The CBS TV news report started off with a story about a home in the Excelsior getting 40 offers. I find it instructive to compare what's happening now, to what's happened this same time last year.
Running a search using the San Francisco MLS, for all Single Family homes that are For-Sale now, or in Escrow ("active contingent" or "pending") or have Sold in the past 2 months (1/10/09 - 3/11/09) we find the following:
For Sale = 21
In contract = 22
Sold past 2 months = 11
(report details here)
Same time frame in 2008 = 12 sold (report found here)
Looking ahead in 2008, over the next month only 5 more sold in the next 30 days, and 11 more in the 30 day period after that. So assuming the 22 that are in contract now end up closing within 30 days sales would be up 400% year over year. If they close in 60 days they are up by 37%. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but either way, the CBS report certainly seems accurate for this one neighborhood (I'm not convinced of that for all of San Francisco even though I have seen a significant uptick in my own business too).
If you then compare Sales prices, the 11 that sold these past 2 months averaged $532,400 (median $530,000). The 12 sales from that period last year averaged $642,000 (median $644k) so prices are down 17%. But if you take a closer look, in part it is that Buyers are buying smaller places this year. The price per SqFt is only down about 3% from $467.38 to $452.28.
One final point about the statistics. Looking at the current report, you'll note the 21 homes for sale. With 11 selling in the past 2 months, or 5.5 per month, it's only a 4 month supply of homes. That supply was probably a lot larger just a few weeks ago since 22 recently went into contract. It looks to me that in the past month, an entire 4 months of inventory was purchased. Talk about "pent up demand". Wow.