San Diego Housing Market (2021 Statistics & Forecast)

San Diego housing market 

2021 Statistics and Forecast

Sunday October 3rd 2021
This week the median list price for San Diego, CA is $957,000 with the market action index hovering around 81. This is less than last month's market action index of 86. This has decreased for the past 60 days.  Inventory has decreased to 530 units.  

The market has been cooling over time and prices plateaued for a while. Despite the consistent decrease in MAI, we’re in the Seller’s zone. Watch for changes in MAI. If the MAI resumes its climb, prices will likely follow suit. If the MAI drops consistently or falls into the Buyer’s zone, watch for downward pressure on prices.

September 2021 Update: Sales were up again for August with single-family home sales up 15% while condos and townhomes were up 30%.  With September pending sales are on par for September 2020.  Single-family home inventory is down 39% while condo and townhome inventory are down 56%!!!!!!

August 2021 Update:  The US unemployment rate declined to 5.4% adding 1 million jobs with most sectors in California recovering to pre-COVID levels. 40% of the job losses since COVID began were in the leisure and hospitality sector which still remains soft throughout the US. Faring better in the leisure and hospitality industry in San Diego, we are only 36,900 jobs away from pre-COVID levels. Overall job growth was stagnant in San Diego with only 6,700 jobs added. San Diego construction employment is almost 5% over 2020 up 8% for new single family homes and apartment construction. Both for sale and rental units total 9,147 underway in nine new master-planned communities. Single family detached homes are up 20.7% with a median price of $875,000 and attached condos, townhomes, and rowhomes are up 17.8% with the median price of $530,000. San Diego months’ supply of inventory is less than one month with days on market short of 2 weeks. August pending sales totally stagnant.

July 2021 Update: New construction starts up one-third over 2020, with more than 3,500 single family homes, condos, and apartment buildings now underway. Driving the San Diego residential real estate market, this will help our overall resale market grow.  Late 2021 and 2022 there will be 10+ $500-$1M brand new master-planned communities (most in North County.)

January - June 30th single-family home sales were up 25% and condos and townhomes were up 44%. Our days on market until sale are less than three weeks and we are less than one month's supply of inventory for both single-family homes and condos townhomes.

Documented days on market are not always truly accurate. Sometimes the listing agent does not update the MLS with the true pending date accidentally and on purpose (if they have a wishy washy buyer), or becuase they are fishing for more buyer calls.

San Diego's median price of detached homes is now up 29.3% and the median price condos and townhomes 22.2%.  This is due to white-hot demand both locally and from other markets as well as low interest rates.

The month-over-month acceleration in pricing is not rational and at some point will not be able to sustain itself. We will know more this fall if we may have plateued when kids are back in school and the market normally cools a bit from the summer.

San Diego Home Prices

Market Segments: Each segment below represents approximately 25% of the market ordered by price.

Market Segments

Each segment below represents approximately 25% of the market ordered by price.


We do not foresee a price decrease in our housing market.  We do foresee a tight inventory market for many months ahead.  In a recent CoreLogic survey, 33% of respondents noted they would wait to buy or not buy at all rather than make sacrifices on their purchase.  This tells us we have many savvy buyers on the sidelines waiting for the perfect property, something that our team has also experienced with our luxurysocalrealty.com database. 

Will house prices drop in San Diego 2022?

It's unlikely San Diego housing prices will drop next year in 2022 and highly likely prices will have increased over 10% from 2021.

Is it a good time to buy a house in San Diego?

San Diego home prices increased 18.8% year over year in May 2021 and are forecasted to increase an additional 10.9% over the next 12 months. 30-year mortgage rates are just below 3% helping bridge the affordability gap.

Is San Diego in a housing bubble?

The 2005 bubble was a combination of irresponsible borrowing, high-risk lending, and rampant loan fraud.  Loan underwriting over the past 13-14 years has been responsible and prudent, mortgage rates are less than half of what they were in 05, and we have an imbalance of for-sale homes and demand.

Homeowners need three factors to be evident in order to make the difficult decision to walk away from their home and let it go into foreclosure (creating a housing bubble).

1. They need to expect that they'll never be able to afford this mortgage payment.

2. They need to be upside down, owe more on the loan than the house is worth.

3. They need to expect that they'll never be able to sell the house.

Demand is the factor to understand when predicting future foreclosure.  There is record equity growing each day and homeowners can sell within days to 2 weeks.

Final thoughts for the close of June 2021:

Early in 2021 fueling the inflation narrative, construction costs soared, yet lumber prices have scaled back 40% after an initial surge…. in just one month.

