San Francisco Real Estate Market Report for October 2021

True to seasonal trends in San Francisco real estate, the market has picked up in autumn before packing it in for the holidays.

After cooling in the summer months, San Francisco’s residential real estate market saw increased activity in September. The number of new listings rose among all property types, but any increase in supply was effectively met by an increase in accepted offers (so not much relief to beleaguered buyers).

For single-family homes, the months of listing supply on the market actually fell from 2.3 to 2.1 months. Supply of condos rose ever so slightly from 3.6 to 3.7 months.

Key Statistics for San Francisco Single-Family Homes

  • Median sales prices of single-family homes have fallen from their June 2021 peak, which was buoyed by a historic number of sales over $5m.
  • The price-per-sq-ft of single-family homes rose in September to $1,100, just shy of its all-time high of $1,118 in July.
  • In every month since May, the rolling 3-month median sales price for single-family homes has appreciated at least 10% year-over-year, topping out at 15% in July.

Key Statistics for San Francisco Condos

  • Unlike single-family homes, which have seen a fairly direct upward trajectory in recent years, condo median sales prices in San Francisco have been hovering around $1.2m (plus or minus $50k) since 2018.
  • Price-per-sq-ft for San Francisco condos also remained flat in September. At $1,121, the figure was up 6.3% year-over-year and well above its recent low of $1,017 in December 2020, but still down from its historic high of $1,217 in September 2019.

Overbidding List Prices in San Francisco

It’s not fun for San Francisco homebuyers, but it’s basically a fact of life: to win the home you want, you’ll likely pay well above its listing price.

Buyers, and condo buyers in particular, did get a reprieve from overbidding in the uncertain early days of the pandemic. From February 2020 to January 2021, the proportion of condos that sold above their list price fell from a vast majority (roughly two in three) to a small minority (roughly one in five).

Now that the market has its bearings, at least more than it did a year ago, the SF trend of overbidding is back with a vengeance. As of September 2021:

  • 85% of single-family homes sold above listing price
  • 56% of condos sold above listing price

The reality is that, while frustrating and confusing to San Francisco home buyers, this is nothing new. We’ve covered the topic many times on this very blog and in our awesome email newsletter.

Ultimately, a listing price is a strategic tool for sellers, just like an offer price is a tool for buyers. It all comes together in negotiations, and that’s where you’ll be extra glad to have the guidance and insider info of an experienced, well-connected real estate agent. (We happen to know a few!)

If you are considering buying, selling or both in San Francisco, please feel free to reach out and let us know more about your situation. For buyers, start with our Homebuyer Worksheet. You can also check out San Francisco communities on the Vivre Real Estate website. For sellers — you guessed it — start with our Seller Worksheet!

“Lift of the Gas Pedal”

Let’s wrap up by reflecting on the last year in SF real estate.

In the 12 months between August 2020 and August 2021, more San Francisco homes of all types were sold than in any 12-month period in over 15 years.

In the past year, median sale price for single-family homes is up nearly 10%, and up nearly 15% from two years ago.

Condos haven’t seen the same appreciation, but it’s no small thing that the median condo sales price stood firm despite an immense glut of pandemic-driven supply. So far this year, more condos have been sold than in any matching year-to-date period — ever — and the COVID-mountain of condo supply has been thoroughly diminished as if it never existed.

Point is, it has been a whirlwind, landmark year for San Francisco real estate, in many, many ways. So when you see an article such as this one from the SF Chronicle, which has plenty of good info but focuses on minor, month-to-month changes (as we also often do), remember to zoom out.

From the above article:

The “lift of the gas pedal” in terms of home values “is indicative of balance returning to the market” Nicole Bachaud, economic data analyst at Zillow, said in a press release. But the factors that “pushed the market to extremes” this year are still present, she said.

After such a wild selling season this spring, followed by a relatively minor slowdown this summer, to find a balance at this level of market activity is itself noteworthy.

Will we see condos push past stagnant price points? Will single-family homes get even more in-demand? Stay tuned for our next report!

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