Category Archives: Marina

San Francisco Housing Market Continues to Strengthen

The San Francisco housing market continues to heat up, as evidenced by the increasing sale prices of homes in the city. Compared to one year ago, the median price for a single-family home rose by 10.6 percent to $785,000. And, with a limited supply of homes for sale, the city has remained a seller’s market, with aggressive bidding and multiple offers occurring regularly.

Single-Family Home Sales

Compared to May 2011, the city’s inventory of single-family homes for sale fell by 10.8 percent, while the number of homes under contract rose by 13.9 percent. During the same period, the number of homes sold increased by 23.3 percent.

For homes that were priced below $700,000, the months of supply inventory fell by 70.6 percent to a reading of 0.9. For higher-priced homes between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months of supply inventory also dropped, by 52.7 percent to 1.1 months.

One area of the city which continues to experience healthy sales activity is Twin Peaks West, located in the mid-western part of town. Since May of last year, the number of homes under contract here has increased by 13.9 percent, while the number of homes sold has jumped by 23.3 percent, with 37 transactions closed. Twin Peaks West offers a variety of neighborhood communities, from the upscale and exclusive St. Francis Wood, to the charming mom and pop shops of the West Portal. Homes for sale here typically receive multiple offers and do not last on the market for very long. The median price for a home in Twin Peaks West is $918,000.

Another area of the city which experienced high sales activity is the northernmost district, which includes classic San Francisco neighborhoods such as the Marina and Pacific Heights. Compared to one year ago, the number of homes for sale in this region rose by 24.4 percent, being one of only three districts in the last month which experienced an increase in for-sale inventory. At the same time, the number of homes under contract increased by 18.8 percent, while the number of homes sold rose by 22.2 percent. Here you will find some of the most impressive views and properties in the city, and whose close proximity to Presidio Park and the waters of the San Francisco Bay, provide an endless array of outdoor recreational activities. The median price for a home here is $2,875,000.

Condominium Sales

In the same fashion as single-family homes, the inventory of condominiums for sale in the city dropped by 38.1 percent compared to May 2011. As a result, the number of condominiums under contract increased by 38.7 percent, while the number of condominiums sold rose by 9.1 percent.

For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months of supply inventory contracted by 72.5 percent to a reading of 0.9. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months of supply inventory also fell by 57.2 percent to 1.4 months.

One area of the city which experienced positive condominium sales activity is Downtown San Francisco, in the northeast section of town. Since May 2011, the number of condominiums under contract here increased by 4 percent to a total of 52 properties, making it the second highest district in the city with the greatest number of condominiums under contract. The number of condominiums sold also rose by 8.5 percent, with 51 units sold. Downtown San Francisco not only includes the center of the city’s commerce, it also features quintessential and historic San Francisco neighborhoods such as North Beach, or “Little Italy” as it is also commonly known, and Nob Hill, home to not only some of the city’s most luxurious condominiums, but also to a number of famous landmark hotels such as the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins. The median price for a condominium here is $734,333.

Outlook

The National Association of REALTORS® reports that, “Pending home sales retrenched in April following three consecutive monthly gains, but are notably higher than a year ago.” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a one-month setback against a background of many months of gains does not change the fundamentally improving housing market conditions. “Home contract activity has been above year-ago levels now for 12 consecutive months. The housing recovery momentum continues,” he said.

The consumer confidence index, which had declined slightly in April, fell further in May. The index now stands at 64.9, down from a reading of 68.7 in April. Regarding the short-term outlook, Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, says that, “Consumers were less positive about current business and labor market conditions, and they were pessimistic about the short-term outlook. However, consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, which should help sustain spending.”

According to the California Employment Development Department, California’s unemployment rate decreased to 10.8 percent in May, and nonfarm payrolls increased by 33,900 during the month for a total gain of 425,000 jobs since the recovery began in September 2009.

As reported earlier this month in the San Francisco Chronicle, “U.S. mortgage rates dropped to record lows for a sixth straight week as concerns over slowing job growth pushed investors into the safety of government bonds that guide interest costs. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.67 percent from 3.75 percent in the week ended Thursday, Freddie Mac reported. It was the lowest rate in the mortgage-finance company’s records dating to 1971. The average 15-year rate declined to 2.94 percent, also a record, from 2.97 percent.”

Client Testimonials From Way Back

Bear with me while I reorganize my testimonials into individual posts. These are a few put together from way back.

