A city known for its moderate weather, steep hills, and sweeping bay views, San Francisco is a small city (by land size…only 7X7 miles and flanked by water on three sides) jam packed with culture and coolness. If you’ve ever played tourist in SF, you’re likely aware of the city’s Victorian architecture, trademark fog (named Karl), cable cars, and awesome landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Prison, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown. Almost any visitor to San Francisco will tell you it’s an awesome place to visit, and even more awesome to call home.
If you are planning a move to San Francisco, it is important to familiarize yourself not only with its geography, attractions, and culture, but also with the cost of living, job opportunities, and other realities. To help you get acquainted with your new hometown, our friends at Great Guys have compiled the data you need to know in the super cool infographic below.
What does the data show? For starters, San Francisco proper is the fourth biggest city in the state of California, and the 14th largest in the U.S. with just over 840,000 residents. The larger metro area, which includes the areas of San Jose, Oakland, and Silicon Valley, has over 7.6 million inhabitants (another reason to live IN the city, and not have to commute). Though it seems job competition in such a populous area would be stiff, unemployment rates are surprisingly far below the national average. Several large corporations including GAP, Twitter, Levi’s, Mozilla, Dropbox, Uber, and Wells Fargo are all headquartered in SF proper, as well as a myriad of tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Intel, Tesla, and Google (to name a few), just a stone’s throw away in Silicon Valley. Not only do these companies employ many San Francisco residents, they also pay pretty well too. In fact, the median household income here is 46.6% higher than the median nationwide.
That said, living in San Francisco is pricey. Normal household costs such as foodstuffs, energy bills, gas, a visit to a doctor, movie tickets and a six-pack of beer are all above the national averages. And home prices? Jaw-dropping. The average price of real estate is over $1 million (If you want the nitty-gritty, read our March Market Report), and that $1 million dollar mark won’t get you much. The outrageous real estate prices could explain why over 60% of the population is still renting. Yet despite the expense, people just can’t resist living here.
Whether it’s the incredible weather, the cutting-edge tech scene, proximity to wine country, or the beautiful scenery around every corner, there are many reasons to love calling San Francisco home.
The San Francisco real estate market continues to experience strong buyer demand and an exceptionally low number of homes and condos for sale. The strong demand is supported by a clean sweep of positive economic indicators just posted by The Conference Board, which reported that consumer confidence is at a 15 year high, and the Leading Economic Index, CEO Confidence, Help-Wanted Online, and the Employment Trends Index all rose in February.
Following the incredibly strong Snap IPO, Mulesoft, a San Francisco unicorn, filed for its IPO in February. This San Francisco-based company has over 700 employees who will be armed with a lot of cash following its IPO, anticipated later this year, which could further add to the number of buyers competing for properties.
The Federal Reserve Bank has said it is likely to raise its federal funds rate in March, with a second increase anticipated later in the year. These anticipated rate increases have already triggered a jump in mortgage rates, which now stand at 4.24% according to Mortgage News Daily.
In the following Infographic we see that the San Francisco single family home market dipped in median sales price, down 8.2% year-on-year. The number of sales were up 3.9%. The number of new listings dropped sharply, 37.6% fewer than last February, leading to a 10% drop in inventory to just 1.5 months of supply, which IMHO is correlating precisely with the “in the trenches” real-time buyer demand and multiple offer activity that we agents are experiencing first hand, but is yet to be shown on this “historical” data. The median sales price of single family homes also continues to be bid up above list price, coming in at 113% for February.
The news in condo/lofts sales is the sharp decline in the number of new listings in February, down 26.9% compared to last year. Sales were also down, but just by 10.3%. Inventory stands at only 2.1 months of supply. Median sales prices are up 4.9% year-on-year with the median price going 1.6% above list price.
For those of you folks that rarely venture to the Outer Lands…and I’m not talking about the restaurant, if you take a trip down the Lower Great Highway, you may have at one point seen this home:
You may have also wondered what it looked like inside:
And you may have thought, “Meh…wonder what hippie, stoner, surfer lives in that pad?”
As it turns out, we don’t know who occupied it then, but we do know way back in the day it was a carriage house for none other than Adolf Sutro…so maybe it wasn’t a hippie stoner surfer living there.
Fast forward from the last sale in 2013 when it looked like that (and sold for $1,050,000), to now…an Ocean Beach marvel of engineering, architecture and full blown rich-hippie-surfer-tech dude-lumbersexual-beard sporting awesomeness (complete with outdoor hot water shower post bone-chilling Ocean Beach splash…can’t find the axe and chopping block to go with the Flannel though), and behold the new and improved 1744 Great Highway (and $2,595,000 price tag):
It’s a gem, to say the least. One of a kind certainly comes to mind, and something you, my dear reader, should buy. A sale at this price would certainly set some more Ocean Beach records, and why not, it is one of a kind after all.
