Listed Inventory And Sales: June to June Comparison (
As you know, San Francisco’s inventory of listed single-family homes, condos, and TICs is currently running 34% higher on a year-over-year basis. As you might not know, on a year-over-year basis sales activity of said homes is running 25-30% lower. From another plugged-in reader:

Total MLS sales for June stand at 381 (at this moment) with an overall median price of $799K. June 2007 had 545 sales at a median of $830K. Jun06 – 617 sales @ $799K, Jun05 – 656 sales @ $800K, Jun04 – 708 sales @ $717K.

The official sales count for June will increase as listings for end of the month transactions are updated (hence our 25-30% range), but the significant downward trend over the past four years will hold true (the rate of which has been increasing rather than decreasing).
SocketSite’s San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory Update: 6/30/08 [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by tipster

    Fun to watch all the inventory stay off the MLS, until a buyer is found, then it is quickly put on.
    That keeps the inventory numbers lower than they otherwise would be, but makes sure every sale is counted, so that the days of inventory stays artificially lower than it would be if everything was listed to start with.
    With sales collapsing and foreclosures starting to tick up, mortgages getting harder and harder to find, and more expensive when you do find them (Wachovia is just now figuring out that option arms are doomed?), this will start to get interesting in a few months.

  2. Posted by Foolio

    Inventory up, sales down, but I’m sure things are still doing fine in my area.

  3. Posted by fluj

    What area do you rent in because perhaps that’s the case.

  4. Posted by urban_angst

    So we’re now up to a massive 3.8 month supply?

  5. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Median prices are not dropping by that much, but the numbers are probably skewed by the increasingly bipolarized market. Some areas are getting cheaper and some are not.

  6. Posted by Foolio

    Looks like someone forgot to turn on his sarcasm detector today…
    But sure, since you’re going to anyway, please tell us why everything is still fine in the “real SF.”

  7. Posted by fluj

    I totally got your sarcasm. Love me some sarcasm. “Really.”

  8. Posted by [Prime]

    If inventory is so high, why is it that SF prices keep on going up? We all know that SOMA has oversupply, but what about San Francisco where everybody else wants to live?
    I don’t call $1,000/sqft from $1,100/sqft good value in SOMA. SOMA should trade at $500-600/sqft.

  9. Posted by fluj

    You know, I have never used the term “real SF” once on here.
    You ascribe me as saying “real SF” and meaning only the nice parts of District 5 plus 7 and 8.
    Never said that.
    No I’ve stayed talking about everywhere except 10 and parts of 3. And some condos in 9.
    “REal SF.” — that’s your pet little pejorative and hey man, keep it. You own it!
    How many times have we taken close looks at the Sunset, the Richmond, the Western Addition and any number of ‘hoods which amount to over 4/5 of the city’s geography?
    I’d say quite a few times.

  10. Posted by weatherman

    What is your basis for saying that SOMA condos should sell for $500-600 sq foot other than wishful thinking? I am not particularly bullish in the short-term on the downtown condo market personally even though I am invested there, but I don’t think we are going to see a 50% correction there. You might want to look in Oakland if your price point is $500 sq ft.

  11. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I really hope you two show up at the Commonwealth event tonight. I would go, but I am leaving on vacation.

  12. Posted by ps

    If people want to see what a distressed real estate market looks like, check out the second quarter sales and median sales price of single family homes in Palm Springs. SF is a healthy market in comparison.
    North Palm Springs:
    ’07: 67 sales, $445,000.
    ’08: 52 sales, $325,950.
    Central Palm Springs:
    ’07: 59 sales, $650,000.
    ’08: 48 sales, $426,000.
    South Palm Springs:
    ’07: 62 sales, $725,000.
    ’08: 58 sales, $575,000.

