San Francisco Is The Best City, Has The Most College Educated People, Oldest Women, And Most Homeless People, And Lots Of Fog…What Else?

By the numbers: San Francisco has an estimated population of 837,442 (per U.S. Census), we live within 47 square miles, our calves are bursting out of our jeans, and who needs squats (we have hills…apparently 43 – 50 “named” hills). We have a ton of billionaires, and even more homeless. We have old ladies, and lots of lawyers. But really, have a look at the rest.

San Francisco is:

  • America’s best city, per Bloomberg Businessweek
  • 2nd best metro area in the country for resident “well-being” (after San Jose-Santa Clara), per 2014 Gallup/Healthways survey
  • America’s most pretentious city (followed by NYC, Boston & Minneapolis), per Travel + Leisure reader survey
  • 1st in college degrees per square mile: 7031, per U.S. Census; 3rd in graduate degrees per capita (after DC and Seattle), per Forbes
  • 3rd worst metro area commute (after DC and LA): average of 61 hours of delay in traffic per year, per Texas A&M Transportation Institute
  • 5th best city for dogs, per PawNation; est. 120,000 dogs live in SF, per City Govt.
  • Last in children per capita (14%); approx. 113,000 children under 18, per U.S. Census
  • 3rd in lawyers per capita by metro area (after DC & NYC); 2nd highest mean wage for lawyers, $169,000 (after San Jose), per Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • 3rd in number of billionaires (i.e. the Bay Area, after Moscow and New York): 65 billionaires (25 in SF), though it fluctuates depending on stock prices, per SFLuxe
  • 1st in homeless residents per capita, per Philanthropedia; percentage living below poverty level, 13.2%, per U.S. Census
  • 14th largest city in the U.S.; 2nd most densely populated city in the U.S. (after NYC)
  • Misc. Fact – Estimated change in population since 2010: 32,000, per U.S. Census; new housing units added since 2010: approx. 4200, per SF Planning Dept.
  • Highest median asking residential rent in U.S.: $3256/month, per livelovely.com; 4th least affordable city by median-rent-to-median-income ratio – 40.7%, per Zillow
  • 186th on Best Drivers List, per Allstate
  • 11th most gay friendly city, per The Advocate 2014 ranking; 1st in LGBT percentage of residents, 15.4%, and 4th by total population, per Census Bureau
  • 6th highest rate of vehicle theft, per Natl. Insurance Crime Bureau; 5400/year stolen in SF & 28,500 in Bay Area, with 85-90% recovered, per Bay Area News Group
  • Misc. Fact – Every year, approx. 70,000 cars are towed ($500+ fee) & 1,529,000 tickets issued in San Francisco, per Towing & Recovery & SFMTA
  • 2nd in “walkability” (after NYC), per WalkScore
  • 8th most bike-friendly city (Portland is 1st), per Bicycling Magazine
  • 3rd best city to visit in the U.S. (after NYC and Chicago), per Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards and Condé Nast Readers’ Choice
  • Greenest city in North America, per The Economist; 2nd greenest city in the world (after Reykjavik), per Green Uptown
  • Bay Area is 1st in hybrid and electric car sales: 9.4% of all sales are hybrid; .52% of sales are electric, per R.L. Polk & Co.
  • 2nd fittest city in the U.S. (after Portland), per Men’s Fitness
  • 1st in women’s life expectancy: 84.5 years; 2nd in women’s well-being (after DC), per Measure of America
  • 2nd smartest city in the U.S. (after Seattle; tied with Boston), per Co.Exist; approx. 35 Nobel Prize winners live in the Bay Area, per SF Business Times
  • 4th most liberal major city in the U.S. (Oakland is #3), per Center for Voting Research. If smaller cities are included, Berkeley comes in 3rd, Oakland 5th and SF 9th
  • Best city for dining out, per Bon Appétit readers’ poll; best for ethnic food dining, per Travel + Leisure; most restaurants per capita, per Frommer’s
  • 10th on the Global Financial Centres Index; 3rd in U.S. (after NYC and Boston)
  • 15th best city for hippies (Eugene is #1 and Berkeley is #8), per Estately Blog
  • 2nd in Fortune 500 companies: 31, with recent addition of Facebook (ranking refers to Bay Area; NYC metro area is 1st with 66), per Fortune
  • 194th in cost of doing business, per Forbes
  • Misc. Fact – Avg. SF internet download speed: 22.2 Mbps vs. U.S. average of 22.9; Kansas City is at 86.3 Mbps; Provo at 84.9; NYC at 31; Austin at 27.2, per Ookla
  • SF population breakdown: 42% non-Hispanic white (vs. 64% U.S.), 34% Asian (vs. 5% U.S.), 15% Hispanic/Latino (vs. 16%), 6% black (vs. 13%), 1% Native American (n/c), .5% Pacific Islander (.2%), per U.S. Census
  • 4th in percentage of foreign-born residents: 30% for SF-Oakland metro area; 36% for SF alone (behind Miami, San Jose-Santa Clara and LA), per U.S. Census
  • Misc. Fact – Highest minimum wage in the country: $10.74/hour as of January 2014 (with a ballot measure to raise it to $15 expected in November)
  • 21st highest office rent in the world & 4th highest in U.S. (after NY Midtown, DC East End, Boston Back Bay): SF Financial District, $70/sq.ft./year, per Cushman Wakefield
  • 8th best city for drinking, per Forbes
  • 13th highest rate of consumer cell phone loss or theft (35%), per Symantec; more than 50% of SF robberies involve the theft of a mobile device, per SF Police Dept.
  • 3rd most inventive city in the world by patent applications per capita (after Eindhoven in the Netherlands and San Diego), per the OECD
  • 3rd best city for parks in U.S. (after Minneapolis and NYC), 5384 acres equaling 18% of the city’s area, per Trust for Public Land
  • 3rd in U.S. for number of “ultra-high-net-worth” individuals worth $30m+ (after NYC and LA), per Wealth-X; 10% of wealthiest Americans live in Bay Area, per SFLuxe
  • Highest median home price, per National Association of Realtors: $960,000, 1st quarter 2014, per SFARMLS; homeownership rate is 37% vs. 65% for U.S., per Census Bureau
  • 33rd most visited city in the world, per Euromonitor Intl.; 16.9 million visitors in 2013 (or 20 visitors per resident)
  • Misc. Fact – the Bay Area has 2 universities in the top-ranked 6 of the world: Stanford, UC Berkeley; 3 in the top 31 (add UCSF), per Times Higher Education Ranking report
  • 1st in the U.S. for real estate investment/development opportunity, per Urban Land Inst.
  • 2nd most charitable city (after Seattle), per Daily Beast; 8th most generous in online giving, per Convio; as a multi-county metro area, 310th in percentage of adjusted gross income donated (2.8%), per National Center for Charitable Statistics
  • 9th “coolest” city in the U.S., per Forbes (Houston, DC and LA were 1, 2 & 3)
  • Misc. Fact – Average number of foggy days per year: 108, per Current Results
  • Best city for Halloween trick or treating, per Zillow
  • That ought to keep you all discussing for a while.

