If you’re like me, all the (almost gleeful, at times) media pronouncements of the “death of” San Francisco, the Bay Area, and California at large, bug the heck out of you. Moving to Austin? Yuck, that’s in Texas! Relocating to Arizona? Is it hotter than 68 degrees? Forget it! Portland? Seattle? How many umbrellas, raincoats and mold inspections do you want to have?
When the pandemic struck last year, and the Shelter-in-Place order was given on March 17th, few of us may have understood just how much things would change and how our lives would be affected.
On the real estate front, all we knew was that our offices were closed, we weren’t allowed to hold open houses or even meet with clients and other agents in person to show homes. I knew how to Skype, but had never done so for work.
Flash forward to May, and those of us in the real estate industry were deemed “essential workers” and could go back to fulfilling our duties with specific protocols in place. During my career of the past 30-plus years, I’ve witnessed not only numerous recessions, but natural disasters, tech bubbles, wars, terrorism and financial collapses. And I’ve seen that when frightening events take place and uncertainty takes hold, people have a desire to “nest”; that is, go home, stay home, enjoy the safety and comfort of home. Home becomes everything. The search for a comfortable home ascends to the top of the wish list. Not right away. There’s a “freeze effect” that takes some time to thaw out, but San Francisco’s real estate market has always bounced back with a vengeance.
So while we notice retired folks, transient tech workers (who aren’t from here, came here for jobs, but now can work from home in their native state/town/city) and small business owners hit hard by the pandemic leave for more favorable environments, the 2020/2021 housing sales stats belie the cries of doom and gloom.
2020 was one of the biggest years for homes sales in a decade. People moving out of town, right? Well yes, but that also means people are moving IN. Year over year sales stats show very little has changed, except for perhaps the condo market in certain neighborhoods (but even those condo sales are picking up). December, traditionally a slow month for home sales, saw a record number of transactions made. And if this past month is any indication, 2021 is off to a great start. If you know us, you know we’re the opposite of “salesy”. I never say this, and if I have hinted it in the past, I’ve never worded it so strongly: “If you are thinking of selling your home, NOW is a great time to do it.” As of 8:29 PM on Wednesday February 3rd, this is the market we’re currently in. If you are a buyer, there are still some good deals out there (homes and condos that would have cost more pre-pandemic), but for the nicest properties you’ll be facing competition just as before; however, the interest rates are too tempting to pass up.
Hard data: 2020 vs. 2019 – Difference in sales volume.
Homes $3M+, up 11%.
Homes under $3M and condos under $2M – not much change, down 1-2%.
Condos $2M+, hit hardest, down 20%.
2020 2nd quarter (pandemic hit) sales volume plummeted; by the 4th quarter sales volume was higher than at any time in the past 4 years.
January home sales in 2021 are up 78% over January 2020 sales. January 2021 condo sales are up 83% from January 2020.
How much do you believe in San Francisco and the Bay Area?
The real scoop, as I see it (click on the headline to link to the article):
by Patrick Carlisle, Market Analyst for Compass Bay Area
Home Sales Surge at End of 2020.
High Demand Gets 2021 Off to Heated Start.
Our January report focused mostly on 2020’s annual statistics. This report will put most of its attention on quarterly and monthly indicators, which better illustrate changes occurring as 2020 progressed and 2021 began.
Of Bay Area counties, San Francisco was most negatively affected in the months immediately following the implementation of shelter-in-place. Inventory soared and sales plunged, especially in its condo market. In the second half of the year, buyers rushed back into the market.
Sales volume, very unusually, peaked for the year in December, hitting its highest December number ever. Home sales in January were up 67% over January 2020, a tremendous increase. Year-over-year, house median sales prices are up a little, and condo median prices, divided by size of unit, are down about 10%.
The city remains a very complex market, varying by neighborhood, property type and price segment. And vaccines may alter the dynamics considerably in 2021.
Click the above image or herefor to view the entire report.
Tell us what you think! We’d love to hear from you.
New Listings | Just Sold | Announcement
We received this beautiful letter last week from Hazel and Dan, and it was a beautiful reminder of why we love our jobs so much!
Hey Derek, Natalie & Geneva!
This is just to say: you’re great and we compare everyone we work with to you and your approach.
