2014 – January Market Report

San Francisco Real Estate: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The real estate market recovery started in earnest in 2012 and then went white hot in spring 2013, which resulted in a huge jump in home prices. In the last six months of the year, the market calmed somewhat and prices generally stabilized, but buyer demand remained very strong by historical standards. Economic conditions have continued to improve, household net worth has increased dramatically with rising stock and housing markets, rents remain very high, new construction is soaring and interest rates, after jumping in 2013, are still relatively low. Though it is impossible to predict the future, these factors typically form the foundation of a healthy, active housing market.

In the next few weeks, new listings will start coming on market, buyers will get back in home-search mode and the market will begin to wake up after the holiday hibernation. Then we’ll start to get an inkling of what the new year has in store.

If you missed our survey of what San Francisco homebuyers bought in 2013, you can find it here: 2013 Market Survey. It was reported on by SFGate, KGO Radio and other major media.

1968-2010_US-CA-SF_Median_Price

This first chart above gives a longer-term overview of city, state and national real estate price trends. Though varying by neighborhood, San Francisco has generally made a complete recovery from the market decline suffered in 2007-2011. Some city neighborhoods surged to new peak values in 2013.


This chart below tracks San Francisco median prices by quarter, illustrating how the rebound in values progressed in steps since the recovery began.

Median_SFD-Condo_by-Qtr_Short-term

And below, home value changes for Bay Area higher priced homes are charted over the past 2 years according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Case-Shiller_High-Tier_2011

Total Home Sales by Year (below).

The quantity of sales in the past two years has been severely constrained by an inadequacy of inventory to meet demand. This, of course, is also a major factor behind price increases.

SF_Total_Unit_Sales_Since_1994

San Francisco Luxury Home Market

A major component of the recent recovery has been the terrific resurgence in luxury home sales. There are 3 main factors involved: firstly, the affluent have benefited most from the big surge in financial markets, which makes them feel even more affluent; secondly, our local high-tech boom has minted a large number of newly wealthy homebuyers; and finally, the simple increase in prices moves a certain number of home sales into the price categories we typically define as luxury ($1.5m and over for condos, co-ops and TICs; $2m and above for houses).

Lux-Homes_Units_Sold_by_YEAR

2013_LuxHome_Condos_by_District

2013_LuxHome_SFD_2000-4999_by-District

2013_LuxHome_SFD_5m_by-District

Home Price Appreciation by Selected Neighborhoods

This chart measures increases in median home prices over the past two years for a number of SF neighborhoods. Median price changes are not exact correlations of value changes, but give an approximate range of appreciation, in this case, about 25% to 30%. Distressed home sales were not included in this analysis as they typically do NOT reflect fair market value; if they had been included, several of these neighborhoods would show much greater percentage price increases since 2011.

2011-2013_Median_Price-Appreciation_Lw

And this chart below looks at median sales price appreciation in a few higher priced home segments. Here, we also added the change in dollar per square foot values (though not reflected in the chart columns). Note that appreciation rates between median prices and dollar per square foot can vary in the same neighborhood, which emphasizes that these are general statistics best used for indicating trends and delineating the range of value changes.

2011-2013_Median_Price-Appreciation_hgh

2013: Peak & Plateau

This chart is a bit complicated, but illustrates the differences in the heat of the market between 2011 and 2013, and, specifically, the peak of the market frenzy in the second quarter of 2013. In the second quarter, almost every statistical measure reflected the hottest market in recent memory: fewest price reductions and expired listings, lowest days on market, highest percentage of sales over list price, lowest interest rates in history, and so on. In the two quarters after, the market slowed and plateaued, but remained quite strong – as one can see by comparing them with 2011.

Percentages-Without_Reductions_Expireds-Comp

Selected 2013 Neighborhood & District Snapshots

SOMA-SB-YB-MB_Sales-by-Price

South Beach-SoMa-Yerba Buena-Mission Bay

Above is a look at the biggest condo market segment in the city, where the vast majority of new condo construction has occurred and is continuing to occur. Condos of every price range are found here, including a very substantial ultra-luxury component with extremely high dollar per square foot values (and typically with utterly spectacular views).

Potrero Hill, Bernal Heights and Inner Mission markets

Potrero-Bernal-Mission-Price-Range

Noe-Eureka-Cole Valleys District Snapshot

An overview of house, condo and TIC sales in this very hot central district of the city.

District_5-Price-Range

Pacific & Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow and Marina

The highest house prices in the Bay Area.

