San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory: 6/2/08 (www.SocketSite.com)
Inventory of Active listed single-family homes, condos, and TICs in San Francisco increased slightly (1%) over the past two weeks and is currently running 45% higher on a year-over-year basis. Housing inventory typically declines over the last couple of weeks of May but once again starts to build in June as the school year ends and the summer selling season starts in earnest.
Thirty percent of Active listings have experienced at least one price adjustment versus twenty-three percent at the same time last year.
Keep in mind that our listed inventory count does not include listings in any stage of contract (even those which are simply contingent) nor does it include listings for multi-family properties (unless the units are individually listed).
SocketSite’s San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory Update: 5/12/08 [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by yao

    time to buy?

  2. Posted by mrbogue

    …or be priced out forever…

  3. Posted by akrosdabay

    “It’s always a good time to buy or sell Real Estate.” -NAR

  4. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    if you think it is time to buy check out the Chicago Mercatile Exchange Case Shiller Index Futures, they see bay area home prices continuing to decline through spring 2009 (returning to 2000 price levels).
    Of course it is a futures markets and it is predicting prices so they could be wrong …

  5. Posted by Trip

    Here is a pretty decent (if short on details) U.S. News analysis of how and why increasing levels of inventory like this lead to lower prices 6-9 months down the road, even if prices declines are not seen immediately. The commentator discusses this situation in Seattle today, which to date has seen prices remain stronger than those in SF.
    It looks like SF is following the same pattern seen by other locales in CA about a year ahead of us, and we are about 3-6 months ahead of what Seattle is now starting to see. I.e. to answer Yao’s question — no, we’re still in the early innings of this decline in SF.
    http://www.usnews.com/blogs/the-home-front/2008/05/29/next-housing-market-to-crash-seattle.html

  6. Posted by mktwatcher

    The US News story boils down to rising inventories lead to price declines…not a big surprise since it’s one of the big reasons we even follow inventory. As somebody who is looking in district 5, I will tell you that inventory in the mid-tier still seems to be tight so when this “hits” San Francisco, it will likely drive down prices for lofts and new construction condos in SOMA/South Beach and accelerate the declines in the low end, but still now sure how it impacts the areas that have remained resilient with low inventory.
    One other anectdote from open houses yesterday – several realtors talked about the difficult financing environment, skittish buyers and a low ratio of offers to disclosure packages out. Those all seemed relevant in if difficult to verify in terms of where the stronger districts might be righ now.

  7. Posted by Dude

    “….the summer selling season starts in earnest.”
    Summer selling season? Wait…what happened to the spring bounce?

  8. Posted by Foolio

    My open house anecdotes from yesterday: Low traffic, same inventory, concerned agents.

  9. Posted by fluj

    “Summer selling season? Wait…what happened to the spring bounce?”
    It seems to me that several articles spoke to the spring bounce, YoY increases, etc. But people always start talking summer once June rolls around, you know? Kind of like December is winter even though it isn’t until the third week.

  10. Posted by mktwatcher

    Foolio – agree with your anecdote as well. Traffic seemed even lower yesterday than in recent weeks.

  11. Posted by fluj

    What did you see, Foolio? Clients of mine were outbid on a property two weeks ago. Then there was a second property they liked and they decided not to bid. The reason was that one bid had already come in, preemptive and under asking, which was refused. A second offer came in at the offer date. My clients didn’t want to get sucked into a competitive situation. I’m thinking that this is probably pretty typical of the mentality right now. It makes sense.

  12. Posted by Foolio

    @fluj:
    Spent the day in the Inner Richmond again…Mrs. Foolio and I looked at a number of different places…condos, TICs, and even a SFH…all quiet, except for the agents who kept telling me it was a great time to buy (and kept showing Mrs. Foolio the closets…gender stereotypes…sigh).
    BTW, think you’d previously mentioned the 12th/Balboa area…took a walk down there, and…wow! Some really nice places, and not too far from the park. Definitely an area to keep an eye on…

  13. Posted by fluj

    Well it’s quiet on this front too and I injured myself playing soccer yesterday. So today I finally have time to do that Richmond comparison you asked about.

  14. Posted by EBGuy

    if you think it is time to buy check out the Chicago Mercatile Exchange Case Shiller Index Futures, they see bay area home prices continuing to decline through spring 2009 (returning to 2000 price levels).
    For the record, SF Bay Area Feb. 09 futures last traded at 131.20. This is Spring ’02 pricing. Yikes, but I see what you mean, as the index went from 128.58 to 131.16 from Dec. 2000 to Jan. 2001 (forming a peak in May 2001 and then heading downward before climbing again in early 2002).

