It’s A Good Time To Sell

San Francisco Homes Selling Faster as Inventory Drops

With potential home sellers feeling that the market is on the upswing and that housing prices will soon appreciate, many of them have elected to hold off listing their homes, resulting in a citywide inventory shortage. At the same time, potential home buyers fearing higher prices are rushing to buy, particularly with the low-interest rate mortgages that are available today. These two forces are causing the already low for sale housing inventory in the city to be gobbled up at a faster rate. And, without new homes for sale to replace those that have been sold, the city’s inventory remains low, while home sales are staying high.

Single-Family Home Sales

Although the city’s inventory has dropped by 25.5 percent compared to February 2011, inventory levels also have ticked slightly upwards since January of this year, by 7.7 percent. And, despite the low inventory, homes under contract showed improvement compared to the same time last year, rising by as much as 22.9 percent. Moreover, the number of homes sold has almost doubled, by 40.7 percent, with a tally of 173 properties.

For homes that were priced below $700,000, the months of supply inventory fell by 66.2 percent to 1.2 months. For higher priced homes between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months of supply inventory fell by 30.4 percent to 1.6 months. These short time frames continue to indicate a seller’s market, where sellers have more leveraging power over buyers who are competing against a limited group of properties.

One part of the city which experienced an above average increase in sale activity is the Sunset district. Since February 2011, the number of homes under contract has risen by 11.4 percent, while the number of homes sold has jumped by 52.4 percent to a total of 32 properties. The Sunset district, a predominately residential area, rests on the central-west side of the city. With good schools and plenty of family-owned businesses, home buyers seeking a more conservative and small town approach to living would find the Sunset district ideal.

Another area of the city which saw notably positive real estate activity is the central-eastern section. Compared to the same time last year, the number of homes under contract in the section increased by 4.8 percent, while the number of homes sold spiked by 157.1 percent, to a total of 18 properties. Although generally associated with the condominium markets of the South of Market (SOMA) and South Beach areas, the central-eastern section also includes neighborhoods such as Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill, which offer an assortment of cottages, bungalows, and single-family homes in a very friendly, community type setting. Home buyers who yearn to be close to the city, but who also desire amenities such as a small garden or yard, would find solace here.

Condominium Sales

Similar to single-family homes, the number of condominiums for sale throughout the city also has lessened by 33.6 percent since February 2011. Still, in spite of the low inventory, the number of condominiums under contract rose by 17 percent this past month, while the number of condominiums sold remained relatively the same, dropping only by 1.2 percent.

For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months of supply inventory shrank by 51.9 percent to a reading of 1.4 months. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months of supply inventory also decreased, by 28.9 percent to 2.5 months.

One region of the city which continues to experience strong condominium sales activity is Downtown San Francisco. Compared to this time last year, the number of condominiums under contract rose by 9.3 percent, while the number of condominiums sold shot up by 50 percent to a total of 42 units. Quintessential San Francisco neighborhoods such as Nob Hill and Russian Hill offer some of the most stunning and luxurious condominiums in the city. Those seeking to take an elevator up to their home and views worthy of magazine covers will find just what they’re looking for in Downtown San Francisco.

Outlook

Nationally, the consumer confidence index, which had decreased in January, increased in February. The index now stands at 70.8, up from 61.5 in January. (A reading of 90 indicates a healthy economy.) Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, says, “Looking ahead, consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions than they were in January. And, despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects, and their financial situation.”

Based on the preliminary unemployment rates from the California Employment Development Department, the statewide and local job outlook is showing continued improvement, with the State’s unemployment rate dropping in January to 10.0 percent from 11.2 in December. Overall unemployment throughout the Bay Area also was down, with San Francisco seeing its unemployment rate decline from 9.5 percent last year to 8.1 percent this past January.

Earlier this month, the Federal Housing Administration announced that it would slash mortgage insurance premiums for certain home owners who refinance an FHA loan into a new one under its streamlined program. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The administration estimates that 2 to 3 million homeowners could be eligible to refinance under the reduced fees. But in the Bay Area, FHA loans were relatively rare until March 2008, when FHA raised its loan limit in high-cost areas to $729,750.

