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August 9, 2019

SF median house price hits $1.7 million

Although the soaring price of buying a home in San Francisco has slowed—and even stalled—over the past year, momentum is still going, even if it’s measured in inches instead of yards.

That’s the assessment of SF-based real estate group Compass, which released a new market report covering Bay Area home sales in June.

According to Compass economist Patrick Carlisle, “Both houses and condos are basically back up to the peak prices they hit last year at this time. […] Median home sales prices are much the same as last year, re-attaining, but so far, not exceeding previous peaks.”

That means that at the end of the second quarter, the median price for MLS listed single-family houses in SF hit $1.7 million, while condo prices hit $1.3 million, up $80K and $65K, respectively, compared to last year.

Looking back over the previous 12 months, the median house price in SF was $1.6 million—which isn’t even the most expensive area in the region. Atherton averaged $6.6 million during the same period, Los Altos Hills ran came in at $4.6 million, and Hillsborough at $4.2 million.

Conversely, Vallejo’s median house price came in at $415,000 during the same period, making the North Bay town the most affordable in the region. Pittsburgh and Vacaville both averaged roughly $450,000.

In San Francisco, the most affordable neighborhood was Bayview, with a median price of $912,500. The most expensive neighborhood was (what else?) Pac Heights, with $5.2 million.

Carlisle points the finger at a “confluence of positive economic factors” for agitating prices once again, including “unicorn IPOs [that] have begun to roll out after a media frenzy of speculation on their potential effects on the market.”

(Note: Employees at recently public companies are not yet allowed to sell the stock they own, but anticipation of the end of that lock-out period may push others to buy in the meantime.)

Just last month, Orange County-based firm Core Logic reported that SF’s median home prices (condos and houses combined) dropped year over year for the first time since 2017, declining four percent to roughly $1.32 million.

But that’s the nature of a volatile season; a small but significant drop one month and record-highs the next can all happen within the same market, especially since Core Logic’s analysis focuses on short-term, month-to-month activity, while Compass assesses trends over several months at once.

The California Association of Realtors hasn’t released its assessment of June SF housing sales yet, but the figures for May show a median price of more than $1.69 million.

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