San Francisco Active Listed Housing Inventory: 3/3/08 (
While we’ve seen sales volume in San Francisco trending up over the past two months, new listings continue to outpace new contracts as inventory of Active listed single-family homes, condos, and TICs in San Francisco increased 5% over the past two weeks and is up 42% on a year-over-year basis.
Do keep in mind, however, that while sales volume is trending up, it’s still running almost 30% under the pace of 2007. And combined with increasing inventory, it has resulted in a near doubling of months of listed inventory versus the same time last year.
SocketSite’s San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory Update: 2/19/08 [SocketSite]
San Francisco Sales Activity In January: Down Again (-27.1% YOY) [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by ex SF-er

    This is impressive IMO, to go up 40% on YOY terms.
    Out of curiosity, do you have comparable data from “non-bubble” years like perhaps 2002? Or even during the huge runup like in 1998? or a really bad year like 1992?
    the reason I ask: one possibility is that the 2006-2007 inventory data might be exceptionally low, so we’re rising to “normal” from exceptionally low.
    or it could be rising from average to exceptionally high…
    regardless, this is the same pattern San Diego saw in 2004-2007.
    Each year sales would pick up in spring, but not as much as new inventory came on board. So each year inventory rose and rose and rose. After a few years of this, SD had record inventory, and still MORE people were putting their homes on the market. only then (2007) did prices fall significantly. (they fell a little 2006, a lot 2007)
    if the pattern holds (no reason why it must, but it might rhyme), then true falls in SF RE valuations wouldn’t be expected until NEXT year.
    too many people believe/hope that there will be a huge 2008 spring bounce… so many held their homes off market until the spring. if this spring/summer fails, then they’ll pull their homes off market in winter, then next year they’ll relist in spring, but be more willing to deal… that’s IF this spring is a bust.
    if this spring is a roaring success, then all bets are off about price drops any time soon.
    as I’ve said before countless times:
    1. we’ll have a very good idea how strong the market is when ORH and infinity close.
    2. the downturn will be slow (years). like watching the paint dry on a painting of grass growing. 🙂

  2. Posted by [Dave]

    The trend of 5-20 unit buildings now being offered as TIC’s most likely has some affect on inventory being up. With the fractional loans, buildings with more than six units are becoming more and more common.

  3. Posted by Monkey

    Ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget all the listings that are not even in that inventory number. Sure there are the big new buildings, but there are also apartments not on the MLS–that are for sale–at least some of which have been on the market for a while. Case in point are the 2 TICs basically on Church at Market (south side). They were open this weekend in spite their lack of posting on the MLS and I recall noticing these on the MLS–and then removed from the MLS–before the holiday season . . .hmm

  4. Posted by FSBO

    SocketSite – Thanks for the great information as always, but I might argue a bit about the statement that “sales volume is trending up over the past two months”. Feb 08 sales volume stands at about 267 – and though it will continue to rise as late reportings are made, it’s still a very low month (historically) and, as you point out, 30% below Feb 07 (380 sales) and Feb 06 (399 sales). And Jan 08 finally limped in with about 220 total sales which was the low water mark over the past 20+ years. But Feb volume did increase compared to Jan, so I guess that may constitute an upward trend. I think that we will see median prices up in Feb too – at least for SFH’s in most districts.

  5. Posted by REpornaddict

    I predict a rise in SFH median prices for Feb, offset (outweighed??) by a continued drop in the median price of condos, for what its worth…

  6. Posted by Dude

    MLS is showing listed inventory of 1,336 as of today. Probably well over 1,400 with pocket listings included.

  7. Posted by Delancey

    Admittedly speaking anecdotally, I’ve recently seen desirable properties appear on a realtor’s personal site several days before going on the MLS, enter contract after just a couple days (give or take, I don’t check daily), then disappear from MLS shortly after entering contract.
    This could be managing countable inventory on the MLS, or it could be a seller not wanting any more effing lookyloos, or perhaps it is getting the property off MLS quickly so if it has to be relisted the 30 day clock can start as early as possible. But overall it does seem a bit squirrely.

  8. Posted by FSBO

    Delancy – very interesting observations. When you refer to a listing disappearing from the MLS, is the listing going to a status of Expired, Inactive, or Sold – or is it being deleted completely off the MLS? Could you provide some examples? There are supposed to be some controls over deleting a listing.

  9. Posted by Trip

    From what I can glean (no access to MLS), it looks like Feb ’08 SFR sales came in at 129 with a median of $810k. Volume is way down, and median is down a bit YOY and way down from January. Condos and TICs look like 119 and 29 sales and $764k and $714k medians respectively, with volume again down significantly YOY but medians up a bit.
    Looks like inventory (as in months’ worth) is at about double last year at this point. Let’s see if ex SF-er’s take on this development holds.

  10. Posted by SFpornaddict

    I thought the Jan 08 median for SFHs was 820k – I wouldnt call a fall to 810k for Feb ‘way down’ myself.
    Not sure what the figure for Feb 07 was but sounds like you have it – as you state its down a bit YOY. Must have been a big increase from Jan 07 as YOY last month was +5.8%.

