Time out for the Adrian Ruiz Memorial Fundraiser

We’re simply too busy at the moment working with clients, changing up the sfnewsletter, living life, and helping organize and spread the word about the Adrian Ruiz Memorial Fundraiser. We have no time for our beloved theFrontSteps today. Please follow that link or click on the photo below to see all the great things San Francisco, and all the great people around us, have donated. It’s truly unbelievable.

See you next week!

-Adrian Ruiz Memorial Fundraiser

Stats & Numbers: 2-4 Unit April ’07 versus April ’08

From Garrett, as always, with love:

District Map (PDF)

2-4 Units
District 1 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 7 8
Median Selling Price 1,450,000 1,380,000
Average DOM 95 90
District 2 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 8 7
Median Selling Price 1,037,500 1,200,000
Average DOM 47 61
District 3 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 1 0
Median Selling Price 800,000
Average DOM 26
District 4 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 0 1
Median Selling Price 1,072,500
Average DOM 57
District 5 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 11 9
Median Selling Price 1,675,000 1,500,000
Average DOM 55 35
District 6 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 6 2
Median Selling Price 1,612,500 1,250,000
Average DOM 55 49
District 7 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 2 2
Median Selling Price 1,685,000 1,875,000
Average DOM 185 15
District 8 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 1 1
Median Selling Price 600,000 1,520,000
Average DOM 32 10
District 9 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 7 3
Median Selling Price 1,160,000 978,000
Average DOM 126 70
District 10 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 1 2
Median Selling Price 770,000 742,500
Average DOM 83 54

Data Provided by SFAR

Battle Royale: Tokyo or San Francisco if you had to choose

Since we’re on the subject…Tokyo or San Francisco if you had to choose and why…please. ;-)

We know nothing about Tokyo, and have never been, so should we decide to take a trip there, what can we expect, and what should we avoid. Of course, since this is a real estate blog, we’d also love to know what our money can(not) buy.

-San Francisco or New York City, if you had to choose [theFrontSteps, Battle Royale]

-San Francisco or Los Angeles, if you had to choose [theFrontSteps, Battle Royale]

-Tokyo Photo Credit

Chart challenge: San Francisco mimics Japanese land value decline (sort of)

Accepting our recent challenge to “show us a legitimate graph of home values for San Francisco, or the Bay Area, or California, or the Nation, hell you might as well make it the world for that matter, that looks like [the declining chart on this post]“, Paul G steps up to the plate with this chart and explanation below:

You did open the chart challenge up to the world so I thought I’d submit this one. I can’t upload images to your web-site so I’m emailing it to you. Feel free to post, if you want.

The green line represents the cost of residential land in six major urban centers in Japan since 1955. The blue line represents San Francisco prices using the Case-Shiller index, but, in order to make the peaks coincide, I’ve moved all SF values back 15 years.

No, I don’t think San Francisco prices are going to follow the same trajectory down for many reasons (inflation, the 30-year run-up in Tokyo compared with the 10-year run-up here) but it’s still an interesting graph.



Thanks for the graph! Very interesting to say the least.

-Chart Fun: Declining Real Estate Values [theFrontSteps]

-San Francisco or New York City, if you had to choose [theFrontSteps, Battle Royale]

Chart fun: Declining Real Estate Values

Recently on a few blogs around town, there was a mention of the Prestige Home Index, and there was (is) continually a hullabaloo about declining home values in California and the nation. Here’s the graph:

Forget for a minute the exact parameters of this graph and assume it is an average depiction of home price increases since 1985 (basically don’t look at the prices on the left). You have to agree, you can pretty much pick your price range and it is a decent indicator of home values, in general, in California. (For California Median Prices since 1968, you’ll see these charts match up pretty well.)

Now the fun part…can someone please show us a legitimate graph of home values for San Francisco, or the Bay Area, or California, or the Nation, hell you might as well make it the world for that matter, that looks like this?

Here’s a hint: Ask your parents or grandparents what they paid for their first home.

-About the Prestige Home Index [FirstRepublic.com]

Crime on the rise in…wait…Pacific Heights?

In response to our recent post about rising crime in Bernal Heights, a reader forwards this:

“Hey Alex,

I live in Pacific Heights and belong to a neighborhood association. Yesterday I received this email from a neighbor who is passing along a warning about a robbery in our neighborhood. It happened last weekend. So I guess it’s not just Bernal Heights that is having problems with recent increase in crime. What gives??


