May 2008

I couldn’t have said it better myself – my company McGuire Real Estate came out with this recent post on the San Francisco, Marin, and Peninsula real estate market. We need more data specific to the area…the newspapers cover the Bay Area region and don’t have the bandwidth to get specific to our local city.  You would never know that several properties are selling quickly and over the asking price. Read on…

McGuire Assets Newlsetter…April 2008…

Everyday we see articles chronicling the collapse of the housing market and simultaneously hear anecdotal stories of multiple offers and properties selling for over the asking price. So which scenario is correct? Is it a buyers’ market? Is it a sellers market? Are home values declining or increasing? The short answer is yes. The Bay Area real estate market is a highly segmented marketplace; some areas are struggling while others continue to thrive. In some sub-markets there is very little inventory, which continues to push prices higher; while others are flooded with available homes and not enough buyers.

In San Francisco, the median price for single-family homes increased 23.74% to $1,237,000 in the 1st quarter of 2008 versus the same period in 2007, while the average days on market decreased 9.78% to 35 days. However, these strong gains can be deceptive due to a number of factors. For example, several neighborhoods reported extremely strong gains, but because of the small number of transactions they are not statistically relevant and skew the results for the overall market. These neighborhoods include Golden Gate Heights, Lower Pacific Heights, Haight/Ashbury, and Russian Hill. With that in mind many neighborhoods reported strong gains and a significant number of sales with Glen Park (42%; $1,250,000), Noe Valley (31.90%; $1,625,000), and Marina (21.63%; $2,382,500) leading the list. These gains were balanced by decreased median prices in Ingleside (-28.54; $566,000), Oceanview (-28.06; $502,500), and Potrero Hill (-23.60; $955,000).

In the condominium category in San Francisco, the median sales price increased a modest 2.68% to $729,000 and the average days on market decreased 3.93% to 41 days.  Cow Hollow (82.04%), Western Addition (74.65%), Noe Valley (51.84%), and Telegraph Hill (44.09%) showed the largest increases. However, these gains were primarily buoyed by restricted inventory and a reduction in the number of sales, e.g. Noe Valley and Telegraph Hill reported a 66% and 73% drop in the number of sales, respectively. Just to keep things interesting, however, the Western Addition reported a 50% increase in the number of sales, further demonstrating that there is no single answer to explain the growth within San Francisco’s housing market.   

In Marin County, the median sales price for single family dwellings remained flat, decreasing a modest 0.98% to $959,000. The strongest areas of appreciation were San Geronimo (56.37%; $797,500), Ross (44.33%; $2,800,000), and Larkspur (40.35%; $1,824,000). Greenbrae increased 41.76%, but with an 82.61% decline in the number of sales to just 4, it is not statistically relevant. The only decreases in median price were in areas with too few sales to be statistically relevant. All of Southern Marin reported increases in the median sales price with Tiburon (34.50%; $2,690,000) and Belvedere (26.32%; $3,300,000) leading the list. Southern Marin also saw a decline in the average days a home is on the market, decreasing 29.68% to 72 days. For the county as a whole, the average number of days on market decreased 4.3% to 79 days.

In the condominium category in Marin, the median sales price decreased just 2.63% to $550,125 during the 1st quarter of 2008. The strongest areas of appreciation were Mill Valley (8.79%; $715,000) and Greenbrae (7.42%; $517,750). It is important to note that the number of condominium sales decreased 43.75% to just 72 sales in the entire county, making the majority of the intercity analysis statistically irrelevant. The average number of days on market also increased dramatically, rising 11% to 84 days.   

San Mateo County saw similar trends with the median price for single-family homes increasing 1.12% to $900,000 in the 1st quarter of 2008 versus the same period last year, while the average days on market increased 23.18% to 60 days. In the condominium category, the median sales price decreased 9.48% to $525,000 and the average days on market increased 22.29% to 65 days.

Aldo Congi, vice president for McGuire Downtown said, “Inventory has been very limited during the 1st quarter of 2008, which is reflected in the relatively low days on market and the increasing median sales price. Well-priced listings continue to receive multiple offers—indicating that buyers are out there. However, inventory is beginning to increase these past few weeks, which given the number of buyers currently in the market, should lead to a spike in the number of sales and in the median prices in the 2nd quarter.”

If you would like information on a specific district or category, please contact me. I’m happy to assist you and help you to better understand this fast-paced, ever changing market.

All information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. All data subject to errors, omissions, or revisions and is not warranted. Data provided by San Francisco Association of Realtors, BAREIS MLS, and REInfo Link.


Earth Day and Eco Tuesday came together last week (4/22) at the W Hotel. The Keynote speaker was Brian Gitt, the CEO of Build It Green (, a non profit dedicated to promoting healthy, energy, and resource-efficient buildings in California.

Brian is a charismatic speaker and simply captivated the room of green enthusiasts. Brian is an example of starting with an idea of how to ‘green California buildings’ and running with it to become something larger than originally thought possible. What began as Build It Green’s ‘voluntary guidelines’ for developers and architects building green real estate soon morphed into these same groups *clamoring* for more information.  Today, he is beseiged with requests for his knowledge, training, guidance and personal presentations to educate this rapidly growing community.  I think we’ve just scratched the surface. Thanks to people like Brian Gitt and organizations such as we can really make some positive change in our communities.