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Another Feverish Spring Market? March 2015 Report

09 Mar 2015 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog, Market News, Newsletter

Overbidding & Inventory; Bay Area Home Price Map; Renting vs. Buying;
Different Markets = Different Bubbles, Crashes & Recoveries

Preliminary statistics and, even more so, indications on the ground in the current hurly burly of deal-making are sending strong signals of another very competitive real estate market in San Francisco as we approach spring. If it continues to develop as it’s looking right now, this would make the 4th intense spring season since the market recovery began in early 2012.

Once again, buyer demand has surged early in the new year without a corresponding increase in listing inventory: High demand meets low supply generates competitive bidding – sometimes fiercely so – and upward pressure on home prices. This doesn’t mean every listing is selling over asking price or even selling at all – even in a red hot market, 20% – 30% of homes are price reduced before selling or withdrawn from the market without a sale taking place (usually due to overpricing). There are also hotter and cooler pockets within the market: Right now, more affordable homes – for example, condos under $1 million – appear to be in particularly high demand.

Sales statistics of one month generally reflect offers negotiated 4 – 6 weeks earlier, i.e. they are a month or so behind what’s actually occurring in the market as buyers and sellers make deals. Sales volume in January and February was down 20% year over year, reflecting a market that pretty much shut down in the last two weeks in December, and then started the year with extremely low inventory.

Overbidding List Prices

SP-OP_All-SF-Sales-Combined_by-Month

This chart above illustrates seasonal trends in competitive bidding, which underlies the phenomenon of homes selling for over asking price. For the last few years, the average percentage of sales price to list price has been peaking in spring. But already in February, prices averaged a whopping 8% above asking – very few other markets in the country are seeing anything similar. Drilling down by property type, SF house sales in February averaged 12% over asking, condos averaged 7% over, and 2-4 unit buildings 2%. Houses are becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of city home sales (since virtually no new ones are being built), which has generally made them the most competitive market segment.

In previous years, the percentage over asking has peaked in May, reflecting offers negotiated in late March, April and early May.

Inventory
February-Inventory-Levels_SF

3 4

Seasonality in the Bay Area often has more to do with summer and winter holidays than the actual weather since, unlike back east, January and February often look more like spring here. New listings and overall inventory bottom out in December, and then slowly rise in the new year. What is super-charging the market is that buyers woke up after the holidays and jumped back in the market much earlier than sellers have put homes up for sale in quantity. For the past 3 years, this unbalanced dynamic between the high pressure of buyer demand pushing against an insufficient supply of listings continued through spring, causing dramatic home-price increases, until the market slowed during the summer. We shall soon see if prices can jump higher once again in coming months.

Days on Market before Acceptance of Offer

Months Supply of Inventory

DOM_Blended_SFD-Condo-Coop_Month

MSI-SFD-Condo-Co-op

The greater the demand, the faster listings go into contract (i.e. accept offers), and the lower the average days on market (DOM) and months supply of inventory (MSI).Both these statistics are currently in deep “seller’s market” territory. Of course, this could change dramatically if we get a sudden tsunami of new listings or if a large, negative economic event happens, but right now, we don’t have any reason to expect either to occur in the next few months.

As points of comparison, the national average days-on-market is more than twice that of San Francisco’s (approximately 69 days vs. 30), and the national MSI figure is almost 3 times higher than the city’s (approximately 4.7 months of inventory vs. 1.6). Many new listings in San Francisco are going into contract within 7 to 14 days of coming on market, as eager buyers swarm over them.

Bay Area Median House Prices

This map gives a very general idea of comparative home values around the Bay Area. Remember that median prices will often disguise enormous variety in the underlying individual home sales.

We’ve also updated our SF neighborhood map for house and condo prices, which can be found online here: San Francisco Median Home Price Map

2-15_Map_Bay-Area_Median_House-Price

Renting vs. Buying in San Francisco

2-15_Rent-vs-Buy_Medians-Comp_C

Someone moving to or within San Francisco basically has 2 choices: Renting at market rate or buying at market rate. And rents have gone up so much locally that after accounting for multiple tax benefits, low interest rates, principal loan-balance pay-down (which adds to home equity) and estimated long-term appreciation, buying often looks like the financially attractive course. Above is one chart of a much more detailed analysis comparing the cost of renting a 2-bedroom San Francisco apartment at the current median asking rent, with the monthly cost of buying an SF home at the current median sales price after adjusting for tax deductions and principal pay-down.As seen above, the net monthly cost of buying can be less renting.

