Five White-Hot Districts In A Red-Hot San Francisco Real Estate Market

July 2013 Special Report

Virtually every area of San Francisco and the Bay Area has been experiencing dramatic home-value appreciation in the past 12 to 18 months. Some that were hard hit by distressed property sales, which experienced the largest price declines, have surged in price but remain 20% – 30% below previous peak values reached in 2006 – 2008. As a state, California is still about 25% below its 2007 pre-crash median home price. And in San Francisco itself, many if not most neighborhoods now appear to have re-attained or moved slightly beyond previous high points.

But in this past quarter, a handful of neighborhoods and districts in the city have leapt well beyond the highest average home values achieved in the past. Interestingly, comparing these white-hot areas with one another, there are often huge differences in property type, era and style of construction, and neighborhood culture or ambiance. But all of them have been very affected by affluent – often newly affluent – high-tech professionals of one age group and level of affluence or another. Naturally, these neighborhoods are highly desired by other buyers too – often professionals in finance, bio-tech, medicine and law – but the high-tech-buyer dynamic has generally super-charged these markets in particular.

However, please note that the difference we’re talking about between these neighborhoods and the rest of the city is between white hot and red hot: Quite honestly, they’re all very hot markets right now.

The Inner Mission 

Super hot, super hip, generally young: this neighborhood has seen very dramatic changes since the early nineties as a classic process of gentrification occurred — changes which have recently accelerated. Houses here are often large, classic Victorians, while the condos are mostly modern, built within the last decade or so. This area has a large, vibrant and diverse commercial district centered around Mission and Valencia Streets, but is still close to Noe Valley and the Castro. This chart focuses on the condo market, in which values are approximately 15% above the previous peak.

Noe Valley – Eureka Valley (Castro) – Dolores Heights 

These neighborhoods are part of a district that includes Cole Valley, Ashbury Heights, Clarendon & Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle, Mission Dolores and Glen Park, all of which have seen enormous recent appreciation. Housing here is typically older, built in the first 4 decades of the last century; there are many parks for kids and pets; the streets are tree-lined and the ambiance of the neighborhoods is relaxed and family friendly. This district surged in popularity and price in the mid-late nineties, was one of the last to peak in value in 2008, and has been at the forefront of the market rebound which started early here, in 2011. Among other advantages, it has relatively easy access to highways south to Silicon Valley. The district also has a large condo market, but this chart focuses on house values.

South Beach & Yerba Buena 

After the Embarcadero freeway came down in 1991 and then AT&T Park built in 2000, this area changed from a place for B-class offices and car stereo installations to the home of some of the most dramatic and expensive condo and loft buildings in the country. More condos are now sold here than anyplace else in the city and high-floor units with staggering views often sell for millions of dollars – one sold for $28 million. It’s popular with a number of demographics – high-tech and bio-tech workers working in offices nearby in SoMa and Mission Bay, financial district professionals, and empty-nesters who want to enjoy city life and have all the amenities, but without the responsibility of maintaining a house. Affluent foreign buyers are also a significant segment. Its neighborhood ambiance is very urban. This chart is for condos below the price of $1,800,000, but the dynamic for ultra-luxury condos is also white hot, with an average dollar per square foot value of over $1200.

Bernal Heights 

Like Noe Valley and Glen Park, Bernal Heights was originally a blue-collar neighborhood filled with Victorian houses. Noe Valley soared in value first, becoming wildly popular, and now people who want a similar family-friendly neighborhood ambiance, but at a more affordable cost, have increasingly turned to Bernal Heights. It also has easy access to highways south to the peninsula.

 

Hayes Valley-North of Panhandle (NoPa)-Alamo Square

This condo market is made up of two totally different types: Edwardian flats that have been turned into condos and brand new, ultra-modern condo developments. The Hayes Valley commercial district is very hot and hip, similar to, but still different from the Mission’s Valencia Street. Buyers who are priced out of the nearby Cole Valley-Haight Ashbury condo market often look here for a similar neighborhood ambiance at lower cost. Hayes Valley is also close to the Civic Center cultural cluster of museum, opera, symphony, ballet and other performing arts, which appeals to another buyer demographic as well.

To put all of these charts into one simple suggestion: It’s a great time to sell your property in San Francisco, and our market desperately needs the inventory!

If you have questions or would like information regarding a neighborhood not listed above, please contact us.

