San Francisco’s Market—Hurt by Coronavirus—Begins to Bounce Back

San Francisco’s real estate industry witnessed a drastic bounce-back in activity in May, but the damage from coronavirus is still apparent, according to a report Friday from Compass.

The number of listings going into contract fell to below 30 during the last week of March, following the city’s shelter-in-place order that was announced on March 16.

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During the last week of May, the number of contracts signed totaled almost 90, a similar tally to the weeks before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S., when roughly 100 contracts were being signed weekly, data from the estate agency shows.

Despite the improvement, activity in May still remained well below last year, Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst for the San Francisco Bay Area at Compass, wrote in the report.

“Still, with the easing of shelter in place, as well as the market learning to adjust to new circumstances, it is expected the recovery will continue to surge closer to normal,” Mr. Carlisle wrote. “In fact, based on the strength of buyer demand, some analysts believe the coming months may be busier than in 2019, as sales activity that would have occurred in spring gets pushed into the summer instead.”

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Median sales prices for both houses and condos dropped in San Francisco in May, down 4.2% and 15.3%, respectively, from April.

Those figures are based on a low volume of closed sales in the month, which dropped about 60% year-over-year, the report said.

“Because sales are a lagging indicator, May sales and sales prices mostly reflect the huge impact of Covid-19 on the San Francisco market in late March and April,” according to Mr. Carlisle.

Though still under lockdown measures, restrictions have eased in San Francisco and real estate activity continued because it’s considered an essential business in the city.

Real estate inspectors, appraisers, and photographers have been able to continue working, and while city guidance states that agents may only show homes to potential residents over video, it further stipulates that when a virtual showing is not possible, a single agent may show a home in person to a maximum of two people from the same household, so long as the home is unoccupied.

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