San Francisco Home Sales and Median Price

Having rebounded in October, San Francisco homes sales took a big hit in November, with the sales volume dropping nearly 26 percent from the month before and running over 20 percent lower versus the same time last year.  And while the sales volume in San Francisco typically dips from October to November, the dip has averaged closer to 5 percent over the past ten years.

At the same time, the median price paid for a home in San Francisco hit a record $1,072,500 in November, up 7 percent from the month before and surpassing the previous record of $1,000,000 set in June.

The sharp rise in the median price is currently being driven by an increase in the share of luxury home sales.  That being said, the median sale price for a home in San Francisco was 27 percent higher on a year-over-year basis last month and 91 percent higher than the last low-water mark of $562,000, which was recorded in January of 2009.

Across the greater Bay Area, homes sales dropped 22 percent from October to November and are down 10 percent year-over-year for the slowest November on record in six years.  At the same time, the median price paid held steady at $601,000, roughly 9 percent higher on a year-over-year basis and 107 percent higher than the low-water mark of $290,000 recorded in March of 2009.  The Bay Area median home price peaked at $665,000 in July of 2007,

At the extremes around the Bay Area last month, Alameda County recorded the greatest drop in sales volume behind San Francisco, down 15 percent versus the same time last year with a median price of $585,000 (up 13 percent year-over-year).  And Solano was the only Bay Area County to record an increase in home sales last month, up 1 percent with a median sales price of $447,250 (up 11 percent year-over-year).

Keep in mind that DataQuick reports recorded sales which not only includes activity in new developments, but contracts that were signed (“sold”) months prior but are just now closing escrow (or being recorded) and any properties that were sold “off market.”  And as always, while movements in the median sale price are a great measure of what’s in demand and selling, they’re not necessarily a great measure of appreciation.

Recent Articles

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by REpornaddict

    Not sure where this is going to end, to be honest with you.

    Both in terms of wealth creation within the City, and in the financial demographics of those now moving to the City (generally already made it, and looking to get richer rather than a lifestyle choice…) I think the housing situation here is pretty much sui generis. Or, in other words, it’s jumped the shark.

    • Posted by Anon

      It’s it’s own thing, yet it’s also that tired “Happy Days” thing? Don’t follow.

  2. Posted by AnalyzeVotes

    Many Peninsula cities are on par or exceeding the SF prices. SF housing price is not very high in bay area standard.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Perhaps but you do get more (land) for your money outside of SF. It isn’t apples to apples.

      • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

        Yeah you have arrived in SF when you have a 25×120 lot which is less than 1/2 of the typical peninsula lot

        • Posted by eddy

          But in SF you get a yard and a parking spot; or maybe even a 25×120 lot for the same price as a 1500 sqft in NYC.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            SF is cheap cheap cheap!

    • Posted by AnalyzeVotes

      Manhattan price is much higher than its suburbs. Is Manhattan much more gentrified than SF?

      • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

        The peninsula is generally not “the suburbs,” It is an economic engine in its own right, and people live and work there. This is unlike NYC, where people generally simply commute to work in NYC from the surrounding areas (i.e. “the suburbs). Indeed, here thousands of people commute from SF to the peninsula.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          people commute from manhattan to the suburbs too. many large companies located outside manhattan.

          peninsula is definitely suburbs

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            Do you conder Palo Alto the ‘burbs? The local high paying jobs are cluding this concept.

            A few friends near PA are living in older houses that typical suburbia, but they have to pay SF prices plus 20% for it.

        • Posted by Jake

          The commute flow and the urban/suburban distinction are two different things, even though they often align. In the bay area there are two job centers with net positive inflow of workers: downtown SF and the valley centered around Sunnyvale and spread out for about ten miles or so along the main roads. The US Census defines MSAs by these areas that have a job core and surrounding area that net flows into the job core. That is why the bay area has two MSA while the NYC area has only one with nearly 20 million people and Chicagoland is also one MSA.
          I don’t know if there is any official or formal definition of a suburban area, but I think much of the central valley around Sunnyvale and some San Francisco neighborhoods are sub-urban density and configured and have demographics more like suburban neighborhoods than urban neighborhoods.
          FWIW, San Mateo County has a net outflow of workers to both SF and SC counties. The net outflow to SF is greater, which is why SM county is in the SF MSA instead of the SC MSA.

          • Posted by been there

            This is helpful. Thanks

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      is price/sq ft higher in “many” peninsula cities?

    • Posted by NoeValleyJim

      Oddly enough, the data doesn’t seem to support your thesis. San Francisco prices outpace surrounding counties.

      • Posted by Anon

        I think the important point was “many peninsula cities”, not counties. If you want incredible price rises, just view the long term trends in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, even during the slowdown. Also, it is important to remember that the San Francisco Bay allows us to keep a smug feeling of price superiority since the poorer cities with higher minority populations are excluded from our high priced boasting.

        I do a lot of work in Los Angeles and don’t pretend to compare San Francisco to all neighborhoods of a county if over 9 million, but instead to similar demographic areas such as Santa Monica or other Westside locations, and their prices are just as high and still climbing.

        • Posted by AnalyzeVotes

          For single family houses, San Mateo county is more expensive than San Francisco county.

          On the other hand, SF condos are more expensive than San Mateo county.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            those prices are not $/sq ft. i doubt San Mateo is higher on a $/sq ft basis

          • Posted by BetterSF

            I guess SF per sq price is higher than San Mateo county. However, when comparing prices at county level, total price might be more interesting than per sf price since that’s the actual price people need to qualify based on income. People’s expectation of size and amenities is based on what’s available in their target locations. Per sq price is more useful when you compare historical price changes for the same location.

  3. Posted by Booger

    So, how much have condo property values risen in San Francisco in 2014?

    • Posted by BetterSF

      Condo price might have risen more than houses. But since there are many brand new condos, you need to compare existing condo sales only to avoid distortion of high priced new condo sales.

  4. Posted by BetterSF

    I think SF appreciation has been lagging peninsula and silicon valley for many decades. Silicon Valley used to be much much cheaper than SF, but now the price is comparable. Reasons are that higher income people preferred suburbs at first, later SF’s rent control helped to trap a large number of lower income residents.

    Now urban life is becoming popular. However, with rent control I see that demographics change slowly. Thus school performance will remain poor. Will this help to limit SF’s appreciation rate?

  5. Posted by Anon

    Agree with BetterSF in that if one takes a long range view of Silicon Valley / Peninsula values vs. San Francisco, the appreciation has been much greater down south. I also think the point that one needs to look at similar housing products for a price comparison is valid. Where would I find a condo unit on the Peninsula to compare to the views and amenities of the Infinity or Four Seasons residences? I actually think San Francisco offers a better variety of condo choices than the Peninsula and therefore can understand why on a psf basis condos are more expensive here.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *