As we noted last week, the year-to-date pace of completed home sales in San Francisco is currently running at an 8-year low.

And in addition to being down over 10 percent versus the same time last year, despite a significant drop in mortgage rates over the same period of time, pending home sales activity in San Francisco is currently down nearly 20 percent versus early September 2017.

34 thoughts on “Pending Home Sales in San Francisco Are Really Down”
  1. More Uber layoffs: “Uber announced more than 400 layoffs in its engineering and product units Tuesday amid financial pressure stemming from its initial public offering, weeks after axing a similar number of marketing employees. Company leaders blamed bloated departments for the cuts, which amounted to roughly 8 percent of the combined teams, Uber said in a statement.”

    Never good when the CEO says the company is bloated. Not good news for future pending home numbers.

    1. Ya so much for the IPO boom to drive up prices

      Hype machine never stops.

      Next year will be interesting.

      I’m still keeping lots of powder dry.

    2. And for those SF/Bay Area employees let go, how many will use this as an opportunity to make a change? Move to greener pastures and become part of domestic migration out of the Bay Area?

    3. 400 is chump change. Rumor has it that Uber & Lyft have contingency plans to leave the state completely if they can’t get around AB5 (“landmark employment legislation that challenges the business model of such “gig-economy” companies as ride-hailing giants Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., some of the brightest stars in Silicon Valley over the past decade”). Why stay in a hostile environment? Cost savings and “voluntary” headcount reduction a nice side benefit too.

      1. One might say that last little phrase was editorializing…tho whether it’s a praise to those two or an insult to everyone else is less clear.
        But anyway, I’m not sure leaving would accomplish much: the “contractor” classification (primarily) affects payroll taxes, which are based on where people work, not where the company is HQed.

      2. I wouldn’t bet on Uber & Lyft “getting around” AB5, as that legislation really only exists to correct the absurd exploitation enabled by those two companies misclassifying drivers as “independent contractors”. So what if they leave the state entirely?

        They are going out of business anyway, it’s just a matter of time. Uber’s sales growth is slowing and they are still losing money, although most of the most of the loss reported last month was due to stock-based compensation associated with the IPO.

        I understand they’re putting on the full court press lobbying the Governor. If I were Gavin Newsom, I’d tell them “Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.”

        1. Taxi drivers are classified as independent contractors, too. They’re not employees. What Uber and Lyft are doing isn’t a stretch.

          1. Form a legal perspective I agree: the traditional definition of an independent contractor hinged on “independent” – provides the equipment and controls when/how they work – and cabs seemed to fullfill the requirements (tho, paradoxically, the more the companies get involved thru ratings, pricing, etc, the more they invalidate their arguments).

            But the theatre of seeing the immovable object (of uncontrolled union power) meet the unstoppable force (of in-your-face tech) is priceless! I’m just looking for a popcorn app to enjoy it all.

          2. AB5 hardly pits Uber against an “immovable object of uncontrolled union power”, as it doesn’t do anything to grant the drivers a right to form a union. And Uber has already announced publicly that the company will fight in court to keep drivers as independent contractors in addition to spending investor money on a November 2020 ballot measure to change the law to their liking.

            Getting back to the original point that JT made, it’s not at all clear that even if Uber & Lyft ultimately lose all these fights and leave the state it will affect the local real estate market. The high-earning employees here who own their homes will always have the ability to move to be close to the new HQs, and rent out their SF home to people who are still employed here and generate passive income for themselves.

  2. Have you been to any open houses lately in SF? Any SFH that isn’t a teardown is still getting multiple offers as long as location is decent.

    Check out this 1960s house (21 Woodhaven Ct) in Forest Knolls, without anything done to it, was listed at $1.3M…it sold for $1.7M.

    1. Keep in mind that the average sale price for a three-bedroom, two-bath home in Forrest Knolls has been $1.725 million over the past year, that’s actually $5,000 more than the 3/2 with “massive expansion potential” at 21 Woodhaven Ct, which was listed for $430,000 below said average, and then sold for “$425,000 over asking,” fetched.

  3. Doesn’t matter. The good houses are still getting multiple offers starting bidding wars. Selling for 300-500K over list for a 1950’s house without any remodeling done to it.

  4. A very small 2-bedroom in Pacific Heights (Pacific Ave) just went contingent in a week. Ask was a million, closing will go higher I am sure. A 1-bedroom just down the street asking 900k closed in a few days for 1.1 million. As someone looking for a 1-bedroom condo at or under 1 million dollars in prime Pac heights, Nob Hill, Russian Hill I have yet to see this slowdown. If anything, things are way overheated.

    Show me a submillion dollar 1-bd condo not going pending in Pac Heights within two weeks? Please? I will buy it

    1. There have been 24 such sales over the past two quarters, with an average sale price of $860,000. That’s up from 17 such sales in the two quarters prior, for a total of 41 over the past year (which is up from 36 the year before).

