Surprise! Condos are Holding Up Better Than Homes

For the quarter century (gulp!) that I’ve been involved in real estate, the conventional wisdom has always been that condo values generally do worse in down markets than homes.  Why?  To be honest, I’m not sure, but I think it’s because it’s easier to overbuild the condo market than the single family home market.  It goes back to that famous quote:  “Buy land – they aren’t making any more of it.”  Just take a look at Miami, Chicago – or downtown San Francisco.  One new high-rise can hold hundreds of condos in the sky.  Try building just one new home in SF, let alone hundreds – it aint happening.Of course, more supply  + less demand in a down market means prices fall.  Has that been the case in San Francisco? ...  Additional Details

Focus on Cole Valley

Noe Valley has its 24th Street shops and cutesy cafés. Cole Valley has, well, its Cole Street shops and cutesy cafés. The two neighborhoods have been engaged in a friendly battle for the hearts of San Francisco homeowners for as long as I can remember.

After doing a guest post on Noe Valley price trends at theFrontSteps a few weeks ago, Alex, tFS’s friendly editor, suggested that I do a side-by-side comparison of sales trends in Cole Valley and Noe Valley.

Great idea, I thought! Trouble is, Cole Valley sits within a tiny subdistrict of the MLS  (see the pink area below?) and as a result, there very few transactions from month to month. ...  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

Districts 3 and 10, R.I.P.

The Excelsior, Bayview, Hunter’s Point, Oceanview, Ingleside:  these are some of the neighborhoods included in the San Francisco Association of Realtors’  MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Districts 3 and 10.  It’s been suggested here and elsewhere  that perhaps these non-“core” San Francisco neighborhoods have been pulling down San Francisco’s home prices disproportionately.  The theory, plausible enough, is that these more modestly-priced neighborhoods would be feeling the effects of the economic slowdown more than the tonier “core” neighborhoods, whose denizens’ bank accounts might provide a little more padding against hard times.
I recently published a chart that compared the percentage change of Districts 3 and 10 from their all-time highs to that of the city as a whole.  Some readers of theFrontSteps expressed an interest in seeing what the chart would look like if you excluded those districts from the data set for the city as a whole.  (Districts 3 and 10 make up over 20% of the city’s single family home sales for the 5 year period covered by the chart.)  I aim to please, so I ran the numbers again and here are the results.
focus-on-dists-3-and-10-vs-all-dists ...  Additional Details

Just How Bad Is It? (Answer: depends)

I’ve been digging a bit deeper into the raw data that’s used to generate the beautiful graphs you can find here and which I used to generate the MLS District graphs in my blog of a few days ago.

So I thought I’d check how September 08’s median home prices (condos will come later) compared to their all-time highs and to the median prices of a year ago, both by MLS District and for all of San Francisco.  I didn’t include District 8 (North-east) because it doesn’t have enough data to be useful, and I also didn’t include the southern-most districts of SF (3 and 10) because to be honest I don’t follow them closely. Here’s the result: ...  Additional Details