architect F. Frederic Amandes in 1937 and includes an elevator, two third-level balconies, a rooftop deck and a private ground-level garden.