San Francisco Sales Volume And Median Price: August 2012 (
The recorded sales volume of homes in San Francisco rose 29.1% on a year-over-year basis last month (625 recorded sales in August 2012 versus 484 sales in August 2011), up 10.3% as compared to the month prior, the highest August sales volume since 2006 (669 sales). An average of 600 homes have sold each August in San Francisco since 2004 when sales volume peaked at 814.
San Francisco’s median sales price in August was $700,000, up 13.2% on a year-over-year basis, down 2.0% as compared to July.
For the greater Bay Area, recorded sales volume in August was up 14.2% on a year-over-year basis, up 1.4% from the month prior (8,579 recorded sales in August ’12 versus 7,513 in August ’11 and 8,461 in July ’12) on a recorded median sales price which was up 10.8% year-over-year, down 2.6% month-over-month.

Last month 40.2 percent of Bay Area sales were for $500,000 or more, down from a revised 42.0 percent in July, and up from 35.9 percent in August 2011. The low for the current cycle was January 2009, when just 22.7 percent of sales crossed the $500,000 threshold. Over the past 10 years, a monthly average of 48.0 percent of homes sold for $500,000-plus.

Last month distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – made up about 33.8 percent of the Bay Area’s resale market. That was down from 34.0 percent in July and down from 43.8 percent a year ago.

At the extremes, Napa recorded a 32.2% increase in sales volume (a gain of 39 sales) with a 9.4% increase in median sales price while Contra Costa recorded a 4.6% increased in sales (a gain of 73 sales) with a 15.2% increase in median sales price. The median sales price increased 2.3% in Marin while sales volume increased 29.2%.
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).
Bay Area August Home Sales Highest Since 2006 [DQNews]
Recorded San Francisco Sales Up 27.7% In July (Year-Over-Year) [SocketSite]

39 thoughts on “August San Francisco Home Sales Highest Since 2006”
  1. According to Redfin there are currently 846 properties available in the entire city.
    So based on August sales that’s less than 6 weeks inventory.

  2. There used to be hordes of bears on this site. I quit giving them a hard time when I realized they were just hoping prices would drop so they could buy. A bunch of bears who are desperate to buy is a very bullish signal.
    You’d think that the way government employees are running amok in California enriching themselves with the fruits of a confiscatory tax regime would doom the real estate market.
    One thing that always astonishes is the price of real estate in really crappy places. Moscow prices are way more expensive that Frisco and Moscow is really nasty. Damascus is about the same price level as Frisco and it is a good place to lose your life. I haven’t toured Benghazi lately but suspect we’d be taken aback at what it costs to buy an apartment there. One theory is that in a troubled economy real estate is a safe way to hold on to your wealth.

  3. It’s a healthy market, but I am glad market cycles are still showing through a price decrease. The last thing we want is a second bubble to be blown, though the Fed wants to do just that. Won’t they ever learn?

  4. this “news” has been reported by others on this site, and denied by tipster. how do you spin it now bro? Is dataquick lying too? Maybe pick some apple that throws out the whole study? or whine about facebook? or complain it is fake due to interest rates – which means it will be “fake” for at least the next 3 years per Bernanke.
    whatever you do (maybe stay silent like you do on the other good news stories), egg is on your face for your claim that this was just realtors lying about open house traffic, and under pricing by 10% to make it look like the market appreciated when it didn’t.

  5. As many of the bears have told us over the years, real estate is a great way to lose wealth too if you are not careful. The bears weren’t wrong in 06-09. They were very much right; and I was one of them. But the prevailing theories why housing was overvalued were low interest rates, ARM reset, neg-am, zero down, ‘second wave’ and outright fraud. There were / are other global macro economic factors but those are always ‘out there’.
    All but the low interest rate theory are now mostly flushed out of the system. Others like ARM reset / second wave never came to be due to the continued low interest rates. So now we are left with a more healthy market that does appear to have some legs. Broad market indexes have recovered and housing is following. I suspect many bears finally bought. Others continued to drink their own kool-aid and seem to realize that folly of the logic, which has resulted in a dramatic increase of vitriol round these parts.
    Interest rates will rise at some point but it will take a while to get back to 6% and even 6% is pretty low. I don’t think we will see 7%+ for a very very long time. Inventory is perpetually low in San Francisco. There was a massive flood of new properties on the market last week. Things are closing fast in prime parts of the city. All of this cumulatively adds up to a fact pattern that supports the current prices in San Francisco to some extent.
    Personally, I remain cautiously very optimistic. The market could easily get pretty rough post-election, or if one of the ‘out there’ macro economic bombs drops. No such thing as a free lunch.

