San Francisco Sales Volume And Median Price: April 2012 (
Recorded home sales volume in San Francisco rose 20.6% on a year-over-year basis last month (509 recorded sales in April 2012 versus 422 sales in April 2011), down 7.6% as compared to the month prior versus an average March to April increase of 1.1% over the past seven years. An average of 576 San Francisco homes have sold in April since 2004 when recorded sales volume hit at 841.
San Francisco’s median sales price in April was $700,000, up 6.9% on a year-over-year basis, up 7.7% as compared to March in which the median was flat year-over-year.
For the greater Bay Area, recorded sales volume in April was up 13.1% on a year-over-year basis, down 0.2% from the month prior (7,675 recorded sales in April ’12 versus 6,789 in April ’11 and 7,694 in March ’12) on a recorded median sales price which was up 8.3% year-over-year, up 8.9% month-over-month.

Last month distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – made up about 40 percent of the resale market. That was down from about 44 percent the month before and 45 percent a year ago.

Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 21.7 percent of resales in April, the lowest since 18.8 percent in January 2008. It was down from a revised 25.5 percent in March, and down from 27.8 percent a year ago. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52.0 percent in February 2009. The monthly average for foreclosure resales over the past 17 years is about 10 percent.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.1 percent of Bay Area resales last month. That was down from an estimated 18.9 percent the prior month and up from 17.4 percent a year earlier.

At the extremes, San Mateo recorded a 34.1% increase in sales volume (a gain of 199 transactions) on an unchanged median sales price while Solano recorded a 1.9% decrease in sales (a loss of 11 transactions) with a 5.4% drop in median price. The median sales price fell 6.4% in Marin, the biggest Bay Area drop, as sales increased 21.2%.
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).
Increase in Bay Area Home Sales and Median Price [DQNews]
Recorded San Francisco Sales Up 11.3% In March (Year-Over-Year) [SocketSite]

34 thoughts on “Recorded San Francisco Sales Up 20.6% In April (Year-Over-Year)”
  1. Seems things are at a fever pitch right now. This article [name link / below], while it would be easy to dismiss because it leads with the multi-overbid house recently featured here, makes some good points and has good data. Obviously the financial markets in general have a lot to due with buyer confidence, but the sheer wealth being created is driving activity. I’m still market neutral overall and think buying now is a bit risky, but its clear that demand for housing is strong in San Francisco. And prices are increasing. It’s almost like no one remembered how bad it was just a few months ago. Crazy market.

  2. Contra Costa up almost 12%! And yesterday dataquick reported that San Bernardino homes were up 6%!
    Must be facebook and that “SF is unique” thing. Or zynga-illionires (both of them). Yet sales volumes are still low and prices are still lower than 6-7 years ago despite 16% inflation since then. Maybe, just possibly, new record low interest rates are propping up things a little.

  3. There is “propping up” and then there is what is currently happening in the market. Interest rates are certainly helping.

  4. I would love to see some inventory numbers. My impression is that inventory is getting quite low, which may even be leading to a decrease in sales (while prices shoot up) since there simply is not much on the market in SF. i.e. there are exactly two SFH’s in the mission that are active — anything that hits the market goes pending almost instantly. one of those two just hit the market 2 days ago.

  5. Can’t wait to see the perma-bear spin on this one.
    Oh, wait, anon’s already beat me to it!

  6. Early days but, “it’s the same here as San Bernadino” might just be too far gone for even the other permabears+uberhaters to riff off of. Certainly the more normal permabear types won’t rate it.

  7. Might be a little Zynga, but certainly not Facebook driven. It’s common for stock holders to be forced to hold their stock for 3-6 months from the IPO date. Zynga’s IPO was Dec 16, putting us just about a month shy of their 6 month mark. Obviously FB is not anywhere near that, so don’t expect a boom in months to come.
    I think what we’re seeing is simple supply/demand right now. Obviously if volume is low, people are going to have to bid higher for what’s available.

  8. Banks will loan against fb shares and have been for months. My understanding is that the Palo Alto price increase of the last 6 months or so so has been fb-ers trying to beat each other to that market.
    Fb has already hit. IPOs aren’t a gating item like they once were.

  9. I’m generally bearish, although I recently bought a house.
    I think we’ve passed the low in nominal terms, but not in real terms. I think the market will have ups and downs over the next few years, and right now definitely appears to be one of the ups, at least in the SF bay area. I anticipate it will last for about 1-2 years, and end around the same time as the next recession. The local market will depend greatly on the Facebook IPO and whatever other bay area IPOs follow it. If there aren’t many then I anticipate a short & small bubble, but if the recession keeps away for a while and the IPO market heats up, then we’ll see a larger pop.
    I doubt anything I said is particularly new or deeply insightful… but there you go!

  10. And I’m pretty much bullish: been so for at least 10-15 years..and look where neighborhoods like Noe, Bernal and Glen Park have gone..way up.
    I attribute it less to market swings, Ipo’s than to just plain and simple desirability of our fair city. And that means the neighborhoods that are still full of great single family homes, shopping, restaurants, high walk scores, great access to transit.
    Those factors, I think, will continue to help define the market.

  11. @tipster, as usual spouting hearsay. Talking in vague broadly sweeping speculation without an example in sight.

  12. Tipster’s never been one to let facts get in the way of a good yarn… Just be thankful he’s not talking about one of his ‘friends’.

  13. Indeed. Cue the “my understanding is” which should read “I have come up with a circumvoluted explanation”.
    This is why I stopped being a bear almost 2 years ago. After I stopped being right (2007-2010), I started asking what the heck was wrong with this market. When my explanations stopped making sense, I took a serious look inside and understood I was wrong. Tipster isn’t built that way.

