San Francisco has a very fast-moving, dynamic real estate market that often doesn’t reflect what’s happening across the country. For example, “hitting bottom” meant lower sales volumes, higher concentrations of foreclosures and short sales that were largely centered in a handful of neighborhoods, and many properties in prime neighborhoods still selling for more than list prices. In other words, it wasn’t exactly a real estate bloodbath in San Francisco.
I’ve recently been asked by a fair number of people whether it’s a good time to buy real estate in the city. The fact that back in a housing boom is giving many prospective buyers pause. Ironically, those same buyers may have been hesitant from 2008 to mid-2012—when it was a buyer’s market—because loans were more challenging to obtain, less cash was flying around, and the economy was a bit shaky.
The bottom line is that timing has more to do with your financial situation and long-term goals than market conditions themselves. San Francisco is one of those cities that’s extremely desirable for many reasons, which is why our real estate prices are so high. If you have the ability to jump into the market, purchasing what you can afford should be the priority. We’ll never have screaming real estate deals here, which means that if you sit around waiting for the market to shift in your favor, you could be missing opportunities to own not only a great home, but a great investment.
I helped many clients purchase property over the past couple years amidst our downturn. And most of them could sell their homes for more money now. But many buyers sat on the sidelines, hoping prices would fall to the extent that they could swoop in and snatch up a single-family home or condo in a good area at some sort of discount. Homeowners made sure that didn’t happen, holding off on selling their own homes until prices crept back up to more desirable levels.
I’m not sure how long our current housing boom will last, but history dictates that market conditions will inevitably change. Whether it’s a good time to buy really depends on how closely your property goals are aligned with your purchasing power in the current market.