The Fed is expected to do two interest rate hikes before the end of 2023. Some expect sooner.

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San Diego Real Estate Market

San Diego real estate market data for single-family homes priced $2,000,000-$3,000,000 compares September 2021 from

September 2020

  • The average total market time was 23 days down 56.7% while the average active market time was 23 days down 56.6%.
  • The absorption rate is down 72.9% at 1.3 months
  • The average price per square foot is $801.  There were 96 new listings down 20.7%  
  • There were 91 total pending sales down 15.1% and 124 total sold homes up 33.3%

San Diego condo market data for all condos, townhomes, penthouses, and rowhomes priced $1M-$2M compares

September 2021 from September 2020

  • The average active market time was 33 days down 31.3%.
  • The absorption rate is down 81.7% at less than 1.1 months.
  • The average price per square foot is $812 up 6.7%. There were 101 new listings down 21.1%
  • There were 89 total pending sales up 6% and 76 total sold condos up 76.7%

If you're considering selling your San Diego property, Let's Connect!
858-752-8730. Why Sell With LuxurySoCalRealty - Compass?

586 Properties
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Open 10/31
13556 Sagewood Dr Poway, CA 92064
$1,850,000
Subdivision: Green Valley Estates
5
Beds
3
Baths
3,325
Sq.Ft.
1976
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029811
MLS
Poway Dreaming! Welcome to this stunning compound in the heart of Green Valley! Situated on over ¾ of an acre, this timeless ranch style design has been modernized inside and out. Offering an...
Open 10/30
17065 Butterfield Trail Poway, CA 92064
$1,995,000
Subdivision: Old Coach Estates
5
Beds
4F11/2
Baths
3,987
Sq.Ft.
1990
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029812
MLS
Stunning, serene and beautifully appointed single story gem in private gated community of Old Coach Collection.Forever unobstructed (and Sierra Club protected) natural valley/canyon/mountain views....
4
Beds
3
Baths
2,863
Sq.Ft.
1970
Year Built
1
Day on Site
304999333
MLS
This beauty is completely renovated. Tucked high upon a hill showcasing stunning, southwestern views of the city, and the Coronado Islands sits this elegant Del Cerro Highlands home. The spacious,...
3
Beds
4
Baths
2,993
Sq.Ft.
1993
Year Built
1
Day on Site
304999179
MLS
Tucked away in a private enclave of homes, while still being centrally located amongst the best that North County has to offer, 960 Valley is a unique opportunity that does not come along often!...
Coming Soon on 11/01
1262 Kettner Blvd #2601 San Diego, CA 92101
$2,949,999
Subdivision: Columbia District
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,981
Sq.Ft.
2008
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029823
MLS
Downtown San Diego is back & more vibrant than ever! Steps from bustling Little Italy & the Gaslamp Quarter, this Sapphire Tower penthouse has a loft-inspire design, spacious open plan & 10½ ft....
$8,500,000
Subdivision: Beach Colony
4
Beds
4
Baths
2,750
Sq.Ft.
2014
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029825
MLS
Incredible opportunity across from the beach in Del Mar. Fully remodeled Cape Cod estate situated on private corner lot w/ panoramic ocean views & steps to the water. Detached guest unit includes...
Coming Soon on 11/05
5285 Beachcomber Ct San Diego, CA 92130
$1,995,000
Subdivision: Palma Del Mar
4
Beds
3
Baths
3,197
Sq.Ft.
1999
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029832
MLS
Located on an inviting cul-de-sac and just a short walk to Ashley Falls School and Community Park. This Las Palmas home features an entry level master bedroom along with a secondary downstairs...
$2,498,888
Subdivision: Downtown San Diego
2
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,806
Sq.Ft.
2018
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029834
MLS
Discover Pacific Gates most desirable floor plan. 80 ft of linear Pacific Ocean views. Over $300,000.00 in custom features post closing. Two bedroom with two and half bath. Top of the line finishes...
Coming Soon on 11/05
5350 Renaissance Ave San Diego, CA 92122
$1,575,000
Condo: Casabella
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,817
Sq.Ft.
1995
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029841
MLS
Magnificently upgraded interior end unit townhome in Casabella at Renaissance! Fantastic wrap around private patio exquisitely landscaped. Chef's kitchen is appointed with premium appliances:...
$1,500,000
Subdivision: Bay Park
4
Beds
3
Baths
2,200
Sq.Ft.
1944
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029853
MLS
San Diego beach living without the sand & crowds! From the vanishing wall that opens to the colorful patio, to the crisp white walls contrasting with ebony hardwood floors, to the rooftop spa with...
$1,950,000
Subdivision: Torrey Hills
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,908
Sq.Ft.
2001
Year Built
1
Day on Site
210029852
MLS
Buyer to provide Fully Underwritten Loan Approval Prior to Appointment. Panoramic Ocean/City & Mtn Vus from Large Private Landscaped Cul-de-sac Lot. Dramatic 2 Story Entry W/Open Flowing Floorplan...
$1,599,000
Subdivision: Seaside
2
Beds
2
Baths
920
Sq.Ft.
1953
Year Built
1
Day on Site
304999508
MLS
Incredible opportunity to own an awesome duplex within walking distance to Moonlight Beach. This property is located West of Coast Hwy and on the West side of Melrose Avenue. Great curb appeal with a...