    1 Ecker (16 Jessie) Unit 406 Hits The Market, Monday Open House Was Packed

    You may have already seen the press my good friends over at Curbed gave to this awesome condo in the heart of downtown San Francisco (Financial District/Yerba Buena), but if not, here you go: 16 Jessie (1 Ecker) #406, Junior 1br/1ba, $495,000

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Sustainable down to its very foundation, this century-old building (1 Ecker) was painstakingly restored and updated with brand-new modern interior fixtures and finishes. This top floor, Junior 1br, 1ba unit features soaring 12′ ceilings, exposed brick, open kit/liv area, bamboo floors, Cesarstone kit countertops, espresso cabinetry, stackable Whirlpool High Efficiency W&D, Bosch Energy Star appliances, addl. storage, bike parking, & shared roof deck/bbq area. Furniture is negotiable. Walk to shops, restaurants, public transportation, Ferry Building, and so much more. This is the perfect Urban dwelling for anyone.

    On a side note, this was the first ever Open House I’ve done on a Monday evening and the traffic was through the roof. Perhaps this could be the first step to getting buyers, sellers, and agents their Sundays back! Many, many of the people through the door preferred the Monday evening showing over the standard Sunday 2-4pm window for open houses, citing their inability to do anything on Sundays because this window falls smack dab in the middle of the day. My vote is to get our weekends back. What about you?

    I’ll have it open again:
    Thursday 4/17 from 5:30-7:30pm
    Saturday 4/19 from 2-4pm (my colleague will be there)
    Tuesday 4/22 from 2:30-4pm
    Offers, if any, will be reviewed Wednesday 4/23 @ noon.

    -A Slice of 1 Ecker In Yerba Buena Can Be Yours For $495k [Curbed]

    Prices Jumping – Yet Again – Across San Francisco

    The San Francisco real estate market grew increasingly frenzied as the first quarter of 2014 progressed, leading to another surge in home prices in virtually every neighborhood in the city. The high-demand/ extremely-low-inventory/ competitive-bidding situation is similar to what occurred first in spring 2012 and then, to an even higher degree, in spring 2013. After the market seemed to stabilize in the second half of last year, we didn’t expect to see it turn this fierce in early 2014, but right now it appears to be every bit as ferocious as last spring’s.

    Of major metro areas, the new Gallup-Healthways survey ranked SF-Oakland second in the nation (behind San Jose-Santa Clara) on their index for “well-being.” Though already the second most densely populated city in the country (after NYC), San Francisco simply has many more people wanting to live here than there are homes available to rent or buy.

    Sales over Asking Price
    The heated competition for new listings coming on market has resulted in an astounding percentage of sales occurring above, and often far above, list price.

    This chart below breaks down, by neighborhood, the average sales price to list price percentage for the 90% of homes selling without price reductions. Of the areas assessed, Bernal Heights came out on top with sales prices averaging an incredible 21% over list prices over the past 2 months.



    Median Sales Price Spikes
    Typically, the first quarter of the year does not show a dramatic increase in median sales prices over the previous quarter – in fact, a decline is not unusual due to holiday market dynamics. But the first quarter of 2014 saw large spikes in median prices for both single family homes (houses) and, especially, condos in San Francisco.
    This next chart is a look at quarterly median price appreciation over the past 3 years.



    Longer-term trends: While virtually the whole country has been experiencing a large market rebound, San Francisco, because of our particular economic circumstances, is generally outperforming almost every other market area. The big exception is Silicon Valley, whose high appreciation rate is being driven by many of the same employment and demographic causes.



