What Costs How Much Where in San Francisco

San Francisco Home Values by Neighborhood
February 1, 2011 – January 31, 2012

The first group of statistics below (in table format) apply only to non-distress home sales with at least 1 car parking, as reported to MLS. Distress sales – bank-owned property sales and short sales – typically sell at a substantial discount due to condition-of-property issues and/or deal-aggravation issues, and if included in the analysis, would reduce the median sales price and average dollar per square ($/sq.ft.) figures in certain neighborhoods. (Distress sales, though occurring everywhere in the city, are generally clustered in less affluent neighborhoods and in the lower price ranges.)

The average size of homes vary widely by neighborhood: for example, the average size of a 4-bedroom house in Pacific Heights is much larger than one in Noe Valley. Besides affluence, the era and style of construction often play a large role in these disparities. Some neighborhoods are well known for having “bonus” bedrooms and baths built without permit (often behind the garage). These additions can add value, but being unpermitted are not reflected in average dollar per square foot ($/sq.ft.) figures.

If a price is followed by a “k” it references thousands of dollars; if followed by an “m”, it signifies millions of dollars. Sales unreported to MLS are not included in this analysis, and where abnormal “outliers” were identified that significantly distorted the statistics, these were deleted as well. Please see the definitions and caveats at the end of this report.

Trends in Dollar per Square Foot Values for Houses in Selected San Francisco Neighborhoods

Trends in Median Sales Prices for 2-Bedroom Condos in Selected SF Neighborhoods

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 or by changes in buying trends, or seasonal trends, as well as by changes in value.

Low Price & High Price are self-explanatory, but the low price might be for a property that needs significant work just to be habitable. Within a single neighborhood, it is possible for the low and high prices to be millions of dollars apart – the difference between a small, dark 2-bedroom condo above a Laundromat, and a lavishly appointed, full-floor, 2-bedroom penthouse with spectacular views in a prestige high-rise.

AVERAGE SALES PRICE is calculated by adding up all the sales prices and dividing by the number of sales. It is different from median sales price, but like medians, averages can be affected by other factors besides changes in value, such as fluctuations in average unit size. Averages may also be distorted by a few sales that are abnormally high or low, especially when the number of sales is low. Average sales prices are usually higher than median sales prices.

DOLLAR PER SQUARE FOOT is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, storage, unfinished attics and basements; rooms and apartments built without permit; decks, patios or yards. These figures are typically derived from appraisals or tax records, but can be unreliable, measured in different ways, or unreported altogether: thus consider square footage and $/sq.ft. figures to be very general approximations. Generally speaking, about 60-80% of listings report square footage, and dollar per square foot statistics are based solely on those listings. 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’s will be higher than a multi-unit building’s (quality of use). All things being equal, a smaller home will have a higher $/sq.ft. than a larger one. The highest dollar per square foot values in San Francisco are typically found in upper floor condos in prestige buildings with utterly spectacular views.

The AVERAGE SIZE of homes of the same bedroom count may vary widely by neighborhood: for example, the average size of a 4-bedroom house in Pacific Heights is much larger than one in Noe Valley; and the average of a Marina 2-bedroom condo is larger than one in South Beach. Besides the affluence factor, the era and style of construction often play large roles in these disparities.

Some neighborhoods are well known for having additional ROOMS BUILT WITHOUT PERMIT, such as the classic 1940’s Sunset house with “bedrooms” and baths built out behind the garage. These additions often add value, but being unpermitted are not reflected in $/sq.ft. figures.

Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in general statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, views, amenities, outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so forth. Thus, how these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown.

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

SAN FRANCISCO REALTOR DISTRICTS

District 1: Sea Cliff, Lake Street, Richmond (Inner, Central, Outer), Jordan Park/Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain

District 2: Sunset & Parkside (Inner, Central, Outer), Golden Gate Heights

District 3: Lake Shore, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Merced Heights, Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, Oceanview

District 4: St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, West Portal, Forest Knolls, Diamond Heights, Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Balboa Terrace, Ingleside Terrace, Mt. Davidson Manor, Sherwood Forest, Monterey Heights, Westwood Highlands

District 5: Noe Valley, Eureka Valley (Castro, Liberty Hill), Cole Valley, Glen Park, Corona Heights, Clarendon Heights, Ashbury Heights, Buena Vista Park, Haight Ashbury, Duboce Triangle, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores, Parnassus Heights

District 6: Hayes Valley, North of Panhandle (NOPA), Alamo Square, Western Addition, Anza Vista, Lower Pacific Heights

District 7: Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina

District 8: Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Financial District, North Waterfront, Downtown, Van Ness/ Civic Center, Tenderloin

District 9: SoMa, South Beach, Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Bernal Heights, Inner Mission, Yerba Buena

District 10: Bayview, Bayview Heights, Excelsior, Portola, Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Outer Mission

Some Realtor districts contain neighborhoods that are relatively homogeneous in general home values, such as districts 5 and 7, and others contain neighborhoods of wildly different values, such as district 8 which includes both Russian Hill and the Tenderloin.

Statistics such as these are generalities, subject to fluctuations due to a variety of reasons (besides changes in value). Average figures in particular may be distorted by a few sales substantially higher or lower than the norm, especially where the sample size is small. Generally speaking, the fewer the sales, the less reliable the statistics. New-development condo sales not reported to MLS – of which there are quite a few in San Francisco – are not included in this analysis.

All information herein is derived from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and omissions, and is subject to revision.

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