January 2024 Aethos Newsletter

January 23, 2024

Real Estate

January 2024 Aethos Newsletter
Aethos Real Estate - Market Update
January 2024
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2024. And adios 2023 and fare thee well! While it was not the booming market we have seen for most of the last decade, the year was a healthy reset for the overall San Francisco and Bay Area market in many ways. Prices have been pretty much rocketing for years, since the end of the Recession of 2008-2010. This last year we saw leveling and even some drops from the peaks of the last few years. That, of course, was tough on sellers who have watched their neighbors, friends and/or family get multiple offers and sell for way over the asking price. This year we saw perfectly wonderful listings spend much longer times on the market. In SF we sold 10% less single families than in 2022. Still we at Aethos sold all of our listings (1 having just closed and the other two by the end of January) and helped our buyers to get into some lovely properties, often for under the asking price!
Please let us know if you have any questions about the market, what your current property is worth or what prospective properties are selling for. We are, foremost, here to be your advisors and consultants. And remember, if you are thinking of selling, we have our Aethos Revive program where we can come in and do presale renovations to significantly increase your property's value and you don't have to pay for them until close of escrow (see the bottom of newsletter for more info.) And also check out our cool new property search app, down below as well.
In addition, as your local real estate experts, we feel it’s our duty to give you, our valued client, all the information you need to better understand our local real estate market. Whether you’re buying or selling, we want to make sure you have the best, most pertinent information, so we’ve put together this monthly analysis breaking down specifics about the market.
- John L. Woodruff III, LIC #00952491
Your Aethos Team - Corey, Amber, Debra,
Anat, John, Gina and Jessamy
And we love your referrals! Thanks!
The Big Story
The stage is set for 2024 to look a lot different from 2023
Quick Take:
  • The Fed telegraphed that rate hikes are ending, and financial markets expect rate cuts in 2024, which will meaningfully reduce the cost of financing and increase home sales.
  • High mortgage rates continue to drive low home sales, which are down 15% year over year. However, low sales have caused inventory to build, which will benefit the 2024 market as demand increases.
  • Home prices are declining slightly, which is normal this time of year, but mortgage rates are keeping the monthly cost of financing a home at or near record highs.
Note: You can find the charts & graphs for the Big Story at the end of the following section.
The 2024 housing market may not be flaming hot like in 2021, but it’ll definitely be a little spicy
Even though Fed Chair Jerome Powell remarked that it’s too soon to definitively conclude that rate hikes are finished, the financial markets have, in fact, decided they’re finished. As of December 4, 2023, interest-rate futures traders (the people who make a lot of money being right about where rates will go) expect the Fed to cut the federal funds rate, which currently falls between 5.25% and 5.50%, by 1.25%.
As a quick recap, the Fed dropped the fed funds rate effectively to 0% at the start of the pandemic and purchased mortgage-backed securities. The already historically low average 30-year mortgage rate then fell even further, reaching a record low of 2.65% in early 2021, which fueled the housing boom from June 2020 to June 2022. Inflation spiked in 2021, hitting levels not seen since the early 1980s and causing the Fed to begin rate hikes in March 2022, which trickled through markets quickly. From the beginning to the end of 2022, mortgage rates more than doubled, ending the white hot housing market and creating the slow-paced 2023 market. Mortgage rates continued to rise in 2023, hitting a 23-year high of 7.79% in October. Luckily, the average 30-year mortgage rate contracted in November 2023, falling to 7.22% by the end of the month.
It’s hard to convey the full significance of higher mortgage rates on the housing market but, in short, they are the primary driver of the market slowdown. This is evidenced by the fact that the market began slowing down at almost the exact same time that the Fed began their rate hikes. In October 2023, a buyer’s monthly cost reached an all-time high when accounting for the cost of financing a mortgage. Redfin reported the highest rate of buyers backing out of home purchases on record, as home buyers experienced the sticker shock of the cost to finance the home. It should come as no surprise that sales continued to fall and will likely continue to decline through the winter months.
Now, back to our outlook for the year ahead. The falling sales in 2023 have allowed inventory to grow, which is much needed. Although inventory is still down 6% year over year, it has increased 20% in 2023 and will likely continue to increase through the rest of the year, which is far different from the typical seasonal trend of increasing in the first half of the year and declining in the second. In Q1 2024, we expect inventory to rise further, helping ease the low supply problem. Greater supply will be necessary because mortgage rates should decrease meaningfully with the anticipated rate cuts, driving up demand. A 1% decrease in interest rate equates to a 10% decrease in monthly financing costs. At this point, we expect a large number of would-be buyers to wait a little longer to gain more clarity around rate cuts in 2024 and hit the market in the spring and summer months.
Different regions and individual houses vary from the broad national trends, so we’ve included a Local Lowdown below to provide you with in-depth coverage for your area. In general, higher-priced regions (the West and Northeast) have been hit harder by mortgage rate hikes than less expensive markets (the South and Midwest) because of the absolute dollar cost of the rate hikes and limited ability to build new homes. The National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently remarked that multiple offers are still occurring, especially on starter and mid-priced homes, even as price concessions are happening in the upper end of the market. As always, we will continue to monitor the housing and economic markets to best guide you in buying or selling your home.
You have no doubt heard all the media over the last few years, especially, shall we say, in certain segments of the media, about how terrible San Francisco has become. I recently had a nephew visiting from Texas for the big Google trade show and he was with clients from Alabama. They were all very surprised to find a lovely, thriving City. From some of the media they had seen they were practically expecting a burned out, post apocalyptic city scape of crime and destitution. I let him know that, no, we have some urban problems like any City, some of which could be better handled, but that overall this is still a beautiful town with a thriving business and cultural life. The city launched a wonderful video which I have been meaning to add to the newsletter, in case you have missed it. Check it out. ~ John