The San Francisco real estate market is likely to experience the same trend of low inventory and high sales in the next few weeks as home prices are expected to go up. When they do, San Francisco should begin to see a greater inventory of homes hitting the market.

In laymen’s terms…it’s a good time to sell!

-San Francisco Real Estate Market Focus Report (PDF)

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!

San Francisco Giants Win World Series: Bedlam Ensues, Brian Wilson Calls In…

Last night the San Francisco Giants clinched the World Series Title and they did it with authority, routing the Texas Rangers four games to one, in the best of seven series. What made it all the more sweet was continually seeing George W. lean over to his wife and ask her just exactly what was going on. You know she said the same thing to him as she did during his entire presidency, “Honey, we’re getting our asses kicked.” That was sweet. But what about San Francisco?

As expected, the city erupted. Fans and non-fans came out on the streets to partake in the celebration, which (did you have any doubt) quickly escalated into borderline rioting. There were reports of cars being set on fire, overturned, and vandalized. Multiple neighborhoods in the city saw streets blocked and “block parties” erupt. Valencia Street in the Mission was shut down, Chestnut Street in the Marina blocked, 9th & Irving in the Inner Sunset stopped, Market Street downtown packed, King and 2nd/3rd Streets in SOMA/Southbeach flooded, and those are just the areas we saw pictures of on our Facebook page.

As soon as the game was over sirens were blaring on firetrucks and police cars, “bombs” (read: very large fireworks of the M-80 variety) were going off, fireworks shot into the sky, and countless numbers of people driving and honking, and hanging out their windows and sunroofs were waving flags and screaming, “GIANTS!” as they raced through the San Francisco streets in celebration. Surely, many people are waking up today and wondering what hit them, and many more are wondering what is all the fuss…”they’re not ‘World’ Champs after all.”

Phew! It was awesome, it is awesome, but it’s that time. Put your Halloween costumes away (you had an extra day to wear it, you expect two?), go check out the parade tomorrow, high five everyone you know, kiss a stranger, show your support, bask in the glory, but for chrissakes….put your head back on straight will ya! You gotta work, and Brian Wilson called…he wants his f*cking beard back!

GO GIANTS!!!!!!

Inner-Sunset Sprouting Condos

Inner-Sunset, home to much good food, a few good bars, a few bad bars, the prohibitively expensive Andronico’s, and UCSF, will soon be home to new condos. On my block alone (9th Ave., past Moraga St.) there are two sites going up or planned to go up. One is adjacent to my deck, where I once saw the Bay, and now see the back of someone’s bedroom to be. I have no idea if this very tall building will be apartments for rent or condos for sale, but it will have several units, a garage, and a penthouse. On the other side of the street, where a long defunt Moraga Market has been little more than place to try out graffiti tags and dump unwanted sofas, construction is also in the works. The lot has sold, a hearing has taken place. All that’s left is to break ground.

Finally, quite done are the condos on 7th Ave., near Irving St. The photo above is from before the facades were placed. Now they are gorgeous Art Deco looking things with burnished copper and huge windows. The agent, Gary Small of Zephyr, tells me that the units are luxury one and two bedroom condos with underground parking, and that the two free-standing cottages that stood in a lot behind the building that sits on the street have been revamped. Some lucky millionare can thus own a little house all his or her own!

It’s the most action the Inner-Sunset has seen since a bunch of drunks from the Mucky Duck tried to scale a MUNI train. Sadly for we middle income buyers, the luxury condo lable means these new homes, exciting though they are, will not be ours.

Oh well. Drinking at the Mucky Duck is always an alternative.

PHOTO: Socketsite

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

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

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

So let’s see how it goes today:

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

-Fluj

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

A drop, a loss, and a few flips in Inner Sunset

by Anon8Mizer [with pictures and links added by theFrontSteps]:

Hi Alex — I like Inner Sunset because it’s one of the few neighborhoods in SF that haven’t sold out. So here are some observations:

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The drop:

1416 18th ave (condo) in a duplex – Originally asking $699K a month ago, now back on market at $649K — a 7.2% drop. At approx 936 sq ft, kitchen & bathroom still needing remodel/update, I don’t think we have seen the last of the reductions… About the only thing going for it is the side by side parking…

The loss:

1362 8th ave (condo) in a duplex — Purchased Nov 9, 2006 for $840K, now listed at $849K. It needs new cabinets in the kitchen. A loss when you count commissions…[It's not over yet, but it is in contract.]

