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January 7, 2016

Market Frenzy Fades in Late 2015

The number of wild overbids, cash sales and the average prices of condos and single-family homes in San Francisco declined in November and December 2015 from their Spring peaks.

It’s easy to chalk up the more sobering, late-year numbers to the holidays. But the market was actually quite busy during these months, leading me to believe that fewer buyers were willing to go to the mat to “win” homes—or pay for them in cash.

Here’s a look at how our single-family and condo markets fared in November and December 2015 vs. what are widely considered by the Realtor community to be the peak months of May and June:

Single-Family Homes: Wild Overbids Take a Dive
The average price of a house fell from $1,800,000 to $1,627,369, while the average overbid fell from twelve to eight percent.

Crazy overbids tailed off big time later in the year. Maybe it was the slight rise in interest rates, or a sudden lack of motivation among buyers to throw money at properties. But though a total of 41% of all sales in May/June exceeded 20% or more over the list price, that number fell to only 25% in November/December.

For the first time in about two years, we saw less than a quarter of all house sales paid for in cash.

More good news for buyers: The number of houses that sold for less than the list price bumped up to fourteen from ten percent.

Prices Steady, Big Overbids Say ‘Bye
Condo price averages were on an even keel through the end of the year, holding steady in the $1,230,000 range. Buyers paid an average of $1,016/square foot in November/December (not including unreported sales of new construction). This wasn’t a whole lot different from the $1,047/square foot paid in the Spring.

But the big story was, again, a deep drop in overbid percentages. The average overbid citywide was cut almost in half from 9.5% to five percent. And equally as important, only nine percent of sales in November/December clocked in at 20% or more over asking—a steep comparison to 21% earlier in the year.

Condos also took longer to sell later in the year, with days on market increasing from 26 to 38.

Buyers with loans dominated the market over the past couple months, as the number of cash buyers fell from 28 to 17 percent.

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