    Far Too Little Inventory
    When the market recovery began in earnest in early 2012, there were complaints of a shortage in inventory. In 2013, the market grew even more heated and supply declined further to what felt like desperately low levels. Now in 2014, amid no lessening of demand that we perceive, the supply of SF homes available to purchase has dropped again.

    There are increasing numbers of new-construction housing units coming on market – and many more being planned and built – but so far they’re being snapped up, at very high prices, without noticeably altering the supply and demand dynamic.



    Listings Selling Faster than Ever



    San Francisco Neighborhood Snapshots
    We updated analyses for a number of city neighborhoods with enough sales for quarterly data to be meaningful. In every district we looked at, there were significant spikes in median sales prices and/or average dollar per square foot values in the quarter just ended.
    Below are two samples, but our full collection of long-term neighborhood analyses can be found here (some updated through the first quarter, others through the end of 2013):San Francisco Neighborhood Values







    Affordability by Neighborhood
    We broke the city down by neighborhood according to the number of house and condo sales in each price segment. Of course, in a generally appreciating market, these prices continue to move upward en masse. Below are 3 analyses from our 11-chart report, which can be found in its entirety here:Where Can I Afford to Buy in San Francisco






    Please call or email if you have any questions or comments regarding these analyses.

    Fluctuations in median and average sales prices and average dollar per square foot values are not unusual and these fluctuations can occur for other reasons besides changes in value, such as seasonality, inventory available to purchase, buyer profile and new condo development projects coming on market. How these statistics apply to any particular property is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. All data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision.

    SF vs. NY – The Debate Continues

    Way back on October 15th, 2007 I wrote a post: Battle Royale: San Francisco or New York City, If You Had To Chose. It was, and still is, an extremely popular article that has garnered over 100 comments, and still ranks incredibly high on search engine queries of the like. For a small shop like mine, that’s pretty impressive. Our readers shared some incredibly good points about both cities, and it is a debate that will likely go on well after I have physically left this Earth, and well after my kin have parted. There will never be a correct answer.

    Like I said back then, San Francisco has a ton of things to offer that New York simply doesn’t (immediate access to outdoor recreation probably falling top of my list), and there are things New York has that San Francisco simply never will (snowstorms and brutally cold weather come to mind). But it is what it is, and it will always be.

    That said, there were a couple articles written recently that I wanted to share with all of you that take a different approach to the topic, because I frequently get clients from out of town wondering what the heck San Francisco is all about. These two articles are not a question of whether one is better than the other, more a question of whether one has BECOME the other. In the end, they can certainly help you draw a conclusion about the city you’re buying into, and the city you might be leaving.

    In my humble opinion, San Francisco will never be New York, and New York will never be eclipsed by San Francisco. New York conjures up the image of power to me, it is the EMPIRE STATE after all. It moves fast. It never sleeps. It’s gritty. It’s tough. San Francisco (and I’ve lived here a while) brings to mind freedom, outdoor living, really smart people changing the world, getting rich, having fun, and living life to the fullest, but they will never have the power and image of the EMPIRE STATE. San Franciscans can puff their chests, but deep down they are fragile. We’re golden boys and girls living in the GOLDEN STATE, and that’s just fine.

    I could go on and on, but I digress. Both cities are amazing in their own right. Both cities have pluses and minuses. But if I’m not mistaken, Tony Bennett did not make famous a song about losing his heart in New York City.

    Just sayin’…

    -Is San Francisco New York [New York Times, Kevin Rose]
    -Why San Francisco Is Not New York [New York Times, Nick Bilton]
    -Battle Royale: San Francisco or New York City, If You Had To Chose [theFrontSteps, Alexander Clark]

    How Much Is My Home Worth?

    “How much is my property worth?” “How much could we get for our place?” “How much do you think my condo would sell for?”

    San Francisco Median Home Price Graph, What Is My Home Worth

    I get asked different variations of this question every single day, everywhere I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a dinner party, bbq, school event, or even on a field trip with my 7 year old. It’s okay. It’s totally normal. Everybody wants to chat real estate. It’s why I started this blog, and it’s a go-to if conversation about Blue Bottle versus Ritual Roasters gets so heated it’d be better left settled in the Octagon. Everybody wants to know if their home value has gone up, and everybody wants free information about the market and their property. So how does a real estate professional accurately answer this question in a market where (currently) home values seem to be going nowhere but up every week, and every new sale sets a new high water mark in your area?

    The answer is this, nobody REALLY knows. A couple things I do know are Zillow Zestimates do you no good in San Francisco, your property is worth more than your cousin’s in Kansas, and your property could be worth more than it ever was. I know what comparable properties have recently sold for, and I know how I can help you market, show, and price your property to get the maximum number of people through the door in an effort to let the market dictate what is the maximum value your property is worth.
    Continue reading

    Something For You Fence Sitters And Gold Panners To Ponder…

    1761hayes

    My clients just got shelled by 16 other offers on 1761 Hayes, a top floor 2 bed, 1 bath condo in NOPA asking $849,000. We offered $1,051,000, and they accepted an offer that was “barely higher”. So here’s a thought:

    I’d say it’s time for many of you long time residents sitting on the selling fence to pack it up, cash out, and head for greener pastures where the $$$ you make on your sale can buy you acres of space, money in the bank, and plenty of breathing room. I’d even suggest all of you gold panner techies flocking to SF looking to strike it rich consider building another hub for tech activity somewhere else. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of you, many of you are my clients, we love what you’re doing for the economy (for that matter, the world), and there is a reason everyone wants to be in San Francisco, but at some point, I’d think even you, the innovators, would get tired of throwing your money at sellers and it still not being enough. Surely, the internet works in other locales around the world, and surely companies can be built and go viral from anywhere. Perhaps the companies that are leading the innovation now should open satellite offices in markets where their talent can afford to live? I know Oregon, Seattle, and Salt Lake City have a reasonable real estate market, as well as hip scene. Makes perfect sense to me, and might ease the frenzy that is San Francisco real estate. What do you think?