A few flips:

1275-1277 14th Ave (duplex). Originally offered with both units tenant occupied at $998k, the original owner then got rid of the tenants and sold it in March ’07 for $1,170k (17% increase when it’s sold with both units vacant and no eviction penalty). The new owner fixed it up, and now lists at $1,499k. Saw it Sunday. At 2300 sqft, the rooms are rather small. Top unit has the smaller of the 2 bedrooms connected to a bathroom to make it a master suite, which is weird. I didn’t see any shower, either. Just the bathtubs — the new owner will have to put in a shower. Kind of baffling. What were they thinking? I would be surprised if it sold over asking…

1327-1329 17th ave (duplex). This one is on an extra wide lot and the rooms are huge. A developer bought it a few months back at $1,515k, completely remodeled it, and now is listed at $2,320,000 and in contract after one showing. I liked the quality of the remodel work there. The master bathrooms are huge, but single sink only — no double sinks. Again, what were they thinking??? What a pity.

1324 11th ave (TIC in duplex). Originally the whole building was purchased in March ’04 for $1,115k by two TIC partners. Now 3 and half years later the bottom unit is listed for $795k alone after remodel… If you split the building 46/54, that’s an increase of $282k, or 53% in 3.5 years if sold at that price…[Now in contract.]

The Moral:

Moral of the story seems to be — In this day and age when busy professionals are only looking at ‘spanking new, move in ready’ places, profit is still here if you are willing to put some elbow grease into a building…

“the place was crawling with people” (1422-24 14th Ave.)

Deferring to our readers on this one. I have not seen it. Thanks “anon8mizer” for the tip.

3293501.jpgHi – Just an update on this building. I saw it on Sunday. The place was crawling with people. I thought i was back in 2004 when I was house hunting. Three types of visitors: 1) young couples/families starting out. 2) whole families thinking of buying the whole building and 3) immigrants who needed translation from their realtor. Both kitchens have been remodeled with granite tops and stainless steel appliances. The bedroom layouts are kind of awkward but still usable. Top unit kitchen has a beautiful view of St. Anne’s church. Both are in move-in condition. The only things that need to be updated are the bathrooms. I think it will easily go over asking. Offered at $1.195, my guess is it will be sold around $1.3.

-1422-24 14th Ave. [MLS]

What’s going on with 1684-1686 19th Ave?

from B.O. with [our comments thrown in]

[This is a very good find and a good data point. 19th Ave properties are a tough sell as is, but add to the mix bad pricing, average remodel, out of town agent, and you have a recipe for frustration and not selling. Of course, we don't know the full story, so we'll just have to assume....and that is not entirely good.]

168419thave.jpg

“Hi – Bought for $906,666 ($480/sqft) in July 2006 [no record in MLS of this...but no surprise there], this renovated vacant duplex came on market a few months ago starting at $1,300,000 ($687/sqft) [May and $1,348,000] then dropped to about $1,200,000 or so [$1,278,000 then $1,229,000]. The owner switched Realtors in mid stream as well. About a month ago it was taken off of MLS, and yesterday [been busy... July 31st] I notice the for sale sign was taken down too. Do you know if the owner has taken it off the market, or if it was sold (and if so, how much)? ["Withdrawn" and as far as we can tell, not sold] Personally, I am amazed that a vacant 2bd/1ba duplex TIC with a standard remodel job on a busy street like 19th ave can garner > $600/sqft. [Apparently, it can't.] Nonetheless, I thought it would be a good data point for remodeled vacant 2-unit duplexes in the neighborhood. [It is, and we thank you for pointing it out!]“

If you have something you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to contact us.

