Better Homes and Gardens Reports that the Median Sales Price Tops $1 Million for First Time in San Francisco

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Limited Inventory and Strong Demand Sparks Multiple Offers

Continued strong demand for a limited inventory of homes on the market, particularly in the higher price ranges, pushed the median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in the City of San Francisco over the $1 million mark for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to an analysis of MLS data by the research division of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate.

With far more potential homebuyers than there were homes on the market, competitively priced homes in all price ranges continued to draw multiple offers. Citywide, the median price rose 17 percent from $926,728 in the third quarter to $1,083,275 in the fourth quarter – up a robust 24 percent from $871,024 in the fourth quarter of 2011, before the current market recovery and steady uptick in home prices began. Among the 10 neighborhoods included in the analysis, Districts 1 (Richmond), 5 (Glen Park/Haight Ashbury/Noe Valley), 6 (Hayes Valley/Western Addition), 7 (Marina/Pacific Heights) and 8 (Nob Hill/Russian Hill/Telegraph Hill) all recorded median sales prices above $1 million. Seven districts reported double-digit quarter-over-quarter median sales price increases, and six were up year over year. District 7 recorded the most significant improvement with a 28 percent increase year over year, followed by District 10 (Bayview/Excelsior/Visitacion Valley) with a 23 percent annualized increase and Districts 2 (Sunset) and 4 (Diamond Heights/Mt. Davidson/West Portal), both with 22 percent increases.

The inventory of homes on the market remained a challenge for homebuyers. On the final day of the fourth quarter, only 165 existing, single-family detached homes were listed for sale, down 57 percent from 387 homes on the market on the same date in 2011. As a result, many homes received multiple offers as soon as they were listed. The average number of days a home was on the market before receiving a final offer to purchase was 40 days, up slightly from 37 days in the third quarter but down from 48 days in the fourth quarter of 2011. Homes in District 9 (Inner Mission/Potrero Hill/South of Market) were on the market only 25 days before attracting a final offer, while the average home in District 7 sold in 102 days.

Despite the chronic lack of inventory, the number of homes sold in San Francisco increased both quarter over quarter and year over year. Citywide, 722 existing detached homes changed hands in the fourth quarter, up 16 percent from 624 homes sold in the third quarter and up 9 percent from 664 homes sold in the fourth quarter of last year. Among neighborhoods that reported the greatest number of home sales, District 2 set the pace with 118 homes sold in the fourth quarter, up from 89 homes in the third quarter and 114 in the fourth quarter of 2011. District 4 and District 5 followed with 107 homes sold in the fourth quarter, up from 72 and 96, respectively, in the third quarter and 83 and 92 homes sold in the comparable quarter a year ago.

According to Jim Caldwell, Manager of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie on Union Street, “Looking toward the spring and summer home buying season, favorable mortgage interest rates and a desire to purchase before home prices get any higher likely will bring more buyers into the market and create even more opportunities for multiple offers.” Buyers requiring lender financing will continue to face stiff competition from investors offering cash and will want to have their financing in place, know what features they are seeking in a home and be prepared to act quickly when there is a new listing.

Current homeowners – especially “baby boomers” who have been awaiting an opportunity to downsize for retirement or right-size their real estate portfolio for tax or estate planning purposes – may discover that low inventory and rising home values offer a window of opportunity to sell in the months ahead.

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About the company

About Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate
Our heritage began with the founding of Mason-McDuffie Real Estate in 1887. In 2010, the company was named the 19th largest real estate services firm in the nation (REALTrends 500), and Number One in the San Francisco East Bay (SF Business Times). The company provides comprehensive solutions to home buyers and sellers, and handled 6,500 transactions in 2012, generating $2.8 billion in sales volume. Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate includes joint ventures with partners Highland Partners in Piedmont and Montclair, Wine Country Group Realtors in the North Bay, and Tri-Valley Realty in Pleasanton-Hopyard and Ruby Hill, and Bahay Co. in Concord. Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate is locally owned and has more than 1,100 real estate professionals with 30 offices in eight counties in the Bay Area and the Tahoe/Truckee region. For more information, go to

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