San Francisco Bay Area Housing Affordability

The California Association of Realtors just released its Housing Affordability Index (HAI) for the 2nd quarter of 2015. All Bay Area counties saw declines in their affordability index reading – which measures the percentage of households that can afford to buy the median priced single family dwelling (house) – and San Francisco is now only 2 percentage points above its all-time low of 8%, last reached in Q3 2007.

In this analysis, affordability is affected by 3 major factors: median house price, mortgage interest rates and household income. (Housing Affordability Index Methodology).

Affordability Percentage by Bay Area County, Q2 2015

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Minimum Qualifying Income to Buy Median Priced House

Assumes 20% downpayment and including principal, interest, property tax and insurance costs.

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Bay Area Median House Prices, Q2 2015

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Affordability Trends: San Francisco, San Mateo & Marin

These 3 counties illustrate the general ups and down in Bay Area housing affordability since 1991.

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San Francisco County: Median Price vs. Affordability

Illustrating the surge in SF home prices and decline in affordability since the current market recovery began in 2012.

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Important considerations:

  • By definition, half the homes sold in any given county were at prices below the median sales price, i.e. there were numerous homes that were more affordable than the median price, with lower associated housing costs and income requirements.
  • The CAR Housing Affordability Index uses median house prices for its calculations. In all Bay Area counties, median condoprices run below and often far below median house prices, which also adds to overall affordability. In San Francisco itself, more than half of all home sales are condos, stock co-op apartments and Tenancy-in-Common units (TICs), and if units of less than 2-bedrooms are included, they are significantly less expensive than houses. (SF condos of 2-bedrooms or more actually come within 4% to 5% of overall median house prices.)
  • Besides increases in employment and population, much of the demand for Bay Area housing is being driven by increases in household wealth, which is different from household income. Wealth includes gains from a surging stock market and such things as stock options and IPO proceeds at high-tech companies, which have generated huge amounts of new wealth over the past 3 years.
  • Pertaining to San Francisco: Most of its households are made up of renters, most of whom are under rent control. Furthermore, a very large percentage – 39% – of SF households is made up of single persons. Both these issues skew the household income equation: According to census figures, SF has a lower median household income than Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo and Contra Costa (but higher home prices).

Monthly Housing Costs: Purchase vs. Rental

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Two issues to keep in mind when comparing monthly ownership costs with monthly rental costs, both of which are very high in the Bay Area: Firstly, the average house is much larger than the average apartment, so this is not an apples to apples comparison. Secondly, the housing costs for ownership should ideally be adjusted for loan principal repayment, which builds equity, as well as for the tax deductibility of mortgage interest and property tax payments (depending on one’s specific financial circumstances). Those are two reasons why buying often makes financial sense when compared to renting. Long-term home-price appreciation may be another.

San Francisco: Trends in Prices and Rents

The same economic and demographic forces have been putting pressure on both home prices and apartment rents.

SF Median Home Prices since 2012, by Quarter

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SF Average Asking Rents since 1994, by Year

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Mortgage Interest Rates since 1981

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Interest rates play an enormous role in affordability, and it is certainly reasonable to be concerned that affordability percentages are now hitting such depths while interest rates are also close to historic lows. For example, in 2007, when affordability percentages hit previous low points, prevailing mortgage interest rates were approximately 50% higher than today’s. When interest rates start to rise – when and how much being the real questions – there will be potentially dramatic effects on affordability, which could presumably affect demand and prices.

Monthly Housing Cost Adjusted for Inflation and Interest Rates

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This chart illustrates a very approximate calculation of monthly housing cost (principal, interest, property tax and insurance)adjusted for inflation – i.e. in constant 1993 dollars – over the past 22 years, using annual median house sales prices, average annual 30-year interest rates, and assuming a 20% downpayment. The compounding CPI-Urban inflation rate fluctuated over the period, but averaged about 2.4% annually. Average annual 30-year mortgage rates fluctuated from 8.4% to 3.7%, hitting a historic short-term low of 3.4% in 2013; it is currently running around 4%.

