State of the market - August 2006 update

Someone living out of state just asked, so I'll recap my basic findings given my recent Listings, and my recent Buyers who have bought properties.

1. Desireable properties, in desirable neighborhoods are flat at worst, with some areas up from last year, and some properties still getting multiple offers. Although it's usually 3 to 5 offers, not 10 to 30 offers.

2. Undesirable properties, in undesirable neighborhoods have taken a beating.

3. Areas like South Beach and SOMA where new construction continues to go up, thereby continually increasing supply is a unique area all to itself. It still looks like a stand off to me. Enough buyers are buying to keep prices from falling, but the inventory is growing every month with Seller's choosing to just wait for the right offer without dropping the price. I estimate a 3 to 4 month supply of homes for sale right now, which is very high for San Francisco. Then again, 6 months is what the experts say is the dividing line between a Seller's market and a Buyer's market. But my feeling is we may jump up to a 6 month supply in September since many Seller's wait out the Summer before listing their homes. If that happens, Seller's may blink first, and prices would start coming down.

4. Even if South Beach and SOMA come down in prices, I still don't see that effecting the very pricy north eastern part of the city, or neighborhoods like Noe Valley where there is next to no new supply. Demand is still higher than supply, and well priced homes are selling quickly. Plus there are still a ton of buyers on the sidelines just waiting for these areas to drop so they can get in. So if it were to drop, these buyers would prop it right back up.

Finally, interest rates have remained steady right around the 7% market, and as long as they don't go up further, there is no new pressure on prices.

So is it a good time to buy? Well, that depends. Not if think you'll get the same kind of crazy price appreciation of prior years. But it is if you want to buy and hold for at least a few years. Buy in a less desireable area, and you've got your bargain at 10% to 20% below last year - you can wait for the next crazy market to prop up prices. Buy in a more sought after higher priced area you will still pay a premium, but at least you don't have to fight to buy it against 10 to 30 other offers. Don't expect these areas to drop, so if you want to own a home, now is a good time to buy.

Stay on top of the market at www.SF-MLS-Search.com and email or call me if you're looking for more help.

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