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

Real Estate and Tax Law 101

Recently, several of my clients have asked for a quick rundown of various real estate and tax-related laws.  Here are some of the key laws any current or future home-owner should be aware of.  Note: the laws are complex.  This is intended to provide a starting point only.  Consult with your own attorney or tax advisor, or contact me for a referral.

1.  Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. 

You can deduct home mortgage interest on the first $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately) of indebtedness. However, higher limitations ($1 million ($500,000 if married filing separately)) apply if you are deducting mortgage interest from indebtedness incurred before December 16, 2017.  See IRS Pub 936. ...  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