  6. I was a housing bear (but not a perma-bear) who’s in contract to buy in 94109. We had a dip in some parts of SF, but not a huge washout due to several government bailouts, changes in accounting rules (thus fewer foreclosures), and a healthy rental market.
    Chances of an immediate double dip in the next 24-30 months are drastically reduced. More than likely, we’ll just muddle along. I think a lot of people like me are “changing sides” due to looming monetary and fiscal changes rolling through the system. These low rates aren’t going to last forever.

  7. how do you spin it?
    1) interest rates have dropped 30% year over year, increasing purchasing power 15%. median prices have increased 13%.
    this is a big factor for those buying with a mortgage. if rates go down so you can buy 15% more house, most people will do exactly that. buy as much house as they can afford. actually sellers will just raise prices and people will pay for the higher prices, especially in SF. SF sellers are more savvy(or should i say greedy) than average.
    2) median price increase is partially due to change in mix. a large drop in lower priced foreclosures has caused median price to increase.
    3) median prices are nominal and do not consider inflation. with the fed printing money like crazy, inflation is higher than the 2.x% increase reported by media.
    4) case shiller really is a much better indicator of actual price increases than median. of course CS for the SF-area isn’t indicative of price increase in SF proper, but if you had to pick a number, CS for SF-proper would be it. CS would almost certainly show a lesser increase in price than the median.
    5) we’ve been over these general points a million times before so i’m not sure why i’m repeating them. if after 6 years you don’t understand you never will.
    6) due to QE3 (should result in lower rates), a general improving economy and localized tech mini-boom, i do expect prices to be higher next year – maybe significantly higher.

  8. Well, “*”, please provide us proof from a serious source the inflation rate is being manipulated.
    If anything the Fed is clearly acknowledging that all previous stimuli would have worked better if they had been larger and that inflation is still very acceptable. Paul Krugman has been saying it all along, saying the stimulus should have been double what Obama have done so far. In light of GDP growth/unemployment numbers, he is correct. Keynesianism wins.
    We cannot shrink our way into growth and recovery. Europe has proven it and even Germans now accept this. Most US economists now understand that, except a good number of conspiracy gold bugs who should remove the duct tapes from their log cabin air vents because it’s getting a bit stale…

  9. Heck, even if you accept this chart, SF is down 16% from 5 years ago and at the same price level of about 8 years ago – but actually down about 20% from 8 years ago because of inflation since then.
    But, by all means, crow!
    Yep, prices have bounced up a bit from the long, deep bottom due to insanely low interest rates. Sf is performing right along with the rest of the country. Not terrible, by all means, but pretty unimpressive.

  10. > Well, “*”, please provide us proof from a serious source the inflation rate is being manipulated.
    $3+ trillion worth of QE (and growing!), plus, what, $10+ trillion in bailouts. you don’t think this will have an inflationary effect? really?
    if you aren’t convinced by macro arguments, you can just look at the price of practically anything. you haven’t noticed an increase?
    do you really believe the CPI numbers? have you noticed the government has adjusted the definition of inflation over the years to exclude food, energy costs? have you noticed food and gas prices have increased significantly? gas was well under $2.00 in the early 2000s, it’s, what, in the $4 range today. that’s a more than doubling in 10 years; annualized that’s a 7%/year increase.
    do you really think inflation has increased only 2.x% per year over the last ten years?
    have you visited any other countries recently? have you noticed you can’t buy nearly as much stuff in other countries with US dollars? did you know the canadian dollar is on par with the US dollar? it used to be around $0.70 US dollars to one canadian dollar before 2006; now it’s about $1 CAD to $1 USD.
    i really don’t know what to say. if you look around –anywhere– you can see inflationary effects. and this probably isn’t even the start, inflation will probably get worse.