    On a side note (somewhat related to technology): in case you aren’t on the VIP list, and you’re stuck waiting in line for your real estate agent to send you stale data via snail mail about recent sales in your ‘hood, comps that by the time they reach you are old news, I published yet another issue of sfnewsletter last week, and it’s chock full of good real estate porn, including a few good overbids you’ll want to share amongst friends, and a link to the stuff you really want: real time market data sortable by neighborhood and property type (courtesy of The Goods-SF).

    Get on the list at sfnewsletter.com. Get out of town with money in the bank by giving me a shout (alexclark@gmail.com, 415-254-5351).

    -1761 Hayes Property Detail [theGoods-sf.com]

    Current San Francisco Home Values by Neighborhood, Property Type & Bedroom Count

    These tables report average and median sales prices and average dollar per square foot, along with average home size and units sold, by property type and bedroom count for a wide variety of San Francisco neighborhoods. The tables follow the map in the following order: houses by bedroom count, condos by bedroom count, 2-bedroom TICs, and finally a small table on 2-unit building sales.

    The analysis is based upon sales reported to MLS between April 1, 2013, when the last big surge in home values began in San Francisco, and February 21, 2014. Value statistics are generalities that are affected by a number of market factors and all numbers should be considered approximate.

    Continue reading

    “Can You Tell Me What The Property Down The Street Sold For?”

    “How much is the house down the street?” “Do you know how much over that condo sold for?” I get those questions a lot. So much in fact, that I built a tool/service for all of you to track new listings and sales in your area with ease.
    Show Me The Goods!

    As much as I’d like to be able to share this data publicly here on theFrontSteps, I can’t. But, you can sign up for my newsletter at www.sfnewsletter.com, and I’ll send you something along the lines of this just about every other week, (click here to see my recent sfnewsletter), and it has access to insanely awesome and easy to use market information like this (Show me the Goods (sample data)). So sign up today, and be the one in your area that knows more about the property on your block than all of your neighbors.

    Rock on! Have a great weekend, and let me know when you’re ready to buy or sell in this wonderfully expensive, and worth every penny, city we call home.

    Oh, you fellow Realtors, you can send this data to your clients. Just ask @ www.theGoods-sf.com.

    Possible Shift In San Francisco Real Estate Market? Should You Sell Your Home Now?

    February 2014 San Francisco Market Report

    It is far too early in the year to reach definitive conclusions regarding substantive changes in the market, but there are indications of a number of shifts. From the hurly burly on the street, the word is that the quantity of offers coming in on new listings is declining. Where a new listing might have attracted 10 or 12 offers last spring, 3 or 4 are coming in now; where 3 or 4 offers would have arrived, the seller is getting 1. And, according to Broker Metrics, for every 2 listings that offers in December and January, another listing expired or was withdrawn without selling.

    The amount of competition deeply affects home price increases.

    There are still a very large number of buyers looking at listings online and at open houses. But more of them appear to be first-time buyers and they are proceeding more cautiously. Some buyers are burned out on the multiple-offer bidding frenzies of last year and are reluctant to participate in them. Though the market remains hot by any reasonable standard, by some statistical measures it is cooling. This may reflect a transition or only a lull before the spring sales season begins.

    Recently, the investment-property analysis firm Reis speculated that SF apartment-rent growth — which has been extraordinary by any measure, especially in a period of low inflation — will slow despite intense demand and very low vacancy rates, simply because people can’t pay any more. It’s an idea which may or may not be correct or apply to other types of housing costs. Rent rates do play a role in purchase prices as buyers often compare the net housing costs of the two options.

    Median Sales Price Appreciation by Neighborhood

    In San Francisco, some of the most affluent neighborhoods — such as the Pacific Heights-Marina district and the Noe, Eureka and Cole Valleys district — started their recoveries in the second half of 2011, well before virtually every place else in the city or country. When 2012 began, prices in these districts soared, while other areas played catch up. In 2013, that dynamic flipped: Appreciation rates in comparatively less expensive neighborhoods surged, while slowing in the most affluent areas.

    A big part of this is simple affordability: Priced out in one neighborhood (or city), buyers focused on others, similar in ambiance but less costly. Home prices there looked so good in comparison that buyers were willing to bid them up. The huge decline of distressed sales in areas severely affected, such as in Bayview, has had an outsized effect on median sales prices there. Continuing gentrification, as in the Mission, and increasing “luxury” condo construction in less affluent areas have also played parts in this trend. It’s not as if demand plunged in the Pacific Heights-Marina district (or Noe Valley, for that matter). Quite the contrary: its 9% appreciation rate in 2013 translated into the city’s largest median price increase in dollar terms ($300,000). However, in the previous year, this district saw year over year median price appreciation of 25%.