San Francisco Real Estate Data, Focus On The Volume On Your Block, Not The Median In Your City

“After hitting a two year low in January, the median price for single-family re-sale homes rose 18.6% in March from February. Year-over-year, the median price was off for the seventh month in a row, falling 3.1%.

After falling to their lowest level since January 2009 in February, home sales bounced back last month, which is normal for this time of year, and rose 75% from February. The 203 home sales last month were 7.7% lower than last March.”

Single Family Stats:

Condominium Stats:

One can argue the merits of medians, averages, days on market and generally just about anything in this data, and one can certainly spin it however they like. Read any number of Realtor blogs/sites and the market is gravy. Read any number of market bashing blogs and it’s all still doom and gloom. Because of this market spin that makes my head spin, I like to focus on one thing…sales volume…more specifically sales volume by district, even nano-district.

We’re coming off of a historical market thrashing. Naturally, prices are going all over the map. So what I really want to know is, if there is sales activity where my client either needs to buy or sell property. If property is moving, that is a good thing. If they’re getting stale, that is bad.

For San Francisco single family homes, we can see year over year (YoY) sales volume is down 7.7%, but up 75% compared to the month prior. Pick District 7 North (roughly Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Marina, Cow Hollow) and you’ll see that not only is volume up YoY (8.3%), but also up 225% on the month, whereas District 1 (roughly Richmond, Sea Cliff, Lake, Lone Mountain) is down 25% YoY, but up 50% on the month. (The fact home values in the Richmond are grouped with Sea Cliff is an entirely different nano breakdown that could further skew the numbers…ever seen a $15,000,000 home sell in the Richmond? Anyway….) In any given neighborhood, it is good that volume is up on the month (but also expected given the season), but bad that it is down on the year, because last year was a brutal year, so how could it go anywhere but up? That makes me cautiously optimistic.

For Condos we see YoY sales volume is down 7.2%, but up 28.8% on the month. That is a much more modest gain as compared to single families, and another indication that single family homes are still, and likely always will be, in more demand in San Francisco (because there are so few of them.) But look at District 5 Central (Noe Valley, Haight, Cole Valley, Glen Park…all together? Seriously?) volume is up 2.6% from last year, and 81.8% from the month prior.

The verdict? The San Francisco real estate market is both showing signs of strength, but also still many signs of weakness. You need to really take a close look at the data being presented in any articles you read (as opposed to just reading the headline and story), and you really need to figure out what the market is doing in your neighborhood, and specifically, on your block. Sales volume is (to me) most important, because it is your indication of whether properties are selling, or not. Average and median prices got pummeled, so don’t lose sleep over them. If you have to move and sell now, focus on pricing, get the highest and best price you can, and don’t stress over whether the seller 20 blocks away got more, because it could just be a result of the weather.

I’ve always said “San Francisco” data is way too generic for all of our little nano-markets, so if you have any questions about my thoughts on your ‘hood, you know where to find me.

Today, I’ll be golfing (or maybe surfing).

-San Francisco Real Estate Market Trends [ReReports.com]
-Why The Fuss About Noe Valley [theFrontSteps]
-What’s the Real Estate Forecast For Bernal Heights [theFrontSteps]
-Tour De San Francisco: Clarendon Heights [theFrontSteps]
-Factoring Weather When Buying A Home In San Francisco Is Anything But Easy [theFrontSteps]

What Makes A Room A Bedroom?

What is it exactly that makes that room a bedroom? The question has come across my email enough, and actually I think I even posted on it at some point. Well, it’s resurfaced and maybe time to hash it out, as the opinions on what makes a room a bedroom are anything but concrete.

The initial question:

A few months ago an email was circulated as to what defines a bedroom. There were several responses, but if I remember correctly a bedroom does not have to have a closet to be a bedroom…

And the varying replies from various real estate agents:

-My understanding is it technically must have a window – ideally with a means of egress
-My understanding is two methods of egress. A door, and another door or a window or some way to get out in the case of an emergency. No closet necessary.
-Operable window, that a person can fit through AND the minimum size is 70 square feet, where the minimum for one of the dimensions is 7 feet.
-I believe that HUD requires a closet in order to count it as a bedroom for financing purposes. A lender could probably clarify that.
-I’d suggest using the International Uniform Building code that refers to a specific size of window based on square footage of BR. It needs to have a door and a window and the window has to be the right proportion. Read More.
-The Building Code requires an operable egress window with minimum size requirements as [the other agent] indicated. In addition the window needs to be sized for light and air requirements. If I remember correctly it is 10% of the floor area. A closet is not a requirement to satisfy the building code, but it may be a HUD requirement for financing, as [another agent] mentioned.