  11. Too much momney chasing too few properities now. The result – rising prices.
    Anybody who said that anybody who bought last year was an idiot is an ever bigger idiot.

  12. *, the US dollar has lost value relative to the Canadian dollar, but the US dollar is up in value over the past several years compared to the British pound and the euro.

  13. QEs, bailouts, were there to counter-effect the massive deflationary movement. Plus where do you get your trillions? Subsidies? Certainly not. I think there’s quite a bit of hyperbole in there.
    The US Gov has indeed invested massively in many banks and has been or will be repaid most of the time.
    TARP for instance is winding down quickly and showing a profit. The Fed is making a profit on TARP! Job well done.
    On a day-to-day basis, I see some prices going up and others going down. Gas is expensive, but this is not the Fed’s doing. There are ads for 50-inch TVs for less than $1000 vs $2000 just 3 years ago. The organic apples I get at TJ’s are cheaper than 3 years ago. 2-buck-chuck is still 2 bucks. My food bill is rather stable. Some specific staple foods are 10-20% more expensive but we can find good reasons like a historical drought.
    Heck, even germans who have 1923 ingrained in their DNA have stopped losing sleep over inflation.

  14. “Plus where do you get your trillions? Subsidies? Certainly not. I think there’s quite a bit of hyperbole in there. ”
    so you don’t know what you are talking about.
    you “feel” like the stimulus is less without having any actual data. and based on this feeling you suggest it’s hyperbole, because your feeling outweighs the data.
    if you don’t know how much stimulus was injected into the economy, you shouldn’t be taking any position in a debate about stimulus/inflation.
    no one can win an argument with someone who feels a certain way and chooses to ignore the data.

  15. “do you really believe the CPI numbers?”
    My favorite inflation manipulation is how CPI takes the credit for Moore’s Law, accounting for continued drastic reduction in the cost of computing. Since the average laptop today has the compute power as yesterday’s ten billion dollar supercomputer the cost of computing has dropped dramatically! Never mind that you need a supercomputer to view today’s flash intensive web pages.

  16. “*”,
    instead of saying “you do not understand what you’re talking about” to someone you should maybe look up first in the history of SS posts (5 years and counting), please humor us and show us how much money was actual gifts from the government vs loans that are being repaid. Then compare these gifts against the value destruction from the popping of the greatest bubble in US history.
    Then please let us know how you saw happening it all along 2 years ago. I was a uber-bear, then I switched exactly 2 years ago almost to the day.
    And I acted on it.
    What good is it to have some knowledge it is not accompanied by action?

  17. Yes, the CPI numbers are far better than the silly alt measures. Lots of things have gone up more than CPI, and lots has gone up less. On average, it’s a good measure.
    A few examples – nominal dollar prices of things since 2000 nationwide:
    Gas – a lot higher now
    Clothing – a lot lower now
    Food – somewhat higher now
    Cars – about the same
    Electronics – far lower now
    Housing – about the same, perhaps a little higher now
    Appliances – far lower now
    Toys/sporting good – far lower now
    Medial care – far higher now
    There is no grand conspiracy. Some things are higher and some are lower. But heck, if you buy into it and think inflation has really been much higher, then SF housing has fallen by even more than I have argued.

  18. I agree with MoD that computers value comps are tough to measure. Items have changed, for instance. we went from proprietary OS in the early 80s to DOS PCs to Windows to laptops to iPads. How do you value each upgrade, and each increase in power within the same item class?
    One thing I like to do once in a while is compare the food items on my CC bill with my paycheck. It has been fairly stable from what I could see, meaning my paycheck followed food inflation. Then there’s housing. For me, it has come down since I gave up market rent for a purchase at the 2010 bottom. I have the same car than 5 years ago, therefore I didn’t see any change in that expense apart from gas and a lower insurance premium.
    One thing that’s more troubling though is the fact that many jobs gained back these past 2 years were lower paying than the ones that were lost in the 2 years prior that.
    This is the real issue I think. Inflation is only scaring retirees or people getting close to retirement.

