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Bidding wars in SF plummet, says report

Prices surge in Inner Richmond and Dolores Heights, but peter out elsewhere

Aerial photo of the northwestern sector of the city from Golden Gate Park Mark Schwettmann

The real estate site Redfin rolled out its annual list of the neighborhoods with the most competitive bidding wars today, and San Francisco’s battlefront is looking a bit quiet.

Although we do have three entries on this year’s rankings, including the number five and numbers six spots (surprise Curbed Cup semifinalist Inner Richmond as well as Dolores Heights), there doesn’t seem to be much else going on.

Back in 2014, by contrast, San Francisco commanded seven spots on the list, including the top three: the Sunset, the Castro, and Bernal Heights.

(Glen Park, Westlake, Noe Valley, and the Haight filled out redoubts further down the list.)

In 2015, SF bids declined on Redfin, yielding only four neighborhoods in the top 30 that year: Central Sunset (number eight), Noe Valley (13), the Richmond (21), and Bernal Heights (24).

And now this year we seem to be barely in the running.

Octoferret

Redfin’s competitiveness rankings measure not necessarily the most popular or expensive neighborhoods in America, but rather those neighborhoods where bidding wars are most likely to break out.

In the Inner Richmond, for example, 83 percent of homes sold over asking price in 2016, yielding an average of more than 11 percent over initial list prices and selling after only 13 days.

In Dolores Heights, those same figures are 68 percent, 8.3 percent, and 14 days, respectively. In our other 2016 standout, Parkside (29 percent), it’s 13.8 percent, 13.4 percent, and 18 days.

Those aren’t bad numbers. But consider that in 2014 the Sunset was selling nearly 88 percent of homes over asking.

And in 2015 that same figure was an incredible 91 percent.

Noe Valley managed 88 percent and 83 percent those same years without even being in the top ten nationwide either time. But this year that became the upper echelons of competitive demand in SF.

Note that Redfin draws data only from those listings featured on its own site. While it’s a popular service, it doesn’t carry every house in the city.

Jared Tarbell

Still, comparing its numbers to the same data set from years past is educational. It may not fully represent demand in every neighborhood, but it does reveal the direction things are trending.

You’ve still got to jockey to buy a home anywhere in San Francisco, but clearly things are not nearly so cutthroat as they were just two years ago.

Softening demand has a disquieting effect on those worried about the city’s finances. But anyone who has spent years trying to squirrel away a down payment may feel relieved.