  13. Posted by paco

    With sales collapsing and foreclosures starting to tick up, mortgages getting harder and harder to find, and more expensive when you do find them (Wachovia is just now figuring out that option arms are doomed?), this will start to get interesting in a few months.
    Posted by: tipster at July 1, 2008 11:31 AM
    notice the difference between tipster and a broken clock?
    at least a broken clock is correct twice a day…

  14. Posted by Trip

    “why is it that SF prices keep on going up?”
    [Prime] — what are you relying on for this statement? The median sales price is down. And as I noted in the original thread where these data were posted, listing prices (which is what is actually available to purchase, not just the small percentage that was sold), show a pretty significant downward trend in SF. From Altos Research’s charts, SFRs are down from about $610/sf to $519/sf for SFRs city-wide over the last year; condos down from about $725/sf to $683/sf.
    Has the SF market “crashed”? I certainly would not argue that. But the various market indicators pretty strongly point toward declining prices. One really has to struggle to come up with some data point (other than anecdote) to counter the growing body of verifiable facts. Socketsite’s chart above illustrates the bottom line: higher inventories (supply) and lower sales (demand) invariably leads to lower prices.
    On your specific question, take a look here:
    SOMA condos are at [$566/sf], not $1000.

  15. Posted by John

    I could care less about whether the seller made or lost money. I don’t know why some people here are so into talking about other people’s wealth.
    What I see very frustrating is that despite the price decline (which happens here and there in SF), it costs much more for the buyer today than 1 year ago.
    In mid-2007, it was pretty easy to get a 30-year fixed loan at around or below 5.25%. Today, it is at least 6.25%. That’s 20% higher. A buyer today will have higher monthly payment than a 2007 buyer, despite the market correction.

  16. Posted by Spencer

    “If inventory is so high, why is it that SF prices keep on going up? ”
    They are not going up. Prices have been relatively flat for 2+ yrs and slightly down (5-10%) in last 12 months.
    Expect another 5-10% over the next 12 months (July 08-june 09)
    and Expect another 5-10% over the 12 months after that (July 09-June 10)
    As of June 2010, expect prices to be down 15%-30% depending on area of the city, from the july 07 high

  17. Posted by Foolio

    @John: In mid-2007, there were also fewer purchasers opting for 30-year fixed loans. That makes your housing dollar worth even less in mid-2008. Think that’s a bad sign for SF prices? I do.
    @fluj: Keep up the good work, man. It’s hilarious!

  18. Posted by tipster

    “That’s 20% higher. A buyer today will have higher monthly payment than a 2007 buyer, despite the market correction.”
    What the heck are you talking about? 20% higher monthly payment? Try 50% higher payment or more.
    The buyers with a pulse who got interest only loans can’t get that deal any more. And Option Arm loans that anyone could get are going the way of the Dodo bird. Which is one reason the sales decreases are now accelerating (see chart above). All those former “buyers” are now out of the market.
    And as those loans reset, the refinancing options are nowhere near as cheap as the loans being refinanced. Which is one reason inventory is increasing (see chart above).

  19. Posted by logscaler

    at least a broken clock is correct twice a day…
    Withnail is that you?

  20. Posted by Amen Corner

    “From Altos Research’s charts, SFRs are down from about $610/sf to $519/sf for SFRs city-wide over the last year; condos down from about $725/sf to $683/sf.”
    This could be an indication that sellers are getting more realistic in their asking prices as opposed to actual sales prices declining. Not sure I particularly buy that argument though. I still see many condos come on the market at very optimistic prices only to be withdrawn from sale down the road. I will say, though, that in the areas/price range I track I see very little evidence of seller distress. Properties usually just get taken off the market if they don’t sell as opposed to significant reductions in asking price being made.

  21. Posted by Trip

    Well, let’s be fair and use apples-to-apples. The monthly payment on a 6.25% 30-year fixed loan is about 10% higher than on a 5.25% 30-year fixed loan. But Foolio and tipster are right that until late 2007 SF buyers were not using standard fixed loans; they were using option/teaser/neg-am loans, and it is the end of those offerings that has been the major cause of the dramatically lower sales volumes and the downward price trends (just as they were a major cause of higher volumes and rising prices).
    You’re still better off with lower prices and higher interest rates than the converse. Interest is deductible, and loans can be modified (and the higher rates further drive down prices).

