With teams from two cities in Bank of the West’s footprint going up against one another in the World Series, I couldn’t help staging my own fantasy matchup pitting my beloved San Francisco Giants’ housing market against Kansas City’s.
Game 1 is homes for sale. Let’s see who has inventory for buyers. San Francisco, at twice the size of the Royals’ hometown, should win easily. I checked realtor.com Friday, and San Francisco had 1,464 homes listed for sale. That’s not bad, and may be enough to beat Kansas City (which gets last at bats as the home team). Using the same site on the same day, Kansas City comes on strong with 4,996 homes listed!
And the Royals take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Game 2 is homeownership rates. You might expect a wealthy city like San Francisco to have the edge. I checked U.S. Census data for the second quarter, and San Francisco’s homeownership rate was a subpar 54.1%. In the West the current average ownership rate is 59.1%, and the national average is 64.7%. So it appears San Francisco is hitting below average. But can the Royals top it? Kansas City’s homeownership rate in the second quarter was 64.3%. It’s below the Midwest average (highest region in the nation) of 69.6%, but a good 10 percentage points above the City by the Bay’s rate.
Kansas City goes up 2-0.
Down two games, the Giants return home to AT&T Park. Now, let’s see what happens in a city where a buyer needs a salary of $145,898 to afford the median-priced home. It is clearly a power hitter’s town.
Game 3 is a rental affordability matchup. What percent of tenants in occupied rental units are paying 35% or more of their household income on rent? The lower percentage team will win as the more affordable city for renters. San Francisco scores a not-so-affordable 37.3%, meaning 37 out over every 100 renters are spending more than 35% of their income on rent. A number lower than that will be a win for Kansas City. The U.S. Census 2008-2012 American Community Survey shows that in Kansas City, tenants paying 35% or more of income toward rent comes in at 45.5%. San Francisco gets a surprise Game 3 win as the more affordable city for renters.
Game 4 is highest-priced home. The Royals’ palace at $4.45 million would certainly be a hit in most Midwest cities. But in Baghdad by the Bay? Once again, the Giants bring the big bats: $18 million! Go Giants!
We have ourselves a series now tied at 2-2.
Game 5 and 6 are a double-header: residential building permits. Game 5 is multi-family building permits. Through August, Kansas City has issued 2,320 multi-family building permits compared to 2,980 in San Francisco’s market, according to housing statistics compiled by the National Association of Home Builders. Of course, the Bay Area is larger than Kansas City so to level the playing field, let’s consider the percentage change compared to the same period a year ago. Kansas City: +15%. San Francisco: -32%. I’d say game 5 is a no-hitter win for the Royals.
Traveling back to the Show Me State, the Giants have their work cut out for them, down 3-2 in the series.
Game 6 is single-family building permits. Surprisingly, from NAHB.org, we find there have been 2,780 single-family permits issued in Kansas City compared to just 2,480 in the San Francisco market in the first eight months of this year. But our game is about year-over-year growth. San Francisco’s permits are up a slim 2%. Are two percentage points enough to win? Kansas City’s single-family permits are down 2%. San Francisco ties the series at 3 games each.
Game 7! Let’s wrap up the series by looking at one of the most widely watched pieces of housing data: How fast home prices have moved over the past year. In the second quarter of this year, seasonally adjusted home prices in San Francisco rose a solid 2% compared to the first quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In Kansas City, prices sprinted ahead 3.2%! Advantage KC. Alas, one quarter does not a baseball game make. We’re looking at the year-over-year change in prices. Compared to a year ago, prices in San Francisco ran up 11.2% — one of the fastest rates in the country. In the past year, Kansas City home prices moved up at a 5.7% clip. Fast, but not a world-champion pace.
So, there you have it. San Francisco takes the series.