Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Stephen Ardr…, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

Are there any realtors out there who advise waiting for the market to turn around?

Asked by Stephen Ardron, San Francisco, CA Tue Apr 29, 2008

It seems likely with continued slowing of the economy and downward pressure from nearby housing markets that it is only a matter of time before things start to slump worse here than they already are. Property is staying on the market longer, prices are falling - I'm very nervous about buying at the moment and see little or no downside to waiting longer before prices settle and/or start to rise again.

Help the community by answering this question:


I'm not sure if I'd advise waiting--and it really depends on location--but in many areas of the country I think buyers might as well wait. You're absolutely right about the slowing of the economy. And there are still properties headed toward foreclosure. Meanwhile, inflation seems to be bumping up--and the negative effects of inflation generally outweight any positive effects on housing prices. And, as you yourself know, consumer sentiment is low.

On the other hand, it is a buyer's market. And if someone can buy below market and get a good value, and plans on not selling for 5-7 years, it often will make sense to buy. Meanwhile, people graduating from college--assuming they've got a decent-paying job--who need a place to live certainly ought to consider buying. They've got to live somewhere, and in many areas of the country the huge spread between the monthly mortgage payment and monthy rent payment has closed considerably.

As Ron notes, by the time you notice the market turning up, you'll have missed the bottom. But my sense of it is that you're not trying to buy at the absolute bottom...just while prices are still low and you've got a reasonable assurance that they're on their way up. If that's where you're coming from, then wait awhile.

Hope that helps.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Realtors get accused of always saying that it's a great time to buy, regardless of the market conditions. But the only person that can answer whether it's a good time for you is you. A big question is how long do you plan to stay in a new home. If you say a year, than I'd be inclined to say wait a little and see what happens. If you say 5+ years, then do what you want and makes the most sense for you. In that time you should be able to ride out the turns in the market. I bought my own SF house in 1994. At that time the market was in a funk and interest rates were in the mid-8% range. Shortly thereafter the market started to recover and interest rates started to tumble. I'd like to brag that I knew what I was doing and timed it perfectly, but must admit I just got lucky. We never know that the market has hit bottom until the bottom has passed.
Web Reference: http://www.yourSFhome.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
If you find a home at the right price with decent financing now might be a great time to buy. That has a caveat though. You should look at this being something to hold onto for a number of years.

I had buyers wait because prices were going down but they lost their loans and not they have no choice but rent.

You certainly can wait but loan issue is critical right now. 100% financing is gone. If you are going for a condo you might not get PMI insurance on a low down property. Things have changed and are continuing to change.

If you find something you like put in an offer!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 9, 2008
I'm advising my loft owners to not sell right now if they don't have to, but keep them informed of the inventory and what is selling on a weekly basis. Being a buyer is ideal in a buyer's market, you have more choices and a better bargaining position. As to our market in San Francisco, keep your eye on local job creation numbers. If your gut says to wait and rent for now, I'd advise following that, and continue to track the market.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008
I can't believe the amount of poor logic and thinking that goes on this board with these experts. Of course, realtors will never say that this is a poor time to buy. But the reality is that home prices will continue to decrease over the next few years.
Astounding number of non professional here who must have crystal gazing balls! If you don't HAVE TO sell now, DO NOT SELL. If you don't HAVE TO BUY, don't buy. It's simple as that. It is my opinion that prices will fall for the foreseeable future also but that is my humble opinion. The certainty with which I read some statements here is truly astounding.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
I can't believe the amount of poor logic and thinking that goes on this board with these experts. Of course, realtors will never say that this is a poor time to buy. But the reality is that home prices will continue to decrease over the next few years. There are close 18 million homes vacant in the US. Another 3 million inventory. Not to mention condos etc. Supply is huge. Demand is weak. Babyboomers will start to divest of property as they age, get sick, die, etc in the next 5-20 yrs. Another wave of supply is yet to hit the market. The younger generations are not able to maintain the same lifestyle as their parents because of economic disparities,, etc. Home prices have had a huge run in the last 8 yrs because of cheap money, which is no longer there. So what is the catalyst for home prices appreciating which many people have alluded to? Of course this is all a personal decision based on family, kids, finances etc. But no intelligent person is going to tell you that homes prices are going to increase anytime soon. Except realtors who always say the same thing, no matter what. "it is a great time to buy"
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
Hi Stephen,

You might be interested in reading the attached reference published in business week. Nationally, the real estate market is overpriced from an upswing in valuations starting from 2000 onward. One illuminating fact is that since 1890, real estate has only returned 0.4% inflation adjusted, placing it well behind bonds and stocks.

