San Francisco and its surrounding counties are flush with employment, the housing supply is tight, so conventional economic wisdom has it that demand should drive offers across the board.
Instead, the listing aggregate site Realtor.com reported this week that both SF and San Jose areas saw huge declines in the number of listings year over year in November, continuing the region’s weird 2019 trends.
According to figures released by the site on Tuesday, the San Jose metro area saw the fourth biggest decline in the “active listings count” metric in November, down 22.2 percent compared to the same time last year.
The SF-Oakland-Hayward area (which encompasses all of SF, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano counties) saw a less drastic but still marked drop, down 17 percent from 2018.
The declining inventory isn’t unusual relative to the rest of the country—Realtor notes that “only four of the 50 largest metros saw inventory increase year over year” that same month.
However, the decline in and around SF has been long-term; in July of this year, Orange County-based data firm Core Logic (whose figures represent more homes than Realtor’s, as Realtor reports reflect only homes listed on that particularly site) said that the number of homes sold—not just listed—in SF dropped 12 months in a row.
Luxury real estate site Mansion Global even declared 2019 “the year of the vanishing buyer.” That’s probably a touch too dramatic—the California Association of Realtor reported the number of sales up year over year in October in SF and most (but not all) of the Bay Area.
Still, the fact remains that most of the time, housing demand doesn’t seem to be driving a frenzy in 2019.
The Realtor figures also estimated that for the San Jose area, a median-priced listing (not sale) in November was just less than $1.1 million, up 1.5 percent from 2018.
In the SF area, median asking price was roughly $933,000, up 5.1 percent.