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.)

And let’s be clear about what I mean by “weakness.”  Real estate sales typically cool during the winter months after Thanksgiving anyway.  In 2018, the “cooling” might have started a little earlier in the autumn  — exacerbated by a volatile stock market – and continued longer into the new year – perhaps as a result of all the rain we’ve had — but overall the last couple of quarters don’t look significantly different from a year earlier.  Median house prices reached an all-time high of $1.7 million in February 2018; we haven’t surpassed that point for a year now, but with March and April results hovering at around $1.65, we are not far off either.  And to put this into further perspective, Spring of 2018 was one of the hottest Spring markets in SF history.

The table below shows the same thing broken down by many key metrics.  “Negligible change” seems to be a fitting description.

“Word on the street” suggests a mostly positive environment, especially at the more affordable end, and especially for single family homes, which are an increasingly small share of the market.  Open houses are well-attended; those properties that “check the boxes” are receiving multiple offers, though more frequently by the handful than by the dozen as was the case a few years ago.  At the more expensive end of the market – let’s say above $4 million for single family homes — properties are sitting a little longer and listing agents are complaining that buyers are increasingly picky – they want a “move-in” ready home.  For $4+ million you can hardly blame them.

Below are some general metrics on various neighborhoods grouped by MLS District for both single family homes and condos. Note that these are for the preceding 12 months so they do not reflect any short-term movements.

As always, your questions, comments and referrals are much appreciated.  And please consider following me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram as I intend to post short pieces on items of interest on a more frequent basis than this once-a-month newsletter.

All the best,


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