An Average San Francisco Year?

What’s an average year in San Francisco real estate? If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve been pumping out statistics during the month of January. 2012 was definitely the year that buyers returned to the San Francisco housing market, and as I’ve been chugging through spreadsheet after spreadsheet, I realized that I don’t really have a baseline number to work from. So, as you can see below, I’ve gone back and graphed out the total number of sales in San Francisco that have been reported in the SFAR MLS since 1994.

Total residential sales reported in SFAR MLS, 1994 - 2012
Total residential sales reported in SFAR MLS, 1994 – 2012 (click for bigger version)

The light blue bars in the background show the total number of residential sales by year, with the low point being 4,663 sales reported in 1995. The busiest year was 2004, when 10,057 sales were reported, with 2005 and 2003 coming in the second and third position, making 2003 – 2005 by far the busiest three years in recent San Francisco real estate history. The colored lines represent property types, with the red line plotting the number of single family home sales over the same period, the orange line represents the total number of condominium/co-operative/loft/tenancy-in-common sales, and the green line represents residential unit buildings (2-4 units, including mixed use).

Look for a future post in which I call out some interesting details about unit building sales that you can’t see in this graph because of the scale. But let’s just say that while the green line seems fairly steady, there is a very interesting pattern in the sales of unit buildings.

All of which still doesn’t answer my question about what an average year in San Francisco real estate would look like, at least from a volume/transaction point of view. But luckily for you (or not – depending on how you feel about charts and statistics), I kept doing the math until I could answer my own question. In an average year there are 7,284 sales in San Francisco that are reported in the MLS. Of those 7,284 sales, in an average year 3,800 of them would be for single family homes, 2,735 would be condos/tics/lofts/co-ops, and 749 would be unit buildings.

Given a benchmark to measure against, I can finally judge the past 19 years of real estate in San Francisco, and my judgement is:

Above Average Years: 2012, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1999, 1998

About Average Years: 2007, 2002, 1997

Below Average Years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2001, 2000, 1996, 1995, 1994

What are your thoughts?


    • Matt Fuller, GRI says

      You are entirely too kind. I can’t be Nate Silver until I get a degree in statistics, understand baseball, and have a book deal. But I’m gonna try my best!

  1. Micki says

    Oy! About an hour ago…while I was out, I realized I had said Silverman not Silver!

    Dr. Silverman was Britton’s pediatrician in NYC.

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