  19. @lol
    Regarding Keynesianism I would say all the evidence points to it be an abject failure, it certainly didn’t solve Japan’s economic problems.
    It’s very much still up for debate whether TARP will be profitable
    And lets be realistic, even if TARP is profitable (and right now it’s only projections that it will be profitable in the future), the real question is what is the opportunity cost of the program, what else could we have done with that money?
    It’s also a small factor of the overall money that’s been spent. Our deficit is running about $1.3 – $1.4 trillion a year (or over $5 trillion when you included unfunded liabilities such as social security and medicare). Our deficit was about $100 – $400 billion per year pre-recession.
    I would argue that a good portion of the $1.3 – $1.4 trillion is the amount of money being spent on Keynesianism, so that, plus the QE programs, and other government programs add up to the trillions being spent.
    The subsidies are things like tax credits for down-payments, and cash for clunker programs, which were quite significant.
    Regarding TVs & electronics, that’s innovation, is not actually inflation, although it can be used to make the inflation numbers look lower than they really are.
    Calculating inflation is quite complex, and the very meaning of the word is open to debate. I personally believe real inflation is slightly higher than reported due to things like innovation being included in inflation calculations.
    Some of the inflation stuff is very debatable, I see credible arguments on both sides of the equation.
    Those loans from the government were gifts by the fact that the recipients would have been unable to get loans given that their business had collapsed. The very existence of the companies/ banks is now a gift from the government.

  20. lyqwyd,
    You should get more fresh references for TARP performance.
    The last article is actually the most interesting in terms of policy. The Government is helping smaller banks by using some of the profits made on the back of bigger banks.
    Whether you believe the numbers or not, One thing for sure: the fact that we are talking of profit or not means TARP saved banks but did not cost much to taxpayers when all is sais and done.
    People who were outraged at the bailouts 4 years ago (I was one of them) can only admire the work that has been accomplished. Maybe they should have been as keen to prevent the bubble from having been created in the first place!
    Our deficit was about $100 – $400 billion per year pre-recession.
    2002 $157.8 Billion
    2003 $377.6 Billion
    2004 $413 Billion
    2005 $318 Billion
    2006 $248 Billion
    2007 $161 Billion
    2008 $459 Billion
    2009 $1413 Billion
    2010 $1294 Billion
    2011 $1299 Billion
    2012 $1100 Billion
    You’ll notice the lower deficit happaned between 2004 and 2008.
    My take: the credit/real estate bubble artificially created more growth and more tax receipts. Inflating the bubble temporarily saved the economy from a recession (and got W re-elected) but it pushed the problems forward. Without the bubble, deficits would have been much higher, maybe climbing to 600, 700, 800 or more especially with W’s tax cuts and 2 unfunded wars. We are paying for this bubble/fake growth today.

  21. About Opportunity cost, lyqwyd, very good point.
    But we will never know. What would have been the long term consequences of letting GM fail? We will never know because GM has been reborn from its ashes.
    Think about the Nummi plant. State of the art equipment that was going to waste. Thanks to TARP funds, TSLA moved in and it could perfectly be the typical America success story that we’ll still be talking about in 50 years (or it will be another “Tucker” of dashed dreams, who knows?).
    The issue there is that the government did what it was supposed to do: make sure we still had the potential of a future. It was costly, very unjust, but this is what [investing in]/[saving] the future looks like.

