CFAH

With the number of homes that were newly listed for sale in San Francisco over the past week having outpaced the number of purchase contracts that were written, the net number of homes on the market (i.e., inventory) has ticked up another 4 percent to 1,040, which is a six-month high.

And while overall inventory levels are still 14 percent lower than at the same time last year, there are now 60 percent more homes on the market than there were at the same time of the year in 2019 and over 100 percent more than there were in 2015.

Keep in mind that listed inventory levels in San Francisco typically hit a seasonal peak in mid-June before jumping again in September. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by WiseGuy

    My friend’s condo in the Castro just sold for 500k over asking. They’re buyers out there no matter how negative SS always is and the homes they cherry pick to show that sell for extreme losses on this website.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      A few things to keep in mind or simply understand:

      The fact that a property sells for “over asking” is not only meaningless but can be rather misleading without any insight as to how said property was priced.

      Inventory levels speak to the balance of supply and demand, not the lack or abundance of either in the absolute.

      And as always, we don’t “cherry pick” the sales we feature on the site nor do we go looking for sales that result in loss (or gain, as the case(s) may be).

      All of which brings us back to current inventory levels and the trend(s) at hand…

      • Posted by DAA

        Forgive the tangent, but why hasn’t the Bay Area MLS done anything to discourage the practice of listing homes at ~20% under that’s been so common the last few years? I fully understand why sellers and agents do it, but it’s my understanding that other MLS agencies have pushed back on this, requiring numbers closer to comps.

        I’m not an agent myself, am I misunderstanding the MLS’ authority here?

        • Posted by Justin

          Wouldn’t that raise anti-trust concerns if the preeminent trade group maintained certain price minimums?

          But as someone trying to shop for my first ever condo right now… I totally agree that this is an annoying practice. I have no idea what listings are worth, other than that I’m not getting them near asking.

          • Posted by DAA

            Condos are especially tricky to value right now IMO so I can sympathize, but for SFH adding 20% over the listing price seems like a good rule of thumb.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Maybe you mean the SFAR who own and operate SFARMLS. I’m not sure the extent of their authority though they can set standards for listings on SFARMLS. Requiring listing prices to be reasonably close to comps would be a reasonable criteria. That is easy for cookie cutter properties of which there not that many in SF. Other properties cannot easily be priced with simple comp techniques, you would almost need an appraisal. Some agents who know the local market can be quite precise. Other agents could use a different comp selection to come up with underpriced listings. You can imagine the time wasted trying to pick apart whether a comp was intentionally deceitful or not.

          Maybe SFAR could use a simpler, retroactive technique of banning agents who routinely sell at huge margins over list price? That would be really easy to monitor and implement.

          • Posted by Notcom

            I would think the solution – maybe “solution” for the many who say there’s no problem to solve – is to approach it from the other direction, i.e. post-sale: ban agents who have more than a certain number/percentage of “too low listings” based on the price that ends ups being realized.

            Of course this would seem to be an excellent example of ‘fortune favoring the prepared’: it’s hard to make an excuse nowadays for a prospective buyer not doing at least a minimal level of research; there’s a plenty of info out there – realtors regularly flood my mailbox with sales info…completely unsolicited (and unwanted!) – and it doesn’t involve much more than a few calcs to get an idea of “market”.

        • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

          I have long believed that it is unethical to list a property at a price you’d be unwilling to sell it for, yet that has become standard practice in SF. It’s so common that I imagine I’m just about the only one left who has a problem with it. It creates a feeding frenzy and that often leads to higher offers and a higher end selling price. And although I find it distasteful, it’s become so common that I’m not even sure it’s still unethical, since nobody in SF expects a property to trade for what has become nothing but a teaser price.

          But I’m always surprised at the number of otherwise-bright people who exclaim “it sold for way over asking!” as if that means anything at all. “Sold over asking” is only meaningful when the asking price attempts to guess at market value, which our asking prices almost never do.

          Realtors brag about how they’ve sold so many homes at (insert percentage here) over the listed prices as if they have some special skill. It takes no special skill to underprice a property in a strong market, especially in a city with high demand and insufficient supply.

  2. Posted by DAA

    Appreciate the responses to a rather obtuse question which sprang from a conversation with my mother, who was a Seattle-area realtor for 40 years and quipped (re: intentional underpricing in the SF market) “oh, they don’t let us do that here.” Obviously, it’s not that simple and I suppose any number of solutions could open their own can of worms.

  3. Posted by Notcom

    Speaking of availability, and for the one sector we don’t hear all that much about – retail – I think Dave may be on to something: I received in my e-mail today a link to Colliers 2021Q1 Report for the Northwest…wait..what..the Northwest?? That’s right: Norcal and the our neighbors to the North (or at least the costal strip of them) are now sharing space in the same report. Not sure I go with the logic of this, or even when it happened, but whatev…

    Anyway, as for the report itself, results are not much of a surprise: rents are back up but occupancy isn’t…or at least not much; actually maybe the surprise is that rents didn’t seem to fall all that much, at least considering what a bleak year 2020 was.

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