Charting Covid-19’s Effect on San Francisco Real Estate – An Update

In my last newsletter, I shared some short-term data on what San Francisco’s Shelter-In-Place order was doing to San Francisco residential transactions.  In short, it caused activity to crash to a halt.  It’s still too soon to determine what the pandemic’s mid- or long-term effects will be, but there has been a change.  Before going into details, let’s recall how we got here.

How We Got Here

On March 16, San Francisco, along with six other Bay Area Counties, announced a Shelter-in-Place Order, prohibiting all but “Essential Activities” and “Essential Services.” Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state-wide equivalent two days later. ...  Additional Details

Charting Covid-19’s Effect on San Francisco Real Estate

I remember how the world changed on September 11, 2001.  There was the horror of the actual event, the new sense of our own and our loved ones’ vulnerability to a random death. There were the new protocols for entering public spaces and traveling, the scanning of faces and backpacks that we’d never done before.  And there was grief.  We mourned not just the catastrophe but an irredeemable loss of innocence – not mankind’s first, and certainly not its last, but no less wrenching for that.  ...  Additional Details

The 2019 Residential Real Estate Wrap-Up

Hello All, and Happy New Decade. Thank you for all the positive feedback I’ve gotten over the last year for my newsletter. It’s a labor of love and it’s nice to know it’s appreciated. I encourage everyone to post comments right on my website to keep the conversation going, but if that’s too much trouble, just email me.

Our Chief Market Analyst, Patrick Carlisle, has done a fabulous job summarizing all the data for 2019 in a set of charts that really speak for themselves, so this month I’m simply going to repost his report without further commentary. Do note, however, that I have additional charts available for any MLS District you’re interested in, so if it’s not one of the three covered in his report, just let me know and I’ll send it to you. ...  Additional Details

Homeless in the Bay Area – An Update

After a disconcertingly long and warm Autumn, the weather has finally turned cold and wet.  While we were warm and dry, enjoying the inevitable surfeit of organic heirloom turkey, or more “woke” foods, the Bay Area’s homeless were merely trying to survive.

Two Thanksgivings ago, when I last published a newsletter on this subject, the estimated homeless population in San Francisco was 6,858 based on the “point in time” (PIT) count that San Francisco and other cities are required by the federal Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD) to conduct biennially.  For 2019, the count is 8,011 – an increase of 17%.  (The charts below is taken from the City’s executive summary).  ...  Additional Details

San Francisco Real Estate: Doom and Gloom or Vroom and Boom?

Driving with one eye on the rear-view mirror is a good thing.  Driving with both eyes on it is likely to get you into a crash.

At a recent sales meeting where 40 or so agents discussed their impressions of the autumn sales market which opened on Labor Day, quite a few bemoaned the lack of agents showing up on brokers’ tour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Others said that they’d had Sunday open houses with nary a visitor.  Agent and client fatigue?  The “flood” of new listings on the market (though that’s typical for this time of year)? An ominous sign of things to come?  ...  Additional Details

Which San Francisco Neighborhoods Have Appreciated the Most?

A client of mine recently opined that he thought that Pacific Heights and other luxury neighborhoods were “overdue for a bump” in home prices. He thought that well-heeled Millennials and Gen-Z-ers were neglecting the north side of the city in favor of hipper locations like Mission/Valencia Street, Duboce Triangle, Hayes Valley and, of course, the perennial favorite Noe Valley.

As someone who has lived and worked in SF for over 30 years, I’ve witnessed my share of cycles where people bid up the “up and coming” neighborhoods (Bernal Heights is the poster child) as they get priced out of their “A-list” neighborhoods. However, when the market turns down, those same neighborhoods tend to get hit hard as buyers shift their attention back to their first choice. So, my hunch was that over the long-term, neighborhood appreciation rates would be about the same. ...  Additional Details

Spring has Sprung: How about the SF Housing Market?

First, let me thank everyone for their positive feedback on my last newsletter regarding Unicorns, IPO’s, big press headlines, and the likely effects of all of that on San Francisco home prices.  With Lyft down 30% from its opening price, Uber looking less “über alles”, and the stock market gyrating on news of a trade war – or just, um, war – we are already in the realm of larger forces potentially swamping whatever IPO effect was so breathlessly anticipated. 

That said, after a very slow start to the typically strong spring season – and by “strong” I mean heavy buyer demand and higher prices – the residential market has notably recovered from the “weakness” of the last half of 2018.  (For more on that, check out my 2018 Real Estate Wrap-Up.) ...  Additional Details

The IPO Thing: Will Lyft and Uber take Real Estate Prices for a Ryde?

I don’t think I have ever been pinged so often as I was shortly after the New York Times published “When Uber and Airbnb Go Public, San Francisco Will Drown in Millionaires.” In the Styles Section, no less.  Certainly, the idea that San Francisco, where so many IPO companies are headquartered, could see upward pressure on home prices makes sense.  As the NY Times article notes, there were only about 5,600 home sales in San Francisco in 2018 and less than half of those were single family homes.  So it makes intuitive sense that a few thousand newly minted millionaires could move the market with their new-found fortunes. (I made the same point months before the NY Times article but sadly they didn’t quote me.) ...  Additional Details