Prices Jumping – Yet Again – Across San Francisco

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.
This next chart is a look at quarterly median price appreciation over the past 3 years.



Longer-term trends: While virtually the whole country has been experiencing a large market rebound, San Francisco, because of our particular economic circumstances, is generally outperforming almost every other market area. The big exception is Silicon Valley, whose high appreciation rate is being driven by many of the same employment and demographic causes.



Far Too Little Inventory
When the market recovery began in earnest in early 2012, there were complaints of a shortage in inventory. In 2013, the market grew even more heated and supply declined further to what felt like desperately low levels. Now in 2014, amid no lessening of demand that we perceive, the supply of SF homes available to purchase has dropped again.

There are increasing numbers of new-construction housing units coming on market – and many more being planned and built – but so far they’re being snapped up, at very high prices, without noticeably altering the supply and demand dynamic.



Listings Selling Faster than Ever



San Francisco Neighborhood Snapshots
We updated analyses for a number of city neighborhoods with enough sales for quarterly data to be meaningful. In every district we looked at, there were significant spikes in median sales prices and/or average dollar per square foot values in the quarter just ended.
Below are two samples, but our full collection of long-term neighborhood analyses can be found here (some updated through the first quarter, others through the end of 2013):San Francisco Neighborhood Values







Affordability by Neighborhood
We broke the city down by neighborhood according to the number of house and condo sales in each price segment. Of course, in a generally appreciating market, these prices continue to move upward en masse. Below are 3 analyses from our 11-chart report, which can be found in its entirety here:Where Can I Afford to Buy in San Francisco






Please call or email if you have any questions or comments regarding these analyses.

Fluctuations in median and average sales prices and average dollar per square foot values are not unusual and these fluctuations can occur for other reasons besides changes in value, such as seasonality, inventory available to purchase, buyer profile and new condo development projects coming on market. How these statistics apply to any particular property is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. All data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision.

Top 10 Overbids Of The Week, And One Mind Bender On Church That Wouldn’t Even Make The List

[Update: Most recent Overbids can be found here, and delivered to you biweekly via email at sfnewsletter.com]

Before we get down to the top 10, I thought you all might like a bit of first hand story to ponder over lunch or dinner with your friends.

This property: 1850 Church, technically in Glen Park, practically in Noe Valley.
1850church
It is a top floor, three bedroom, two bath, down to the studs remodel including moving the bedrooms from the back of the house to the front, moving kitchen to the back, blowing out walls, opening up space, adding a deck, and basically making it awesome…and it has two car parking and a yard. For all practical purposes, it’s pretty sweet. It is however bordered by a shack on the right and left of the property, which can either lend to its appeal or detract, depending on your tolerance for jungle overgrowth. But enough about that. What happened?

Listed for $1,195,000, maybe a bit low, but probably pretty fair, all reasonable comps suggested a sales price in the high $1.2s to mid $1.3s. Single family homes are selling for that, and this is a condo! After all the dust settled, there were seven offers. My clients wrote at $1,350,000, my colleague’s clients wrote at $1,410,000 (You doing the math? That’s already $215,000 over asking.), and neither of us won. Go figure. So any day this property is going to close at $1,435,000 with a cash offer that came with zero contingencies, which equates to $240,000 over the asking price, and right into the range of insanity. Exact square footage is not known, but a ballpark would put this property to at least $1000/psf, and at 20% over asking, it doesn’t even get on the top 10 list!

Isolated incident? Sadly no. The pattern is the same. Buyer loses once. Buyer loses twice. Buyer loses three times or more. Buyer gets fed up, goes crazy big, blows our minds, blows everyone else out of the water, and sets the bar that much higher for the next. It’s a vicious cycle we’re in.

In case one anecdotal sale isn’t enough for you, I present San Francisco’s top 10 Overbids of the week.

Address BR/BA/Units DOM List Price Sold Price Overbid
2820 Sacramento St 2822 2-4 Units 11 $1,825,000 $2,550,000 39.73%
360 Guerrero St 1/1.00/404 11 $599,000 $780,000 30.22%
1013 Rhode Island St 2/2.00/N/A 9 $1,099,000 $1,410,000 28.30%
125 Bella Vista Way 3/2.00/N/A 42 $749,000 $960,000 28.17%
664 Teresita Blvd 2/1.00/N/A 9 $699,000 $891,000 27.47%
26 Pleasant St 30 2-4 Units 75 $2,395,000 $3,020,000 26.10%
1335 31st Ave 2/2.00/N/A 14 $795,000 $1,000,000 25.79%
415 Missouri St 3/1.00/ 19 $995,000 $1,250,000 25.63%
3380 22nd St 3/1.00/ 70 $849,000 $1,060,000 24.85%
2446 17th Ave 3/2.00/N/A 15 $729,000 $908,000 24.55%

So when will this madness end? I’m guessing not anytime soon. I’ve been saying it’s a great time to be a seller, but if you’re a seller needing to buy in San Francisco and stay here, not so fun.

To you out of town readers that have waited for your time to unload your SF property, are you going to keep rolling the dice and bet things get hotter, or get out while the gettin’s good?

-1850 Church [Property Detail]
-Noe Valley, Glen Park comps for 1850 Church [MLS]
-Overbids you may have missed [theFrontSteps]