Adjusting for inflation and interest rate changes means that though the median sales price is now far above that of 2007, the monthly housing cost is still a little bit below then – which generally correlates with the HAI percentages. This isn’t a perfect apples-to-apples comparison because it doesn’t take into account that the amount of the 20% downpayment increased significantly over the time period.

Other reports you might find interesting:

30+ Years of San Francisco Real Estate Cycles

San Francisco Market Overview Analytics

San Francisco Neighborhood Affordability

10 Factors behind the San Francisco Real Estate Market

Marin, Napa & Sonoma Real Estate Market Reports

Realtor.com ranked San Francisco as the #1 Hottest Housing Market in July

SFStock

The U.S. housing market may be finding more balance, according to a new report from realtor.com®. For the first three weeks in July, the median list price rose to $234,000 nationwide, up 7 percent year-over-year, while inventories of for-sale homes rose and the median days on the market increased to 69 days.

“This year we’re seeing inventory continue to grow in July, albeit at a slower pace than this spring,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “And while demand overall is strong, the trend in median days on market is suggesting that the market is finding more of a balance, which bodes well for more moderate price appreciation in the months ahead.”

However, some housing markets continue to see rapid growth. Realtor.com® found that 20 markets receive 1.5 to three times the number of views per listing compared with the rest of the nation. Inventory in those markets is moving 24 to 41 days quicker than the national average.

“These hottest markets are the best in the country from both a supply and demand perspective,” Smoke says. “Sellers are seeing listings move much more quickly than the rest of the country and at an accelerating pace from just last month. Meanwhile, these markets are clearly attractive to buyers as the listings in these markets are viewed as much as three times more often than the national average.”

Here is realtor.com®’s list for hottest housing markets in July:

San Francisco, Calif.
Denver, Colo.
Dallas, Texas
Vallejo, Calif.
Santa Rosa, Calif.
San Jose, Calif.
Midland, Texas
San Diego, Calif.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Detroit, Mich.
Sacramento, Calif.
Stockton, Calif.
Yuba City, Calif.
Columbus, Ohio
Austin, Texas
Los Angeles, Calif.
Oxnard, Calif.
San Antonio, Texas
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Source: “The 20 Hottest Real Estate Markets in July 2015,” realtor.com® (Aug. 3, 2015)

Where to Buy a Home in San Francisco for the Money You Want to Spend

The charts below are based upon 2015 YTD transactions reported to MLS by July 24, 2015 . We’ve generally broken out the neighborhoods with the most sales within given price points. To a large degree, if you’re buying a house in San Francisco, your price range effectively determines the possible neighborhoods to consider. That does not apply quite as much to condos and TICs: Generally speaking, in neighborhoods with high numbers of condo and TIC sales, there are buying options at a wide range of price points – though, unsurprisingly, the number of bedrooms increase as prices get higher.

Of course, era of construction, views, average size and many other features and amenities can vary widely between neighborhoods.

Where to Buy a HOUSE for under $1 million in San Francisco

The overall median HOUSE price in the city in the 2nd quarter of 2015 was about $1,350,000, so the under million-dollar house is becoming much less common. The vast majority of house sales under $1,000,000 now occur in a large swath of neighborhoods running across the southern border of San Francisco: from Ingleside and Oceanview through Crocker Amazon, Excelsior, Portola and Visitacion Valley to Bayview. These southern border neighborhoods are by far the most affordable house markets in the city. (They don’t contain many condos at this point, though some big developments are planned.) Neighborhoods that not so long ago had numerous sales in this price range – such as Sunset, Parkside, Outer Richmond, Bernal Heights and Miraloma Park – have now generally appreciated over the last 3 years to the point where such sales are increasingly rare.

The horizontal columns reflect the number of sales under $1 million in 2015 YTD for each area, while the median sales prices noted are for all house sales during the period. Median price is that price at which half the sales occurred for more and half for less.

