Moderated Bay Area Home Sales, Rising Prices Echo National Trends

SAN FRANCISCO—Home sales, both multifamily condo and single-family, are holding strong amid some bumpiness, including a pause ahead of the November election. Redfin’s October research reported US median home sale prices increased 15% year-over-year to $320,625, the highest on record.

In the week ending October 18, home prices were up 16% from the same week a year earlier. Rising sales and prices, rebounding from earlier drops mirroring the pandemic, are bouncing back in counter-trend to declines reported in same-period numbers of 2018 and 2019. Condo prices rose 5.4% in August.

San Francisco echoes many US markets in the dichotomy of upper-end product versus entry-level housing. Compass research shows single-family prices rose 5.2% to $1.66 million from $1.5 million last year.

Moreover, the average price for San Francisco condos was $1.2 million year-to-date, an 8% drop from $1.3 million in 2019 but still above 2018’s $1.1 million. The biggest reason condo pricing didn’t dip more is because sales of two-bedroom units went up considerably, to 330 from 230 year-over-year, while the number of one-bedroom condo sales decreased slightly to 186 from 183.

“It’s remarkable how this late in the year the market remains highly competitive,” said Daryl Fairweather, Redfin chief economist. “The election may slow down homebuying activity, but once the dust settles, it’s likely that there will still be a lot of pent-up demand that will heat things back up.”

One example of this demand is in Lennar’s Shipyard where more than 350 buyers have found homes. The Southern Waterfront/Hunters Point property has only six of its east-facing view townhomes called Palisades while other condo phases have more availability.

“The three-bedroom floorplans with outdoor patios and private two-bay garages are giving buyers the kind of space and flexibility that’s great for work-from-home or raising a family or both,” Garrett Chan, Lennar sales vice president, tells GlobeSt.com. “They also satisfy the need for those wanting a single-family-home feel, with their own private front door and plenty of park open space just steps away.”

Meanwhile, the National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index of home builders’ confidence just clocked in at its highest levels ever. The October survey of national builders hit 85 in October, two points over September’s 83. This is the first two months the index has ever been above 80.

“People are looking for space in suburban and small towns but also select urban neighborhoods. Low interest rates and buyer confidence in mid- to higher segments are driving continued sales activity,” said Mary Macpherson, a Compass agent in San Francisco. “There’s also been a recent surge in listings so we’re seeing robust activity that could carry through the traditional fall slowdown.”

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