Perhaps the most accurate answer?

1. The first bedroom must be at least 120 square feet.
2. If your first bedroom is at least 120 square feet, you get to call your second bedroom a bedroom if it’s at least 70 square feet with 7’ on a side.
3. Required natural light and air: 8% of floor area of natural light, and 4% of floor area of air (operable window). A traditional double-hung window can cover both bases, because when it is open, it provides half the air as natural light.
4. Minimum clear headroom of 7’-6”
5. You need two means of egress. One may be a window. If the second is the window, fire department requires minimum area for personnel access of width 20”, minimum height 24” with net clear opening minimum of 5.7 square feet.
6. A closet is required.

And the first comment from that thread:

What you’ve written here is not entirely correct – I believe you may be conflating Realtor’s rules-of-thumb with actual Code requirements.

1) Sort of. Any habitable room (Living Rm, Dining Rm, etc) can be larger than 120 SF (2007 CBC SEC 1208.3)
2) Correct. Minimum Habitable room size (includes bedrooms) is 70 SF, 7′ minimum width (2007 CBC SEC 1208.3 & 1208.1)
3) These are correct window areas for required natural light (8% floor area) and ventilation (4% floor area), but neither is required if sufficient artificial light and mechanical ventilation are supplied (2007 CBC 1203.4.1 & 1205.3).
4) Correct – Minimum ceiling height for Habitable rooms is 7′-6″, however it is 7′-0″ for bathrooms, storage, kitchen, laundry (2007 CBC 1208.2).
5) Sort of. Only one exit (Means of Egress) is required, the other is an Emergency Escape & Rescue requirement. This is not a Fire Department requirement, it is a California Building Code requirement (SEC 1026.1)
6) Wrong. No closet is required by any State or Local code (Building, Housing, Health or otherwise).

So there you have it…the jury is clearly still out on this one. My advice, get used to living in closets if you’re living in San Francisco.

Winner: The Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco, And The Rest

Congratulations to Philz Coffee! You have been voted Best Coffee (House) in San Francisco by the people of the internets. The competition was linked to around the world, and we have to say Philz not only got tons of nods during the first round of nominations, but they also swept the voting when thousands more hit the polls.

It’s all good stuff and we can’t wait to get a cup. We appreciate everyone’s participation and the countless links that sent people this way.

The Rankings:

1. Philz Coffee
2. Bernie’s
3. Blue Bottle Coffee
4. Four Barrel Coffee
5. Martha Bros Coffee
6. Contraband (Coffee Bar)
7. Ritual Coffee Roasters
8. Farley’s Coffee
9. Java Beach
10. Sightglass Coffee
11. Peet’s Coffee & Tea
12. Caffe Roma
13. the Beanery
14. Intelligentsia Bar (In Specialty’s)
15. Caffee Trieste
16. Stumptown (Ma’velous)
17. Henry’s House of Coffee
18. Simple Pleasures
19. Barefoot Coffee (Epicenter Cafe)
20. Café La Taza
21. Starbucks (Really?)
22. Caffe Puccini
23. Trouble Coffee (De La Paz)
24. Velo Rouge Cafe
25. Caffe Greco
26. Verve Coffee Roasters
27. De La Paz Coffee (Trouble)
28. Hearth Coffee Roasters (Brown Owl Cafe)
29. Graffeo
30. Bello Coffee and Tea
31. Quetzal Coffee
32. Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee
33. Coffee to the People
34. Piccino Cafe
35. 7-11 (Humoring you)
36. Progressive Grounds
37. Showplace Caffe
38. Castro Coffee House
39. La Boulange
40. Matching Half
41. Wicked Grounds
42. Farm:Table
43. Blue Danube
44. Cafe Reina
45. Toy Boat
46. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
47. The Summit SF
48. Curbside Coffee
49. Rancho Parnassus (Thanksgiving Coffee)
50. Tully’s
51. Capricorn Coffees
52. Cavalli Cafe
53. Equator Coffees & Teas
54. Muddy’s Coffee House
55. The Coffee Roastery
56. Cup of Blues
57. Cafe Encore
58. Ecco Caffe
59. Stella Pastry & Cafe
60. Coffee Roaster
61. Manning’s
62. Dash Cafe
63. Javalencia Cafe
64. Cafe La Stazione
65. The Grove

We’ll just go ahead and stop there. There were another 25-30 one vote coffee (houses) that came in, but we gotta stop somewhere. Thank you everyone!