8-15-House-Sales_Up-to-1m-Neighborhood

Where to Buy a CONDO, CO-OP OR TIC for Under $1 million in San Francisco

The overall SF median condo price in the 2nd quarter of 2015 was about $1,125,000. Sales under $1m still occur in almost every area of the city that features these property types, but a studio unit in Russian Hill may cost the same as a 2 bedroom unit in Downtown. Some areas with large volumes of sales, such as South Beach/South of Market or the greater Noe Valley district, offer units for sale at virtually every price point. In such districts, what will vary will be the prestige and amenities of the building, the size and graciousness of the unit, the floor the unit is located on, whether parking is included, and the existence of views and deeded outside space (decks, patios, or, less often, yards).

In the general category of condo, co-op and TIC sales in San Francisco, condos make up about 90% of sales, stock co-op apartments 1 to 2%, with TICs making up the balance. TICs typically sell at a significant discount (10% – 20%) to similar condos, but there are a number of factors that affect the exact price differential.

The horizontal columns reflect the number of sales under $1m in 2015 YTD broken down by sales of 1-bedroom units and sales of 2+ bedrooms.

8-15-Condo-Sales_Up-to-1m-Neighborhood

Spending $1 Million to $1.5 Million

In this price point for houses, one starts moving into a different group of neighborhoods on the west side and in the central-south areas of the city. Within this collection of neighborhoods, one will typically get more house for one’s money in the Sunset, Parkside or Outer Richmond than in Miraloma Park, Bernal Heights or Potrero Hill. In the greater Noe, Eureka and Cole Valleys district, houses in this price range are now difficult to find.

In the charts below, the horizontal columns reflect the number of sales in each area, while the dollar amounts reflect average dollar per square foot values for the homes in this price range in the specified areas.

8-15-House-Sales_1m-1499k-by-Neighborhood

Condo, co-op and TIC sales in this price range are mostly concentrated in those areas where newer (and expensive) condo developments have come on market – and continue to arrive in increasing numbers – over the last 10 years, as well as, of course, in high-end neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights & Russian Hill, and Noe, Cole & Eureka Valleys.

8-15-Condo-Sales_1m-1499k-Neighborhood

Buying a HOUSE for $1.5 million to $2 million

8-15-House-Sales_1500-1999k-by-Neighborhood

Buying a LUXURY HOME in San Francisco

For the sake of this report, houses selling for $2 million and above, and condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $1.5 million and above are designated (somewhat arbitrarily) as luxury home sales. What you get in different neighborhoods for $2 million or $3 million or $5 million can vary widely.

The charts below are broken out by increasingly higher price segments within the overall “luxury” price range.

Luxury CONDO, CO-OP & TIC Sales

8-15-Condo-Sales_1500k-plus-Neighborhood

Luxury HOUSE Sales

8-15-House-Sales_2m-plus-by-Neighborhood

San Francisco Neighborhood Map

San_Francisco_Neighborhood_Map

For prevailing SF median house and condo prices, our interactive map of neighborhood values can be found here: SF Neighborhood Home-Price Map

SAN FRANCISCO REALTOR DISTRICTS

District 1 (Northwest): Sea Cliff, Lake Street, Richmond (Inner, Central, Outer), Jordan Park/Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain

District 2 (West): Sunset & Parkside (Inner, Central, Outer), Golden Gate Heights

District 3 (Southwest): Lake Shore, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Merced Heights, Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, Oceanview

District 4 (Central SW): St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, West Portal, Forest Knolls, Diamond Heights, Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Balboa Terrace, Ingleside Terrace, Mt. Davidson Manor, Sherwood Forest, Monterey Heights, Westwood Highlands

District 5 (Central): Noe Valley, Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights (Castro, Liberty Hill), Cole Valley, Glen Park, Corona Heights, Clarendon Heights, Ashbury Heights, Buena Vista Park, Haight Ashbury, Duboce Triangle, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores, Parnassus Heights

