The Case-Shiller Index report for May 2014 for the 5-county San Francisco Metro Statistical Area was released yesterday, showing another small bump in home prices from April to May. The aggregate or total index is now up approximately 55% since the market recovery began in early 2012. The 5 counties covered by the index are San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa.
Our full report can be found here: http://www.paragon-re.com/Case_Shiller_Reflects_Accelerating_Home_Prices.
However, Case-Shiller also breaks out home price changes by price tier – low, middle and high – and each tier has experienced dramatically different trend lines since 2000. The low price tier – homes found mostly in Alameda and Contra Costa counties (though also other Bay Area counties not in the SF MSA, such as Solano, Sonoma and Napa) experienced a crazy bubble much larger than the other price tiers and subsequently experienced a much bigger crash due to foreclosures and short sales. The middle and high price tiers, which predominate in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo, experienced much smaller bubbles and crashes. This is dramatically illustrated in the first graph below.
In all the Case-Shiller Indices the numbers refer to a January 2000 home value of 100. Thus a reading of 195 signifies a value 95% above that of January 2000.
All tiers have seen big recoveries since 2012 began, but only the high-price tier has now exceeded previous peak values attained in 2006-2007. Because of the absurd size of the low-price tier bubble, its home prices are still far below previous peak values and it’s probably unreasonable to expect them to be surpassed anytime soon.
However, all the price tiers show very similar overall appreciation rates since 2000, running from 93% to 97% over the 14 ½ years, which suggest an equilibrium is being achieved across the general market.
This chart below tracks home price appreciation for higher-priced homes since 2012. As with all statistics, monthly statistics are much less meaningful than longer term trends.
San Francisco itself, whose median house price is now over $1.1 million, has performed significantly better than even the general high-price tier, as can be seen in the median price chart for the Noe & Eureka Valleys neighborhoods of the city.
This chart is just a sample of how some San Francisco neighborhoods – especially its most expensive ones – have far exceeded general Bay Area appreciation trends, as far a previous peak values are concerned. Many of San Mateo’s cities have experienced a similar dynamic, as they both share the dominant effect of the high-tech wealth effect on home prices.
As hard as it might be to believe, in the 1980s you could buy property in Bernal Heights for next to nothing. A long period of decline and neglect had left the proud, working-class neighborhood in such a state that businesses and homeowners alike had fled, leaving boarded-up storefronts and empty Victorians in their wake. Even the Bank of America, which had kept a presence on Bernal’s Cortland Avenue for decades, considered moving out.
Today, such an exodus seems absurd, especially in a neighborhood recently called the country’s “hottest” by Redfin. Buyers now target Bernal Heights so often that neighborhood homes routinely sell for well over their asking price, sometimes after fierce bidding wars. Bernal Heights is well past its “low” point.
Despite the furor, part of Bernal’s allure remains its relatively affordable market. In a city whose median single-family home price recently soared past $1 million, Bernal is still a middle-class neighborhood offering plenty of options above and below that mark. A recent check of Bernal homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) showed single-family homes available for as little as $525,000 ranging all the way to $2 million, with a median asking price of $995,000.
Buyers are drawn to Bernal for a number of reasons, and not all of them are economic. For example, there are few San Francisco districts offering so many historic homes, thanks to a pair of factors. Because of Bernal’s history of neighborhood activism, it’s been free of large-scale redevelopment. The first settlers came to Bernal Heights 150 years ago; many of the existing homes in the neighborhood are almost that old. The second reason is somewhat ironic: Bernal’s long period of decline meant many of its oldest homes escaped being snapped up by ambitious remodelers or flippers during San Francisco’s early renaissance periods, leaving them authentic and intact for 21st-century buyers.
They’re the type of historic homes – Victorians – that traditionally capture the imaginations of San Francisco buyers. In Bernal Heights, you can purchase a 19th-century farmhouse with a view, a garden and all of the period details you can handle, and you can do this in the middle of the second-most densely populated city in America. Some buyers find this opportunity – to restore a classic Victorian or Edwardian home to its former grandeur – irresistible.
