Is the Market Up or the Market Down?

Last week we hosted a San Francisco first time home buyer webinar where we talked with first time home buyers about the latest San Francisco market data and financing information. We spent a little time chatting about whether the market is up or down, and like so many things the answer is relative to your starting point.

Below are two of the slides from the webinar, both are looking at single family homes in San Francisco MLS districts 1- 10. The first chart looks at the past 3 years, starting with Q3 of 2008 (just about the market peak) and ending with Q3 of 2011. For single family homes, the high median price was in Q3 of 2008 with a value of $820,000. The low was this past quarter with a value of $700,000. From Q3 of 2008, the overall market for single family homes in San Francisco is down about 15%.

3 year San Francisco single family home price graph


The next chart below looks at values for single family homes in all of San Francisco since the beginning of 2011. As you can see, since January of 2011 the median price for a San Francisco single family has increased by about 20%, when you take into consideration all price points and all neighborhoods.

San Francisco housing prices, January – October 2011

So which is it? Is the market in San Francisco up or down?

Obviously, we are still down from the peak of the market in 2008. That said, the trend at this point seems to be moving in a positive direction, with buyers feeling more confident about their job prospects (especially those in the technology industry) and motivated by historically low interest rates.

One important caveat: While data sets that look at all of San Francisco can be useful for discerning city-wide trends, it is important to remember that San Francisco has numerous micro-markets based on property type and neighborhood. What is true of single family homes in Pacific Heights may or may not be true for condos in the Bayview or tenancies-in-common in Noe Valley.

We are more than happy to run the stats for you if you are interested in a particular neighborhood or property type.


Leave a Reply