“It was dead out there today…the only places that had a lot of traffic were those that offered free food.”
UPDATE: And from a reader:

Matches my experience last Sunday. First time I’ve been around open houses for six months and all bar one condo were simply dead. On prior open house tours this year I’ve almost always remarked at my surprise as to how much foot traffic there’s been.

Keep in mind that it was fleet week weekend, and the markets on Friday didn’t exactly leave people feeling flush with cash (cue “on topic” foreshadowing). But as any decent agent will tell you, it’s the people out touring the open houses on the “rainy days” that are more likely to act.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Foolio

    Perhaps they were all on SS posting how the market was still OK…

  2. Posted by sparky-the-bear

    I went to several busy tours yesterday.

  3. Posted by anon

    it doesn’t make sense that real estate agents would stop going to brokers tour unless they were really lazy.
    open houses being slow, now that would make more sense…

  4. Posted by REpornaddict

    Is it just me or is the practice of using quotation marks without naming the source really annoying?
    The mystery unnamed agent, Deep Throat.

  5. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    this is a vague meaningless quote that is unsourced and not worthy of topic thread, if this is the direction SS is really going to go I guess I can stop coming to this blog.
    [Editor’s Note: You win some, you lose some. And you can choose to trust us or not. That being said, we do think the quote is relevant and opens the door to discussion with regard to overall activity in the market. The reality is, it's slow. And much more so than simply due to normal seasonality.]

  6. Posted by Foolio

    @anon: It might make sense, if you consider that the business is no longer as lucrative as it used to be. Agents, especially those at the fringes, may be looking at some other low-barrier-to-entry occupations these days. I know this has happened with many mortgage brokers.

  7. Posted by lefty

    i don’t know, man, i heard that the brokers for the new development dissected above was mobbed.

  8. Posted by toni

    “it doesn’t make sense that real estate agents would stop going to brokers tour unless they were really lazy.”
    Or they didn’t have any buyers.

  9. Posted by Amen Corner

    Matches my experience last Sunday. First time I’ve been around open houses for six months and all bar one condo were simply dead. On prior open house tours this year I’ve almost always remarked at my surprise as to how much foot traffic there’s been.

  10. Posted by sanfrantim

    No surprise, given what is happening right now in the economy, but also not very meaningful as a predictor of long-term trends in SF.

  11. Posted by noearch

    god, how I wish people, editor included, would stop using the term “that being said”…or “having said that”…or “that said”…
    very annoying. the BOS use those terms all the time.

  12. Posted by condoshopper

    Yeah, it can be annoying. Having said that, the phrase does have its advantages.

  13. Posted by Coach A

    this is a vague meaningless quote that is unsourced and not worthy of topic thread, if this is the direction SS is really going to go I guess I can stop coming to this blog.

    That really surprises you – this blog is predicated on doom and gloom masked by presenting facts and quotes which only show one side of the market. The blog has been forecasting doom and gloom since it’s inception and is feeling grand now with an “I told you so” attitude. Fact is – the market is slow right now and for good reason. Doesn’t mean houses that are priced right aren’t still selling, doesn’t mean that a home purchase in San Francisco is a bad investment. Would I purchase a loft on Harrison and 17th St — no I wouldn’t. Would I purchase a single family house in Potrero, Bernal, Glen Park — hell yeah – with the understanding that in time my property will appreciate and that a home isn’t a penny stock which should be re-evaluated every 45 minutes.

    I’ve always chuckled at the agents who submit “tips” and “stories” to a site that at it’s root would love to see the current real estate industry changed and would likely enjoy stepping in and serving as a FSBO portal.

