San Francisco Median Home Price Rises to $1.4 Million

Despite 2016’s general loss of inertia, Paragon Real Estate Group now reports that the price of a house in San Francisco is up to a median of $1.4 million in the first half of 2017.
Paragon economist Patrick Carlisle notes that in 1996 the same price was a mere $274,000, although according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation formula that comes out to nearly $434,700 in today’s currency.
At the time that was double the national average. But in the first half of 2017 Paragon calculates the median price of a house in the United States as $240K, just less than one-sixth the SF price. (And also still less than the city’s median from 21 years ago.)
The St. Louis Federal Reserve presently marks the nationwide price of a house at just over $310K, so there is some room to debate the size of the gap.
But since even that more conservative estimate leaves SF real estate 4.5 times more expensive than the rest of the country, it’s an intimidating landscape no matter what.
Carlisle pegs the median in San Mateo County at $1.38 million, Marin County at $1.26 million, and Santa Clara County at $1.13 million.
Alameda County overall is $855K, while the city of Oakland comes out to $715K.
Solano County has the lowest median, according to Paragon, at $406K, 1.3 to 1.6 times the nationwide figure, depending on the estimate.
Breaking down prices by neighborhood in each county, the rankings go:
  • Pacific + Presidio Heights, SF: $6.18 million.
  • Atherton, San Mateo County: $4.85 million.
  • Los Altos Hill, Santa Clara County: $4.18 million.
  • Belvedere, Marin County: $3.7 million.
  • Piedmont, Alameda County: $2 million.
  • Alamo, Contra Costa County: $1.63 million.
  • Rockridge, Oakland: $1.52 million.
  • St Helena, Napa County: $1.36 million.
  • Healdsburg, Sonoma County: $864K.
  • Benician, Solano County: $625K.

Carlisle notes that although it’s less visibly pricey than many surrounding cities and less pricey than SF in particular, Oakland remains the city to watch out of the pack:
SF has had the highest compound annual rate since 1996: It is the epicenter of the Bay Area high-tech, bio-tech and fin-tech economic miracle.
But Oakland soars above all other markets in appreciation since 2011, because of a combination of factors: It is the closest affordable alternative to much higher SF prices; it is a lively, multi-cultural urban area appealing to high-tech workers; and its housing prices dropped an astounding 60% after the 2008 crash.

He adds, “We now recommend that all our clients go back in time to 1995 or 2011 and buy as many homes as possible.” If only it were that easy.