  22. I’m not sure how your links are of any particular interest, still projections of profitability in the future.
    I was not a fan at the time, but mainly because of the specifics of the deals. I was of the opinion that TARP was necessary, the alternative was much worse.
    Even if TARP is profitable, it could have been more so if the terms were not so beneficial to the banks (which would have taken any terms given that they would fail otherwise). So like I said, opportunity cost. The taxpayers could have done much better.
    But like I said, TARP is only a small fraction of the overall bailout, and it’s profitability is only a small part of issues around TARP itself.
    We might get a mild profit on one of the many bailout programs, but our deficit shows the real outcome of all the bailouts.
    It’s like a company points to one small profitable division as a sign up good business practices while suffering massive losses on all other fronts.
    “You’ll notice the lower deficit happaned between 2004 and 2008.”
    I’m not really clear what your point is on this. I said the deficit was in that range pre-recession. Also, 2002 & 3 were also lower.
    I generally agree with your last paragraph, although the bubble really started during Clinton’s presidency. W was certainly happy to continue, and probably make worse, those policies.
    The problem is that the exact same policies are being continued today, and the outcome will be exactly the same, but it seems to get worse each go around. I’m not looking forward to the popping of the next bubble.

  23. I’m not really clear what your point is on this. I said the deficit was in that range pre-recession. Also, 2002 & 3 were also lower.
    I explained that the deficits HAD to become deeper but the inflation of the debt bubble created the illusions of both healthy growth and lower deficits. We were actually “spending forward”.
    Our structural deficits are an indirect reflection of global competition.
    We haven’t fully accepted that our industry must be 2 steps ahead of everyone for it to stay relevant. Germans (again) realized this in the 90s when they were busy digesting the new Landers, and they acted on it.
    Failing to accept and react to this reality, we tried to maintain our way of life by creating fake growth through massive private debt between 2002 and 2007. Lend to everyone with a pulse and growth will ensue. It did and then it didn’t.
    This fake growth helped the Federal budget through taxes on incomes (linked to growth) and profits (RE, linked to debt). Then the debt music stopped and growth collapsed. The US govt had to bail out and the budget suffered from 3 blows: Recession created less Receivables: 1 – no more taxes on RE gains, 2 – lower activity meant less income or profit taxes. Also 3 – the Govt had to help everyone: unemployed, crippled banks, industry.
    In short: borrow and spend from 2002-2007 that reflected itself into lower deficits between 2004 and 2007 is seen now in the budget deficits from 2008-2012.
    Oh, that and the 2 unfunded wars and 1T/Y Bush tax cuts from late 2000.

  24. I agree that the mistakes of the past are now being paid for, but the problem is that we are making the same mistakes today, but even bigger, and they will have to be paid for as well.
    And we are not even really paying for the past mistakes, just borrowing money so we can continue making those same mistakes that got us where we are today, which means when we finally do start paying the bill, it will be that much more painful.

  25. Oh, I am not denying the Fed is definitely trying to re-inflate the bubble.
    The issue with what the Government can actually do is the issue.
    Obama cannot easily start massive investments in infrastructure (renewables, transportation, tech) because Congress is not on his side. This is what a Keynesian move would look like. Spend today, create jobs today, then ensure tomorrow’s growth thanks to this investment. This is how the 1950s-1960s world was rebuilt.
    But Republicans have become so hateful of anything Keynesian, and Dems so shy to defend this core value of their platform (following 30 years of misguided Ayn Rand cult and Dem bashing from the GOP), that they’re left with asking the Fed to play with rates and QEs to create growth.
    All they can do is more of the same, pushing money to an improductive medium (housing or WS profits) and expect different results.
    We need high speed trains, massive innovation, better and cheaper education, renewable energy. All we get is more expensive housing and higher mortgages. Sure, I’ll play. But this game is getting boring.

  26. Hey lol, go spend your own money on government “investments” like 300k pensions for government lazies. Keep your hands off my wallet.

  27. @lol
    While I disagree with some of the specifics of your post, I agree with the basic premise.
    I see it as the Republicans are essentially crazy, and the democrats as incompetent. Which is why I propose voting for 3rd parties. Nothing will be fixed as long as things are as they are right now.
    If you are a believer in the “lesser of 2 evils theory” then just vote 3rd party for everything BUT the president. That will send a pretty clear message that we are not happy with the current system.