Ask Us: What’s The Real Estate Forecast For Bernal Heights

Where readers ask, and we (the community) try to answer.

We pulled this from Lily on Why the Fuss About Noe Valley. The question is pretty simple, the answer, however, is very complex:

What’s the real estate forecast for Bernal [Heights]?

The Fluj has already taken the bait and provided some answers on the thread, anybody else care to chime in here on Bernal Heights?

Our answer…it’s headed down along with the rest of the city and will bounce around the bottom for quite some time. We’d say the free-fall appears to be over, but the feeling of panic is definitely out there amongst buyers that the bottom is here, and there are buyers making offers across the entire city feeling the deals won’t get much better. Our advice to our buying clients, buy if you feel comfortable, then tune out for the next 5 years and enjoy your home. This applies to every nano-market the city has to offer.

Coming Soon: 613 Peralta (Bernal Heights)

You may have seen this great remodeled, two bedroom, one bath condominium at 613 Peralta in Bernal Heights on the market with another agent recently, well we’re bringing it back…at a lower price.

peraltaliv

peralta

This is a fantastic condo in an excellent location of Bernal Heights. It is close to Bernal Heights Park, has beautiful East/South East views from the deck, hardwood floors, stainless appliances, remodeled kitchen, one car parking, storage, and great neighbors! It is a small building (4 units), HOAs are low, and reserves are good. As soon as it hits the market we’ll be open every Sunday from 2-4 pm until it sells. It is also available to show by appointment, so tell your friends.

Previously priced at $569,000, we’ll be coming on under that (probably $539,000). We’re wrapping up the marketing efforts, getting photos up, statements ready, and all that good stuff, but if you’d like to get in there sooner, just give us a shout (thefrontsteps@gmail.com). Otherwise, look for it to be on MLS the first week of March.

-613 Peralta previous listing details [sfnewsletter listing page]

Choose Your Words Wisely and Reward Shall Follow

A lesson on marketing keywords: “Mill Valley style”…ding, ding, ding (think of the sound of slot machines in a casino)! “Bernal Heights”…ding, ding, ding! “On the market for the first time in almost 40 years”…ding, ding, ding! “TRIPLE LOT”…ding, ding, ding! “Cul-de-sac”…ding, ding, ding! “Shops and restaurants still a very short walk away”…ding, ding, ding!. “View home”…ding, ding, ding! “Owner will carry the loan”…ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!



And that is how you get 145 Bonview (3 bed, 3 bath, $1,425,000) to practically fly off the shelf (14 Days On Market). It hasn’t closed yet, but it’s damn close, and something tells us that seller financing wasn’t necessary.

Of course, if you’re more into hovering well above all that Bernal riff-raff (joking of course) we’d be happy to find some clever marketing keywords for that too.

A Worse Punishment for Sisyphus: Policing Noise in a Metropolis

Hello out there, theFrontStep Readers! You may (or just as likely, may not) know my name from my blogs for Redfin. I’ve kindly been invited to write also for theFrontSteps, so here I am, on the steps, with my first blog.

So here’s the setting: last night, 2:00am, sultry night, people walking up from the bars, falling down, giggling. That noise doesn’t bother me much. I’d have to be a hypocrite if I tried to pretend I’ve never, after closing time, made too much noise under someone’s window as I staggered home. But another noise does bother me: some a-hole flooring his car and slamming on the breaks as he reaches the stop sign in front of my house. Then, from fully stationary, he floods the car again, tyring to go from zero to sixty instantaneously. Then he screeches off, circles the block, and comes back to do it again.

But we all live in a city. We can’t really expect quiet, can we? We can hope for it, and maybe in some areas, get it most of the time. But in the end, we’re sharing with a lot of people, some of them loud and possibly crazy. That’s why this new law aiming to curb SF noise interests me. Continue reading

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??

AK

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.

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.)

Isolated Panic amongst some San Francisco Realtors, or something larger?

