Monday, October 9, 2017

New Listings Heading Down

As we speculated two weeks ago, we seem to have passed the peak of new listings for the year.  Total new listings for the past two weeks is down compared to the previous two weeks (340 vs 403).  Most of the decrease was in condos (189 vs 241) with single family homes remaining steady (151 vs 162).

Compared to the same period a year ago total for the past two weeks is down (340 vs 370).

There is every reason to believe we'll follow the same track for the rest of this year as we did in the previous two years.


With new listings down, the percentage of new listings going into contract in the same two week period has ticked up both for single family homes and condos compared to the previous two weeks and the same period a year ago.


Price reductions have increased for condos compared to the previous period (49 vs 34) but about the same during the same period a year ago (49 vs 46).  Price reductions for single family homes remained essentially the same compared to the previous period (18 vs 17) but are down compared to a year ago (18 vs 25).


If this year is similar to 2016 condo buyers may see a significant number of price reductions during the next two weeks.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Peak new listings for the fall year?

For the most part the "new listing" part of the market continues to follow the track set last year.  The number of new listings in the last two weeks is the largest this year and comparable to the same period last year (403 vs 391).


Compared to the previous two week period new listings are up slightly (162 vs 155 single family homes and 241 vs 228 condos).

The percentage of new listings going into contract within the same two week period is up slightly compared to the previous two weeks (8.6% vs 6.5% of single family home new listings and 7.5% vs 6.1% of condo new listings) suggesting that even with a peak of new listings there is still competitive demand.


The number of price reductions is up slightly compared to the previous two week period (17 vs 11 for single family homes and 34 vs 31 for condos).  However, compared to the same period last year the number of price reductions is down (17 vs 21 for single family homes and 34 vs 54 for condos).


If this last year's experience is predictive of the remainder of 2017 the last two weeks will be the peak of new listings for the year with each following two week period showing fewer and fewer new listings until after the first of the new year.


Christmas is only three months away!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jump in new listings - as predicted

Right on time, as predicted, new listings have increased dramatically in the last two weeks.  Total new listings were 383 compared to 201 in the prior two week period.  For the same period a year ago new listings were 368.  The increase was evenly split between single family homes (155 vs 79 in the prior period) and condos (228 vs 122).


As can be seen from this graphic, this jump in new listings happens every year post Labor Day.


The percentage of new listings going into contract remained unchanged for single family homes compared to the prior period (6.5% vs 6.3%) but is up significantly compared to a year ago (6.5% vs 1.3%).  For condos 6.1% of new listings went into contract compared to 4.1% for the prior period and 3.9% a year ago.


The number of price reductions increased for single family homes to 11 compared to 5 in the prior period and 10 a year ago.  For condos, there were 31 price reductions compared to 21 for the prior period and 35 a year ago.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Are Buyers Finally Telling Sellers "No" to High Asking Prices?

At the beginning of each month we post a list of sales in the surrounding neighborhoods of our two offices (1715 Polk St. and 2324 Market St.) for the previous month.

August is traditionally a slow month for residential sales in San Francisco but something interesting seems to be happening in the Nob Hill, Russian Hill and Civic Center/Van Ness neighborhoods -- the number and percentage of sales closing at under asking prices is going up.

For August 2017 there were 17 residential sales in the three neighborhoods.  6 of those sales closed at below asking price -- 35%.  For August last year the numbers were 17 sales, 3 below asking -- 18%.

For the previous month (July 2017), there were 22 sales, 2 under asking -- 9%.











Admittedly the numbers are small and may not be indicative of a trend but we'll keep watching.

In the neighborhoods surrounding our Market St. office, the trend seems to be in the opposite direction.  This August only 6% of sales were under asking.  A year ago it was 19%.


Monday, August 28, 2017

New Listing Watch - Summer doldrums continue, part 2

Not a lot has changed during the last two weeks which, if history is predictive, should be the last of the summer doldrums.  The number of new single family home listings is down slightly from the previous two-week period (79 vs 92) and compared to a year ago (79 vs 101).  The number of new condo listings is actually up compared to the prior two-week period (122 vs 108) and is the same as a year ago (122 vs 122).


But, as the graph above illustrates, we should expect to see significant increases in the number of new listings for both condos and single family homes by our next report in two weeks following the Labor Day weekend.

