Is there actually a good time to buy a house in San Francisco?


  • 30626 920x920 Is there actually a good time to buy a house in San Francisco?

    Realtor Thomas Henthorne was among the only people looking at this home during Marin’s sleepy selling period, and he bought for less than its market value

    Realtor Thomas Henthorne was among the only people looking at this home during Marin’s sleepy selling period, and he bought for less than its market value


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  •  Is there actually a good time to buy a house in San Francisco?

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Realtor Thomas Henthorne was among the only people looking at this home during Marin’s sleepy selling period, and he bought for less than its market value

Realtor Thomas Henthorne was among the only people looking at this home during Marin’s sleepy selling period, and he bought for less than its market value



Photo: Place Holder


When is the best time to buy in the San Francisco Bay Area? The answer isn’t simple, and not only because nothing about buying a home is simple, especially in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world.

San Francisco

In San Francisco, September brings the flood: It is the month with the most new listings of the entire year. So is this a good time to buy, with so many more choices?

Depends.

Patrick Carlisle, chief analyst for Compass Realty, has tracked the San Francisco market for years. In his opinion, there are two seasons in SF that might appeal to buyers, but for different reasons.

“The greatest number of new listings come on the market in spring and in September, so that’s when buyers have the most choice. However, those are also typically the times of highest demand, so buyer competition and overbidding are also at their peaks,” said Carlisle.


Buyers in San Francisco have maximum negotiating leverage in late summer and mid-winter holiday periods. This is the time with the least competition from other buyers as well: “Many buyers disappear for the holidays and sellers are much more open to lower offers to get their homes sold,” he said.

Carlisle also provided tables that map out the market activity he’s commenting on, included in the gallery above.

East Bay

Both Oakland and Berkeley have become strong sellers’ markets in the past eight years. That said, there are some months when being a buyer is easier.

Deidre Joyner of Red Oak Realty is a second-generation agent and among the top 1% of realtors working in the East Bay.

Joyner provided data on East Bay market activity (included in the gallery above) that indicate some months of the year experience higher bidding prices: so, in certain times of the year, homes selling for higher over asking prices.

“Homes that go into contract in January and February have a lower median price, so on a city-wide basis, you will pay less for a property if you get into contract during those months, said Joyner.

Of course, the real story is more complex than this. The lower numbers on both charts may be due to inaccurately priced properties and/or properties that are less desirable. You may pay less, but you may also get less, too.

Joyner’s overall advice: Timing isn’t everything. Consider the price for your budget, and what you can afford in terms of repairs, remodeling, and location. In other words, in the end buying smart matters as much—if not more—as trying to buy in the ever-elusive “buyer’s market.”


Marin

Marin, unlike San Francisco, is a market influenced by the school calendar. Again, this can work for or against buyers, depending on their stomach for competition versus a large pool of listings to choose from.

Thomas Henthorne is a top real estate agent with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenbrae. An agent since 2010 who has lived in Marin since 1998, he covers all of Marin County as well as San Francisco.

Henthorne told SFGate that the best time for buyers to look for a home in Marin County varies based on their goals. “Parents with children in school often have the least flexibility about when they can move, and this in large part drives the spring season in Marin, which is the busiest time of the year,” said Henthorne.

In Marin, inventory is highest in the spring, especially once the sun begins making a regular appearance. Other than spring, there is also a short but similarly busy season commencing just after Labor Day and running through October. “Competition is also usually higher during these times.”

Marin’s slowest season is winter, especially the holidays. Though inventory is more scare, sellers are more motivated (otherwise why sell during the holidays?) and there are fewer buyers to compete with.

“Holidays can be a great time to look and I’m speaking from personal experience,” Henthorne said. ”I just bought an investment home on Memorial Day in Napa County — I think I was one of the only ones looking that day, and snapped up a home that had just hit the market.”

We included a photo of the home Henthorne bought in the gallery above. In all comparable analyses, it was worth more than he bought it for, with estimates ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 under market value.

The upshot

Buying a home in the Bay Area will never be easy, but depending on your goals and perseverance, there are windows of time when the market may be kinder.

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.

Article source: https://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/best-time-buy-house-San-Francisco-Bay-Area-14383572.php

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