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

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

San Francisco Condos doing just fine, thank you.

Condos often get hit hard in times of real estate turmoil, but that doesn’t seem to be happening in San Francisco — at least for now. This graph shows a 12 month moving average of actual condo sales through March.

The moving average “flattens” fluctuations, but the raw numbers show the March median and average condo prices at all time highs of $765,575 and $914,187, respectively. And this is while volume in terms of units sold is down. Why?

My theory, which is mine and belongs to me — Monty Python fans, you need to go back a long way to pick up that reference — is that it’s precisely because single family home prices have remained high AND buyers are finding it harder to get loans that condos are looking particularly attractive as a relatively –ahem — affordable option. Kind of counter-intuitive, but I think it makes a crazy kind of sense. Let me know what you think! ...  Additional Details