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September 2012

Unemployment: Bay Area Shines

California’s adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage points in August to 10.4 percent. Following this trend, unemployment rates were lower in each of the nine Bay Area counties. Currently, the state’s four counties with lowest unemployment are all located in the Bay Area. They are Marin (6.3 percent), San Mateo (6.8 percent), San Francisco (7.4 percent) and Napa (7.5 percent).

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent last month, down from 8.3 percent in July.

 

Bay Area Unemployment Rates

 

County

Aug-12

Jul-12

Aug-11

Alameda

9.3%

9.5%

10.7%

Contra Costa

9.0%

9.4%

10.5%

Marin*

6.3%

6.7%

7.6%

Napa

7.5%

7.7%

8.5%

San Francisco

7.4%

7.6%

8.8%

San Mateo

6.8%

7.0%

8.1%

Santa Clara

8.5%

8.7%

9.8%

Solano

10.0%

10.3%

11.5%

Sonoma

8.3%

8.6%

9.9%
*Lowest in state. Source: CA-EDD
 

 

Housing: More Good News

Low mortgage interest rates, an improving economy, and increasing demand in mid- to move-up market segments helped drive Bay Area home sales last month to their best-performing August since 2006. A total of 8,579 new and resale homes were sold in the area—up 1.4 percent from 8,461 the month before, and up 14.2 percent from 7,513 in August 2011. The median price, though slightly lower than it was in June and July, increased 10.8 percent on a year-over-year basis to $410,000.

Across California, foreclosure activity in Q2 2012 was the lowest it has been in five years and the number of homes going into default dropped to the lowest level since early 2007. This improvement was strongest in the Bay Area: mortgages were least likely to go into default in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties than anywhere else in the state. The probability of default was highest in Tulare, San Joaquin and Sacramento counties.

 

Bay Area Home Sales: Volume and Median Price

 

  All homes

Sales Volume

Median Price

Aug-11

Aug-12

%Chng

Aug-11

Aug-12

%Chng

Alameda

1,498

1,828

22.0%

$349,000

$380,000

8.9%

Contra Costa   

1,576

1,649

4.6%

$260,500

$300,000

15.2%

Marin          

264

341

29.2%

$619,500

$634,000

2.3%

Napa            

121

160

32.2%

$320,000

$350,000

9.4%

Santa Clara     

1,731

1,892

9.3%

$492,000

$542,750

10.3%

San Francisco

484

625

29.1%

$618,500

$700,000

13.2%

San Mateo       

678

716

5.6%

$570,000

$592,500

3.9%

Solano         

595

693

16.5%

$185,000

$190,000

2.7%

Sonoma          

566

675

19.3%

$305,000

$345,000

13.1%

Bay Area       

7,513

8,579

14.2%

$370,000

$410,000

10.8%

Source: DataQuick, www.DQNews.com
 

Notices of Default: Bay Area Houses and Condominiums

County

Q2 2011

    Q2 2012

      Yr/Yr

San Francisco             

    402 

         295 

      -26.6%

Alameda                   

  2,030 

       1,789 

      -11.9%

Contra Costa              

  2,552 

       2,214 

      -13.2%

Santa Clara               

  1,793 

       1,474 

      -17.8%

San Mateo                 

    732 

         613 

      -16.3%

Marin                     

    279 

         220 

      -21.1%

Solano                    

  1,185 

       1,137 

       -4.1%

Sonoma                    

    738 

         680 

       -7.9%

Napa                      

    182 

         150 

      -17.6%

Bay Area                  

  9,893 

       8,572 

      -13.4%

Source: DataQuick, www.DQNews.com

 

Commercial Real Estate: Sublease Update

New available sublease space increased by 35 percent in August. According to Colliers International there are currently 183 listings, totaling 1.33 million square feet of available sublease space in San Francisco—up from a low of 725,000 square feet 12 months ago.

Though the city’s recent tech boom has made San Francisco’s office market one of the nation’s hottest, it has also resulted in the departure of firms outside the tech sector.  One notable example: Visa, Inc. announced this month that it will be leaving San Francisco for the Peninsula.
 
Read more in the San Francisco Business Times.

 

Wells Fargo Economist: San Francisco Has the Right Formula for Growth

According to Wells Fargo Chief Economist John Silvia, San Francisco is doing all the right things to spur growth.

"I find it fascinating that Twitter chose to move its headquarters downtown. How many U.S. cities would have attracted a high tech company like that to its downtown? Not many," he says about San Francisco’s increasing concentration of technology and social media companies.

The city’s attractive urban amenities, its transportation infrastructure, and the availability of finance and top professional services here are all part of a winning strategy for the 21st century. Job losses caused by a move such as Visa’s to the Peninsula, Silvia says, are more than compensated by the number of jobs created by firms like Twitter or Square in only one quarter.

Silvia will speak at the SF Chamber’s Forecast SF 2012 Conference October 3rd.

 

SFO Keeps Climbing

San Francisco International Airport experienced a strong summer: passenger volume in July rose 8.7 percent over June and 10.2 percent over July 2011. Currently, the Airport is on track to set a new record in 2012, with 44 million expected to pass through its gates by the end of the year. 

The “Gateway to the Pacific” now offers non-stop flights to more than 31 international points on 28 international carriers, as well as non-stop connections to more than 74 U.S. cities on 17 domestic airlines. In August, two new destinations were added to the roster at SFO: United began non-stop service to Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Virgin America now operates between San Francisco and Washington’s Reagan National.

SFO Airport Activity

Airport Activity (SFO)

Jul-12

Jul-11

% Change Month-to-Month

% Change Year-to-Date

Total Passengers

4,290,086

3,947,019

8.7%

10.2%

Domestic

3,341,850

3,031,196

10.2%

11.8%

International

936,950

892,963

4.9%

5.8%

Flight Operations - Total

38,639

35,916

7.6%

7.2%

Source: flySFO.com

 

 

Bloomberg Names SF #1

Bloomberg and Businessweek have named San Francisco “America’s Best City.”   According to the report, “Though numbering fewer than a million people, this coastal city packs in so much…that many proud San Franciscans will tell you that its finish at the top is well-earned.”  The report looked at 100 cities, and culled out San Francisco’s highly educated and talented workforce for kudos.  Seattle placed #2. 

Read the full report at Bloomberg Businessweek.

 

 

QuickFacts is produced by the San Francisco Center for Economic Development (www.sfced.org). For more information please contact:

Dennis Conaghan
Executive Director
415.352.8819
Email: dconaghan@sfced.org
www.sfced.org

 
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