There are many personal and monetary issues that pertain to this decision and our analysis is based on a number of financial assumptions – interest, inflation, appreciation and tax rates; downpayment amount; maintenance and insurance costs – that you may not agree with or might not apply to you. You can review our full analysis and also perform your own calculations here: Renting vs. Buying in San Francisco

Different Markets, Bubbles, Crashes & Recoveries*

The real estate market is often spoken about as if it was a single monolithic entity performing in a consistent way – but nothing could be further from the truth. Markets vary enormously between states, cities, neighborhoods, property types and price segments. The S&P Case-Shiller Index looks at the Bay Area market* by breaking all house sales into 3 price segments – low, mid and high price tiers – each containing one third of the total number of sales.The exact price range of each tier changes as the market appreciates or depreciates, or more sales occur in one price range than another: Right now, the “high-price tier” starts at $872,000. In February of 2012, the high tier started at a threshold of $537,000.

Breaking down the market by price segment is a vast over-simplification – there are many other factors at play – but generally speaking, the lower the price range, the more the housing segment was impacted by subprime/ predatory lending in 2003 – 2006. In turn, that caused the larger price bubble, and then the bigger crash as the foreclosure/ distressed-property crisis took hold.

Most Bay Area counties are dominated by homes in 2 price tiers, low and mid, or mid and high, but there are pockets of homes in all tiers within most counties. The numbers in the 3 charts below all relate to a January 2000 value designated as 100. Thus a reading of 199 indicates a home price 99% above that of January 2000.

Bay Area Low-Price-Tier Houses – Currently under $542,000

The low-price third of sales was massively impacted by subprime lending – people buying homes they couldn’t actually afford. It experienced an insane appreciation rate of 170% from 2000 to 2006, creating an enormous bubble. It then crashed by a catastrophic 60% due to the distressed-home phenomenon. As distressed sales dwindled, the recovery since 2012 has been spectacular, up 81%, but prices are still well below peak values and may not re-attain them for years. (If prices go down 60%, they must go back up 148% to get back to where they started.) Many homes in Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Sonoma and Solano* counties fall into this market segment.

Interestingly, this price segment was not impacted by the popping of the dot-com bubble, perhaps because these homeowners were less likely to be speculating in the technology stock market.

Case-Shiller_LowTier_Longterm

Bay Area Mid-Price Tier Houses – Currently $542,000 to $872,000

The mid-price segment was less hammered by subprime, but still significantly impacted. Its appreciation rate was 119% from 2000 to 2006 and its market then crashed about 42% before starting its recovery in 2012. This segment is now up 55% from the bottom and close to its 2006 peak value. Many homes in northern Marin, the southern border neighborhoods of San Francisco, northern San Mateo and various areas of the other counties fall into this price segment.

Case-Shiller_Mid-Price-Tier_since-1988

Bay Area High-Price Tier Houses – Currently over $872,000

Most of the houses in San Francisco, San Mateo and southern Marin, as well as affluent areas in other counties, fall into the high-price third of Bay Area sales, which was not deeply affected by subprime lending and foreclosure sales. Though its bubble and crash seemed dramatic enough to those experiencing them, they were much smaller: It appreciated 84% from 2000 to 2006, including a hiccup drop in 2001 after the popping of the dot-com bubble, and then fell about 25% (compared to 60% for the low-price tier). Its strong recovery since 2012, up about 44%, has now put this segment approximately 8% above its previous peak value in 2006.

Case-Shiller_from_1990

Many neighborhoods in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo would easily qualify for an “ultra-high” price segment, and it remains generally true that the higher the price, the smaller the crash. For example, most of the more affluent neighborhoods in the city peaked in value in 2007 or early 2008, then dropped 15% to 20% after the 2008 financial-markets crash.Due to the high-tech boom, many areas of San Francisco and San Mateo have significantly outperformed their price-tier in recent years.