  22. Posted by Lance

    Here are a couple of additional things to consider that this posting doesn’t call out.
    1) The “plugged in reader” who emailed in this information is only quoting listed sales apparently. Given that there are a lot of new units that aren’t listed on MLS, there are also a lot of unlisted sales. I guess we’ll see when Dataquick releases numbers in a few weeks, but I doubt seriously that total the 25% reduction in sales number holds when looking at total sales. Using listed numbers to predict total sales figures doesn’t seem like the best proxy IMO. Admittedly though, I’m no expert on the subject.
    2) So, using these numbers gets you to 3.9 months of supply. We are arguably in the biggest housing down turn of our time, and we have less than a 4 month supply of housing. Is 3.9 months of supply really that bad? Is this the famed bubble that we keep hearing about, because it’s pretty anti-climatic?
    3) The editor mentions that sales decreases have been accelerating lately, and I question that statement. The rate of decline (year over year) seems to be slowing over the last few months, and some months we’ve even registered sales increases. The sales decline in 2006 and most of 2007 is actually much larger than we’ve seen so far this year – again on a year over year percentage basis. The volume of sales is definitely down, but the rate of decline is NOT growing. So, I would argue that the trend has actually improved somewhat. This is going to become even more pronounced in a couple of months when the LY comparison is up against the credit crisis. At that point, we’ll probably start posting even more increases in sales.
    I’m sure that many will poke holes in my numbers, but nothing about this posting seems to suggest a SF housing crash.

  23. Posted by John

    Trip, you are right. it is a little over 10% more when you compare monthly payment.
    However, I don’t care how others do their mortgage. I don’t care if people were doing interest-only, teaser, neg arm or whatever.
    If you (eventually) want to buy, you would do the calculation for yourself, for the term you want, not how other people do it.
    And…I was pretty conservative on the difference between the mortgage rates. 5.25% 1 year ago was easy. Almost any bank can do it, and I suspect someone can get it below 5% if he looked hard enough. Today, I only know of Penfed doing 6.25%. What was Penfed’s rate one year ago? I have no idea.

  24. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’m not sure about being a ticking clock or not… but thus far some of us have had better prognostic abilities than others about the direction and availability of loans. I started squawking about exactly this (higher interest rates and reduced credit availability) as soon as the Bear Stearns Hedge funds exploded. others scoffed and said “it’s just subprime” and “rates will drop when the Fed drops rates”
    now I’m hearing a lot of “well we just have to wait for a while… the banks will lend again soon!” but I’ll tell you this: the banks will not lend on RE any time soon. instead they will continue to TIGHTEN their lending. Even if the Fed drops the Fed Funds Rate and the 10 year Treasury comes down, banks will STILL tighten restrictions. The only way this doesn’t happen is if a new govt program is created… the credit situation is that bad right now. (FWIW: I would not at all be surprised if we do see some sort of major govt intervention into all of this- that could open up the RE markets again but at huge taxpayer cost.)
    as we speak 2 big banks are hanging on by their fingernails. Lehman Brothers (an investment bank that had concentrated exposure to… you guessed it… residential mortgage securities) is down 70% this year and the thought is that they will not survive. (they will be taken over or bought out or something). Washington Mutual (a thrift that specialized in residential mortgages) is down 60% year to date. Countrywide financial (the largest Mortgage lender in america) is done, and being absorbed into BofA… and BofA just decided to pay 40% less to finalize the buyout.
    but it doesn’t stop there, there are hoardes of banks bleeding cash right now. every quarter we hear “whew, we’ve finally taken all the losses” and then we get a bunch more big ones. Investors are bleeding as well from their major losses on “safe” RE securitizations.
    so where is the loan money for future mortgages going to come from? The banks? they’re strapped and many are facing insolvency. the investors? they’re licking their wounds.
    this will turn around… but credit events take years to play out. this is part of the reason why I keep telling you that RE will have a rough time for YEARS, because the RE boom was really a credit boom. now the credit is impaired… so RE is impaired.

  25. Posted by urban dweller

    Inventory for single family homes still seems really low. There hasn’t been very many single family listings lately in Mission, Noe, Bernal and Potrero. The listings that have come on the market are listing at very high prices… like 2931 20th…
    [Editor’s Note: Inventory of listed single-family homes is up 31% YOY (versus 42% for condos/TICs). In terms of “listings that have come on the market are listing at very high prices,” think Median Sales Price (or rather mix).]