      1. No chance. The guy said “prime.”

        I wonder what it is you’re doing on here anymore. It seems like you’re superhero trying to talk the market down, and it’s reading pretty doggone Bizarro.

        1. Actually, the numbers were in response to “the guy” having said: “Show me a submillion dollar 1-bd condo not going pending in Pac Heights within two weeks? Please? I will buy it.”

          There were far more sub-million dollar sales in “prime Pac heights, Nob Hill, [and] Russian Hill” combined.

          And as always, while the actual numbers might not match your perceptions of the market at hand, they’re objective measures versus “feelings” or miss-characterizations of the same.

          1. Actually, it was: ” As someone looking for a 1-bedroom condo at or under 1 million dollars in prime Pac heights, Nob Hill, Russian Hill.”

            You parsed the second clause only.

            The fact is there are not sub 1M properties in the prime parts of those areas. .

    2. Never buy condos or townhouses. When the market corrects (or crashes) these are the first to go down and by a higher percentage than houses.

      Condos make horrible investments, especially when the HOA is hundreds of dollars and non-tax-deducible.

      If you can’t afford a SFH in pac heights (who can?), then look for less desirable neighborhoods where you can afford a SFH. You will thank me 20 years from now.

      1. And condos or townhouses usually have special assessments levied on all owners when the almost inevitable construction defects rear their ugly heads within the first several years after initial occupancy to pay for either correcting said defects or suing the general contractor in order to get them to correct the defects.

        If you buy an SFH, well, SFHs tend not to be new construction and tend not to suffer from the corner cutting instincts of multifamily building contractors. Worst case, you’re in control of when to fix things.

      2. Always look for DETACHED Single Family Residences (SFRs)/Single Family Homes (SFHs) in San Francisco. There are some AMAZING pockets of neighborhoods in areas like Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, Potrero Hills where you get views and sunnier weather. These areas are perfect for city life while being just far enough away from the craziness of the downtown area. It’s great to raise families in these areas too. I live in Bernal Heights and it’s walking distance to a lot of bars, restaurants, markets as well. Lyft/Uber rides are like 7 bucks each way to the downtown area and did I mention it’s also a great place to raise a family? Prices continue to steadily climb up in these areas even if the market flattens out. Key word is limited supply. My house is now worth over $1200 a square foot (just cashed out refinanced) and it’s not even brand new. I bought it at $1000 a sq. ft. 3+ years ago. I LOVE the VIEWS and I don’t ever want to leave!

        1. If you put your house on the market at $1200/ft it would get way over asking and this site would be all in about how it was a fake price set up to get overbids, because the neighborhood is $1350/ft.

        2. May I ask why you did a cash-out refi? Looking to buy another property in SF?

          The problem with bernal heights is most homes are attached, I guess you are lucky in that you found a detached SFH there, but also the roads are very narrow in that neighborhood (e.g., almost 1 lane roads).

          1. I have a handful of friends in Bernal and the main problem I have is that many of the lots are smaller than average city lots – 25×75 or even 25×40 versus 25×100 in the rest of the city so the backyards tend to feel claustrophobic.

          2. Late reply but yes, I bought another place in SF. I noticed recently that there were a handful of newly renovated homes in Bernal that sold for $1300+ a sq. ft! That’s crazy but I can see why if the house has any views of Noe or downtown. My lot is bigger than your typical Bernal lot. And again, detached. It’s surprising though how few people actually know about the north and northwest slope of Bernal. It’s a gem. Unless something crazy happens with the local market, with short term rates recently going down again, I think it’ll continue to climb and you’ll see newly renovated homes selling for $1500 a sq. ft. by the end of 2020. Just look at where prices are in Noe and Glen Park. One day soon, it’ll probably be near the same price as the Marina! We have more sun than they do and better access to the peninsula and the bay bridge

          3. Keep in mind that the average sale price for single-family homes in Bernal Heights has averaged $1,092 per square foot over the past year versus $1,087 per square foot over the past two. And over the past year, there have actually been fewer homes of at least 1,000 square feet in size that have fetched over $1,300 per square foot than the year before.

          4. I think the reason you’re seeing closer to 1100 sq. ft. is due to homes sold that are not renovated or in some cases, completely dilapidated. Look at the homes sold on Elsie and Prospect Street. renovated/remodeled homes sold recently for $1300-$1500 per sq. ft. from what I saw.

          5. Again, the $1,092 number, which has barely budged over the past two years, is the overall average, not simply for homes that have recently been renovated.

            But over the past year, there have actually been fewer homes of at least 1,000 square feet in size that have fetched over $1,300 per square foot in Bernal Heights than the year before.

          6. As always with $/ft as a metric, the question I have is how are the non-quoted footage houses allocated? They tend to be the highest $/ft. sales. A rough count is 83 of the 343 sales in the last 2 years.

  5. Per the MLS, Bernal Heights $1300 / ft is dead even re 2018 vs 2019 at 26 sales. And obviously we’ve got 5 weeks to go still.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *