San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory: 7/16/08 (
Inventory of Active listed single-family homes, condos, and TICs in San Francisco remained relatively flat (down 0.3%) over the past two weeks and is currently running 27% higher on a year-over-year basis.
Once again, we still haven’t seen a significant post Memorial Day bump in inventory but new listing activity has picked up while sales volume has slowed (how much simply due to the July 4th holiday weekend is yet to be seen). And as a measure of mismatched “expectations,” while listing volume is up 27% year-over-year, the volume of Active listings which have undergone at least one price reduction is up 70%.
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: 6/30/08 [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by zzzzzzzzz

    If I’m reading the graph correctly, it shows that the inventory at this time in 2006 was significantly higher than in 2007. Is that right, or are the curves incorrectly labeled? Thanks in advance.
    [Editor’s Note: Don’t doubt yourself, you’re correct (as are the labels).]

  2. Posted by fluj

    There are only 60 more listings right now than in 2006, when nearly everything was selling rapidly?

  3. Posted by Trip

    Higher inventory and lower sales volume certainly appear to be having a material impact on prices, as one would expect. Here are a couple of broad sets of data:
    The listings citywide show $/sf down a little under 20% over the last year for SFRs and down about 10% for condos/TICs. Median listing prices are about the same YOY for both, meaning bigger places are making up the mix.
    The sales stats for June show median sales prices for SFRs down about 11% YOY and down about 2% for condos/TICs.
    We’ve debated the significance of median sales prices ad nauseum (I don’t think there is much), but with bigger homes in the mix and medians down nevertheless, it would appear that the decline in medians understates the real market decline in SF. Even if one disputes that, an 11% decline in median SFR sales prices is a pretty big deal. There are other possible explanations, of course, but unless someone can present real data to support a different conclusion (and it may exist — just show it), this appears to be the most likely one. The law of supply and demand would predict that higher inventory and lower sales would result in lower prices (which is why SS keeps us updated on inventory and sales stats), and it looks like we are seeing exactly that when one looks at as complete set of numbers as I can find on both sides of the equation.
    [Editor’s Note: Mix supporting the median? Inconceivable!]

  4. Posted by REpornaddict

    Yes, the key indicators (inventory levels, median prices) appear to be where we were in 2006.
    No better, no worse.

  5. Posted by fluj

    2006 was the highwater mark for price. We are a mere 60 listings below that. I’m genuinely surprised at this although it doesn’t take all the withdrawns and expireds into account. Even 2006 had its fair share of those, but they are probably a lot more in 2008. Still tho, this is very surprising.

  6. Posted by majr

    fluj or anyone else inclined to answer –
    Which part are you surprised about? I personaly like fluj tends to be an optimist, but what do you think this is telling us overall? The market seems so hard to follow sometimes. Naturally market forces work. Simple supply and demand, right? More supply combined with money harder to borrow, should push down values even more. It’s difficult to determine what is anecdotal and what is “real.” People still outbid places by ridiculous amounts too. What do you think we can ultimately expect in SF proper?

  7. Posted by REpornaddict

    What is strange is the divergence in SFH sales price data reported by Trip. The Altos data (from first link) has, as he says, median price about level YOY. Then the seocnd link has a 11% decline – and down from 878k to 827k from May to June.
    I think the Altos graph is a 90 day average but this
    also shows the 7 day (black line).
    That has no indication whatsover of a fall from 878k to 827k – pretty even in fact.
    These two sets of price data look totally inconsistent to me. Be interesting to see what dataquick reports (later this week?)

  8. Posted by sanfrantim

    @ majr – What surprises is that SF inventories are not increasing as some here predicted they would. Inventories even appear to have dipped since Memorial Day, and the gap between 2008 inventory and the two prior years is narrowing.

  9. Posted by Trip

    REpornaddict, the Altos data are listings, not sales. So the Altos data shows that listing prices are down (on a $/sf basis, but flat on total price basis) while the MLS sales figures show that the median prices of that subset of listings that actually sold are also down (I don’t have $/sf data on sales). So they are not inconsistent. They just measure two different sets of data.

  10. Posted by sparky

    Median is a pointless stat. It just is.
    For example if you take district 10 out of the equation the current meadian is $1,000,000. To be fair you also take out district 7; but then it only moves to $996,000.
    Does anyone every but there home based on median? I would like to buy a house that has exactly the same amount of more expensive house than less expensive houses. I really don’t care about any other variable…
    Currently the choices are Miraloma Park, central sunset, and ingleside. $849,000

  11. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’ll say I’m somewhat surprised by these inventory levels. It would mean that either more homes are selling (clearing inventory) OR sellers are coming to the conclusion that they can’t get their price and so not listing (or pulling their listings), which also reduces inventory.
    so far 2008’s graph looks different than 2006 and 2007… I wonder if it will behave similarly going forward or continue to just be different. (in other words will we see a reduction in inventory in later summer and a peak in fall?)

