Generally speaking, after years of high appreciation rates, annual 2019 Bay Area median home prices went down a little bit, went up a little bit or basically remained unchanged as compared to 2018. SF hit new quarterly price highs in spring of 2019 (amid all the IPO excitement), but ended up the year at about flat for houses and a little up for condos. (Since there has been so much new luxury condo construction in recent years, year-over-year median price comparisons may not be exactly apples to apples.)
For 2020, economist Ken Rosen at UC Berkeley has said he expects the Bay Area median price to remain basically flat, within a general range of up or down 2% – in other words, similar to what happened last year. We can’t predict the future, but that certainly doesn’t sound unreasonable, and happily avoids the sensationalism of many other media-grabbing forecasts.
One of the big factors in SF house price appreciation since 2012 has been that fewer house owners are selling (dark green portion of chart below). If demand increases, but supply drops, that puts upward pressure on prices. Overall, house prices have out-appreciated condos over the past 7 years due to 2 factors: All the new condo construction and the fact that condo owners sell their homes more often than house owners. Both those factors increase supply to help meet increased demand.
San Francisco Home Prices by Neighborhood
Below are just two of the tables in our much longer analysis of home prices by property type and bedroom count for every neighborhood in the city. If you’d like the complete report, contact your Compass agent.
When the media reports on the “Bay Area median home price,” it’s worth remembering that SF is a relatively small market compared to the big 3 counties.
Appreciation in Very Expensive Markets
Based on the calculations of an algorithm created to track long-term price changes, this next chart looks at percentage appreciation since 2012 in the most expensive markets of 5 Bay Area Counties. (In Marin, Tiburon, a very expensive, but not the most expensive market in the county, is graphed due to data issues.) This chart does not delineate prices, which vary hugely, only estimated percentage home price changes over time.
According to this algorithm, prices in these most expensive markets have generally declined from recent peaks in 2018.
Bay Area Ultra-Luxury Home Markets – Active Listings vs. 12 Months Sales
SF has the third largest market for homes of $5,000,000+ in the Bay Area.
Market Dynamics & Seasonality – New Listings & Price Reductions
The market is now deep into its seasonal plunge in activity, which hits its nadir in December. (This chart is updated through October. November saw its usual big drop in new listing activity.)
The percentage of listings reducing price in October – typically the peak month for price reductions – ticked up a little year over year, to its highest point since the recovery began in 2012.
Home Prices & Market Statistics by SF District
Median House Prices by Realtor District
As always, these prices should be considered very general approximations of prices in complex district markets containing homes of widely varying size and quality.
Median Condo Prices by Realtor District
Market Statistics by Realtor District
As mentioned in previous reports, market dynamics in San Francisco are often – but not always – separated by price segment as much as by neighborhood/district location. More expensive segments not unusually have somewhat softer supply and demand dynamics. However, District 5 – the greater Noe, Eureka & Cole Valleys district – one of the city’s more expensive districts, has been bucking that trend in 2019.
Districts dominated by condo sales also typically have softer dynamics than those dominated by house sales.
Using six-month-rolling figures for monthly median sales prices smooths out the often meaningless monthly fluctuations to illustrate broad, long-term appreciation trends with more clarity.
Home Sales Volume by Month
A crystal clear illustration of the role of seasonality in the SF real estate market. Starting in November activity begins to plunge towards the mid-winter nadir. Remember that November sales volumes mostly reflect October accepted-offer activity. Market activity hits bottom in December, which makes January the month with the lowest sales volume.
Home Sales & Median Prices by District HOUSE Sales & Median Sales Prices
Note that districts often include neighborhoods of varying values and that the district median sales prices quoted reflect combined sales. Median prices are broad generalities useful for comparative values and home-price trends, but how they apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis.
Median sales prices broken out by neighborhood, property type and bedroom count are also available upon request.
Condo, Co-op & TIC Sales by District 2-BR, 2-BA Condo Median Sales Prices
Luxury Home Sales
Sales of homes of $3 million and above in October were a little below the number in October 2018, but looking at September-October sales, there were gains over same-period sales in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Sales vs. Listings for Sale by Price Segment
Market Dynamics by Property Type & Price Segment
Location is, of course, always important in real estate value – within the the city and within the neighborhood – but to a large degree, market dynamics within San Francisco are also determined by the property type and the price segment. And individual neighborhoods and districts will usually have homes in several or even all of the price segments broken out in the 3 charts below, with these segments seeing differing supply and demand conditions.