It is well documented in a number of sources that you are financially better off renting and investing the difference of what you might pay to service a mortgage and property taxes. This is more true for the bay area with high property valuations. In many cases you can not deduct property taxes due to AMT exclusion rules, and the mortgage deduction only applies to the first 1M financed.

Buy a property only if you want the stability of owning a home and the lifestyle it might afford. Consider it a windfall if you happen to make any money on it after inflation, mortgage interest and property taxes.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 12, 2008
Perhaps you should READ some of the comments below before commenting on them. I am a Realtor and I didn't suggest buying. Also, I happen to be a trained economist and led a financial planning group for a NYSE firm. First and foremost, the NEEDS of the client come first, rather in real estate or financial planning. I addressed the questions that Stephen needs to ask befor making a decision so that he can make an informed decision. And noone has a crystal ball.

Thanks for elaborating further. $1000/mo after tax advantage for renting? And you like where you live? Sounds like you should continue renting. If something does pop up that is truly a bargain and you love it, then think about purchasing. In the meantime, it appears that you have done your research and you are in an optimal situation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
Don't waste your time asking Realtors about price trends. It was Realtors who were spouting off two years ago that "it was a great time to buy" and "prices never go down." We all know how foolish that advice was. According to Realtors, every day during the past 100 years was a great time to buy OR sell real estate -- and remarkably the same will hold true for the next 100 years.

Realtors may be knowledgeable on current and past prices for their area, but they are NOT experts on future price trends. Realtors are not economists and very few have any business or economic training to speak of. They are SALESPEOPLE. The reality is that they only get a commission if you buy, so they have an incentive to be less then accurate as to their assessments. The few competent Realtors with integrity would admit that prices are going down in most areas of California and buyers could save money by simply waiting for the bubble to further deflate.

If you can afford a home with a large down payment and conventional financing and don't care about prices dropping further, consider the purchase. But DON"T purchase with the expectation of future price gains. This was a huge bubble that needs to finish deflating. If history is any guide, prices will not rebound quickly when the bottom is finally reached.

Best of Luck,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
Market turn around, suggestion work with a good realtor who knows how to study areas and true market value of homes per sq. ft pricing then purchase on the lower side, OR if you can find a foreclosure below market value therefore you have equity.

You still obtain tax benefits no matter what time you purchase, I personally purchase properties continually as an investor no matter what time of the year or what the media state I make a ton of money, however there is more that comes into play on making those profits. GOOD LUCK
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
I always wonder what the consumer and/or talking heads mean by the "Market turning around"? What? Back to the days of 20% yearly appreciation? Affordablity? Sane underwiriting guidelines? I heard a talking head stating the Fed was going to try and stop the "spiral downward of home prices". Huh? The fed is NOT going to restore property values to a level where those now facing the ravages of "neg-am" loans, option arms payments and nothing down scenarios will stay put in their homes. These folks, the vast majority who should NOT have been allowed to buy homes to begin with, are looking at increased loan payments with falling values and thinking, "Why am I paying this monthly payment to live here!??" Your loan adjusts, you're paying $4,000 per month to live in a modest production style home while you could "rent" a much nicer place with litle or no reponsibiliies. They move! They bail! It's O.K. to bail now! It's socially acceptable! I'm a victim of bad Realtors, lenders, Wall Street, everyone but my own actions.
That being said--is it a bad time to buy when the REO's I have listed get 15-20 offers and overbid on the home driving the cost skyward? Should we allow 3% down with 580 FICO scores? Sub-prime scammers on the prowl again? Nope!! FHA!!
I got news for y'all--it's the wild, wild, West out here in the Greatest State of California. The timid need not apply!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
Amazing how many people believe that they can forecast markets for years to come. Stunning the amount of billionaires who have time to post on these sites! I am a Realtor and I will tell you that sometimes you shouldn't purchase. Simply put, noone knows precisely where the market is going. Be it real estate, stocks, etc. over the short term. So the question to ask is if you are gambling, investing, or buying a home. If your time horizon is less than 3 years and you don't think you could afford to take a loss at time of sell, then don't buy it. If you intend to be there for at least five years, then realistically you will at least break even, and probably make money. Now ask if you will be happy there.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
You are not really asking a fair question. Asking realtors whether its a good idea to buy is like asking a hairdresser if you need a haircut. All signs point to a market that is getting softer as we work out the huge amont of excess inventory. 3% of single family homes are vacant, and more vacant homes are coming on line as people have to give up their homes. The universe of buyers has been reduced significantly from both tightening credit standards and others on the fence. What you need to do is to research the market where you want to live. Look at all the key stats: taxes, schools, crime, proximity to work, etc. When you have selected the market and the price range you like, then watch the market closely. Monitor every sale and every house coming on the market. As the inventory clearly starts to decline, and the # of sales increases, you get a pretty good idea that things are turning around. Its all about supply and demand, and every local market is different -- the inventory will work itself alot faster in Tiburon than it will in Salinas!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
There are several factors that should influence your decision. One, how long do you intend to stay in the home/area? If you think you might be relocating within the next three years, then you might want to consider holding off. Three years is actually considered a short term "investment", even in the stock market. However, if you would be happy in a house and have high expectations of staying in the area, then take advantage of the chaos out there now. The best time to buy is when everyone else is panicing. This creates outstounding opportunity. Another consideration would be the rent vs. purchase decision. Consider all your after tax comparisons before making a decision. Hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008

