What’s the latest on Bay Area housing?

Our real estate analyst always gives us a mess of charts to pick from (you can see all of them here) I selected ones that were pretty and also piqued my curiosity enough to fall down some internet rabbit holes. Sometimes it’s worth digging a little deeper into statistics to get the “story behind the story.”

Let’s start with Median House Sales Prices.

This chart has always made me wonder why San Mateo and San Francisco remain neck-and-neck on median home prices. I used to think it was that the area appealed to dual income couples commuting in different directions- one to the City, the other to Silicon Valley. Then I went down Rabbit Hole #1 and learned that San Mateo has the most $5M+ sales in cities like Atherton and Woodside, and there are plenty of $2M sales in towns like Menlo Park and Burlingame, and a clutch of towns like Millbrae, Foster City, and San Carlos with median prices hovering just below that $2M mark. 

Now let’s take a look at condos.  It’s a hard fact of life that the demand for housing in the Bay Area will only continue go up as more people move here. And with single-family homes so expensive, it’s reasonable to expect our next generation to buy condos if they want to remain in the Bay Area. 

This next chart offers a glimpse of what that future might look like and gives us the rough discount our buyers can get when they are willing to buy a home with shared walls. 

Lastly, let’s look at year-over-year monthly appreciation.  This next chart always confuses me a bit. Then I remember that each line popping up above the horizontal one means the price of your home is continuing to rise, while the overall peaks and valleys reflect how fast it’s happening.

For those who remember, our declining market in the late 2000s seemed like a never-ending nightmare. We counseled our buyers then to remember that their purchase was not just a house but a home. Given that 13 years is the average length of time a San Franciscan stays in their house (Rabbit Hole #2 taught me that), it’s a fair certainty that most who bought between 2008 and 2012 came out ahead.