Sep 20, 2023 - News

San Francisco buyers don't want your fixer-upper

Illustration of two hammers forming an "X" shape.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

San Francisco Bay Area homeowners looking to sell for top dollar should be thinking about renovations.

Why it matters: In San Francisco's excessively expensive housing market, where homebuyers are also hampered by high mortgage rates, buyers aren't going to spring for a place that looks like an HGTV "before" photo.

What's happening: Self-identified fixer-uppers are typically selling for less, and more slowly, than expected, according to Zillow data shared with Axios.

  • "Fixer-upper" listings comprised 0.4% of sales in the San Francisco Bay Area in the first half of 2023, per Zillow data, while those advertised as redone made up 28.6%.

The big picture: Across the U.S., listings that mention "fixer-upper" — 0.3% of sales in the first half of the year — sold at a 3.1% discount and took 3.2 days longer to sell relative to expectations, the Zillow data shows.

  • Listings pegged as "remodeled" or "renovated," which accounted for 24.1% of U.S. sales, sold at a 1.2% premium and 1.8 days faster than expected.

Zoom in: About 35.5% of San Francisco Bay Area homes in July were snapped up in two weeks or less, according to Redfin data shared with Axios.

  • San Francisco area homes go off-market after a median of 21 days, compared to 0 days a year ago, per the real estate brokerage.
  • The median home price in the area was about $1.4 million in August, according to Redfin.
  • Nationwide, roughly 41% of listings were marked pending, contingent or sold within that window, Redfin found.

Of note: Houses that stay on the market for more than a month are usually overpriced or in need of major work, according to Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr.

The bottom line: "Most homebuyers right now simply don't have enough money left over to invest in major repairs or remodeling," Marr tells the Wall Street Journal.


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