Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weekly Sales Report

"How's the market" they ask. Who's they? Everybody! Everybody wants to know; hears something in the news and wants to know more. The answer varies depending on who you are asking. It clearly varies nationwide. It varies statewide, countywide, and even here in San Francisco, depending on who you ask and what their experience is, you will get a very different answer. Even looking at the statistics can be confusing. Statistics can be played with in such a way that you can make the data say whatever you want to hear.

First ask the buyers who just got outbid on their second property how the San Francisco market is doing. The property I am referring to is in Westwood Park which is a desirable neighborhood with homes in the million dollar range, but it is not considered one of San Francisco's hottest neighborhoods. Tell that to the thirteen parties who just recently bid on this wonderful three bedroom craftsman style home on Miramar Avenue. The highest bid went more than thirteen percent over the asking price. Those buyers might tell you a different story than what you hear in the news.

Next ask the buyers who just had an offer received by a property which has been on the market for almost two months and had two price reductions. They got the property for slightly under the already reduced asking price. This is a loft in the media gulch section of the Inner Mission. It is selling for just 3% over the price it sold for three years ago. Their story is different still, and tells you what a great time it is to buy.

Two extremely different scenarios; both typical stories at the moment. You cannot make the blanket statement that it is not a good time to sell. It couldn't have been better for the sellers on Miramar. There are no other three bedroom houses available in the neighborhood. There hasn't been for some time. Their product was unique and desirable, and demand was high.

The past week's activity reflects this wide range of activity. Of the properties which accepted offers this week, 50% were multiple offer situations. Some of the properties received 8, 9, and of course 13 offers.

Of the properties that closed this week, 50% closed over the asking price. The highest overbid was on 28th Street in Noe Valley at 16% over. 33% of the closed homes sold under asking. The underbids were very close to the asking price with the largest gap being 3%.

The answer to the question, "how's the market" will also differ depending on which lender you ask. Ask US Bank who has just declared San Francisco to be a "declining market" and have therefore dropped their 95% Loan to Value program. On the other hand, talk to Countrywide who is more than happy to do a loan with a 5% down payment, and they can close in just one week!

The moral of the story is to do your own research. If you are thinking of applying for a mortgage, do so. Don't assume you won't get one if you have a smaller down payment. Also, don't assume prices are soft because depending on the neighborhood and the property itself, they may not be. You need to get out there and see for yourselves!


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