If you are nervous I am nervous. You don't sound like you are in a position of having to buy right now. If you were my client I would sit down with you and have a conversation about what is important to you aout buying a home. From there we can figure out what is a good timeline for you and your personal goals. If that is now, lets get to work. If that is two years from now, lets come up with a plan to have you ready then. Don't try to time the market. No one can. Buy for your personal reasons. If you plan on living in the home for a few years especially in San Fran, it is a pretty safe bet.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
“Congress, the Bush administration and regulators have urged lenders to renegotiate terms for borrowers so they can stay in their homes, easing the glut of empty houses. Such efforts may mask the slump’s extent by delaying foreclosures, RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said in the statement.”

“‘This country needs a cleansing,’ said billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell. ‘We need to clean out all those people who never should have bought in the first place, and not give them sympathy.’”

“Government attempts to slow the flood of defaults ‘could be simply deferring another flood of foreclosures,’ Saccacio said in the statement. ‘That could extend the length of time it takes the market to recover from this downward cycle.’”

“The subprime borrowing spree featured lax lending standards that allowed people to buy homes with little or no down payment, and many of those borrowers today have no incentive to pay off mortgages that are worth more than the homes they bought, Zell said.”

“‘That whole process has to be liquidated,’ Zell said.”
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
Mortgage rates aren't *that* good right now - while the prime rate is very low it looks like a lot of banks are trying to recoup their losses from previous mistakes - if rates fell further I'd more inclined to buy.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
I work in the South Carolina Coastal market and I have been telling sellers that we will continue to expect that prices along the ocean front will remain down for at least another year. If they must sell then lets price it correctly and get the out of the property. Those that just want to see what happens we need to leave their overpriced condos off the market as not to add additional units to scare away potentilal buyers because of "so many" on the market it scares them. Other clients that are more savy with the ups and downs in the market understand that we know it is a buyers market now and now is the time to purchase. I have not seen these prices in 4 years and why wait and miss out on these great deals. I have several clients that did and still are upset. But now I am calling them to say "here is a better deal than 3 years ago" lets make an offer. Since the market is corrected and we continue to see strong single family homes selling I tell the people- the home you looked at today and will think about tonight will be purchased by the person who looked at it yesterday and purchased it today! Do want to make an offer?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
All Real Estate is local, but the general trend especially in most of our larger cities, is that this is a buyer's market. I am a REALTOR that works in the San Antonio, TX market. I tell my potential buyer clients that if they will be living here for at least three years then now is probably a good time to buy. Interest rates are at record lows. No Realtor can guarantee the bottom of the housing market any more than your stock broker can predict when the current stock market will bottom. Seek the counsel of an experienced REALTOR in San Francisc who will provide you the relevant information you require to make an informed decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 12, 2008
Yes I recommend waiting if: You want to day trade your home, wait. If you want to build someone else's equity, rent. If you want to own your space as it were, buy less home than you are approved for and live there. good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 9, 2008
I believe that the answer to this question depends on your reason for buying. If it is for speculation, then I recommend pursuing "distressed" properties - those that are in foreclosure or close to it. These properties are owned by truly motivated sellers. Contrary to what some believe, banks do not want to hold on to the property.