The percentage of new listings going into contract is also about the same as it was for the prior two week period (6.3% vs 4.3% for single family homes; and 4.1% vs 2.8% for condos).  However, for the same period a year ago those percentages were 12,9% and 14.8%.  


The number of price reductions is almost the same as the prior two-week period (5 vs 4 for single family homes; and 21 vs 29 for condos).  A year ago those numbers were much higher:  20 and 24 respectively).




Monday, August 14, 2017

New Listing Watch - Summer doldrums continue

Still in the middle of "summer" doldrums, new listings for the last two weeks totaled 200, approximately the same as the previous period and the same period a year ago (219 and 219 respectively.  If the usual annual trends hold true this year, we'll begin seeing an increase in new listings the week following Labor day.


Along with fewer new listings coming on the market, it's not surprising that the number of new listings going into contract is also at a low level for both single family homes and condos (4.3% and 2.8% respectively).  These levels are evening lower than the previous period (9.3% and 17.1%) but about the same as a year ago (4.4% and 4.7%).


Finally, the number of price reductions (4) is down for single family homes compared to the previous period and compared to a year ago (16 and 22 respectively).  It's a mixed picture for condo price reductions which saw 29 price reductions during the past two weeks compared to 16 during the previous period and compared to 33 a year ago.


Monday, July 31, 2017

New Listing Watch -- summer doldrums?




The number of new listings in the past two weeks (108 single family homes and 111 condos) was down noticeably compared to the prior two week period (91 single family homes and 152 condos) and down significantly compared to the same period last year (136 single family homes and 177 condos).

Also worthy of note, the number of new listings of condos and single family homes was approximately equal, something that hasn't happened since the beginning of 2016.

The percentage of those new listings in the last two weeks that went into contract was up compared to the prior period (9.3% vs 7.7% of single family homes and 17.1% vs 3.9% of condos).  Compared to a year ago the percentage of single family homes that went into contract in the same two week period remained virtually the same (9.3% vs 10.3%).  However, there was a significant jump in condos going into contract ( 17.1% vs 9.0%).


The number of price reductions compared to the prior period remained unchanged for single family homes (16) but dropped significantly for condos (16 vs 41).  Compared to the same period last year the number of price reductions dropped in both groups (16 vs 20 single family homes and 16 vs 39 condos).


Monday, July 17, 2017

New Listing Report - Summer Doldrums

New listings for the past two weeks jumped back up to more normal levels. There were 243 new listings (91 single family homes and 152 condos) compared to 158 (62 single family homes and 96 condos) during the previous two weeks and compared to 313 (136 single family homes and 177 condos) a year ago.

However, new listings are still running well below levels in 2016 and 2015.


The number of price reductions increased somewhat compared to the previous period (16 single family homes vs 14 and 41 condos vs 31).  Compared to a year ago price reductions are stable (57 vs 59 a year ago).



San Francisco 6 month review

Is the San Francisco real estate market one of the most expensive places to buy property?  After a review and analysis of the first six months of 2017 activity you can decide for yourself. 
First a few general data points.  42% of closed residential transactions were single family homes; 58% were condominiums/TICs/co-ops. 
Over 67% of residential sales have a sales price over $1million.  Available inventory is at a seven year low.  In 2010 at the beginning of July there were about 1,106 residential properties (single family homes and condos/TICs/co-ops) on the market.  At the beginning of July 2017 there were only 330.   When compared against typical monthly sales volume, this represents about three weeks of inventory for single family homes and four to seven weeks for condos.
When broken down into price ranges the single largest category of sales is the $1million to $1.5million range at 33%. Then comes the $800k to $999k range at 17.4% followed by $1.5million to $2million at 16.4%.  At the extremes of our market the $0 to $500k range accounts for only 2.2%.  The $2million to $2.5million range has 6.6% and the over $2.5million range accounts for 10.6%.
Looking at the five most popular residential configurations for more clarity, we track 3/2 and 2/1 (bedrooms/baths) single family homes, and in the condo category 1/1, 2/1 and 2/2 (bedrooms/baths). 
Property type**
# of sales
Average sale price (000s)
Low sale price (000s) ***
High sale price (000s)
Average days on market
Sale price premium*
Available inventory
2/1 single family
183
$1,067
$491
$2,513
42
121%
3 weeks
3/2 single family
189
$1,454
$659
$3,700
20
115%
3 weeks
1/1 condo
336
$791
$223
$1,570
34
105%
6 weeks
2/1 condo
151
$1,092
$342
$1,925
25
114%
4 weeks
2/2 condo
361
$1,342
$250
$3,055
33
106%
7  weeks