  28. lyqwyd. Nice try on getting me to waste my vote 😉
    There’s “clear message” and there’s less than responsible actions. In Nov 2010 the TP got their angry flock to vote for GOP (no surprise). In the mean time a few Dems vented their frustration by not going to the polls. The result was not pretty.
    Please say it directly into the face of a teacher, a nurse, a law enforcement official, etc… There are a few abuses at the top and some waste and they should be curbed, but the overwhelming majority of public servants are hard working with little recognition.
    As Elizabeth Warren said, your success is not entirely yours. It couldn’t have happened without the right environment provided by the government. No great entrepreneur exists in the void.
    Think of all the “details” that make your productive life possible. Paved roads, personal safety, driving rules, working and efficient traffic lights. All created for you to enjoy and that have to be paid. Even the power, water, gas, phone, internet that you use is regulated to stay affordable, as is garbage collection.

  29. @lol
    The only way to waste your vote is to vote donkey or elephant.
    The parties are 95% the same, with the differences mainly to keep people distracted from being steadily screwed over. There only real goal is to maintain power, with very few exceptions.
    To me the TP is no different than what happened two years prior. Both parties won their respective races because the other side was demoralized by the clear failures of the dominant party, and “swing voters” are well named as they swing back and forth to whichever party is ascendant.
    This election is a little different because both sides are demoralized by broad failures by both parties. But ultimately its the same game.
    Ultimately it’s a divide and conquer strategy, each party points to the other and talks about how terrible they are to keep people from noticing how poorly their own party has worked out for them. Ultimately they just trade power back and forth. Ultimately we the citizens lose every time.
    3rd party voting is the only way to let the majors know that they are going to have to start doing a better job. I can understand not wanting to risk it on the president (although I personally disagree with the premise), but the argument simply doesn’t work for lower level positions.

  30. lyqwyd,
    True a 3rd party vote can be heard. A few extra voters for Nader made the 2K election. Dems got the message and then integrated some Green elements to their platform. Even Gore went green all the way after that.
    But to get to this change we had to live through 8 years of Bush with one unjustified war, economical missteps, further deepening of the chasm between classes.
    It was a costly lesson on so many levels.
    Never again.

  31. Also, your idea of showing your true colors on lesser elections sometimes backfires. What good is it to vote for someone if you’re not going to give him a mandate?

  32. The way to increase the influence of third parties isn’t during national elections. Start locally and build support.

  33. It’s all local, bro.
    On a more serious note. Anyone have any clue why the percentage of posts related to specific homes on SS has dwindled to about 5%. Seems all we get now are public policy and general development issues.

  34. @lol
    Al Gore lost the election cause he didn’t take advantage of clinton, or because he was an uninspiring figure, or the supreme court decided it, not because of Nader.
    Why do you think Nader had so much support? It’s not as if he was pulling the independents. The Democrats had lost their way.
    Most people learned the wrong lesson from Nader, he is the perfect example of why you should vote 3rd party, his campaign changed the party, and Gore himself became the poster child for Green ideals! Voting 3rd party is the only way to make your voice heard. I didn’t vote for Nader, but today I wish I had.
    But like I said twice already, if that’s your concern then vote 3rd party for everything BUT president. All of your arguments above become irrelevant in that scenario.
    @MoD, I’ve suggested the same twice above already, even though I think it’s much more important to vote 3rd party for president, especially in states where there is really no contest. But I understand that many people feel it’s too risky. It’s far better to vote 3rd party for lower level races than to vote for the status quo.

  35. Well, I guess you could count me as one of the people who were very bearish from mid 2006-to mid 2011. I
    We were looking for a place all along, but everything seemed so overpriced, so we kept renting and saving. We finally pulled the trigger in June this year on a house in 94123 that we got for $700k below the asking price and a very attractive $:sqft ratio.
    We did put >40% down so I don’t think that we will be underwater on the property in the near future. However, we didn’t buy the place as an investment, and don’t expect it to outperform inflation by a great deal.

  36. @eddy
    I suspect that in part it’s because they get less comments. Personally it was more interesting to comment on the individual properties when the market was in flux, but as things have settled down I’m less inclined to post comments on those articles unless the house is particularly interesting to me. But I do still enjoy seeing the specific home articles.

  37. Yes, this maybe a sign the overall market has returned to its normal boring self with seasonal ups and downs, if there was ever a thing for SF.

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