Case-Shiller Sounds a Cautiously Positive Note

Last week, Case-Shiller released January data for its closely watched national housing index.  Nationally, things are looking up – well, make that flat.  And that’s good news. In the wonderfully backward language of the report, the index’s year over year rate of decline “improved.”  Basically, we are back to where housing values were a year ago.

Since for most of us our homes represent our biggest asset, that’s pretty good news when you consider how bleak things looked back in March of 2009.  Just think of how you were feeling about your 401(k)s. ...  Additional Details

Looking Back at 2009: Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Less than two months into the new year and a brand new decade and already 2009 may seem as far away as a bad dream – assuming you still have a job.

It’s hard to remember just how close to the brink of catastrophe we seemed to be just a year ago.  Major financial institutions – failed.  Credit – impossible to get. Sales—anemic.

With the benefit of hindsight, not to mention survival, some are now criticizing Paulsen, Bernanke, et al., for their haste in rescuing the financial system, but I, for one, will reserve my scorn for the appalling judgment of the likes of Morgan and Goldman and their obscene bonuses. ...  Additional Details

Focus on Noe Valley

It’s been a few months since I took a look at my own stompin’ ground, Noe Valley, and how prices have been doing compared to the city as a whole.  We dispensed with the notion that Noe Valley was somehow “immune” some time ago.  Sadly — at least for home-owners — and happily for buyers, Noe hasn’t bounced back over the last few months, even though city-wide median prices have improved.

Noe Valley Vs. SF All Districts Percent change August 09

Bear in mind that “Noe Valley” means a very small area.  What’s more, there were only 7 sales in August, down from 14 in May and June, and 22 in July.   Sure, there’s been a bit of an improvement over the previous month, but there’s still an 11% difference between how far prices have fallen for the city as a whole (19%) versus Noe Valley (30%). ...  Additional Details

Noe Valley Postscript: Median Price Chart

I’ve been having an interesting discussion with a regular reader of theFrontsteps, where I first posted my chart on Noe Valley Percentage Change from All-Time High.  He disputes the fact that Noe Valley has fallen by 30% from its all-time high (reached in March of 2008) because he claims — I think — that March was aberrational.  I’ve looked again at the data for that month and I disagree.  What’s more I think that if you look simply at median prices (moving averages), they show a pretty extended upward trend from the beginning of 2006 through March 2008, with the exception of a dip during the Fall of 2007.  Here’s the chart (click to enlarge).  Enough said.  I’m moving on to another subdistrict. ...  Additional Details

“San Francisco Property Sales and Prices Rebound in February”

…or so proclaims my venerable data-crunching guy at the REreport.  All the data is available and updated monthly under my  “Market Trends” tab, organized by MLS District, or city-wide, annual or monthly, single family or condo — it’s all available here.

This chart, from the lead-in page, shows unit sales and median prices for both homes and condos are up from Jan 09, but down year over year.

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But not so fast.  Much as I’d love to believe we’ve hit bottom, it’s hard to know whether this is anything more than the usual seasonal uptick in sales now that we’re coming out of the winter doldrums.  Here’s the chart for single family homes sales.  See those incredibly regular troughs right around Jan/Feb each year?  I’d say it’s way to early to declare a bottom. ...  Additional Details