“Mortgage application activity sunk to a quarter century low this week as high mortgage rates continue to weaken the housing market. While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023. Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of Millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market.” FHLMC, 1/5/2023
In 2022, the market saw a dramatic shift from Q2 (spring), at which time the market peaked after a dramatic 10-year upcycle supercharged at its end by the pandemic boom, through the 2nd half of the year, when the market cooled significantly. Prompted by a number of economic factors – especially inflation and interest rates, and financial markets – this played out in substantial declines in sales volumes, median sales prices, appreciation rates, and virtually all the standard measurements of buyer demand. However, tens of thousands of Bay Area homes continued to sell in the 2nd half, a considerable, but declining percentage still selling quickly at ov er asking price. On the other hand, some buyers are making the best deals in years. For sellers, pricing, preparation and marketing are now critical, while buyers shouldn’t hesitate to negotiate aggressively, especially on homes with longer days-on-market.
The period from just before Thanksgiving through mid-January usually sees the lowest levels of listing and offer-acceptance activity of the year, so it’s difficult to derive definitive conclusions about market trends from its numbers. The early spring market – which, weather cooperating, can begin as early as February in the Bay Area – would typically provide the next major indicator of market direction, but developments may occur sooner to provide increased clarity regarding what awaits us in 2023. For the time being, the market remains in a period of adjustment, with major macroeconomic conditions still in flux.
This report will look at the market from a variety of angles, including annual, quarterly and monthly data. Because of the large shifts in the market that occurred between the 1st and 2nd halves of the year, annual data will often disguise these changes, blending as it does heated, peak-market data with data in which very different conditions prevailed.
Statistics are generalities, essentially summaries of widely disparate data generated by dozens, hundreds or thousands of unique, individual sales occurring within different time periods. They are best seen not as precise measurements, but as broad, comparative indicators, with reasonable margins of error. Anomalous fluctuations in statistics are not uncommon, especially in smaller, expensive market segments. Last period data should be considered estimates that may change with late-reported data. Different analytics programs sometimes define statistics – such as “active listings,” “days on market,” and “months supply of inventory” – differently: what is most meaningful are not specific calculations but the trends they illustrate. Most listing and sales data derives from the local or regional multi-listing service (MLS) of the area specified in the analysis, but not all listings or sales are reported to MLS and these won’t be reflected in the data. “Homes” signifies real-property, single-household housing units: houses, condos, co-ops, townhouses, duets and TICs (but not mobile homes), as applicable to each market. City/town names refer specifically to the named cities and towns, unless otherwise delineated. Multi-county metro areas will be specified as such. Data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and subject to revision. All numbers to be considered approximate.
Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in median and average statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, amenities, views, lot size, quality of outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, additional parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so on. How any of these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by seasonality, “unusual” events, or changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in fair market value. The median sales price for an area will often conceal an enormous variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales.
Dollar per Square Foot is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, unfinished attics and basements, rooms built without permit, patios, decks or yards (though all those can add value to a home). These figures are usually derived from appraisals or tax records, but are sometimes unreliable (especially for older homes) or unreported altogether. The calculation can only be made on those home sales that reported square footage.
Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, DRE 01527235. Equal Housing Opportunity. This report has been prepared solely for information purposes. The information herein is based on or derived from information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Compass disclaims any and all liability relating to this report, including without limitation any express or implied representations or warranties for statements contained in, and omissions from, the report. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be read as any regulatory, legal, tax, accounting or other advice and Compass does not provide such advice. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Compass makes no representation regarding the accuracy of any statements regarding any references to the laws, statutes or regulations of any state are those of the author(s). Past performance is no guarantee of future results.