San Francisco homebuyer dynamics

Yesterday we looked at the dynamics of San Francisco real estate sellers. Today let’s swing around the lens to peek at the dynamics of San Francisco homebuyers.

A fairly informal survey of Paragon agents with regard to their last 12 months of activity revealed the following:

· 50 percent are first-time buyers, which is a very high percentage. Nationwide, this percentage is closer to 30 percent – and keep in mind that the U.S. median price is less than $200,000, while it’s more than $950,000 in San Francisco.

· The average age of San Francisco homebuyers is trending younger; currently it’s in the mid-30s.

· 47 percent of San Francisco homebuyers are in high tech. These young, often newly affluent buyers are playing a decisive role in the market.

· 20 percent of prospective San Francisco homebuyers have grown discouraged and given up on buying in the city, either for the time being or permanently, having shifted their searches elsewhere.

· Fewer than 3 percent of San Francisco homebuyers are foreign, and they are mostly investing in new or newer high-rise condo developments.

· 26 percent of homes are being bought via all-cash offers, with many buyers getting loans either before or immediately after close of escrow.

· About 10 percent of home sales are outside of the MLS, or “pocket” listings.

According to the Planning Department, the approximate number of new housing units added since 2010 is 4200. Contrast that with the U.S. census’ estimated increase in the city’s population during that time: 32,000. It doesn’t take a math genius to see where the upward pressure on rents and home prices is coming from.

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

Skip to content