Key Considerations Before Purchasing a Home in the San Francisco Bay Area: 5 Factors You Must Evaluate

What are the 5 most important factors to watch in order to see if it’s the right time to buy a home in the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market?

Per the Wall Street Journal, the 5 signs that say ‘buy’ a home are jobs, recent sales activity, construction, mortgage availability, and anecdotal evidence.

  1. Jobs – Forget the national reports. Are local companies hiring? Are start-ups going public? Is the mood generally positive or negative about the San Francisco job market?
  2. Recent Sales Activity – Check local neighborhood-specific real estate data, using the Zephyr Real Estate website where you can check stats by MLS sub-district. Be careful to avoid analysis by zip code or tax record as they information will be too broad and not up-to-date. When we have our initial home buyer strategy session, we look at the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for the specific neighborhood of interest to the home buyer. Lately, I’ve noticed more recent sales than active listings.
  3. Construction – This is tough in San Francisco because frankly, there isn’t much land left and yet, is construction happening? Are new condos selling? What’s the local scoop?
  4. Mortgage availability – How easy or difficult is it to get a home loan? In San Francisco, it’s important to pay attention to the jumbo home loan market which, according to our Lender partners, seems to be loosening up albeit slowly.
  5. Anecdotal evidence – This is the one time I recommend you actually listen to the talk at the water cooler! What’s the general vibe? Are your friends and coworkers feeling good about the economy? In San Francisco, our world kind of revolves around technology, right? My friends in tech are feeling positive, how ’bout yours?
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