CFAH

San Francisco Sales Volume And Median Price: February 2012 (www.SocketSite.com)
Recorded home sales volume in San Francisco rose 9.1% on a year-over-year basis last month (371 recorded sales in February 2012 versus 340 sales in February 2011), up 13.5% as compared to the month prior, right in line with an average January to February increase of 13.6% over the past seven years. An average of 405 San Francisco homes have sold in February since 2004 when recorded sales volume hit at 537.
San Francisco’s median sales price in February was $624,000, up 5.9% on a year-over-year basis and up 3.6% as compared to January in which the median sale price was up 1.3% year-over-year.
For the greater Bay Area, recorded sales volume in February was up 14.2% on a year-over-year basis, up 4.1% from the month prior (5,702 recorded sales in February ’12 versus 4,991 in February ’11 and 5,479 in January ’12) while the recorded median sales price was down 3.6% year-over-year, down a nominal 0.3% month-over-month.
In the words of DataQuick President, John Walsh:

The market is still strange, just a little less strange than it was. We also need to keep in mind that, when it comes to statistical trends, February is the least typical month of the year. Over the winter you’re left with a higher concentration of investors and people who must buy or sell because of a major life event. In the spring, when many traditional buyers return, we’ll get a much better read on the market.

At the extremes, Alameda recorded a 33.3% increase in sales volume (a gain of 298 transactions) on a 5.4% decline in median sales price, while Sonoma recorded a 4.5% decrease in sales (a loss of 18 transactions) on a 0.2% drop in median price. The median sales price in Marin increased 7.6%, the biggest Bay Area gain, as sales increased 15.3%.
As always, keep in mind that DataQuick reports recorded sales which not only includes activity in new developments, but contracts that were signed (“sold”) many months or even years prior and are just now closing escrow (or being recorded).
Bay Area February Home Sales at Five-year High [DQNews]
Recorded San Francisco Sales Fall 1.8% In January, Median Ticks Up [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by hangemhi

    Did I stumble on someone else’s blog? Oh wait, still no inventory charts…. maybe because today’s inventory is lower than at any point in the old SS inventory charts which went back to 2006.
    [Editor’s Note: If only it were that easy, calculated, or conniving, but it isn’t (nor is inventory currently lower than at any point since 2006). We really are working on getting our inventory counts and chart back in action, but in the meantime a couple of questions to ponder: Why are inventories so low? And being so low, why aren’t values jumping?]

  2. Posted by eddy

    @ed., thanks for the clarification. Looking forward to their return.
    The funny thing about inventory data in San Francisco is that in my previous analysis there is little correlation to inventory and prices. I suspected that you dropped it largely because of that fact. But now you are asserting that low volume should equal higher prices. We’ve seen prices rise on low & high volume and the inverse as well. Other than being a barometer of how many people in SF are actively trying to sell their homes, which is a valuable data point, I’m not sure there is much more to read into it.
    [Editor’s Note: We’re not asserting that lower inventories would equal higher prices, but it seems a lot of others have. And we do think a lot of people are misinterpreting and representing the current lack of inventory as a “seller’s market.”]

  3. Posted by 48yo hipster

    ^ well, frisco and Marin are the only 2 counties that went up in value YoY whilst sales volume increased too.
    Not too shabby.
    [Editor’s Note: Please, please, please don’t confuse changes in median price with changes in value, they really aren’t the same thing.]

  4. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    So 5 years later it looks like we finally hit bottom.
    Now, lets see steady, sustainable, growth.

  5. Posted by eddy

    @ed, thanks for clarifying. And I agree that many people misconstrue inventory data in San Francisco. Your phrasing: “but in the meantime a couple of questions to ponder: Why are inventories so low? And being so low, why aren’t values jumping?” did seem to indicate a supporting tone but it was also characteristically vague. So apologies for jumping to conclusions.

  6. Posted by ReadingForRealtors

    “The funny thing about inventory data in San Francisco is that in my previous analysis there is little correlation to inventory and prices. ”
    Funny that.
    Almost Maybe as if there could be more sellers at higher market prices, and more buyers at lower market prices.

  7. Posted by anon

    Foreclosures and short sales are only 50% of bay area sales? Wow! Things are looking good!
    When that number is around 10%, I’ll make that statement again without irony.

  8. Posted by 48yo hipster

    Ya I know. But median going up is better than median going down. And SF and Marin are the only two to do so. Still a good sign in my book.

  9. Posted by neff

    I am seeing prices up in the properties that i am looking at this year, also agree with the small inventory. I think the real bottom was a year ago in SF. Nice one bedroom condos are selling higher.

  10. Posted by curious-me

    Hey Editor… any chance you could create or link to some other historical graphs of SF data:
    Home Price:Income
    Home Price:Rent
    Home Payment:Income
    Home Payment: Rent
    The San Diego real estate blog Piggington publishes these regularly… would love to see it for SF.
    (The reason I ask is Piggington’s author recently bought property after a bearish stance for years. The latest RedFin real estate report pointed to his purchase [and that of other bubble bloggers] as a sign the market is bottoming… wondering what those charts look like for SF [his charts show a slight undervaluation in SD currently, although history would suggest a major undervaluation should occur before the bottom hits].)

  11. Posted by REpornaddict

    Using the REpornaddict doctrine that the worse the news on this site the more the number of posts, as this had only hit 10 posts by the time I’m writing this, I’m going to declare these numbers pretty strong.
    Would love to see inventory though, the other half of the coin!!