    Shocking that SS would run a unnamed quote from a Realtor who sees a slowdown — what next, a story about a price reduction or a foreclosure – shocking stuff

  14. Posted by bobTrouser

    it seems that socketsite has upset the other local blogs, first frontsteps and now schtuff. damn you socketsite, with your facts and quotes and wish to change the status quo.
    (but please don’t change)

  15. Posted by Trip

    Looks like the next shoe to fall, the crash from the Alt-A segment that was big in SF, is really starting to pick up steam (from Calulated Risk): http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aC8iPTs8ui4s
    BobTrouser makes a valuable point about this site. Without it, all the news and analysis would be filtered through realtor web sites and press releases, and we can all see how reliable that would be.

  16. Posted by asad

    People get frustrated and take it out on others. I think someone else was bashing Techcrunch because they were posting about the doom and gloom of the valley. The denial reminds me of the .com bust when people refused to admit things were not going well. It will easily take 2-3 years before we start seeing things turn around, I am sure someone is buying out there but for most people this is a good time to wait and see.

  17. Posted by KK

    “That really surprises you – this blog is predicated on doom and gloom masked by presenting facts and quotes which only show one side of the market. The blog has been forecasting doom and gloom since it’s inception and is feeling grand now with an “I told you so” attitude.”
    What I find surprising is that brokers/agents/ developers, even the most uninitiated, would have to know the above, yet continue to advertise here. Now a retailer specializing in armchairs and football equipment, that would make sense.
    That being said ;-), I’m aware of the editor’s axe grinding yet still return to the site

  18. Posted by Coach A

    You haven’t upset anyone Mr Trouser – I don’t think you’d find a single educated Realtor that would call this market a “great time to sell property” – I don’t think the Frontsteps does – I know my boy Garrett certainly isn’t @ Schtuff. Some of us choose to present all the information available not just one data point.
    If you don’t think there are some legit opportunities in this market – you are insane. There are lofts in the 450K range that sold for 650K 3 years ago. With a decent amount down, you can use these properties as rentals for 5 years and i’m willing to bet come 2013, you’ll see a nice return on your investment.
    asad – I don’t think anyone said things were going well. I personally made certain I said the market was slow and for good reason.
    It’s a scary economic time and I’d agree it will be years before we are fully recovered from that mess. Again – that doesn’t mean a home purchase is a bad idea – hell if you have a stable job and income and are going to be in San Francisco for 5-7 years – AND can qualify for financing, I’ll make the argument with no less than 50 active properties, that this is a very compelling market to purchase in.
    My point was – i’m surprised anyone gets surprised by the doom / gloom / sky falling nature of the site. It tends to be doom / gloom except for the occasional product placement story about a “cool” house.

  19. Posted by tony

    @coach a
    i think you’ve misinterpreted “doom & gloom” for reality. that’s all that’s being presented here. not NAR spin.
    the fact that the site has been bearish since its inception (per your statement) only proves that it was right! sure, it wasn’t trendy or popular to call the market crazy while it was still peaking, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
    and if i were the editor, i could certainly see slipping in an ‘i told you so’ given all the grief he’s taken for trying to provide balanced perspective. but it’s hardly over the top on his part.

  20. Posted by San FronziScheme

    it seems that socketsite has upset the other local blogs, first frontsteps and now schtuff. damn you socketsite, with your facts and quotes and wish to change the status quo.
    (but please don’t change)

    Couldn’t agree more. What people are looking for in SS is information, not infomercials.

  21. Posted by Coach A

    Ha — you dare use the word “balanced” to describe this site – come on now – call it what it is. I’m sorry I don’t agree with ya – I don’t see all doom and gloom — I see a lot of doom and gloom but I do see opportunities for those who have the means to get in.
    Don’t misread this and start barking at me – I’m not advising you run out and put your Harrison Corridor tri-level loft on the market for $976,000 today – I’m not advising you to overextend yourself and pull every penny you have together right now to purchase.
    Not every Realtor reads their CAR and NAR publications and spouts out the exact message. Hold on to your hats now — ready for this – some of us actually have our own opinions and are able to advise clients. I know – i know – it’s tough to imagine – but a few of us do.
    As for the site being right all along. i’d love to post every success story since the inception of this blog — while our editor has been predicting the end of time, quite a few people purchased and sold property and did pretty well for themselves here in DoomGloomville.
    Again – balance is all anyone asks for. Take a peak at Schtuff – The site posts stats and gives members all the sales in the city each week without prejudice or opinion.
    I’m going to start saying it now – The Giants are going to win the World Series – they are -in the next 20 years we will win. I’m starting a blog- SF-GIANTS-WIN-THE-WORLD-SERIES.ORG –When they win, I’ll be called a genius!