Fwd email:

At 11:30pm on Saturday, April 26th I was walking home from

dinner with my husband and my father. It was a very warm night and we could

not get a taxi from Pres a vis in the Presidio. As we approached Green

Street while walking up Divisadero, two young men wearing bright red

bandanas that covered their faces and carrying guns told me to give them my

purse. I did and they ran away – west on Green Street.

We promptly called the police who arrived within minutes. I

am mentioning this to the group because I have received two phone calls from

the police since the incident. Yesterday when they phoned they informed me

that they still had not arrested the guys, but in fact they had struck

several more times, that they know of, along Divisadero Street. One time

they even approached two men who were walking together, so it’s not just

women by themselves or in a group that are the target.

Both times the police called it was to ask if I could

identify the criminals in a lineup. Because the bandanas covered their

faces and they were wearing hats (along with baggy jeans and dark

sweatshirts) I could not be certain of their identities. The police

officers told me that the robberies are being committed by young members of

a Hispanic gang from South San Francisco. They drive down the street,

selecting potential victims, and then plan the attack a few blocks ahead and

escape again in their car parked nearby.

Please be careful walking at night. I was only 4 doors down

from my house when this occurred.

The police officer I spoke to last night assured me he would

call and let me know if/when they make an arrest.

Darnit, we’re going to have to find a cool video to brighten this Friday! And does this also beg the question, will this make Pacific Heights real estate prices go bust?

Weekly Fluj: Inventory, is there a lot of it?

Lots of people yapping on and on about how San Francisco listing inventory is through the roof, sales volume is in the toilet, and both median and average home prices have plummeted, but the Fluj says:

Seemingly the perception is that there is a lot of inventory, but is there, really? And as for prices, come on now!

Discuss, debate, have fun.

…and kicking it off, we’ll go ahead and show you Fluj’s first comment in the thread to get you going:

Right, so, “Inventory.”

Seemingly the conventional wisdom is that there is a lot of it. Why the disparity between what buyers in the field are actually excperiencing and the media/blogs then?

I did a search for available properties. I used a metric that I believe to be extremely common for San Franciscans. This is a search for a couple or a small family who hope to buy something with room to grow into.

The parameters are: 750K to $1.205M, 3 brs, 2 bas, 1 car parking. I limited the search zones to only generally safe(r) areas. Essentially I included everthing except Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, and Oceanview, all of 9 save Bernal and Potrero Hill, and all of 10.

I turned up 82 properties.

1. Of the 8 Richmond properties, only one was east of Funston, and it is a cosmetic fixer on 7th Ave for 899K. (On the market for 7 days, offers Tuesday, you best to hurry if interested IMO)

2. Twenty-seven are in the central or outer Sunset.

3. For areas 3, the Arch st. listing appears to be a nice little Merced Heights home for 559 a foot. Many searchers will not entertain areas 3.

4. For areas 4, if they are not on a very busy street or a fixer, only Forest Knoll, and Miraloma Park areas 4-D and 4-H have properties for 550-600 a foot. Like 3, many buyers will not entertain areas 4 as it is not particularly central.

5. Surprisingly, for areas 5, there are only two Glen Park listings. In Noe, there is only 4120 22nd, a permitted fixer in need of at least 600K in capital. In Ashbury Terrace, only one cosmetic fixer I know to have received two offers already. And there is one large fixer property up on Grand View — and it doesn’t have any views.

6. There was nothing in 6. This was surprising.

7-8. Nothing here. Not surprising.

9. Eleven are in Bernal Heights and will not appear in the search perameters of many groups. Two in Potrero Hill. The Wisconsin listing is a total fixer on a corner with very little southern exposure and an entrenched tenant. The Rhode Island property at $1.195M and 663 a foot appears to be a decent deal for North Slope.

So is that a lot of inventory? I really don’t think it is.

Share photos! Flickr tag: “theFrontSteps”

Not like I don’t have enough to do these days, but last night I started wandering the web and decided to add a Flickr application to this here blog. So…if you want to share some photos with all of us, simply tag them “theFrontSteps” and they should appear in our Flickr bar on the right. You can also add them to theFrontSteps’ Flickr Pool by joining theFrontSteps group.

-“theFrontSteps” [Flickr tag]

-theFrontSteps’ Flickr Pool [Flickr Pool]

How walkable is your home?

