San Francisco Housing Market Not Stopping…How’s That For A Gift From Santa!?

In this season of giving and being thankful, I’d have to say that San Francisco Bay Area residents should be pretty thankful that our market is nowhere near that of the national average. If you’re a seller you can be thanking your lucky stars that buyers are out there in droves, and if you’re a buyer you need not pinch yourself, because yes, interest rates are indeed averaging UNDER 4%, and that is certainly something to rejoice.

The San Francisco Association of Realtors Market Focus Report begins now:

Although these fall months are not typically known for high real estate activity, this year has proven otherwise, with strong pockets of movement occurring throughout the city, keeping the market active during these shorter days. Families have been rushing to purchase and settle into their new homes to prepare for the holiday season and upcoming year.

Single-Family Homes

As the number of homes for sale fell throughout the city by 27.3 percent compared to November 2010, the number of homes under contract this past month rose by 21.1 percent, while the number of homes sold rose by a substantial 22.3 percent. For properties that were priced below $700,000, the months of supply inventory dropped by 67.8 percent to 1.3 months. For properties priced between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months of supply inventory fell by 12.1 percent to 2.8 months. Readings between one and four months typically indicate a seller’s market, where sellers have more negotiating power over home buyers.

One part of the city which continues to experience healthy sales activity is the central district that provides ample shelter from San Francisco’s famous fog and is one of the city’s sunnier regions. Since November 2010, the number of homes sold has risen considerably by 60 percent to a total of 40 properties. From the colorful neighborhoods of Haight Asbury and the Castro, to the more contemporary and family-friendly Noe Valley, to the posh and upscale Clarendon Heights, this part of the city offers a diverse array of housing opportunities for just about any home buyer.

Another area of the city which saw heightened sales activity is the southern part of the city that stretches from San Francisco City College to beyond Candlestick Park. Compared to this time last year, the number of homes under contract in this district has risen by a whopping 80 percent, while the number of homes sold has increased by 58.3 percent to a total of 57 properties. Some of the neighborhoods in the area, such as the Excelsior and Mission Terrace, offer a suburban feel, easy access to public transportation, and some of the best prices in the city, which makes them great locations for first-time home buyers.

Condominium Sales

Although the number of condominiums for sale fell throughout the city by 37.2 percent compared to November 2010, the number of condominiums under contract rose by 17.7 percent and the number of condominiums sold increased by 23.1 percent. For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months of supply inventory contracted by 61.4 percent to a reading of 2.2 months. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months of supply inventory decreased, by 49.8 percent to 2.6 months.

One part of the city which experienced a robust increase in condominium sales activity is the central-eastern part of town, whose landscape continues to evolve from its former warehouse and factory occupied streets. Since November of last year, the number of condominiums sold has jumped by 56.4 percent, from 39 units to a total of 61. The central-eastern district includes such neighborhoods as up-and-coming South Beach, home to AT&T Park and some of the most stylish condominiums in the city, as well as SOMA (South of Market) and Yerba Buena, which has seen an infusion of moderately priced condominiums in recent years.

Outlook

The Conference Board reports that consumer confidence surged in November to its highest level since July, a sign that Americans may be more willing to spend. The Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index climbed by 15 points in November to 56 points, the highest it has been since a reading of 59.2 this past summer. Although still well below a reading of 90, which indicates an economy on solid footing, the confidence numbers are encouraging.

According to the State Employment Development Department, the statewide and local job outlook continues to improve as California’s unemployment rate dropped for the second straight month in October to 11.7 percent. Bay Area counties were all below the State average, including San Francisco, which dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent the prior month.

As the cost of renting in the city continues to rise, and with the average rent currently at $2,572, more and more people should be considering owning a home. There are a variety of rent vs. buy calculators available online and anyone of them can be used to help with a decision as to whether to rent or buy.

As local tech companies like Zynga and Yelp prepare for initial public offerings, more and more of their employees are looking towards owning a home in San Francisco. Reuters reports that recent competitive bidding in some neighborhoods has pushed home prices up more than 15 percent from last year in some areas such as Noe Valley, SOMA and Potrero Hill.

With the improving economy and surge in pending sales, 2012 is likely to see a stronger San Francisco real estate market than what buyers and sellers have been accustomed to since 2008.

-San Francisco Association of Realtors Market Focus Report

137 Buelah Apple: Don’t Haight the Game….

[Written by "Eddy":]

One thirty seven Buelah is one of those homes that just screams San Francisco charm and it has all the makings for what many families are looking for in a home here in the city (e.g., curb appeal, close to shopping, parking, etc.)
It’s no wonder that this property closed escrow back in 2006 in only 26 days and over asking at $1.59M.   It’s a little more surprising, however, to see that this same home just closed escrow in 2011, again for over asking, and in only 33 days for $1.61M.  It goes without saying that buying a good property with highly desirable features is a good strategy. This is a classic example of a well appointed home, commanding tons of interest, and getting a good price in two different real estate markets (2006 & 2011).

