Are There Fewer Homes for Sale in San Francisco Than in Past Years?

|May 8, 2012

In the past few weeks I have had buyers who have been involved in multiple offer situations ask why there are not more homes for sale.  Realtors always talk about the spring as the time when the most homes are on the market.

I have to admit that it seems there is a very short supply of homes for this time of year.  I began to wonder if I was just imagining this, or if in fact there are fewer homes for sale.  To answer this question I looked up the number of sales of condos and homes for the past 3 years from May 1 thru April 30 in MLS Districts 5,6,7,8 and 9.  To my surprise year to year the past 3 years the number of sales was not dramatically different.  In fact, I was struck by how stable the home sales had been especially considering to hear the media talk about real estate sales one would think home sales until recently had come to a grinding halt.  See the sales:

Date                                    District    Homes Sold/Condos Sold

05/01/11 – 04/30/12          5                     349                 405

05/01/10 – 04/30/11                                 300                 412

05/01/09 – 04/30/10                                323                  453


05/01/11 – 04/30/12          6                     32                     246

05/01/10 – 04/30/11                                 42                     224

05/01/09 – 04/30/10                                48                      249


05/01/11 – 04/30/12           7                  104                    260

05/01/10 – 04/30/11                                114                    255

05/01/09 – 04/30/10                               118                    236


05/01/11 – 04/30/12           8                    29                    533

05/01/10 – 04/30/11                                 23                     446

05/01/09 – 04/30/10                                19                     415


05/01/11 – 04/30/12           9                   224                   779

05/01/10 – 04/30/11                                224                   802

05/01/09 – 04/30/10                               219                   705

One thing is different.  There are more cash sales and often time these cash sales close escrow in less than thirty days.  In the past some of these properties would have lingered on the market after falling out of escrow increasing the apparent supply of homes.  What are the numbers here? Using the same area Districts 5 thru 9 for the week of April 25 – May 2, 2012 the total number of closed escrows was 56.  20 of these properties closed escrow in less than 30 days, 16 in less than 20 days.  In this particular week the price range was from $287,000 at 400 Alemany Blvd. #14 (closed escrow 16 days) to $1,339,000 at 301 Mission Street (closed escrow eight days).

San Francisco is experiencing economic prosperity and a lower unemployment rate.  There are more people willing and able to buy a home here than even 6 months ago.  Until there are more homes and condos built the demand will be greater than the supply, especially along the corporate bus routes and in neighborhoods such as Noe Valley, Glen Park and around Dolores Park that are coveted by the young people in the tech industry who are among the group most able to afford a home in San Francisco.

If the past three years are any indication of what to expect in the future I predict that it will be a seller’s market for some time and buyers who are serious about owning a home will need to rethink their priorities and expect multiple offers and higher prices to come in the next few years.

If you have ideas about the current state of the market and whether or not there are fewer homes and condos for sale than in the past.  Please let me know and I will share your thoughts in a future blog.

Carole Isaacs is a REALTOR® with McGuire Real Estate—offices in Noe ValleyMarinaSOMA—a photographer and lover of all things San Francisco. Visit the San Francisco City Living Facebook Page for more info; for questions please email or call 415.608.1267.

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Carole Isaacs

Carole Isaacs

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