June 2021 - Quick San Diego Economic Stats: San Diego is now below 7.0% for unemployment Since January 2021 San Diego has gained 50,000 jobs.  We have practically zero Foreclosures. During the first four months of 2021 San Diego new home building permits are up 27% from 2020. 8% for single-family homes and 39% for condos and multifamily rental units.   

Primarily in NorthCounty San Diego, there will be 10+ new master-planned communities.  New homes by TriPointe will be at Citro in Fallbrook, The Highlands in Pacific Highlands Ranch, and Playa Del Sol in South San Diego.  There are 9 left at Bayside Cove a luxury enclave by Lennar in Mission Bay.   

January through May the sales of single-family homes were up 26% while condos and townhome sales are up 44%. San Diego sellers received around 104% of asking price with less than one month of inventory.

The Biden Administration announced that July will be the final month of the foreclosure moratorium and rental evictions.

Nationally there are around 2 million properties in forbearance. Many are wondering what's going to happen when these homeowners have to begin paying their mortgage again. Is this the spiral that will burst the San Diego housing market bubble? The LuxurySoCalRealty team tracks the supply and demand metrics in each of our markets. These metrics forecast future prices and sales many months into the future. When the moratorium is lifted in San Diego, demand will determine whether or not San Diego has a housing market bubble.

This week the median list price for San Diego, CA is $979,450 with the market action index hovering around 97. This is less than last month's market action index of 99 because inventory has increased to 488. Inventory has been climbing lately however rising inventory alone does not signal a weakening market.

The median list price of $979,450 has paused around this plateau which is normal, many years the plateau goes from June into August.

In the last few weeks, the market has achieved a relative stasis point in terms of sales to inventory. However, inventory is sufficiently low to keep us in the Seller’s Market zone. The market plateau is seen across the price and value. The price per square foot and median list price have both been reasonably stagnant.

May 2021 - New construction starts, which are the key indicator of the housing market has increased 29% from the first quarter of 2020. For the first four months of 2020, closed sales for single-family are up 16% and condo/townhomes are up 34%. At the end of April San Diego had 3,270 single-family homes and condo/townhomes pending at an increase of one-third over April 2020. Our months’ supply of inventory is 0.7 for both single-family homes and condos and townhomes. As home values continue to escalate, the median single famliy home price is up 24.4% and condo/townhome prices are up 21.8% in April 2021 over April 2020.

April 2021 - January and February, San Diego County had a 31,900 job gain which is typically the gain for an entire year. Because San Diego is heavily reliant on the leisure and hospitality industries the unemployment rate is marginally above the national rate. The average number of daily recorded documents by the San Diego County Assessor is an indicator of real estate and business activities. Through March recordings are up 68% over 2019. San Diego's resale real estate market is up 10% over last year. Pending sales were up nearly 53% from a year ago by the end of March with single-family homes were up 41% with condos and townhomes up 77%. Month's supply of inventory is down another 10 basis points from March 2021. From March 2020 the price for single-family homes is up 20.7% and for condos and townhomes 14.4% for condos and townhomes.

March 2021 - February closings were at 2,500 closings from February 2020 at 2,361 and pendings are also up showing confidence in market acceleration for March. Supply of inventory continues to decline. February 2020 we had 2 months of inventory and now we have less than three weeks of inventory on single family homes. Single family median price was up 15.2% $102,877 and the median price for condos and townhomes were up 14.7%

February 2021 - January 2021 closings were right on par with closings in January 2020 with pending listings up indicating an even stronger February. Prices are up 11-12% January 2021 over January 2019 with single family homes $744,000 and condos and townhomes at $485,000. When looking at inventory we have around one month of supply rather than what's typical, multiple months. Single family homes inventory is around three weeks with condos and townhomes at one month. Lender-mediated sales, short sales and foreclosures were one-tenth of one percent of the inventory just eight hundred fifty one sales.

housing market forecast

2021 Forecast - Covid 19 has crippled many businesses and industries but the housing market at all price points flourished. The new home builds were unchanged from 2019-2020 throughout San Diego County.

