A Survey of San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate Markets & Demographics

Paragon Real Estate Group

Paragon Real Estate Group

Income, Employment, Education, Poverty & Home Prices

A Survey of San Francisco Bay Area
Real Estate Markets & Demographics

Which counties are most expensive or most affordable, have the highest overbidding and appreciation rates? Which are healthiest, most educated, have the highest incomes or worst poverty percentages? What cities have the biggest, most expensive homes? And where do Bay Area residents come from?

August 2017 Report

Median House Price Appreciation since 1990

Appreciation trend lines are largely similar across the Bay Area, but some counties have outperformed others. Solano is still well below its previous peak price ten years ago, and Sonoma and Napa are just now coming back up to their previous highs. However, most of the other counties have exceeded their 2006-2007 peaks, sometimes by very wide margins. As will be explored further below, proximity to the heart of the high-tech boom has been one of the major factors in recent appreciation rates. However, it is worth noting that in the past year and a half, appreciation rates in less expensive towns and neighborhoods have typically been higher than in more expensive areas, an indication of the sometimes desperate search for affordable housing – however that might be defined within the context of any given market.


Average Dollar per Square Foot Values


The Most Expensive Places in the Bay Area

By clicking on map, you can also access our full collection of home price
maps delineating current city home prices throughout the Bay Area.

Note: Diablo in Contra Costa with 6 sales at a median price of $2.73m, and Penngrove in Sonoma with 13 sales at a median price of $919,500, had higher prices than Alamo and Healdsburg in the period measured, but because of their very low number of sales, we highlighted the larger markets on the map above.


Annual Home Price Appreciation Rates
since 1996 and 2011

This table below illustrates annual compound appreciation trends going back to the post-recession recovery that began around 1995, and also from the current post-2008-crash recovery which started in 2012. This is based upon someone purchasing their home all cash: If one had purchased with a 20% downpayment, then the annual compound rate of appreciation of that cash investment would be much, much higher.

There are 3 big factors behind local appreciation rates: 1) the emergence of the Bay Area in the past 20 years as an international, economic powerhouse, which generally lifted all markets, 2) how close the specific market is to the white-hot centers of the high-tech boom (SF and Silicon Valley), and, 3) how badly the county was hammered by the foreclosure crisis, since those markets whose prices fell 50% or more to unnatural lows bounced back more on a percentage basis than those counties less affected by the subprime catastrophe.

SF has had the highest compound annual rate since 1996: It is the epicenter of the Bay Area high-tech, bio-tech and fin-tech economic miracle. But Oakland soars above all other markets in appreciation since 2011, because of a combination of factors: It is the closest affordable alternative to much higher SF prices; it is a lively, multi-cultural urban area appealing to high-tech workers; and its housing prices dropped an astounding 60% after the 2008 crash, which set them up to fly upward once the heavy anchor of distressed property sales was removed.

Having complete confidence in our ability to predict what will happen in the past, we now recommend that all our clients go back in time to 1995 or 2011 and buy as many homes as possible.


Economic & Demographic Factors

Underpinning the Bay Area real estate market and general economy are often amazing, but sometimes worrisome statistics. Below are tables and charts ranking counties, zip codes and cities by a variety of parameters. The Bay Area ranks extremely high in income, education, employment rates and general health factors, often grabbing almost all the top rankings, but it is also unhappily high in income inequality, housing unaffordability and poverty.

Bay Area City & Zip Code Income Rankings

Atherton has the highest median household income and the highest median income per worker in the state, followed by a handful of other nearby, highly affluent, Silicon Valley communities. In San Francisco, South Beach and the Presidio zip codes make the top rankings, but note that several of the most expensive neighborhoods in SF are in zip codes that mix highly affluent with less affluent areas (such as Pacific Heights and Western Addition, or Russian Hill and the Tenderloin). SF also has much higher percentages of residents who are tenants, and generally speaking, renters have lower incomes than homeowners.

In Marin County, Belvedere, Tiburon, Kentfield and Mill Valley make the lists; in Contra Costa, the Diablo Valley & Lamorinda communities of Blackhawk, Alamo, Lafayette, Orinda and Moraga rank highest; in Alameda, Piedmont is in the top 10 cities for median worker earnings.

