Winter: The Best Time of Year — for Buyers

I wanted to entitle this newsletter “Winter is Coming,” but decided that comparing buyers to the Dead Walkers might not go down well.  Besides, it’s buyers that have been getting the short end of the, um, spear for years now.  Prices really took off in 2012; with inventory relentlessly low (see my previous newsletter, it’s been a seller’s market ever since.

But everything slows down in winter.  There’s (even) less inventory, and buyers — being human — batten down the hatches from approximately Thanksgiving through early February.  Who wants to be out house-hunting when the weather’s turned cold and dreary? Besides, everyone is either preparing for or recovering from the Holidays.

Meanwhile, sellers, also human, do the same.  They reduce the price on homes that are already on the market; withdraw unsold homes; or hold off listing their homes till the Spring (see the three charts below).

You might think that if there are fewer buyers chasing fewer listings, nothing much would happen to prices. But in fact buyers seem to come out noticeably better. That’s reflected both in lower “premiums” above list price overall and in a lower percentage of homes selling over final list price (see the two charts below).


Let’s be clear: these are averages.  If you’re hunting for the perfect home that checks all the boxes, you will probably find yourself with plenty of competition.  That’s especially true for single family homes, which are a shrinking part of the market. But, overall, there’s just less activity — and that tends to be good for buyers.

So, buyers, here’s some advice: Bundle up, hope for lots of rain, and keep looking! Winter is your friend!

And, for those of you who have gotten this far, a competition!  First person to email me  the location of the picture at the start of this newsletter gets a nice bottle of wine.

Enjoy these Indian Summer days and don’t hesitate to contact me if if you have questions about the market or comments about this newsletter!

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Here’s What’s Really Sustaining the San Francisco Real Estate Market

As I was getting ready to send out yet another newsletter showing further year over year gains in home prices(see first two charts below for single family homes and condos, respectively), I took a closer look at a chart that focuses on the supply side of the supply/demand equation.

August Median Sales Price

August Median Sales Price

“New Listings Coming On the Market”  is the simplest indicator of how many homes are being put up for sale in any given time period.  Take a look at the chart below, which tracks new listings (homes, condos, etc.) on a rolling 12 month basis. 

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Online Resources for Just About Anything You Want to Know about San Francisco Real Estate

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Let’s Talk about Taxes

First, a big thank you to everyone who responded to my RealDataSF Poll about how to make this newsletter better.  This month’s topic is a direct result of your input, as information about tax-related topics was among the top 3 subjects my readers wanted me to cover in addition to market news (the other two were investing in and renovating property).

Some other quick results: Continue reading

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The Cost of a Hot Economy in California: A Severe Housing Crisis

Today’s NY Times talks about the California housing affordability crisis and how the state is considering legislation to make it harder for opponents of developments to create roadblocks to projects that otherwise fit within a locality’s zoning laws. There’s finally a movement of “YMBY’s” That are saying “yes” to greater density – which is really the main issue – because they understand that sprawl is the enemy of the environment in so many ways. In San Francisco, that’s resulting in projects that, for example, don’t require parking for each unit – a recognition that younger buyers are abandoning cars in favor of car-sharing and public transport. Continue reading

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It’s Official: San Francisco Housing Market Reignites

In last month’s newsletter, I said that initial signs pointed to a newly robust Spring housing market after evidence that prices had flattened somewhat — especially for condominiums — in 2016. The data gathered through May confirms that conclusion.

The median house sales price jumped to $1,500,000, its highest point ever, about $100,000 (7%) above its previous monthly peak. The SF median condo sales price also hit a new peak at $1,200,000, $20,000 (1.7%) above its previous high. Continue reading

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Meet The Expert – ‘Everything You Wanted to Know About Buying a Home in San Francisco’

JUNE 08, 2017

(*But were afraid to ask!)

ABOUT THE TOPIC

Join Misha Weidman, J.D., Broker Associate and Attorney at Paragon Real Estate Group, for a lively and informative discussion about the essentials of buying a home in San Francisco. Here are just some of the questions he will address: Continue reading

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Spring Has Sprung Once Again in San Francisco’s Housing Market.

Between 2012 and 2015, the median price of a single family home in San Francisco increase by around 70% as we came out of the Great Financial Crisis. Condominium prices increased by around 55% during the same period.

San Francisco Home Price Appreciation

It’s not surprising, then, that the market took a breather and leveled off a bit during 2016. However, along with the return of warmer, dryer weather, buyers seem to be returning to the market in droves, and there is simply not enough inventory to meet demand. While it’s still a little too early to tell, our data suggests that things are heating up again. Continue reading

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How Does San Francisco Compare to Other Bay Area Markets?

Bay Area County Map

While we wait for the rain to stop and for the market to give some sign of its direction this spring, let’s take a look at what’s going on around us.

We’ll start with a look at single family homes.  I was surprised to see San Mateo running neck-and-neck with SF, and ahead of Santa Clara, Marin, and LaMorinda/Diablo Valley (Diablo).  I suspect that’s both because ritzy communities like Atherton and Hillsborough bring up the median values and because there are relatively few low-priced neighborhoods.  Continue reading

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The 2016 San Francisco Real Estate Wrap-Up: Houses on Simmer; Condos Cool

The data is now in for 2016 and we have sliced and diced it to perfection.  The results?  Single family homes are on simmer, with median prices up a “mere” 6% over last year.  City-wide,  houses hit $1,350,000 in the last quarter of 2017, an all-time high.  Meanwhile condominiums are going sideways.  At $1,078,000, they were down about $25,000 from a year previous. In fact, their median price is effectively the same as it was at the start of 2015.

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