This is not to say that there is only one kind of house for sale in Bernal Heights or even one kind of historic home in one type of condition; far from it. This is a large neighborhood with multiple personalities and multiple types of living. North slope homes feature a breathtaking downtown view; south slope domiciles boast walking access to Cortland Avenue. Homes on the east slope are often more rural than their neighbors to the west (and often have views of San Francisco Bay) and property in St. Mary’s Park, at Bernal’s southern border, are of the same vintage and style as the fully-detached pre-war “streetcar suburbia” homes you’d find in neighborhoods like West Portal.
Bernal homes can run from the challenging to the spectacular. Some of the city’s most impressive contemporary construction is on Bernal’s north slope (as well as some of its most creative; a few north slope lots are extremely steep and narrow), and don’t forget that Bernal has San Francisco’s largest collection of existing earthquake refugee shacks from 1906, adapted into permanent dwellings. Some stand alone or are connected in twos and are easily identified; others have been integrated into other construction and are harder to spot.
The district has classic “full five” and “junior five” homes from the 1930s, 40s and 50s and new condominium complexes (small ones; Bernal’s homegrown activists have successfully blocked major development from encroaching on their neighborhood). It’s large enough to offer very different micro-neighborhood experiences within its borders; life near Precita Park is very different from life near Holly Park, for example.
All of this is what makes Bernal so attractive and what is driving its present-day popularity. It is, in many ways, unlike any other San Francisco neighborhood. No other offers such housing diversity, so many options at so many price points and the opportunity to “live in the country” while living in the city.
Source : Parascopesf.com
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What’s Behind San Francisco’s Real Estate Market?
This chart is a simplified, smoothed-out and approximate look at the last few real estate cycles in San Francisco, illustrating estimated percentage changes in home prices from successive peaks and bottoms of the market. The years between these high/low points are simply depicted here as straight lines (which does not reflect reality). Different market segments have experienced varying appreciation and depreciation rates over the years and how this chart applies to any specific property is unknown without a tailored analysis.
Why is San Francisco’s housing market so hot, so competitive? It’s worthwhile to take a step back and consider some of the main factors at play, some of which reflect general macro-economic trends and some of which are specific to the city itself:
- Population growth: San Francisco has recently been adding approximately 10,000 new residents per year and new home construction has not come close to adding enough additional housing units to meet increase demand. (And more would move here if they could find a place to live.) New construction is booming again in the city, but it will be a while before enough new units arrive (to rent or to buy) to substantially change the existing high-demand/low-supply dynamic.
- Employment growth: San Francisco now has the highest number of employed residents in its history and job numbers continue to grow as new companies start up and existing ones expand. Many of these new jobs are very well paid.
- Surging stock market: The S&P 500 is up over 50% since 2011 began. The affluent have benefited most from the recent, large increase in the value of financial assets, and San Francisco has one of the most affluent populations in the country. When people feel wealthier, they spend more on homes, second homes and real estate investment properties.
- Brand new wealth: Thousands of newly affluent residents – including significant numbers of millionaires and even billionaires – have been created in the Bay Area in recent years from stock options, IPOs and company sales. This is super-charging the “wealth effect” on the market.
- High rents: Purchasing a home in San Francisco, with the attendant tax benefits and equity accrual (as well as the possibility of future appreciation), often makes compelling financial sense if the alternative is to pay an extraordinarily high rent.
- Low interest rates: from 1996 to 2006, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan was approximately 6.3%. As of early July 2014, it was 4.1%. That 35% reduction in the cost of financing makes an enormous difference in affordability and the ongoing cost of housing.
- Work there, live here: A relatively recent development, many of the people working or taking new jobs in Silicon Valley high-tech and bio-tech now insist on living in the city. The “Google bus” phenomenon is just one illustration of a trend which puts considerable additional pressure on our housing market.