Bay Area zip codes utterly dominate the CA rankings for higher education, taking 14 of the top 15 spots out of about 2600 zip codes. Unsurprisingly, high positions in income usually correlate with the same in education (and having UC Berkeley and Stanford in our midst was a help): Top Zip Codes for Higher Education

If you wish to explore Bay Area rankings by other criteria: Top 25 Rankings in California

Employment & Unemployment

High-tech employment in SF & San Mateo Counties illustrates
broader trends in hiring: massive growth and some recent cooling.

Unemployment rates are bumping against historic lows.

Bay Area Poverty Rates & Housing Affordability

Beneath surging affluence, significant percentages of county populations
are living in poverty. High housing costs are a big factor.

Housing affordability percentages are approaching historic lows in some counties,
a huge Bay Area political, economic and social issue. If interest rates start to go up
considerably, the picture will worsen, but so far they have remained quite low.

Link to our mortgage interest rate chart

Link to our full report on Bay Area housing affordability


Bay Area Luxury Home Markets

Santa Clara is by far the biggest luxury home market in the Bay Area by the number of homes selling for $2m+, but then its overall market is also the largest, more than 2½ times larger than that of San Francisco. Average dollar per square foot values for luxury house sales are surprisingly similar across Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco, with Marin County just a notch lower. Moving further out, one gets considerably more luxury house for the money.

Generally speaking, SF luxury condos and co-ops command the highest dollar per square foot values in the Bay Area: Think fabulous units on high floors of prestige, ultra-amenity buildings with absolutely staggering views.

Calculating luxury markets by the top 10% of sales, the thresholds for the luxury designation vary widely: For example, in Sonoma, the threshold is about $1,125,000 for houses, while in San Francisco, it is about $3m.


Other Angles on Bay Area Market Dynamics

Bay Area Condo Markets


Average Days on Market

Bay Area Market Sizes

Bay Area Rents

Rents are even more sensitive to hiring trends than home prices.

Link to our apartment building market report


Additional Demographic Snapshots

The foundation of the Bay Area economy is a richly multi-cultural society constantly infused by many of the best and brightest from around the world.


S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
for the San Francisco Bay Area

Case-Shiller charts are complicated, which is why we have put them at the end of the report, but they do give perspectives on home price appreciation by price segment. The different price tiers had bubbles, crashes and recoveries of very different magnitudes, with the low-price tier having an extravagantly enormous subprime bubble and a disastrous crash, while more costly home tiers having lesser bubbles and crashes. The end result now is that all three tiers are relatively close in their current prices as compared to 2000 values, but are in very different circumstances when compared to their 2006-2007 bubble peaks. Around the Bay Area, generally speaking, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Santa Clara and Diablo Valley-Lamorinda have high-price tier markets with smaller mid-price segments; Alameda, Sonoma, Napa, Solano and non-central Contra Costa have mixes of low-price and mid-price markets (though there are, of course, pockets of high-price homes as well).

All C-S data points refer to a January 2000 home price of 100. Thus a reading of 250 signifies a price 150% higher than in January 2000.

More affordable homes have been appreciating much more quickly
in the past 15 months than more expensive price segments.

Link to our full S&P Case-Shiller Index Report

All our reports, including dedicated analyses of the SF luxury home segment, and of the Marin, Sonoma and Diablo Valley-Lamorinda markets, can be found here: Market Trends & Analysis


These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources
deemed reliable, but may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not
our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide
straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions.
Median and average statistics are enormous generalities: There are hundreds of
different markets in the Bay Area, each with its own unique dynamics. Median
prices can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair
market value, and longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term. It is impossible to know how median
prices apply to any particular home without a specific comparative market
analysis. All numbers in this report are to be considered approximate.

© 2017 Paragon Real Estate Group

Just Sold! A commercial condo in the heart of Noe Valley.

I was fortunate to represent my client in a recent purchase of a commercial condo right in the heart of Noe Valley. And, what a deal we got for my client! 3953 24th st. #C2, 490 sq.ft. was listed for $299k, we were able to get it down to $280k. At $571.24 a square foot, this place is a steal!