*Sale price divided by listing price.
** These five categories represent about 51% of the total residential sales as reported in the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS.  Most new construction condo units being sold by the developer do not appear in the MLS. 
*** Most of the low sale prices were properties that have their original and resale prices restricted through various government programs designed to preserve affordable housing.
Current detailed reports can be found at www.boldsf.com/Statistics
And we do accept agent/broker referrals in San Francisco and surrounding counties.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Overall Trends Affecting the San Francisco Housing Market

Interesting analysis that appeared recently in the Business Insider: "San Francisco Housing Market May Have Peaked".

While I disagree with the headline and the metric the author uses to arrive at his conclusion, some of the underlying employment and job growth numbers bear watching.

My biggest disagreement with his "housing market may have peaked" statement is the use of "Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index" which is based on mortgages that lenders sell to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Those mortgages are capped at $636,000.  Assuming 20% down, that mortgage would support a sale of $795,000.

We know that average home prices in San Francisco are well above that figure.  Only 15% of sales this year have been under $799,000 (see our Sales by Price Range report).   So his conclusion is based on data that ignores 85% of the market.

Nevertheless, the slow down in job growth and labor force are worth keeping in mind.

Sales Are Up but Inventory is Down -- what's going on?

For the first half of 2017 the number of residential sales recorded by the San Francisco MLS is up almost 9% compared to the first half of last year -- 2,533 vs 2,332. 


That's the busiest first half since 2014.

But looking at active listings during the first week of each month it is clear that listings are not keeping pace with sales.

This graph shows active listings at the beginning of each month for years 2010 through2019.  Each year follows roughly the same month-to-month pattern -- low numbers in January building to a peak in May/June followed by a lull in July/August followed by another peak in October and then falling off through the end of the year.  The last three or four years active listings have been very low compared to the four previous years.


This trend can be seen on a monthly basis.  Here we show the number of active listings by the five categories of single family homes and condos we track.


Single family homes (both 3/2 and 2/1)and 2/1 condos show the fewest listings while 1/1 and 2/2 condos have significantly more.

Friday, July 7, 2017

New Listing Market Watch -- Where's the Inventory?

During the last two weeks the number of new listings plummeted by 48% compared to the prior two week period and 56% compared to the same period last year.


The drop in new listings affected both single family homes and condos.  There were 62 new listings of single family homes compared to 133 during the prior period and 197 during the same period last year.  96 new listings of condos came on the market compared to 170 during the prior period and 156 during the same period last year.

Put another way, we had more new listings of just single family homes during the same period a year ago than the combined total of new listings for both condos and single family homes during the last two weeks.

Some of this fall off can be attributed to the downturn we see every year at this time as the graph above shows.  But the drop off in new listings is more pronounced this year and that follows a lower than usual level of new listings during this year's spring market.

It's not surprising with the drop in new listings that fewer new listings went into contract.


It's also not surprising that the number of price reductions has dropped compared to the prior two week period and compared to the same period a year ago (which was the second highest for 2016).  There were 14 price reductions of single family homes compared to 22 during the prior two week period and 55 a year ago.  Condos saw 31 price reductions compared to 33 during the prior period and 41 compared to a year ago.


Apparently this lack of inventory is being felt in many housing markets around the country.  It's even alluded to in the headline of my prior post.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

RISMedia Power Broker Rankings


A report out today from RIS Media today shows that our brokerage, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Drysdale Properties, is in the top 10 of northern California-based brokerages by sales volume.

We're also in the top 30 brokerages state wide.

Overall we stand in the top 100 brokerages nation wide.

Not bad for a company that's just a few years old.

