A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to in San Francisco

“Don’t you think we should ask for more than a million dollars? A million dollars isn’t exactly a lot of money these days,” Number 2 – Austin Powers International Man of Mystery.

If your clients are looking to buy a home in San Francisco after relocating from elsewhere in the nation, they can be forgiven for making the same mistake Austin Powers did in thinking he could get what he wanted (in his case, world domination) for a mere $1 million. Newcomers to the area are often shocked to find that $1 million might not get them all the amenities in a home that they desire.

April, the kick-off month of peak spring home buying, found the median price for single-family homes in San Francisco reaching the $1 million mark, an increase of nearly 32 percent over the April 2012 median price. Click here to read SFAR’s press release about prices hitting the $1 million mark.

Add to escalating prices, high demand, tight inventory and stiff competition from investors who can pay all cash and homebuyers may too take a moment’s pause (with pinky finger firmly resting at the corner of one’s mouth).

Single-Family Home Sales

Compared to April of last year, the inventory of single-family homes for sale in the City fell by 19.6 percent, to a total of 541 properties. The number of homes under contract rose by 11.5 percent, while the number of homes sold dropped by 4.1 percent, to a total of 212 properties.

For homes that were priced below $700,000, the months supply of inventory dropped by 42.6 percent to 1.1 months. For higher-priced homes between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months supply of inventory also fell, by 20.6 percent to 1.1 months.

Properties being sold within just a few weeks of listing indicates a strong sellers market. Sellers are, in most cases, getting multiple offers due to limited inventory.

One region of the City experiencing a boost of mojo is the Central East section known as District 9 which includes the neighborhoods of Portero Hill, Dog Patch, Inner Mission and Mission Bay. Since 2011, the inventory of homes in this district has shrunk more than 42 percent with just 48 properties for sale in April 2013. At the same time, median prices in the area hit a 2-year high in April 2013.

The Inner Mission neighborhood has become a popular area for young tech professionals, due to its proximity to downtown, availability of mass transit, shuttles to Silicon Valley and an abundance of popular restaurants. The median price for a home here is $1,001,000, up 33 percent from the same time last year.

Condominium Sales

Along with single-family homes, the inventory of condominiums for sale in the city fell by 17.1 percent, to a total of 740 condominiums. The number of condominiums under contract rose by 20.6 percent, while the number of condominiums sold decreased by 0.3 percent, to a total of 295 units.

For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months supply of inventory tightened by 46.2 percent to 0.8 months. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months supply of inventory also dropped by 64.2 percent to 0.9 months.

One area in the City, perhaps not often thought of for condos is District 1, which includes the neighborhoods of Richmond and Sea Cliff, which sits just south of the beautiful Presidio. Condos in the area have been a hot commodity with inventory there decreasing by nearly 60 percent over the last two years. The median price for a condo in the district reached $810,500 in April 2013.

Outlook

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in March, increased in April. Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said: “Consumer Confidence improved in April, as consumers’ expectations about the short-term economic outlook and their income prospects improved. However, consumers’ confidence has been challenged several times over the past few months by such events as the fiscal cliff, the payroll tax hike and the sequester. Thus, while expectations appear to have bounced back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend.”

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported California home sales and prices experiencing strong increases in April, with the median price surpassing the $400,000-mark for the first time in five years. In addition, homes across the state sold more quickly in April 2013, with the median number of days dropping to 27.9 from 48 days in April 2012.

CNN Money recently reported that, “during the housing bust, sales were often derailed by low-ball appraisals that fell far shy of a home’s selling price. But now, as home prices climb and housing inventories shrink, appraisers are valuing homes at or above their selling prices.”

According to SF Gate, “San Francisco rental rates rose 15.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same time last year, to an average of $2,663 for all size units. Studio apartments averaged $2,075, up 16.5 percent in a year. The steepest rise came in one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments, which are now $2,611 – up 19.9 percent in the past year and up 30 percent from two years ago.”

Article from the San Francisco Association of Realtors.

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