The San Francisco Rental Market and Why It Matters

For starters, the most recent US Census Bureau estimate (2014) concludes that about 57% of San Francisco’s population are renters.  That’s reason enough, especially when housing affordability is perhaps the major social and economic challenge that San Francisco faces over the long-term.

Rent and Condo Conversion Control.  With strength in numbers comes political power: San Francisco’s Rent Control ordinance applies to the vast majority of San Francisco’s housing stock, regulating everything from the rental increases that landlord’s can charge to existing tenants to how much interest owners have to pay renters on their security deposits.  Other ordinances have severely restricted the ability of owners to “remove” units from the rental market by converting them to condominiums.  Regardless of whether you think these controls are a good or bad idea, they have created an incredibly complicated legal landscape.  Whether you’re a tenant or an aspiring landlord, it pays to know your rights.  Here’s my favorite cheat sheet, courtesy of the Law Firm of Bornstein & Bornstein. ...  Additional Details

Mapping the Spread of the Million Dollar Home in the Bay Area

Thanks to my well-read friend at The Economist for sending me this fascinating infographic.

You can find the full article here at The Atlantic. Their choice of Westwood Park as their poster-neighborhood is an interesting one. On the one hand, it’s a tiny area tucked in to the west of City College between Monterey and Ocean Avenue and it’s not exactly a household name, even to longtime SF denizens. On the other hand, the statistics are impressive: four years ago, according to the article, just 2.9% of its homes cost $1 million or more. Today, 96% of them do. ...  Additional Details

El Niño Doesn’t Appear to Have Dampened the SF Housing Market

It happens every year. People decide that holiday parties, visiting with family, and staying dry are more important than visiting open houses on the week-end. Activity drops and often so do prices. But with the first glimmers of sunshine and longer days, buyers and sellers get back into the market and the home buying/selling season takes off.

And that seems to be exactly what’s happening this year, despite the lingering effects of El Niño and a bumpy stock market ride. Take a look at the chart below: ...  Additional Details

The 2015 San Francisco Real Estate Wrap-Up

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Happy New Year everyone!  San Francisco residential real estate recorded another year of double-digit appreciation last year.  Our Chief Market Analyst has been busy slicing and dicing the data every which-way, and has created over 20 charts that serve up the market from soup to nuts (which, is exactly how some people view it!).  You can experience the full meal at Paragon Real Estate Group’s main website.  I’m doing the prix fixe menu here for those with less time and/or appetite. ...  Additional Details

It’s Now a Buyers’ Market for Higher End Homes and Condos

“Months’ Supply of Inventory,” or MSI, shows the theoretical number of months needed to “absorb” available homes for sale in a given month based on the number of homes going into contract in a given month. The shorter the time period, the stronger the market for sellers, leading to upward pricing pressure.  Longer time periods indicate slower absorption and a buyers’ market.

The chart below illustrates the dramatic difference in MSI for homes up to the median price ($1.3 million for houses, $1.1 million for condos) and in the next price segment higher, versus the luxury home segment, defined here as houses selling for $2,000,000+ and condos for $1,500,000+. (By this definition, luxury sales currently make up about 20% of San Francisco’s home sales.) ...  Additional Details

West Portal, Quiet, and Happy To Be Unnoticed

Photos and content regarding retail activities in West Portal have been generously provided by LostinSF.com, the only French-American insider’s guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area. The French version of this article can be found here.

Named after the western entrance to a transit tunnel completed a century ago, the quiet neighborhood of West Portal is proud of having been overlooked by much of the frenzied redevelopment going on in many other parts of San Francisco. No big white Google or Apple buses prowl the streets here.  You want bars filled with 20 somethings ordering $12 cocktails and artisan beers?  Head downhill to the warmer climes of the Mission.  Here, in the foggy western shadow of San  ...  Additional Details

San Francisco’s “Value” Neighborhoods Take Off as Inventory Remains Low

April Newsletter

I’ve been opining for some time that many of San Francisco’s previously overlooked neighborhoods are seeing rapid home-price appreciation as buyers are being priced out of their first and second choices. I now have data to confirm it.

When the SF market recovery began in 2012, the more affluent neighborhoods led the way in rapid home-price appreciation. This is what you’d expect to happen as the “haves” tend to see their prospects improve before the “have nots.” But starting in 2014, the more affordable neighborhoods have taken the lead. Of course, there are few places outside San Francisco where houses of $1.2 million would constitute the “affordable” segment of the market, but as median house prices in the greater Noe, Eureka & Cole Valleys area  ...  Additional Details