San Francisco Real Estate: 3rd Quarter Market Update

San Francisco Median Home Sales Prices
It’s not unusual for median prices to fall in the first and third quarters (affected by winter and summer holidays) and rise in the second and fourth quarters (prime spring and autumn selling seasons). This is what happened in this past third quarter and it typically has more to do with seasonal factors than changes in market values. One has to look at the longer term trend, not monthly or quarterly fluctuations, to determine what’s really happening in the market. For the last 6 quarters, the overall trend in home prices has been upward.

3rd Quarter Home Sales Snapshot
These statistics for the third quarter indicate a market that is still extraordinarily strong by any historical measure: 87% of home sales sold quickly without price reductions, at an average of almost 8% over asking price. It did cool down somewhat from our insanely frenzied spring season, but part of that is explained by the typical summer slowdown dynamic. How the market performs in the next two months will tell us a lot about whether the market is settling down, transitioning to a new phase or continuing to race along in high gear.

San Francisco Neighborhood Home Values
We’ve updated our home-value maps to reflect sales for the past 5 months: The city is reaching some very high points in median sales prices and average dollar per square foot values. This map is for San Francisco house values and this link goes to our new interactive map for both house and condo values:

Interactive SF House & Condo Value Map

Home Price Appreciation vs. Inflation since 1988
Inflation over the past 25 years has been relatively slow and steady, while home prices have gone up and down dramatically according to the market cycle. But since 1988, home value appreciation in the Bay Area has generally exceeded CPI inflation by a significant amount, which is good news for homeowners. If you’d like to read our complete report on home prices, inflation, leverage and home equity, you can find it here:

Homeownership as an Investment

SF Luxury Home Sales
One of the classic seasonal trends in real estate is the decline in the number of luxury home sales in the first and third quarters, because the higher end of the market has a greater tendency to check out for the holiday seasons. This is a major factor behind the typical decline in median sales prices during these periods, as referred to above. Though luxury property sales were far above recent years, this decline in unit sales occurred in this past quarter as well. If market conditions and seasonal trends hold true, we should see a big uptick in luxury home sales in the new quarter just begun.

Comparing Bay Area County Markets
In September, we completed a report comparing the different real estate markets in the counties around the San Francisco Bay Area. If you would like to read it in its entirety, you can find it here:

Bay Area Home Markets Report


Inventory of Homes for Sale
September did see a spike in the number of home listings for sale in San Francisco, but not as big an increase as we had hoped for.

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