The condo has amazing light, high ceilings, a balcony and is located on the ground floor in the middle of of the 24th street  action. See the pictures below. 443354 443354_02 443354_04 443354_06 443354_07 443354_08 443354_11

My client, who seems to have an extremely good real estate karma, is a very talented and accomplished pianist. She will be opening a piano studio at the space, specializing in working with children. She should be up and running in a month or so. Highly recommend her! Check out Schumann Music Studio.

Transitioning into Autumn Market


Paragon Real Estate Group

Paragon Real Estate Group

San Francisco Real Estate Market Report:
Heading into the Autumn Selling Season

Long-term home price appreciation, San Francisco neighborhood prices,
Bay Area housing affordability, seasonality, market dynamics statistics,
the S&P 500 vs. the Shanghai composite index

September 2016 Update


Annual Median Sales Price Appreciation since 1994
for San Francisco houses, condos and TICs
(Prices in thousands of dollars)

2015 to 2016 YTD, the overall median price for condos, which now comprise the majority of home sales in the city, remained exactly the same at $1,100,000: Among other issues, this market segment is clearly being impacted by an increase in new-project condos coming on market, altering the supply and demand dynamic. The house median price increased 6% to $1,328,000: This is far below the appreciation rates of the previous 4 years and is being driven mostly by continued demand for "more affordable" houses selling below $2 million. TICs, which only comprise 4% to 5% of home sales basically stayed flat year over year.


Where to Buy a Home in San Francisco
for the Money You Wish to Pay

We just issued our semi-annual update on home prices by property type and neighborhood. Below are 3 of the 8 charts in the analysis. The complete report is here: San Francisco Neighborhood Home Prices

26% of SF house sales were under $1 million so far in 2016;
In 2011, that percentage was 75%.


Autumn & the Expected Surge
in New Home Listings

Autumn is the second biggest selling season of the year, and September is typically the single month with the highest number of new listings. Autumn is a relatively short market season, running from after Labor Day until mid-November, when the market begins its slide into its winter-holiday slowdown. It is particularly important for the luxury home segment as its market activity usually plunges to an almost standstill at Thanksgiving and doesn’t revive until February or early March, i.e. this 2-month window is basically it for the next 5 to 6 months.

At this point, we are waiting to see if the expected, dramatic spike in new listings occurs as usual, and how buyers react to it if it does.

Our full report on seasonality is here: Seasonality & the SF Market


After 6-Month Decline in 2016,
a Sudden Surge in SF Employment Numbers

From the middle of 2015, the Bay Area high-tech boom appeared to appreciably cool down in hiring, IPOs coming on market, venture capital flow and general economic optimism, and that was one factor in the cooling in the SF real estate market. (One local economist predicted "blood in the streets" of San Francisco from a crash in both high tech and real estate.) As to hiring, from 2010 through 2015, San Francisco added an astounding 100,000 new jobs (the Bay Area added 600,000), putting enormous pressure on home prices and rents, but then in the first six months of 2016, that trend reversed itself and the number of employed residents in the city dropped by over 3000. Well, whether it is a short-term, seasonal fluctuation will become clearer soon, but in July, the trend line reversed itself again and the number jumped by 9000 to hit a new all-time high, as illustrated in the above chart.

The SF market definitely shifted gears this past year, from ludicrous overdrive (as Tesla might describe it) to a more reasonable cruising speed, and it has become much more balanced between buyers and sellers, but we certainly haven’t seen any blood in the streets so far. One question now is whether the Bay Area high-tech boom is getting something of a second wind. The change in employment trends is one of the indications we are seeing that it might be, hopefully without the irrational exuberance, but it is far too early to come to any definitive conclusion.


Paragon Special Reports on San Francisco
and Bay Area Markets & Housing Affordability

In August we issued 2 reports that received extensive media coverage in Bloomberg News & BusinessWeek, WSJ Mansion Global, San Francisco Business Times, KGO, KTVU, KCBS, SFGate, Curbed and others, even some international publications. Below is a sampling of the many analyses in the reports, as well as links to the full articles.