…and continuing with our education for the week, we’re introduced to Walk Score from another reader. Really, we haven’t been living under a rock, honest to God, but keep sending us information and we’ll keep getting edumucated.

What is Walk Score? “Walk Score’s patent-pending technology calculates a Walk Score for any property and shows a map of what’s nearby with reviews to help you find a great neighborhood.” Brilliant!

-WalkScore.com [Check it out, if you haven't already.]

Stats & Numbers: Condos April ’07 vs. April ’08

From Garrett, muchas Gracias!

District Map (PDF)

District 1 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 5 11
Median Selling Price 975,000 1,065,000
Average DOM 32 31
District 2 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 4 0
Median Selling Price 712,000
Average DOM 45
District 3 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 2 4
Median Selling Price 652,000 605,000
Average DOM 48 101
District 4 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 10 3
Median Selling Price 631,000 525,000
Average DOM 28 77
District 5 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 23 32
Median Selling Price 950,000 968,000
Average DOM 37 33
District 6 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 24 10
Median Selling Price 777,000 837,500
Average DOM 30 35
District 7 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 25 28
Median Selling Price 1,105,000 1,236,000
Average DOM 28 39
District 8 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 46 32
Median Selling Price 705,000 804,000
Average DOM 57 53
District 9 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 45 44
Median Selling Price 745,000 701,500
Average DOM 45 54
District 10 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 6 1
Median Selling Price 544,500 589,000
Average DOM 47 4

Data Provided by SFAR

Crime on the rise in Bernal Heights?

It seems to be the week of getting edumucated on theFrontSteps. First chickens, now rising crime in Bernal Heights? We have no factual evidence to support what we’re saying, but the information has come to us from a very reliable and trustworthy source. We’re hoping you (the reader) can shed some light on the matter. We know some of you in particular might have better knowledge on the matter than we, so please share.

It also begs the question, could this make Bernal go bust? (And it reminds us, we’re about due for another Battle Royale.)

Trump gets Palm Beach Mansion into contract around $100 million

Today Zillow is reporting the $100M sale of Trump’s Palm Beach Mansion, thanks to the excellent write up in the Palm Beach Post.

[photo credit: Jeffrey Langlois Daily News file photo, on PalmBeachPost.com Business]

Some things we find interesting in all of this:

1) Zillow’s Zestimate of the property is off by about $77M (they admit it), but why didn’t Trump login to Zillow and “Claim the home”, or “Edit home facts”? Maybe he could have put a “make me move” price in, because you know the buyer checked Zillow first. ;-)

2) Trump purchased the property for $41.35M in 2004 in a Bankruptcy sale, according to the report. On the Trump Interview (CNBC) he says, “I bought it for 40″. When you got that kind of cash, what’s the extra $1.35M? Only us “media” type really care.

3) It is a “foreign” buyer, and said buyer is considering tearing it down (good, it’s ugly as hell!)

4) Kendra Todd (Apprentice fame) helped on the remodel, but didn’t get the listing (hmmmm……)

5) It’s not sold…it’s in contract. Big difference.

Regardless, Trump is still the man, and his daughter is super sexy hot. You go Trump!

[Update: Sold to a Russian billionaire for $81.5M. From the most recent article: "The oceanfront estate built by billionaire businessman and philanthropist Sidney Kimmel recently changed hands for $81.5 million. While the sale price was officially recorded at $77.5 million, the buyer also paid $4 million in closing costs."]

…and back to San Francisco.

-$100M sale of Trump’s Palm Beach Mansion [Zillow Blog]

-PalmBeachPost.com Business [Palm Beach Post]

-Trump Interview [CNBC.com]

Letter to Editor: “The buyers are the ones who are panicking…”

We received this email after our post regarding the apparent panic amongst some Realtors in San Francisco:

From a fellow SF Realtor…

I think Realtors looking for plugs for their listings is an attempt to cater to the new mentality of todays Buyers – not a sign of panic. The Buyers are the ones who are panicking as a result of the garbage being published practically daily about the real estate market tanking (thank you SF Chronicle, for one). They are being trained to believe that the only reason to buy in SF is if you can get a deal, be on the inside track, take advantage of something before others do, etc. So having you plug a “special” property works well. Realtors are just smart and know how to target their market :) But as we (Realtors) all know, at the end of the day it still comes down to location & price – not just a tip. The truth is, any serious Buyer is looking at a multitude of sites or has a good agent and can find said property without a lot of trouble, assuming it’s not a pocket listing. But as they say, perception is reality and if the Buyer thinks they’ve found a real jewel, that’s what Realtors are banking on. Literally!

