Cash Sales Soared in 2012


Cash buyers hit the San Francisco market with fervor throughout 2012, across all price ranges, property types and neighborhoods. Foreign buyers seemed to also be very active, wiring in large sums of cash from South America, China, and Europe.

If you’re aiming to buy or sell a property this year, I think it’s helpful to have a sense for where the cash buyers will potentially be circulating. Here’s my 2012 breakdown by the numbers for each home type:

Single-Family Homes
2012: 473 sold (2011: 61)
Average price: $1,116,511
Up to $700,000: 229
$700,000 – $1M: 109
$1M – $1.5M: 31
$1.5M+ 80
$5M+ 13
$10M+ 4
The Backstory: Always the most popular property type in San Francisco, the single-family home market was cash buyers’ primary target last year. There were almost eight times as many cash sales last year vs 2011, particularly in the sub-$700,000 segment of the market. But not far behind was the “mid-market” of $700,000-$1M. And let’s not forget the most expensive sale at 2950 Pacific (above), which changed hands for $16M.
Most popular neighborhoods: Single-family home buyers with cash purchased their properties most frequently in the city’s southeastern areas such as Bayview and Excelsior, along with the Central Sunset and Parkside; Bernal Heights; Noe/Eureka Valleys.

Condos
2012: 570 sold (2011: 408)
Average price: $798,419
Up to $700,000: 318
$700,000 – $1M: 121
$1M – $1.5M: 85
$1.5M+ 51
The Backstory: Condo cash sales didn’t increase as dramatically, but they were still popular. The busiest price range was for properties up to $700,000. Luxury condos topped out at around $3.5M.
Most popular neighborhoods: Cash condo buyers were most prolific in Lower Pacific Heights; Pacific Heights; Marina; Downtown; Van Ness corridor; South of Market; South Beach and Mission Bay.

TICs
2012: 78 sold (2011: 68)
Average price: $648,244
$1M+ 10
The Backstory: The TIC market experienced a moderate increase in cash sales. Most sales were in the $400,000-$700,000 range.
Most popular neighborhoods: TIC buyers with cash were most commonly spotted in Russian Hill and the Mission.

2-4 Units
2012: 128 sold (2011: 89)
Average price: $1,107,348
$1.5M+ 23 sold
The Backstory: There aren’t typically a lot of lower-priced multi-unit buildings in San Francisco, so the activity in this market was all about the $1M+ range.
Most popular neighborhoods: Multi-unit purchasers frequented Noe Valley, the Mission, and the Hayes Valley area.

[Data courtesy of reported sales in the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service (MLS).]

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