- Magnet effect: San Francisco, a small city of 7 by 7 miles, is now the capital of perhaps the fastest growing, most lucrative, highest-prestige business segment. It is also in one of the most beautiful, best educated, most tolerant and culturally rich metropolitan areas in the world. That makes the city a magnet for smart, creative, ambitious people from all over the planet and they are willing to pay a premium to live here.
- Limited supply: Almost two thirds of the city’s housing is in rental units, much of it under rent control. The number of homes suitable for owner-occupancy and available to purchase each year is relatively small: As an example, the SF homes market is less than half the size of the markets in either Alameda or Contra Costa counties.
Huge demand + surging wealth + severely inadequate supply =
today’s San Francisco real estate market.
None of this implies justification for an ever-appreciating real estate market: Almost all these factors can stall or even go into reverse. Real estate and financial markets are prone to a wide variety of extremely complex and hard-to-predict economic and political factors – and they typically go in cycles: up, down, flat, up again (repeat). And economic and market fluctuations are not uncommon within cycle phases. Still, these are, we believe, the fundamental realities underpinning the city’s homes market now.
San Francisco’s real estate market is now about 2 ½ years into its latest recovery. In the last few cycles, recoveries have typically lasted 5 to 7 years before a significant market adjustment, but, of course, the past is no guarantee of the future.
There are still some in San Francisco who don’t know much about Bernal Heights, some who don’t even know where it is. Simply put, they need to get with the program. While Bernal has been around since the 1860s, three decades have passed since it was “discovered.” In that time it’s gone from being forgotten to being one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods, real estate-wise.
Some of that change you can trace back to the opening of a single grocery store. In 1991, the owners of the Good Life grocery store on Potrero Hill shrugged off Bernal’s then-iffy reputation, choosing Cortland Street for their second location. At the time, Cortland, which had been Bernal’s “Main Street” for well over 100 years, was full of shuttered stores and dodgy foot traffic. So far had Bernal fallen that the venerable Bank of America branch on Cortland had considered pulling out of the neighborhood just a few years prior.
But Good Life owner Lester Zeidman received a letter from a customer, begging him to open a branch in Bernal Heights. When he did, almost immediately other businesses turned toward Cortland Street and Bernal Heights. The Liberty Café followed three years later, opening up Cortland to destination restaurants.
Many would say that by then Bernal was already on an upward arc. The neighborhood, a working-class enclave for more than a century, had begun attracting artists and activists years before. Some spent years fighting with those who sought to compromise Bernal’s abundant open space in the name of growth. The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center was borne out of this type of effort in the 1970s.
Whatever travails Bernal has endured during its 150-plus-years history, today it is squarely in the sites of homebuyers and, beginning with its location, it’s easy to see why. Bernal is accessible to downtown San Francisco by bus and train. Nearby on-ramps to both major freeways offer easy entrée to South San Francisco’s biotech hub and to Silicon Valley. The shops and restaurants of Mission Street, Noe Valley and Glen Park are all within walking distance, but thanks to the movement begun 20 years ago by The Good Life and The Liberty Café, Bernal residents can find all they need within their own neighborhood.
Bernal is a large district with numerous personalities. Its defining feature is Bernal Hill, 500 feet tall and unpopulated at its peak. Bernal’s parade of cottages and bungalows climbs about halfway up Bernal Hill on all sides (“north,” “south,” “east” and “west” slopes). Above that is a huge park, popular with dog walkers, joggers and those enraptured by panoramic San Francisco views, i.e. almost everyone. In Bernal’s early days, residents used the hilltop for cattle grazing. Back then, almost everyone in the neighborhood had their own cows.