Though the price tiers had radically different bubbles, crashes and recoveries, all 3 are now almost exactly the same in relation to the year 2000, showing appreciation of 97% to 99% over the past 15 years. This suggests equilibrium is once again being achieved between them.

* Technically the Case-Shiller San Francisco Metropolitan Statistical Area is comprised of San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, but we believe its general trends apply to other Bay Area counties as well.

San Francisco Combined House & Condo Median Sales Price

Median-Prices_Short-Term

Selected U.S. City Median Rents
Chart courtesy of California Association of Realtors

Rents_by-City_CAR

The San Francisco Real Estate Market

11 Feb 2015 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog, Market News, Newsletter

Median Sales Prices, Neighborhood Values, Seasonality & Demand,
Condo Construction, New SF “Airbnb” Law, Appreciation vs. Inflation

February 2015, Paragon Real Estate Group

The market just begins to wake up in January, so its statistics are not particularly illuminating. The last 3 springs in San Francisco saw frenzied markets, which took its home values to new heights. While waiting to see what develops in 2015, this report will drill down on other angles of our distinctive real estate market.

Note: On February 1st, San Francisco’s new short-term residential rental ordinance, the so-called “Airbnb law,” went into effect. In order to legally rent out your home for less than 30 days, there are a number of requirements pertaining to registration, insurance, advertising and taxes, as well as limitations on such rentals. Information and forms can be found here: SF Planning Department.

San Francisco Median Sales Prices, 1993 – 2014

1993-2010_SF_Median_Sales_Prices

Unit Sales Trends by Property Type

1994-Present_Unit-Sales-SFD-Condo-TIC

The first chart above graphs median sales prices by year. Looking only at the 4th quarter of 2014, house and condo median prices climbed to all-time highs of $1,125,000 and $999,250 respectively, and the TIC median price increased to $829,500.

The second chart above illustrates sales volume by property type. Houses turn over much less often than condos or TICs – i.e. house owners generally live in their homes longer before selling – and with virtually no new houses being built in the city, house sales as a percentage of total sales are declining, but this has also made them the market’s highest-demand, most competitive segment. Condos now dominate SF home sales and will continue to do so with the many new-condo projects being built. TIC sales are down almost 60% from 2007, probably due to financing conditions and changes in condo conversion and tenant eviction laws. The number of listings fell last year putting additional pressure on the market.

San Francisco New Construction & Population Trends since 1940

After reading our recent reports on new development and factors behind the market, one of our clients suggested graphing out the quantity of new housing built in the city over time. Based on census figures, the resulting (very approximate) chart illustrates the decline in new-home construction in the 1980’s and 1990’s, which helped exacerbate our current housing crunch.

Another note: the housing “units” built in 1940-1950 were not only much more numerous, but were typically 2-3 bedroom houses, while since 1980, the units built have generally been 1-2 bedroom condos and apartments (which makes sense with our changing demographics – more singles and couples, fewer families – but obviously hold fewer people per unit). And now a big topic in development is building urban “micro-units” of 250 to 350 square feet.

Our chart on SF population growth follows as a counterpoint.

New-Home-Construction_SF_by-Decade

Population-Growth_SF

Condo Values & Sizes by Era of Construction

A previous condo construction boom ran from the end of the 1990’s until 2008, when it crashed for 4 years – and now we’re in the midst of a new boom.Condos built in the last 15 years are selling at higher dollar per square foot values, but average unit sizes have also been getting smaller – and all things being equal (they rarely are), the smaller the unit the higher the per square foot value. Of course, there are other considerations besides size that affect value: quality and graciousness of construction (i.e. Marina-style and Edwardian flats), views (most likely in high-rises), amenities (security, gyms, outdoor space, etc.) and neighborhood ambiance (Russian Hill vs. Noe Valley vs. SoMa). The average $/sq.ft. for new condos now exceeds $1000 in the city, and, according to estimates, at the new, luxury, South Beach development, Lumina, it is now running $1400 to $1500/sq.ft. on units going into contract.

