An elegant white clock featuring 'DANIELLE LAZIER REAL ESTATE LOGO' on a sleek black background.Vivre Real Estate logo

As this historic year comes to a close, we’re looking back with a year-end review of the 2020 San Francisco real estate market. Through politics, protests, and of course a pandemic, San Francisco real estate was affected in many unexpected ways this year. The best projections of real estate economists were quickly turned on their heads. So, where did we end up? What did happen in San Francisco’s 2020 real estate market?

Before we begin, I should note that those of us in real estate have been lucky compared to so many others. When the state government deemed real estate an essential industry, it was a clarion call for agents, escrow and title officers, photographers, stagers and other real estate pros that our work could go on while following proper safety protocols. We learned, adapted, and ultimately helped our clients to navigate the market and find results. For that, I am grateful.

Over Troubled Waters

That’s not to say it’s all been smooth sailing. Amid the first shelter-in-place orders, before guidance came down from public health authorities in Sacramento, I thought I may never sell a home again. Thankfully, I was wrong.

Then came the stories of an “exodus from San Francisco,” as pundits all around the country pondered the seemingly inevitable demise of our city’s high-valued, tech-powered real estate market. Twitter started a cascade of big tech companies allowing employees to work-from-home in perpetuity, and conventional wisdom was that those employees would therefore have no reason to stay in San Francisco. Now ten months into the pandemic, it’s clear that those sullen real estate obituaries were true to a limited extent — particularly in the condo market, as we’ll explore in the full San Francisco real estate market review below — but widespread gloom and doom has largely been avoided.

Adapt / Overcome

What did occur this year was a whole lot of adaptation, from the way we do business to the way we shop, dine and interact with each other. In real estate, homebuyers have shifted to touring properties virtually before requesting an in-person showing. Zoom rooms have replaced the living room or local cafe for meetings and interviews. Home offices are the hot new commodity atop most homebuyer wishlists. These trends will certainly continue into 2021, and maybe forever. I covered it all in my recent virtual workshop, 2021 Real Estate Preview: Design, Marketing, Market Crystal Ball, Tax FAQ & Prop 19.

On the whole, the San Francisco real estate market stayed remarkably strong throughout an otherwise fraught year. Home values have appreciated 251% in the past 20 years, and that general trend has continued even during the pandemic: the average home sale closed for 1.4% higher in November 2020 than in November 2019. In the long-term, San Francisco real estate has been and will likely continue to be a solid investment. In the short- and medium-term, however, some types of properties are struggling.

Divergent Outcomes

As you read our San Francisco real estate market analysis, you’ll notice that areas with lots of quintessentially San Francisco Victorian and Edwardian single-family homes fared quite well in 2020, while areas with many smaller condos fared worse. Homebuyer desire for more interior and exterior space in their new home is reflected in better results for single-family homes across most metrics when compared with condos.

With all that said, let’s see what really went down this year in the San Francisco real estate market!

What Happened in the 2020 San Francisco Real Estate Market

San Francisco Real Estate Market Districts
San Francisco MLS Districts 1-10 | Area map by San Francisco Assoc. of Realtors®

JUMP TO: District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10Predictions for 2021

In lieu of final numbers for December, our analysis covers 2020 year-to-date up to November. December is typically slower due to the holidays, so November is a logical cutoff in any case. If you were unaware, San Francisco is organized into ten Districts. We’ll dig into results for each one, starting with…

District 1: Northwest (The Richmond)

Sea Cliff, Lake Street, Richmond, Jordan Park, ​Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain

San Francisco District 1
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 1, 2020
Condos in District 1, 2020

District 2: Central West (Sunset)

Sunset, Parkside, Golden Gate Heights

San Francisco District 2
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 2, 2020
Condos in District 2, 2020

District 3: Southwest (OMI)

Lake Shore, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Merced Heights, ​Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, Oceanview

San Francisco District 3
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 3, 2020
Condos in District 3, 2020

District 4: Twin Peaks West

St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, West Portal, Forest Knolls, Diamond Heights, ​Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Balboa Terrace, Ingleside Terrace, Mt. Davidson Manor, Sherwood Forest, Monterey Heights, Westwood Highlands

San Francisco District 4
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 4, 2020
 Condos in District 4, 2020

District 5: Central

Glen Park, Haight Ashbury, Noe Valley, Twin Peaks, Cole Valley/Parnassus Heights, Buena Vista/Ashbury Heights, Corona Heights, Clarendon Heights, Duboce Triangle, Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights, Mission Dolores

San Francisco District 5
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family homes in District 5, 2020
Condos in District 5, 2020

District 6: Central North (Western Addition)

Anza Vista, Hayes Valley, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Alamo Square, North Panhandle

San Francisco District 6
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 6, 2020
Condos in District 6, 2020

District 7: North

Marina, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow

San Francisco District 7
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 7, 2020
Condos in District 7, 2020

District 8: Northeast

Downtown, Financial District/Barbary Coast, Nob Hill, North Beach, Russian Hill, Van Ness/Civic Center, Telegraph Hill, North Waterfront, Tenderloin