Full report: Income, Affluence, Poverty & the Cost of Bay Area Housing

Full report: Bay Area Real Estate Markets & Demographics


A Tumultuous Time in Financial Markets
The S&P 500 vs. the Shanghai Composite Index

We initially created this chart last autumn, and thought it would be interesting to update it for a longer term perspective. Obviously, dramatic shifts in financial markets often affect real estate markets as well.

A year ago at the end of August 2015, a very volatile year began for national and international financial markets. Initially triggered by a crash in the Chinese stock market, sparking serious concerns regarding the international economy, the S&P 500 fell significantly, but then recovered completely by mid-autumn. Then the oil price crisis of early 2016 dramatically affected the S&P, but again, it recovered completely within 2 months. When the Brexit vote came in late June, the market barely reacted, and then the S&P soon hit a new all-time high, a little above its previous spring 2015 peak.

Thousands of pundit prognostications later, many predicting crash and doom, U.S. financial markets are basically back to where they were when the Chinese stock market crisis began one year ago.


San Francisco Market
Statistical Overview

By virtually every statistical measure of supply and demand, the SF market cooled in 2016: price appreciation generally plateaued, inventory ticked up and sales ticked down, months supply of inventory and days on market increased, and the percentage of sales price over asking price declined. All the changes have been statistically significant, but, except for the luxury condo market (which has softened more dramatically), none of the recent statistics by themselves indicate what would be typically called a weak market. For example, months supply of inventory increased from an average of 1.7 months in the first 8 months of 2015 to 2.3 in 2016, but 2.3 is still quite low; days on market went up 3 days for houses and 7 days for condos, but the current figures are still not high; the percentage of sales price over asking price decreased by about 4 percentage points in 2016, but condos and houses are still averaging sales prices 3% to 8% over original list price, which would have sellers in most other places jumping up and down in glee.

Perhaps the statistic most indicative of change is that the number of listings expiring or being withdrawn from the market without selling has gone up a whopping 60% (and for luxury condos, up over 100%). This is the clearest sign possible of sellers trying to sell their homes for more money than any buyer is willing to pay.

As always, please remember that the heat of different market segments can vary dramatically by property type, price range and location. The more affordable house market, for example, is still crazy hot in many areas of the city. And more affordable markets outside the city have also generally continued to be very competitive.


These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Statistics are generalities, longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term, and we will always know more about what’s actually going on in the present, in the future. New construction condos not listed or sold on MLS are not counted in these statistics, though they often affect market dynamics.

© 2016 Paragon Real Estate Group
No one knows San Francisco real estate better than Paragon.
Paragon Real Estate Group

Irina Luck
Lic# 01927187
1400 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109
Direct 415.738.7206
Cell 415.722.4461

Wealth, Hiring and SF Home Prices – June 2016 Report

Paragon Real Estate Group

Paragon Real Estate Group

Wealth, Employment, Demand, Inventory,
Affordability and San Francisco Home Prices

The San Francisco Market Report
including 12 custom charts, June 2016


An Astounding Recovery since 2011

Chart: Long-term SF Rent Trends

Two of the biggest drivers of local real estate demand in recent years have been increasing employment and new wealth creation, both of which exploded in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Approximately 600,000 new Bay Area jobs and 100,000 SF jobs have been added in the past 6 years. IPOs, unicorns and surging stock valuations created thousands of millionaires, dozens of billionaires and trillions of dollars in new wealth. The S&P 500 roughly doubled in the 5 years to mid-2015. Interest rates plummeted. And there was an exuberant optimism that the boom would only continue to soar. Add those ingredients to a deeply inadequate supply of housing and the result is a real estate market boiling over, with skyrocketing home prices and rents.


Market Transition, Lull or Short-Term Fluctuation?

But in mid-2015, fears regarding the world economy burgeoned; Bay Area IPOs started to dry up, (over 80 in 2013 to mid-2015; 1 so far in 2016); the valuations of many high-profile IPOs and unicorns declined; and the firehose of venture capital investment slackened. The S&P 500 is now flat year over year and housing affordability has dropped close to historic lows. Hiring slowed and then in early 2016, employment numbers started to decline a little in San Francisco. Some of the wild exuberance leaked out of the general economic optimism, and in the city, demand began to soften a little, while listing inventory started to tick up.