A few more pics after the jump:

Continue reading

You Can Buy Her Sister Too…Oops, Too Late

A couple of weeks ago we were thrilled to see 457 Buena Vista Avenue East go into contract after a short spell on MLS (asking $2,329,000), and how could you blame the buyer…the place is awesome! However, we felt a little bad as we were told 457 “can be purchased with sister property 459 Buena Vista Avenue East“.



As pretty as she is, this poor sister was left hanging and we wondered if someone would come along and rescue her. Granted, she’s a bit more of an expensive date, asking $2,389,000. Well…she found Mr. (and maybe Mrs.) Right. She’s in contract as of today, and dammit if she isn’t just as pretty as her sister, but with more to offer up top (focus boys!):

Congrats to the agents and buyers. What a fantastic property in a great location. We’re very jealous.

-Hi Res, Picture Gallery of 459 [agent website]
-457 Buena Vista Avenue East, $2,329,000 [MLS]
-459 Buena Vista Avenue East, $2,389,000 [MLS]

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!

Coming Soon! And, Coming Later!

Realtor Kevin Gueco writes a very sunny review for the coming soon Mosiaica 601 condo project (pictured above) in his SFNewDevelopments blog. There’s definitely some room for pleasant surprise in the announced price  (pleasant to me, anyway, since I selfishly find all condos I cannot afford to be unpleasant):

“Mosaica 601 announced last week that it plans to start pricing of its 3 bedroom / 2 bath condos in the low $600s!  This is an incredible value considering each home is around 1400 square feet.”

Of course, putting aside Gueco’s near-by  restaurant list, the area (where Mission meets Potrero) is a little rough, but the price still seems all right to me. Perhaps the developers see the price cuts so many other condo developers have had to make recently, and are starting lower to begin with?  

Also coming soon (but not as soon) are a more mysterious set of housing units. Just off West Portal and 16th Ave., in front of Arden Wood, you can see the pushed-up dirt, huge bulldozers, and thin wood skeletons that signal housing to come, and their sectioning looks multi-unit. Thus I suspect these are the long awaited condos that were subject of news and speculation in 2006. In fact, that’s still the only information I can find on this construction: 2 years old, via SFHomeBlog and J.K. Dineen. Someone has to have a more updated scoop here. Anyone?
 
Meanwhile, still a pipe-dream (ha ha! Really, Haight Street, how many pipe stores can one street support?), but with the supervisorial green light is the Whole Foods/condo complex, slated to replace long-dead Cala Foods at the corner of Stanyan and Haight. The Chronicle outlines the plan here:

 “The large, four-story project, which also includes some 60 high-end, market-rate housing units, was expected to be controversial, but the commission voted 6-0 to approve the conditional use permit – a result supporters think had a lot to do with their organized turnout.”

Right, agreed: Haight could use a face-lift and perhaps a gentle reminder that THE 60′S ARE OVER. Also, I like Whole Foods, but I’m saving for one of those condos, so I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s (with a new one also coming soon!). I’m curious what “market rate” will be when those units go up, since so many new developments are struggling to sell out units already. The Frontstep’s own banker/blogger, aptly known as “The Banker,” says: “We are overbuilt. . .and it is next to near impossible to get financing!”

What do you say?

—-

Construction photo via SFNewDevelopments

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

“Price reduced 1,000,000″ (1919 Page)

Has Realtor to Realtor marketing (spam) reached a new low in order to get fellow Realtors to open their property emails? Just yesterday, we (and likely all of San Francisco Association of Realtors members) received an email with the subject, “Price reduced 1,000,000″ on the property located at 1919 Page (“now” asking $1,095,000) in the Haight Ashbury district.

Upon further research (in MLS) we found 1919 Page to have a DOM of 0 and no “property history”, 1921 Page to have recently (Nov ’07) sold for $1,075,000 (asking $949,000), and no record whatsoever of the entire building being for sale at the moment (the only thing we could think of to explain a $1M price reduction on a condo worth only ~$1M in the first place.)

So what gives? Did one of the most productive agents in San Francisco just stoop to a new low, or can we chalk it up to a typo?

What do you think, because we sure as hell can’t figure it out?

