Category Archives: Bernal Heights

From 32% In NOPA To 65% On Nevada – San Francisco’s Top 10 Overbids

It’s Friday, that means it’s time for the Top 10 Maximum Overbids of the week. As usual, there are some doozies, but nothing I would consider ultimate shockers like a few of the last weekly Top 10’s we’ve seen. The number one spot goes to the “Contractor’s Special” on Nevada in Bernal Heights that fetched 65% over (totally in line with market sales price, and not easy to price this type of property). The number 10 spot goes to my clients that finally won after so many years searching – 538 Baker in NOPA that was “only” 32% over asking and the winner out of 15 other offers, two of which were actually higher than ours and all cash. We had a loan. But we “won”.

Anyhow, on with the show. The Top 10 Overbids for San Francisco this past week:

Address BR/BA/Units DOM List Price Sold Price Overbid
270 Nevada St 1/1.00/N/A 14 $530,000 $876,000 65.28%
866 Cayuga Ave 4/3.00/N/A 20 $928,000 $1,380,000 48.71%
27 Day St 3/1.00/N/A 43 $895,000 $1,310,000 46.37%
1271 15th Ave 1273 4/3.50/ 13 $1,795,000 $2,550,000 42.06%
307 Parker Ave 3/2.00/N/A 13 $1,250,000 $1,710,000 36.80%
25 Miraloma Dr 3/2.00/N/A 10 $1,050,000 $1,420,000 35.24%
1150 Holloway Ave 2/1.00/N/A 35 $889,000 $1,200,000 34.98%
320 Castenada Ave 3/1.50/N/A 26 $1,695,000 $2,250,000 32.74%
471 Hickory St 2/1.00/N/A 5 $1,060,000 $1,400,000 32.08%
538 Baker 2/1.50/N/A 11 $948,000 $1,250,000 31.86%

On a side note, one of my listings will hopefully be closing today, and believe me when I say we knocked it out of the park. Will we make the Top 10? No, but maybe we’ll scratch into the Top 20.

If you’re curious what your property might sell for, give me a shout.

Have a great weekend!

-Top 20 Overbids Delivered to Your Door (Inbox) [sfnewsletter.com]
-Are Overbids A Result Of Intentional Underpricing? It’s Competitive Pricing [theFrontSteps]
-Top 20 Underbids [sfnewsletter.com]

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!