In many areas, it is possible to rent homes for enough (or nearly enough) to cover the debt service, so buying investment properties might make sense, especially if you intend to hold them for some time (as others have pointed out).

If you are not a speculator, then there are other considerations to take into account. With the the current housing market slow down, many prospective home buyers tend to hold off making a decision because they are waiting for sign that the market has hit bottom. Many are reluctant to commit to a purchase when prices are still declining. The only problem with this strategy is that you can only know for sure that a market has turned around after the fact. The reality is that nobody knows when prices reach the top or the bottom.

A slow market is often thought of as an opportunity by some buyers, because it takes longer for listings to sell. The inventory of unsold listings tends to grow, giving buyers a larger selection of homes. An important advantage of buying in a slow market is that you have the chance to buy at a reasonable price, without having to compete with other buyers.

On the other hand, one risk of buying in a slow market is that the value of what you buy might drop before it rises. Or, prices could stay flat for some time.

In my view, the right time to buy is when you see the right house. I say this because, unlike other investments, a home is something you can use. The value, whether rising or declining, does not affect your use of it.

Anyone who has watched the real estate market over a long period of time knows that values fluctuate, but over the long term, they always end up higher than the previous high point.

Unlike the last down turn in the housing market (early to mid 1990s), mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. This provides an extra incentive for buyers to purchase now, rather than wait. By the time we know that the market has bottomed out and prices are on the rebound, not only will competition for available homes increase, but interest rates may be headed in the same direction. Locking in a mortgage at today’s exceptional rates and a home at today's bargain prices makes sense to me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 9, 2008
I think that's 20 of 28 answers from non-San Franciscans. What does the Chicago market have to do with the price of tea in China? If there are foreclosures all over Phoenix, can you tell me where to find them in San Francisco?

And rates aren't low??? If you wait for 5.5% to come back, you might end up with 8%. Rates are phenomonal right now IF you have the income, credit score, and downpayment to get low 6's.

My suggestion is to use this "slow" time to educate yourself on the inventory. This is work. You need to be out every Sunday at Open houses, and you need to be scouring the MLS. You'll be an expert in no time flat, and when a "deal" presents itself you'll KNOW, and you'll be ready. Luck favors the prepared.

In the meantime.... let's look at renting.... WHAT is it good for??? If your rent is $2,000 cheaper than your monthly mortgage/taxes/HOA dues, less tax savings.... you should start "paying yourself" that $2,000 and get used to making house payments. Pay it to your savings account if you're going to buy soon, or pay it to your INVESMENT account if you're not going to buy soon (or ever based on much of the advice I just read). That is the ONLY benefit to renting.... saving to invest... either in real estate or elsewhere.

So then the question is... WHERE are you going to invest? In the stock market? Is that a safer investment than real estate? Or wiser? Or easier? Won't the stock market continue to "soften" more????

Besides, if you put $100,000 into the stock market and get a 10% return you make only $10,000. But you can buy a $1 million home with the same $100,000 and a 10% gain is $100,000. Which will get 10% appreciation first????

Uhh.... that depends..... every neighborhood is different let alone every town, every state and every section of the country. In San Francisco every block can be different. So please don't take San Francisco advice even from a person who works out of town even 20 minutes away, let alone someone in another part of the country. That's just as bad as using someone's opinion on the overall stock market when you're considering buying shares in one particular company, in one small niche. Which will go up 10%? And when? Do you're own research.... and find experts who really know the exact area you are researching.... and then do the best job of answering that SPECIFIC question for yourself.

And while you're out at the Open Houses.... stick around for a while... count how many Buyers are coming through (to the new listings), engage a few in conversation... what you'll probably find is that there are a LOT of Buyers who are "waiting for the market to soften". So the "demand" is there.... waiting. And they are building up, and getting stronger. My plate of Buyer clients is getting bigger and bigger as they all wait. That leads me to believe we are at the bottom (not much of one since some neighborhoods are up over last year, some flat, and some areas and market segments down), and once they stop waiting and start buying.... prices will go back up.

You said "loft" so I'm going to assume you are a SOMA buyer (hey Dallas or Chicago folks - any idea what part of town that is?) and if so, I believe you do still have some time, but not in that time I doubt it will go down much further... and chances are neither will interest rates.

