While the number of single-family homes and condos that traded hands in San Francisco last month jumped 44.5 percent from an upwardly revised 346 in February to 500 in March with typical seasonality in play, the volume was 5.3 percent lower on a year-over-year basis versus a 7.9 percent increase across the greater Bay Area or a 9.0 percent gain when excluding San Francisco.
At the same time, the median price paid for those 500 homes in San Francisco ($1,100,000) was 4.3 percent lower than at the same time last year and 15.4 percent below the record $1.3 million median sale price recorded in April of 2016, while the Bay Area median ($709,000) was 10.2 percent higher, year-over-year basis. In fact, San Francisco was the only county to record a year-over-year decline.
As we noted six months ago, the recorded sales volume in San Francisco was being goosed by contracts for condos in new developments that were signed (“sold”) many months prior but were closing escrow in bulk as the buildings came online in the middle of 2016, while signatures on new contracts were down 25 percent in 2016 despite an average of nearly 50 percent more inventory throughout the year and new condo sales dropped to a multi-year low at the beginning of the year.
And while many continue to finger a “lack of inventory” for the anemic sales trend in San Francisco, listed inventory in the city remains at a five-year high.
In Alameda County, recorded homes sales in March (1,526) were 10.6 percent higher on a year-over-year basis with a recorded median sale price of $730,000, up 13.7 percent versus the same time last year. Sales in Contra Costa County (1,508) were 2.2 percent higher with a median price of $545,000, which is 8.2 percent higher versus the same time last year.
Home sales in Santa Clara County (1,615) were 5.9 percent higher versus the same time last year with a median price of $899,500 (up 8.4 percent) and sales in San Mateo County (577) were up 6.5 percent with a median sale price of $1,052,500, up 11.7 percent versus the same time last year.
And up north, recorded sales in Marin (263) were unchanged from the same time last year but with a median price of $930,000, which was 2.5 percent higher. Sonoma County sales in March (532) were 2.1 higher versus the same time last year with a median price of $555,000 (up 11.6 percent) and sales in Napa (146) were 16.8 percent higher on a year-over-year basis with a median price of $597,500 (up 5.7 percent).
Keep in mind that while movements in the median sale price are a great measure of what’s selling, they’re not necessarily a great measure of appreciation or changes in value and are susceptible to changes in mix, as opposed to movements in the Case-Shiller Index.