San Francisco prices compared Globally

The folks at Credit Sesame published a rather interesting infographic yesterday that puts America’s real estate prices in a global context. While much hay has been made about San Francisco real estate prices, their point is that on a global basis San Francisco real estate (and America) is a relative bargain! Some of the highlights of their research?

  • Most expensive city in the world? Paris, France at $3,287 per square foot.
  • Cheapest city in the world? Santiago, Chile at $160 per square foot.
  • Surprisingly expensive global city? Tehran, Iran at $834 per square foot.

For their United States stats, the numbers are from 2011. San Francisco real estate prices come in on their chart at $520 per square foot – less than the worldwide median by several hundred dollars per square foot, but the third most expensive in the United States behind New York and Hawaii.

Curious about how accurate their statistics are (Zillow and Trulia are listed as some of their sources) for San Francisco, I ran some numbers in the San Francisco MLS and these were my results:

  • For the three year period from October 1, 2008 – today, there were 13,653 sales with a median sales price of $688,000 and a median size of 1,150 square feet. Do the math and the median price per square foot is $598 per square foot in San Francisco for the past 3 years.
  • For the year to date period (January 1, 2011 – today) there were 3,717 sales with a median sales price of $665,000 and a median size of 1,157 square feet. The math for 2011 works out to a median price per square foot of $575 per square foot for 2011.

Both of my numbers come in higher than their calculations, but plugging my numbers in to their chart still has San Francisco as the third most expensive city in America (unchanged) and still well below the global median average.

Their numbers are from a wide variety of sources and time periods, but I still think the chart provides an interesting perspective. Any numbers stand out to you?


  1. says

    Thanks for the good article. Most people hear national news about what is happening to the housing market and think it applies to every community. I think it is important to remind our clients of that. Here in Austin we have fared much better than the national average.

  2. Matt Fuller, GRI says


    Thanks for your comment – even within SF there are huge variations on price per square foot – condos, homes, TICs, luxury, entry, and various neighborhood all create plenty of “micro-markets.”


Leave a Reply