The wealthy have largely not suffered in the pandemic, and if anything, the Bay Area wealthy just opted to upgrade their manses or hunker down further in cloistered, expensive homes.
According to some fresh data from Sotheby’s International Realty, the San Francisco area saw bumps in high-end home sales in 2020 that were akin to Aukland, Singapore, and Tel Aviv, as wealthy people invested more wealth into real estate as their travel plans all evaporated.
The annual report from Sotheby's, "Luxury Outlook 2021," discusses how wealthy Millennial home buyers are driving the market — and helped to fuel increases in luxury home sales in places like Austin, Montecito, Park City, and Aspen, seeking outdoor access in addition to happening food and art scenes. And as Bloomberg notes, the boom in the high-end market is being moved not just by the pandemic, but also by rapid new wealth creation and easy access to capital.
As the San Francisco Business Times reports, via 2020 data from Compass Real Estate, ritzy zip codes around the Bay Area saw a year-over-year uptick of 46% in luxury home sales.
The median single-family home price in Marin County went up 12% last year, while in Santa Clara County it rose 10%, with both likely partly driven by homebuyers escaping urban congestion and high rents in SF amid a pandemic. (As several articles have suggested in recent months, the much publicized San Francisco exodus may just be temporary, and some people likely moved nearby just to get more space.)
As Jeff Gibson, executive vice president at Sotheby’s International Realty tells the Business Times, one side effect of the pandemic-driven urge to move has been increased sales activity in San Francisco's west side — with high-end properties seeing a noted uptick out in the Sunset and Richmond. For some who wanted more space, it looks like a move to the Avenues was as far as they really wanted to go.
"What was interesting was seeing houses in the Sunset go for over $3 million," Gibson tells the paper. "Our definition of luxury is over $3 million, so to see multiple houses going for over $3 million [out there] is like, wow!"
And, of course, San Francisco's traditionally tony enclaves have remained popular, with the median home price Presidio Heights driven up now to $7.35 million, and Pacific Heights comes in second place among SF neighborhoods with a median home sale price of $5.6 million.
Must be nice.
Hopefully all these people spend a shit ton of money and TIP WELL at restaurants as soon as they reopen.
Photo: Jutta Kamp