August 2021 Newsletter: So Much for the Great Bay Area Exodus: Part 1 – Single Family Homes

Back in February 2021, the august NY Times veritably crowed “They Can’t Leave the Bay Area Fast Enough,”  citing nothing less than “the end of a tech era.”  I was skeptical.  The Bay Area’s demise as a tech and people magnet had been predicted many times before.  So I’ll confess to a certain amount of relish at being proven correct when, just a couple of weeks ago, the self-same paper announced that “tech workers who swore off the Bay Area are coming back.”  That would be obvious to anyone who has been driving Bay Area highways since mid-June. ...  Additional Details

SF Real Estate in the Time of Covid: Rumors of the Patient’s Demise Are Once Again Exaggerated

I’m barely into the New Year, and The New York Times headline shrieks “They Can’t Leave the Bay Area Fast Enough !!!” [OK, the exclamation points are mine.] Not only that, but “a tech era,” no less, is drawing to an end. Can the extinction of the dinosaurs, not to mention the collapse of San Francisco real estate values, be far behind?

It’s true that San Francisco residential rents have fallen by 27%.  It’s true that many techies and non-techies have found the lure of a suburban back yard in the time of Covid isolation a compelling reason to move away from the City, especially when all the restaurants, bars, gyms, and other urban entertainment options are closed.  Indeed, according to the annual United Van Lines survey, more people moved out of California in 2020 than into it, and that goes for the Bay Area as well. ...  Additional Details

Which way is Up? Mixed Messages from San Francisco Housing Data

I was wrong – kind of. In my April newsletter I opined: “The longer the crisis continues, the more likely it is that it will do long-lasting damage to the economy and the real estate market itself.” But, looking at the numbers in the chart below, you’d never know that we are now eight months into a global pandemic.

Median house sales prices are well over where they were a year ago.  Condo prices are not down by much.  Days on market (DOM) for single family homes is a brisk 28 and they are still selling at a slight premium to asking price (102.5%).  The number of combined luxury houses and condos selling above $2.5 million is up substantially (177), as is the number of super luxury houses and condos (22). ...  Additional Details

Once Again, Rumors of San Francisco’s Demise May Be Premature.

In the spring of 2018 a slew of articles breathlessly foretold of mass migrations out of the Bay Area due to a host of reasons –including lack of affordable housing, long commutes, and the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration.  I blogged about how those articles ignored a lot of data to the contrary here.  Home prices continued to increase.

Now here comes Zillow with a comparative analysis of major metro areas which suggests that people are leaving the Bay Area in droves.  The implication, once again, is that prices are going to plunge. ...  Additional Details

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