Our best guess is that this housing retraction will be more similar to 2001 than in 1990 which is to say it should be relatively short lived so long as jobs remain plentiful. This means the housing market should level off this year as far as declining sales go. Our feeling is it will be later in the year rather than sooner. We don’t anticipate a "light switch" suddenly going on and people flocking back in droves to the market. The market will probably remain flat through 2009 with sales picking up later that year. That’s the national picture.
On the San Francisco Peninsula, real estate is not suffering from the same issues as many other parts of the state and country. Regionally, the main reason for a slowdown in sales has been tighter lending practices (causing Jumbo loans to be more expensive), low homeowner affordability (due to high prices), and buyer skepticism brought about by the housing issues which dog the industry and has many buyers taking a wait and see approach.
The San Francisco Peninsula market continues to outperform the country as a whole and even fairs better than San Francisco. Stand & Poor’s released their November data suggesting the largest decline "in history"â€”their history dates back only to 1991.
The decline, measured as a percentage, they estimate at -8.1% for the year in San Francisco (metropolitan area).
San Mateo County posted a -4.3% decline in appreciation in 2007 the first drop since 2001 when appreciation levels declined -8.4%. Notice in the graph below how in later years as prices rise even a small percentage in appreciation can mean a large increase in real dollars; conversely a small dip in the percent of appreciation can mean a lot in terms of real equity evaporating (if there is such as thing as real equity).
How low it will go is anyone’s guess, but experts seem to think the turnaround could be in mid to late 2008.
Don’t Expect a Housing Turnaround Anytime Soon
The Mortgage Bankers Association Says Housing Problems Will Linger Until Mid-’08-ABC News, October 2007
Forecast 2008: Economy Slows, Housing Woes The decline in the turnover of existing homes is expected to bottom out by early 2008. But the related home construction activity that is so important to the economy is not expected to turn around until well into the year. As for the troubling housing price slide, that’s not expected to hit bottom until the end of 2008. By Phillip M. Perry (Dec/Jan 08)-Area Development