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A coastal exodus? These Century 21 San Francisco agents don’t think so

Many say Californians are migrating elsewhere, but these San Francisco agents remain busy

Although many in the real estate industry say that San Franciscans are relocating to places more inland, some Century 21 agents in the San Francisco and Bay Area beg to differ.

Suburban ZIP codes might be more popular these days, as city dwellers forced to work from home during the pandemic want more space in a home.

According to Hanna Ibrahim, who specializes in the San Jose and Silicon Valley market, the MLS said the average listing price in San Francisco is $1.68 million, and the average sale price is $1.72 million, making the sale-to-list ratio more than 100%. Over the last 45 days, there were 418 homes sold in the San Francisco area.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there is currently a 1.8-months worth of inventory and the median days on the market are 17.

Century 21 Alliance recently merged with Century 21 Marquis and Century 21 Cornerstone, forming one of the largest real estate brokerages in Northern California and the Bay Area.

“We believe in the value of continuing to innovate, adapt to the changing industry and times by delivering extraordinary experiences and providing our family of agents with the latest in tools, training and the technology that they need to continue to defy mediocrity and give 121%,” said Orhan Tolu, Century 21 Real Estate Alliance CEO and owner.

HousingWire spoke to some of these agents about what they are seeing in their respective markets and why they don’t think there is a coastal exodus everyone is buzzing about.

Romeo Aurelio, a general manager and broker associate at Century 21 Real Estate Alliance, said that the exodus is actually in the rental market, as San Francisco is made up of 70% renters. In fact, Aurelio said that this July home sales have outpaced July 2019.

“There’s been such a pent up demand here in the Bay Area, where before the pandemic we received 10, 15, 20 offers on properties,” Aurelio said. “Now during the pandemic, things did take a bit of interest because it was such an unknown, but because interest rates have stayed so low and ended up in demand. Even though there’s maybe a little bit more inventory right now it’s actually making our markets even stronger. So on the sales side of things, things are absolutely fantastic.”

Ibrahim said that the number of listings, pending and escrows show a different story.

“The fact of the matter right now…we have approximately 370 [listings] pending, that’s a huge amount, that’s quite a bit pending,” Ibrahim said.

“It is extremely hot,” Ibrahim said. “There is a lot of purchases going on and offers. Based on the agents that we have and the escrows that we have, [the market] is still going strong, despite the news and negativity we hear about the exodus.”

No. 1 agent with Century 21 and agent specializing in San Jose and Silicon Valley, Kate Davey said that she feels like it’s “la la land” in her market right now, and her clients are selling their smaller homes for bigger ones nearby.

Davey said she’s having her best year in the business in five or six years.

“Most of my buyers are just buying in bigger homes and staying local, they just realize they need more of a home and a lot more space so that they can continue to work from home,” Davey said.

“But, I noticed there’s this big thing about people wanting to leave California, and that could be true, I’m not seeing it,” Davey said. “I’m seeing low inventory, people paying more for homes than what they should, in some cases, especially if they are updated home, and I’m encouraging my potential sellers to update during the shelter-in-place because buyers are looking for homes that are done and they can just move their families into their former home.”

A San Francisco resident for 31 years, Century 21 agent Bailey Cheung specializes in San Francisco and has led the Elite Team, the No. 2 Century 21 team in the world for the last few years.

“I have heard a lot of noise of people leaving the San Francisco, Bay Area,” Cheung said. “But as far as I know, the people I know, nobody has said goodbye to me yet.”

“Some people may leave, but some people might come, you know,” Cheung said.

Both Davey and Aurelio said they are seeing bidding wars, and Davey said that the homes with the most offers are “priced right, and have a lot of value in them.”

“They’re not seeing the 30, 40, 50 offers. . .and that’s mostly because we’re not getting 30, 40, 50 people coming in to see the properties anymore, with all the restrictions on being able to get into property,” Aurelio said. “I would say that the quality of buyer has gone way, way up, and the percentage of buyers that are making offers versus coming to see the properties are way, way up.”

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