Recently, we’ve been contacted by more than a dozen Realtors asking if we could “plug” their listings. Typically, this is not something we do as it defeats the purpose, honesty, and transparency of this blog, but we got to thinking…why not? We could make a little $$ from it, and help get the word out about some pretty cool properties that happen to still be available. Truth be told, a lot of “tips” from “tipsters” are essentially “plugs” anyway. Right?

Well, don’t worry, we’re not going to start whoring ourselves out…yet. But what has us thinking is the increase in requests to do so for properties that have only been on the market 2-6 weeks. In any other part of the country having a listing for 4 months is normal, and panic usually sets in around the 6th month that it is not sold, so why such alarm after 2-6 weeks? San Francisco Realtors are so accustomed to homes flying off the shelf, and when they don’t…they PANIC! Remember, a listing isn’t a “Stalefish” until 100 days have passed, so why all the panic?

We still say it all comes down to pricing, pricing, pricing, and location, location, location, and there is no need for panic across the board. We’re still hearing many more reports of multiple offers and properties flying off the shelf than we are of properties sitting, but is the national trend finally starting to hit San Francisco on a broader level, not just the southern districts? We’ve heard reports of homes in the Inner Richmond, Cole Valley, Westwood Park, Bernal Heights, Inner Sunset, Noe Valley (Gasp!), Parkside, Potrero Hill, and a few other nabes getting a bit stale. Properties that previously would have sold in the blink of an eye. So what gives?

We want your thoughts, especially you Realtors. Go ahead and comment anonymously, we won’t tell. And we certainly hope to hear from the Fluj, who, in case you missed it, we caught.

[If you'd like to check out what we've written about other neighborhoods in San Francisco, look to the right hand column and "Browse Site by Category".]

Ask Us: What’s up with Bernal Heights?

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

What is going on now with the real estate in Bernal [Heights]? I am concerned about the houses on the Cesar Chavez side, which are newer. One under a million, one 1.25 mil, and one for 2 mil?

We’re not quite sure which properties EXACTLY you are referring to, so here’s a list of the most recent Bernal Heights activity (listings) in the price ranges you mentioned. Feel free to elaborate more in the comments, and we might be better able to answer your question.

Kenny, Greg, and Garrett, isn’t this right up your alley?

Tis the season of giving…from sfnewsletter

We stole the sfnewsletter code for their last “cocktail” issue, because they apparently kill old issues each week. Since we just linked to it and now learn it won’t be there, we pasted it here. Make sense? Happy Holidays.

MARKET UPDATE

Charts, Data, Trends

In a nutshell, our market has definitely been hit by all the doom and gloom. Not nearly to the extent you’re reading in the papers, but there is a lot of hesitation for a lot of people. On the other hand, there are some that have been on the sidelines for so long, they’ve found now the perfect time to get in the mix. A+ properties are still selling quickly, the south end of town (district 10) has been hit hardest by the foreclosures, and the gazillionaires really don’t care what the rest of the country thinks…they’re snatching up multi-million dollar trophy homes like they’re candy canes. The new developments are still selling very well, and general interest in San Francisco as a place to live and own property is still healthy. We’re anxious to see what 2008 will bring, more cold wind, or a sea of change? We’ll let you know.

MAXIMUM OVERBID OF THE WEEK

You thought these were dead? So did we…to an extent. But they still exist and this one quite frankly blew our mind.

4924 17th St, a beautifully remodeled 3 bed, 3.5 bath home was asking $3,600,000 and sold for $3,900,000 on 12/10/07. The marketing remarks say it all, and give us an indication of what may have happened, “Attention Pacific Heights Buyers this is the home you have been waiting for.” Don’t get us wrong, 17th Street is a great area, but the traffic is through the roof and this was a significant sale for Parnassus/Ashbury Heights. We’ll take a gin and tonic thanks, and on to the next discussion…365 Richland a nice 4 bed, 2 bath Craftsman in Bernal Heights…asking $899,000 and selling for $955,000.

STOP! Look closer. This property was originally listed at $999,000 and didn’t sell. They dropped the price to $899,000 and look where it ended up…$955,000. This is what you need to know about our market…it’s still ticking along, and once the price gets to that “competitive” range, you can expect multiple offers and often an above asking sales price. The most important thing in this market is pricing, and we used to say staging, but apparently pink is no bother to some. ;-) Whiskey sour will do just fine.

CALLING B.S. ON YOUR HOOD!

