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Bubble Forming In San Francisco, Los Angeles Housing Markets

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San Francisco painted ladies skyline
credit: Samuel Wantman

The San Francisco and Los Angeles housing markets are inching closer to bubble status. San Francisco is the most overvalued urban housing market in the U.S., according to UBS Wealth Management’s annual Global Real Estate Bubble Index. Los Angeles is the second most overvalued city.

San Francisco real housing prices increased 65% since 2012 following the tech boom and foreign demand. While pricing has slowed in recent quarters, it is still 6% above the national average. Average incomes rose only 10% since 2012 and have not kept pace with housing prices, causing affordability issues, according to UBS.

In Los Angeles, real housing prices rose 45% since 2012 compared to nationwide housing prices, which rose 23% since 2012. The strong economy and demand from China fueled the housing boom and there have been few signs of deceleration. There may still be room to grow. Prices are 20% below their 2006 peak. Even though incomes have grown in the last two years, housing affordability also is an issue in Los Angeles and should slow price growth, according to UBS.