  12. Posted by REpornaddict

    Ahhh thanks Trip for clearing that up.
    Is Cooper still around? I think he predicted an inventory hitting 2200 this year – I just cant see that happening now. (Nor his call that SOMA prices would be hit 30% this year)

  13. Posted by Dude

    Well, we know less homes are selling than in previous years, so it’s obviously people pulling listings off because they can’t get their fantasy wishing prices. Gonna wait out the market, which is a stellar strategy. I’m sure the next boom is right around the corner, probably only 10 to 15 years away at this point.
    After all, “We’re not just going to give it away.”
    DQ numbers are due out tomorrow for the Bay Area, as SoCal came out today.

  14. Posted by Trip

    The graph is interesting — roughly resembles 2007 but quite different from 2006. Does anyone have any longer term perspective on whether 2006 or 2007 was more typical (i.e. is there usually a big early summer rise and late summer dip as in 2006)? Both 2006 and 2007 saw a jump of about 30% in early fall, so we still could see something approaching Cooper’s prediction.

  15. Posted by SocketSite

    Call us crazy, but we might suggest comparing listed inventory (above) with listed sales activity. You know, apples to apples and all…

  16. Posted by Foolio

    Only 60 less than 2006! Hooray! Everything is fine!

  17. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    ex SF-er : I’d guess the latter effect (“sellers are coming to the conclusion that they can’t get their price”) is affecting the inventory.
    Most people put their home on the market because they have a need to move (up, down, or out). However a significant segment of the market has flexibility and are influenced by market forces.
    Those are the people who would not have considered selling but in the 2004-6 period the market was too good to ignore. Some came to the realization that they could reap a huge profit on their own. Others were promoted into action by friends, co-workers, or realtors cold calling (“What would you say if I could sell your house for ONE MILLION DOLLARS ?”)
    That same group of potential sellers with flexibility also have no impetus to move. So in this downward trending market they can opt to ride out the bad weather and consider selling later. I think that’s what we’re beginning to see now.
    Note that the 2004-6 seller’s market period also had an effect of prematurely flushing out some inventory that might otherwise have naturally entered the market now. We entered this down period with an already depleted pipeline.

  18. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I get alex’s weekly email newsletter and he always has a link that you can click on to see all the homes that have sold in SF in the last month. The average has been a 3/2, about 1700 sq ft, that sells for $580/sq ft for a long time now.
    Can you go back and look at a report from a year ago Alex and see if my memory serves me correctly?
    If this is in fact true, I don’t think that the claim the mix is supporting the median is likely to be correct. I can imagine a situation where this would be true, but it would be a pretty bizarre combination of sales.

  19. Posted by fluj

    In San Francisco, 2004 was nothing like 2006. Nothing. Late two thousand four was a departure, citwide, as we have seen over and over and over again.
    What I think this chart means is that properties are still selling. It doesn’t show withdrawn or expireds, and there are more of those. But properties are still moving.
    Listed sales activity? No you can’t do that! No, it’s all about listings (or so another dozen kibbitzers will holler.)
    Well here is your listing numbers. Doom and gloom it is not. Sorry.

  20. Posted by fluj

    In San Francisco, 2004 was nothing like 2006. Nothing. Late two thousand four was a departure, citwide, as we have seen over and over and over again.
    What I think this chart means is that properties are still selling for the most part. It doesn’t show withdrawn or expireds, and there have certainly been more of those so far this year. But properties still seem to be moving for the most part. You cannot attribute it all to expireds or withdrawns. People tend to try to sell their properties for at least several months.

  21. Posted by fluj

    “Only 60 less than 2006! Hooray! Everything is fine!”
    Lame. No help. No interest in contributing. Just asinine self righteousness everty time.
    Yet continually published in every thread.
    Alex Koval = Foolio?
    [Editor’s Note: That would be Adam (not Alex). And no.]

  22. Posted by Foolio

    Easy with the ad hominem attacks, Kenneth.

  23. Posted by fluj

    “Easy with the ad hominem attacks, Kenneth.”
    Fine. Would you for your part please stop paraphrasing things that I say in a mocking tone, day in and day out?
    Thank you.