Generally speaking, demand is stronger and supply is lower (as compared to demand) for houses over condos. For both houses and condos, market dynamics are somewhat softer in the higher price segments, especially above the $3 million price threshold for condos, and in the $5 million+ price segment for houses.
People Moving in & out of CA in 2018
According to new census estimates, approx. 501,000 people from other states moved to CA in 2018, while 691,000 Californians relocated to other states – a net loss of 190,000. In addition, an estimated 284,000 foreign nationals moved into CA from outside the country. (Foreign out-migration numbers are not available.)
The top states for out-migration are Texas, Arizona, Washington, Nevada & Oregon, states with high-tech centers of their own and/or no state income taxes, and/or significantly lower housing costs – thus attracting working residents, local businesses, and retirees. Updated Bay Area figures are not yet available, though migration trends here have generally paralleled state trends in recent years.
Sales Without Price Reductions & Withdrawn (No-Sale) Listings
The following 2 charts illustrate both year-over-year changes in market conditions and the role of seasonality within the calendar year.
Last year saw a big jump in the number of listings pulled off the market without selling in December – this was a particularly volatile time in financial markets and interest rates were relatively high. The situation with both of those factors has changed dramatically in 2019, but it is too early to see how that will affect the number of listings withdrawn in the last 2 months of this year.
Neighborhood House & Condo Prices; Short-Term & Long-Term Appreciation Trends; Population Migration In & Out of the City.
After the heat of the spring market, activity typically slows down markedly in July and August. In September, listings start pouring on the market again to fuel the relatively short autumn selling season – in fact, September is typically the single month with the highest number of new listings. Autumn is also a very important time for the luxury home market – luxury house sales often peak for the year in October.
What occurs in the next 2 months, before the mid-winter holiday doldrums begin, will be the next major indicator of market conditions and direction.
Migration: People Moving In & Out of San Francisco
Using new U.S. Census estimates released 8/29/19, this chart attempts to identify U.S. counties, states and international regions with the highest number of residents migrating to and from our county. In the Bay Area, there is a general trend outward from more expensive to more affordable places, while in-bound migration is deeply affected not only by exchanges between Bay Area counties, but people arriving from other parts of the state, country and world. Areas often have large two-way exchanges of residents.
Foreign in-migration is a huge issue in SF and the Bay Area, but it will be another year before any impact of new U.S. immigration policy on foreign in-migration in 2018 shows up in census numbers. The census estimates foreign in-migration in this analysis, but not foreign out-migration.
Short-Term & Long-Term Trends in Median Home Prices
San Francisco is out-performing the Bay Area – most of the other counties have seen 3% to 5% declines in median home prices since peaking in spring 2018, while the city saw a new monthly peak in June and a new quarterly peak in Q2. It has been suggested that the differentiating factor in SF has been the high number of large, local, high-tech IPOs occurring this year since early spring.
In the next chart, the 2019 YTD median sales prices should be considered preliminary until full year data is in. Note that it is more difficult to compare annual median condo prices on an apples-to-apples basis because of the huge number of new construction condos – many at higher prices – coming on market in the last few years. Comparing 2019 YTD to 2018, the median house sales price is about the same, even though new monthly and quarterly peaks were hit year to date.
Supply & Demand Dynamics since 2005
The chart below compares supply, the number of active listings on the market, with demand, as measured by the number of sales. This is a 12-month-rolling graph that smooths out normal monthly fluctuations to provide clearer historical trend lines.
San Francisco Home Prices & Appreciation by Neighborhood & District
The next long series of charts and tables looks first at house prices by neighborhood, and then at condo and co-op prices. We’ll start with our neighborhood/ Realtor District map for easy reference.
San Francisco Median House Sales Prices by District & Neighborhood
San Francisco Median Condo Sales Prices by District & Neighborhood
Note that it is not unusual for median home sales prices to peak for the calendar year in spring (Q2). This is due not only to heightened buyer demand, but also to the extreme seasonality of the luxury home market – more luxury home sales (as a percentage of total sales) pull overall median sales prices up.
Year-over-Year Median Home-Price Appreciation (or Depreciation) Rates
Markets in late 2017 through spring 2018 were very hot virtually throughout the Bay Area – perhaps the hottest they’ve been since 2000, the height of the dotcom boom. In the second half of 2018, markets cooled considerably – besides issues of simple affordability, financial markets saw nerve-wracking volatility and large declines, and interest rates jumped dramatically. Then, in 2019, stock markets recovered to hit new peaks and interest rates hit multi-year lows, and markets heated up again.