District 6 (Central North): Hayes Valley, North of Panhandle (NOPA), Alamo Square, Western Addition, Anza Vista, Lower Pacific Heights

District 7 (North): Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina

District 8 (Northeast): Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Financial District, North Waterfront, Downtown, Van Ness/ Civic Center, Tenderloin

District 9 (East): SoMa, South Beach, Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch (Central Waterfront), Bernal Heights, Inner Mission, Yerba Buena

District 10 (Southeast): Bayview, Bayview Heights, Excelsior, Portola, Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Outer Mission

Some Realtor districts contain neighborhoods that are relatively homogeneous in general home values, such as districts 5 and 7, and others contain neighborhoods of wildly different values, such as district 8 which, for example, includes both Russian Hill and the Tenderloin.

All data is from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group

Tips to Keeping Your Home Safe Against the Rain [An Infographic]

Predictions for a strong El Nino effect may mean a heavy rain season in the Bay Area. Now’s the time to prepare!

rain

From our NorCal network : The Artisan Group

5464826

147 Yerington Circle
Glenbrook, 89413
Offered at $2,850,000

For more information about this property or a referral to other areas of Northern California, please contact me.

Home Sales by San Francisco District and Price

These charts show the breakdown of San Francisco home sales as reported to the city’s Multiple Listing Service, year to date 2015. We picked this period because, generally speaking prices appreciated again in late winter/ early spring 2015. These analyses are sorted by city districts and neighborhoods by the number of transactions in different sales-price segments. Note that median sales prices will change every time the time period or neighborhoods included in an analysis change.

The first chart below the San Francisco neighborhood map is an overview for the entire city.

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These 2 charts below track San Francisco luxury home sales by price range and neighborhood. Rather arbitrarily, we designate the luxury segment as those condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $1,500,00 or more, and those houses selling for $2,000,000 and above. Considering the appreciation of the market in recent years, we may have to adjust those thresholds soon.

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The San Francisco Market for Buildings of 2-4 Residential Units

2-4 unit residential buildings contain about 80,000 or 21% of the housing units in San Francisco. This report will assess only such smaller apartment buildings that have not been converted to condos or exclusive-use TIC units: Condos and TICs are considered different property types than unconverted 2-4 unit buildings and are valued differently. The variety in units in these buildings is enormous and includes some of the most appealing and gracious apartments ever built.

In San Francisco, 2-4 unit buildings exist at the overlapping intersection of 2 different market segments: tenant-occupied, income property and owner-occupied,residential real estate. Values of such buildings are affected not only by the usual factors – location, condition, parking, views and so on – but also by issues such as income and expense, and rental upside potential; tenant profile, “protected” tenants and eviction history; vacant units, owner-occupancy suitability and the feasibility to convert to TICs and/or condos; and by the city’s ever-changing rent and eviction control regulations. With real estate, the devil is always in the details, and this property type in particular involves a lot of details to consider.

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Sales by Era of Construction

San Francisco’s market for smaller apartment buildings is dominated by Victorian and Edwardian architecture, followed by the subsequent Spanish-Mediterranean/ Art Deco/ Marina Style era. The 3-flat Edwardian and the 2-flat Marina-Style buildings are classics of these periods. After WWII, builders generally shifted to single family home construction, and once condominiums started being built in the 1970’s, construction of multi-unit, income buildings in the city virtually ceased, because condos sell for higher prices. (It’s only recently, with the boom in rents, that larger – often very large – rental apartment buildings are being constructed once again.)

Residential buildings constructed before 1979 are almost universally subject to San Francisco’s ordinance strictly regulating rent increases and tenant evictions.

Sales & Values by Neighborhood

Pursuant to the previous chart, sales are concentrated in those districts of the city mostly built out prior to 1940. Many of these areas were considered “working class” neighborhoods at the time of construction, such as the Richmond district, the Noe Valley area and the Inner Mission, however these buildings were also constructed in areas that have always been highly affluent, such as Pacific Heights. (A 6081 square foot, 2-unit Edwardian in Cow Hollow recently sold for $6m.)