  15. Posted by fluj

    Yeah, unfortunately for buyers just coming around to the Inner Richmone, I think the word has been out for some time. A major reason for this, I feel, is that part of the Richmond holds particularly well built properties. They simply feel very solid. Ever notice that? They are quiet underfoot when you walk through those flats.
    Anyway, here’s what I saw for the Richmond YoYoYoYoYoY 1/1-6/2, TICs and condos
    2008: 57 sales 919K avg sp 645 psqft
    2007: 70 sales 866K avg sp 603 psqft
    2006: 81 sales 770K avg sp 577 psqft
    2005: 60 sales 840K avg sp 596 psqft
    2004: 60 sales 703K avg sp 523 psqft
    Time after time when I do stuff like this I see that late 2004, early 2005 was the real break. That’s when prices became 20% higher. So when folks postulate about a return to 2000 prices I’m always like, “Hold on a sec.” You can’t just skip past ’04 like that!
    A return to 2004 in and of itself is a 20% drop. Let’s discuss that first, then if that happens, we can talk about 2000. It isn’t happening in the Richmond so far. I see 2004 and 2005 type volume and higher prices than ever so far this year.
    I went on to do a polygonal map search for only the Inner Richmond, beginning at Funston mid block between Anza and Balboa, and running to the west side of Arguello and then down to Fulton, then back along Fulton to Funston. That’s where I have anecdotally noticed a spike in price, particularly for SFRs. Here’s what that yielded YoYoYoYoYoY for condos and TICs.
    2008: 7 sales 864K sp 662 $psqft )also one active one pending)
    2007: 5 sales 793K sp 615 $psqft
    2006: 3 sales 633K sp 433 $psqft (all TICs, and someone got 672 9th Ave for 396 a foot)
    2005: 4 sales 761K SP 623 $psqft
    2004: 4 sales 544K sp 460$psqft
    If you consider mix here and factor that Lake street skews high, and Anza to mid-block between Clement and California probably skews low, I think you can tell what’s going on.
    778 12th Avenue is probably pretty indicative of the more desirable flats in the area. It is pending after 14 days on the market. It’s very large, 1720 feet, and they’re asking 899K. I think it will sell for that easily.

  16. Posted by Russ

    There is a summer in San Francisco?

  17. Posted by Ryan

    Why are there Case-Shiller futures? What are you actually buying a share of or right to?
    Or does the mercantile simply act like a bookie and allow people to gamble on the prices?
    [Editor’s Note: A bit of background: They’re Betting Against Us (San Francisco) On The CME.]

  18. Posted by Michael L.

    Regarding the post by Russ 06/02/2008 11:41AM
    Yes Russ. LOL

  19. Posted by bigidea

    I am glad people brought-up traffic yesterday.
    I looked at a single family home and a magnificent 2-unit in the mission. The agent at the high-end 2-unit said that she didn’t know what was going on but she was packed all day. She thought maybe it had something to do with people getting serious about buying “after memorial day” Don’t know.

  20. Posted by fluj

    “”It’s always a good time to buy or sell Real Estate.” -NAR” — akrosdabay
    Do you disagree with that statement, really? hahahha. “OR.” LOL. For some of these SF sellers getting the kind of sales prices they’re getting two years into popular perception of doom and gloom I’d say that statement is pretty accurate. It’s probably a damn fine time to sell, here, for some.

  21. Posted by akrosdabay

    “It’s probably a damn fine time to sell, here, for some.”
    What about the folks buying then? It can’t be good for both at the same time, can it? 🙂

  22. Posted by fluj

    It didn’t say “buy and sell.” It said “buy OR sell.” LOL.

  23. Posted by akrosdabay

    “It didn’t say “buy and sell.” It said “buy OR sell.” LOL.”
    If someone is selling someone has to be buying. Duh! ROTFL.

  24. Posted by anon

    The NAR maxim does not apply in SF or just about anywhere else right now. It’s not a good time to buy OR sell. It’s not a good time to buy because prices still have a long ways to fall before the bottom. And it’s not a good time to sell for anyone who bought less than about 4 years ago. I think this is why akrosdabay put it in quotes.

  25. Posted by fluj

    “And it’s not a good time to sell for anyone who bought less than about 4 years ago”
    Yeah that’s right. Four years or more would pretty much guarantee a healthy return. Now, do most people sell inside of four years? That’s the pertinent question. Despite the infatuation with the r.e. porn that is the 11 month apples to apples sale — and I like it too — people tend to stay in places for longer than four years. No, you can’t successfully argue that now isn’t a good time to sell, for some, here.