Have a great day,

Thanks for the email…

New Realtor “tactics”, a dog, a quote, and no contact info? (1445 Cole)

From a reader:

Hi guys,

Have you seen this listing?


I live a block away, and got a little invitation in my mailbox for a “private viewing” complete with wine and snacks, [five days ago]. I couldn’t go, so I haven’t seen the property, but I thought this was definitely a new tactic–esp. in this neighborhood. Thought you might be interested.

We’re always interested in what you (the readers) have to say, so keep sending those tips.

We do however, have some questions regarding the property website:

1) What’s up with the dog?

2) Can a Gustav Stickley quote help sell a home?

3) Where’s the agent contact info on the site (please, please, please correct us if we’ve overlooked it)?

That’s all for now…okay, one more…how about some bigger photos? Might we suggest using OpenHomesPhotography the next time around?

153 Avila: A done deal and providing a bit of “color”

Recently we had someone ask if we could “provide a bit of color on 153 Avila”, a contemporary 3 bed, 2.5 bath, single family home in the Marina asking $2,695,000, and as a matter of fact, we can provide some “color”.

It sold after 14 days on the market for $2,975,000 (10.4% over asking) or $1202.51 per square foot. As for who’s house this is, PropertyonFire tells that. Hope that helps and glad to provide some “color”. Tough market down there in the Marina isn’t it?

Update: Here’s some more color…this home was listed by the owner (we call that FSBO) for $2.6M not too long before hitting MLS. A friend of ours wrote and presented an offer for $2.55, and the seller basically laughed them away. Our friends, and everyone who knows about sales on that block for that matter, told the seller he is nuts and “will never get $2.6M”. And look what happened! We might as well call it $3M at this point.

Those folks that bought 451 Avila just made what we like to call instant equity.

-153 Avila [listing detail]

-$600,000 Over Asking on Avila [theFrontSteps]

Lemonade for sale! And a Cow Hollow Single Family Home Pocket Listing too

As you know, we are out enjoying the weather, but said we might come in for some lemonade and do a post. And since our phones and emails never get a break, we thought we’d introduce you to something sweet, that hit both the phones and emails today:


1807 Greenwich: Contemporary Cow Hollow House

Offered at $2,350,000

Move-in Ready!

* Large-scale living/dining area with gas fireplace

* Kitchen/family room with new stainless steel appliances

* New Brazilian Cherry Floors

* 3 bedrooms on top floor

* Office on ground floor opens to secluded South-facing yard

* 2.5 baths

* New Loewen double paned Windows

* 2 car parking

* Detached on 3 sides

* Fantastic Location … 2 blocks to Union Street shops & cafes

Cow Hollow Single Family Home on 1800 block of Greenwich @ Octavia

Will hit the market Memorial Day weekend

3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car tandem with bonus room off the garage.

Built 1996

Contemporary, Granite, Stainless, the whole bit

Approx 2600+ square feet (waiting for exact number)

South facing yard

Price $2,350,000 new description above is better

Interested? Contact us. As soon as we have pics and more details, we’ll let you know.

Eff theFrontSteps!

It’s too damn hot and nice outside to blog about San Francisco real estate today. Maybe when we come in for a lemonade we’ll get to some posts, but for now, the sun is blazing and we say, Eff theFrontSteps! Get outside and enjoy the weather, because you know it won’t last!

If you absolutely must get your fix, try starting up a conversation or posting some videos or photos to our social network. And of course, you could always go head to head with “the Fluj” about our Redheaded Stepchild, the Sunset.

Back soon……..

Weekly Fluj: “Everybody’s Redheaded Stepchild”…the Sunset

As you know by now, we caught the Fluj, and those of you that are familiar with his opinionated writing about San Francisco real estate know that he is nothing short of extraordinarily gifted at firing people up, not to mention a wizard with MLS and various other stats to support his arguments about San Francisco’s resilience in this time of national doom and gloom.

So let’s see how it goes today:

I would like to show the surprising relative strength of the Sunset market [not the Sunset Super]. It seems to be everybody’s redheaded stepchild, you know? But it isn’t exactly tanking, is it?


We would have to agree with “the Fluj” on this one, but we’ll leave it to y’all to debate.