  26. Posted by ex SF-er

    as for SF specific stuff? sure there’s a lot of money there. But there are even cracks there. As example, last quarter was the first quarter ever (since records were taken, 30 years) where no Venture Capital firm took a company public. The private equity and VC game is very tough right now (they are having a hard time getting credit in order to lever up to goose their returns).
    last I checked there was a lot of VC and PE money in SF. Also, last I checked, the lifeblood of the SF Bay Area is VC money for startups, no?
    from the National Venture Capital Association:
    NO VENTURE BACKED IPO’S ISSUED IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2008: IPO Drought Creates Capital Market Crisis for Start Up Community
    that said, life isn’t armageddon out there. but one must really analyze when you hear that SF will fare well because “everybody’s rich” or because of “Google Millionaires” and “VC money” and all that.
    Yes, there is a TON of money in those areas. But that money is getting just a little harder to come by. The people who enter Google now get nowhere near what employees got 4 years ago. VC is struggling comparatively (although there are shining areas like Biotech and some tech and alternative energy as example). will these people be rich? yes, always. however, are they going to continue to be able to enrich their underlings so that they can afford $2M homes? That’s another question.

  27. Posted by badlydrawnbear


    You know, I have never used the term “real SF” once on here.

    correct, but you have certainly come close to saying it …

    from the DataQuick website, SF median for April -5.1%, now that is better then the over bay area median -21.4% but you would expect this once you look at the history of busts and how the collapse (as I said above) from the edges toward the center.
    Sales Volume Median Price
    All homes Apr-07 Apr-08 %Chng Apr-07 Apr-08 %Chng
    Alameda 1,555 1,240 -20.3% $586,500 $473,750 -19.20%
    Contra Costa 1,246 1,265 1.5% $600,000 $395,000 -34.20%
    Marin 313 216 -31.0% $925,000 $800,000 -13.50%
    Napa 109 100 -8.3% $563,000 $499,000 -11.40%
    Santa Clara 2,009 1,440 -28.3% $709,000 $615,000 -13.30%
    San Francisco 568 605 6.5% $790,000 $750,000 -5.1%
    San Mateo 681 573 -15.9% $810,000 $672,500 -17.00%
    Solano 440 429 -2.5% $428,000 $319,500 -25.40%
    Sonoma 526 442 -16.0% $519,000 $414,250 -20.20%
    Bay Area 7,447 6,310 -15.3% $659,000 $518,000 -21.40%
    Posted by: badlydrawnbear at June 16, 2008 9:32 AM

    @bdb I view San Francisco differently than the stats you posit describe. In fact, so does everyone. Would you expect to pay the same amount for a flat in Dogpatch as you do in Pac Heights? Prices have in plain point of fact RISEN in a number of areas in SF.
    Posted by: fluj at June 16, 2008 9:41 AM

    So when I posted SF county stats from DataQuick Fluj stated he views SF differently then that … so not quiet “real SF” but certainly close.
    And, of course, there is fluj’s habit of exclude certain districts from his analysis, but at least he tells you when he is excluding those districts and he does consistently exclude the same ones

  28. Posted by Trip

    The steep declines in sales volume are a quite solid indicator that we were in a bubble and it is bursting, which means prices fall. This is not just the typical RE cycle. The price declines in SF from 1991-1996 were substantial (I was here — friends who bought in the late 80s got hammered and a few who had no choice but to sell because of job moves took big losses). Yet sales volume remained steady throughout that period, never really falling from the peak price years. See:
    That’s how recession-driven RE bear markets work. People just can’t/won’t pay as much and sellers have no choice but to accept lower prices (or refuse to sell, if they can). The sales volume is not necessarily affected though. But the current decline started to hit before we were in the nasty economic and financial downturn that we are now a few months into. The big declines in volume show that we are moving into a double-whammy — the popping of the bubble caused by the end of funny-money loans and much tighter lending standards, and the normal recession-driven belt-tightening. I don’t think SF can escape either of these widespread trends, but even if it manages to avoid one, the other will have a significant impact.
    We can already see the downturn, and it will be years before we climb out of it. A handful of $3 million sales of homes we all like to gawk at don’t change anything.

  29. Posted by fluj

    The real SF to SS bears: Bayview, VV, Hunter’s Point, Oceanview, Silver Terrace, some condos South of Market and selected properties in various neighborhoods throughout the Sunset.