But it was almost not so; in the late 1960s, the City of San Francisco set its sights on Bernal Hill, imagining a Diamond Heights-style redevelopment project. Calling on their long history of activism (Bernal Heights residents played large roles in the San Francisco labor wars during the 1930s and earlier), Bernal locals worked to have the hill made into an official park, then created the Bernal Hilltop Restoration Project to restore it to its original state.
Barbara Pitschel, a long-time Bernal Heights resident who, with her husband Roland, spearheaded the effort, referred to Bernal as “a piece of country inside the city.” Though it’s grown and changed, it remains so today. What other San Francisco neighborhood still has dirt roads?
Bernal Heights is built on a section of the former Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo, granted to Jose Cornelio Bernal by the governor of Alta California in 1839. For several years, Bernal’s homestead, near the site of today’s St. Luke’s Hospital, was the only residence in the area, until the 1863 completion of the San Francisco to San Jose rail line made it feasible to come to Bernal Heights. Photos of Bernal from that era show open fields and farms, plus the faint outline of Holly Park and the fledgling campus of St. Mary’s College, located in today’s St. Mary’s Park neighborhood. The college moved to Oakland in 1889 and then to Moraga years later.
Bernal’s next population bump came after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. The flames stopped at 20th Street, leaving Bernal mostly unharmed. Refugees took shelter in 250 earthquake shacks set up in Precita Park. Many stayed. Some simply towed their shacks to nearby lots. Today, Bernal Heights has the city’s largest collection of extant shacks.
Bernal also has one of the city’s largest inventories of Victorian cottages, built by early Irish, Scandinavian, Italian and German settlers. In recent years, these homes have become very popular, especially on Bernal’s north slope. Here you can get not only Victorian charm but also unsurpassed views of the San Francisco skyline.
Views are common on Bernal Hill. Those on Bernal’s eastern slope – also a hot spot for Victorians – are treated to western-facing views of Twin Peaks; from the east the views are of San Francisco Bay and from the south Bernalites face San Bruno Mountain. These are the advantages of living on a hill.
Earlier this year, the real estate web site Redfin named Bernal Heights the “hottest neighborhood in the U.S.” based on buyer trends, which means that of all the neighborhoods in San Francisco – all red hot and getting hotter – Bernal stands above them. Wherever Bernal Heights stands on the pecking order of “hot” neighborhoods, though, its character remains unchanged; it is in many ways quintessentially San Franciscan, full of colorful homes and equally colorful characters.
Source : Parascopesf.com
San Francisco Luxury Home Sales & Prices
Continue to Climb Past Previous Peaks
July 2014 Update by Paragon Real Estate Group
With 7 Custom Charts & Tables
The luxury segment of San Francisco’s real estate market was the last to peak, in 2008, while most other housing segments started to lose steam in 2006-2007. After the financial markets crash in September 2008, the city’s high-end home market generally lost the least value on a percentage basis, 15-20%, as compared to the 20-60% drops seen elsewhere. Then it was the first to recover in late 2011/early 2012. Now, SF luxury home values have accelerated well past the previous peak values of 6 years ago. The factors include the increasing strength of the Bay Area economy; the huge, local surge in high-tech and affiliated wealth; an increase in well-heeled foreign buyers; and the fact that the highly affluent have, by far, profited most from the recent, tremendous appreciation in stocks and other financial assets.
The net result: There is an enormous amount of new and old money sloshing around the Bay Area looking for beautiful homes to buy, many of which are being purchased all-cash.
Luxury homes in San Francisco are typically defined as condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $1,500,000 and above, and houses selling for $2,000,000 or more. These are relatively arbitrary thresholds since $2,000,000 might buy a small-ish, fixer-upper house in Pacific Heights or a large, gracious home in another neighborhood. It is also true that the significant appreciation since 2011 has simply moved more sales into the “luxury” price category, which at current trends will soon require reassessment.
San Francisco Luxury Home Sales by Quarter
The number of SF luxury home sales in the 2nd quarter of 2014 was more than twice the number sold in the 2nd quarters of 2007 or 2008 before the market crash. Luxury condo sales in particular are skyrocketing.
