Seasonality in the San Francisco Homes Market
August 2014 Report by Paragon Real Estate Group
Seasonality typically affects inventory levels, buyer demand and median home prices, often in significant ways – as is illustrated in the following charts. However, it is not the only factor affecting market conditions and trends – general economic conditions, new construction projects coming on market, sudden changes in interest rates, stock market IPOs, natural and political events, and other factors can and do impact the market as well. It should also be noted that new listings and new sales occur every month of the year – and sometimes, depending on prevailing market conditions and the specific property, buying or selling during the slower periods can be the smart strategy.
The devil’s always in the details, and the details of the market change constantly. Still, there is a typical ebb and flow to the level of activity in the market that correlate with seasonality, and that is what this report explores from a variety of angles.
Without inventory, there is no market. These first 3 charts show the classic effects of seasonality on supply and demand.
As seen in this next chart, the higher-price end of the market is usually more affected by seasonality that the general market. Among other effects, this will usually raise the median sales price during the peak spring and autumn selling periods, and lower them in the slower periods of summer and mid-winter (as delineated in the final chart). Note: In the chart, the changes up and down in sales are plotted based upon the sales of January 2013 equaling a base line of 100. This is a very approximate illustration, because of other factors that affect the analysis, though we do believe it reflects the market reality.
This final chart illustrates both the rapidly appreciating real estate market since 2012 and the shorter term ups and downs that seasonality can play in median home prices. Of course, in an appreciating or depreciating market, there are usually other factors impacting median sales prices as well – as always, what is most meaningful is the longer term trend in home prices, not short-term fluctuations.