As Seen On One Billboard: The San Francisco Housing Bubble

That San Francisco, ground zero of the second tech - this time private (and currently bursting) - bubble, has a housing market that is "just a little frothy" is no surprise to anyone, but even we had to chuckle when we saw this billboard making the twitter rounds.


As Marketwatch notes, real estate is so frothy in the San Francisco Bay Area that a new development in the city’s Lake Merced neighborhood felt the need to advertise its townhomes on a billboard as million-dollar deals - get in now while the price is right!

This is what the "low $1,000,000s" will buy you: a 1,547 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath townhome (listed on real estate site Redfin for $1,012,000+).


Feel like hunting for better bargains? Then how about this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom, 2,393 square foot townhome listed for $1,649,900+.

"You’ll take in the lifestyle of the city but leave all the limitations of San Francisco behind," according to the development’s website. "So, when your day is done, you’ll pull into the garage, hit the button and walk into a place that’s different from the start."

Translation: these aren’t located near the hustle and bustle. The Lake Merced area is located in the city’s southwest corner, far from downtown and other popular neighborhoods in the central parts of the city.

For some context, here’s a look at the rest of the San Francisco housing market. This shack was listed for $350,000 and sold in September 2015 for $408,000, nearly 17% above the asking price. The real-estate agent referred to the “home” as “above and beyond distressed.”

If that didn’t sufficiently impress (or exasperate) you, take a look at some listings in the city’s more central areas, which may leave you thinking "low 1,000,000s" in Lake Merced is a deal after all.

This 1-bedroom, 2-bath home is located near the baseball stadium AT&T Park. It’s 1,428 square feet and is listed for $1,950,000, plus $563.36 in monthly homeowners association dues.


This 3-bedroom, 2-bath home is located in hipster enclave Mission Dolores and is larger at 2,580 square feet. It is listed with the words "huge price reduction" for just $2,599,000.


As a reminder, according to Case Shiller, home prices in San Francisco rose 10.5% over the past year. U.S. house prices overall rose 5.7% compared with a year ago in January, or about three times more than average wages. Since 2012, median housing prices in San Francisco have more than doubled, hitting $1.225 million in February 2016, as the following dramatic charts demonstrate.


And here is the problem: to be able to purchase a house in San Francisco, a prospective buyer should make on average over quarter million dollars per year, nearly 6 times more than for the broader U.S.

Much more on the San Fran housing market in the Paradon "March 2016 San Francisco Real Estate Report"