Market Focus-August 2010


Contact: Jim Fabris

San Francisco Association of


301 Grove Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

415-431-8500 x132

Fading Economic Recovery Affects San Francisco Housing Sales

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, September 15, 2010 – Concerns surrounding the fragility of the current

economic recovery and persistently high unemployment numbers have slowed San Francisco’s

housing market in recent months, according to the latest Market Focus report issued jointly by

the Rosen Consulting Group and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®. Sales in August

declined by 10 percent year-over-year, while the number of pending sales also dipped from the

previous year.

Despite the recent slowdown in sales, 2010 single-family home sales through August showed an

8.5 percent improvement over 2009; and condo sales were up 29.3 percent over the same


According to John Lee, president of the Association, “There are reasons to be optimistic about

the future direction of the San Francisco housing market. As employment levels rise and

consumer sentiment increases, home sales activity should increase and further strengthen the

city’s housing market.”

Median Prices Continue Their Upward Trend

The median single-family sales price rose 4.4 percent in August 2010 from August 2009, rising

to $730,000. But close to 60 percent of all sales in August 2010 were for single-family homes

priced less than $700,000, whereas in August 2007, homes in this price segment represented

less than 30 percent of all sales.

The number of homes listed for sale during the month increased by 21 percent year-over-year,

as stabilizing home prices and strong home sales during the first half of 2010 led sellers to

perceive a favorable shift in market conditions and as banks began to place more homes on the


Higher inventory levels and the slowdown in pending sales in August brought the months of

supply inventory to 3.3 months, up from 2.8 months in August 2009. In each price segment, the

months of supply inventory increased in comparison to the same month last year. The months

of supply for single-family homes priced less than $700,000 rose to 2.9 months, while homes

priced between $700,000 and $1.2 million increased to 3.6 months from 2.7 months in August

2009. Waning luxury homes sales brought the months of supply for homes priced more than

$1.2 million to 5 months from 3.9 months in August 2009.

Condo Market Also Affected by Economic Slowdown

Following two consecutive months of positive price appreciation, the median condominium sale

price slipped 2.3 percent to $649,500. Closed sales also trended downwards, dropping by 12

percent. The expiration of the federal tax credit during the first half of 2010 has had a more

noticeable effect on condominium sales as completed sales ease from the flurry of sales

completed in May and June. Despite the decline in sales in recent months, year-to-date condo

sales through August 2010 outpaced the units sold during the same period in 2009, an

impressive 29.3 percent improvement.

Inventory levels remained at similar levels in comparison to August 2009. At the current sale

rate, the months of supply inventory reached 4.3 months. The months of supply inventory for

luxury condominiums priced at $900,000 and higher stood at 5.8 months, remaining at an

elevated level compared to the market average and in comparison to units selling in lower price

segments. The months of supply inventory for condominiums priced less than $500,000 edged

downwards slightly from August 2009 to 2.7 months, while the months of supply inventory for

condominiums priced between $500,000 and $900,000 increased to 3.7 months.

New Tiered Home Price Index to Be Introduced

Lee announced that next month, Market Focus will introduce a new “tiered home price index.”

The index should provide better insight into price movements in San Francisco’s housing market

because it will be tiered to reflect properties selling in different price segments. In that way, the

index should eliminate the month-to-month volatility sometimes observed in San Francisco’s

monthly median home prices—volatility that is particularly evident when sales during one

month consist predominantly of properties in one price segment and sales the next month

consist of properties predominantly in another. “The index should prove to be a highly useful

tool in understanding and identifying current sale and pricing trends,” said Lee.


Real estate data in Market Focus is provided by Terradatum. Market Focus is written by the

Rosen Consulting Group. For additional information on the real estate market or Market Focus,

please contact:

San Francisco Association of REALTORS®

301 Grove Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

415-431-8500 x132

Rosen Consulting Group

1995 University Ave., Ste. 550

Berkeley, CA 94707