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Fourth Quarter, 2010

Let's talk results: 2010 proved to be a relatively stable year for San Francisco's north side real estate market. These superb neighborhoods all showed slight fluctuations, with the overall trend resulting in an approximately 2% rise in property values over the last year. We have now regained over half of what was lost in value due to the financial sector's crisis that hit in 2008.

We also just ended our first year under the SF Board of Realtors® new requirement that all listings on the MLS must have the actual sales price revealed when they close escrow. This was a very good change that will continue to provide improved data to sellers and buyers alike now that "confidential sales" are no longer allowed.

Almost $1.2 billion in single family homes, condos/co-ops/TICs and small buildings sold in the top North side neighborhoods in 2010. The majority went into contract in less than 60 days, and those that were priced wisely were in contract in less than 30 days and closed for slightly over their asking price. More than ever, realistic pricing is absolutely essential for sellers. This year, all the other typical predictors of "time on the market" (such as condition, view, architectural style) paled in comparison to price.

Other parts of our economy are showing even stronger signs of life. Bay Area stocks climbed 15% in 2010, mirroring broader increases by the Dow Jones Industrial average and the S&P 500 index, according to Bloomberg News. Several Bay Area IPOs and developments such as Goldman Sachs' investment in Facebook add to the upbeat financial scene both locally and nationally. Any massive rebound of the overall real estate market will hinge, however, on job growth.

While mortgage rates have inched up slightly in the last six weeks, affordability remains at its highest level in decades. Buyers are continuing to demonstrate their appreciation of this strong moment in time for them.

Once again, this is a time when market savvy and experience make all the difference in the world. Experience and knowledge can pay dividends to sellers and lack thereof can put buyers out in the cold. Having the personal advice and dedication of a well-informed Realtor® will make all the difference.

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