-1919 Page [detail page]

A long time coming: 235 Broderick hits the MLS, we tried to warn you

Had you been reading theFrontSteps a while ago, June 11th to be exact, you’d have had an opportunity to pick up this developer special at 235 Broderick long before the rest.

235 Broderick

Now the cat is out of the bag, the chatter has begun, it’s on MLS (listed for exactly the same price the seller’s paid in March of 2008, $2M…makes price per square foot a cool $500), and we’re left pondering the future of this (potentially) awesome house.

One thing is for certain, these sellers will likely take a huge hit and that can’t feel good. You know what they say, “One man’s loss, is another man’s gain.”

…and we almost forgot the before shots. Can’t wait to see the after!

-Developer Special not on market in Haight Ashbury [theFrontSteps]

-235 Broderick [listing detail]

-235 Broderick (before) [listing detail]

Developer Special (not on market) in Haight Ashbury

We hesitate to provide the address of this property (as always to preserve privacy), but at the same time we feel it our obligation to put out to a larger audience some potential deals that might be right up your alley. Should you, or your friends, be interested in taking this property off the hands of the current owner (around $1.8-2M) feel free to contact us.

facade
(We can see you MapJack O’holics cruising now.)

It’s got some potential for the right person, and “permits and plans for redoing the entire house and expanding the garage to a two car garage. [The owners] have gotten as far as completing a total demolition of the interior space. The house is about 4000 square feet, 6bd/4ba”, it’s located in a great area of the Haight Ashbury district, and we want you to have it.

If you recognize this kitchen, you know the home.

demokit

…and of course that facade will let you know if it’s something you desire. We also tend to think this better for an owner-occupier rather than developer, so if you’re looking to remodel a home, need this kind of space, and don’t plan on flipping, opportunity knocks.

When the Price is Right

Before you haul off and shoot the messenger, this is one of many emails we receive on a daily basis. We’ve tried to tone the cheerleading down a bit, but when it keeps on coming from other sources (not Realtors) it’s kind of hard to pass up. So…

19delmar.jpg

Awesome places that are priced right continue to sell at competitive prices all over the city.

19 Delmar St. [3 bed, 3 bath, $1,795,000] just went into Escrow as did two condos on Sacramento in the $2.1 range.

Lots of buyers out there! Wow.

No, this is not from MarinaPrime, ResortAtSquawCreek, Later, BoomTime, or any of the other people that sound oddly like the same person. It’s from someone entirely too well connected to not know the difference.

-19 Delmar [sfnewsletter listing detail page]

Benjamin Bratt sells SF Investment and “Your Mama” tells us how it is

I truly love when readers (thanks Shelley) send in links to other sites that truly make me laugh, and have a good grasp of the sf market, so I can quote them and not have to say it myself.

Lest anyone think the sub-prime lending crisis and mortgage meltdown is having a huge affect on the real estate market in the urban yet genteel streets of San Francisco, listen up. Mister Bratt’s investment property was listed in mid July, 2007 at $1,595,000. The property was sold and closed by the end of August for $1,858,000. So what does that tell the children about the still electric San Francisco marketplace?

Now babies, we know that it is standard practice in San Francisco to price a property low and sell it for higher than asking. This is widely considered “normal” in the City by the Bay. However, in this era of near fiscal implosion of the mortgage industry, one might think we’d see a slowing of the market and San Francisco properties would not be selling extremely quickly and for 10, 12 and 15 percent OVER the asking price. But they are children, they are. Ev-er-ee day.–The Real Estalker

Who cares about Benjamin Bratt! Your Mama nailed it! Nice!!!!

-1832 Page, Mr. Bratt’s Investment [MLS]

-Benjamin Bratt Sells SF Investment Property [The Real Estalker]

Battle Royale: Hayes Valley or Haight Ashbury, if you had to choose

We’ve been having lots of fun with the other Battles: Outer Richmond v. Outer Sunset and Pacific Heights v. Marina, so today we give you Hayes Valley or Haight Ashbury. The choice is yours. As always, we provide the data, and hope you provide the insight. Have fun. Sorry for the tech difficulties, it’s not us.

Correction on the Outer Richmond/Outer Sunset post. The charts we posted from Altos research were actually median prices for condos, not sfr’s. It is now fixed.

haighthayes.jpg

Hayes Valley Stats (source: SFAR MLS)

hayesstats.jpg

Haight Ashbury Stats (source: SFAR MLS)

haightstats.jpg

Haight Ashbury zip 94117 (Median: source Altos Research)

Single Family

condo

Hayes Valley zip 94102

Single Family

condo

When looking at these charts, keep in mind that they are based off of zip code, not property type and exact street delineations as in the San Francisco Association of Realtors District Map.