The August Case-Shiller Index report released today showed a small home price decline for the 5 counties of the SF Metro Area. Autumn’s numbers will give us a clearer indication as to whether this is the beginning of a flattening or declining price trend or simply the not untypical indication of a Summer adjustment from the Spring frenzy.
The San Francisco real estate market grew increasingly frenzied as the first quarter of 2014 progressed, leading to another surge in home prices in virtually every neighborhood in the city. The high-demand/ extremely-low-inventory/ competitive-bidding situation is similar to what occurred first in spring 2012 and then, to an even higher degree, in spring 2013. After the market seemed to stabilize in the second half of last year, we didn’t expect to see it turn this fierce in early 2014, but right now it appears to be every bit as ferocious as last spring’s.
Of major metro areas, the new Gallup-Healthways survey ranked SF-Oakland second in the nation (behind San Jose-Santa Clara) on their index for “well-being.” Though already the second most densely populated city in the country (after NYC), San Francisco simply has many more people wanting to live here than there are homes available to rent or buy.
Sales over Asking Price
The heated competition for new listings coming on market has resulted in an astounding percentage of sales occurring above, and often far above, list price.
This chart below breaks down, by neighborhood, the average sales price to list price percentage for the 90% of homes selling without price reductions. Of the areas assessed, Bernal Heights came out on top with sales prices averaging an incredible 21% over list prices over the past 2 months.
Median Sales Price Spikes
Typically, the first quarter of the year does not show a dramatic increase in median sales prices over the previous quarter – in fact, a decline is not unusual due to holiday market dynamics. But the first quarter of 2014 saw large spikes in median prices for both single family homes (houses) and, especially, condos in San Francisco.
“How much is my property worth?” “How much could we get for our place?” “How much do you think my condo would sell for?”
I get asked different variations of this question every single day, everywhere I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a dinner party, bbq, school event, or even on a field trip with my 7 year old. It’s okay. It’s totally normal. Everybody wants to chat real estate. It’s why I started this blog, and it’s a go-to if conversation about Blue Bottle versus Ritual Roasters gets so heated it’d be better left settled in the Octagon. Everybody wants to know if their home value has gone up, and everybody wants free information about the market and their property. So how does a real estate professional accurately answer this question in a market where (currently) home values seem to be going nowhere but up every week, and every new sale sets a new high water mark in your area?
The answer is this, nobody REALLY knows. A couple things I do know are Zillow Zestimates do you no good in San Francisco, your property is worth more than your cousin’s in Kansas, and your property could be worth more than it ever was. I know what comparable properties have recently sold for, and I know how I can help you market, show, and price your property to get the maximum number of people through the door in an effort to let the market dictate what is the maximum value your property is worth.
Imagine an Outer Sunset made up entirely of sand dunes, streetcars repurposed as oceanfront homes and clubhouses, bohemians having all-night parties that include midnight swims in the icy Pacific and this:
Charles Depew, late of Saginaw, Michigan, built 1626 Great Highway in 1908, minus an architect but likely inspired by Bernard Maybeck. The three-flat building, known as “The Moss Flats,” has survived long enough to join the National Register of Historic Places, decades after the last of its colorful, ramshackle neighbors dissolved into dust. It’s on the market, listed for $1.349 by similarly old San Francisco school agency Barbagelata.
Outside are the maybe-Maybeck-inspired shingles; inside are three two-bedroom tenant-occupied flats decorated in surfer chic:
Plus ocean views from the top-most unit. Longtime owners, plus longtime rental units, plus longtime exposure to salty ocean air may be a caveat in this case, but assuming the owner of the last standing evidence of Carville has no immediate plans to sell, this is your best chance to get into a pre-Doelger Outer Sunset historic property, steps from the beach and with a steady, proven income flow.
-Article by Larry Rosen: Contributing writer and San Francisco local sharing his thoughts with theFrontSteps.
A look at the past couple of weeks of sales and listing activity for San Francisco, as well as some other real estate tid-bits to tie you over until the next issue…
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I should point out, this is the most real time information you’ll get for most recent sales unless you have access to MLS yourself. :-)