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All the Sales Data Fit to Syndicate


What Stories Do the Data Tell?

What you’ll find here is a compilation of relevant market data as reported on San Francisco’s Multiple Listing Service, which captures the fair share of residential real estate sales in the City.

Looking at sales data is a good starting point but it can’t be the sole deciding factor in deciding a property’s real worth as each property is so special. Real estate issues are so important that judges are actually empowered to use their inherent authority as judges to force sales and to remove people from a property rather than just award money (this is called specific performance). Why do we bring this up? Well the reason why a judge can called up the sheriff to remove people from a property is because the law sees each property as being special enough and inherently unique. There’s no other substitute for X parcel.

Indeed, just as each property is important and special in its own right, each data point represents a story onto itself and collected data can only go so far and may not be applicable to a given property. So, take a look at the collected data below. And while there are some general take away points bear in mind that there are many times where we’ll say ‘comps, schmomps.’ The biggest take away from all the data below is that we need to assess each property for its own characteristics, like its past, location, footprint, neighbors and potential.  



Take Away Item 1: List Price is Irrelevant As the Market Will Find the ‘Right’ Value 

We live in a market where more than 50% of properties sell over list price — even with COVID-19.

Every market has its own rules, customs and practices. In San Francisco, agents had tended to price property listings less than what these properties were worth. Right or wrong it’s the way it has been done here since the economy recovered after the 2012 low point in the market. Now, with the pandemic, rarer instances of when agents would practice ‘transparent’  are becoming more common . But still, for every listing that is ‘transparently’ priced we can show you at least 3 more that are radically underpriced on purpose. The rationale behind this tactic is to attract interest and attention that would yield multiple offers that would go to drive a property’s final sale price — much like an auction boosts sale prices when people get caught up in the competitive moment let their emotions dictate their bids.

% of Listings Selling Over Asking

(all housing types)


Take Away Item 2: It’s Expensive Here, But It’s Always Been (and there’s room to go) 

We live in a market where $1,000/sqft is the norm that’s still moving towards $1,200/sqft and beyond.

There have been housing crunches and booms since the very beginning. Crises, pandemics, crashes and bubbles ever since gold was found up north in 1849. But apart from that gold, San Francisco has always been a destination and aspirational city to be a part of.  There are the big attractions  that draw people here:  a temperate climate, the pervasive entrepreneurial spirit, the diversity of people from all over the country and world, the area’s natural beauty, cuisine, proximity to nature, its universities, and, of course, the engines of the tech and data economy are based here among more.

Real estate is at the very heart of many of the tourist attractions here — the Painted Ladies on Alamo Square are, after all, a row of Victorian houses with one of them seller as a fixer in 2020 for more than $3.5 million and Lombard Street is a, well, street.

San Francisco has drawn entrepreneurs and innovators alike as it has done so since its founding. Population booms and housing crunches (and crises) have been as much a part of San Francisco as the fog has been. Because it’s been a boom town, it has attracted folks from far and wide seeking opportunity which has led to diverse architecture, housing patterns and market patterns as a result.

Combine the above draws with the fact that we’ve run out of room to build anything (not to mention the cost) the Bay Area’s real estate market has been impact by a lot of policy-driven factors that make land a scarce commodity. Some of those policies relate to strong historic protections, property tax and capital gains tax policies that favor long-term ownership, rent control laws and heavily regulated building regulations that make construction contentious and difficult many times, all combine to make the place even more valuable than it would otherwise be.

Median Sale Prices

(all housing types)

Price Appreciation Is the Norm

Median Sale Price

(Since 2005)
(All Property Types)

(The Past 36 months)
(All Property Types)

Number of 'New' Listings in San Francisco


Take Away Item 3: There are Fewer and Fewer Properties for Sale

We live in a market where it’s hard to build and where inventory is ever more scarce

Number of Active Listings in San Francisco


Sale Prices by Housing Type


Average Sale Price

(Single-Family Homes)

This type of property is more sought-after by most folks because a home is, well, a person’s castle. In most cases, there aren’t any HOAs to worry about (except for St. Francis Wood and Miraloma Park for example) but you have to take care of all your property’s insurance, bills and maintenance. Single-family houses are the primary inventory class in the Sunset, Parkside, Richmond, Miraloma Park, Mid-Town Terrace, Sunnyside, West Portal and in District 10 generally.