As increasing quantities of “luxury” condos come on market in coming years, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts and absorbs the new inventory.

AvgDolSqFt_Condo-by-Era-V2

Home Appreciation vs. Inflation

Since 1988, home price appreciation has hugely outpaced CPI inflation, though as seen below, the difference can swing dramatically depending on the exact point within a financial cycle.On a cash investment basis, if you had put $100,000 down on a $500,000 home purchase with a 30-year loan in 1988, by the end of 2014, per the Case-Shiller Index, your home would be worth approximately $1,900,000. After deducting 7% closing costs and paying off the remaining loan balance, your $100,000 down-payment turned into approximately $1.65 million in proceeds (if you didn’t continually refinance out your growing equity to buy new toys).

This is a very simplified calculation of a complex financial scenario that includes leverage, financing terms and interest rates, inflation, appreciation, multiple tax benefits and housing costs – you should talk to your accountant – but it still illustrates why a recent New York Times op-ed piece (11/30/14, “Homeownership & Wealth Creation”) said, “Renting can make sense as a lifestyle choice or because of income constraints. As a means to building wealth, however, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.”

Home-Prices_vs_Inflation

San Francisco Neighborhood Values

We just updated our semi-annual breakdown of SF home values by property type, bedroom count and neighborhood. Below are the tables for 3-bedroom houses and 2-bedroom condos while the full report can be found here. If you want data on a neighborhood not included, please call or email.

8-14_3BR-SFD

8-14_2BR-Condo

Seasonality & Demand

This graph from our updated report on market seasonality measures the ebb and flow of buyer demand as compared to the supply of homes available to purchase. For the last 3 years, spring has been the highest demand season of the market, leading to significant home price appreciation.

Seasonality_Percentage-Under-Contract

Bay Area Rent Appreciation

This chart is from our January Commercial Brokerage report on Bay Area investment real estate. The full report has further detail on average rent rates and trends, and other apartment building financials.

Invest_YOY_Rent-Appreciation_by_County

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and how they apply to any specific property is unknown without a tailored comparative market analysis. All numbers should be considered approximate. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group

Seasonality in the San Francisco Homes Market

13 Jan 2015 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog, Market News

Seasonality typically affects inventory levels, buyer demand and median home prices, often in significant ways – as is illustrated in the following charts. However, it is not theonly factor affecting market conditions and trends – general economic conditions and financial market movements, new construction projects coming on market, significant changes in interest rates, local stock market IPOs, natural and political events, and other factors can and do impact the market as well, sometimes quite suddenly. It should also be noted that new listings and new sales occur every month of the year – and sometimes, depending on prevailing market conditions and the specific property, buying or selling during the slower periods can be the smart strategy.

Because there are typically summer and winter slowdowns, it’s difficult to come to definitive conclusions about the condition and direction of the market during July/August, and December/January. One really has to wait for the autumn market to begin in mid-September with the typical surge of new listings, or the spring market to begin in late February/March to get a sense of the ongoing dynamics of supply and demand, and how it will affect home price movements.

The devil’s always in the details, and the details of the market change constantly. Still, there is a typical ebb and flow to the level of activity in the market that correlate with seasonality, and that is what this report explores from a variety of angles.

Without inventory and buyers wanting to purchase, there is no market. These first 4 charts show the classic effects of seasonality on supply and demand.

Inventory

Seasonality_New-Listings

Seasonality_Listings-For-Sale

Buyer Demand

Seasonality_Listings-Accepting-Offers

Seasonality_Percentage-Under-Contract

As seen in this next chart, the higher-price end of the market is usually more affected by seasonality that the general market. Among other effects, this will usually raise the median sales price during the peak spring and autumn selling periods, and lower them in the slower periods of summer and mid-winter (as delineated in the final chart).

Note: In the chart, the changes up and down in sales are plotted based upon the sales of January 2013 equaling a base line of 100. This is a very approximate illustration, because of other factors that affect the analysis, though we do believe it reflects the market reality.