  12. Posted by nanon

    “I am seeing prices up in the properties that i am looking at this year, also agree with the small inventory. I think the real bottom was a year ago in SF. Nice one bedroom condos are selling higher.”
    I think it’s still pretty mixed. I’ve been looking off and on, from 3BR condos to “lower-end” SFH’s. There’s not a lot of new inventory, yet there’s also properties languishing and on and off the market. Not much inventory, yet doesn’t feel that strong out there. Frustrating for buyers . . . frustrating for sellers . . .

  13. Posted by lol

    A single opinion: 2 years ago when I purchased my current place there were maybe 5-6 similar places in the same category/price range in my Zip code. Fast forward 2 years later there is absolutely nothing close to that in the same price price range. Maybe desperate sellers gave up and sold (a friend sold his place out of spite in Cole Valley 8 months ago right before it started to seriously pick up) and all we’re left now is the pure market without too much distress to cloud it.
    Spring is there. Let’s see if sellers are producing inventory, and if buyers will be there and in what numbers.

  14. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Now, lets see steady, sustainable, growth.
    That’s just not the way capitalism works. It is boom. bust, boom, bust for as far as the eye can see. It has been that way ever since the invention of Central Banks and fractional reserve banking.

  15. Posted by nancydrew99

    I am in the same boat as lol – we purchased in June 2010. There were very few properties of a similar type for sale in terms of location, size, ppsf, etc. at the time and today there are none. I also wonder if everyone sold at the same time we were buying (during the Fed/State credits) or what. My uninformed opinion (or feeling?) is that there just isn’t much for sale right now. But, maybe that is a function of the time of year.

  16. Posted by lol

    nancydrew99,
    Actually I didn’t benefit from the government incentive. I figured it was better to wait a month or 2 and target sellers who hadn’t found a match getting a bit nervous late in the summer. I was right, price was lowered after the tax credit expired (surprise!) by multiples of that tax credit. Tipster and I saw this tax credit as a sucker trap, at least nationally. The real deals came right after. We’ll see if it was a good idea or not.

  17. Posted by nancydrew99

    Guess I am/was a sucker then. 🙂 I hope property values go up, not down. In the end we bought because it was the right time for us and made sense financially in both the short and long term.

  18. Posted by lol

    I hear you. Same for me. My mortgage + property taxes + insurance is around 60% the rent my place would go for. I did put a bit down though, to be honest.
    Also I am using my mortgage as my tax-free investment vessel. Any savings from my income I would put in the 401(k) goes into pre-payments which means any penny I save works at 4.5%+ interest tax free. Some would ponder the risk of converting liquid assets into an illiquid thing like RE, but I do not really worry about liquidity in my point in life.
    A friend of mine went the opposite way. He had a 2006 purchase already refi-ed at 4.3%. He got a refi late last year at 4% with the mortgage going from 25 to 30 years (!). Fees are piled on the principal. Hey, his payment got lowered by a token $200, which makes him smile, and makes my blood boil because there are so many things wrong with this. It’s 2012 and it’s as if nobody learned anything about the last bubble.

  19. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Did you factor in the difference in your tax bill as well lol? I am in a 15 year fixed 3 3/8% right now and I figure with the mortgage interest deduction factored in, I would make about 2/3 of that if I paid down my mortgage early, so 2.22%. Tax free.
    I think I can beat that.
    4.5% is a good tax-free risk-free rate of return.

  20. Posted by lol

    NVJ, my interest are pretty low in $ terms, which means my tax savings are not that huge compared to the standard deductions. Plus the 4.5% interest gained through pre-payments I stated earlier takes this lower tax credit into account. My interest rate is 5.5%+ because of the type of financing I did. But for such a low amount borrowed, a refi would not be very interesting (that plus the fact that these pesky banks always try to make a buck at every step of the way).
    Also, it is not risk-free. No home in SF is risk free, even with a good earthquake insurance. I am extremely conservative, otherwise I would have bought twice more house. But keeping a very large safety margin now allows me to consider other RE purchases.

  21. Posted by 48yo hipster

    “Piggington’s author recently bought property after a bearish stance for years. The latest RedFin real estate report pointed to his purchase [and that of other bubble bloggers] as a sign the market is bottoming…”
    Oh FFS, now “bubble bloggers” are a leading indicator. Someone shoot me. Thx.

  22. Posted by hangemhi

    [Editor’s Note: If only it were that easy, calculated, or conniving, but it isn’t (nor is inventory currently lower than at any point since 2006). We really are working on getting our inventory counts and chart back in action, but in the meantime a couple of questions to ponder: Why are inventories so low? And being so low, why aren’t values jumping?]
    Wow, so lame. I asked over and over again for your source on the inventory numbers – and you never replied. Then the inventory chart disappeared. Now you dare to say that I’m wrong, that inventory isn’t lower today than all of the years in your chart? Well, I ask AGAIN, what is your source???? My source is the MLS. There are 712 listed homes, condos, TIC’s, lofts, coops. 7-friggin-12. It was DOUBLE that for several years running.
    As for your “questions to ponder”. I’m feet on the street bro – I know exactly why sellers are refusing to put their places on the market right now. I don’t know where you’ve been for the last year or so, but your blog has gone to hell in a hand basket and your answer, after no answers before, it just lame. Enjoy your tipster/anon’ed dominated blog…. I’m gone again. Even frontsteps is better than you now.

  23. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Paying down your mortgage is as close as risk-free as it gets, unless you think there is a chance you are going to default. And even then, they can go after your other assets unless you are on your original mortgage, which is non-recourse.
    You sound like you are the kind of person who has more in safe investments than you have left on your mortgage, so basically risk free. I am pretty much in the same boat.

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