The IPO wave of 2019 won’t upend the Bay Area housing market


Issi Romem Contributor

Issi Romem is chief economist for Trulia and a fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley. His work has been featured in the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and more.

The impending wave of San Francisco tech IPOs is substantial and will influence San Francisco real estate, but the hype about its impact is likely overblown. In particular, despite being centered on San Francisco instead of Silicon Valley, its impact is still likely to diffuse throughout the broader Bay Area. Rather than breaking with the past, the current wave of IPOs is likely to reinforce existing trends: undulating but maintained pressure on the gas pedal, not an abrupt kickdown.

Lyft’s recent offering, combined with a series of anticipated IPOs this year — headlined by Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, Slack, Zoom and others — has prompted numerous alarming headlines suggesting a coming flood of stock-enriched home buyers. “[E]ven conservative estimates predict hundreds of billions of dollars will flood into town in the next year, creating thousands of new millionaires,” reports The New York Times. “And they want houses,” warns the report, quoting a