By the way.... the Chicago, Dallas or even Santa Rosa, CA Realtors should have excellent advice for you if you ask the right question.... ask them where, in THEIR area, you can find investment properties that will cash flow. If you really aren't comfortable with the San Francisco market, investing outside of the city where a renter can pay all or most of your bills. Their doom and gloom is your opportunity. Be a contrarian... buy when everyone else thinks it's bad, and sell when everyone else thinks it will never stop going up.
Web Reference: http://www.SFisHome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Rent is about $1800 for a good sized one bedroom appartment. Looking to buy a larger loft, but with HOA and mortgage it will probably be about $3500/month (for something larger that we plan to live in for a while). If mortgage rates drop as much as prime has it would be a different story though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
Thanks for the answers. A little bit more about my situation - I currently rent, but at a quite reasonable rate in a good part of town. Any purchase at current mortgage rates would likely cost us around $1000 more per month, even after tax benefits. Again, mortgage rates aren't that good at the moment, despite the fall in the prime rate, so that is little incentive (they have been in a very similar range for the past 5 years). Prices are starting to come down in SF, but have yet to fall as much as outlaying areas - that appears to possibly be a matter of time.

Since our rent is quite affordable, the prudent thing to do seems to be to wait, while occasionally putting in a low offer on something that seems like a good deal that we like. While we might not get the perfect deal if prices turn around in SF, at least we're unlikely to have an albatross around our necks if they continue to fall.

I wanted to particularly thank Rick from Chicago as his answer was the most helpful. Obviously there is no crystal ball, but since this is likely the biggest investment I'm ever likely to make it is best to be careful about it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
I can only answer your question with what we are experiencing here in Calaveras County California. Here we are in a predominently 2nd home market. So our inventory is flooded at the moment with lots of tremendous bargains out there. Will they continue to drop in price? No one knows for sure...they have been steadily dropping and offers are coming in way under asking, as I'm sure is the case all over right now. That being said...I would suggest that you continue looking, if you find the perfect home for you...make an offer that you are comfortable with. You could be surprised at the results! Hope this helps.
Nicole Holmquist, Realtor, Century 21 Sierra Properties, Murphys, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
Well this is a great question. The buyer's market we are experiencing in the coastal section of South Carolina is really dependent upon how the rest of the housing markets go. Single family homes, residential lots, and ocean front condos are a real bargain right now. Things are selling here at a normal rate compared to 2003. I believe that now is a great time to buy. Prices are down, interest rates are down, and there are sellers willing to negotiate. I have seen the time in 2004 when the available properties slowly were purchased and things got our of hand quickly in some hot properties. So it can change in a matter of a month when the vented up demand starts hitting certain areas. I see buyers out there right now are people that did not purchase a second home in 2004 because they did not have a good choice and waited and the prices went right by their purchasing power. Now they are able to find exactly what they want at the better price. So why wait! Why not be the buyer that gets the best deal and has the opportunity to sell when things are going up and make a better return than those that would not sell waiting on the top time and find out they just missed it by two weeks! Buy now with no regrets!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
You might be waiting a long time for the market to catch up to your desired sell price. Also, Upgrading in a down market is the way to go.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
Here's my response to a similar question to my blog-
Timing the market….how many buyers are waiting for the market to bottom out? My guess is there are a lot of people out there waiting to purchase their next home. They are unsure of when to buy - they don’t want to buy now because they’re afraid they will hear that prices continued downward.

That is very understandable but you have to think - have you ever said ” I should have bought X before the price went up”? That’s going to happen to a lot of people across the country in the near future. Is that this week, next week or in a couple of months? Good question!

What are we seeing in Phoenix? Well the number of active listings has not continued to grow and the number of pending homes out there are starting to climb. Does that show the signs of the market changing? Or is it simply a blip on the radar screen?

Here’s a couple of things I think were interesting that was found on a site called Radar Logic. It showed that back in December of last year, 4 of the top 25 metros they track showed that prices have climbed. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but considering over the last year or so all metros were down, I think it is good sign.

One other thing I liked was that over the last 5 years, prices for real estate in Phoenix, Arizona are still up about 9.4%. So when is it time to buy? I think we’re in the best buying cycle we’re going to see in a long time. When things do pop, do you want to be on the sidelines saying “I should have bought last spring”? Or would you like to be in that new home and listening to your friends say “I should have…”?

