San Francisco Housing Market Heats Up Alongside its Indian Summer

While the fall season typically signals a slowing down for most real estate markets, San Francisco’’s housing market has continued to remain active and in some areas, vibrant.

The median price for a home in San Francisco was at the highest point in all of 2012 last month, reaching $840,000, a 13.1 percent increase from this time in 2011. Moreover, eight of the ten districts on the SFARMLS residential map experienced increases in home sales.

Despite a sustained drop in the housing stock, these recent upsurges suggests that more and more buyers are pulling the trigger now, realizing that home prices in the city are rising and interest rates may never be this low again.

Single-Family Home Sales

Since October of last year, the inventory of single-family homes for sale in the city has fallen by 33 percent, to a total of 679 properties. The number of homes under contract has increased by 23 percent, while the number of homes sold has also rose by 22.9 percent, to a total of 247 properties sold.

For homes that were priced below $700,000, the months of supply inventory dropped by 69.9 percent to a reading of 0.8 months. For higher-priced homes between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months of supply inventory also fell, by 57.5 percent to 1 month.

These exceedingly short time frames continue to indicate a seller’s market, where sellers have more leveraging power over buyers who are competing against a limited pool of properties.

One area of the city that experienced an increased pocket of activity is in the northernmost district, which includes such prestigious neighborhoods as the Marina, Presidio Heights and Pacific Heights. Compared to one year ago, the number of homes under contract in this region has jumped by 150 percent, while the number of homes sold has increased by as much as 111.1 percent, to a total of 19 luxury properties sold. Everything about this district is impressive, from the grandiose homes with designs by some of the most famous architects, to the posh shopping areas and upscale restaurants, to the various picturesque parks. Young entrepreneurs and successful professionals alike will find this place familiar even if they are not from the area. The median price for a home here is $3,820,000.

Another region of the city which continues to experience healthy sales activity is the area in the mid-western part of town, commonly referred to as Twin Peaks West. Since October of last year, the number of homes under contract here has rose by 69 percent, while the total number of homes sold has also increased by 11.5 percent, to 29 properties sold. Twin Peaks West, which has a total of 16 neighborhoods, is easy to locate with Mt. Davidson, the highest natural point in San Francisco, at its center. From the upscale and exclusive manicured streets of St. Francis Wood and Forest Hill, to the more approachable and family-friendly neighborhoods of Diamond Heights and West Portal, there is a little of something for everybody here. Add on a diverse array of architectural styles from stately Spanish Mediterranean homes to charming craftsman bungalows, it is no wonder that Twin Peaks West remains one the most desirable locations for home buyers. The median price for a home here is $925,000.

Condominium Sales

In the same market behavior as single-family homes, the inventory of condominiums for sale in the city has fallen by 31.7 percent, to a total of 817 condominiums. The number of condominiums under contract has increased by 35.7 percent, while the number of condominiums sold has also rose by 45.2 percent, to a total of 270 units sold.

For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months of supply inventory tightened by 64.7 percent to a reading of 1.2 months. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months of supply inventory also fell by 61.9 percent to 1.6 months.

One area of the city that experienced notable condominium sales activity is in the central northern region, whose neighborhoods include the historic Western Addition and the revitalized Hayes Valley. Compared to one year ago, the number of condominiums under contract has rose by 52.9 percent, while the number of condominiums sold has also spiked by 80 percent, to a total of 36 units sold. Prospective condominium buyers can find mid-century Joseph Eichler designed condominiums along the Western Addition, while even more contemporary and trendy condominiums are emerging all throughout Hayes Valley, which in itself, continues to improve and grow. The median price for a condominium here is $553,750.

Outlook

The consumer confidence index, which had increased in September, improved again in October. The index now stands at 72.2, up from a reading of 68.4 in September. Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, says that, “The Consumer Confidence Index increased again in October and is now at its highest level this year. Consumers were considerably more positive in their assessment of current conditions, with improvements in the job market as the major driver. Consumers were modestly more upbeat about their financial situation and the short-term economic outlook, and appear to be in better spirits approaching the holiday season.”

Still, the Wall Street Journal reports, “The fiscal cliff is just a few weeks off, unless Congress and President Obama compromise on the budget. Even if you’re not on the top of this chart, your taxes will go up considerably.”

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