Hatvany confirms the same trends. In the second quarter of last year, her firm said, 18 homes sold in San Francisco for $6 million or higher. That number dropped to nine in the fourth quarter.
One question: Will the more cautious tone now defining the ultra-high-end of the market spread to other price points?
Christopher Palmer — an associate professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the housing markets — said the biggest threat to price appreciation is a downturn in tech because so much of the Bay Area economy is reliant on the sector.
“Tech stocks have taken a beating in the past few months, and every time there is a stock market correction, people start to wonder if the spigot of capital that has fueled so much Bay Area growth is about to be turned off,” Palmer said.
Analysts at Fitch raise another concern, arguing that home prices in San Francisco have “risen to a level unsupportable by area income.” Fitch reports that home prices set a record last year and are now more than 60 percent above the post-crisis low of 2012.