Year-end housing market statistics and trends in the Bay Area

As 2012 draws to a close, many real estate experts are reviewing national and regional trends to determine which geographic areas performed the best over the course of the year. It is no surprise that the homes for sale in San Francisco are consistently ranking in the top categories, as the Bay Area housing market has seen extraordinary gains in the past 12 months.

If you are seeking a quality metro area for a relocation, here are a few statistical reasons why you might wish to consider San Francisco as your ultimate destination.

National trends reflected in Northern California
The average asking price for a for-sale property in the United States shot up by 4.3 percent from October 2011 to October 2012, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The numbers in San Francisco are even higher than this national average - the year-over-year increase equated to exactly 6.04 percent.

"It is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength," David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P/Case-Shiller index committee, said in a statement. "Higher year-over-year price gains plus strong performances in the southwest and California, regions that suffered during the housing bust, confirm that housing is now contributing to the economy."

When a metro area performs better than the overall national market, you can be sure that available properties will be snatched up before cost increases push asking prices too high. Therefore, now might be the best time to evaluate the listings in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Rebounding from low points of the year
The situation of the U.S. housing market was fairly grim for a few years, particularly after the crisis of the mid-to-late 2000s, but now a new dawn of housing recovery is being led by western cities like San Francisco. According to The Los Angeles Times, in October 2012, San Francisco' Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index recovered by 22.5 percent, the biggest recovery in the entire nation. Phoenix was the only city even remotely close to this achievement, with an overall recovery of 22.1 percent.

According to the source, many pundits attributed this high bounce back to coastal demand in San Francisco and the burgeoning housing and employment markets present in the greater metro area. As a result, San Francisco remains the top relocation market in the country as 2013 looms just around the corner.

Hidden condominium market
While the housing market has surged in San Francisco over the course of 2012, the improvement has had an adverse effect on the rental environment. The average rent in the city is hovering at record levels, and prices of smaller condos are shooting up as well.

For example, The Wall Street Journal reported that in San Francisco, the average asking price of a condominium increased by 28 percent in a year-over-year comparison to a final number of $690,000. According to CNN Money, the average price of a house in San Francisco is currently $656,700 - while listings vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, not many people would want to pay more money for a condominium compared to a house. Additionally, condo prices are expected to increase in 2013, which means the gap may grow even larger.

"If you want to wait for the condo cycle to come back...you might be waiting a few more years," said Olson Lee, director of the Mayor's Office of Housing in San Francisco, according to the news source.

The final numbers of 2012 are sending a clear message to potential homeowners in 2013 - if you are looking at the San Francisco real estate market, don't wait to make an offer on a quality property.