  22. Posted by j

    @Coach A
    weren’t you the one crying when realtors posted pocket listings not on the MLS, but didn’t your boy Garrett just do the same?
    I wonder what all these agents will be doing next Tuesday? McDonald’s andyone?

  23. Posted by chuckie

    coach A wrote: “You haven’t upset anyone Mr Trouser – I don’t think you’d find a single educated Realtor that would call this market a “great time to sell property””
    “I’ll make the argument with no less than 50 active properties, that this is a very compelling market to purchase in. ”
    It’s a great time to buy. Hurry before the inventory disappears (or your down payment along with your bank).
    :}

  24. Posted by an educated consumer is CAR's worst enemy

    “I don’t think you’d find a single educated Realtor….”
    I totally agree. They are an ignorant lot, aren’t they?

  25. Posted by John

    Who said SS is balanced? It is a RE bear market site. It will forever be a bear site.
    Nothing wrong with that. The market needs balanced views.

  26. Posted by Coach A

    If you are referring to Rhode Island St – it’s in the MLS and it’s Garrett’s listing. If you want to ask Garrett what I thought about the 10 day pocket listing period – by all means ask him and I think he’ll tell ya I wasn’t and am not a fan.
    I also know that as a general rule, no one in our company pocket lists property. If you followed what my argument was, you’ll see I’m annoyed with the members of our association that do it with EVERY property – it’s their marketing tactic and I don’t think it’s appropriate – but that’s another argument for another doomy, gloomy day.
    What cracks me up on this site -
    It’s a great time to buy. Hurry before the inventory disappears (or your down payment along with your bank). Yeah that’s the message I conveyed – hurry up and overextend yourself — go — quickly — and make sure you use me as your agent so I can buy an E-Class.

  27. Posted by chuckie

    Coach A wrote, “I’m going to start saying it now – The Giants are going to win the World Series – they are -in the next 20 years we will win. I’m starting a blog- SF-GIANTS-WIN-THE-WORLD-SERIES.ORG –When they win, I’ll be called a genius”
    Coach A, are you serious? Is this really how you would evaluate the value add of this site?
    I recently (2-3 months ago) dated a realtor briefly. Even as she told me how times were tough and how she was looking to move to a sales job in pharmaceutical industry, she told me it was a great time to buy in SF. She was not trying to sell me, or even know that I might be in the market in some fashion. I think she really believed it.

  28. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    look I am all for discussing market trends I guess I just prefer that discussion to be around something more solid then a single unsourced quote.
    But as far as the bulls taking my comment and using it to bash the “bias” of the site all I have to say is WAKE UP!
    If the news on this site seems to be negative and bearish it is because we are in the biggest bear market you are likely to see in your lifetime and it was obvious to hundreds of thousands of people, likely including the SS editors, around the world years ago that RE was in the biggest speculative bubble of all time and that a massive crash was coming.