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Median Sales Prices by Number of Units

This chart tracks the trend in median sales price appreciation since the current recovery began, breaking out buildings of 2, 3 and 4 units. Two-unit buildings typically sell at a premium (on a dollar per square foot basis) in San Francisco due to condo-conversion rules. Dramatic short-term fluctuations in prices, such as what occurred for 3-unit buildings in Q1 2015, should not be taken too seriously until substantiated over the longer term. Since there aren’t that many sales of any one type of building in any one quarter, median prices can jump up or down simply because of the particular basket of unique properties that sold in the time period.

Longer-term trends are always the most meaningful. The recent upward trend in values is clearly illustrated below.

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Sales Volume since 1994

The quantity of 2-4 unit building sales fluctuates due to the booms and recessions that affect all types of real estate. But it is also affected by distinctive factors. Over the past 40 years, many of these buildings have been converted into condos or, more recently, exclusive-use TICs, both of which are considered different (and more valuable) property types: With hardly any new 2-4’s being built, inventory declines. Also, properties that in the past would have been sold as a single 2-4 unit building are sometimes now being sold as separate TIC units to multiple buyers.

It is also true that there are few political issues more furious in San Francisco now than tenant evictions, housing affordability, TIC conversions and condo conversions, and how it plays out – in public opinion, changes to city regulations, legislative efforts and ballot proposals – significantly affects this market.

The net result is that, even with the huge market recovery of the past 3 years, sales are down over 40% from 15 years ago.

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Sales Prices to List Prices, Days on Market, Price Reductions

83% of the sales of these buildings in Q1 2015 sold without going through price reductions. They sold quickly and averaged a sales price 7% over asking price – all of which indicates a strong market of high buyer demand and inadequate supply of inventory to purchase. In April, as Q2 began, the market got hotter still (not shown on chart).

Note that overpricing not only means that the property takes much longer to sell subsequent to price reductions (if it does sell), but typically means it will sell at a lower price than if it had been priced correctly to begin with.

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Sales by Price Range

As in the type, size and quality of buildings, the range in sales prices for 2-4 unit buildings in San Francisco is enormous: In the past year, it has run from under $500,000 to over $6,000,000. As mentioned before, factors include location, condition, parking, views, era of construction, vacant units, tenant profile, protected tenants, rents, past evictions, owner-occupancy and condo conversion potential, and possible future changes to tenant eviction laws.

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New Listings, Properties for Sale, Listings Accepting Offers

Market activity to a large degree ebbs and flows with the seasons: The spring selling season is typically the most active, followed by the autumn. Activity usually drops off during the summer, and, especially, the winter holidays.

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Days on Market

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Neighborhood Snapshots

A look at trends in average dollar per square foot values in different city districts: The greater Richmond district area; the greater Noe, Eureka and Cole Valleys district; and the prestige, northern neighborhoods running from Pacific Heights and Marina to Russian, Nob & Telegraph Hills.

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Note that every time the time period or the exact neighborhoods being analyzed are changed, even by a little bit, very general statistical values such as median price and average dollar per square foot may also change, sometimes significantly.

How the values in this report apply to any particular property is unknown without a custom comparative market analysis. Please call or email with any questions or if you’d like information on properties currently on the market.

All information is from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors, is not warranted and is subject to revision. Numbers should be considered approximate.

© 2015 Paragon Commercial Brokerage & Paragon Real Estate Group

The San Francisco Real Estate Market The Paragon Mid-Year Report

Bay Area Appreciation Rates since 2011
Combined House & Condo Median Sales Prices

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Besides the general economic recovery, there are other factors in different counties affecting home price increases over the past 4 years: 1) the huge decline in distressed property sales in those counties severely affected during the downturn (such as Solano, Contra Costa & Alameda), 2) the dramatic surge in luxury home sales (such as in SF, San Mateo & Marin), 3) increasing luxury condo construction (SF), and 4) the effect of the high-tech boom in employment and wealth, which radiates out from San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

The higher priced counties, led by San Francisco and San Mateo, saw the largest dollar increases in median prices since 2011 – $400,000 to $500,000 – but counties rebounding from the distressed property crisis often experienced the biggest percentage jumps. The city of Oakland, benefiting from both the decline in distressed sales and being the closest, most affordable option to high San Francisco housing prices saw by far the largest percentage increase: 133%.

