Precipitation Up, Listings Down

Posted On: March 13, 2019
By: Matt Fuller
heavy rains clog storm drain in San Francisco after a winter of heavy rains in 2019

Winter 2019 has been exceptionally wet for San Francisco

We figured that when Compass bought Paragon, they would throw a meteorologist into their real estate data department and beat us to the punch with this story. Instead, they bought Contactually and Alain Pinel. I’m sure the weatherperson on staff is just a matter of time.

San Francisco doesn’t have enough children and families aiming for the summer moving cycle to dictate a market seasonality driven by the school calendar. We do, however, have something that makes just as much of a difference to our market. Water. In the form of precipitation falling from the sky.

Graph comparing Rain in San Francisco, New Listings, and Accepted Sales Contracts from 2009 - 2019

Rain in San Francisco, New Listings, and Accepted Sales Contracts from 2009 – 2019. Data from SFAR MLS and US Gov Weather.

In the graph above, we visualized 10 years of data taken from the SFAR MLS and the US Gov Weather records. Rain is the blue bar, measured in inches on the right column. Darker green bars are new listings and lighter green bars show the number of accepted sales contracts. As you can see, in months where it rains a lot, there are far fewer new listings. Our rainy season generally starts in October or November, and the trend is pretty clear: Rain goes up, listings go down.

We do see a healthy bump in the number of new listings at the beginning of every new year, after hitting our annual low in December. We typically see a lot of homes that didn’t sell in the prior “September Summer” season — and were withdrawn to reset their days on market (DOM) count — come back in January and February. Even with the re-lists, January and February both typically average about 550 new listings per month, while the spring season (March – June) sees more than 600 new listings per month. Our September Summer is our new inventory peak with about 800 homes coming to market on average each September.

It’s been an exceptionally wet winter. The real estate market may be waiting for an IPO-palooza. Or it may just be waiting for winter to end?

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