However, generally speaking, except for those markets most affected by the slew of local high-tech IPOs – San Francisco and the greater Oakland market – most markets saw either no significant year-over-year appreciation or year-over-year declines in median house sales prices. (Santa Cruz County bucked this trend.) The next major indicator of market direction will come from autumn selling season data: The season runs from early-mid September to early-mid November. Markets then typically go into the mid-winter holiday doldrums for a couple months.
Bay Area & California Long-Term Median House Price Trends
Median House Sales Price Trends by Bay Area County
Compound Annual Home Price Appreciation Rates
When calculating these rates, results can vary enormously depending on the year the calculation begins with. These start with the year 2000 – if we started with 1995 – prices rapidly appreciated between 1995 and 2000 – the rates would jump; if we began with 2007 – the height of the subprime boom – then the rates would drop. (The same issue exists with calculating stock market returns.)
These very approximate calculations do not reflect any of the tax benefits that have applied at various times to home ownership and to the sale of one’s primary residence. And they are based simply on the all-cash purchase price and the sales price, without adjusting for closing costs (or the effect of not paying all cash upon purchase).
Bay Area House & Lot Sizes
Bay Area Median Condo Values
Bay Area Median Dollar per Square Foot Values
Bay Area Luxury Home Markets
Median Sales Prices for Large Homes in Expensive Bay Area Markets
High-end home markets in outlying counties – the four with the lowest percentages in the chart below – have softened considerably, and would typically be considered to be in buyer’s market territory – much more supply than demand. This doesn’t mean, however, that some luxury homes there don’t sell quickly at excellent prices. It does mean that many luxury homes don’t sell without price reductions, or don’t sell at all.
In many ways, average dollar per square foot values give a better indication of what one actually gets for one’s dollar in different counties.
Bay Area & U.S. Home Prices, Appreciation Trends & Affordability
The next chart illustrates the dramatic divergence since 2012 between Bay Area home price appreciation – supercharged by the high-tech boom – and the national trend line.
Median 3-Bedroom Home Sales Prices around the Country
Active Listings on the Market
Home Sales Volumes
Bay Area Home Sales by Price Segment
Bay Area Real Estate Market Indicators
Below are a wide variety of standard market statistics broken out by county or region to illustrate respective market conditions, as well as overall trend lines to illustrate the general market direction and the effect of seasonality on supply and demand.
Looking just at 2019 YTD stats, the greater Oakland-Berkeley market has been the strongest in the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the picture is muddied a little by the fact that the city’s house and condo markets have somewhat different dynamics: New-condo construction has increased supply in that segment, while the supply of house listings has declined markedly since 2010, making houses the scarce resource in a high-demand environment.
Price Reductions & Listings Expiring without Selling
San Francisco Bay Area Median House Sales Prices by City
Bay Area Median List Rents
Selected Economic & Demographic Factors
Behind the real estate boom is the stupendous boom in hiring, specifically in the high-tech fields.
Home Prices, Appreciation & Ownership Costs; Affordability Percentages, Household Incomes, Interest Rates, Rents & Homelessness. August 2019 Report – including 30 illustrative charts.
Housing affordability may be the largest social and political issue in the Bay Area, and the effects of low affordability also greatly impact the general economic picture in a wide variety of important ways – from hiring and business relocation, to the ability of “normal working people” (not enriched by the high-tech boom) to live here. Significant demographic shifts are also taking place as some groups move out and others move in.
Generally speaking, affordability percentages – the percentage of county households who could afford to purchase a median-priced house – ticked up in Q2 2019 as compared to Q2 2018: Median home sales prices were relatively stable year-over-year – some counties up a bit, some down a bit, some the same – but interest rates dropped very significantly over the 12 month period. However, affordability percentages remain low by historical standards – and the Bay Area typically has among the lowest in the nation.
Note: Counties contain cities, and cities contain neighborhoods of varying values, market conditions and trends.
Calculations on affordability percentages, home payments and household incomes are based upon the California Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index, measuring the percentage of county households able to afford to buy a median priced house with a 20% down-payment at prevailing mortgage interest rates.
The next 2 charts are excerpted from the very in-depth report, “Bay Area Homelessness: A Regional View of a Regional Crisis” put out by Bay Area Council Economic Institute, published April 2019.
It is impossible to know how median and average value statistics apply to any particular home without a specific comparative market analysis. These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Median and average statistics are enormous generalities: There are hundreds of different markets in San Francisco and the Bay Area, each with its own unique dynamics. Median prices and average dollar per square foot values can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value. Longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term.
