It's hardly a surprising bit of data for anyone who's been here 10 years or more, but some new real estate sales data provides a sobering new fact for you to throw around over dinner — and one that strikes bitter envy in the hearts of everyone who couldn't afford to buy property 10 years ago but now would maybe like to.
The overall median home value in San Francisco went up a whopping 90 percent between April 2009 and April 2019, from $715,900 to $1.36 million. This is according to a new report by Trulia provided to CNBC. This is a broad median based on every home sold in the city limits during that time, but it tracks with overall trends in the region and the housing shortage that has also kept rents rising over the same period. For the greater metro area, which includes Oakland, home values rose 77 percent in the last 10 years, Trulia says.
Of course facts like these come with a certain amount of melancholy for all of us who a) don't own a home or much at all except a dated CD collection, and b) have no real hope of owning anything in SF unless it's a tiny studio where we can live out our retirement years being able to reach out and touch the toilet from bed.
There was some — albeit very small — glimmer of things improving with Bay Area home prices in recent months, with median home prices dropping for the first time in seven years. That drop: $1,000, from $831,000 to $830,000.
The theory is that if more supply comes on the market, prices will begin to flatten or drop. Barring a major exodus or economic downturn, there's likely no way for supply to catch up to the pent up demand anytime in the next decade, especially in San Francisco — but I digress! Who knows what can happen?!
In the meantime, you have more pieces like this one in the Guardian decrying how the tech employees who have been vilified for "ruining" San Francisco mostly aren't that happy here anyway — repeating the oft-mentioned complaints about paying sky-high rents to live on a block full of hookers and syringes, etc. There isn't necessarily a direct cause and effect between increased homelessness and tech workers, but certainly a tight housing market with less affordable housing than we need has worsened the problem of people becoming homeless — and the massive amount of construction in the last decade has decreased the number of quiet alleyways and vacant lots where the homeless used to be able to hide, making the problem more visible than before.
Kudos to you if you managed to get a foothold here in the last decade, purchasing property that you've now watched appreciate handsomely. But even that doesn't necessarily mean that these homeowners are sitting pretty. Let's say they bought a two-bedroom condo for $715,900 (the median for all home prices) back in 2009, and that condo has now appreciated to the new median of $1.36 million. Buying a two-bedroom or larger home is barely possible for that price in SF's most desirable neighborhoods now, which means if they sold right now they'd likely have to leave the city or downsize, or move to a far-flung neighborhood they don't want to be in.
So yes. We're all suffering. Some of us at least own an asset, though.
Photo: Kyle Ryan