-1684-1686 19th Ave. [MLS]

High on Grass

Bringing new meaning to the term “roof-top terrace”:

267-271 Filbert Sold $2,700,000

267filbert.jpg

1277 Arguello Sold $1,750,000

1277arguellograss.jpg

2500 Lyon (Statement said 2550) Asking $9,800,000

2550lyon.jpg

And the grand-daddy of them all the California Academy of Sciences photo credit to Inhabitat, found through Curbed.

caacsci.jpg

I’m thinking sunrise coffee on Filbert. Practice putting on Arguello. Deep rough shots on Lyon. Long game on the Academy roof. Then blow off the stress of golf with some Fun in the half-pipe. Care to join me? You see…real estate in San Francisco CAN be fun!

So which of the grasses is the schwag, and which are da kine?  Yes, I’ve been in all of the homes, and no, obviously not the Academy…yet.

1326-28 15th Avenue: A Done Deal in the Inner Sunset

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We showed it to you first, and before and after, then we bet on it, and now it’s closed…1326-28 15th Avenue is a done deal, and none of our readers guessed the sales price. In fact, we didn’t even come close, either. It might not actually be marked sold in MLS yet, but we know the scoop, and unfortunately we can’t give you all the dirt. What we can tell you is that they were asking $1,385,000, it went for over $1.6MM, received 11 offers and was only on the market 5 days.

-Some makeup (a little), some elbow grease (a lot), some action (a ton) [sfn BLOG]
-99 Surrey, A Done Deal in Glen Park for UNDER ASKING [sfn BLOG]

1326-28 15th Avenue: an update, and wager

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Following up to our previous post about 1326-28 15th Avenue (awesome before shots, so make sure to click that link), we know it received multiple offers, and it is scheduled to close June 4th, 2007.  We thought we’d do another little wager. We’re staying out of this one. We leave it up to you. Here are some photos, and here’s the MLS Fact Sheet, and some Inner Sunset comps to help you make a more educated decision. In case you don’t click those links, they’re asking $1,385,000.  What do you think it will sell for?
Pass this around your office and amongst your friends, post your answers in the comments, and feel free to change your guess as much as you like. Just let us know how much you win. ;-) A sort of March Madness in May.

Update: It might not actually be marked sold in MLS yet, but we know the scoop, and unfortunately we can’t give you all the dirt. What we can tell you is that they were asking $1,385,000, it went for over $1.6MM, received 11 offers and was only on the market 5 days.

-4065 25th Street: a done deal, and our fun spoiled [sfn BLOG]
-Some Makeup…a little… [sfn BLOG]

[Before photos provided by seller to us exclusively, after photos taken from MLS.]

Some Makeup (a little), Some Elbow-Grease (a lot), Some Action (a ton)

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Way back in 1999, the now owners of 1326 15th Avenue saw gold in that thar pink (or is that peach) wreck of a home. Purchased for $490,000 (roughly 10% below asking), it is now a beautiful 5 bed, 3.5 bath, single family/2-unit (depending on how you look at it) and on the market for $1,385,000. But now it looks more like this:
132615th.jpg

We’re bettin’ this one flies off the shelf, because there has already been an attempt at a pre-emptive offer and only on the market 3 days. That is usually a pretty good indication of what’s to come. This place has it all: location; amenities; upgraged; space; sunny east facing yard; income potential; parking; yada, yada. Don’t wait. It won’t last.

Update: It might not actually be marked sold in MLS yet, but we know the scoop, and unfortunately we can’t give you all the dirt. What we can tell you is that they were asking $1,385,000, it went for over $1.6MM, received 11 offers and was only on the market 5 days.

-Property Photos
-Start drooling now…a before, after, and First Look at 4065 25th Street [sfn BLOG]
-1326-28 15th Ave. [MLS]
-Bettin’ Fools [sfn BLOG]

1277 Arguello (Arguello Penthouse) SOLD!

1277arguello.jpg 

In another sign of the times, 1277 Arguello (link will expire after 30 days), closed for $1,750,000 after spending 14 days on the market, asking $1,699,000. The place was phenomenal! Anyone who is considering remodeling an old Edwardian building or condo, and might be stumped as to how to “open” it up, create flow, and generally make jaws drop, should pay close attention.   This is definitely the way to do it.  Congratulations to all involved.

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www.arguellopenthouse.com (those in cube land may want to turn down your volume when clicking here)

[pics taken from MLS, photographer not stated]