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Real Estate Views
Is the Northside housing market stalling?

By Matthew Borland

It’s all about perspective. Today, property takes longer to sell for the most part compared to a few years ago. Prices are a mixed bag – in some areas median price is up, in others it is down. Read the national news, and you’ll hear that the housing market has stalled. Dire predictions of a double dip are around every corner and have become a staple of the mainstream media.

Savvy homeowners in San Francisco understand that all real estate is local, especially in our beautiful city. A few areas of San Francisco are experiencing more than their share of upside down mortgages and painful short sales; others are faring much better. For the most part, homeowners on the north end of San Francisco have been spared most of the pain that has been inflicted across many parts of our fair state.

Last month I wrote about how median price statistics are often misunderstood and misleading. I also alluded to the fact that buyers are back, and deals are being made at a faster clip than last year. In the industry, we like to look at the size of the market in terms of sales volume or units sold. Measuring transaction volume is an important metric when evaluating the health of the real estate market. If you want to sell your property, are you able? Will there be a buyer? 

When I cut my teeth in the real estate industry close to 20 years ago, a successful open house was one where as many as three buyers showed up. I sat with many properties where not a single buyer was even out looking. Even though our current market is radically different than the dot-com years, we are a far cry from the slow markets of yesteryear. In today’s “slower” market, agents would complain bitterly if only three buyers showed up for an open house. Like I said, it’s all about perspective.

So what is happening with sales volume now?

Comparing the last 12 months to the prior 12 months yields only one conclusion: the market is recovering and is 20–40 percent more liquid. If you choose to sell, there are more buyers out there.




Matthew Borland is a managing broker and partner at Zephyr Real Estate and the past president of the San Francisco Association of Realtors. E-mail: 


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