Sales & Values by District and Price Segment, Special Circumstance Sales, Market Seasonality, the Luxury Home Market & Foreign Buyers. The May Case-Shiller Home Price Index was released in late July for the 5-county SF metro area. This chart illustrates the difference in appreciation rates between the Bay Area (higher price markets) and the entire country. Case-Shiller does not use median sales prices but its own algorithm to calculate appreciation. January 2000 home price = 100; 250 = a home price 150% above that of Jan. 2000.
Needless to say, there are many factors behind home sales and values in different communities. Home size is one of them, and median sales prices are not apples to apples comparisons: For example, in Pacific Heights, the average house size is over 4000 square feet, while in Sunnyside, it runs about 1500 square feet.
Note that it is not uncommon for median sales prices to peak for the year in Q2.
Market Dynamics by Realtor District
Q2 is commonly the hottest market of the calendar year, and the statistics below generally reflect a very strong spring 2019 market.
Home Sales by Price Range
Of homes selling for under $1,000,000, over 80% were condos, co-ops and TICs, and most of those were smaller units.
Tenants, Fixer-Uppers, Homes without Parking, Homes with Golden Gate Bridge Views
Market Seasonality: The Autumn Spike, Then the Winter Doldrums
Though spring is the biggest overall selling season in San Francisco, the single month with the highest number of new listings is typically September. This big surge fuels the relatively short autumn selling season – highlighted by the dramatic spike in sales in October. In November, activity begins to plunge for the mid-winter holidays – though homes continue to sell in every season.
Seasonality: New Listings by Month
New Listings – Long-Term Trends, 12-Month Rolling Figures
Seasonality: Listings Going into Contract by Month
Higher-Price Home Sales
The central greater Noe-Eureka-Cole Valleys district now has the highest number of home sales over $2 million, but the northern Pacific Heights-Cow Hollow district dominates sales of $5 million and above.
The SF luxury home market is even more dramatically driven by seasonality than the general market. September often sees a tremendous burst of new listings. October is sometimes the single month with the most luxury house sales.
Long-Term Appreciation Trends by District
Though prices vary, appreciation trend lines since the recovery began in 2012 are often relatively similar.
In the next chart, we combine house sales across the swathe of older, prestige neighborhoods that run across the north of the city – generally speaking, a region of larger houses and higher prices. (Putting them on the chart above would flatten the other trend lines due to issues of scale.) None of these neighborhoods have that many sales – and some have very, very few – so we combine them to increase statistical reliability. Though they are all high-price, prices do vary considerably between them.
Median Two-Bedroom Condo Prices by Realtor District
There is significantly less variation in condo prices in most of the neighborhoods of SF than there is with houses. Much of this has to do with all the new construction that has occurred in the last 20 years. Probably the greatest differences in condo values are between those on lower floors and those on higher floors of new luxury high-rises.
Percentage of Sales Selling for Over List Price by Property Type
Median Percentage of Sales Price to List Price by Property Type
Foreign National Home Buying Tumbles
According to a new report by the National Association of Realtors – based on a survey of its member agents – the purchase of U.S. homes by foreign nationals plunged in the 12 months through March 2019. The drop was particularly steep for Chinese nationals, for whom California (and the Bay Area, in particular) has been the top destination.
Stock Market Hits New High
The last 12 months have been an extremely dramatic time for financial markets as illustrated below. The alternating confidence and fear generated by its swings have been considerable factors in Bay Area real estate markets. A parallel dynamic has occurred with the swings in interest rates.
The spring burst in high-tech IPOs in San Francisco also played a role in the heat of the Q2 market.
The CoreLogic S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index does not evaluate median sales price changes, but employs its own proprietary algorithm to measure home price appreciation over time. Since its indices cover large areas – for example, the San Francisco Metro Area is comprised of 5 counties – which themselves contain communities of widely varying home values, the C-S chart numbers do not refer to specific prices, but instead reflect prices as compared to those prevailing in January 2000, which are all designated as having a consistent value of 100. A reading of 250 signifies that home prices have appreciated 150% above the price prevailing in January 2000.
Case-Shiller divides all the house sales into thirds, or tiers: The third of sales with the lowest prices is the low-price tier; the third of sales with the highest sales prices is the high-price tier; and the third in between is the mid-price. The price ranges of these tiers change as the market changes. The 3 price tiers experienced dramatically different bubbles, crashes and recoveries over the past 18+ years, to a large degree determined by how badly the tier was affected by the subprime financing crisis. The low price tier was worst affected – huge bubble, huge crash, most dramatic recovery – and the high price least affected (but still significantly affected).
