San Francisco Luxury Home Sales & PricesContinue to Climb Past Previous Peaks
July 2014 Update with 8 Custom Charts and Tables
The luxury segment of San Francisco’s real estate market was the last to peak, in 2008, while most other housing segments started to lose steam in 2006-2007. After the financial markets crash in September 2008, the city’s high-end home market generally lost the least value on a percentage basis, 15-20%, as compared to the 20-60% drops seen elsewhere. Then it was the first to recover in late 2011/early 2012. Now, SF luxury home values have accelerated well past the previous peak values of 6 years ago. The factors include the increasing strength of the Bay Area economy; the huge, local surge in high-tech and affiliated wealth; an increase in well-heeled foreign buyers; and the fact that the highly affluent have, by far, profited most from the recent, tremendous appreciation in stocks and other financial assets.
The net result: There is an enormous amount of new and old money sloshing around the Bay Area looking for homes to buy. Luxury homes in San Francisco are typically defined as condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $1,500,000 and above, and houses selling for $2,000,000 or more. These are relatively arbitrary thresholds since $2,000,000 might buy a small-ish, fixer-upper house in Pacific Heights or a large, gracious home in another neighborhood. It is also true that the significant appreciation since 2011 has simply moved more sales into the “luxury” price category, which at current trends will soon require reassessment.
Adjusting your screen-view to zoom 125% or 150% will make the charts that much easier to read. A San Francisco neighborhood map can be found at the bottom of this report.
San Francisco High-End Home Sales by Neighborhood
Luxury house sales in San Francisco are dominated by the swath of established, prestige, northern neighborhoods running from Sea Cliff and Lake Street through Pacific & Presidio Heights and Cow Hollow; by the greater Noe-Eureka-Cole Valleys district (which has seen explosive growth in this market segment since the mid-nineties); and, to a lesser extent, the smaller neighborhoods around St. Francis Wood and Forest Hill.
High-end condo sales have now overtaken luxury house sales in the city because of all the new-condo construction which occurred over the past 10-15 years – and this building frenzy, which lapsed in the 4 years after the market crash, is accelerating once again. (Very few new houses are built in SF anymore, though the ones that are built, are typically quite expensive.) Besides the older Pacific Heights-Marina and Russian & Nob Hills districts, and the greater Noe-Eureka Valleys district, the newer neighborhoods of South Beach, Yerba Buena and Mission Bay have a rapidly growing footprint in luxury condo sales. And just very recently, high-priced, high-tech, condo buildings are being constructed in areas such as the Mission, Hayes Valley, and the Market Street and Van Ness corridors that were not previously considered luxury-home locations.
Sales Price to Original List Price Percentage & Average Days on Market
For the sake of simplicity, this chart looks at all SF home sales of $2,000,000 and above in the 2nd quarter of 2014. The 88% of these listings that sold without price reductions averaged a sales price 9% over asking price, with a very low average days-on-market of 26 days. These statistics are an indication of a very high-demand market. But not every home sold quickly: Listings that were price reduced averaged a sales price 12% below original price and spent 2.5 months longer on the market. And then 35 listings expired without selling, typically due to being perceived as overpriced. Even in a red hot market, one can overprice one's home - and doing so will severely impact the market response.
Here one can see the effect of new, high-rise buildings such as the Four Seasons, the Millennium and the Infinity Towers, all located in the greater South Beach-Yerba Buena area, on the high-end condo market in the city. However, note that this list ranks only the largest condo buildings and since many of the condos in the older neighborhoods are in much smaller buildings, they won't show up here even though they have extremely high values as well. Besides location, premium services and expensive amenities, probably the most common element of luxury condos in San Francisco is spectacular views, which can add hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to the sales price. (The city's most expensive condo sale ever - a penthouse at the St. Regis - closed for $28m in 2011.)
This table includes neighborhoods of varying home values, but still gives a fair representation of high-end home-price trends over the past 20 years. Average sales prices and dollar per square foot values have blown past their previous peaks of 2007-2008.
For your convenience, below is a map of San Francisco neighborhoods and a breakdown of neighborhoods in each Realtor district.
District 1 (Northwest): Sea Cliff, Lake Street, Richmond (Inner, Central, Outer), Jordan Park/Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain
District 2 (West): Sunset & Parkside (Inner, Central, Outer), Golden Gate Heights
District 3 (Southwest): Lake Shore, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Merced Heights, Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, Oceanview
District 4 (Central SW): St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, West Portal, Forest Knolls, Diamond Heights, Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Balboa Terrace, Ingleside Terrace, Mt. Davidson Manor, Sherwood Forest, Monterey Heights, Westwood Highlands
District 5 (Central): Noe Valley, Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights (Castro, Liberty Hill), Cole Valley, Glen Park, Corona Heights, Clarendon Heights, Ashbury Heights, Buena Vista Park, Haight Ashbury, Duboce Triangle, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores, Parnassus Heights
District 6 (Central North): Hayes Valley, North of Panhandle (NOPA), Alamo Square, Western Addition, Anza Vista, Lower Pacific Heights
District 7 (North): Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina
District 8 (Northeast): Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Financial District, North Waterfront, Downtown, Van Ness/ Civic Center, Tenderloin
District 9 (East): SoMa, South Beach, Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Bernal Heights, Inner Mission, Yerba Buena
District 10 (Southeast): Bayview, Bayview Heights, Excelsior, Portola, Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Outer Mission
Some Realtor districts contain neighborhoods that are relatively homogeneous in general home values, such as districts 5 and 7, and others contain neighborhoods of wildly different values, such as district 8 which, for example, includes both Russian Hill and the Tenderloin.