Having dropped 20 percent in the first few days following San Francisco’s stay at home order having been issued, the number of homes on the market in San Francisco has now dropped 40 percent from the 9-year high it briefly hit last week.

The sharp reduction in inventory levels is driven by a wave of listings being withdrawn from the MLS and new listing activity having nearly ground to a halt, not by a jump in sales.

And in fact, the pace of home sales in San Francisco, which was already trending down, is now down 7 percent on a year-over-year basis and continuing to slow, with the average list price of the homes in contract back under $1,000 per square foot.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

    Anticipating a Market-wide 20% price drop (low?) 6-18 mos from now.

    • Posted by heynonnynonny

      Anticipating a level of Federal intervention that will make a mockery of your so-called “market”.

      Have fun timing the asset bubble.

      • Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

        I’m not entirely sure what you mean. Today the Fed said they’ll buy as much as they need of just about everything, and reits, homebuilders, hotels etc. are still down 50% YTD.

        Do you mean my price is way too low or too high? Do you think that the housing market is going to escape unscathed?

        I’m having lots of fun looking at panic cheap securities prices in the market FWIW.

        • Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

          I guess I was a bit unclear in my first post: I think home prices in San Francisco will be down 20% 6-18 months from now.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            The folks yanking listings off the market now are anticipating your projected twenty percent decline later this year and will probably be able to hold them off the market until the price level recovers. If only a small portion of buyers are able to take advantage of a market dip because supply is artificially constrained, does a dip really matter?

          • Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

            Matter how? The turnover rate of homes in San Francisco is fairly paltry to begin with. It certainly matters if you put 20% down, your asset drops 20% but your loan balance does not…

          • Posted by heynonnynonny

            “you put 20% down, your asset drops 20% but your loan balance does not…”

            You don’t understand how the US economy works. Loan balances will be adjusted, after the Republicans are flushed down the toilet in November if not before.

          • Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

            @nonny You are correct that I don’t understand how the American economy works. (If anyone does, now would be a good time to speak up explain it to the fed, congress, and the president.)

            I can’t think of any times in America where the Fed or anyone else adjusted mortgage balances for homeowners. Encouraged lenders to re-negotiate terms to 40 year loans from 30 year loans? Yes.

            Write-down mortgage balances, no. The fed wants to do the opposite and keep balance sheets large and growing, especially for financial system lenders.

            If you are hoping for a write-down of money you owe, I wish you the best of luck. It helps to be an employer of large numbers of people to get a direct bailout. I think individuals may receive some small checks and the general apologies of Gavin Newsom.

          • Posted by Backtotheburbs

            20% could be a conservative estimate. Believing in fed rescue of jumbo loans in the highest per capita GDP region may be wishful thinking. Even tech is worried now as the ad-driven cash cow can’t find pastures. 1 million applied for unemployment in CA last week alone. The Bay Area was already on knife’s edge across a wide range of income brackets. But the saddest story may be the 2.2M undocumented people in CA with no health care or unemployment uninsurance … that or the ~200k homeless people, take your pick.

            This is how irrational exuberance ends…

            Also has anyone been downtown in the past week? Apocalyptic. It’s certain that for many all of a sudden leafy low density suburbs are the new target.

          • Posted by heynonnynonny

            “I can’t think of any times in America where the Fed or anyone else adjusted mortgage balances for homeowners”

            The search term you need is “cramdown”.

        • Posted by duck and cover

          Will they provide grants and low cost loans for RE Brokers???

          • Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

            $1200 from Mitch and Donald, probably.

  2. Posted by Anna

    Back under $1000 sq ft? Well good! Things were getting out of hand anyway.

  3. Posted by Notcom

    I’m curious if this ongoing situation will cool enthusiasm for some of the mantra’s often promoted here on SS:

    – Density (and density ! DENSITY!!)
    – Reliance on public transportation/ridesharing
    – Forgoing car ownership altogether

    and how that will affect real estate prices long-term.

    Now, of course, it would be dubious to abandon one’s principles for what is a rare and (hopefully) temporary situation, but I can also tell you it’s a comfort to not have to sit on a bus,or worry about being stranded somewhere at 9:01PM, as well as to have a little bit of ‘terra firma’ of one’s own. Traumatic episodes can leave lasting damage: some people never left the Depression, behavior wise.

    And – as I perhaps segue further into overreach – there’s one “home” I’m particularly curious about: Chase Center; a Billion Dollar debt with little revenue for three…six…twelve?? months…hope they have mortgage insurance.

    • Posted by sf

      you are right- cities stopped being dense after the 1918 flu that killed up to 100 million.

      • Posted by sockettome

        Not here sf. The density in sf increased by over 25% in the decade following the 1918 flu.

        • Posted by Notcom

          Yes and no: if you measure density as “people w/i the city limits” then yes; but if you measure it by the (arguably) more meaningful “people in built up areas” then no: certainly St Francis Woods, Sea Cliff … even the shoulder-to-shoulder SFR’s in the Sunset are certainly less dense than what lies east of Twin Peaks.

          • Posted by sockettome

            I think it’s both – people within the city limits and people in the existing built up areas.

            Both St. Francis Wood and Sea Cliff were layed out during that decade, but the population gain was small because they were exclusively single family homes on large lots and therefore intentionally low density. The Sunset was just beginning to emerge with opening of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1917. It too was intentionally low density just on much more modest scale.

            At the same time this was the era of the first wave of high rise apartments and they were popping up in all the close-in neighborhoods.

          • Posted by Anonymous

            Population density is literally defined as people per square mile. The fact that new neighborhoods sprung up somewhat at the expense of going taller (only theoretically, there’s no real historical evidence to support this trade off) doesn’t change the fact that the city’s population density increased. How that there virtually no open space left to pave over for new neighborhoods, the only option is to continue both increasing the density of individual neighborhoods and the city as a whole. It’s definitionally and mathematically true.

    • Posted by sockettome

      I think something bigger may be going on here and the coronavirus is just the trigger. This may be the fiery crash landing of the Reagan Revolution.

    • Posted by Michael

      Americans have short memories.

      I think big buildings and co-living operations will take a near-term hit but people will stop washing their hands within weeks of the crisis passing. The virus will be a distance memory after a couple of months if the price is right.

      The economic impact, however, could be long-lasting and pronounced.

      Chase Center will be a cash drain but the owners have deep pockets and the increase in franchise value by moving the team to SF already paid for the arena.

    • Posted by Jake T

      Notcom, as someone who seems to really appreciate the simple pleasures of exurb life like reliable access to socially subsidized car infrastructure, have you considered just moving there?

      • Posted by Notcom

        And where do you think I live? (Answer: my fifth acre and I are in SF’s #1 suburb).

        Now perhaps we can stop talking about me – flattering as it is – and return to the topic at hand: SF home prices.

    • Posted by TheCheese

      I’m happy to have a car right now.

      • Posted by Spencer

        me too, and a bike as well. think public transportation and uber/lyft should be shut down

  4. Posted by Realtor

    Agents cannot show properties in person, cannot meet with a buyer or seller in person. We can work virtually with videos. Possibly sidestep the intention of shelter in place and not being of essential work force, could arrange a property visit with seller showing buyer. Likely upon ratification of a contract with a long contingency for actual in person visit, long appraisal and loan contingency, long property inspection contingency. Thus the substantial reduction in property on the market.

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