The majority of activities and businesses that were slated to either reopen or be allowed to expand their capacities next week in San Francisco have just been “paused” due to an increase in local COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations. That includes the previously expected re-openings of indoor pools, bowling alleys and fitness center locker rooms, along with an increase in the allowed capacities for indoor dining establishments, movie theaters, places of worship and museums.

But according to the Office of the Mayor, real estate showings and open houses, which had been curtailed, will be allowed to resume as of Tuesday, November 3, “with social distancing protocols in place.”

UPDATE: While the official update from the Mayor’s Office and Reopening San Francisco timeline both still indicate that in-person real estate showings and open houses will be allowed to resume next week, according to the plugged-in President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, that’s incorrect. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

UPDATE: While the Mayor’s Office hasn’t issued a correction, and the City’s official timeline for Reopening still shows that Real estate open houses will be allowed to resume on the 3rd, the reference to ‘open houses’ has just been quietly scrubbed from the Mayor’s online press release but an allowance for “increased real estate showings with social distancing protocols in place” remains (for now).

UPDATE (11/1): The City’s official timeline for Reopening San Francisco has finally been updated to remove ‘open houses’ from the list of activities that will be allowed to resume on November 3 without a new target date or goal.

UPDATE (11/4): The “only when a virtual viewing is not feasible” clause for real estate showings has been dropped but the “by appointment” clause remains.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by jim

    Desperate attempt to revitalize lagging sales?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Pending sales are currently up on a year-over-year basis.

      But with listing activity having increased at an even greater pace, inventory levels, which have likely peaked for the year, recently hit a two-decade high.

    • Posted by Ohlone Californio

      Jim, I’m not sure if we’ve interacted on here or not before. But sales are not lagging. They’ve been up year over year for some time. And the notion that the Mayor’s office is working in concert with the local realtors board is patently absurd. It’s the opposite, and in fact, it illustrates the fallacy of the first part of your take. In point of fact the Assessor Recorders office has kept the door barred with regard to open house precisely because tax revenue has been coming in still, during the pandemic, just fine. From a fiscal standpoint she didn’t think the policy needed addressing.

  2. Posted by Zugamenzio Farnsworth

    funny, the whole time city hall plays hard ball with the masses all heck breaking loose 24/7 on Hyde st in the TL. for example, saw dude out there sleeping tday, no mask on, basically lying in a garbage pile. funny how the rules only apply to some. people shooting up around the clock, folks commuting over to deal drugs, etc. what a joke.

    • Posted by Zac

      Okay.

    • Posted by OMN

      It takes a real piece of work to feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick compared to the homeless and drug-addicts.

      Good luck on Tuesday. 😉

  3. Posted by Marc Dickow

    This is not correct. The Mayor’s office did put something out earlier that said these activities would resume but it was a mistake and they are correcting their press release and info on the website. There are no tradional in-person Broker Tours or Open Houses allowed at this time.

  4. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: While the Mayor’s Office hasn’t issued a correction and the City’s official timeline for Reopening still shows that Real estate open houses will be allowed to resume on the 3rd, the reference to open houses has just been scrubbed from the Mayor’s online press release but an allowance for “increased real estate showings with social distancing protocols in place” remains (for now).

  5. Posted by Frisco

    In person showings have been allowed for months. Not public open houses, but personal private walk-throughs with an agent are quite common even now.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Technically, showings are currently only allowed “if a virtual viewing is not feasible” and by appointment, “with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same Household and one individual showing the unit (except that in person visits are not allowed when the occupant is present in the Residence),” as has been the case since the end of March.

      • Posted by civ-e

        if it’s allowed to make visits with “no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same Household and one individual showing the unit” then technically why couldn’t realtors hold open house and have visitors queue up and take turn going in, are they just being lazy or what.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Once again, showings are technically only allowed “by appointment” and when “a virtual viewing is not feasible.”

        • Posted by Frisco

          what civ-e describes is pretty close to what’s happening. Realtors schedule showings every 30-60 minutes (pre-scheduled by appointment) and it’s common for the next prospective buyer to wait on the sidewalk while the current showing finishes. So it’s not an open house per se, but a series of individual pre-arranged private showings. There’s no need to demonstrate that a virtual viewings isn’t “feasible” as that’s an impossible standard to define let alone enforce.

  6. Posted by 94114

    It is odd that open houses are forbidden right now. Having a few people (maybe one household at a time) in a house for a few minutes with masks on doesn’t seem anywhere as risky as having diners eating and drinking with out masks inside a restaurant for over an hour.

    • Posted by Brian M

      Massive maskless political rallies are a-ok. A hair salon with two customers is the reason for the epidemic.

      • Posted by James

        There haven’t been any massive maskless political rallies here. However, spending time (15 minutes+) in close proximity to another person is enough to spread the virus.

  7. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The City’s official timeline for Reopening San Francisco has finally been updated to remove ‘open houses’ from the list of activities that will be allowed to resume on November 3 without a new target date or goal.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Has the city given an explanation for why OHs are not allowed while at the same time allowing retail stores to open to limited customers? The situations are nearly identical: an interior space used for sales, Just allow OHs to operate similarly to retail stores and call it a day. If the OH reaches capacity, allow people to queue outside waiting their turn the same way that retail operates.

      • Posted by Freeloader

        The county needs to follow state guidelines. No idea why DRE isn’t allowing open houses. CAR should be actively lobbying for the change.

  8. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The “only when a virtual viewing is not feasible” clause for real estate showings has been dropped but the “by appointment” clause remains.

  9. Posted by highflyer

    KEEP OPEN HOUSES CLOSED!

    As an agent here in the city, Sunday Open Houses are simply just not necessary. We are selling more real estate than ever before and doing it much more efficiently. Sunday Open Houses are only for the benefit of subprime agents. Please do not jeopardize the health and welfare of realtors during this critical COVID-19 time.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      While fall sales volumes are significantly up on a year-over-year basis, the increase was primarily driven by a spring shutdown (which pushed listing and purchase activity back into the second half of the year).

      And in fact, total sales over the past 12 months are currently down around 10 percent versus the 12 months before (which has contributed to driving inventory levels up).

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        Sales were down year over year because there were months of pandemic shutdown. You can make a case for May to July increases being based upon kick on demand from the pandemic. Not so for August, September, October. All those months are up year over year.

        I don’t understand this thing where you take a stat one way and talk about an increase being due to the relative paucity during a shutdown. Yet then you turn around and try to posit year over year, as if this year is not marked by a shutdown. It makes no sense.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          You’re under representing the universe of both buyers and sellers that pulled out of the market in the spring, sat out the summer and then returned in the fall (versus sales that were simply delayed and ended up closing in May, June and July).

          And we’re actually accounting for both the shutdown and subsequent rebound by comparing total sales, year-over-year, and making the point that the strong fall hasn’t made up for the weak spring, at least not yet.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            You are not going to be as in touch with contemporary buyer behavior as I am, frankly. However, I’ll mention briefly that here we see you refuting the concept that buyers all moved to greener pastures to WFH. But it’s merely a psychological anecdotal aside regardless.

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