Chart: Long-term SF Employment Trends

In the first 4 months of 2016, after 6 years of heated growth, the trend in increasing employment numbers in San Francisco reversed itself. This aligns with stories of local start-ups starting to slow hiring and trim staff as venture capitalists have become more demanding. However, this change in hiring could be a short-term phenomenon.

Since 2012, the spring selling season has been the most dynamic period of median home price appreciation. In spring 2016, after years of major increases, year-over-year house and condo price appreciation basically plateaued.

Note: Virtually every time the analysis is changed even slightly, the result will change. The combined house-condo median sales price ($1,280,000) was 5% higher year-over-year, still way down from its 23% jump seen in 2015. Median sales prices can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value.

In 2016, the supply and demand dynamic shifted somewhat, with the number of listings available to purchase increasing, but the number of closed sales declining. (There was also a significant increase in listings expiring or being withdrawn from the market without selling, an indication of sellers demanding more than buyers were willing to pay.)

Slowing or plateauing appreciation does not imply a crash, and the cooling of a desperately overheated market to something closer to normal is not bad news. Indeed, an improvement in housing affordability (and supply) would be good news, both socially and economically. Likewise, a shift from irrational exuberance in the local economy to rational optimism would be a healthy change.


San Francisco Luxury Home Market

As mentioned in previous reports, it appears the luxury segment has softened to a greater degree than more affordable segments (some of which remain very competitive): The number of high-end listings in MLS has jumped, while sales have plateaued or declined. Why the more dramatic change in the luxury condo market? Firstly, increased competition from new, big, luxury-condo projects may be taking a toll (more supply). Secondly, a significant percentage of these very expensive units are usually purchased as second or third homes, not primary residences: When economic uncertainty swells, this is a market segment often affected first (less demand). Note: We do not have access to up-to-date statistics on new-project, luxury condo sales activity, so do not know if that segment has also cooled or is simply cannibalizing the resale market illustrated above.

Based on preliminary data, it appears that accepted-offer activity in May for luxury houses was very strong, possibly even exceeding levels of Spring 2015, suggesting that buyers took advantage of the greater selection of listings to jump in. If so, this will show up in the sales data for June.


Rental Market Trends

The rental market is especially sensitive to changes in hiring, and, as illustrated above, asking-rent appreciation has plateaued. It is quite possible that actual lease rents have already started to decline, though no decline has yet shown up in the above statistics. (There is no MLS for reporting actual rents paid, so we have to rely on advertised asking-rent data, which is a lagging indicator.) Clearly, available apartment inventory has grown, and renter demand has softened. Large new apartment buildings have been entering the SF market, with more in the pipeline. This quote is from a June 1 Bloomberg article: Softening apartment rents in New York and San Francisco have forced landlord Equity Residential to lower its revenue forecast for the second time this year, as newly signed leases are not meeting company expectations.


Important Caveats & Perspective

This recent data measures relatively short-term changes and may reflect only a temporary economic lull or market fluctuation (which is not uncommon). Also, different neighborhoods, property types and price segments in San Francisco are experiencing varying market conditions, from still-quite-hot (non-luxury houses) to cooler (luxury condos).

A staggering amount of wealth yet remains in the Bay Area. Hundreds of local companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars, including the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Palantir and Pinterest, remain in the near-future, possible-IPO pipeline, and economic optimism can shift quickly. Our business environment continues to be the envy of the world, and unemployment rates persist at near-historic lows. San Francisco ranks with the greatest cities of the world in quality of life, even if stressed by growth and housing-affordability issues. Overall city and Bay Area housing supply remains acutely inadequate to recent population increases.

Compared to almost any other in the country, our real estate market remains quite strong as measured by a wide variety of standard supply and demand statistics, and a substantial percentage of San Francisco home listings still sells quickly for well over asking price.


Advice for Buyers

Buy a home that is affordable now and in the foreseeable future, keeping an appropriate reserve for the unexpected. Buying for the longer term is usually safer than for the shorter term. Lock in a low, fixed, interest rate for an extended period. Expand the list of neighborhoods you are willing to consider and do not just run after brand new listings, but look at those the market has passed by: There will often good buying opportunities with greater room to negotiate. Do not be afraid to make offers below asking price and to negotiate, but carefully review the most recent comparable sales and market indicators. During the summer and mid-winter holiday seasons, the competition for listings significantly declines, and can be excellent times to buy. Be patient: New homes come on the market every day.

