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January 5, 2012

SF Real Estate Forges Ahead in 2012

The San Francisco real estate market isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Buyers went into contract in December on 94 single-family homes, 77 condos and 24 TICs, obviously taking advantage of the low interest rates and end-of-year bargains.

The last quarter of 2011 stayed on par with that of 2010. A total of 635 houses sold at an average of $987,196, again proving that the under-$1M club is still kickin’ when it comes to inventory being moved. There were 493 condos that sold at an average of $784,173. Again, not a big change from the same time in 2010.

Current inventory is fairly low, which isn’t surprising for this time of year. I’m expecting more sellers to put their homes on the market as the month wears on; those who are motivated or have to sell will be in a good position with respect to pent-up buyer demand.

Though loans are still a challenge to obtain due to tighter lender scrutiny, plenty of properties are selling. The key factor in closing sales in 2012 will be due diligence—making sure that lenders are aware of all buyer details up front. These days, I continue to insist upon lenders reviewing full buyer and property documentation before an offer is even made (especially when it comes to condo purchases). This guards against a lot of wasted time and buyer/seller disappointment.

I’m expecting a busier year in terms of volume in 2012, based on my own experience, as well as conversations with my colleagues. It will likely be business as usual, which means carefully navigating escrows by skillfully handing negotiations and addressing lender concerns.

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