You’ve been there before, as have we, and it goes something like this, “You don’t live in SOMA, you’re in South Beach!” Or, “I live in Russian Hill.” “No you don’t, you live on Nob Hill.” Print this out, take it to the party, throw some darts at it, and bet some egg nog on your knowledge.

Available at ORK Posters, found via Curbed SF.

STALEFISH TANK

Readers love it, Realtors hate it…our monthly list of Stalefish. What’s a Stalefish you ask? It’s simply a property that has been on the market 100+ days. Deals, deals, deals!

But what’s a Stalefish Tank without pointing out some big fish? We’ve already told you about 300 Sea Cliff.

But there are so many more Stalefish to note…we’ll take four shots of tequila please, and move on…Are you fortunate enough to have your inlaws joining you for the holidays (ahem!)? Well, when you’re walking off all that holiday gluttony, you might take them on a nice walk up to Coit Tower. When they pause to catch their breath, and take in the breathtaking views from 115 Telegraph Hill Blvd, you’ll sound so in the know when you point out that this lot could be theirs for a mere $4,000,000.

Earn extra points when you inform them it’s quite stale at somewhere around 900 days on market, and has only seen one price reduction from $4.5M in the life of the listing. Something tells us there are either some skeletons hiding in that closet, or a seller that really doesn’t care to sell. We’ll need to chase those tequila shots with four Coronas, lime and salt please.

COMPARISON SHOPPING

There is a lot of talk these days about a jolly white bearded man who lives in the North Pole, and so we thought we’d try to find you a home next to him that you can discuss over a tasty mojito. Well… we couldn’t find anything that said, “Be neighbors with Santa”, but we did find a home that, once there, tells you where to go: 3563 Go Thatta Way, North Pole, AK. We kid you not. It exists and it’s for sale for $119,900.

Since we’re on the subject of the northernmost points, we thought we’d add that upon hours of searching for the perfect North Pole home to run in this week’s sfnewsletter, we also learned that Barrow, Alaska is about as desolate as they get, and way further north than North Pole, AK. However, we’ll still take an overpriced home in San Francisco over anything in either of those towns any day. But…it’s still fun to look, and it makes an Irish Coffee that much more appealing.

SKIP ACROSS THE POND

This one just came to us from Marin (Belvedere to be exact), so we’re hastily throwing it up, but stuck pondering the possibilities of back flips we could perform into that pool. Apparently, this home is now in contract for the asking price of $65M after three years on the market. Stocking stuffer perhaps?

-Mining Magnate sets $65M Sale [Wall Street Journal]

“a total dump inside…” (4017 Folsom)

From our reader:

“Just a FYI if you’re interested or if people want to give their opinions about this house. It should be an interesting one to watch.

A house in our neighborhood [4017 Folsom] was just listed on the MLS yesterday [11/30], no for sale sign, a total dump inside and yet the house has been absolutely FLOODED with prospective buyers in the last two days. The 1st open house isn’t even until tomorrow [12/2] – and the level of hysteria around the house is already in full effect.”

It’s another one of those no photo available problems we have all too often, and if our reader is right, we know why. But how ’bout that hysteria?

4017 Folsom [Redfin Property Detail Page]

Reduce and Sell, Reduce and Sell (411 Banks in Bernal)

Even if the market has cooled, and properties are seeing price reductions, they are still selling. There is a technique to employ that usually leads to the same outcome: Reduce, and Sell, and we might add, don’t panic.

MLS

Case in point, 411 Banks, a two bed, one bath, 1600 square foot single family home in Bernal Heights, listed in May at $750,000, price reduced and relisted in September at $699,000 and now on track to becoming a done deal during the holiday doldrums. From what we can tell it spent ~160 days on the market. The last recorded sale on MLS was in 1997 at $165,000.

What’s your favorite? The pink, the picket, or the 1997 price?

“Six offers, $260,000 over” (3299 Folsom)

From Kenny, in the comments:

3299folsom.jpg

“WOW. This one [3299 Folsom in Bernal Heights] just sold [for $1,255,000]:

Six offers. 260K over asking. 850 a foot. On Folsom! This is a neighbor of mine. I’m very fired up about this one.”

I think your other neighbors are pretty fired up too. And for the “traders” wondering what kind of money, if any, was made on this. It last traded in 2004, almost to the day, at a cool $1,000,000.

Would that be “just quotes”? Just curious.

