Luxury real estate markets: breaking down the numbers

In my last blog post, I discussed a Bloomberg Businessweek article asserting that the luxury condo market may be taking a hit due to currency challenges for international buyers, particularly in the New York, Miami and Los Angeles markets. While San Francisco is not as heavily populated with foreign buyers as these three cities, we do have our share – and heaven knows we’ve got plenty of high-end condos with more on tap.

I’d like to share a few statistics with you that serve to compare luxury real estate markets. Keep in mind that numbers are just that – numbers – and if you’re looking to get a better sense of where your personal real estate empire fits in the big picture, it would behoove you to give me a call.

According to the Corcoran Group, as reported in Bloomberg Businessweek, Manhattan will see 2,386 new-construction luxury condos listed this year. In this case, luxury condos are defined as those priced at more than $2,300 per square foot. In comparison, in San Francisco, a mere six condo sales were reported to the MLS as costing more than $2,000 per square foot (all sold for at least $1.5 million), with the steepest square-foot price tag on a penthouse unit in the Millennium. That one sold for $2,283 per square foot. Funny to think that, according to the Corcoran Group definition of luxury condos in Manhattan, we in San Francisco don’t even have a luxury market.

Additionally, per the Businessweek article, last year the Los Angeles MLS saw 3,198 homes with asking prices in excess of $2 million and 546 homes with prices exceeding $5 million. Keep in mind, by the way, that the end of the year is typically the time of the lowest number of high-end listings. Compare that to San Francisco, where as of Jan. 26, there were 60 active home listings for $2 million or above, with only 12 at $5 million or more. At five times bigger than San Francisco, the City of Angels apparently has more than 50 times as many luxury home listings. It’s perspective, people.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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