What area of the city offers buyers the best return for their investment? Without getting into the 89 mls sub-districts, but broadly looking at the 10 districts (areas if you are jargon averse and want to avoid confusion with political or other city drawn disticts) which one has performed the best? SF real estate statistics surround us like a sea, but are they useful?
Our team just didn’t vibe with a company-made chart presented at this week’s sales meeting. Which got us digging into a bunch of charts and numbers and suddenly we were down the San Francisco real estate data wormhole. How often we find ourselves in this place. Or, well, at least I do. Here’s the company chart that we don’t vibe with (it seems to be this thing I do):
Zephyr used a quarterly basis for their numbers with quarterly values calculated using 3 month rolling averages. And while I agree those are reasonable paramaters, I also disagree. I pulled number using both average and median sales price, but looked at the average or median sales price for the year. I used YTD 2016 for 2016.
I did this because our sales volume and velocity, as well as all the linked market dynamics vary a lot by quarter. To average out that variation, I’m more comfortable using the average or median sales price based on the entire year’s sales and not a rolling average from one particular quarter that has some seasonality bias for lack of a better made up term?
Zephyr dropped D8 and D6 becauase they aren’t major single family areas. Which is, again, fair. But they do exist, so we think the annual average is a reasonable compromise and our chart includes them.
Using those adjustments, we come up with our own chart below using median sales price:
Our chart, using median sales price, agrees that the Richmond (d1) area of the city saw the highest single family home price appreciation. Our data isn’t as optimistic on any of the neighborhood gains as the Zephyr chart, but we both agree on the first place area.
That’s where we diverge. Our data ranks both the Sunset/Parkside area (d2) and the Excelsior/ Bayview/Hunters Point area (d10) as outperforming the Potrero Hill/Bernal Heights/Mission (d9), and life in Pacific Heights (d7) has actually been rather nice, 20% appreciation on a $4,000,000 investment isn’t anything to call the attorneys about.
But if you feel like arguing with us, we’re one step ahead of you. We just need to use average sales price, an argument we could make because the annual average sales price uses amongst the largest data sets (all sales, all months) and thus is big enough to “absorb” any skewing by outliers and the neighborhoods areas are small and similar enough and homogenous enough in price that the mean average still presents an accurate picture of neighborhood price appreciation:
If we work off of the mean average sale price numbers, the Bayview/Hunters Point (d10) area zooms to first place, followed by Sunset (d2), Stonestown/Lakeside (d3), Potrero Hill/Bernal Heights/Mission (d9) then Castro/Noe Valley (d5), West of Twin Peaks (d4), then finally Richmond (d1) followed by the hills Russian and Nob (d8), Pacific Heights and north (d7), and Hayes Valley/Civic Center (d6).
So is the Richmond the hottest market or the seventh hottest? Did it appreciate at 28% or 48% or 76% since 2013? We could argue about it forever. But remember: you can’t buy a neighborhood. You can only buy a specific home in it, so our suggestion is to focus most of all on a particular home’s unique value to your life. It’s an investment you live in.