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Flat Home Sales in San Francisco, And What That Really Means

Newly minted millionaires from several anticipated Initial Public Offerings are big news these days in the Bay Area, and anyone paying the least bit of attention knows why. Coupled with the recent drop in interest rates, this anticipation is adding pressure to an already undersupplied housing stock. But according to the data thus far, sales of homes in San Francisco have been flat. 

By the Numbers

Core Logic, a data firm in Orange County, ran the numbers for a recent report and found that for the ninth straight month, houses sold in the Bay Area have continued its fall in year-over-year comparisons. In February, 4,9993 homes sold – the lowest number since 2008 and an 11-year low. In December of last year, the year-over-year decline was a staggering 21.6 percent, but that number dropped to a less panic-inducing 13 percent in February.

In the city itself, home prices stayed flat year over year. In February, 303 homes sold in San Francisco, an 8.5 percent drop from the 331 homes sold in the same month last year. Median pricing for condos or single-family units was $1.25 million, another zero-percent change over February 2018.

Marin County was the only area in the region in which sales rose from last year, up 7.1 percent year over year, with a median home price of just over $1 million. But at 180, this county also had the second smallest number of homes sold, making it one of the smallest and most volatile sample sizes in the region.

Making Sense of It

What does this mean for buyers and sellers? Since no one I know has an accurate crystal ball, it’s hard to say for sure. But one thing is true. The dizzying rise in real estate prices has, for some time now, been bumping up against the buyer’s ability to afford them. Even the high-paying tech jobs are not keeping pace with the incomes required to afford even a modest single family home, particularly in San Francisco. For now, the seasonal uptick we almost always see in the spring selling season, coupled with the convenient recent drop in interest rates, is helping to fuel the ongoing bidding wars and has stalled what looked like the correction we were headed for last December.

Looking to buy or sell in San Francisco? Meredith Martin can help.

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