San Francisco’s pandemic-battered condo market bounced back with a vengeance this spring, scoring its busiest three-month period in at least 16 years as vaccinated buyers rushed back into the city to take advantage of pricing that is still significantly below its 2018 highs, according to a new report from the brokerage Compass.
The San Francisco condo, tenancy-in-common and co-op market saw more than 1,300 sales in the three-month period between March and May, up from about 400 sales a year ago.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never seen the ferocious buyer demand that is going on right now,” said Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst for Compass.
San Francisco’s condo market weakened considerably during the first year of the pandemic as downtown office towers went dark, theaters shuttered and restaurants closed. Apartment buildings in the downtown neighborhoods saw a 25% drop in rents, as many young tech workers took advantage of work-from-home flexibility to return home to their parents or move into more spacious and affordable cities. Now many of those workers are plotting their return, even if their jobs will remain partially remote, Carlisle said.
The spike in interest in condos may have been in part motivated by their value compared to the roaring single-family home market. While single-family homes in San Francisco jumped about 6% year over year, — to a median price of about $1.8 million — condo prices are still off their highs. High-rise condo prices are down 9.1% from pre-pandemic highs, while mid-rise units are down 9.6% and low-rise homes are 5.2% below what they were. The median two-bedroom condo is about $1.3 million, according to Compass.