Comparing detached single family homes year over year sales, we only saw a decline of around 10% while condos and townhomes were down only 5%. The percent of original list price received by sellers for single family homes was 100.3% and 99.4% for condos and townhomes. Low ball and contingent offers have no legs right now.

We have about a 1 month supply of inventory with average days on market 19 days for single family and 21 days for condos & townhomes. Looking at sales by price range, it is no surprise that

Sales of detached homes under $500,000 were down 52% from 2019 to 2020. This tells us a single family home under $500,000 is almost now non existent.

Single family homes over $1,000,000 were up 16% from 2019-2020 and condos and townhomes 19%.

San Diego's unemployment rate reported for November was 7.7% but primarily in the industries of hospitality and travel/leisure. With the governor's recent lift on outdoor dining at the end of January 2021 we should see an improvement.

The 2020 San Diego housing market began with overall home prices up 5.1% from January 2019 reported by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.  It was expected that the world's economy was going to cool slightly in 2020, primarily because China’s economy was slowing down. The US was forecasted to remain stable with plans to build more than 1.2 million homes, condominiums and apartments in its 12th year of continuous growth. Each major national economic index was stable, including interest rates, car sales, home resales, production of goods and retail sales. US existing home sales in 2019 were near 5.5 million.

As the 5th largest nation in the world, California's GDP totaled $3 trillion in 2019.  The state added more than 300,000 jobs in 2019 with a shortage of labor and 700,000 unfilled jobs in California.  The California GDP has been on an upward trajectory of 4.0-4.6% annually since 2012. California produced 110,000 residential construction housing units in 2019 much less than demand.

America's Finest City continues to increase in population. 2019 was one of our best years ever for job growth with nearly 35,000 jobs added. Out of the 26 California metropolitan areas, only the Bay Area and LA County added more jobs than San Diego County. Our unemployment rate fell below 3%, the only major metropolitan area that had a lower unemployment rate than San Diego was the Bay Area.  2.8% was San Diego’s lowest unemployment rate in two decades.  We were projected to add another 25,000-30,000 jobs for 2020.

In the majority of the San Diego real estate markets there are four resales for every one new home sold with very new homes being built.  Only 3,000 new single family homes were permitted and less than 2,000 townhomes or condos.  San Diego could easily absorb 12,000 new homes each year. Over the past decade, an average of 7,400 units was added, 5,000 units short annually.

Analyzing single-family homes, monthly inventory declined to 1.7 from 2.2 in 2019 and the days on market declined from 39 to 33 days.  For the end of 2018, there were 6,264 homes and condos on the market compared to 4,018 at the end of 2019.  Our month’s supply of inventory declined from 2.3 to 1.4.

San Diego's housing shortage causes daily commutes from Riverside, Tijuana, and Orange County as well as unintentional multi-generational living arrangements. Because of our inventory shortage, many San Diegans have refinanced to historically low rates, pulled equity out, and remodeled with intentions on staying put. With mortgage lending in the 3% range, first time home buyers and move-up buyers will find difficulty househunting. A spring gradual increase in pricing was to be expected and then Friday March 13th California was issued a stay at home notice!

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) San Diego Real Estate Trends

March 2020 - Massive layoffs, stock market losses, and general uncertainty about health and wealth are affecting the San Diego real estate market.  Closings were down 6.2 percent for single-family homes and increased 2.6 percent for condos and townhomes. March pending sales decreased 17.7 percent for single-family homes and 22.1 percent for condos and townhomes.

There was a shortage of inventory throughout San Diego between 20-40% for the month of March.  Many buyers are remaining on the sidelines watching to see what happens with going back to work, the stock market, and the virus.  

It's important to weigh in on our current lending environment.  Rates are historically low but the lending world has been turned upside down.  Part of the fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to counteract the disruption caused by COVID-19 involved homeowner mortgage deferment. The consequences of this caused problems for buyers active in the market. Home loan servicers still have to cover the principal and interest payments to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, ect.

On a side note, a mortgage deferment or forbearance hurts a homeowner more than helps. A forbearance is considered a loan modification, even if you're rolling a few month's payments to the back of the loan. Loan modifications have consequences and waiting periods of typically 12 months to reestablish yourself and come out of hardship.