-3299 Folsom in Bernal Heights [MLS]

Bernal Heights strikes again (145 Coso…$309,000 over)

We’re not making this up, but it might help answer the question, “is Bernal on Fuego or Hielo?” All pricing issues aside, this is a pretty damn good find. Thanks Garrett:

145 Coso, a 3-bed, 2-bath, 13 days on the market and $309,000 above asking, which brings the sales price to $1,408,000 in Bernal. No kidding.

145coso.jpg

On a different note. You see that tall building in the background? That is One Rincon Hill. It seems so close, but is yet so far…especially when talking SF real estate.  For those that say the increased inventory in buildings like that, and all the other new developments popping up in SOMA, will have an effect on homes like this…think again.

-Bernal on Fuego or Hielo? [theFrontSteps]

-Battle Royale: Outer Richmond or Outer Sunset/Parkside…if you had to choose [theFrontSteps]

-One Rincon Hill Topping Off Event, with lots of photos [theFrontSteps]

Battle Royale: Pacific Heights vs. the Marina…if you had to choose.

Since there is a nice little discussion going on about the pros and cons of Noe Valley versus Bernal Heights, we thought we’d try a couple of different posts along the same lines. We want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Marina vs. Pacific Heights…if you had to choose, and why you feel that way.

We’ll get things started with two similar 2-unit properties for your comparison:1739-41 Northpoint (left) and 2918-20 Jackson (right)

marinapac

marinavpacheights

If you’d like to join the thread of Noe Valley vs. Bernal Heights, go here.

If you want us to do any areas in particular, please contact us and we’ll happily throw it up.

The next Battle Royale: Outer Richmond vs. Outer Sunset/Parkside

On deck: Haight Ashbury vs. Hayes Valley

So tell everyone you know to get ready to step up and represent their ‘hood.

-Stump the Stammtisch: Bernal on Fuego or Hielo? [theFrontSteps]

Stump the Stammtisch: Bernal on Fuego or Hielo?

Being that it is the middle of summer, we’re curious to see what kind of replies we get to this post, but we hope the Stammtisch can come through nonetheless. If they can’t…readers!?

“Hi,

Over the past few weeks I’ve been seeing a Realtor post on Craig’s List that Bernal Heights is “on Fuego”. For those who’s Spanish isn’t up to par, that means “On fire” :-)

Anyhow, I thought to myself what is this person talking about? Especially after seeing that house at 463 Nevada (picture below) go well under asking.

463nevadakit

But then I started seeing a trend with several homes selling for more than $100-150K over asking and even one for 200K over asking at 661 Moultrie (picture below).

661moultrie
Moultrie never even had a Sunday open house prior to going into contract. And from the pics it looked like a very run of the mill house in an okay part of Bernal. It essentially went for 300K more than the Nevada house and didn’t seem to have much more to offer, at least not for that price. What gives?”

Great question! Perhaps it was the purple kitchen?

-661 Moultrie [MLS]

-463 Nevada [MLS]

-463 Nevada in Bernal on $950k, out $775k, yes, that’s under asking [theFrontSteps]

Stump the Stammtisch: Lot in Bernal, now developed…available?

You stumped the Editor, that is for damn sure, but we have pretty good distribution and our Stammtisch is growing, so maybe they, or a reader, can help. Thanks for asking.

Hi There -

Love your site. I have a question that maybe you might be able to answer. I live in bernal heights and take the 67 almost every day through the neighborhood. A few years ago a plot of land on Ripley street sold and was dormant for quite some time. It is located between Alabama and Folsom street on Ripley, sandwiched between two beautiful, modern houses with amazing views. About a year back two side by side units started construction. I was frothing at the mouth hoping they would come to market (at least one) because they look as sweet as can be. One now looks complete and it appears that somebody has moved in there but the other one is under construction. I was curious if you knew anything about these properties and if the second one was going to be for sale.

Thanks much

Reader, can you tell us if it is the red or blue arrow, or neither, or go to the map and pinpoint the lot for us. That might help…or an address (next time you’re on the 67.)

[Update: From the reader..."The RED arrow is the correct one... It is next to a super modern rust/brown/red house. So it is the lot closer to Alabama. It was the first open lot you would see going from Alabama to Folsom on Ripley. So Red is the one."]

bernallot.jpg

If you ever have any questions about our market, properties around the city, or anything that has to do with real estate, please feel free to ask by sending an email to thefrontsteps@gmail.com. We’re here to help and inform.

