Having jumped to a 9-year seasonal high last week, the number of homes on the market in San Francisco has since ticked up another 5 percent to 870, representing 45 percent more inventory than at the same time last year, driven by a dramatic slowdown in sales activity over the past two months, which has started to rebound, while listing activity has since rebounded.

At a more granular level, the number of single-family homes listed for sale in the city (270) is now running 40 percent higher than at the same time last year while the number of condos (600) is currently 49 percent higher.

And the percentage of listings priced at under a million dollars has ticked up to 27 percent, which is even on a year-over-year basis, representing 44 percent more sub-million dollar listings in the absolute.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by sfres

    Hmm, and yet SF housing prices hit a new all-time high today in the March case shiller index.

    • Posted by NA

      Lagging indicator. Case Shiller is a 3 month rolling average so the impact of the last 1.5 months is likely going to be more pronounced in the upcoming reports rather than the march one.

      • Posted by james

        March Case Shiller is 3-month rolling average of January, February, March. May data won’t even enter into the average until the report released in July.

      • Posted by sfres

        Yes, but look at the postings from January and February. Inventory at a 7 year high and all that. And the current report included March sales, when the shutdown hit. More broadly, we’ve been hearing here for 5 years that SF prices are now falling. So far, nothing has stopped price rise. Will COVID-19? Maybe, and I’d even bet on it. But it is far from a certainty. NASDAQ today is at the highs it hit in early February 2020, not far off record highs. No obvious reason housing prices should fall significantly. Rising inventory after everything was pulled in March and April is not much of an indicator of anything.

        • Posted by Anonoly

          It’s inventory at a 9 year high; not simply ‘rising inventory after everything was pulled’.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            Is it not? Consider February was at a relative high. Then factor in the properties that opted to sit out the spring.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        In fact, the impact of the local shutdown, which didn’t take hold until mid-March, won’t start to be reflected in the index until April as the typical escrow period for a sale is around a month (i.e. March sales are predominantly the result of contracts that were signed in February).

    • Posted by sfres

      I think we’re in agreement that up to the point that COVID-19 hit, we saw a pretty steady (with bumps, of course) 7 or 8 year price rise with record highs reached in early 2020. Will we now see a marked change in that trend? Maybe. But I haven’t seen evidence to support that yet.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        More accurately, “the index for the least expensive third of the market inched up 0.3 percent in March and is back above its peak in the third quarter of last year (by 0.3 percent); the index for the middle third of the market ticked up 1.3 percent in March and is back to even with the peak it hit in mid-2018; and the index for the top third of the market recovered 2.9 percent in March, putting it 0.7 percent above the peak it hit last June.”

        And the “marked change in the trend” for the Bay Area index actually occurred back in early 2018, a couple years after the early indicators of a marked change in the San Francisco market started to emerge (and has since picked up steam).

        • Posted by sfres

          I guess eventually those emerging indicators of price declines from 4 years ago and occuring trends of price declines from 2 years ago will present as something other than continuing record high prices.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Actually, they already have.

            Once again, the net change for the index in the middle of the Bay Area market you keep referencing, into which the majority of San Francisco transactions would fall, is exactly 0.0 percent in total over the past two years. In effect, for each example of an appreciating property in the middle tier of the market, there’s now been another that has declined as much, at least on average.

            And over the past four years, the scope and prevalence of depreciating segments of the market have been on the rise.

          • Posted by Plugger

            Actually, the scope of declining segments has declined so much so that we’ve only caught up to where we were in 2018 and are now back to setting record high prices.

            You see, much like the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, we gather price information from our surroundings. All you (and indices like Case-Shiller) see are climbing prices to new records, in actually-factually there have been speculation penthouse condos that have been sold for only 1.3% more than 2014. Proving that the market is declining, all apples considered.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            We realize you’re trying to be snarky, but you don’t seem to understand how the Case-Shiller Index, much less the underlying math, works nor what it actually means.

          • Posted by Craterrific

            What you are witnessing is the top of a bubble over last 2 years.

  2. Posted by anon

    I’ve always been surprised as to why the market didn’t do better in the last couple of years with rates falling again, stocks and tech at all-time highs, the hype of the IPO machine. It ended up being an anemic mixed bag for the most part given the macro factors.

    Without distressed sales, real estate is going to be slow moving to see what is really going on. I do think rental prices matter just because many friends who have bought in the last five years weren’t necessarily wanting to buy but found the rental market so congested and expensive and have the notion that if they squeeze into the max possible, SF r/e always goes up.

    These are obviously just anecdotes, but on our block, there have been five moving trucks in the past two months with people moving out. I happen to know one of those buildings and they re-rented two of the units. I’m curious what the rental prices were vs previous renters.

    • Posted by Ohlone Californio

      What does better mean, given that houses have been trading at all time high prices for severak years? Better than what? Better than 2020 SFRs ytd trading at higher dollar averages than 2019? and 2018 only a negligible dollar or so per foot higher than 2019? So 2018 and 2019 nearly identical 1/1 – 5/27 … and the last 3 years all substantially higher than 2017 per foot? What is “better” supposed to look like?

      • Posted by Michael

        An increase in the price per square foot last year would probably be “better” than it having dropped, particularly with Compass forecasting that prices would rocket in the second half of the year.

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          That’s not applicable as I didn’t write about the second half of 2019. I wrote of ytd yoyoy. However the second two quarters of ’19 were indeed markedly up over 2018, 1015/ft over 978/ft. Again, this is SFRs per the MLS.

  3. Posted by Realist

    The bottom line to this discussion, Housing is about to take a BEATING.

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