  24. Posted by Trip

    Doom and gloom it is not — I agree. However, listings are up by 27% and sales are down by about 20% YOY, with prices predictably lower as a consequence. Ugly if you bought in the last three years and find that you have to sell for some reason or other, but not a big deal for most others at this point.
    Maybe the downward trend will even improve, but I don’t see anything indicating the decline has even stopped accelerating. The longer this goes on, the more it will adversely affect. Not doom and gloom, but getting bad nevertheless.

  25. Posted by sparky

    Prices aren’t lower. Median is lower. There are more less expensive houses on the market. The most housing for sale is in district 9. That’s all this says. In the rereport that is being used for these arguments is says the average home for most of the city is up in value.
    Plus no scientist or mathematician would ever use median without throwing out some percentage of the very top and very bottom. This is not done here. These median numbers are booty.

  26. Posted by John

    I am tired of those “if you bought during the last three years blah blah” talk. Most people buy to live in. The average home owner in SF owned the home for 10 years. Short term owners are exceptions and not the norm.
    Go to, look at the maps. You will see most homes which have been owned for more than 10 years.
    The real question is, as a BUYER, is it a better time to buy now?
    Let’s see…price is down (a little bit), mortgage rate is up (a lot), and selection is as bad as before. This sucks big time.

  27. Posted by tony

    Data this imperfect leads to any number of “reasonable” conclusions.
    Can we perhaps simply agree that:
    1. MLS listing volume is up
    2. Pocket listings are up
    3. Expire, withdrawns and repricings are up
    4. Sales are down
    5. Loans are harder to qualify for
    6. Unemployment is increasing
    7. Inflation is increasing
    If so, what might we reasonably conclude about the state of the market in our fair city?
    I would posit that it’s been healthier in the not so distant past, that it is trending down, and that in its current state, it is not Miami, SoCal et al.
    From there, you are free to make your own predictions on which direction you think it’ll head from here, and, how quickly it’ll go there, all of which include too many variables to know precisely.
    But of course, that’s not nearly as much fun as endlessly arguing about something that moves ever so slowly (until it doesn’t). 😉
    BTW, howz that second Rincon tower coming? Is it sold out yet? 🙂

  28. Posted by ex SF-er

    how do you find the map that shows how long people stay in their homes on average?
    I can’t find that map.

  29. Posted by John

    ex SF-er,
    Log in
    Enter an address to look up the detail
    Scroll down to the maps section, click to enter
    On the right side, click “Get More Maps”
    Select “Recent Sales” under “Sales and Value”.
    It shows you when the properties on the map were sold, with colors.
    Select “Show Map Legend” on the left.
    The maps changed recently, so it is not as easy to use. The legend goes up to 24 months only (light blue). I think it used to show much higher.
    In any case, most of the maps will be light blue (24 months+) and a pink/yellowish color. I think the yellow means they don’t even have the sales info on computer record – meaing the last sale was more than at least 15 to 20 years ago.

  30. Posted by Foolio

    “Fine. Would you for your part please stop paraphrasing things that I say in a mocking tone, day in and day out?”
    Nope. I think your realtor spin is laughable and will continue to point that out using rhetorical techniques such as sarcasm.
    If you really think that justifies you calling me names, well, fine. I would simply ask that the editor place a heavy hand on any of your posts which do so.
    I have never, not once, cursed on this site or used an ad hominem attack on you. I just ask, in the maturest way I can, that you do the same.

  31. Posted by fluj

    “Rhetorical techniques such as sarcasm”
    wow. Now I get you. You’re an anti realtor crusader. Never mind that you have no interest in ever purchasing real estate.
    Did you know that sarcasm is different than needling people with repeated catch phrases that you know to bother them?
    Did you know that lots of people think they’re good at using sarcasm? Nearly everyone. They’re mostly wrong.
    “Sarcasm, the protest of people who are weak.” John Knowles.

  32. Posted by San Fronzischeme

    Darn, these monthly statistical updates do always bring the best out of people. I want my 5 minutes back.

  33. Posted by "Dave"

    Not to go all ad hominem on anybody, but can’t we just say “personal attack” instead of “ad hominem” attack? Who talks like that? Seriously?

  34. Posted by tony

    “Who talks like that? Seriously?”
    Kent: You, huh? Well you won’t get away with this. Doctor Hathaway’s gonna hear all about this. You’ll rue the day!
    Chris Knight: “Rue the day?” Who talks like that?
    Self important blowhards FTW…

  35. Posted by Trip

    DataQuick numbers now also in for June sales. Not too different from the MLS numbers (they measure different sales) as far as the bottom line goes: sales volume in SF down 6.3% and median sales prices down 11.9% YOY. And as many have noted, there is a spiral effect where prices have been hit harder the farther away from SF you get. A matter of timing or the end result? Still to be seen.

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