A jump in residential real property sales in San Francisco in February 2010 has led to a significant decline in for-sale inventory levels and a tight real estate market in the city, according to the latest Market Focus report, issued jointly by the Rosen Consulting Group of Berkeley and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS??. For the month of February, the months of supply inventory now stands at the lowest level in more than a year.
The median home sale price for the month, however, declined 2.5 percent to $695,000 for both single-family homes and condominiums after increasing 18.4 percent in January. During the month, 113 sales were closed, nearly matching sale activity in the same month the previous year. But 217 units went into contract, a 65 percent increase over last year. With only 571 single-family homes on the market at the end of February, the jump in pending sale activity reduced the months of supply inventory to 2.6 in February, compared to 5.3 months of supply for the same month last year.
With longer lag times between contract signing and closing in the current environment, the median sales price figure is more likely to reflect contracts signed in late 2009.
Condominium sales continue at a rapid pace, though much of the sale activity has come at the cost of reductions in asking price and increasingly attractive concessions. Completed sales totaled 137 units in February 2010 up from 90 units in February 2009, while pending sales reached 228 units from 116 units during the same time period last year.
The jump in sales activity for condominiums brought down the for-sale condominium inventory to 848 units from more than 1,000 the same month last year. The condominium median sales price was $650,000, an increase from recent months, but 8.9 percent less than the median sale price in February 2009.
???The problem for buyers right now is that there is an absence of choice in the marketplace. It???s a shame because the months of March, April and May are traditionally strong months for real estate sales. If a greater variety of properties were available, the likelihood is that they would find buyers in less time than any other part of the year,??? says John Lee, president of the San Francisco of REALTORS??.
Going forward, the Rosen Consulting Group believes that, despite anticipated bumps in the road, the San Francisco housing market has turned a corner and should continue to improve through 2010. The reasons it cites for its positive outlook are rising household net worth, improving???though limited???job prospects, and a potential extension of some government-facilitated home-buying programs.
???As companies begin rehiring after severely cutting payrolls through 2009," the group says, ???the net increase in jobs across the metropolitan area in 2010, and more so into 2011, should accelerate the housing market???s recovery. While the market will surely face hurdles in the form of continued job cuts, higher mortgage rates, and distressed property sales during its path to recovery, 2010 is still expected to be a positive year for the San Francisco housing market.???