  30. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    It’s pretty simple (for bears) either the property is in SF or it is not, end of story.

  31. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    I will say this, I think it comes down to point of view.
    Myself, I am looking at a broader “market trend” for SF and/or the overall bay area. For no other reason then when sample sizes get to small indicators such as medians and price rent ratios break down, for them to have any value you need to include ALL the districts to get enough homes/transactions to make them useful.
    I would say fluj is looking at a narrower “outperform” segment of the market that helps earn him a living. Since he is unlikely to accept listing from the under performing areas ( and really why would he ) his point of view of is different. Those under performing neighborhoods don’t matter to his analysis because he is not likely to ever have to deal with them directly.
    While I can see how this might be valid for him (and his business) I don’t feel it helps in evaluating SF market and the overall direction the market is taking, but hey, that’s just me.

  32. Posted by Trip

    Take a look at the most recent report on 94114 condos (Altos divides up the market by zip instead of district).
    94114 is a desirable area (Noe, Castro, Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle) that seemed to be bucking the trend until recently. I live here — it is quite nice and extremely convenient. But the condo market has really stagnated lately. This is quite recent, but the expanding trend city-wide. The exceptions are not the areas of SF that are seeing declines but the diminishing subset of areas that are remaining flat.

  33. Posted by fluj

    I would take a listing in an underperforming area, why not? The sellers need to be rational that’s all. I wasted a lot of time last summer with a Bayview listing that I actually got two offers on — offers in the low 600s range and the sellers had bought the property for like 210K.
    You guys with your Bay Area MSA are the ones who can’t evaluate properly. I am very in touch with hyper local values. You guys by and large know nothing about that. Nothing.
    When and if a trend becomes practicable for the average homebuyer I’ll be the first to admit it. But for now you really can’t buy much of a house for under 750K in this town, despite all wishes to the contrary. And, it should be said again, many of you guys will never buy a doggone thing anyway and just do this for fun.

  34. Posted by paco

    heya bdb,
    you wrote
    “Myself, I am looking at a broader “market trend” for SF and/or the overall bay area.”
    like most of the states/countries/continents the trend is down.
    but that still does not mean that primo stuff will be cheap.
    is it possible that a severe downturn will leave D10 (and other less desirable/wholly undesirable places) with blocks full of REOs like stockton or sacramento? yes
    will that happen in D7,8,5,6,1? i think not.
    in good times and bad there are rich and poor. now is no different. and birds of a feather…

  35. Posted by Trip

    Fluj, who said anything at all about “Bay Area MSA”? I’ve discussed two “hyper local” SF areas on this thread and linked to detailed market reports, and the thread has a chart showing significant sales declines in SF proper. Come on, now. You’ve been skewering Ex SF-er for putting straw man words into your mouth and then attacking that straw man. You’re doing the same exact thing.
    The point is not that SF is still expensive “for the average homebuyer” and likely always will be even when we hit the bottom of this current decline. The point is that it is a bit less expensive than it was a year ago — and heading lower.

  36. Posted by San FronziScheme

    This market has humbled us many times in the past 2 years, and on both sides. A rule of thumb is “never say never”.

  37. Posted by fluj

    According to the MLS, 94114 in June saw 12, one less condo sold than the previous June’s 13. They also sold for 11$ a foot cheaper this year at 719 down from 730. (Take that with a grain of salt because one small senior’s only 24th st. condo sold for 399K this year).

  38. Posted by ex SF-er

    You’ve been skewering Ex SF-er for putting straw man words into your mouth and then attacking that straw man. You’re doing the same exact thing.
    He’s been doing it all day. I usually defend fluj. but not today. that said, I might actually like being skewered.
    On a side note: I always find it interesting that there is so little inventory in SF proper. a city of 800k people, and only 1400 listed properties? it’s incredible.
    I’ve often wondred why this is? is it because a high proportion of the domiciles are rentals? is it due to prop 13? land/zoning/building restrictions? high transaction costs?
    I went house shopping with friends recently in all the suspect neighborhoods (duboce, noe, inner sunset, etc) and there just were not many properties worth looking at. (comparatively to other places in the world)

  39. Posted by Trip

    Fluj, you’re only looking at half the picture again. The whole point of the SS graph is to illustrate the obvious point that prices are driven by sales AND inventory (i.e. demand and supply). 94114 has about double the condo inventory as last year and it still had one fewer sale. Sorry, but you can’t tell me that does not put downward pressure on prices, and this is one of the more resilient areas of town. Pointing out the $/sf of the approx. 15% of listings that sold last month is not irrelevant (and shows a decline) but it doesn’t tell us much since we know nothing of the mix/size/quality.