Average Sale Price


Now this isn’t your divorcee’s house at the edge of town. Instead condominiums in the City can be luxurious, expensive and amazing. They range from the studio in-law to the penthouse in the sky that will sell for millions. Just as the prices and quality vary so do the prices, HOA dues, HOA proactiveness and facility amenities. They are ubiquitous in the following neighborhoods: South Beach, Mission Bay, SoMa, Yerba Buena, North Beach and Dogpatch.

Stats for Condos by Bedroom Count

(Median Price Data)




Factors Impacting Condominium Prices

Because condominiums represent the most accessible and diverse market segment in San Francisco, it's useful to get a sense of some of the more unique factors impacting SF condominium values apart from the usuals like location and amenities. Here are some of those factors...

Completed Before 1979?

Yes? Eviction Control potential.
No? Exempted from Rent and Eviction Control, meaning more flexibility with rent amount collected

Number of Units

Lots of units may mean more amenities, professional management, and HOA politics
Fewer units may just mean it's you and your neighbor

Monthly Dues

What do the dues cover? Are they worth it? It all depends, right?

Ten Years Old - More or Less

Less? It means that you're within your SB 800 construction defect period
Right near? You may come up against potential SB 800 litigation or mediation, which can impact lending
After? Out of the litigation risk zone

Brand New, Like Brand, Brand New?

Brand new construction means that buyers have to pay transfer tax.
When these 1st time buyers become sellers, they have to pay transfer tax (again)


Spot the Trend Lines: SF’s Real Estate Market from 2012 to present 

San Francisco real estate prices have trended positively over the long haul. Starting in 2012, San Francisco’s real estate market turned the corner from the 2008 crash (with its bottom being some time in mid-2009) Its most recent tear peaked somewhere in May 2015 — with average prices more than doubling from 2009 to 2015.

At the start of 2014, we saw the average median price push past $1M for both single-family houses and condominium homes in the San Francisco. By the time 2015 rolled around, sellers were certainly in control with buyers clamoring to take advantage of low interest rates and to avoid outlandish rental rates bidding property prices up along the way.  In 2016, we saw some balance come back to the marketplace with price appreciation holding steady at 2015 levels — whew! But before you thought there was going to a bust there wasn’t as prices went up, up and more up until November 2018 which was when the market took an abrupt price leveling in many segments of the market (but not all of them mind you).

So, what’s next?

Buyers who bought during the past few years often locked in their mortgage rates at 4% or less, paid cash, or will be successful enough in the future that they’ll be able to keep their first purchased home as a rental property thus locking down inventory rates that much longer. But this new owner profile is just one factor among many that will keep San Francisco real estate prices strong for the long haul. So expect more of the same unless one or more of the following changes:

  1. Historic preservation laws renders tearing any building older than 45 years next to impossible without a prolonged approval process
  2. Rent control and eviction control laws distort the market considerably
  3. There is a scarce amount of available land that can be built upon in the City with many folks unwilling to consider the western parts of the City in their home search
  4. Artificially low property tax rate locks and very high capital gains tax obligations also make it difficult to sell a property for those whose property have gained in value markedly
  5. The Bay Area economy has created so many more jobs than there are places for these folks to live and the trend like the economic power of Silicon Valley looks to keep going up.

If you know anything about San Francisco politics or the staying power of Silicon Valley you know how unlikely any of the 5 reasons above will change.

Median Days on Market

(All Types, Time from Market Launch until Offer Accepted)


From LoopNet (Commercial MLS)

Office Leases

From LoopNet (Commercial MLS)

You hear all about office spaces and tech companies. Take a look at the prices these companies are paying, per square foot.

Office Space

From LoopNet (Commercial MLS)

No, not the movie but the actual number of office spaces available in the City.

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