In a word, no. They haven’t. Take a look at this 3 Price-Tier Case-Shiller 5-County San Francisco Metro Area Home Price Index chart.
Different counties, cities and neighborhoods in the Bay Area are dominated by different price tiers. Bay Area counties such as Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Sonoma and Solano have large percentages of their markets dominated by low-price tier homes (though all tiers are represented to greater or lesser degrees). San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are generally mid and high-price tier markets, and sometimes very high priced indeed. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the smaller the bubble and crash, and the greater the recovery as compared to previous peak values. Most of San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties are in the High-Priced Tier ($840,000+) while most of Sonoma and Napa counties fall in the Mid-Priced ($510,000 – $840,000) and Low-Priced ($510,000 and under) tiers. Petaluma and Penngrove fall into the Mid-Priced tier. The Low-Priced tier’s bubble was much more inflated by the subprime lending fiasco – an absurd 170% appreciation over 6 years which led to a much greater crash than the other two price tiers.
All 3 tiers have undergone dramatic recoveries, but because the bubbles of the Low-Priced and Mid-Priced tiers were greater, their recoveries leave them well below their artificially inflated peak values of 2006. It may take many more years before the Low-Priced tier of houses regains its previous peak values. The High-Priced tier, with a much smaller bubble, and few distressed property sales, has now exceeded its previous peak values of 2007. Most neighborhoods in Marin county have surpassed previous peak values by substantial margins. On the road to recovery our Mid-Priced tier Petaluma/Penngrove homes are somewhere right in the middle. 2014 ended with the median home price in Petaluma/Penngrove 45% above the post-bust low set in 2011 but we are still 18% from the pre-bust high set in 2006.
It’s interesting to note that despite the different scales of their bubbles, crashes and recoveries, all three price tiers now have similar overall appreciation rates when compared to year 2000. As of October 2014, this range has narrowed to 98% – 99% suggesting an equilibrium across the general real estate market regardless of tier or price.