  14. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that “unique” SF’s housing market will perform right along with that of the rest of the country, just like it’s done for the last 25 years.

  15. @lol
    Maybe it’s time for you to start asking once again what the heck is wrong with this market.

  16. good one, nnona.
    The market is the market. The market obviously touched bottom 3 years ago, then limped through. I realized that my bearish expectations did happen, if only at around 60-70% of what I planned. Good enough for me, time to move on.
    When an expected event has happened, it’s time to refresh your views to what’s coming up next.

  17. Look. I’ve been bullish for Noe since I bought there 27 years ago. As many of my friends did also.
    We didn’t know for SURE what this neighborhood would be like today, be we liked what we saw and were willing in hang in there. I personally think that’s one of the keys to real estate success. IMO.
    And yea, those who bought in 2007-2008 still did well; depending on what they bought. There were decent fixers on good blocks back then for $600-750k. Fast forward now: $1.2-1.4. I’m not a real estate expert by any means; it’s just what I have seen.

  18. Good call lol. You have to adjust your expectations to fit reality.
    I thought we would see a decade of 0% nominal changes in housing prices, but it looks like it is going to be more like 5.
    San Francisco has outperformed the rest of the countries average market over the last 25 years but it is a stretch to think that this will continue. You can only gentrify so much.

  19. That’s in interesting statement: “You can only gentrify so much”. What defines so much? Is there a tangible factor or equation?
    I disagree completely with that idea.
    Bernal Heights is gentrifying, Sunnyside is (slowly) Bayview/3rd Street is, Dogpatch is.
    I don’t believe there are limits.

  20. Well, if you match up CSI data for SF with the nationwide index, they match up almost exactly over the last two decades. People in Omaha who bought before 2005 also did great, just like SF. People in Omaha who bought after that did poorly, just like SF. SF housing has been no better – or worse – than the broader US housing trend. Just seems “unique” to locals because, well, they live here and only know about SF.

  21. First of all, I’ve been more bullish than most on this site during the six years that I’ve been following it, but I would be careful to hang up the “Mission Accomplished” banner too soon. Things are still quite perilous with the economy at the momment, so I’m not quite ready to call this a trend. I’m pleased to see the relative strength in the SF RE market however — both as a homeowner and someone who predicted SF to outperform the nation and California as a whole.
    NVJ, I normally agree with you, but I disagree with your comment above. I believe the reason that SF outperforms the nation as a whole is lack of land/property, and a city policy that makes it extremely difficult and expensive to build new houses. Gentrification might be an outcome of that (among others), but that’s not the cause. I don’t forsee either of those two structural factors changing any time soon, so I think you’ll continue to see SF do better than places like Atlanta or Dallas for example where there is basically unlimited supply.

  22. Case Shiller is for the entire Bay Area, not just San Francisco, so it understates the gain in prices in San Francisco proper.

  23. Holding real estate for 30 years is almost certain to do fine, inflation pretty much guarantees it over that timeframe. But if you buy at a peak, you may underperform, and you would have been well served to wait for a better time to buy.
    Maybe you know good investors, but the average person who bought in 2007-2008, even in Noe, did not do well. I’ve got nothing against Noe Valley, just pointing out that even in great neighborhoods there are good times to buy, and bad times to buy.
    Fixers that were/ are available at that price probably needed hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs in order to sell for double, which means anybody able to buy and update is almost certainly pretty savvy about the market. As I said, even in the worst markets there are opportunities, but the average person is rarely able to take advantage, or even identify, such opportunities.

  24. “Case Shiller is for the entire Bay Area, not just San Francisco, so it understates the gain in prices in San Francisco proper.”
    Or overstates it, perhaps. But most likely hits it spot on as it would be quite bizarre for CSI- SF to match the nationwide trend so precisely yet be completely disconnected from “SF” which is part of CSI-SF. Talk to people in Marin or Contra Costa and see how their home prices shot up from 1990-2006!

  25. futurist,
    There are always limits. But it must be good to be an architect today I guess in view of the premium you can get by transforming a blah home into a great place.
    I see this as several waves crossing: #1 a national trend (minor for SF), #2 a gentrification long term wave (what NVJ said), #3 a short-term boom/bust wave (what we are experiencing now.
    The 3 cross each other ans create ripples that are hard to decrypt. Plus there’s geography involved. Long term, what NVJ said is what I think is ultimately happening. To be true, I think SF does follow the US trend like what anon said, but only partially. Local shifts in population always trump national trends. Ask Detroit how they liked the 80s…

  26. “Those who bought in 2007-2008 still did well; depending on what they bought. There were decent fixers on good blocks back then for $600-750k.”
    Were there? I don’t think so.

  27. Well, yes, I do know some investors / homeowners who bought in 2007-08 and did well. Yes, it does happen. You can certainly challenge me, or not believe me, but those examples are real.
    @lol: No, I’m not speaking at all from an architect’s point of view regarding “limits”. I’m speaking about the desirability factor that I keep bringing up: that factor keeps transforming older/less affluent neighborhoods into new enclaves for the next generation: Witness the new,hip vibe way out in the Outer Sunset. Who knew? That will continue. Lots of neighborhoods to the south in SF that will keep evolving.

  28. I saw some really run down houses for listed for $600-750k range but they ended up selling higher. And they were hardly fixers, those houses were selling for dirt value.

  29. Yes, futurist is remembering list prices unless they were offmarket. Noothing sold for sub 850K duroing that timeframe per mls. Those were the days of “list at 699 and watch the show.” Now it seems to be “list at mid to high 8’s and watch the show.”

  30. Yes, seriously, and I was only trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. But have it your way. There was not one sale for under 850K during the years you gave. Your 5/18 11:24 comment was utterly incorrect.

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