San Francisco Real Estate - Listings And Realtors

Written by Robert Mac
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San Francisco real estate costs more than most of the country--actually, it's the second priciest in the land--and has been an expensive place to live for decades. But people love the Bay Area and all it has to offer because you can do just about anything in or near San Francisco. Real estate prices are high because the demand to live there is high--that's how supply and demand works.

A Brief History of San Francisco Real Estate

Back in the 1840s, San Francisco real estate was nothing to write home about. The area was nothing more than just a bunch of windy sand dunes stretching from a foggy coast to a well protected cove. Back then, the city was called Yerba Buena, or good herb, for all the wild grasses that choked the sand dunes.

Small lots of land near the cove--some of the first documented San Francisco real estate--sold for a mere $16.50. Then gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill up the road a bit, and those same lots sold for $4000 and then $45,000 during the peak of the Gold Rush. In no time, the village of Yerba Buena became the metropolis of San Francisco and the most desired place in the western U.S.

San Francisco Real Estate Has Always Been Precious

The Gold Rush turned San Francisco into "Paris on the Pacific," the hub of finance, culture, transportation, and just about everything else. The only thing you couldn't get in the city was, well, more city. Situated at the end of a narrow peninsula, San Francisco is relatively small--less then 50 square miles.

You know the rule: when supply is low and demand is high, prices go up. San Francisco real estate is very low in supply--many properties have been in the same families for generations--and high in demand. According to one local news channel, it's "the best place on earth." Today it is a center for everything from tourism to technology, classic Victorians to modern skyscrapers, and from natural wonders to the hum of a thriving city.

According to an August 2004 survey by the National Association of Realtors, the median home prices in San Francisco are $647,300, more than three times the national average. And if the hot home buying trend, coupled with low interest rates, continues, San Francisco real estate prices will rise more. In 2004, prices cooled off a bit, but still rose more than 15 percent from the previous year.

Educate Yourself Before You Shop

If you plan to get into the expensive housing market in the Bay Area, do as much research as possible. Multiple listing services have plenty of information about properties listed in the Bay Area, letting you search for realty in certain districts (look out for the Tenderloin!), price ranges, or whatever criteria are most important to you. A little research will also reduce the sticker shock you may encounter.

After you have narrowed your real estate search down to the properties that most interest you, you may want to approach a local real estate agent. Not only do they have a better understanding of the peculiarities of the San Francisco market, including trends and forecasts, but they also know the city intimately. They'll provide information about neighborhoods, traffic, schools, shopping, and all the details not mentioned in the multiple listing services (MLS) database.


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