What’s an Average Year for San Francisco Real Estate?

Hi there! While I’ve been a blogging about San Francisco Real Estate for years, this is my first post at Bay Area Real Estate Trends. I’m honored to be a part of the team, and look forward to contributing my thoughts, ideas, questions, and observations about real estate in San Francisco. In my 10+ years in the business, I’ve done three or four transactions outside of SF city limits, so not only am I looking forward to writing about SF, I’m looking forward to reading about other areas from all the great site contributors.

I thought it would be appropriate to start with a really big picture look at San Francisco real estate, and one way to do that is to figure out how many home sales take place in the city during an “average” year in real estate. As you can see below, I’ve graphed out the total number of sales in San Francisco that have been reported in the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS since 1994 (the oldest year for which data is available).

chart 1 11 640x339 Whats an Average Year for San Francisco Real Estate?

The light blue bars show the total number of residential sales by year, with the low point being 4,663 sales reported in 1995. The busiest year was 2004, when 10,057 sales were reported, with 2005 and 2003 coming in the second and third position, making 2003 – 2005 by far the busiest three years in recent San Francisco real estate history. The various colored lines show sales for various property types:

  • The red line plotting the number of single family home sales over the same period
  • The orange line represents the total number of condominium/co-operative/loft/tenancy-in-common sales
  • The green line represents residential unit buildings (2-4 units, including mixed use)

All of which makes for a pretty chart, but doesn’t exactly answer the original question about what an average year in San Francisco real estate looks like, at least from a volume/transaction point of view. So I kept doing the math until I could answer my own question. In an average year (using the mean average) there are 7,284 sales in San Francisco. Of those 7,284 sales, in an average year 3,800 of them are for single family homes, 2,735 are in the condo category, and 749 are unit buildings.

Now that we’ve got a benchmark to measure against, let’s look at how the past 19 years have compared to our “average” year:

Above Average Years for SF real estate: 2012, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1999, 1998

About Average Years in SF: 2007, 2002, 1997

Below Average Years for SF: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2001, 2000, 1996, 1995, 1994

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