What Costs How Much Where in San Francisco

Low, High & Median Sales Prices & Average Dollar per Square Foot: 10/16/09 – 4/15/10

These charts track recent SF home sales by low, high and median sales price, and average dollar per square foot ($/sq.ft.) for the 6-month period of 10/16/09 – 4/15/10. Changes in median price and average $/sq.ft. don’t necessarily signify a change in market values, as both statistics can be affected by changes in buying trends, “unusual” events, and, when the number of sales is small, by a few specific sales clustered well above or below normal.

Comparing this data to the previous 6-month period, changes in median price and average $/sq.ft. most commonly ranged in the 0 – 5% range, plus or minus: no definitive city-wide trend can yet be determined, though the increasing market demand would typically exert upward pressure on prices. Finally, remember that sales data is always 4 to 8 weeks behind the market, since that is the usual period of time between acceptance of offer and the final closing of the sale.

Within the charts, neighborhoods are listed in order of median sales price. If a price is followed by a “k” it references thousands of dollars; if followed by an “m”, it signifies millions of dollars. “REO” refers to the sale of bank-owned properties (typically pursuant to foreclosure).

Many aspects of value cannot be reflected in general statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, views, amenities, outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so forth. Huge disparities may appear between low and high prices for a property type in the same area: a 3-bedroom house may be a 4000 sq.ft. Victorian or a 1500 sq.ft. 1950′s era home. Thus, how these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown.

In real estate, the devil’s always in the details.

N/A signifies that there wasn’t enough trustworthy data to make the calculation.

REO refers to bank-owned properties. These properties usually sell at a discount to a non-REO property, and are mostly concentrated in the city’s less affluent southern border neighborhoods for REO houses, and the city’s southern and eastern neighborhoods for REO condos. San Francisco has one of the lowest rates in the Bay Area and state for foreclosure sales and sales of bank-owned properties. REO sales do however constitute a relatively hot market segment.

The Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by “unusual” events in any particular period or by changes in buying trends as well as by changes in value.

Low Price & High Price are self-explanatory, but be aware that the low price listed might be for a home that needs significant work just to be habitable. Or it could be a distress sale of a banked-owned property. An asterisk signifies a confidential sale and the price shown is the list price, not the sales price. Such sales may distort the statistics.

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, decks, patios or yards. These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but can be unreliable or unreported altogether. All things being equal, a house will have a higher dollar per square foot than a condo (because of land value), a condo will have a higher $/sq.ft. than a TIC (quality of title), and a TIC will have a higher figure than a multi-unit building. All things being equal, a smaller home will have a higher $/sq.ft. than a larger one.

In San Francisco, the highest dollar-per-square-foot figures, $1000 – $2000, are generally found in the most prestigious houses in affluent neighborhoods and, especially, in luxury penthouse condos with staggering views.

Statistics such as these are generalities, oft times subject to surprising fluctuations due to a variety of reasons. Average figures in particular may be distorted by one or two sales substantially higher or lower than the norm, especially where the sample size is small. New-development condo sales not reported to MLS — of which there are many in SF — are not included in this analysis. All information contained herein is derived from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and omissions, and is not warranted.