    Note that median price appreciation does not perfectly correlate to changes in home values, as it can be affected by a variety of market factors. It does give an approximate sense of market trends.
    Continue reading

    Top 10 Overbids Of The Week, And One Mind Bender On Church That Wouldn’t Even Make The List

    [Update: Most recent Overbids can be found here, and delivered to you biweekly via email at sfnewsletter.com]

    Before we get down to the top 10, I thought you all might like a bit of first hand story to ponder over lunch or dinner with your friends.

    This property: 1850 Church, technically in Glen Park, practically in Noe Valley.
    1850church
    It is a top floor, three bedroom, two bath, down to the studs remodel including moving the bedrooms from the back of the house to the front, moving kitchen to the back, blowing out walls, opening up space, adding a deck, and basically making it awesome…and it has two car parking and a yard. For all practical purposes, it’s pretty sweet. It is however bordered by a shack on the right and left of the property, which can either lend to its appeal or detract, depending on your tolerance for jungle overgrowth. But enough about that. What happened?

    Listed for $1,195,000, maybe a bit low, but probably pretty fair, all reasonable comps suggested a sales price in the high $1.2s to mid $1.3s. Single family homes are selling for that, and this is a condo! After all the dust settled, there were seven offers. My clients wrote at $1,350,000, my colleague’s clients wrote at $1,410,000 (You doing the math? That’s already $215,000 over asking.), and neither of us won. Go figure. So any day this property is going to close at $1,435,000 with a cash offer that came with zero contingencies, which equates to $240,000 over the asking price, and right into the range of insanity. Exact square footage is not known, but a ballpark would put this property to at least $1000/psf, and at 20% over asking, it doesn’t even get on the top 10 list!

    Isolated incident? Sadly no. The pattern is the same. Buyer loses once. Buyer loses twice. Buyer loses three times or more. Buyer gets fed up, goes crazy big, blows our minds, blows everyone else out of the water, and sets the bar that much higher for the next. It’s a vicious cycle we’re in.

    In case one anecdotal sale isn’t enough for you, I present San Francisco’s top 10 Overbids of the week.

    Address BR/BA/Units DOM List Price Sold Price Overbid
    2820 Sacramento St 2822 2-4 Units 11 $1,825,000 $2,550,000 39.73%
    360 Guerrero St 1/1.00/404 11 $599,000 $780,000 30.22%
    1013 Rhode Island St 2/2.00/N/A 9 $1,099,000 $1,410,000 28.30%
    125 Bella Vista Way 3/2.00/N/A 42 $749,000 $960,000 28.17%
    664 Teresita Blvd 2/1.00/N/A 9 $699,000 $891,000 27.47%
    26 Pleasant St 30 2-4 Units 75 $2,395,000 $3,020,000 26.10%
    1335 31st Ave 2/2.00/N/A 14 $795,000 $1,000,000 25.79%
    415 Missouri St 3/1.00/ 19 $995,000 $1,250,000 25.63%
    3380 22nd St 3/1.00/ 70 $849,000 $1,060,000 24.85%
    2446 17th Ave 3/2.00/N/A 15 $729,000 $908,000 24.55%

    So when will this madness end? I’m guessing not anytime soon. I’ve been saying it’s a great time to be a seller, but if you’re a seller needing to buy in San Francisco and stay here, not so fun.

    To you out of town readers that have waited for your time to unload your SF property, are you going to keep rolling the dice and bet things get hotter, or get out while the gettin’s good?

    -1850 Church [Property Detail]
    -Noe Valley, Glen Park comps for 1850 Church [MLS]
    -Overbids you may have missed [theFrontSteps]

    Just Sold! 1622-1626 Great Highway: Save The Waves Coalition Gets A Check

    I am happy to say I just represented part of the buying group for this wonderful property on the Great Highway. You may remember the post my colleague did about 1622-1626 Great Highway (Ghost of Sunset Past: The Moss Flats)? Originally listed for $1,349,000 our clients got it for LESS THAN ASKING (it can be done). It’s a done deal at $1,265,000, and everyone is happy, including Save The Waves Coalition, a group dedicated to protecting our oceans, beaches, and waves.

    In case you haven’t heard, every transaction I will donate a portion of my commission to the charity/nonprofit of my clients’ choosing, and my clients this time chose Save The Waves. If any of you at Save The Waves are reading, the check is in the mail!


    Congratulations to our buyers. This is a great property in an awesome location.

    I am available to help you, your friends, and your family with all of your real estate needs, and I am feeling really good about now giving a portion of every sale to charity/nonprofit, so help me do more!

    -Ghost of Sunset Past: The Moss Flats [theFrontSteps]
    -1622-1626 Great Highway Details [theGoods-sf.com]

    The House Of Haight Ashbury Vintage Gets $1.3M More, Two Potrero Hill Comps You’ll Want To Track, And More Overbids To Ponder

    Before I show you the list of the top 10 overbids, have a look at the building that houses Haight Ashbury Vintage:
    Haight Vintage Building sells for $8,250,000
    Listed for $6,950,000 back in October, it just closed for a mere $1,300,000 more. Apparently, Vintage is more hip than you thought…

    I have more story. Just yesterday I heard of 25 offers on this condo on Missouri in Potrero Hill, and there will be many on this other condo on Mississippi, but those are not done deals. Get on the list and know when they close.

