As 2019 winds toward an end, the slightly weird year-long trend of declining Bay Area home sales compared to last year continues—except when it comes to the condo market, where it seems that demand is soaring compared to 2018.
That at least is the tale told by the California Association of Realtors (CAR), which recently released its monthly raft of data compiling everything that happened with home sales in the state in November.
For those with an eye on sales of single-family homes the outlook was anemic, albeit by this time predictable.
In San Francisco, the price of a house is up significantly compared to last year—12.2 percent appreciation, to a median sale price of nearly $1.62 million—but the number of homes sold is, as it has been almost every month this year, way down, dropping 5.8 percent since 2018.
Most of the rest of the region did no better: Napa County dropped 18.5 percent, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties more than ten percent, and the Bay Area’s combined sales were down nearly five percent overall.
(The only increases compared to last year were in Marin and Sonoma, up 13.3 and 8.7 respectively.)
One month’s numbers aren’t necessarily that significant, but these stats have been on the slide all year, with the warning signs of a slump emerging early—back in April, the SF Assessor-Recorder’s Office noted that the number of properties sold in SF during the previous nine months declined more than 10 percent year over year.
There is, however, one big exception to the downward trend: The same CAR numbers show that if you isolate just condo sales, the numbers are up almost everywhere.
In SF the appreciation is small but significant—just 3.8 percent from 2018. But in Napa, it’s a margin of 60 percent, the highest in the region. Solano County leapt 25 percent, and Marin County 23.5.
Condo and townhome sales surged everywhere except for Sonoma County, with a significant decline of 36.7 percent.
SF condo prices dropped a little bit compared to 2018, ticking down less than one percent to $1.19 million. But in the overall Bay Area prices were up slightly (2.8 percent) to a median of $730K.
Note that in San Francisco, per the most recent Housing Inventory Report released earlier this year, single-family homes make up just 31 percent of the total housing in the city, and just 1.5 percent of new construction.