An offer date that came and went (366 Montcalm in Bernal Heights)

A reader just fired this to us, and since we happen to be sitting at the computer (go figure) we’ll just throw it up without any real editorial genius, and hope our readers or Stammtisch can provide some insight.

366montcalm.jpg

366 Montcalm ($649,000), a two bed, one bath “condo alternative” on the North Slope of Bernal Heights apparently had an offer date yesterday, but received no offers. So if you’re interested, here’s your chance. [Update 7/12-in contract]

-When Readers Want Prices, We Bring It! [theFrontSteps]

-463 Nevada, In Bernal On $950,000, out $775,000…yes that’s under asking. [theFrontSteps]

-366 Montcalm [zephyr, MLS]

463 Nevada in Bernal on $950,000 out $775,000 (yes that’s under asking)

A reader asks about 463 Nevada, a “mid-century modern home completely remodeled in 2001 with great light and views. Perfect home for people who appreciate design and architecture from Dwell Magazine and Design Within Reach.”-agent remarks

“Hi,

i’ve always believed that you can’t lose in SF RE, especially if you wait out the lows because let’s be honest, the lows here, if they even happen, don’t happen for too long, right? Well, my view was challenged recently after seeing a beautiful house for sale at 463 Nevada St in Bernal Heights.

463nevada.jpg

It was completely gutted and remodeled in 2001. While the colors were too bright for my taste (and i think probably most people’s taste) the house itself is a gem with the only work needed to it is to tame those bright colors with a nice coat of paint. Nice hardwood floors, top of the line appliances, 3bd/2ba and a garage..a rarity in SF! :-)

Listed at 950K , I thought the price was steep but then learned that it just sold for 775K. How is that possible?

463nevadakit.jpg

It gets better. It was listed as 900 something sq feet per tax record [Editor's note: Indeed, 980] but agent claimed it as 1250 which is a somewhat substantial discrepancy.”

We won’t even get into the agent square footage discrepancy as we have absolutely no idea about the property, we’re assuming some remodeling done without permit, and/or tax records are not updated. Who knows. As for the home not selling for $950,000…over-priced. Important to remember, regardless of where properties are priced, the market will always make the comp. Even if the home was listed at $599,000 and it sold for $775,000, the market would set that price. Sounds like a fair price for that home. The price could also have been set by the seller. We really don’t know, unless the agent cares to share some knowledge.  Or our readers and Stammtisch care to chime in.

-Reduced [theFrontSteps]

-463 Nevada St [MLS]

Stats & Numbers

Thanks to “Boom”, who commented on one of our posts, and provided us with this link to the latest Bay Area Home Sale Activity for April 2007, which we copied below to show you just how San Francisco stacked up to the same month last year.
countypercentages.jpg

Our problem with relying on zip code data for median prices and market trends in San Francisco is the fact that the zip code doesn’t necessarily jive with the neighborhood and common type of property being purchased in those areas.  Examples: 94115 is Pacific Heights, but it also includes Lower Pacific Heights and the Western Addition; 94110 is the Mission, but also Bernal Heights; 94121 is Central and Outer Richmond, but also Sea Cliff.  See where we’re going with this?  

Regardless, here are some cool “real time” graphs you might find interesting as well. (Graphs are only for Single Family Residences.)

Innner Richmond, Laurel/Presidio Heights

Central/Outer Richmond, Sea Cliff

Marina/Cow Hollow

Parkside

Pacific Heights, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition

Mission, Bernal Heights,

Noe Valley, Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle

Mission Bay/Potrero Hill/SOMA, South Beach

South Beach, SOMA, Financial District

If you’d like your zip charted, contact us.

-Your chance at fame…or missed fortune [sfn BLOG]
-More Stats & Numbers [sfn BLOG]
[image sources: Data Quick; and Altos Research]

$$$ Real Estate Marketing

As much as I love my fellow Realtors (R), sometimes I wonder where they get their “marketing remarks”, and how they tie them into the rest of their materials.
Take for example, 9 Massasoit St in Bernal Heights. It just hit the market and it has “$$$ Bay View”, yet the 76+% of internet home shoppers don’t get to see the “$$$ Bay View”. However, you do get to see four pictures of carpet and wood:
carpetandwood.jpg

Now this is where the argument for a company like Redfin makes sense. Whereas, these are arguments for using an agent.

-9 Massasoit St [MLS]
-60 Minutes, 60 Billion, and One Redfin… [sfn BLOG]