San Francisco Appreciation Rates by Neighborhood

Note that median prices within the city are also affected by a variety of factors beyond simple increases in fair market value.

SF House Appreciation Rates in Dollars & Percentages

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We’re almost positive that we recommended that everyone buy at least one median-priced Pacific Heights mansion in 2011 at the bargain-basement price of $3,225,000. If you had followed this (imaginary) advice, your home would have appreciated by $2.77 million. However, on a pure return on investment basis, you would have done better to snap up a few median-priced houses in the Mission, which appreciated by an incredible 143%. It should be noted that both of these neighborhoods have comparatively few house sales as compared to, say, the Sunset or Bernal Heights. Low supply is often one factor in high appreciation rates.

SF Condo Appreciation Rates in Dollars & Percentages

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For condos, Russian Hill led the way in dollar median price appreciation and Yerba Buena was tops in percentage price increase since the bottom of the market in 2011.

Over the past 4 years, houses have appreciated a bit more than condos in the city, 81% to 73%, and that is probably due to the fact that houses are becoming the scarcer commodity: While thousands of new condos are now being built each year, new house construction can usually be counted on 2 or 3 hands.

For prevailing SF median house and condo prices, our interactive map of neighborhood values can be found here:SF Neighborhood Home-Price Map

Average Dollar per Square Foot Values by San Francisco Neighborhood

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Increasing average dollar per square foot values have been breaking records in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco for the last 2 years. Some of the surge in condo values is explained by the many recently built luxury condo projects – which have been selling at premium dollar per square foot prices – that have been sprouting up around the city.

San Francisco Luxury Home Sales

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Sales of higher-end houses and condos have been soaring in the city and hit by far their highest number ever in the second quarter. Big jumps in expensive home sales are an important factor behind increases in the overall median sales price.

Appreciation, Cost & Affordability

Short-Term Median Price Appreciation (since 2012)

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Long-Term Median Price Appreciation (since 1993)

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Inflation & Interested Rate-Adjusted Housing Cost (since 1993)

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The short-term and long-term appreciation charts above are self-explanatory. The Home Cost Trends chart reflects a very approximate calculation of monthly home payment costs (principal, interest, property tax and insurance) adjusted for inflation – i.e. in 1993 dollars – using annual median house sales prices, average annual 30-year interest rates, and assuming a 20% downpayment. The average annual compounding CPI inflation rate fluctuated, but averaged approximately 2.4% over the period, and average annual mortgage rates fluctuated from 8.4% to 3.7% (see chart further below), which had a huge impact on financing costs.

Adjusting for inflation and interest rate changes means that though the median sales price is now far above that of 2007, the monthly housing cost is still a little bit below then. This isn’t a perfect apples-to-apples comparison because it doesn’t take into account that the amount of the 20% downpayment increased significantly over the time period. Still, since ongoing cost is typically an important factor for homebuyers (at least those getting financing), this affords another angle on our market.

Mortgage Interest Rate Trends

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Over the last 4 years, the big decline in interest rates has largely subsidized the increase in home prices.

Price Reductions, Sales Prices to List Prices, and Days on Market

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In the 2nd quarter, the vast majority of SF home sales sold without prior price reductions; these sold very quickly, at an astounding average of 14.5% over the original list price – clear indications of a white-hot market. For the past 4 years, spring has been by far the most frenzied selling season of the year, and the market usually cools in summer.

Median sales prices are often affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value. Seasonality; big changes in the distressed, luxury and new-construction market segments or simply the inventory available to purchase;interest rate fluctuations; changes in buyer profile; and other economic variables can all impact median prices. Short term fluctuations are less meaningful than longer term trends.