We kicked off a relationship with a new broker/financial planner this morning. And, in short, the Zoom call didn’t go exactly as planned and I think we had a mismatched set of expectations. All will be perfectly fine. But as Dan and I were debriefing to figure out what went wrong and how we should give feedback to set things right, we immediately started comparing that call to our first meeting with you.
We reflected at how professional and accommodating you were when we came by your office for our first meeting. You spent plenty of time zoomed out and setting context on how looking for a house works, what our relationship with you would look like, what kinds of things to expect and how to think through tough questions. We could feel, immediately, that you had a “No stupid questions” policy and that your interactions with us were rooted in the knowledge that, sure, this is a business transaction: but one that is incredibly personal to us and will have a huge impact on our lives. From first meeting to closing, we felt confident, in control and like you absolutely had our best interests at heart with minds full of expertise.
All of this is to say: you all are amazing. Sometimes you don’t realize how good you’ve got it. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. <3
Did You Know?
DID YOU KNOW? Homeowners with delayed mortgage payments has flatlined at about 5.5%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, down from a peak of 8.55% in June. Some economists are concerned about the stalling forbearance rate and worry that it could even start climbing if the economy further sheds jobs. Expect further stimulus.
DID YOU KNOW? Representatives Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell, both representing northern New Jersey districts, are calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to include a full repeal of the $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local taxes or SALT, part of the tax law signed in 2017. The deduction is the ONLY aspect to our tax code to acknowledge the different costs of living in different parts of the country. It also helps offset the losses many high tax states experience in the losses they incur by propping up the finances of other states.
Having ticked up to 2.79 percent from an all-time low of 2.65 percent three weeks ago, the average rate for a benchmark 30-year mortgage has since inched back down to 2.73 percent which is 78 basis points, or over 20 percent, below its mark at the same time last year and less than half the 30 year average for the 30-year rate (which is 5.91 percent).
The San Francisco 49ers and Santa Clara County announced on Friday that Levi’s Stadium will soon become “the largest vaccination site in California” with goals of vaccinating 15,000 people per day.
According to the team, the site will open “early next week” and will have the initial capacity to vaccinate 5,000 people per day. The ramp-up will not occur until vaccine supply increases.
Our Virtual Services
Aiming to prove that middle-aged dogs can learn new tricks, here’s a quick look at how we’ve adjusted to our current landscape for our selling clients. (Woof!)
Visualizing your Upgrade:
Curious to know how Compass can transform a listing and improve its sale price?
Compass Lens uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to visualize the potential of your space! See exactly the difference working with us can make.
Virtual Property Presentations:
Sticking with what we’ve always done, we’ll provide Professional Photography & Videography, including Matterport 3D home tours, and a dedicated property website which includes all of this within the site.
We’re able to make quick (10 seconds or less) videos of our listings with essential details to our social feeds.
Create a virtual open house experience using standard video from our phone:
We can record a Home Tour – more informal than a professional video, we’ll walk the property and show it as we would in a traditional open house, pointing out all of the features, opening closets and cabinets, send to prospective buyers and their agents, and be available for questions.
Facetime or Zoom conferencing in the property:
As above but on a live feed that is mutually scheduled with prospective buyers and their agents. Offers a personal experience and 1:1 questions are answered.
Dynamic Digital Brochures:
Home features will come to life inside this dynamic, digital brochure while creating an immersive experience for even the most discerning of buyers. Pages will turn and videos will play while allowing us to capture real-time data and actionable insights from potential buyers.
Mobile Listing Ads:
We’ll run geo-targeted mobile ad campaigns to reach buyers in the right place, at the right time. Now more than ever, buyers and sellers are spending most (if not all) of their time at home. We’ll create a geofence around the neighborhoods where you’d like your ads to be seen. These ads will appear in mobile apps and will re-target viewers on their desktops and laptops.
All of this is designed to bring proper exposure to our wonderful listings, and encourage eager buyers to make safe, virtual visits before making safe, in-person visits.
WE are here for YOU
A Nationwide Network
Since Compass launched in 2012, we’ve been simplifying the real estate process one community at a time. Today, we have more than 250+ offices extending from coast to coast.
Connect With Us
Please let us know if you or a friend/colleague needs a fantastic agent in an area other than San Francisco. Through our network we can make the connections and introductions and help to find a perfect fit.
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