Historically, homeownership in the Bay Area has been a good investment, because of long-term appreciation trends, the advantages of leverage, what is called the forced-savings effect (each mortgage payment including principal pay-down), and the many tax advantages. Talk to your accountant or financial planner regarding how these factors might impact you specifically. Admittedly, if one has to sell at the bottom of a down cycle, it can be painful.

Advice for Sellers

There are still plenty of motivated, qualified homebuyers in San Francisco, but do not take for granted that mobs of desperate buyers will show up waving over-asking offers. Price your home correctly right from the moment of going on market as overpricing can have significant negative ramifications. Prepare your home to show in its best possible light: You only have one chance to make the right impression on buyers. Hire an agent who will implement a full-court marketing plan to reach every possible prospective buyer and seize their attention. Stay up to date on comparable listings and sales, market conditions and trends, and adjust appropriately. If you receive an unacceptable offer, do not be insulted: It almost always makes more sense to issue a counter offer instead of outright rejection.


San Francisco Housing Inventory & New Home Construction

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Statistics are generalities, longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term, and we will always know more about what’s actually going on in the present, in the future. New construction condos not listed or sold on MLS are not counted in these statistics, though they often affect market dynamics.

© 2016 Paragon Real Estate Group
No one knows San Francisco real estate better than Paragon.
Paragon Real Estate Group

Irina Luck
Lic# 01927187
1400 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109
Direct 415.738.7206
Cell 415.722.4461

Autumn Home Selling Season and Market Volatility

Autumn Home Selling Season Begins
against Backdrop of Market Volatility

September 2015 Report for San Francisco
Including 12 custom charts


Real estate markets are essentially determined by the balance – or imbalance, as is often the case – between buyer demand and seller supply of homes to purchase. Underlying that dynamic are economic, political and demographic factors – some local, some not – such as population growth, employment, new home construction, high-tech booms, consumer confidence, interest rates, affordability, IPOs, stock market movements, shenanigans in Congress, and SF ballot proposals, to name a few. Even environmental factors, such as droughts and earthquakes, can jump in and affect the market. These factors are all jostling for effect, ebbing and flowing, sometimes appearing out of nowhere to shake things up, or suddenly shrinking and quickly forgotten.

We are neither blithe optimists, for whom boom times will never end, nor inveterate pessimists, who see bubbles and crashes behind every shrub. For what it’s worth, based on our survey of current economic fundamentals, we don’t expect an imminent crash in the U.S. stock market or in Bay Area real estate values. (This short New Yorker article is excellent on recent market volatility: Drop in the Bucket) However, economies and markets naturally experience fluctuations – short-term ups and downs, times of slowing and flattening – and it’s certainly possible that the balance between buyers and sellers might shift, that the frenzy in our market may subside, and that home prices may plateau or even tick down to some degree. On the other hand, due to the scale of our high-tech boom (another area of exuberantly conflicting predictions) and our deeply inadequate supply of housing, demand may continue to exceed supply, and the pressures of recent years may continue until new-home construction makes a more significant contribution to inventory.


New Listings Coming on Market

September is usually the single month with the greatest number of new listings, and those that hit the market in the 4 to 5 weeks after Labor Day feed the vast majority of autumn sales activity until the market goes into hibernation mode in mid-late November. Preliminary indications are that this may be a very big new-listing month, even for a September. If this is true, and especially if it marks the beginning of a trend of more listings coming on market, that could cool the ferociously competitive, low-inventory, “seller’s market” of recent years. If buyers are more hesitant due to recent financial-market volatility, that would also cool the market. But, in our opinion, neither factor is likely to flip us into a crashing or recessionary market.


Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers

This chart illustrates the surge in buyer demand from the end of the last recession through the 2012 – 2015 recovery. Having the percentage of listings accepting offers over 50% and sometimes well over 60% in a given quarter – extremely high percentages historically – has applied consistent upward pressure on home prices. Demand usually peaks during the spring and autumn selling seasons, i.e. in the 2nd and 4th quarters.