Big Story Data
The Local Lowdown
Quick Take:
  • The median single-family home price declined 9.4% from October to November, while condo prices rose 1.3%. Single-family home and condo prices have hovered around $1.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively, and we expect that trend to continue until interest rates drop and more sellers come to the market.
  • Active listings in San Francisco fell month over month, as an unusually low number of new listings came to the market. Single-family home and condo inventory hit a record low in November.
  • Months of Supply Inventory for single-family homes fell significantly in October and November. While MSI still indicates a buyers’ market for condos, single-family home MSI now implies that the market strongly favors sellers.
Note: You can find the charts/graphs for the Local Lowdown at the end of this section.
Here's an extra little section we are adding to the Newsletter with a few fun articles loosely related to Real Estate. Enjoy!
These Are Dwell’s Most Popular Homes of 2023
What do a Danish beach house, a backyard en suite in Australia, and an Indiana lake house all have in common? They’re all among our readers’ favorite homes this year.
Color of the Year 2024: These Are the 11 Colors Paint Companies Predict Will Rule Interiors
Blue is having a big moment, but it’s far from the only option when it comes to tapping into color trends
Q1 2024 BrokerPulse: Leaders predict flat home prices, lower interest rates
Respondents to the Q1 2024 BrokerPulse are more optimistic about housing sales in the new year than they were last year.
Brad Inman: ‘Unsung hero of real estate’ is the small broker-owner
More than 80 percent of real estate agents work for small brokerages with fewer than 25 agents, and the average is seven, Brad Inman writes. But their might was on full display in 2023.
Prices continue horizontal trend for both single-family homes and condos
In San Francisco, home prices haven’t been largely affected by rising mortgage rates after the initial period of price correction from May 2022 to July 2022. Since July 2022, the median single-family home and condo prices have hovered around $1.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively. Month over month, in November, the median single-family home price fell 9%, while condo prices rose 1%; but, year over year, the median prices were the same as last November for both single-family homes and condos. We expect prices to remain fairly stable in the winter months, but as interest rates decline and more sellers come to the market, prices will almost certainly rise in the first half of 2024. More homes must come to the market in the spring and summer to get anything close to a healthy market.
High mortgage rates soften both supply and demand, so ideally, as rates fall, far more sellers will come to the market. Rising demand can only do so much for the market if there isn’t supply to meet it. Unlike 2023, 2024 inventory has a much better chance of following more typical seasonal patterns.
Single-family home and condo inventory hit all-time lows as new listings dropped in November
Since the start of 2023, single-family home inventory has followed fairly typical seasonal trends, but at a significantly depressed level, while condo inventory has been in decline since May 2022. Low inventory and fewer new listings have slowed the market considerably. Typically, inventory peaks in July or August and declines through December or January, but the lack of new listings prevented meaningful inventory growth. This year, sales and inventory peaked in May, while new listings peaked in September. New listings have been exceptionally low, so the little inventory growth from February to May was driven by fewer sales. In November, new listings dropped significantly without a proportional drop in sales, causing inventory to fall to an all-time low, which further highlights how unusual inventory patterns have been this year. With inventory at historic lows, the number of new listings coming to market is a significant predictor of sales. Month over month, new listings fell 57% and sales declined 13%. Year over year, sales and new listings are down 12% and 43%, respectively.
As demand slows, buyers are gaining slightly more negotiating power and paying less than asking price on average. The average seller received 96% of list in January, which grew to 101% by June. The average amount received by sellers slowly declined to 98% of list from June to November 2023. Inventory will almost certainly remain historically low for the next few months, and buyer competition will ramp up meaningfully in the spring, which will create price support.
Months of Supply Inventory indicates a sellers’ market for single-family homes and a buyers’ market for condos
Months of Supply Inventory (MSI) quantifies the supply/demand relationship by measuring how many months it would take for all current homes listed on the market to sell at the current rate of sales. The long-term average MSI is around three months in California, which indicates a balanced market. An MSI lower than three indicates that there are more buyers than sellers in the market (meaning it’s a sellers’ market), while a higher MSI indicates there are more sellers than buyers (meaning it’s a buyers’ market). The San Francisco market tends to favor sellers, at least for single-family homes, which is reflected in its low MSI. However, we’ve seen over the past 12 months that this isn’t always the case. MSI has been volatile, moving between a buyers’ and sellers’ market throughout the year. Currently, MSI indicates that the single-family home market favors sellers and the condo market favors buyers.
Recent Aethos Sales
Asking: $2,900,000
Stunningly bespoke renovated home on Bernal Heights.
In Contract
Asking: $1,899,000
Beautifully remodeled, Center Patio home located between Forest Hill and West Portal.
In Contract
Asking $1,499,000
Magical entertainers home
w/5 bedrooms & 3.5 baths and spectacular forest views.
(Renovated with Aethos Revive)
SOLD for $2,200,000
Totally redone Mountain View townhome w/3 bedrooms & 2.5 Baths.
(Renovated with Aethos Revive)
Sold for $3,988,000
Fabulously renovated 2 unit Victorian flats in Lower Pacific Heights. Classic 1900 Victorian redone with Parisian Flare!
Sold For $2,2199,000
Updated Marina style 2 bedroom/2 bath flats with parking in the popular Richmond District.
SOLD for $1,665,000
A perfect Tunnel Entrance home in Miraloma Park. 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on one level w/huge room to expand down.
4701 25th Street
Sold for: $2,400,000
Lovely Noe Valley home with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths
Please click on any of the above properties to see more information and pictures.
Local Lowdown Data

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