Is All of San Francisco's residential real estate worth more than Apple Inc.?


Did you know that the San Francisco metro area is the third most valuable region in the country based on the value of its residential real estate?

In fact, the area's total residential real estate value hit an astounding $1.3 trillion and it's only outranked by the Los Angeles and New York metro areas, with total residential real estate values of $2.2 trillion and $2.6 trillion, respectively.

As reported in the San Francisco Times recently, the statistics come from a study released by online loan marketplace LendingTree, called “The Most Valuable Cities in America.” The study values the residential real estate of every U.S. metropolitan area based on public tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure and proprietary data for more than 155 million U.S. properties in its database. The study refers to the area as "San Francisco," but the data used by LendingTree comes from five counties: San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa and San Mateo.

The Bay Area's total residential real estate value is equal to the gross domestic product of Mexico, meaning that San Francisco is one of three cities nationwide that can claim a market value higher than Apple Inc.'s $1 trillion.

California topped the list, with three cities in the top 10 and seven in the top 50.

Tendayi Kapfidze, LendingTree’s chief economist, said that California is the world’s fifth largest economy.

“People want to live there,” he said.

However, he also said that the state's residents have a hard time buying a home, especially in San Francisco.

“Construction hasn’t kept up with demand for the past two decades,” Kapfidze said, citing several reasons such as zoning, building height restrictions and lot sizes — as well as an influx of demand due to a growing population and an influx of workers responding to the tech boom.

Patrick Carlisle, Compass chief market analyst for the San Francisco Bay Area, said the same about that.

“Houses have become the scarce resource in San Francisco,” he said. “It’s really a matter of land,” he added, noting that San Francisco measures seven miles by seven miles. “We don’t have rolling, empty hills to build on.”

“There is a general shortage of turnover,” Kapfidze said. “There is both a shortage of new homes and a shortage of existing homes entering the market.”

The enormous demand for homes and their major lack of supply explains the median value of residential real estate — including single- and multi-family homes, condominiums and co-ops — in the five-county Bay Area: $891,000.

San Francisco boasts the second-highest median value of LendingTree’s top 50 cities with San Jose holding the No. 1 spot with a median value of $1.07 million.

It’s unknown if San Francisco’s housing market will keep rising despite federal tax law changes limiting mortgage interest tax deductions.

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