The West Portal/Inner Parkside 2013 Year-End Real Estate Market Update

By Eric Castongia, Zephyr Real Estate

This was an interesting year to look back on.  In looking at the analysis I did for 2011 and 2012, it’s amazing how far we’ve come!  In 2011, we had price reductions, withdrawn listings and properties sat on the market.  In February 2012, we roared back to life and we’ve been running ever since, although I felt a pause in the fall.   Even over the holidays this year, we saw properties come on right up to Christmas and then they sold right away.

  • The total number of sales for 2013 was 64, a huge increase from the normal of around 50; that’s a 28 percent jump. 2012 was 50.  Even in a down market, 2011 saw 51 sales because of our consistency and built-in demand.
  • At the close of the fourth quarter of 2013, we had two active, two pending (not yet closed) and 18 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 18 sold, 16 received multiple offers and 16 sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $25,000 to as much as $251,000.
  • Technically, no properties sold under asking, but if you dig a bit deeper, two of the sold properties had been reduced, then sold for over asking.  Another property sold at asking.
  • For a little perspective, at the close of the fourth quarter of 2012, we had 17 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 17 sold, 12 received multiple offers and all 12 of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $2,000 to as much as $262,000.
  • There was one short sale this year and it is still pending.  In 2012 there were six.  It seems that property value increases and previous sales have flushed out most of the short sales and foreclosures.
  • There were four ‘failed to sell’ listings for the year; one came back on and is still pending (the short sale mentioned above), so net affect is three; in 2012, we had seven.  Again an indication of an accelerated market.
  • Interestingly, a property that had sold on 17th Ave. in 2008 for $1.3m, sold in the fourth quarter for $1.4m.  That’s a pretty good return considering that three of those nearly five years where in an economic downturn.  The property would have gone down between 2008 and 2011, then recovered between 2011 and 2013.
  • As you may know, my scientific method for establishing value is spreading sold properties from different quarters across my dining room table.  In that way, I can compare apples and apples and avoid median price, which I think is not too useful.
  • By my interpolation, property values went up year over year, but down quarter to quarter. 
  • From the third quarter to the fourth, it looks like prices went down as much as three percent; that’s the pause I felt.
  • Year over year, we gained approximately four to eight percent.  That seems like a big spread, but consider this.  The target moves every single quarter.  I compare properties between quarters and the properties I compare change, because I have to find similar properties between quarters.  Since each house and block is different, we have little control in coming up with firm numbers.
  • Interestingly, list prices didn’t seem to change; it was the overbids that did.  Being part of the dotcom mentality, we have to take into account that buyers expect to overbid.  Note that I mentioned above that the minimum overbid was $25,000 in the fourth quarter, in the third it was $2,000.  Price your property near where you think it will sell and you won’t get activity, or a buyer. 
  • I expect the usual first quarter bump in prices; there isn’t much inventory, so if you go on the market right now, you’ll likely get a premium.
  • If you read the national news, they expect equilibrium in the real estate market this year; I do not agree for San Francisco.  Our real estate market has always reacted differently and I don’t think this year will be any different.  We are still likely to see short supply and buyers staying the course trying to buy before interest rates go up.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article. The content of this article is an interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at Eric@SFHotBuy.com, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700. DRE Lic. No. 01188380