  11. Posted by fluj

    One solution to all this MLS manipulation is to make it available only to the realtors who pay for it. I wouldn’t want that. But some do, and I can see how it would work.

  12. Posted by Dude

    fluj, I don’t understand your comment. Aren’t the same people you reference the ones manipulating it?

  13. Posted by fluj

    No, I don’t think so. I think if it were only agents who could view it then manipulation would be decreased. Consumers seem to be more fixated on DOM, for example, than the average realtor.

  14. Posted by Dude

    Not sure if I agree with that. Realtors, not consumers, are the ones manipulating DOM to refresh stalefish. And what about pocket listings keeping inventory understated? Are sellers saying, “Sell this without advertising it”?
    Regardless of what’s done with the MLS, inventory, sales volumes, price info, and a slew of other data are now widely available online from a bevy of providers. The old days of the NAR monopolizing this information are ending.

  15. Posted by FSBO

    Here is how Feb08 stacks up against some recent months (for listed sales data). The columns in the table below correspond to SFH, Condo, Total:
    Feb08 Volume: 130 148 278
    Feb08 Median: $809K $757K $785K
    Feb07 Volume: 144 236 380
    Feb07 Median: $843K $663K $763K
    Jan08 Volume: 108 115 223
    Jan08 Median: $900K $710K $767K
    May07 Volume: 223 325 558
    May07 Median: $965K $765K $840K
    I will do some further analysis by district and per sf to get a better apples-to-apples comparison, but notice how the SFH median price is dropping. Median condo prices seemed to jump in Feb08 – but are still down from May07 (which I think was the high water mark for reported median prices in SF and Marin).

  16. Posted by fluj

    Until such a time as the city of San Francisco and other municipalities efficiently automate sales data, it’s gonna be the MLS that dominates. Why? Because each individual realtor has the ability to enter data in real time.
    Property Shark and the like are only as good as the title searches and tax data. I think it goes from recorder to clerk who deals with big stack of paper to clerk who deals with an even bigger stack to database or something like that. I agree that times are changing. But you know how bureaucracies are.
    A lot of this sort of becomes, a chicken or the egg discussion. Did the MLS create a fixation with DOM for agents? Or did the Internet industry create market savvy consumers who put too much on DOM? Remember that back in the day properties usually took a long time to sell. It was the Internet that brought the immediacy.

  17. Posted by Dude

    We’re veering off on a tangent here, fluj, but I agree with you in principal. But I’d also add that “back in the day” properties were just shelter – homes people lived in. Today they’ve become investment vehicles.
    Real estate is also the single-largest purchase most folks will make in their lifetime. So it amazes me that the flow of information continues to be so restricted, and that data continues to be heavily manipulated.
    I think the appetite for information has always been there – nobody wants to throw their life savings into such a large purchase without all available data. The NAR has a long legacy of withholding this information to create a monopoly and maintain its commission structure. As you probably know, they’ve butted heads with the Feds over anti-trust issues before (and are one of the largest lobby groups in Washington). So in this case, the chicken laid the egg.

  18. Posted by Trip

    I believe the Dept of Justice has an antitrust lawsuit against the NAR in Illinois on some (but not all) of these issues. The NAR tried to dismiss but failed. Could result in some light being shed on the MLS.

  19. Posted by fluj

    Sure, people were always curious and thirsty for knowledge. But the ease with which knowledge can be obtained has only made people more curious. Just look at this web site. How many R.E. hobbyists do you suppose there are on here? How many R.E. hobbyists were there before the Internet came about?
    One note on the MLS. It is proprietary and it aint particularly cheap. Why the SFAR doesn’t charge for use of its content I do not know.

  20. Posted by Michael

    The industry has always publicized MLS metrics to paint a picture of the market. The problem for the industry isn’t that consumers put too much emphasis on the wrong metrics but that they now have the tools to challenge the metrics that once had to be accepted at face value.

  21. Posted by fluj

    It’s no challenge to the metrics if the tools are flawed, and they are for reasons discussed ad infinitum.

  22. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Why the SFAR doesn’t charge for use of its content I do not know.”
    Because free distribution of that MLS content is de facto free viral marketing for SFAR members ? Just a guess.
    eBay offers similar free access and content distribution. Their seller’s cost per transaction dollar is considerably higher than the SFAR MLS.

  23. Posted by fluj

    Actually, EBay will not let people take its images. They usually cease to render after a day or so at most.

  24. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Ah, I see. You’re referring to taking pieces of an eBay listing (like photos) out of context and posting them somewhere else.
    Yes, SS does this all the time and even posts images like the one on that are eventually taken off of the MLS.
    I’d guess that SFAR tolerates this because SS always includes a link to the sfarmls page so SS serves to drive traffic to sfarmls – a win-win situation.
    I don’t know for sure but I would guess that the reason that eBay links don’t render after a day is that they are scrambling their image URLs to prevent people from “hotlinking” images and sucking bandwidth from their web servers. eBay gains no benefit from people hotlinking images hosted on eBay servers with no context to drive traffic back to eBay.
    People can still freely copy eBay images to their local server and I doubt that eBay has much energy to crack down on that sort of image thief.

Comments are closed.

Recent Articles