Good to know®

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Listing Market Watch - fewer new listings and fewer price reductions

New listings during the last two weeks were up a bit compared to the previous week but still well below compared to the same period a year ago.  There were 133 new listings of single family homes compared to 119 during the previous period and 127 a year ago.  There were 170 new listings of condos compared to 169 during the previous period and 234 a year ago.

Total new listings during the most recent two week period were 303 compared to 287 during the previous period and 361 a year ago.


A much smaller percent of new listing in the last two weeks went into contract (2.3% of single family homes and 5.9% of condos) compared to the previous period (10.1% and 13.7% respectively.  A year ago the percentages were 10.2% and 7.7% single family homes and condos respectively.


The total number of price reductions was slightly lower than during the previous period and significantly lower compared to a year ago (55 vs 58 vs 71 respectively).  The change was almost entirely in the condo market.

There were 22 price reductions of single family homes and 33 price reductions of condos during the most recent two weeks.  During the previous period the number of price reductions were 20 and 38 and compared to a year ago 23 and 46 single family homes and condos respectively.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Inventory - not much sign of improvement

Inventory is down compared to this time last year after a noticeable inventory increase (2016 compared to 2015) in two of the three condo configurations we track

Total active listings in the San Francisco MLS at the beginning of June for the five categories of single family homes and condos we track was lower than it has been since we began tracking this information in 2010 (376 units).




  • Survey is usually done within 5-8 business days of the beginning of the month.
  • These five configurations represent approximately 60% of residential real estate sales in San Francisco.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Why Listings Don't Sell

Occasionally we see property listings that are "still available", or "price reduced" and its various euphemisms ("price improved", "price adjusted" etc).  There's an interesting article in RISmedia that attempts to outline the major reasons why listings don't sell

The number one reason:  "You overvalued your property".   I would word it a bit differently:  "Your property is overpriced given it's current condition" which takes into account reasons 5-10:
  1. You haven't had your home professionally cleaned. A dirty house is going to leave a bad impression on buyers. Make sure you have a professional clean your carpeting and windows before you begin showing your house.
  1. You haven't staged your home. If you've already moved out, then don't show an empty house. This makes it difficult for buyers to imagine living in it. Stage your house with furniture and decor to give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. You want the buyer to feel at home when they are taking the tour.
  1. You kept up all of your personal décor. Buyers are going to feel uncomfortable touring your house if you keep all of your family portraits up. Take down your personal décor so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
  1. Your home improvements are too personalized. You might think that the comic book mural you painted for your child's room is absolutely incredible, but that doesn't mean potential buyers will agree. If your home improvements are too personalized, it can scare off buyers who don't want to pay for features they don't want.
  1. Your home is too cluttered. Even if your home is clean, clutter can still be an issue. For example, maybe you simply have too much furniture in one of your rooms. This can make the house feel smaller than it is.
  1. Your home is in need of too many repairs.
It may seem counter intuitive that in a seller's market such as we have in San Francisco right now, but 5-10 matter.  In our market where the majority of listings sell for over asking, many buyers and agents who perceive your property is over priced won't even consider offering something less.  Better to slightly under price your property and let the market and competitive offers decide.  

After all, there is truth to the old adage: a property is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

New Listing Market Watch - fewer listings, fewer price reductions

New listings for the most recent two week period are down compared both to the previous two week period and compared to the same period a year ago.  New listings of single family homes was 119 compared to 144 in the previous period and compared to 135 a year ago.  For condos, new listings were 168 compared to 203 in the previous period and 190 a year ago.



The percentage of new listings that went into contract dipped slightly for single family homes (10.1% compared to 11.8% in the previous period and compared to 10.4% a year ago).  For condos the percentage of new listings going into contract was down slightly compared to the previous period (13.7% vs 14.8%) but up compared to a year ago (13.7% vs 10.0%).


The number of price reductions of single family homes was up compared to the previous period (20 vs 16) but down slightly compared to a year ago (20 vs 22).  For condos the number of price reductions is down very slightly compared to the previous period (38 vs 39) and down more significantly compared to a year ago (38 vs 46).


The entire report can be found at our web site www.boldsf.com/Statistics.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Listing Watch - more new listings, more in contract, and fewer price reductions

Overall, the number of new listings in the previous two weeks is down slightly from the same period a year ago (347 vs 366) but up 16% compared to the previous two week period (347 vs 299).

