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RISMEDIA, April 24, 2013– An ongoing shortage of homes available for purchase and strong buyer interest continued to buoy San Francisco’s existing, single-family detached home market in the first quarter of 2013 as the median price of a home sold remained above the $1 million mark for the second consecutive quarter, according to an analysis of MLS data by the research division of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate.

Although down slightly from $1,083,275 in the final quarter of 2012, San Francisco’s first quarter 2013 median sales price of $1,052,626 was 25 percent higher than the first quarter of  2012 median sales price of $842,335. Homebuyers seeking bargains in The City’s most affordable neighborhoods found a limited selection of homes and plenty of competition in the form of all-cash and multiple offers. As a result, all of San Francisco’s 10 districts reported double-digit price increases compared with the first quarter of last year.

Among neighborhoods registering the largest number of single-family detached home sales, District 9 (Inner Mission/Potrero Hill/South of Market) reported a 29 percent annualized median price increase, followed by District 10 (Bayview/Excelsior/Visitacion Valley) with a 25 percent annualized increase, District 2 (Sunset) with an 18 percent year-over-year increase, and District 4 (Diamond Heights/Mt. Davidson/West Portal) with a 15 percent increase.

Citywide, only 219 existing, single-family detached homes were available for purchase on the final day of this year’s first quarter, down 51 percent from 444 homes on the market in the comparable quarter of 2012. Inventory in District 3 (Stonestown/Ingleside/Oceanview) was down 70 percent from a year ago, followed by District 10 (-61%), District 4 (-60%) and District 9 (-56%). Homes continued to sell at a brisk pace. The average number of days a home was on the market before receiving a final offer to purchase was 43, up slightly from 40 days in the fourth quarter of 2012 but down from 59 days in the first quarter of 2012. Homes in Districts 4 and 10 were on the market only 31 days before attracting a final offer, while the average home in District 8 (Nob Hill/Russian Hill/Telegraph Hill) sold in 79 days.

Not surprisingly, most San Francisco neighborhoods reported a year-over-year decline in the number of homes sold. District 3 experienced a 46 percent annualized decline, followed by District 6 (Hayes Valley/Western Addition) with a 40 percent decrease and District 8 (Nob Hill/Russian Hill/Telegraph Hill) with a 20 percent annualized decline. Sales totals were flat in District 5 compared with the same quarter a year ago, but were up on an annualized basis by 13 percent in both Districts 4 and 9.

“Looking ahead to the peak homebuying season, favorable mortgage interest rates and a desire to purchase before home prices get any higher likely will draw more buyers into what continues to be a seller’s market,” said Jim Caldwell, Manager of the San Francisco office on Union Street.  With distressed properties accounting for less than 2 percent of homes sold (down from 43 percent a year ago), the days of bargain-basement deals are only a memory. Buyers in today’s market require an iron constitution and an experienced REALTOR® to help them navigate and negotiate the competitive San Francisco real estate market.

Select homeowners – especially “baby boomers” who have been awaiting an opportunity to downsize for retirement or to right-size their real estate portfolio for tax or estate planning purposes – may discover that low inventory and rising home prices offer a window of opportunity to sell in the months ahead. However, sellers looking to purchase another home elsewhere in The City may find they face the same challenges as other buyers – limited inventory and rising prices.

About Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate

Our heritage began with the founding of Mason-McDuffie Real Estate in 1887. In 2010, the company was named the 19th largest real estate services firm in the nation (REALTrends 500), and Number One in the San Francisco East Bay (SF Business Times). The company provides comprehensive solutions to home buyers and sellers, and handled 6,500 transactions in 2012, generating $2.8 billion in sales volume. Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate includes joint ventures with partners Highland Partners in Piedmont and Montclair, Wine Country Group Realtors in the North Bay, and Tri-Valley Realty in Pleasanton-Hopyard and Ruby Hill, and Bahay Co. in Concord. Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate is locally owned and has more than 1,100 real estate professionals with 30 offices in eight counties in the Bay Area and the Tahoe/Truckee region. For more information, go to