  40. Posted by fluj

    There are only 24 condos active in all of 94114. And another 17 are active or pending. That’s double last year? I doubt it. But think whatever you want.
    Someone surprised to learn he is actually not from the midwest

  41. Posted by fluj

    Actually only 21 are active in 94114, versus 17 in contract and 12 sold in June. (Because whoever put three Montgomery st. condos in entered the ZIP code incorrectly.) Anyway, I think only five have been on the market for two months or more. And I’m telling you that that is probably not enough of a chasm to drive prices down, yeah.
    Can you explain to me why those stats are particularly compelling to you? It looks to me like condos are selling inside of two months in 94114, by and large. That isn’t brisk per se. But enough to drive the market down? I’d say that’s going out on a limb.

  42. Posted by Trip

    Apologies — I’ll be more literal. The report combines condos, TICs, and townhomes. I see 48 active and 38 more in escrow, with quite a few reductions.
    This Hoosier still is (I think) from the midwest.

  43. Posted by fluj

    OK fellow midwesterner. I can meet you halfway. I do think there are some TICs languishing, and consequently decent deals to be had citywide. If buyers can afford the higher rates there are flats that would be as much as 250K more if they were already condos. I’m not sure how much longer that will continue tho. Wells Fargo jumping into the TIC lending game could change a lot.

  44. Posted by ex SF-er

    This Hoosier still is (I think) from the midwest.
    I am the final arbiter of what is and is not the midwest.
    Please forward all requests for midwest heritage, inclusion, or citizenship to:
    fluj: I sent you a “makeup” post on the other thread.
    I will go bikeriding now and leave you be. please don’t pray for me to ride into a tree and become braindead.

  45. Posted by Trip

    I hope Wells Fargo and other banks do jump in with increased TIC lending packages as the TIC market is one of the few ways we can keep the middle class in SF when they wish to own a place (thanks to the misguided condo policies of our supes).
    Anyway, the only reason I even brought up 94114 is that it appeared to be holding up quite well but I now see real signs of weakness even here. It was just to illustrate my point that the number of “holding their own” neighborhoods and market segments sure seems to be shrinking. But I respect the counter-arguments and counter-evidence and agree that much remains in flux.

  46. Posted by in the market

    For what it is worth…
    I went to look at two properties today.
    -100 block of Utah. Just had 100K price reduction but there was no agent holding it open. This is a paragon listing if someone is looking to steal it, the agent is not earning thier keep.
    -100 block of Putnam in Bernal. agent was not showing because it had not sold at short sale price and was moving to to Auction on Thursday.
    Decided to drive the neighborhood. Was surprised how empty the places were. Also saw two short sale signs in windows.

  47. Posted by Enthano

    Wow…. looks like the SF market is finally starting to feel the effects of the larger real estate downturn… next…..

  48. Posted by Tootie

    There is no doubt that the SF market is seeing some adjustment. This varies greatly within the micromarkets of the city. Some areas are seeing adjustments in price and others in the length of time it takes to sell a property.
    It is a bit misleading to use the listing price as a means of comparing data. A property is only worth what someone is willing to pay.
    Pricing strategies change as market situations fluctuate. When there is a really hot market with people banging down the doors, the strategy is often to price the property for a multiple offer situation and to let the market demand push the price up. In other markets it best serves everyone to price the property where a seller is willing to sell. Experienced realtors can usually guide you as to what the strategy of the seller might be. Again this varies according to area, type of property, time of year, and financial market conditions.
    It is important to note that there are areas in SF that are still seeing multiple offers and sales prices that are well above the listing price. Obviously inventory is very low in these areas. July and August are typically slow times of year in SF for property sales so it is a good time for serious buyers to get out into the market as much of the competition is seaking sun outside of the city!

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