Tales from the Front: San Francisco Real Estate Market Getting “Interesting”

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Some San Francisco real estate agents can literally feel the market changing these days. The “tour sheet,” the weekly MLS list of new properties available for agents to preview, has jumped from an average of 20-25 to almost 50 pages—and some agents are beginning to feel the weight.

Some San Francisco real estate agents can literally feel the market changing these days. The “tour sheet,” the weekly list of new properties available for agents to preview, has jumped from an average of 20-25 to almost 50 pages—and some agents are beginning to feel the weight.

“For reasonably priced properties, the market is still strong- right now,” notes Michael LaPeter, a San Francisco Realtor® who currently has listings in both South Beach and the Inner Mission District. “On the buyer side, I’ve got clients who are still competing on single family homes against multiple offers.” As the inventory increases, however, it remains to be seen how many buyers will be left.

“In the beginning of October, there were 31 active listings in South Beach. Less than three weeks later, there were 46,” notes Michael. “Inventory is increasing across the board, along with time on market, and I believe it’s more than just seasonal.”

Agents aren’t the only ones noticing a change. One local sign-posting company used by agents reports that they’ve had to order more signs—not only because of the increased volume but also to replace those still sitting in front yards.

Many are still optimistic, however. Three weeks ago Alex Cole, a popular specialist in real estate marketing who helps “stage” empty properties, lamented “I have no furniture” as Labor Day listings still lingered on the market. Recently, though, he’s seen some of those sell—in one case for record prices. Alex attributes some of these sales to what he calls the “turkey factor,” in which some buyers are feeling pressured to buy now in order to have their dream home for the holidays. “25% will sell for good prices,” Alex estimates, “while the other 75% will be withdrawn until Spring… those that are still overpriced now aren’t even getting showing requests.”

Alex is now taking his time preparing for the Spring market, which he is certain will be busy. The big question is who’ll be the most active—buyers or sellers.

“When spring rolls around, agents who think they can simply post on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and wait for offers will be in trouble,” predicts Michael, “those who overprice might be dead on arrival.”

About Michael LaPeter

Michael LaPeter is a member in good standing of the National Association of Realtors®, the California Association of Realtors®, and the San Francisco Association of Realtors®, and actively works with buyers and sellers in San Francisco. For additional statistics and current inventory levels, contact Michael at 415-772-7777. Additional information can also be found at http://www.peletzco.com and http://www.realtor.org.

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