I say “mind-bending” mostly because it is still alarming our market works so incredibly efficiently by generally under-pricing properties to let buyers take it to market value, and it’s worked this way for the better part of a decade. By all accounts 99% of every overbid appraises at value when it comes time to get a loan. So don’t think every buyer is paying more than what a property is worth, just to win. They aren’t. They’re paying market value…in most cases. There are outliers, for sure, but for the most part, just because it’s an overbid, doesn’t mean it is overvalued.
I was in the process of compiling this week’s list of top 10 Overbids, but couldn’t help to just share this one nutty overbid with you instead…350 Jersey, in the heart-center of Noe Valley, is a “Spacious fixer-upper single-family home, circa 1941”
Only in San Francisco do those words get you damn near $1500 per square foot, and over $2,000,000 for a FIXER!
As you can see from the marketing remarks, not only did they get 17 offers (let that sink in), but this place went from a $1,295,000 list price to a $2,005,000 sales price. In case you need more numbers, that’s 54.83% over asking or $710,000 cherries on top. Cash, no less. I’m gonna say it again…for a fixer.
Well, it is San Francisco after all, and it’s pretty effing awesome living here, so get used to it.
Thinking the tide will turn? It will, at some point, but have a look at this “Maximum Overbid of the week” I shared on sfnewsletter (the precedent of theFrontSteps) September 24, 2004…yes I’ve been doing Overbids THAT long (let that sink in too).
64 Prentiss St. in Bernal Heights (Bud, pay attention!). 3 bed, 1 bath, 1 car parking fixer that apparently came with the adjacent lot. Probate sale as well. Asking $599,000, sold for $855,000. Here’s a link to the property description
My friends over at Redfin just did a great report ranking the top 10 Cities to live without a car, and guess what…San Francisco wins. They asked me to share it with you, so here you go:
— What makes a city livable? People have differing views, but for many city-dwellers, proximity to restaurants, grocery stores, parks and jobs are some of the key perks of urban living, especially if those destinations are accessible without a car. According to recent Redfin research, the construction of parking spaces for residential properties is starting to wane, as is the number of families who own two cars. And as traffic concerns and commute times rise across the country, many people are opting out of car ownership entirely.
Redfin compiled the latest Walk Score rankings to see which U.S. cities with populations greater than 300,000 have the highest composite Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score rankings. These are places where you could forgo having a car and still be able to get around town in a variety of ways, whether it be by foot, bike or public transit. And while not all cities are created equal, each of these 10 cities has infrastructure to support a car-free lifestyle.
Even though San Francisco takes second place in every category (walking, biking and transit) the overall score is the highest in the nation. This isn’t a surprise. It’s true that most people in San Francisco don’t own cars. Nearly every neighborhood in San Francisco is walkable and the BART and MUNI can basically get you anywhere you need to go. Getting a parking spot with your home will add to the price significantly, and getting around town in your car will drive you nuts…so you might as well just go without. Being able to walk, bike, cable car, or bus to work, dinner, or to get groceries is a privilege we should all embrace.
New York has the highest Walk Score and Transit Score rankings in the nation. Its Bike Score, on the other hand, falls to seventh place. “Even with the bike-share programs accelerating across the city, many streets don’t have special bike lanes and traffic is a deterrent for many people who might otherwise consider biking,” said Redfin agent Jonathan Makolondra. “That said, New Yorkers are certainly accustomed to getting around the city and surrounding boroughs without a car. The MTA subway system is extensive and walking is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city.”
It turns out that Boston is a great city for every mode of transportation that doesn’t involve a car. The city ranks third in the nation for Bike,Transit and Walk Score. “In general, Boston is just a really easy city to get around without a car,” said Redfin agent Megan McShane. “In addition to being known as ‘America’s Walking City,’ the T provides access to all the most popular neighborhoods via subway, bus, trolley and boat, and the commuter rail services the outlying suburbs.”
With a Transit Score of 70, D.C has the fourth highest Transit Score in the nation. “The METRO provides a lot of routes into the city from various suburbs and within the city there are also plentiful bus routes,” said Redfin agent Dan Galloway. “Biking is really on the rise too. Capital Bikeshare now has 400 stations across the city and more bike lanes and routes have been popping up. The city also has plenty of walkable neighborhoods like Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Downtown/Chinatown.”