Seasonality_Lux-vs-General-Market

These final 2 charts illustrate both the rapidly appreciating real estate market since 2012 and the shorter term ups and downs that seasonality can play in median home prices. For the last few years, spring has been the season of the greatest market frenzy, which shows up in Sales Price to List Price ratios and median price jumps. Of course, in an appreciating or depreciating market, there are usually other factors impacting median sales prices beside seasonality – as always, what is most meaningful is the longer term trend in home prices, not short-term fluctuations.

SP-OP_All-SF-Sales_by-Month

Seasonality_Median-SFD-Price

Fluctuations in median sales prices are not unusual and these fluctuations can occur for other reasons besides changes in value, such as seasonality; inventory available to purchase; availability of financing; changes in buyer profile; and changes in the distressed and luxury segments. How these statistics apply to any particular property is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. All data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision.

3 Years into the Recovery: San Francisco Real Estate as 2015 Begins

06 Jan 2015 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog, Newsletter

San Francisco Real Estate Cycles, 1984 – 2014

1984-Present_Appreciation-Cycles_Percentages

Case-Shiller_Simpl-Percentages

The 2 charts above look at the last 30 years of real estate cycles, and also compare percentage appreciation during the first 3 years of recent market recoveries (the light blue columns in the 2nd chart). Appreciation since 2012 has occurred somewhat faster than the other recoveries since 1980, but it is also coming off a much larger crash than earlier cycles. Typically, recoveries, and the upswings in appreciation they engender, have lasted 5 to 7 years – which is no guarantee how our current cycle will play out.

The chart below graphs the quarterly path of median house price appreciation in San Francisco since 2012, illustrating shorter-term seasonal cycles. Condo prices in the city followed a similar trajectory, though at somewhat lower values: In the latest quarter, the median condo sales price was just the tiniest bit under $1 million.

1-15_Seasonality_SF-Median-Price_SFD

Neighborhood Affordability
Below are 2 of 12 charts in our updated analysis of What Costs How Much Where in San Francisco. These are meant as a general guide for buyers as to where to find the greatest choice of home listings in their price range – and to open up neighborhood options they perhaps hadn’t been aware of.

2014_House-Sales_Up-to-1m 2014_SF-Condo-Sales_1m-1499k

San Francisco’s Luxury Home Market

Over the past 3 years, the luxury home market has outperformed the overall market as wealth dramatically surged in the Bay Area. In the last 15 years or so, the high-end market segment has been spreading from the classic, northern prestige neighborhoods – such as Sea Cliff, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill – to other districts of the city, such as those surrounding South Beach and Noe Valley.

2014_SF-Condo-Sales_1500k-plus 2014_SF-House-Sales_2m-plus Lux-Homes_Units_Sold_by_YEAR

New Construction in San Francisco
These 2 charts are from our San Francisco Development Report, excerpting the highlights of the SF Planning Department’s new Pipeline Report of residential and commercial real estate projects. Almost 7,000 residential units (sale, rental and social-project) and several million square feet of new commercial space are currently under construction in the city, with much more coming in the next few years (absent some large, negative economic event occurring).

Adding large quantities of new inventory should eventually affect the recent, high-appreciation dynamic for both sale and rental markets in the city, but so far, population, employment, wealth and buyer demand has continued to outpace supply. Also, the great majority of new-home construction intended for sale is for high-end, ultra-modern condos costing $1000 – and sometimes much more – per square foot, so how that surge in inventory will affect other segments of the SF market – such as for houses or Edwardian condos – is unclear.

12-14_New-Homes-Pipeline_from-Planning 12-14_Residential-Pipeline-by-District

How the Bay Area Spends its Money
On a lighter note, and to take a brief break from real estate, these two charts, which we’ve just added to our recent Bay Area Demographics Report, compare how we spend our money as compared to national averages.

12-14_SF-LESS-Spending-vs-National-Average 12-14_SF-MORE-Spending-vs-National-Average

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI)
Low inventory remains a huge issue in the San Francisco market. Typically, the year begins with the lowest number of listings, which then gradually increases into spring. In the past 3 years, buyers have woken up from the holidays much more quickly than sellers have put their homes on the market. This set the stage for the city’s early spring market frenzies in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In the second half of 2014, home prices plateaued or even dropped a little in the more expensive housing segments, while continuing to tick up in more affordable areas.