District_7_Sales-by-Price-Range

Russian, Nob & Telegraph Hills

Some of the most expensive condos in San Francisco are located in this district.

Russ-Nob-Tel_Condos_by-Price-Range

Mortgage Interest Rates

2014 started with a 30-year conforming interest rate of 4.5%, which is about a full percentage point above the historic lows one year ago. This affects the cost of homeownership significantly (if one is getting a loan), but the rate is still quite low in the context of the past 30 years.

Average_30-Year_Mortgage-Rates

San Francisco Housing Units: Inventory By Property Type

After investigating with the Departments of Planning and DPW, their inventory and pipeline reports, U.S. census data, MLS data, Andy Sirkin, NAHB and a half dozen other resources, we came up with the following estimates about San Francisco housing inventory:

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Additional findings:

  • 124,000 housing units are owner occupied. About 4% to 4.5% of San Francisco houses and 6.5% to 7% of condo, co-ops and TIC units are sold annually.
  • 222,000 housing units are rented out and 25,000+units are vacant at any given time

* These are very approximate estimates based on data from the U.S. Census, the SF Depts. of Planning & Public Works, MLS and other sources deemed reliable.

Source : http://bit.ly/1cDO22d

Great Dickens Christmas Fair – December 22, 2013

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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London – an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors and Christmas shops.

It’s a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town; a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history. Enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty foods fill the air. Cries of street vendors hawking their wares ring out above the bustling crowd. Dozens of lamplit shops are filled to overflowing with Christmas gifts. The Dickens Christmas Fair is a treasured Bay Area tradition since 1970 and a splendid way to celebrate the holidays.

Four weekends including the Friday after Thanksgiving: November 29th through December 22nd, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM PST
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, San Francisco
General Admission, $25. Student/Senior/Military, $21. Children 5-11, $12. Children Under 5, Free. Groups of 15 or more, $17. Pickwick Club (Fair season pass), $60.

For more information go to www.dickensfair.com/

What SF Homebuyers Bought in 2013: A Survey

Penthouses, Mansions, Short Sales & Fixer-Uppers

What Did San Francisco Homebuyers Buy in 2013?

Views, prices, architecture, neighborhoods, property types and sizes, parking, probate sales and appreciation rates: We data-mined all of San Francisco’s 2013 sales reported to MLS through the end of November and charted the results below.

 

Sales as described in and reported to San Francisco MLS by 11/25/13. All data herein is from sources deemed (at least somewhat) reliable — i.e. the information input by listing agents regarding their own listings — but may contain errors and is subject to revision. These charts do not include sales unreported to MLS, such as the sale of many so-called “pocket listings” and many of the new-development condo sales that occur.

September Case-Shiller Index Released

The 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 city of San Francisco’s house sales are in the “high price tier.” The Index is published 2 months after the month in question and reflects a 3-month rolling average. September’s Index was just released today, November 26th.

This first chart illustrates the price recovery of the Bay Area high-price-tier home market which really got under way in 2012. In both 2012 and 2013, home prices surged in the spring and then plateaued in the summer-autumn. The surge in prices that occurred in spring of 2013 was particularly dramatic, reflecting a frenzied market of huge buyer demand, historically low interest rates, increasing consumer confidence and extremely low inventory. In San Francisco itself, it was further exacerbated by the high-tech-fueled explosion of new wealth. The market has since calmed down somewhat and that cooling is reflected in the Index readings of the past three months (through September).

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 180 signifies home prices 80% above those of January 2000.

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This second chart reflects what has occurred since 1996 showing the cycle of recession, recovery, bubble and decline/recession.

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This third chart compares the 3 different price tiers since 2000. The low-price-tier’s bubble was much more inflated by the subprime lending fiasco – an absurd 176% appreciation over 6 years – which led to a greater crash 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 well below 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, is now pretty much back to its previous peak of 2007. Many specific neighborhoods in the city of San Francisco have now surpassed previous peak values.

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: ranging from 72% for the low-tier, to 80 to 83% appreciation for the mid and high tiers, over the past 13 years. The gap is relatively small and has been converging in recent months.

Different counties, cities and neighborhoods in the Bay Area are dominated by different price tiers.

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.

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2BR Condo Values in Selected Neighborhoods

Union Square Tree Lighting

The 24th annual Union Square Tree Lighting on November 22nd, 2013, featuring Macy’s gift to the City of San Francisco and most recognizable Christmas tree. The 83-foot tall, reusable tree will be dressed with 33,000 energy-efficient twinkling LED lights.