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and how they apply to any specific property is unknown without a tailored comparative market analysis. Sales statistics of one month generally reflect offers negotiated 4 – 6 weeks earlier. All numbers should be considered approximate.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group

Updated S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index for San Francisco Metro Area

The S&P Case-Shiller Index for the San Francisco Metro Area covers the house markets of 5 Bay Area counties, divided into 3 price tiers, each constituting one third of unit sales. Most of the San Francisco’s and Marin’s house sales are in the “high price tier”, so that is where we focus most of our attention.” The Index is published 2 months after the month in question and reflects a 3-month rolling average, so it will always reflect the market of some months ago. The Index for April 2015 was released on the last Tuesday of June.

The 5 counties in our Case-Shiller Metro Statistical Area are San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa. Needless to say, there are many different real estate markets found in such a broad region, and it’s fair to say that the city of San Francisco’s market has generally out-performed the general metro-area market.

The first two charts illustrate the price recovery of the Bay Area high-price-tier home market over the past year and since 2012 began, when the market recovery really started in earnest. In 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2015, home prices have dramatically surged in the spring (often then plateauing or even ticking down a little in the following seasons). The surges in prices that have occurred in the spring selling seasons reflect frenzied markets of huge buyer demand, historically low interest rates and extremely low inventory. In San Francisco itself, it was further exacerbated by a rapidly expanding population and the high-tech-fueled explosion of new, highly-paid employment and new wealth creation. From what we are seeing on the ground in the feverishly competitive hurly-burly of deal-making, we expect further increases to show up in the May and June Index reports.

For more regarding how seasonality affects real estate: Seasonality & the Real Estate Market

Case-Shiller Index numbers all reflect home prices as compared to the home price of January 2000, which has been designated with a value of 100. Thus, a reading of 214 signifies home prices 114% above the price of January 2000.

Short-Term Trends: 12 Months & Since Market Recovery Began in 2012

Case-Shiller_1-Year Case-Shiller_High-Tier_2011

Longer-Term Trends & Cycles

The third and fourths charts below reflect what has occurred in the longer term (for the high-price tier that applies best to San Francisco and Marin counties), showing the cycle of recession, recovery, bubble, decline/recession since 1996, and since 1988. Note that, past cycle changes will always look smaller than more recent cycles because the prices are so much higher now; if the chart reflected only percentage changes between points, the difference in the scale of cycles would not look so dramatic.

Case-Shiller_from_1990 Case-Shiller_HT_1996-2011

Different Bubbles, Crashes & Recoveries

This next 3 charts compare the 3 different price tiers since 1988. The low-price-tier’s bubble was much more inflated, fantastically inflated, by the subprime lending fiasco – an absurd 170% appreciation over 6 years – which led to a much greater crash (foreclosure/distressed property crisis) than the other two price tiers. All 3 tiers have been undergoing dramatic recoveries, but because the bubbles of the low and middle tiers were greater, their recoveries leave them below – a little bit for the mid-price-tier and well below for the low-price-tier – their artificially inflated peak values of 2006. It may be a long time before the low-price-tier of houses regains its previous peak values. The high-price-tier, with a much smaller bubble, and little affected by distressed property sales, has now significantly exceeded its previous peak values of 2007. Most neighborhoods in the city of San Francisco itself have now surpassed previous peak values by very substantial margins.

It’s interesting to note that despite the different scales of their bubbles, crashes and recoveries, all three price tiers now have similar overall appreciation rates when compared to year 2000. As of April 2015, this range has narrowed to 109% to 114% over year 2000 prices. This suggests an equilibrium is being achieved across the general real estate market.

Different counties, cities and neighborhoods in the Bay Area are dominated by different price tiers though, generally speaking, you will find all 3 tiers represented in different degrees in each county. Bay Area counties such as Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Sonoma and Solano have large percentages of their markets dominated by low-price tier homes (though, again, all tiers are represented to greater or lesser degrees). San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are generally mid and high-price tier markets, and sometimes very high priced indeed. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the smaller the bubble and crash, and the greater the recovery as compared to previous peak values.

