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San Francisco Real Estate Data, Focus On The Volume On Your Block, Not The Median In Your City

“After hitting a two year low in January, the median price for single-family re-sale homes rose 18.6% in March from February. Year-over-year, the median price was off for the seventh month in a row, falling 3.1%.

After falling to their lowest level since January 2009 in February, home sales bounced back last month, which is normal for this time of year, and rose 75% from February. The 203 home sales last month were 7.7% lower than last March.”

Single Family Stats:

Condominium Stats:

One can argue the merits of medians, averages, days on market and generally just about anything in this data, and one can certainly spin it however they like. Read any number of Realtor blogs/sites and the market is gravy. Read any number of market bashing blogs and it’s all still doom and gloom. Because of this market spin that makes my head spin, I like to focus on one thing…sales volume…more specifically sales volume by district, even nano-district.

We’re coming off of a historical market thrashing. Naturally, prices are going all over the map. So what I really want to know is, if there is sales activity where my client either needs to buy or sell property. If property is moving, that is a good thing. If they’re getting stale, that is bad.

For San Francisco single family homes, we can see year over year (YoY) sales volume is down 7.7%, but up 75% compared to the month prior. Pick District 7 North (roughly Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Marina, Cow Hollow) and you’ll see that not only is volume up YoY (8.3%), but also up 225% on the month, whereas District 1 (roughly Richmond, Sea Cliff, Lake, Lone Mountain) is down 25% YoY, but up 50% on the month. (The fact home values in the Richmond are grouped with Sea Cliff is an entirely different nano breakdown that could further skew the numbers…ever seen a $15,000,000 home sell in the Richmond? Anyway….) In any given neighborhood, it is good that volume is up on the month (but also expected given the season), but bad that it is down on the year, because last year was a brutal year, so how could it go anywhere but up? That makes me cautiously optimistic.

For Condos we see YoY sales volume is down 7.2%, but up 28.8% on the month. That is a much more modest gain as compared to single families, and another indication that single family homes are still, and likely always will be, in more demand in San Francisco (because there are so few of them.) But look at District 5 Central (Noe Valley, Haight, Cole Valley, Glen Park…all together? Seriously?) volume is up 2.6% from last year, and 81.8% from the month prior.

The verdict? The San Francisco real estate market is both showing signs of strength, but also still many signs of weakness. You need to really take a close look at the data being presented in any articles you read (as opposed to just reading the headline and story), and you really need to figure out what the market is doing in your neighborhood, and specifically, on your block. Sales volume is (to me) most important, because it is your indication of whether properties are selling, or not. Average and median prices got pummeled, so don’t lose sleep over them. If you have to move and sell now, focus on pricing, get the highest and best price you can, and don’t stress over whether the seller 20 blocks away got more, because it could just be a result of the weather.

I’ve always said “San Francisco” data is way too generic for all of our little nano-markets, so if you have any questions about my thoughts on your ‘hood, you know where to find me.

Today, I’ll be golfing (or maybe surfing).

San Francisco Real Estate Market Trends [ReReports.com]
Why The Fuss About Noe Valley [theFrontSteps]
What’s the Real Estate Forecast For Bernal Heights [theFrontSteps]
Tour De San Francisco: Clarendon Heights [theFrontSteps]
Factoring Weather When Buying A Home In San Francisco Is Anything But Easy [theFrontSteps]


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alexclark

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2 thoughts on “San Francisco Real Estate Data, Focus On The Volume On Your Block, Not The Median In Your City”

  • David

    April 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    So where can we get these statistics broken down into useful information? As you said, District 5 information is next to useless. Need to know Noe Valley versus Mission Dolores versus Haight versus Twin Peaks versus Glen Park. Night and friggin’ day.

    Reply
    • thefrontsteps

      April 15, 2011 at 8:08 am

      David, Shoot me an email and I’m happy to get that info for you.

      Reply

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