Most house sales in expensive counties such as San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo, as well as affluent communities in other Bay Area counties are in the “high price tier”, and many would qualify for an “ultra-high-price tier,” if such existed. All counties, to varying degrees, have sales in all 3 price tiers.
The Index is published 2 months after the month delineated – the May 2019 index was released 7/30/19 – reflects a 3- month rolling calculation, and one month’s sales generally reflect accepted-offer activity in the previous month. The Index is looking into a rear-view mirror at the market 3 to 5 months ago: The May 2019 reading, released in late July, mostly reflects market conditions in February – April 2019.
The 5 counties in our Case-Shiller Metro Statistical Area are San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa: Alameda and Contra Costa are by far the largest markets; SF itself comprises only about 7% of house sales in the metro area. We believe the Index generally applies to other Bay Area counties, such as Sonoma and Santa Clara, though those 2 have had somewhat softer markets over the past year. There are hundreds of unique real estate markets in such a broad region, with different dynamics, moving at varying speeds, sometimes in different directions. How the C-S Index applies to any particular property is impossible to know without a specific comparative market analysis.
High stock markets, low interest rates, surging luxury home sales, limited inventory, a spring full of unicorn IPOs, and San Francisco – once again -hits new highs in median home sales prices.
July 2019 Update
After 2 quarters of no or negative year-over-year home price appreciation, a confluence of positive economic factors sent San Francisco median home sales prices to new peaks in Q2. On a quarterly basis, the median house sales price hit $1,700,000 – $80,000 above the previous peak in Q2 2018 – powered by a monthly high of $1,770,000 achieved in June. For condos, the new quarterly median price peak was $1,250,00 – slightly above last year’s $1,235,000 – fueled by a new monthly high of $1,300,000 in June.
The market typically slows down significantly in San Francisco for the summer holidays through August before picking up again in September for a busy, though relatively short autumn selling season running through mid-November.
Median Home Sales Price Trends
Sales & Prices by Property Type & Bedroom Count
Average Dollar per Square Foot Analyses
San Francisco Luxury Home Sales Hit New Peaks in Q2 2019
The first chart below breaks out luxury homes as defined by houses selling for $3 million and above, and condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $2 million or more.
The second chart looks at all home sales of $5 million plus.
Selected Supply & Demand Statistics
Average days on market – all sales (chart 1), then broken out by property type and price segment (chart 2). Changing a pattern seen in recent years, Q2 2019 often saw the strongest buyer demand in higher price segments, instead of the more affordable price ranges.
Sales price to original list price percentages by property type and price segment – these statistics generally mirror those seen above in the days on market analysis. Some of these percentages are stupendously high, reflecting torrid bidding competitions between buyers for appealing new listings.
Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers (i.e. Going into Contract)
Percentage of Active Listings with 1 or More Price Reductions
The effect of over-pricing – as signified by price reductions prior to sale – on the average sales price to list price percentage, average days on market, and average dollar per square foot values.
Mortgage Interest Rate Trends since 1981
San Francisco Bay Area Home Prices by City, Town & Selected City Neighborhoods
While April’s momentum is slightly slower in May, May sales are still only 2 percent below last year’s highs after double-digit declines earlier in the year.
Home sales momentum remains solid in East Bay. Napa sales finally jumped 6 percent after a 6-month losing streak, averaging 20 percent annual declines.
Affordable sales picked up again with sales of homes priced below $1 million up 3 percent year-over-year, the first two-month consecutive annual increase in the last four years.
For-sale inventory growth is slowing after the winter jump with homes averaging seven days longer on the market.
San-Francisco continues to see significant inventory declines with May down 19 percent YOY (four months of declines averaging 20 percent).
Buyer competition picks up again with 58 percent of homes selling over the asking price.
Bay Area housing market correction resembles “Table Top” with prices remaining flat, compared to “Mountain Top” seen in the last cycle when prices fell significantly following the peak.
Following a solid improvement in the Bay Area housing markets in April, May homes sales activity continued with the momentum, albeit slower. Total home sales were 2 percent below last May, following April’s upwardly revised 1 percent year-over-year decline. The rate of declines has slowed considerably after double-digit declines seen in the first few months of 2019. Taking the first five months of the year together, sales are 5 percent below last year.