Additional market indicator analyses can be found here: SF Market Overview Analytics


S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index

An updated Case-Shiller Index chart for the 5-county San Francisco Metro Area, outlining the real estate market cycles going back to the 1980’s. (The June Index was released on August 25th.) It is noteworthy that over the past several decades, we’ve never seen a crash or significant “correction” in our real estate market that was not in conjunction with a major, sustained, national economic event. This chart also suggests that SF buyers who purchase homes 1) they can afford in the first place, 2) using fixed-rate mortgages, and 3) for longer-term ownership, usually come out all right, and often fabulously well, despite periodic market declines.

“Renting can make sense as a lifestyle choice or because of income constraints. 
As a means to building wealth, however, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.” 

Homeownership & Wealth Creation, 11/30/14, NYT op-ed article

The Case-Shiller chart above reflects sales in the upper third of Bay Area home sales (i.e. “high-price-tier”) – which applies best to SF homes. Even in the high tier, the city has generally outperformed the Bay Area in home price appreciation. The numbers on the graph refer to a January 2000 price of 100; thus, the number 217 signifies a price 117% above then. It is interesting to note, that as of the June Index report, all three Bay Area home-price tiers – low, mid and high – have readings of 117% appreciation since 2000, which may be a sign of an equilibrium being reached in the market. Our full report: Case-Shiller for SF Bay Area


Bay Area Housing Affordability

The California Association of Realtors recently released its Housing Affordability Index (HAI) for the 2nd quarter of 2015. All Bay Area counties saw declines in their affordability index reading – which measures the percentage of households that can afford to buy the median priced single family dwelling (house) – and San Francisco is now only 2 percentage points above its all-time low of 8%, last reached in Q3 2007.

VERY LOW AFFORDABILITY AT A TIME OF VERY LOW INTEREST RATES IS CERTAINLY A CONCERN, BUT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY IS A COMPLEX SUBJECT AND THERE ARE OTHER FACTORS AT PLAY IN SAN FRANCISCO. OUR FULL REPORT, which also charts median home prices, rents, interest rates, inflation-adjusted housing costs and household income by county is here: Bay Area Housing Affordability


Where to Buy at What Price Point

We’ve recently updated our report on where one is most likely to find a house or condo in one’s price range. The chart above is 1 of 7 delineating San Francisco neighborhoods with homes from under $1 million to over $5 million: San Francisco Neighborhood Affordability


Median Home Prices and Economic Indicators

A glance at recent movements in San Francisco’s median home sales price, as well as at a few longer-term local and national economic indicators.

Monthly fluctuations – often seasonally related – have been common since

2012, but home prices have consistently climbed higher over the longer term.

National and San Francisco unemployment trends: Very positive.

Over 100,000 new SF jobs – many of them very well paid – have been created since 2009.

(The housing supply has increased by less than 15,000 units.)

Household debt to GDP and mortgage debt service ratios – huge issues

 in the 2007-2008 crash – have significantly declined since then.

Sustained movements in the S&P 500 Index largely correlate to SF home-

price trends. Short-term financial-market fluctuations typically have no effect.

Price to Earnings (PE) Ratios of the S&P 500 Index climbed a bit high

 in mid-2015, but not egregiously so compared to historical averages.

Our goal is not to convince you of a certain position, but to provide you with what we believe to be reliable data, so that you can make your own informed decisions.

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and all numbers should be considered approximate. Sales statistics of one month generally reflect offers negotiated 4 – 6 weeks earlier.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group

What to buy where in San Francisco with the money you would like to spend

Paragon Real Estate Group

Paragon Real Estate Group

Where to Buy a Home in San Francisco
for the Money You Want to Spend

August 2015 Special Report

A city neighborhood map is provided at the bottom of this analysis.

The charts below are based upon 2015 transactions reported to MLS by July 24, breaking out the neighborhoods with the most sales within given price points. However, other neighborhoods not listed did have smaller numbers of home sales within given price segments.

