Update on “Decline from the Peak”

November 25, 2009

We have a lot to be thankful for in San Francisco. We have largely survived this real estate downturn without the enormous declines we are seeing on the news. However, they have been significant. Anyone in the market today on the seller side certainly can tell you that.

I thought it was a good time to check in and update the article from earlier this year “How Much Have San Francisco Home Values Declined Since their Peak?” Thankfully, many neighborhoods have not had a change since April, when values were even lower than in February, and some have even climbed a percent or two.

Below is an analysis of San Francisco neighborhoods comparing Average Dollar per Square Foot ($/sqft) at what is estimated to be peak value, to the average for sales occurring 10/15/08 – 4/1/09 (the market period right after the 9/15/08 financial markets meltdown), and then to the average for more recent sales occurring 5/1/09 – 10/30/09 (as home sales volume – and financial markets – surged again).

Different areas reached peak values at different times – in 2006, 2007 or 2008 – and the asterisked notes denote the estimated peak value period that pertains. The price ranges of the sales included were chosen to be in a standard range of value for the area and property type specified – thus attempting to eliminate both the ultra high end and the ultra low end, which often distort averages.

Dollar per square foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, or exterior spaces. These figures are usually derived from appraisals, tax records or condo maps, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. There are often surprisingly wide variations of value within neighborhoods, and averages may be distorted by one or two sales substantially higher or lower than the norm. They may also be distorted by confidential sales, which are not uncommon at the upper end of the market. (For confidential sales, the list price, and not the sales price, is used for the calculation.)

Key to Estimated Peak-Value Period for the Chart Below:
*             Peak values estimated to have been reached 1/1/06 – 6/30/06
**           Peak values estimated to have been reached 1/1/07 – 6/30/07
***        Peak values estimated to have been reached 1/1/08 – 6/30/08

Changes in Average Dollar per Square Foot Values
for Selected San Francisco Neighborhoods & Property Types

Neighborhood
or District
Property Type
Price Range
Avg $/sq.ft. at Peak Value 10/15/08 – 4/01/09 5/1/09 –
10/30/09
Change from 4/1/09 Total Change from
Est. Peak Value
Bayview* House
$300k – 800k
$507/sq.ft. $294/sq.ft. $280/sq.ft. – 5% – 45%
Ingleside/ Hghts / Oceanview* House
$400k – 800k
$580 $449 $444 – 1% – 23%
Excelsior/Portola* House
$400k – 800k
$600 $457 $450 – 1.5% – 25%
Central/Outer Richmond ** House
$700k – 1.4m
$569 $488 – 14%
Inner Mission** Condo
$500k – $800k
$621 $496 – 20%
Central/ Outer   Sunset** House
$500k –  900k
$626 $533 $501 – 6% – 20%
Miraloma/ Sunnyside** House
$500k – 1m
$677 $598 $550 – 8% – 19%
Hayes Valley/ Alamo/ NOPA*** Condo
$500k – 900k
$684 $602 $559 – 7% – 18%
SOMA** Condo
$500k – 900k
$689 $553 $562

+ 2%

– 18%
Neighborhood
or District
Property Type
Price Range
Avg $/sq.ft. at Peak Value 10/15/08 – 4/01/09 5/1/09 –
10/30/09
Change from 4/1/09 Total Change from
Est. Peak Value
Bernal Hghts*** House
$500k – 1m
$651/sq.ft. $556/sq.ft. $567/sq.ft. + 2% – 13%
St Francis Wd/W.
Portal/Forest H **
House
$800k – 2.5m
$687 $585 – 15%
Noe & Eureka Valleys*** Condo
$500k – 1m
$751 $675 $613 – 9% – 18%
South Beach*** Condo
$500k – 1m
$785 $681 $640 – 6% – 18%
Potrero Hill** House
$700k – 1.4m
$753 $648 – 14%
Russian/Nob/
Telegraph Hills***
Condo
$600k – 1.2m
$798 $692 – 13%
Noe & Eureka Valleys*** House
$800k – 1.5m
$891 $755 $707 – 6% – 21%
Pacific Hghts/  Marina (Dist 7)*** Condo
$600k – 1.2m
$809 $763 $733 – 4% – 9%
Most Expensive North SF Areas*** House
$1.5m – $4m
$975 $797 – 18%


Averages are generalities and cannot account for the varieties in location, condition and amenities found in SF homes. Averages may be affected by unusual events or short-term trends, and do not necessarily reflect values for specific properties.  Average dollar per square foot values fluctuate even in a stable price market as they are impacted by individual sales, and changes of less than 3-4% should probably be ignored. All data from sources deemed reliable, but not guaranteed and may contain errors and omissions. Sales not reported to MLS – such as many new condo-development sales – are not included in this analysis.

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