Monday, May 23, 2005

SF Real Estate Market Conditions for May 2005

If you're confused by the current state of the San Francisco real estate market, you're not alone. Even we Realtors are a bit confused about the unpredictability of what a property will sell for.

A few posts ago I provided my insights on where the market would be for Spring 2005. To recap, I mentioned that Spring would continue to be a Seller's market, but that there would be more opportunities for buyers in the super-hot $600,000-$850,000 price range. These predictions were based on an expected influx of housing inventory as well as an increase in mortgage rates, which would push out some buyers on the demand side.

So here we are in the height of the season, and the housing inventory is only a little above flat. Additionally, mediocre job growth, high oil prices, and fears of inflation have kept interest rates low even though the Fed raised national rates to 3% - so the buyers I expected to be pushed out are still in the game. Overall, there has been very little change in the market conditions since March.

The major difference between March and current market conditions, is that I don't know one person who can figure why certain properties in this $600,000 - $850,000 range are selling the way they are selling. To give some examples, a 2 bedroom condo on Steiner at Alamo Square, listed for $599,000 sold for $625,000 after only receiving 2 offers. Yet a 3 bedroom home at 17th and Kirkham, listed at $839,000 received 3 pre-emptive offers after just 2 days on the market and closed at a cool $1,000,000. Examples like these can be found all over the City, and occasionally with properties that are similar and only blocks away from one another.

The point for sellers: don't let a real estate professional aggressively underprice your home and hope that the offers come flying in; you just might not get what you were expecting. Ascertain your absolute lowest acceptable number and clearly communicate this with your Realtor.

The point for buyers: don't get discouraged when you see 15 other groups looking at the same property as you; it isn't an indication of how many offers will be presented. Also, if you've been looking and writing offers for a while, it's easy to want to take a break from it all. It is better to simply slow down your pace but let your Realtor continue to alert you of new opportunities once he or she is familiar with your needs.

Finally, whether you are buying or selling, make sure your Realtor knows exactly what is going on in your neighborhood, and be able to show supporting evidence for the strategies he or she presents.

Have more questions about trends in the housing market? Questions about selling or buying a home? Contact me today for honest, experienced answers.

Amy Blakeley, Realtor®
ablakeley at
(415) 296-2173 Direct


Anonymous said...

Those are great points you make. Slow and steady wins the race, at least one that we can live with (or in). Having knowledge of specific neighborhoods is key and a great benefit Realtors provide.

Wendy said...

Great comments. You have such a wealth of knowledge on the real estate subject, it's very helpful.

Wendy, checking out the market to be a potential home buyer