Where to Buy a HOUSE for under $1 million in San Francisco

The overall median HOUSE price in the city in the 2nd quarter of 2015 was about $1,350,000, so the under million-dollar house is becoming increasingly less common. The vast majority of house sales in this price segment now occur in a large swath of neighborhoods running across the southern border of the city, which are by far its most affordable house markets: from Bayview through Portola, Excelsior, Visitacion Valley and Crocker Amazon, to Oceanview and Ingleside. Neighborhoods that a few years ago had numerous sales in this price range – such as Central Sunset and Parkside, Outer Richmond, Bernal Heights and Miraloma Park – have appreciated over the last 3 years to the point where such sales are increasingly rare.

The chart’s horizontal columns reflect the number of sales under $1 million in 2015 YTD for each area, while the median sales prices noted are for all house sales during the period. Median price is that price at which half the sales occurred for more and half for less, so it provides a good idea of overall neighborhood house prices.

Where to Buy a CONDO, CO-OP OR TIC for under $1 million

The overall SF median condo price in the 2nd quarter of 2015 was about $1,125,000, and sales under $1m still occur in almost every area of the city that features these property types – but a studio unit in Russian Hill may cost the same as a 2-bedroom in Diamond Heights.

Of these property types, condos make up about 90% of sales, stock co-op apartments 1 to 2%, with TICs making up the balance. TICs typically sell at a significant discount (10% – 20%) to similar condos.

The horizontal columns reflect the number of sales under $1m in 2015 YTD broken down by sales of 1-bedroom units and sales of 2+ bedroom units.

Spending $1 Million to $1.5 Million in San Francisco

In this price point for houses, one starts moving into a different group of neighborhoods on the west side and in the central-south areas of the city. Within this collection of neighborhoods, one will typically get more house for one’s money in the Central Sunset or Outer Richmond than in Bernal Heights or Potrero Hill. In the greater Noe, Eureka and Cole Valleys district, houses in this price range are now challenging to find.

The horizontal columns reflect the number of sales, with the average dollar per square foot values for the homes in this price range noted alongside.

Condo and co-op sales in this price range are mostly concentrated in those areas where newer condo developments have come on market – and continue to arrive in increasing numbers – over the last 10 -15 years, as well as in high-end neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Russian Hill and Noe Valley.

Buying a HOUSE for $1.5 million to $2 million

Buying a LUXURY HOME in San Francisco

For the sake of this report, houses selling for $2 million and above, and condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $1.5 million and above are designated (somewhat arbitrarily) as luxury home sales. What you get in different neighborhoods for $2 million  or $3 million or $5 million will vary widely. Over the past 15 years – and accelerating in the current market recovery – there have occurred some very large shifts in this market segment, with districts other than the old-prestige, northern neighborhoods becoming major destinations for (very) high-end homebuyers.

The charts below are broken out by increasingly higher price segments within the overall “luxury” price range.

Luxury CONDO, CO-OP & TIC Sales

Luxury HOUSE Sales

Other updated reports you might find interesting:

30+ Years of San Francisco Real Estate Cycles: Just updated, this is by far the most popular article on our website – for 3 years running.

San Francisco Market Overview Analytics: Interactive charts for all the standard real estate statistics – median price, dollar per square foot, days on market, months supply of inventory, listings for sale, and so on.

San Francisco District Sales Overview: A breakdown of sales by price segment for 14 different sections of the city.

10 Factors behind the SF Real Estate Market: A review of the major economic and demographic issues underlying the city’s market.

San Francisco Neighborhood Map

For prevailing SF median house and condo prices, our interactive
map of neighborhood values can be found here: SF Neighborhood
Home-Price Map

As always, the quality of the specific location and the range of amenities of the property; its curb appeal, condition, size and graciousness; and the existence and quality of parking, views and outside space can all significantly impact unit values.

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and how they apply to any specific property is unknown without a tailored comparative market analysis. Sales statistics of one month generally reflect offers negotiated 4 – 6 weeks earlier. Median sales prices often change with even the smallest change in the period of time or parameters of the analysis. All numbers should be considered approximate.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group
No one knows San Francisco real estate better than Paragon.
Paragon Real Estate Group
(415)738-7000 | (415)565-0500 | www.paragon-re.com/

Irina Luck
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San Francisco, CA 94109
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