The number of new listings of single family homes was down compared to last year (144 vs 164).  New listings of condos was virtually identical:  203 vs 202.  Compared to the previous two week period new listings of both single family homes and condos were up as you would expect this time of year.



The percentage of new listings that went into contract increased sharply compared to the previous two week period (single family homes:  12% vs 3%; condos: 15% vs 3%).  Compared to the same period a year ago they were up modestly (single family homes:  12% vs 10%; condos: 15% vs 13%).



The number of price reductions is down significantly compared to the same period a year ago (single family homes: 16 vs 32; condos: 39 vs 45).  Compared to the previous two week period price reductions are down for single family homes (16 vs 21) but up slightly for condos (39 vs 36).


Thursday, May 18, 2017

HOA fees

I was checking out a new listing today at Opera Plaza and the monthly HOA fee of $950 caught my eye.  Seems like only only yesterday (but in reality it's been ten years) HOA fees in that building were in the $500-$600/mo range for similar sized units.  And, of course, those fees do not include parking and they aren't deductible in the same way that mortgage interest is.

It turns out that there are 68 currently available units listed in the MLS that carry HOA fees of over $1,000/mo.  Of those, all but two have an asking price of over $1,000,000.  21 do not include parking.

Another 71 listings have HOA fees ranging from $800-$999/mo.  112 listings have HOA fees between $500-$799 and 170 listings have HOA fees under $500/mo.

High HOA fees aren't entirely a bad thing.  In some ways they may indicate a very well run homeowners association keeping up with repairs, maintaining healthy reserves, avoiding costly special assessments and, possibly, providing a lot of services such as a staffed lobby, concierge, swimming pool and elevators -- all of which contribute to HOA costs.  Very low HOA fees can indicate an association without adequate reserves, very few services and possibly deferred maintenance and minimal reserves.

As HOA fees increase as a percent of your overall monthly housing costs it's all the more important to review the HOA disclosure documents to make sure you understand why the monthly fees are what they are and to get insights into likely changes in the future.





Inventory -- still down

We've been bemoaning low inventory in the residential real estate market for what seems like years now.  And just when you think things (inventory) may be looking up we take another dip:



Each month we take a snapshot of the number of active listings in San Francisco from the MLS in five different configurations of single family homes and condos/TICs.  The snapshot is taken usually on the 8th day of the month.

Last May inventory showed a very positive bounce off the lows in 2015 which capped five years of steady decline.  Many of us thought this might be the beginning of a steady increase.  However, this  year we see a decline in inventory across all five of the categories we survey*.

The New York times recently published an article that may partially explain continued low inventory, "Real Estate’s New Normal: Homeowners Staying Put" that shows home ownership tenure has been climbing for the last 15 years starting roughly at the beginning of the last recession.


Although their data represents a national survey and we know from experience the San Francisco doesn't always follow national trends, in this case they've identified at least one contributing factor that seems to apply here which is also supported by local anecdotal experience.  We hear from potential home sellers all the time "if I sell where do I go?"  For most people the only answer to that question is "away from the Bay area.



*The five categories of single family homes (2 bed/1 bath; 3 bed/2 bath) and condos/TICs (1 bed/1bath; 2 bed, 1 bath; and 2 bed/2 bath) represent approximately 60% of listings in the San Francisco MLS.

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Listing Watch - less inventory and fewer price reductions

At a time when inventory should be increasing, the number of new listings of single family homes has dropped compared to the previous two week period (118 vs 131) and compared to the same period one year ago (118 vs 147).  The number of new condo listings rose compared to the previous period (181 vs 142) but has not reached the level of a year ago (181 vs 202).



The percentage of new going into contract has also dropped compared to the previous period (single family homes: 3.4% vs 5.3%; condos: 3.3% vs 14.8%) and compared to a year ago (single family homes: 3.4% vs 8.2%; condos: 3.3% vs 7.4%).



The number of price reductions is up compared to the previous two week period (57 vs 44) but still way down compared to the same period a year ago (57 vs 95) which is mostly based on fewer condo price reductions (36 vs 66).   Condo sellers seem to have gotten the message that aggressive over pricing is a formula for their properties to sit on the market longer and ultimately achieve lower selling prices.


The entire report can be found at our web site.