  29. Posted by Coach A

    I think this site has posted some valuable things but it’s skewed big time towards trying to prove a certain point as opposed to serving as an information portal -and that’s fine.
    I chuckle when the editor is quoted as an expert on San Francisco real estate – an expert in public relations / self promotion and presenting opinions and stats that support his point – hell yes. But let’s not call it the end all / be all site for San Francisco real estate – much in the same way liberals would argue about Fox News and conservatives would object to MSNBC.
    Is it possible that your lady friend was struggling in her personal sales business but was able to see some opportunities in the market? Is it possible she didn’t have a ton of active clients or qualified buyers, but she did see properties that had an upside? That’s all that’s being conveyed — do I have the means to buy an investment property right now — hell no I don’t. If I had a million cash – do I think it could be wisely invested in the SF market and show me a giant return in 5 years — hell yes I do

  30. Posted by San FronziScheme

    BDB, I concur.
    Just imagine that millions, maybe 10s of millions of people are losing their sleep around the world about a crisis that has its root in the overpricing of American Real Estate.
    If I were I Realtor today, I would take a deep breath and take my anger to someone other than bears.

  31. Posted by Trip

    Coach A, what other site that focuses on SF real estate can you point us to that is a useful source of information and analysis? Garrett at SFSchtuff is very good at providing raw sales data, and I applaud his efforts to provide transparency, but there is not really anything else of note on the site other than the data about once a week. Frontsteps is little more than the same old “market is HOT HOT HOT” cheerleading that every other realtor web site I’ve seen still continues to spout — and again, there is no real analysis at all. If you know of any other useful site, please share it.

  32. Posted by chuckie

    Coach A, For all I know, you might be Warren Buffet of real estate and find value where others see none, but the site is for the average Joe trying to figure out whether to rent or buy.
    For San Francisco, this site is about all he’s got. Not the main stream media, not the local newspaper and certainly not the commissioned, friendly “Real Estate Professional”. For the average Joe, that is.

  33. Posted by dg

    Wow, Coach. After spending a few minutes on your site and reading your comments, you are definitely not the one to be chuckling about SS editor being called an SF RE expert. Should you replace him perhaps?
    You provide sales data? Good for you. Great “full disclosure” and balanced reporting on your part. Sheesh.

  34. Posted by amused_in_soma

    Anyone who thinks SS is biased is more than welcome to provide data that contradicts the supposed bias of the editor. Show us them apples, folks!
    Coach A, I’ve got money to drop, so why not post some of those great opportunities. Are they cash flow positive from the beginning? Most of the “deals” that people post here barely cover an optimistic interest payment, and casually ignore taxes, HOA, insurance, to say nothing about maintenance.
    It’s very easy to say this site doesn’t present all the facts about the current market. It’s much harder to actually produce a significant number of contradictory facts. Hmm…..

  35. Posted by Coach A

    DG – you spent time on my site? What site would that be? I’ve never claimed to be the real estate blogging guru – I have a blog that some college buddies I talk smack on with each other (deaconbrews.com)- I write for SanFranciscoSchtuff.com from time to time and have posted and commented on thefrontsteps.com as well — soooo – whatever site of mine you spent time on – I hope ya had a good time. I’d love to spend my time doing nothing but blogging about the real estate market — I’d also LOVE to charge Realtors an absurd amount of money to advertise on my blog – must be nice to make money off the very industry you get after -
    Amused_in_SOMA – Send me an e-mail to my business address and I’ll send you 5 properties I previewed in the last 7 days. With a solid down – they offer cash flow positive opportunities from day 1 and will appreciate. I’d post the properties here – but it’s not an appropriate forum — seeing as these would be good investments — so either send me an e-mail or check on SF Schtuff on Friday when I post my semi regular Investment Alley post.
    Trip – you have the most intelligent comment on the thread. You are correct — for the average Joe, this is a very tough time to justify a purchase. Unfortunately the irony is there are some great opportunities in the market place right now but unless you have 20% down – you can’t get in.

  36. Posted by gmh

    Coach A, the probability that the Giants will win the World Series in the next 20 years is only slightly higher than the probability that a property purchased in SF today will be worth at least 10% more in 5-7 years than you paid for it (gotta make up the transactions costs at a minimum). I wouldn’t bet on either. The Giants haven’t won a World Series since they moved to SF fifty years ago.

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