There is now a temporary liquidity issue making it more difficult to fund loans for the buyers who are active in the market. Because Wells Fargo had been involved in the account opening fraud scandal they had a capitol constraint on how much money they could lend. When they opened up the SBA and filled their allotment within the first weekend they had to go back to the Feds and shut down their correspondent lending side. QM loans (any loan product that doesn't meet the standards of a qualified mortgage and has higher risk parameters) shut down without notice in the middle of escrow. Chase limited all mortgage lending to a 700 FICO and 20% down.housing stats

We'll have to see how the lending environment continues to adjust and what effect continued layoffs have on borrowers making their mortgage obligations.  We are likely to see impacts to San Diego's housing activity now and into the coming months.  We believe San Diego's home prices will hold steady in 2020 in most areas because our housing market faces far fewer obstacles than it did in the 2008 economic downturn.   In the $3M+ luxury market, there may be a softening of prices because tourism is non-existent right now. We are used to clients flying in for the weekend to peruse real estate. That isn't happening right now.  Aprils numbers will give us a better idea of the total impact to buyer and seller activity.

April 2020 - Overall economic activity nationally continued to slow throughout April while the stock market pared some of March’s losses.  April’s real estate activity was down significantly due to the unemployment filings and economic slowdown.  May 2019 through April 2020 pending escrows were down 1.2 percent for  San Diego county.  Homes priced $1,250,001 to $2,000,000 increased 7.3 percent.  The San Diego median sales price was $590,000 up 3.3%.  The median single family home price was $665,000 up 3.7%.  Inventory was down 31.8 percent across all price points with the smallest decline in the condo and townhouse market where inventory was only down 18%.  San Diego months supply of inventory 1.6 months for single family homes and 1.9 months for condos and townhouses.

May 2020 - An important indicator to the resale housing market is layoffs. March to April numbers drastically adjusted. The well-paying jobs had minimal layoffs but the hourly & minimum wage earners took the biggest hurt. The Payroll Protection Plan small businesses were thrown a life preserver with forgivable loans as long as 80% went to payroll. When we look at closed sales the past four months, it turns out that March real estate closings were up, while April numbers looked more like January/February. Days on market declined substantially while month's supply of inventory is down to under two months. Inventory under $750,000 is even lower indicating a reluctance for sellers to open up their home to the public.

June 2020 - Almost half of all job losses were in the leisure and hospitality trade. Initial unemployment claims nationally have plummeted since late March, jobs have returned, and California Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Claims have drastically improved. The San Diego real estate market is on an upswing with pending sales in May 58% higher than in April. Percentage of Original List Price Received, Days on Market Until Sale and Months Supply of Inventory are all holding steady.  Detached single family home inventory under $750,000 has almost dropped in half.

July 2020 - The drastic dip and panic the U.S. economy took in April is gradually making a come back. The country still has 16 million jobs to fill to get back to February. San Diego's April and May unemployment rate is at 15%.   June closed escrows were the highest so far in 2020 with pending sales at 3,636.

August 2020 - Historically in challenging times some industries struggle while others do well. Residential real estate has come out on top evident in July's record breaking 3,406 closings. More homes sold in July 2020 than they did in June 2020. The percent of Original List Price Received for single-family detached homes was 99.0% and 99.1% for attached condos/townhomes. Days on Market Until Sale 28 for detached homes and 26 for attached. Months Supply of Inventory 1.3 months for detached homes and 1.7 months for attached.

September 2020 - In September the US regained nearly half of the job losses with a gain of near 4 million. Since May there has been a total of 14 million jobs added. The US unemployment rate declined to 8.4% from 14.7% (still up from the 3.9% we were used to) Unemployment claims are down 88% since March. Residential units permitted January-July 2020 had positive growth in San Diego county, the only county in southern CA to have this increase.

Covid 19 has crippled many businesses and industries but the housing market at all price points flourished.  The new home builds were unchanged from 2019-2020 throughout San Diego County.  Comparing detached single family homes we only saw a decline of around 10% while condos and townhomes were down only 5%.

The percent of original list price received by sellers for single family homes was 100.3% and 99.4% for condos and townhomes.  Low ball and contingent offers have no legs right now.  We have about a 1 month supply of inventory with average days on market 19 days for single family and 21 days for condos/townhomes.

Looking at sales by price range, it is no surprise that 
Sales of detached homes under $500,000 were down 52% from 2019 to 2020.  This tells us a single family home under $500,000 is almost now non existent.  Single family homes over $1,000,000 were up 16% from 2019-2020 and condos and townhomes 19%
San Diego's unemployment rate reported for November was 7.7% but primarily in the industries of hospitality and travel/leisure.  With the governor's recent lift on outdoor dining at the end of January 2021 we should see an improvement.

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