The Challenge of Limited Housing Availability in San Francisco’s High-Demand Market
Here’s an article I wrote that ran in last weekend’s San Francisco’s “The Examiner” for the Real Estate Weekend Edition. (January 13-14, 2007)
“Buy what you can afford when available”
No doubt about it San Francisco is a great place to live. It is a beautiful, diverse, culturally and architecturally significant city with a long history of preservation and restrained development. These very same qualities have also contributed to what has become a challenging housing shortage in San Francisco, according to Danielle Lazier, an agent for Zephyr Real Estate, the largest independent real estate firm in the City.
“Unlike other major metropolitan cities such as New York, San Francisco for the most part has chosen not to build up and out,” explained Lazier, who works from Zephyr’s Noe Valley office. “We have not created enough housing to accommodate the demand. People from all over the world want to live here and we simply don’t have enough room for everyone.”
Although national and even California figures show difficult times for real estate, the numbers in San Francisco remain steady. Lazier points out that Zephyr’s sales for 2006 are actually up from 2005 and prices in the City are stable. Some properties are taking a bit longer to sell than in years past, but houses are still selling and people are still buying.
While there has been new development in South Beach and Mission Bay, demand for housing in the City still significantly outpaces supply. Since there is not enough housing available for everyone who wants to live in San Francisco, property values remain among the highest in the country and will likely continue to increase over time. People will always actively buy and sell real estate in San Francisco – whether it’s a first-time homebuyer entering the market or a seasoned investor expanding a financial portfolio, the City’s real estate market is thriving.
“Demand for housing is there. Property will keep escalating in value and San Francisco will continue to be a high value market, just as New York has over the years,” said Lazier, a native New Yorker who has lived in the Bay Area since 1999. “Overcoming sticker shock can be an essential part of achieving success in real estate in San Francisco; this means buying what you can afford to buy when the opportunity presents itself, not waiting around for a major sale or deal that may never come.”