Philadelphia has the fourth highest Walk Score in the nation and it turns out that it’s becoming more walkable as builders focus on creating walkable new construction throughout the city. “Redfin agents have noticed that a lot of walkable homes are being built in neighborhoods like Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Frankford, South Philly and Point Breeze,” said Redfin agent Tom Lewis. “In addition to great walkability, the city offers plenty of public transportation options as well. Philly is also known as one of the top cities in the nation for bike commuters.”
“Especially if you live in neighborhoods close to the Loop, a car isn’t necessary in Chicago. Lincoln Park, River North, the South Loop – they’re all worlds unto their own, where you can walk to everything you need,” said Redfin agent Jenn Kim. “Should you want to get out of your neighborhood, the El is a great option, plus the city’s invested a lot in its biking infrastructure. In the summer, the Divvy bike-share program is popular, and it’s not uncommon to see large groups of people cycling home via Milwaukee Avenue during the evening commute.”
“Last year Minneapolis was the only U.S. city on a worldwide list of bike-friendly cities. Mayor Betsy Hodges’ administration has emphasized building more protected bikeways to traverse town, and there’s always the old favorites like the Chain of Lakes trails and the Midtown greenway,” said Redfin agent James Garry. “Add to that a growing light rail system, on-time buses and vibrant neighborhoods like Uptown and Dinkytown, where you can walk to everything you need, and it should be no surprise to see Minneapolis on this list.”
“Even though Miami ranks high for walkability with a Walk Score of 78, its Bike and Transit Scores leave a little more to be desired. With a Bike Score of 60, two wheels probably won’t take the place of four wheels any time soon, but that said, there are neighborhoods like Downtown and Little Havana where cycling is a viable transportation option,” said Redfin agent Cecilia Cordova. “If you’d prefer to get around town via public transit, there are several options including the Metrorail that runs from West to South Miami crossing through Downtown.”
“The expansion of the light rail up to Capitol Hill and the University District and the recently approved light rail extension plan indicate that Seattle’s Transit Score could be improving within the next year or two, potentially making Seattle an even friendlier city for those who’d like a car-free commute or lifestyle,” said Redfin agent Kyle Moss. “The bus system also offers great options for commuters and travelers alike, and neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Belltown and Madison Park are really fun, lively places to walk around. For those who love to bike, Seattle also has some fantastic bike trails, many of them scenic like the Burke-Gilman.”
“Oakland doesn’t fall short when it comes to public transportation,” said Redfin agent Mia Simon. “The BART and A C Transit are both good options for navigating the city. In addition, the Trans-Bay express bus just makes a few stops and then heads directly to San Francisco. There’s also a ferry from Jack London Square if you prefer traveling by water. Neighborhoods like Rockridge and Uptown, Lake Merrit/Grand are all super walkable. There are also 13 neighborhoods with a Bike Score above 90, making them a biker’s paradise!”
As I sit here on a short lived break from showing my incredibly popular Outer Richmond listing, and consoling my buyers, who just lost out on 2319 47th Ave to an (apparently) $1,200,000 pre-emptive offer, I got to wondering…what’s it take to be the Maximum Overbid these days.
Apparently, all it takes is some plywood in the windows, and the most attractive of descriptions:
This home has no electricity and needs major work. All cash sale needed due to condition of property. No electrical…
There is a lot of talk of the San Francisco market having cooled. Maybe in some parts of town, but definitely not the Outer Avenues, and other parts of town where you can still get a single family under $1.5M. Buy those single family homes, charming condos, and well located multi-unit buildings while you can, because if the recent sales in San Francisco featured on The Goods are any indication, San Francisco is still firing on all cylinders.
Have a great weekend. Skiing should be very nice. Surf…not so much. In SF anyway.
Just like we snuck a very sweet off market deal at 2117 Larkin under your radar, so too did my clients sneak a nice little testimonial for me on my biz Yelp page:
Alex has represented our family in three deals in purchasing and selling property in San Francisco.
All has gone flawlessly. He is very communicative, timely, thorough and we always felt that he was looking out for our best interests. We would highly recommend him to help you on either end of a real estate transaction.
Thank you guys for the great testimonial and incredible teamwork, patience, and persistence to get through to the finish line.
Aprés beers at the base of the mountain are on me…now that it’s snowing again!
“Outer Richmond Single Family Home Hits the Market, Buyers Everywhere Flock to See it”…so the headline could read. It’s been a long time since a home of this character, quality, and size has hit the market in the Outer Richmond, and you don’t want to miss it.