Average Dollar per Square Foot Values
for San Francisco Luxury Homes
Average dollar per square foot is a very general statistic, but this chart gives an idea of the extraordinary values now being achieved by San Francisco luxury properties in different neighborhoods of the city. These are just averages: Some homes are selling far beyond the values seen here, including a few over $2000 per square foot.
San Francisco High-End Home Sales by Neighborhood
Luxury house sales in San Francisco are dominated by the swath of established, prestige, northern neighborhoods running from Sea Cliff and Lake Street through Pacific & Presidio Heights and Cow Hollow; by the greater Noe-Eureka-Cole Valleys district (which has seen explosive growth in this market segment since the mid-nineties); and, to a lesser extent, the smaller neighborhoods around St. Francis Wood and Forest Hill.
High-end condo sales have now overtaken luxury house sales in the city because of all the new-condo construction which occurred over the past 10-15 years – and this building boom, which lapsed in the 4 years after the 2008 market crash, is accelerating once again. (Very few new houses are built in SF anymore, though those few are typically quite expensive.) Besides the older Pacific Heights-Marina and Russian & Nob Hills districts, and the greater Noe-Eureka Valleys district, the newer neighborhoods of South Beach, Yerba Buena and Mission Bay have a rapidly growing footprint in luxury condo sales. And just very recently, high-priced, high-tech, condo buildings are being constructed in areas such as the Mission, Hayes Valley, and the Market Street and Van Ness corridors that were not previously considered luxury-home locations.
Luxury Home Sales With & Without Price Reductions:
Sales Price to Original List Price Percentage & Average Days on Market
For the sake of simplicity, this chart looks at all SF home sales of $2,000,000 and above in the 2nd quarter of 2014. The 88% of these listings that sold without price reductions averaged a sales price 9% over asking price, with a very low average days-on-market of 26 days. These statistics are an indication of a very high-demand market. Still, not every home sold quickly: Listings that were price reduced averaged a sales price 12% below original price and spent 2.5 months longer on the market. And then a fair number of listings expired without selling, typically due to being perceived as overpriced: Even in a red hot market, one can overprice one’s home – and doing so will severely impact the market response.
House Values in San Francisco’s Prestige Northern Neighborhoods
This table includes neighborhoods of varying home values, but still gives a fair representation of high-end home-price trends over the past 20 years. Average sales prices and dollar per square foot values have blown past their previous peaks of 2007-2008.
As mentioned before, other neighborhoods besides the “Prestige Northern Neighborhoods” now feature significant luxury home markets. More details on those districts can be found in the Neighborhood Values section of our website.
San Francisco’s Most Expensive Condo Buildings
Here one can see the impact of newer, luxury high-rise buildings such as the 4 Seasons, the Millennium and the Infinity Towers, all located in the greater South Beach-Yerba Buena area. However, this list ranks only the largest condo buildings and since many of the condos in the older neighborhoods are in much smaller buildings, they won’t show up here even though they have extremely high values as well. Besides location, premium services and expensive amenities, probably the most common element of luxury condos in San Francisco is spectacular views, which can add hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to the sales price. (The city’s most expensive condo sale ever – a penthouse at the St. Regis – closed for $28m in 2011.)
Paragon is one of the top 4 brokerages in San Francisco for luxury home sales
and has the highest Closed-to-List ratio of any of the city’s major luxury property firms.
For your convenience, below is a map of San Francisco neighborhoods.
Looking for some fun activities in the Bay Area this holiday weekend and beyond?
Check out these “18 Things to Do in July”
Source : Parascopesf.com
Enjoy a beautiful San Francisco weekend at The Stern Grove Festival, celebrating its 77th season. This admission-free performing arts series, takes place in Sigmund Stern Grove, a beautiful outdoor amphitheater located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.
For concert schedules, event details, and more, visit: http://www.sterngrove.org/home