San Francisco 2-4 Unit Apartment Building Market October 2020 Report

The market for smaller multi-family properties has been recovering from the initial pandemic plunge, but remains challenging with an increased supply of listings and a lowered level of demand. The 2-unit market has been stronger than the 3-4 unit segment, which is not surprising due to the current dynamics with pandemic regulations, tenants and rents, as well as to condo conversion rules.

The number of active listings on the market has continued to climb since the pandemic first hit.

The number of listings going into contract continued to rebound in September (1st chart below), though closed sales (2nd and 3rd charts), a lagging indicator, remains far below the levels of recent years.

Selected Market Indicators

Those listings that did sell in Q3 apparently sold quite quickly, but the percentage of listings selling, and the sales price to list price percentage, have remained low since the pandemic struck.

The number of listings pulled off the market without selling was high for the Q3 period. This number typically peaks in Q4.

We update the next chart and table every six months, so they will be revised in January 2021 for the year-end review.

The enormous increase in unemployment – though it has rebounded somewhat in recent months – plus the new “work from anywhere” phenomenon have increased vacancy rates and hammered rent rates.

Market share for SF multi-unit residential sales by broker: