Nov 28, 2023 - Real Estate

One in seven San Francisco Bay Area homeowners selling at a loss

Illustration of a real estate sale sign shaped like a downward point arrow

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A growing share of San Francisco Bay Area homeowners are selling their houses at a loss, per data Redfin shared with Axios.

Why it matters: The Bay Area's housing market is undergoing a course correction, but potential homebuyers are still finding home prices to be out of reach due to high interest rates.

Driving the news: More than 3% of U.S. homes sold at a loss between August and October — up from 2.4% a year ago.

  • The median loss was around $40,000, per Redfin data.

Zoom in: Roughly one in seven (13.6%) of Bay Area homes sold at a loss from August to October — up from about 9.2% a year ago.

  • The median loss was around $122,500, per Redfin data.
  • Across the nation, the highest proportion and largest losses were in San Francisco, where the region has experienced outsized home-price declines, according to Redfin.

What they're saying: Home prices have declined in the Bay Area for a few reasons, according to Redfin researchers Lily Katz and Sheharyar Bokhari.

  • The Bay Area is home to the most expensive real estate in the country, so housing costs had "a lot of room to come down," they wrote in September.
  • The area has also been hit hard by tech layoffs and affected by the rise of remote work enabling people to relocate to cheaper areas, they said.

The other side: Some markets have even been stronger for sellers this year. The proportion of losses in D.C., for instance, has shrunk since last year.

Zoom out: Losses were least common in Providence, Rhode Island; Anaheim, California; San Diego, Boston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Between the lines: There's still a housing shortage in the city of San Francisco, and local officials last week missed a deadline to pass legislation designed to expedite the housing approvals process, The San Francisco Standard reports.

  • California's housing department granted the city another 30 days to pass the bill, which would eliminate certain review processes in housing projects.
  • If the city fails to meet this new deadline, San Francisco's control over its housing policies could be in jeopardy.

The bottom line: Sellers are still on top in this low-inventory market. Those who've been in their homes for a long time can make a profit, per Redfin.

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