San Francisco District 8
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 8, 2020
Condos in District 8, 2020

District 9: Central East

Bernal Heights, Inner Mission, Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, South of Market, Yerba Buena, South Beach, Central Waterfront/Dogpatch

San Francisco District 9
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 9, 2020
Condos in District 9, 2020

District 10: Southeast

Bayview, Crocker Amazon, Excelsior, Outer Mission, Visitacion Valley, Portola, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace, Hunters Point, Bayview Heights, Candlestick Point, Little Hollywood

San Francisco District 10
2020 data provided by SFAR/InfoSparks
Single-family Homes in District 10, 2020
Condos in District 10, 2020

Predictions for San Francisco Real Estate Market in 2021

After all the twists and turns of 2020, predictions of any kind seem quaint. Who the heck knows what’s going to happen in the future? The answer is nobody: not you, not me, nor even Nobel Prize-winning economists. But since we’re all here, maybe you’ll indulge me in some light prognostication? Here’s how I see San Francisco real estate playing out in 2021.

As of this writing, San Francisco real estate is already in the recovery phase, crawling back from the worst depths of its pandemic slump. The recovery technically started in late April and May, when listings and sales started picking up again after falling off a cliff in March. Barring any drastic events like a new pandemic or a financial collapse, the recovery should continue to pick up speed through 2021.

The Vaccine, Obviously

The biggest factor in recovery is the COVID-19 vaccine. The faster the various COVID vaccines become widely available and administered, the faster things can get back to normal. Employers will begin bringing workers back into the workplace, even if only for a couple days a week. People who fled the city for such havens as Truckee and Boise will get bored and come back to the vibrant trappings of SF. These incremental steps back to pre-pandemic living will lift spirits and provide a much-needed boost to the economy and housing market.

Until then (and it might be awhile before enough people are vaccinated), there will continue to be some great deals for buyers looking in the right places. Sellers will continue to see mixed results depending on a few factors. Properties that tick all the boxes — a functional floor plan, good condition, listed by the right agent at the right price with the right staging and marketing — will draw considerable buyer interest, as they have since the start of the pandemic. Listings that don’t meet those criteria will struggle to stand out in a market currently oversaturated with inventory (compared to the past decade that until this year had almost exclusively favored sellers).

Knowledge is Power, Price is Everything

Pandemic or not, the most important thing a seller can do is price their listing correctly right out of the gate. In San Francisco, recovery tends to have a whiplash effect. The realities of the market can turn on a dime, just like they did last March — we could be back in a seller’s market before you know it. That’s why it is crucial to work with an agent who you trust and who has their finger on the pulse of every market shift. Understanding the current market is key to correctly pricing your listing, and correctly pricing your listing is key to a successful sale.

One Last Prediction

Here’s one last, not-so-hot take: I think we’re all looking forward to moving on from 2020. Hopefully this San Francisco market review helps you to put a neat little bow on the past year, at least in regards to real estate. When we look back, we will mourn the obscene loss of lives and livelihoods, learn from mistakes, and relegate the rest to the history books (and blogs ????????‍♀️).

Here’s to you, your health and happiness, and to 2021. Happy New Year, and keep in touch!

Yelp logo
296 reviews
View All
Zillow logo
176 reviews
View All
Danielle Elazier Realtor on Google My Business- image of Google my business logo
117 reviews
View All

Danielle lazier real estate team

We care deeply about our clients and our commitment to exemplary results. Working with us should be a good fit for you. If you feel our team is the right fit for you and you’d like to talk with Danielle to make sure, contact us today for your complimentary initial consultation.
Contact Me

Do You Need Another Real Estate Newsletter?

Probably not. Yet, in our biased opinion, you should definitely sign up for our twice-monthly email for market insights, webinar invites, local news, gorgeous homes, and more. We never share or sell your information. And, when you’re ready to work with us, please email or call to discuss your plans. We’d love to help!

Danielle Elazier botanical illustration - 3 different California poppy flower branches. Black and white with line art
View Full Street Address SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94114 (415) 528-7355 ©2020 VIVRE REAL ESTATE. ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WHILE THIS INFORMATION IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, IT IS REPRESENTED SUBJECT TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES, OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ALL PROPERTY INFORMATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO SQUARE FOOTAGE, ROOM COUNT, NUMBER OF BEDROOMS, AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN PROPERTY LISTINGS SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ARCHITECT, OR ZONING EXPERT. IF YOUR PROPERTY IS CURRENTLY LISTED WITH ANOTHER REAL ESTATE BROKER, PLEASE DISREGARD THIS OFFER. IT IS NOT OUR INTENTION TO SOLICIT THE OFFERINGS OF OTHER REAL ESTATE BROKERS. WE COOPERATE WITH THEM FULLY. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY. ALL INFORMATION DEEMED RELIABLE BUT NOT GUARANTEED AND SHOULD BE INDEPENDENTLY REVIEWED AND VERIFIED.
cross