Remember that if a price drops by 50%, then it must go up by 100% to make up the loss: loss percentages and gain percentages are not created equal.

The numbers in the charts refer to January Case-Shiller Index readings, except for the last as labeled..

Low-Price Tier Homes: Under $549,000 as of 4/15

Huge subprime bubble (170% appreciation, 2000 – 2006) & huge crash (60% decline, 2008 – 2011). Strong recovery but still well below 2006-07 peak values.

Case-Shiller_LowTier_Longterm

Mid-Price Tier Homes: $549,000 to $903,000 as of 4/15

Smaller bubble (119% appreciation, 2000 – 2006) and crash (42% decline) than low-price tier. Strong recovery but still a little below 2006 peak.

Case-Shiller_Mid-Price-Tier_since-1988

High-Price Tier Homes: Over $903,000 as of 4/15

84% appreciation, 2000 – 2007, and 25% decline, peak to bottom.
Now climbing well above previous 2007 peak values.

Case-Shiller_from_1990

In San Francisco, where many neighborhoods vastly exceed the initial price threshold for the high-price tier, declines from peak values in 2007 in those more expensive neighborhoods typically ran 15% – 20%, and appreciation over previous peak value has also exceeded the high-price tier norm.

San Francisco County

And then looking just at the city of San Francisco itself, which has, generally speaking, among the highest home prices in the 5-county metro area (and the country): many of its neighborhoods are now blowing past previous peak values. Note that this chart has more recent price appreciation data than available in the Case-Shiller Indices. This chart shows both house and condo values, while the C-S charts used above are for house sales only. Median prices are affected by other factors besides changes in values, including seasonality, new construction projects hitting the market, inventory available to purchase, and significant changes in the distressed and luxury home segments.

1993-2010_SF_Median_Sales_Prices

And this chart for the Noe and Eureka Valleys neighborhoods of San Francisco shows the explosive recovery seen in many of the city’s neighborhoods, pushing home values far above those of 2007. San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are most effected by the high-tech wealth effect on home prices. Noe and Eureka Valleys are particularly prized by this buyer segment and the effect on prices has been astonishing.

Noe-Eureka_SFD_Avg-SP_DolSqFt_by_YEAR

1000 Ways to Enjoy San Francisco & the Bay Area This Summer

Guests are coming, the kids are out of school, or you just want to do something different than usual. Summer has arrived in one of the most beautiful and multi-dimensional places on earth, and here is a wide variety of ideas for making the most of it.

Dinner, brunch, burritos, burgers, bars, music, dance, theater, running, biking, hiking, and things to do with visitors, children and dogs.

Food & Drink

Top 100 Restaurants

Zagat’s Best

Outdoor Dining & Drinking

Best Meal Delivery

Best Breakfast

Best Brunch

Best Burritos

Best Sandwiches

Best Pizza

Best Hamburgers

Best Dim Sum

Best Bars

Beer Drinking

Coffee Drinking

More Coffee

Best Desserts!

Out & About

Things to Do

To Do with Kids

To Do in Oakland

To Do in Marin

In Napa & Sonoma
City Biking

Mountain Biking

City Walks

Best Views

Hiking Trails

Running Clubs

LGBT – To Do

Sunday Streets

City Parks

Dog Parks

Farmers’ Markets

Sports Teams

Sports Calendar

Arts & Culture

Arts & Entertainment

More Arts Events

Nightclubs

Music

Museums

Ballet

Opera

Symphony

Theater

Important note: You will undoubtedly find yourself disagreeing vehemently with one or more of the above “best lists” – best burrito, brunch and coffee are particularly contentious issues in the Bay Area. Our position is clear: We agree wholeheartedly with you and share your dismay. Still, despite these egregious errors in taste, we hope you and yours are able to enjoy a summer delightful in every way.