  26. Posted by anon

    fluj, we’re in agreement. If you bought more than 4 years ago, now is a good time to sell as you should still come out ahead. But I’ll actually modify my statement a bit. It’s a good time to sell for anyone in the sense that you’ll get more now than you will a year from now; i.e. you can still cut your losses.

  27. Posted by Foolio

    @fluj:
    Thanks for sharing the Richmond data. I noticed a strange pattern, maybe someone can explain it? I calculated the square footage of the average property sold in the YoYoYoYoY comparisons and noticed the following:
    2008: 1424 sf
    2007: 1436 sf
    2006: 1334 sf
    2005: 1409 sf
    2004: 1344 sf
    I noticed a similar trend (if you can call it that) in the Sunset data you posted a few weeks back, that is, average square footage of properties trending upwards in 2004 and 2005 (presumably the remodel boom), took an odd dip in 2006, and has remained constant in 2007 and 2008.
    Perhaps this is a sign of the “mix” argument people have been making on here for awhile? That is, in 2006, anything with a metaphorical pulse flew off the shelves, bringing the average down? Now, perhaps people are being a little more discriminating?
    Don’t want to read too much into square footage data which is pretty unreliable, but such a strange pattern must have some explanation, I think.

  28. Posted by fluj

    “It’s a good time to sell for anyone in the sense that you’ll get more now than you will a year from now; i.e. you can still cut your losses”
    That’s definitely the current conventional wisdom — prices will soon fall. But to be fair it was also the conventional wisdom both this time last year and even back in spring 2006. I mean look at the numbers I put up for Richmond condos. Is there a discernible downward trend? Of the active condos, and there are 52, I count only 9 that have been on the market for three months or more.

  29. Posted by fluj

    I think all around 2006 is going to appear statistically odd. Look at the dip in sales price, for one thing. Yet that was the hottest market. And yeah, it might just have been that pieces of crap were selling. They weren’t getting a lot of money, but they were selling.

  30. Posted by San FronziScheme

    SS’s Inventory numbers last time was 36.6% more than a year before (1491 vs. 1091).
    This time, it is 44.8% (1510 vs. 1040) higher than last year’s number. The previous dip in the inventory number did not happen this time and that led to the 7.8% gain.

  31. Posted by Dude

    Article in today’s Chronicle doesn’t really seem to reinforce the idea that prices are rising in the Richmond.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/01/REL01105AJ.DTL

  32. Posted by fluj

    Dude,
    Man, one anecdote and you’re talking about a Chronicle story not seeming to reinforce the bevy of numbers I provided. Interesting viewpoint. Let’s examine it.
    First, this is the Outer Richmond and the condo sold for $21 a foot higher than the average out there so far this year (and $43 a foot higher than last year.) Second, it sold for only $50 psqft less than the average for the entire Richmond so far this year. Third, despite the minimal efforts of the sellers — I’m not going to go into what they did or didn’t do, the MLS photos are obvious — it remained a cosmetic fixer by and large. Four, it is 971 square feet. Five, it only has one bathroom.
    So does it reinforce the numbers I showed? I think on second glance you’ll see that it very much is in keeping with the numbers I showed. It is not only up from Richmond-wide 2005 and 2006 $psqft, but only $9 less than 2007’s average. And again, way out there. Cosmetic fixer.
    Now, did their downstairs neighbors sell at a particularly great time? That’s another story.

  33. Posted by fluj

    Honestly, from that Chronicle article I could infer that Silver Terrace is hot as blazes. Woo hoo! That property got into contract in four days!
    Come on now.

  34. Posted by Trip

    Does anyone have the final MLS sales figures for May? I’m going to hazard a guess (all it is) based on FSBO’s “five Fridays” hypothesis — May ’08 had 5 Fridays, and since homes typically close on a Friday sales will see an uptick in such months. So my guess is May SFRs will be slightly up in volume over last year, with condo volume down a bit given the real hit that segment is now seeing.
    But June only has 4 Fridays (compared to the 5 in 2007) — so June will see a notable decline in volume YOY across the board.

  35. Posted by FSBO

    At this moment, MLS sales for May in San Francisco total 457 (215 SFH + 242 condos) with an overall median price of $839K. For May 07, the totals were 558 with the still highest ever median of $839.5K (MLS). The May 08 totals will continue to rise as late reportings are made. Other comparable totals – 522 in May 06, 594 in May 05, and 641 in May 04.

  36. Posted by FSBO

    Trip – May 07 sales were 233 SFH’s and 325 condos – so you may be correct. I expect that the final SFH count for May 08 gets close to 233.

  37. Posted by Trip

    Thanks for the numbers, FSBO. So we may see a new record median with the late numbers (although, am I correct that the May ’08 mix has a higher proportion of SFRs and correspondingly lower condos that ’07?)

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