What 2015 has in store for the market will become clearer in the next few months.

For-Sale_during-Month-SF_4-types MSI-SFD-Condo-Co-op

Mortgage Interest Rates
One of the big factors underlying the market’s strength in recent years has been extraordinarily low interest rates, which have a tremendous effect on the ongoing, monthly cost of housing. In 2010, pundits almost universally predicted interest rates would rebound to 6% or higher, but instead rates dropped until hitting a low point in mid-2013 of about 3.5%. After fluctuating up and down a bit since, interest rates at the start of 2015 were somewhat below 4% – incredibly low by any historical standard.

Average_30-Year_Mortgage-Rates

All data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and how they apply to any specific property is unknown without a tailored comparative market analysis. All numbers should be considered approximate. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group

Marin Napa Sonoma Real Estate Report

03 Jan 2015 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog, Market News, Newsletter

North Bay Home Sales, Values & Appreciation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The North Bay Luxury Home Market

11 12 13

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Real Estate Cycles

The chart below illustrates in a simplified manner the market cycles of the past 30+ years. It is based on the S&P Case-Shiller Index pertaining to Bay Area “high-price tier” homes, the segment which dominates the Marin County market. The Napa and Sonoma cycles were similar except for the magnitudes of the recent subprime bubble, crash and recovery – all of which were bigger than Marin’s.

We are approximately 3 years into the current recovery. Since the 1980’s, recoveries have typically lasted 5 to 7 years before peaking – which isn’t necessarily how this cycle will play out.

 

14

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North Bay Home Sales by Property Type

15

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Sales with and without Price Reductions

Those North Bay listings that sold without price reductions sold relatively quickly and averaged a sales price within 1% of asking price. Those listings that went through one or more price reductions saw large discounts off original list price and, on average, took 67 to 81 days longer to sell.And a good percentage of listings didn’t sell at all.

Even in a strong market, correct pricing, preparation and marketing remain vitally important to achieve the best possible result when selling one’s home.

 

1617

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Months Supply of Inventory

The supply and demand dynamic continues to favor sellers, which, of course, has been the primary factor behind home-price appreciation.

 

18

Mortgage Interest Rates

19

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How the Bay Area Spends its Money

On a lighter note, and to take a brief break from real estate, these two charts, which we’ve just added to our recent Bay Area Demographics Report, compare how we spend our money as compared to national averages.

20 21

Please call or email if you have any questions or comments regarding these analyses.

Fluctuations in median sales prices and average dollar per square foot values are not unusual and these fluctuations can occur for other reasons besides changes in value, such as seasonality; inventory available to purchase; availability of financing; changes in buyer profile; and changes in the distressed and luxury segments. How these statistics apply to any particular property is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. All data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group

New Case-Shiller: Bay Area Home Prices Tick Up a Little

31 Dec 2014 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog, Market Conditions, Market News

After the feverish spring 2014 market, home prices in the high-price tier – which applies best to San Francisco and Marin counties – flattened and then ticked down a little, while more affordable home segments continued to tick up: It’s not unusual for the market to cool off and plateau during the summer months. The October 2014 Case-Shiller Index just released (on December 30), begins to reflect the autumn selling season, which starts after Labor Day: The market typically begins to heat up again in autumn. (Note that transactions negotiated in September generally start closing in October.)

According to the newest Index, all Bay Area home price segments ticked up in October by about 1%, plus or minus depending on segment. Note that small monthly fluctuations are not particularly meaningful until substantiated over a longer term.

This chart tracks the high-tier-price market since the recovery began in 2012 using Case-Shiller data. The C-S numbers refer to a January 2000 value of “100”, thus 198 signifies a value 98% higher than that of January 2000.

image002

This chart below looks at the last 3 market cycles:

image006

And this chart show median San Francisco house and condo sales prices by quarter (reflecting sales reported by 12/26/14, so it contains newer data than Case-Shiller):

image009