One of the prettiest features of winter and Christmas in San Francisco is the lighting – lights on buildings, on trees and in windows, which look even better as the nights get longer and colder. When the light diplays switch on (starting the week before Thanksgiving) you know it’s the onset of the holiday season.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Union Square, San Francisco – located between Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets

Holiday Season Events

Wishing you and yours the safest and happiest of holiday seasons!

Please confirm all locations, dates, times, ticket fees and reservation requirements in advance.

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(click to enlarge)

San Francisco Home Sales by District

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Source : http://www.parascopesf.com/san-francisco-home-sales-by-district/

Mixed Signals from October Market

Government Shutdown & Default Fears Affect SF Homes Market

Paragon Real Estate Report, November 2013

The number of home listings accepting offers was way down in October (when it usually goes up); months-supply-of-inventory was significantly up (when it usually goes down in October); average days on market were still very low; median sales price was generally stable: The San Francisco real estate market is currently delivering a wide variety of signals, some of them undoubtedly influenced by the U.S. government shutdown fiasco, which dominated the first 3 weeks of last month.

1Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers
October is usually one of the busiest months of the year for buyers purchasing new homes – as measured by having their offers accepted – as they react to the surge of new listings that typically arrives after Labor Day. But the government shutdown and the threat of U.S. default hammered October’s activity as SF buyers nervously waited to see how it was going to shake out. Surveys show that the affluent were the group most concerned about a possible default – and SF is a very affluent home-buying market. In this chart, the plunge in the percentage of listings accepting offers is well illustrated; and on a unit basis, the number of homes accepting offers dropped by about 20% year over year, a big decline. Closed sales were actually up about 7%, but October closings reflect accepted offer activity in August/ September before the shutdown crisis began. It is too early to tell if there is more going on in the market besides the temporary reaction to default fears.

This chart on Months Supply of Inventory shows a similarly unusual trend for October: MSI going up from September instead of down. Though it’s well up from recent months, it’s still low by market standards.
Months Supply of Inventory

2Average Days on Market
Although many fewer listings went into contract (i.e. accepted offers) in October compared to last year, those homes that did accept offers did so, on average, very quickly. That, of course, is usually an indication of a hot market. So buyers didn’t snap up as many listings – either as a percentage of listings or in units – but the ones they did, were snapped up very quickly. Sometimes different statistics appear to indicate different trends on a short-term basis; such anomalies are almost always resolved over a longer term.

3Case-Shiller Home Price Index
The last Case-Shiller Index reading – for the 5-county “SF Metro Area” – came out in late October for the month of August, and it’s a 3-month moving average, so the Index really reflects the market 3 to 5 months ago. This chart gives an overview of long-term trends in Bay Area values for homes in the upper third of sales by price range (i.e. more expensive homes). If we looked at what was happening month by month in the Index, we’d see a gradual plateauing of price appreciation of higher-priced homes over the past few months after the furious increases of spring. Home values in the city of San Francisco itself (as opposed to the Metro Area) are now generally above the previous peak values in 2006-2008.
Paragon Case-Shiller Report

4Median Sales Price Appreciation
This chart tracks SF home median price appreciation since the market recovery began in earnest. The overall trend has been dramatically up, but median prices for the last 5 months have been relatively flat after the springtime spike. If the October slowdown in accepted offers had any effect on median prices, it won’t show up until November and December closed sales are tallied. The market has certainly shifted from the frenzy of the first half of the year, but, except for October (affected by default fears), statistical measures of supply and demand have generally continued to show a strong market by historical measures. If a significant shift is occurring in the market, it will become clearer in the statistics of upcoming months. Note that median price changes are not perfectly correlated to changes in home value, as they can be affected by issues such as seasonality and inventory.

5Mortgage Interest Rates
In good news for buyers and sellers, 30-year interest rates have been dropping and are now at their lowest since June (though still above the historic low reached earlier in the year).

6Home Values around the Bay Area
We just updated our Bay Area Home Value map, which provides an interesting look at comparative home prices around the bay. Remember that each median price delineated for a particular city disguises a huge variety of prices in the underlying sales. For example, in San Francisco, median house sales prices by neighborhood vary from under $500,000 to over $4,000,000. Other towns and cities will have a similarly wide range in property values underlying their overall median sales prices.
San Francisco Neighborhood Values