However, while declines continue to be driven by slower sales in Santa Clara and San Mateo, East Bay home sales are keeping the momentum. Napa sales jumped 6 percent after a 6-month losing streak, averaging 20 percent annual declines. San Francisco, the spotlight of expectations around IPO impacts, remained relatively flat with last year, down 1 percent, though San Francisco sales peaked last May at the highest numbers of May sales in at least the last four years. Overall, most all markets except Sonoma saw improvement in sales in at least one price range. Table 1 summarizes year-over-year changes in the number of homes sold by price range.
Source: Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2019
As noted in last month’s analysis, the most encouraging improvement considering Bay Area’s affordability concerns is the increase in sales of homes priced below $1 million, which showed its first two-month consecutive annual increase in the last four years. Figure 1 illustrates the trend of year-over-year changes in home sales by price range. As Table 1 suggests, the increase in lower priced sales is mostly driven by East Bay, but also Santa Clara where lower priced sales have been increasing since the beginning of the year after drops averaging 40+ percent in 2018. In contrast, San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin continued to see declines in lower priced sales as that inventory has largely disappeared – for example, in the three regions, less than a third of homes available for sale are priced below $1 million.
Figure 1 Year-over-year change in the number of homes sold
Source: Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2019
The increase in lower priced homes has been helped by raising inventories of lower price ranges. Figure 2 traces out the trends in inventory growth over the last couple of years. Currently, available inventory levels are on average 15 percent above last year with inventories priced over $3 million continuing to increase at a relatively faster pace, followed by increase in inventory priced between $1 million and $2 million. Inventory of homes below $1 million has slowed from the winter jump, but still remain at double-digit growth. Nevertheless, while inventory growth is steady, it’s largely due to homes taking longer on the market rather than new listings becoming available. The rate of new listings has fallen significantly since the winter jump, particularly for lower priced homes. To see the aging of for-sale inventories, Table 2 summarizes average days on market for homes that were still available for sale on May 31. On average, current inventory has been on the market for 47 days, or at least 7 days longer than last.
Figure 2 Year-over-year change in number of homes for sale by price range
Source: Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2019
Source: Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2019
Furthermore, while buyer competition is not at the same level as last summer, when housing market activity peaked, it continues to ramp up from slower start to 2019. Seasonally, buyer competition peaks in May with the highest rate of homes selling over the asking price in a given year. This May, almost 6 in 10 homes sold over the asking price, which is below the last three years when about 7 to 8 in 10 homes sold over the asking price, but still suggest solid buyer demand. Figure 3 illustrates the trend in the share of homes selling over the asking price. Regionally, the difference from last May has been smallest in San Francisco, where 72 percent of homes are still selling over the asking price, down from 75 percent last May. The most notable decline in buyer competition remains in Santa Clara where 56 percent of homes are selling over the asking price, down from 89 percent.
Figure 3 Share of homes selling over the asking price
Source: Source: Terradatum, Inc. from data provided by local MLSes, June 7, 2019
As noted in the last month’s analysis, San Francisco’s housing market resilience remains further evident in absorption rates of available inventory, which is up 8 percent points compared to last May and is the only area where absorption rate has increased on an annual basis. Granted, San Francisco is also the only region where inventory continues to decline, down 19 percent in May. This brings us to the question around the impact of recent and anticipated IPOs. While it doesn’t appear that San Francisco housing is bubbling out of control, it is difficult to say where it would be in the counterfactual. In other words, would the market currently be worse off or similar to where it is if it wasn’t for the IPO expectations?
In the least, it is clear that the strength of the Bay Area economy and continued job growth is driving solid demand from buyers across the region, both for affordably priced homes as well as higher-priced homes. And while the number of sales is lower than last year, it is important to keep in mind that last summer housing market activity peaked, and current conditions are suggesting leveling off or normalization of those unsustainable trends, particularly in areas in Silicon Valley or post-fire Sonoma. Further, buyers, may are holding off fearing that housing market correction is inevitable and are waiting for sellers to yield further and lower their expectations. And while recent softening of price growth suggest correction is under way, it is unlikely that it will be the correction that we saw in the last housing cycle. Credit conditions are significantly different than in the last cycle. The current housing boom was driven by exceptionally solid underwriting and significant share of all-cash purchases, coupled with almost negligible new construction growth, both of which suggest that the correction path is looking notably different. In the Pacific Union Real Estate Economic Forecast 2020. “Table Top” is unlike the “Mountain Peak” seen during the last housing cycle in 2004 to 2017 when home prices rapidly declined as much as 60 percent following the peak.