    So…the overbids. Regardless of where these are priced, consider the number of buyers out there bidding on what little inventory we have, which ultimately drives the price up. Think it’s just a matter of pricing below comps to eventually get to market? I don’t. The data shows staggering growth in SF, and a possible plateau, but the truth is, buyers far outnumber sellers, and until those two numbers meet in the middle, we can expect another year of mind boggling overbids. Another thing to consider is when these properties went into contract, that being the “slowest” time of year for San Francisco real estate: The Holidays and a couple weeks after.
    Anyhow, here you go. Overbids, cuz I know you love them:

    Address BR/BA/Units DOM List Price Sold Price Overbid
    2510 39th Ave 2/1.00/N/A 15 $599,000 $788,000 31.55%
    179 Vienna St 2/2.00/N/A 11 $499,000 $650,000 30.26%
    200 Amber Dr 4/2.50/N/A 12 $1,299,000 $1,670,000 28.56%
    506 Molimo Dr 3/2.00/N/A 31 $859,000 $1,100,000 28.06%
    12 Sherwood Ct 3/2.00/N/A 5 $788,000 $1,000,000 26.90%
    700 Illinois St 1/2.00/3 13 $499,000 $630,000 26.25%
    726 Masonic Ave 2/1.00/ 34 $750,000 $925,000 23.33%
    94 Eastwood Dr 2/2.00/N/A 26 $898,000 $1,085,000 20.82%
    738 Masonic Ave 2/1.00/ 6 $799,000 $955,000 19.52%
    1501 Haight St 1509 N/A/N/A/14 39 $6,950,000 $8,250,000 18.71%

    North Bay Real Estate: The Marin, Napa & Sonoma Markets

    January 2014 Market Report

    The real estate market recovery started in earnest in 2012 and then went red hot in spring 2013, which resulted in an additional, big, fast jump – approximately 20% – in home prices. After the spring peak, the market calmed somewhat in the second half of the year and prices stabilized, but buyer demand remained very strong by historical standards. Economic conditions have continued to improve, household net worth has increased dramatically with rising stock and housing markets, foreclosure rates and distressed property sales have plunged, the second-home market has picked up, and interest rates, after jumping in 2013, are still relatively low. Though it is impossible to predict the future, these factors typically form the foundation of a healthy, active housing market.

    In the next few weeks, new listings will start coming on market in quantity, buyers will get back in home-search mode and the market will begin to wake up after the holiday hibernation. Then we’ll start to get an inkling of what the new year has in store.

    Median Sales Price Appreciation, 2011-2013

    This first chart above gives an idea of the scale of the rebound in home values since the recovery began about two years ago. Median prices are affected by other factors besides changes in value, and different areas experienced bubbles and crashes (and now recoveries) of different magnitudes. Median sales prices are generalizations and changes in them should be considered very approximate indicators of appreciation, but by any measure there has been a huge recovery in North Bay real estate values.

    Comparative Dollar per Square Foot Values

    Continue reading

    DECEMBER 2013 SAN FRANCISCO CONDOMINIUM PRICES INCREASE 18 PERCENT OVER PREVIOUS YEAR

    San Francisco condominium prices rose 18 percent in December 2013 over the previous year, according to the Condominium Pricing Index released today by The Mark Company, a leading urban residential marketing and sales firm.

    The Mark Company Condominium Pricing Index for December was $1,034 per square foot, which is up 2 percent from November. New construction inventory was 78 percent lower than a year ago, and down 26 percent from the previous month, with 92 units currently available.

    “With fewer than 100 new condominiums now for sale in San Francisco, price appreciation is likely to continue in 2014,” states Erin Kennelly, senior director of research, The Mark Company.

    The Condominium Pricing Index, part of the firm’s monthly Trend Sheet (available at www.themarkcompany.com), represents the price per square foot of a new 10th floor, 1,000-square-foot condominium. It is based on recent sales data, and uses a proprietary quantitative method to measure trends in market demand. It tracks the value of a new construction condominium without the volatility of inventory changes.

    The Mark Company Penthouse Pricing Index, which applies the same methodology to a new 30th floor, 2,000-square-foot condominium, was $1,776 per square foot, up 18 percent year over year.

    The condominium price per square foot was $868 for resales, up 26 percent over December 2012, according to The Mark Company Trend Sheet for San Francisco. In addition, there were 229 condominium resales in San Francisco in December, 134 active condominium listings representing less than one month of inventory, and 123 pending condominium units, the Trend Sheet found.

    That’s some pretty insane growth and is not surprising. Thanks Mark Company for the info.

    PocketListings.net Founder Alexander Clark To Join Top Agent Network As Advisor

    The big news in Off Market real estate to start the year…

    Top Agent Network, Inc. (TAN) announced January 3rd that Alexander Clark, founder and CEO of the online real estate platform PocketListings.net, has agreed to become an industry and technology advisor to Top Agent Network. TAN is also acquiring the pocketlistings.net domain name from Mr. Clark.

    Top Agent Network CEO/Founder David Faudman says of the new arrangement, “I have great respect for Alexander as a true real estate entrepreneur. We are excited to bring his insight and expertise into Top Agent Network.”

    Mr. Clark, currently a real estate agent at Paragon Real Estate Group and an active member of Top Agent Network’s San Francisco chapter, founded PocketListings.net in 2010. While switching his brokerage affiliation, Mr. Clark became acutely aware of how fragmented non-MLS networking was between brokerages. To help solve this problem, he started Pocketlistings.net, a brokerage independent non-MLS listing exchange service.

