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More San Francisco Homes Are Selling?

April 30, 2009

According to The Wall St. Journal, more homes in California are selling.

"California's housing-market slump showed hints of improvement in March, with sales of existing single-family homes increasing 64% from the prior-year period and median home prices rising month-to-month for the first time since August 2007, according to a trade group report."

Does this mean more homes in San Francisco are selling too? More on that later.

Data is suspicious & subjective. That said, we are seeing signs of stabilization in the local San Francisco housing markets. I say "markets" because there are many within San Francisco. All real estate is local so take this larger picture with a grain of salt.

Don't worry, there is still time to buy in a relatively good "buyer's market." It is an especially good time to "trade-up" if you can. Not everyone can afford to do this which is one of the reasons it is a good time for those who can.

Why?

1. The market for what you are selling is stronger than for what you are buying. The San Francisco first time buyer market has legs. Between the California buyer's tax credit, FHA loans, and lower prices, it is THE time for a qualified first time buyer to make the leap out of their rental and into home ownership. Many are doing just that.

If your dream is to move into a bigger home in a better neighborhood, than you are in luck. Homes (condos especially) priced between about $900,000 and $1,500,000 are taking longer to sell and there is more room for negotiation. Maybe it is time to sell your "starter" house or condo and get into that luxe "penthouse in the sky" or just a cool flat in Duboce Triangle!

2. You may save money. Example: Assume prices are down about 10% throughout San Francisco. Your own home was worth $600,000 and is now worth $540,000. The home you really want was worth $900,000 and is now worth $810,000.

Check it out: you just "saved" $30,000! Of course, there are closing costs on both ends and this assumes that you have the equity, credit, and income to justify a move. There is also a good chance that your "move-up" home has decreased in value more than your current home so the potential gain could be greater. (All situations are different and results will vary.)

So, what about the San Francisco market? Are there any local signs of a turnaround?

Since January 2009, we have seen: days on market (time to sell a home) steadily decrease, the number of properties in contract (what is selling now) steadily increase, and the number of homes sold steadily increase. *

Maybe, it is too soon to tell. Maybe, it is just spring. Or maybe, we are hitting bottom and headed for recovery. No, I do not anticipate price increases anytime soon. Who knows? I do see signs of a market that is stabilizing, at least here in San Francisco.

* We are working on a new blog host. In the meantime, we are unable to post images or charts. If you want a copy of this graph, email SFHotlist and we'll get it to you right away.

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