To check out property values, etc. visit my website http://www.ValleyREAdvisor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
As Realtor's we all see the value in owning property. We are bullish proponents of the benefits generally speaking of property ownership.
As agents for our clients we work on individual situations. If you are worried then it might be that your worries are valid in your situation.
If you are able to buy a property in San Francisco, have a stable job and want to put down roots then now is a good time to buy. SF property values will not decline over the long term.
The last time property values were in decline was in the late 80's early 90's, San Francisco saw a decline of 3%. In the Chronicle today the Case Schiller index showed values up 75% since 2000. This area has everythiing going for it. We have great education institutions, incredible research and development. We attract some of the best and brightest of each generation. San Francisco is a limited space so it can't do anything but become more valuable as time goes on because of its limited supply.
Web Reference: http://www.jedlane.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
I do recommend that sellers wait a while in some cases, but not buyers. Waiting can actually cost a buyer money down the road. While the selling price may fall more, the rayes are not as likely to. This will actually make the payment go up. Here is a quote from the February issue of Time Magazine.
"Consider a typical home that sells for $218,900. You put down 20% and get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at today's rate of 5.5%. Monthly principal and interest come to $994.31. Let's say that 12 months from now the same house goes for 10% less, or $197,010. But by then the recession is history and the Fed is jacking up rates to stem inflation. If mortgage costs rise a point, to 6.5%, your monthly payment would be $994.94 and you'd have saved nothing. Meanwhile, home prices might steady and sellers might become less willing to negotiate. And you have spent a year living someplace you'd rather not be."
The link is below for your convenience.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
NO! It's called a buyer's market for a reason. Rates are low currently. Waiting and paying higher interest usually means a higher mortgage payment even if housing prices go down--which overall, they aren't in San Francisco. Some neighborhoods (Noe Valley, for example) went way up in value last year. Some declined slightly. The only areas in the City that might see a further decline in price are neighborhoods where there are short sales. These include: Outer Parkside, Ingleside/Ingleside Hts, Oceanview, Bernal Heights, Bayview, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, Outer Mission, Vis Valley, Portola, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace and Bayview Hts.

If you want to live in the far-flung southern edges of the City--by all means--wait. Anywhere else--DON'T. Besides, the only way to know if prices have truly bottomed out is when they're going up again.

We have a stable economy, pent-up demand and limited good inventory. We have over-bidding and multiple bidding going on still. Get a good deal now and don't risk paying more in price or interest by waiting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
It is indeed a Buyers Market. Interest rates are still quite good and there is lots of inventory to choose from. Some Sellers are making even more concessions than price reductions such as providing assistance with Buyer closing costs. One theory on waiting is that what you might have saved by waiting (a lower price) might very well be eaten up by a higher interest rate. Bottom line is, if you plan to stay in the home for at least 4 or 5 years, then this is a great time to buy. Buyers have nearly all the negotiating leverage right now. Let me know if you need a Realtor in SF. I can refer you to someone there. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
Stephen: It all depends on your motivation for selling. Of course if you aren't under any time constraints and can wait to sell it could be a good thing, although the San Francisco market really hasn't reacted to the drop in values. If you or I could predict the future we could retire immediately and become real estate investors. One never knows how many years it could take for values for rise or fall. Historically in the last 35 years when the market values rise it always exceeds the last previous high values! Another consideration is the interest rates. Interest rates also drive values and allows more potential buyers to consider purchasing. I don't sell real estate in San Francisco but I do know a fantastic broker there who would be happy to help you. Just give me a call at 510-305-3913
Web Reference: http://www.juliakorpi.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
When the market turns around, so will the interest rates. Right now, the rates are low, making this a good time to buy. Ours is not to worry about Wall Street or investment bankers. We buy homes for our families. The choice is paying your mortgage or your landlord's mortgage. For the majority of Americans 60% of their net worth is their home. Renting will give you only receipts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
No one I know can predict the future. Factors you also need to consider are the effect of interest rate changes on your payments, what you are spending on rent and lack of deductions you are missing.

This is my 3rd decade as a full time broker so I have seen these markets before. You'll know 6 months after the market turned that it in fact did. In the meantime there are some excellent opportunities out there hence this is "a buyer's market".
Web Reference: http://gr8homes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
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