    As a top-producing broker in Marin County, California, David Faudman had recognized similar needs in his own real estate sales business. He developed Top Agent Network in the mid-1990s, originally as a simple email list-serve for local high producing agents, then as the online application in 2009. Top Agent Network allows members to exchange pre-MLS and non-MLS information across all brokerages. This exchange includes: Listings, Buyer Needs, Service Provider Recommendations and Industry Discussion.

    “Restricting membership to verified high-ranking professionals makes for a highly trusted, productive online exchange,” notes Mr. Faudman. “Our members use TAN enthusiastically in the markets we have launched so far.” Top Agent Network currently has 30 chapters nationwide and has attracted a broad roster of some of the highest producing agents throughout the country.

    “That’s what interested me in joining TAN,” said Mr. Clark. “Technologically, the real estate industry is a step or two behind. But TAN members here in San Francisco use Top Agent Network religiously. TAN is a cutting edge real estate company that is changing the way top agents conduct their business. I am excited to bring my knowledge and experience to Top Agent Network.”

    Top Agent Network is a paid membership available to qualified top producers in local chapters by invitation only.

    For more information, please contact me.

    Holiday Happenings. Good News! My Goals And Predictions For 2014. Plus, I’m Giving Away Money!

    Happy New Year to everyone!

    I dare say it was a quiet holiday for me for the first time since jumping into real estate 11 long years ago, and it felt weird to have so much free time. It was a struggle to really let go of the iPhone, turn off the internet, and live in the now, but I managed, and dammit if I wasn’t pretty good at it too. I can highly recommend unplugging (especially you parents) and leaving your Smartphone behind, lifting your head up, and noticing all the insanely awesome things that take place in the world immediately around you, all day, every day.

    This holiday break I played some ice hockey, did some Cross Country and Alpine skiing, and since we (San Franciscans) became locked in a pattern of no rain, sunny skies, and Easterly winds, I managed to get my fair shake of surfing in as well. Now, my boys are back in school, so I can get back to the task at hand…work.

    On that note, I have exciting news that you may have already heard, and that is “Top Agent Network scoops up domain name PocketListings.net and CEO Alexander Clark“. That’s right, I am joining Top Agent Network as an Industry and Technology Advisor, and PocketListings.net is no longer mine. It has been a great resource for myself and many agents around the country, but now if you want the inside track to off market real estate, you’re going to have to officially be on my radar, and be thankful that I am a Top Producer. I am excited about the prospects ahead for Top Agent Network and my role with them, and I am excited to be your go-to Real Estate agent for all of your San Francisco real estate needs.

    Looking forward to 2014, agents around San Francisco are beginning to finally send their clients pertinent, real-time, real estate market information as part of their marketing campaign and their clients around the Bay Area can begin to rejoice in the fact that print mailers, and all of the other crap you are bombarded with from those in our industry will hopefully taper off. To put it another way, you (the property owner, or buyer) can track sales where you want, when you want from any internet connected device. It is my mission to keep you informed about the market in your area on a micro and macro level, and if you’re agent is not sending you The Goods, smack them upside the head and tell them it’s about time they do!

    My predictions:

    Our market will see continued multiple offer situations, continued low inventory, a decrease in hype about Noe Valley and the Mission, and increased interest in areas like NOPA, the Richmond, and the Outer Sunset. Overall it feels the market may have calmed, however slightly (could very well be the holiday doldrums), and I do feel there will be more opportunities on properties that set an offer date, do not receive any offers, and thus become that much more negotiable on price and terms, so patience might just pay off. Keep in mind, if our market has calmed, that does not mean by any stretch of the imagination it has tanked. We were at a fever pitch, and anything less than that would be awesome for all of you buyers out there, and still incredibly rewarding for all of you sellers.

    It will rain, at some point, and it will snow in the mountains before May. I regret to say, the 49ers will lose their next game (let’s hope I’m wrong), but I’m happy to say, the Warriors will win theirs. I predict San Francisco will get “The Big One” sometime in my lifetime, and Ocean Beach surfing conditions will go back to normal (this is not normal). Hipsters will continue to come up with cool innovations, and rule our world. They will procreate, and facial hair (for boys) will be popular at more and more insanely expensive San Francisco pre-school classrooms around the city. Coffee will be the new water. Carrying or using a single use plastic water bottle anywhere will immediately garnish dirty looks (as it should), and residents will slowly begin to realize that big “green bin” is not just for gardening waste.

    I want to give away money.

    I will give 2% of my commission to a charity of your (the client’s) choice with each closed transaction. When I hit $25,000,000 in sales volume, I will give $25,000 to one local charity or organization. (I’m still finalizing which one, and I’m open to suggestions). When you refer me to your friends and family, and a transaction is closed, you will receive a $100 gift card to a local restaurant or business of your choice. I am in the local business, and I’d like to support everything local. Spread the word, so I can share the love!

    I again wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year filled with fun, excitement, challenges, rewards, and lots and lots of snow! Pray for snow! We need it. Enjoy a few pictures of my 2013, and here’s a raised glass to many more excellent memories, and new friends in 2014.

