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Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
Real Estate

Moving to San Francisco? Here's what you need to know

Inside America's hottest housing market

February 16, 2016

If San Francisco isn't the number one hottest housing market for any given month, you don't have to travel too far down the list to find its name, with the city spending most of 2015 as the hottest market in the nation, according to thisthis and this report. 

The city even closed out 2015 as realtor.com's hottest housing market in the U.S., beating out other frontrunners like Denver and Dallas. 

This doesn't come as a great surprise though. Since 2010, the San Francisco area grew in population by 5.6%, whereas the total US population grew by only 3.3%, according to the US Census Bureau

The market is so hot, even a home that was found to have a mummified corpse in it sold for whopping $1.56 million

So, if you are one of the people considering moving to the nation’s hottest market, here are some things you need to know. Being the hottest housing market can come at a price. 

1. Home Prices

Whereas the average home prices in the U.S. finished last year around $175,000, the average in San Francisco was over $225,000, a recent report from Fitch Ratings stated. 

The latest home price from CoreLogic reported that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased year-over-year by 6.3% in December 2015 compared with December 2014. 

2. Housing Bubble?

Fitch also suggested that Bay Area home prices are “overheating,” have reached a “level unsupportable by area income” and asks if there is a “Bay Area bubble.”

According to Fitch’s report, San Francisco home prices hit an all-time high in third quarter of 2015 and are now 62% above their post-recession low in early 2012.

The city's vacancy rate only supports this further. There is very little available space in the area to move to, with the vacancy rate for San Francisco at .3%, compared to the national vacancy rate of 1.6%.

If you are caught in bidding war due to the tight inventory, here is a sample cover letter that could help put your offer above the competition.  

3. Lending

Due to the rise in prices for the market, lenders are having to create new programs to address the area's specific needs.

One San Francisco credit union is going to extreme measures to try to help area residents buy a home.

San Francisco Federal Credit Union announced a new loan program that will allow San Francisco-area borrowers to finance up to 100% of their mortgage – with no requirement for mortgage insurance – on loans up to $2 million.

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