    Alex

    “It’s Not Everyday You Trust A Realtor To Buy A Home Sight Unseen”

    Happy Holidays to all of you, and congratulations to some more happy clients on their purchase of one awesome San Francisco property!
    IMG_3366

    Our search for a home in San Francisco started after reading Alex’s site TheFrontSteps.com. We were impressed with his insight into the market and his interest in finding a property that fit our needs. Due to a job transfer, we had limited time to search for property and even less time to actually see what was available. Through many phone calls, text messages, and emails, Alex gave us a solid understanding of neighborhoods, prices, and how to make a competitive bid. It’s not everyday you trust a realtor enough to buy a home sight unseen, but Alex found us the perfect property! Alex listened to our needs and interests and found a home for us that we love, in a neighborhood that fits our lifestyle. And, did I mention that we did all this in less than 30 days? Thanks, Alex!

    You’re so very welcome Kris, and you can’t imagine the relief I felt when you told me you loved the place! I was sweatin’ for days!

    -More Testimonials Of The Service I Can Provide [Alexander Clark, theFrontSteps & Paragon Real Estate]

    Dropping Knowledge: San Francisco Property Pie Chart

    I know you’re all like me, you drive around town looking at all the wonderful, insanely expensive property we have here in San Francisco. I know you wish you knew how many of the properties you see were single family homes, how many are condominiums, how many are big ol’ properties of which you’d love to be the landlord (or maybe you already are). My company came up with this nice little pie chart for all y’all. Enjoy:

    sf_housing_units

    San Francisco Drug Dealing, Violent and Property Crimes…All In One Map

    Zoom in, zoom out, click here, click there. Sort by day or night, by area or population. Get down and dirty with recent (and past) crimes committed in your area, or an area you plan on living. Find out what crimes were committed, when, and exactly where. It’s exactly these types of maps that could very well set your mind at ease, or send you running to the suburbs. They certainly do provide a fair bit of education, that’s for sure.

    Spoiler alert: Tenderloin wins with the most crimes per square mile, per year, than any other part of the city! (Are you really surprised?)

    crimemapcity

    It would appear the Outer Sunset is the safest part of town, and it would also appear if you plan on visiting the Cliff House or walk Land’s End trail, you should either not take your car, or not take your car…there is an incredibly high rate of car break ins there. Not too surprising if you consider the number of tourists in that area leaving valuables and luggage clearly visible in their rental car. Anyway, enjoy, and thanks to the developer of this fine map for introducing me, and you, to it.

    -CityCrimeMaps.com
    -Outer Sunset [theFrontSteps]

    When Buying Luxury High Rise Property In Downtown San Francisco

    I would like to thank my agent Alex Clark for his excellent and hard work in the past year for finding me the right place in this competitive market. My property just closed about one week ago, and I’m thrilled! I approached Alex over one year ago in search of a condo in downtown San Francisco. I had very specific and narrow requirements for the type of unit that I was looking for. I am a very busy professional with a challenging travel and work schedule. Alex was focused and determined to find me the right place with the right price. His swift approach and tireless work ethic helped me to secure the unit that meets all of my specs. He should be top of mind for anyone who would like to find a high-end piece of real estate in the city by the Bay. Alex is THE go-to-agent to have for your new home purchase!!!

    Louisa L. Zhao Dresser M.D.
    Attending Physician of Dept. of Internal Medicine
    CPMC, California Pacific Medical Center
    Sutter Healthcare System, San Francisco

    Thanks Louisa! I’m glad it all worked out, and I appreciate you and your business. Hi to your parents, and lemme know when is da pool party!

    -More Testimonials [Alexander Clark]

    San Francisco Rated #1 Real Estate Market In The Country, And Solid “Buy” By The Urban Land Institute

    In their “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 (pdf)”, The Urban Land Institute named San Francisco the #1 real estate market in the country:

    #1- San Francisco
    The top-ranked market in the survey for the second year in a row, San Francisco has a real estate sector driven by a thriving economy that is projected to add jobs at a rate of 2 percent next year. According to survey respondents, the city is a solid “buy” for all property types, with each of these recommendations higher than the average for the other major markets.

    The other cities rounding out the top 5, in order are: Houston, San Jose, NY and Dallas/Fort Worth

    Multifamily housing, which has been the most popular sector in recent reports, is still popular with investors, as the underlying fundamentals remain intact due to demand from members of generation Y seeking to rent and baby boomers looking to downsize from houses to apartments.”

    There is a TON of good information in this report, so I highly recommend clicking through to read some, if not all, of the report.

    -The full and very long report is here (pdf) [Urban Land Institute]

    Even With San Francisco Market Near A Peak, Many Expect More Growth Ahead

    With all the talk of bubble this, bubble that (did you cast your vote?), which I do not think we’re in, I thought it important to share a little report from the Goliath, National Association of Realtors.

    medianpriceexpectation

    REALTORS® generally expect a modest increase in prices in the next 12 months , with the median expected price change at about 4 percent. This is based on responses gathered from the August-October 2013 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey. About 3,000 REALTORS ® respondents answer the survey each month. See the October report at http://www.realtor.org/reports/realtors-confidence-index.

    The graph above shows the median expected price change across the states which are grouped into those with “low”, “middle” and “high” price expectations. States in the West and in the South expect the highest price increase in the range of about 4-8 percent. Tight inventory continues to bolster prices in these areas.

    -Expected Price Growth Strongest In West And South Markets [Realtor.org]

    Poll: Is San Francisco In A Real Estate Bubble

    The question comes up often enough, so why not put it up to vote. Power (and wisdom of markets) to the people.