*Alex was very easy to work with. He was straightforward, gave good advice about how the condominium should look when it was being shown, and managed the negotiations with the buyer perfectly. I always felt he was dealing with me honestly, and he kept me fully informed. I will go to Alex any time I want to sell a house in San Francisco. JOHN BARTON

*I don’t know any Realtors in this city [San Francisco] that have a better grasp of technology as it applies to real estate than Alex. His sfnewsletter is a phenomenal resource and great way to begin your home search, or research home sales should you be selling, and he is a pleasure to work with. He seemed to get along great with the other agents involved in our transaction and we’re sure it helped get us the price we want. He negotiated hard, but made everyone laugh the whole way and it was great. Now we live in the suburbs, but if we ever move back, we’ll use Alex for sure. Not to mention he’s a decent golfer too. -Joe Condy

*Carole and I feel that we were very fortunate to have met you at the open house and I am glad we chose you to work with. Be assured in the future when we are ready to look at the market again we will be calling, as well as referring any house hunting friends to you. Read More-Carole and Bruce Derr

*Alex combines an insider’s knowledge of San Francisco, innovative marketingskills and the honesty and integrity of a down to earth guy.-Rich Singer

*Like a lot of SFNewsletter readers, I figured Alex would be either too busy or simply uninterested in representing a first time buyer with a sub-seven figure budget. Ten months of searching and four offers later, we’re homeowners, and he’s still returning my calls…The cool thing about Alex is he’s new-school enough to embrace technology’s influence over his profession, but old-school enough to hold your sweaty hand through every step of escrow. 

Bottom line, if you’re looking to be escorted from property to property in your agent’s Mercedes while being lavishly praised for your exquisite taste and style, Alex ain’t your guy. But if you’re looking for consummate San Francisco market expertise, every tool you’ll ever need to find and evaluate your properties, and a Tiger Woods-like closing mentality – hell, you’re already reading his newsletter, posting to his blog, and god forbid you’re receiving his twitter banter – seriously, why use anyone else?! -Tim Stevens

*We had our condo at the St. Regis listed for close to 8 months with another agent. We hired Alex and he sold it in two weeks! Amazing! Truly amazing and he was fun to work with the whole time, knew the market, knew we should take the offer we received, and knows where I should buy my next place. He is truly a pleasure to work with and really knows his stuff. His newsletter is great too. -Stephanie Morris

*I had been reading Alex’s “sfnewsletter” for over a year, so I knew when I was ready to sell my house in San Francisco, Alex was my choice. His newsletters were very informative and intelligently written. I know this sounds corny, but I really liked his sign-off at the end of each newsletter — “Happy Aloha Friday”. Alex kept on top of all correspondence and paperwork and kept me apprised every step of the selling process. I am happy to say that we accepted an offer after only 2 weeks on the market. I would recommend Alex to anyone in need of a superior REALTOR.-Debra Comstock

*I can and have enthusiastically recommended you to my friends who are looking at purchasing property here in San Francisco. Specifically, I appreciate your diligent work and follow-through, as well as your integrity in working with the seller’s representative and myself that made it possible to get this deal done. Read More.-Larry Singer

*Wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your assistance and help during the purchase of my new [home] in San Francisco. You did a great job of working with me all Summer long trying to find my dream house on my crazy schedule. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but by Fall you had identified my criteria and started showing me homes that suited my needs. The house we found has a great ocean view and is close to the beach with a big yard and potential to add on. Read More. -Ryan Seelbach

*Alex and I worked together for over 3 month searching for the right property. He showed me several properties and advised me on the pros and cons of each property. On [my home] he assisted in compiling a very strong offer on property where multiple bids were accepted. I strongly believe it was due to his assistance that I was able to purchase the proeprty despite the other offers being close to or higher than my own. Read More-David Kaneda

*I had met with several real estate agents before I decided on Alex, and it proved to be an excellent decision. He knew the market, had excellent recommendations based on my specific requirements and goals, and most importantly: he knew how to package and position the offer for quick acceptance once I decided on a property. We quickly closed on a condo at 1998 Broadway that was a great fit for me. And I believe the price and conditions make it an exceptional investment. I’d recommend Alex to anybody. Read More-Drew Sechrist

Luxury Marina Blvd. Home Hits The Market (Not On MLS), You Get Front Row Seats To The America’s Cup


How would you like to have front row seats to the America’s Cup Sailing Race that is headed to San Francisco?

And I’m not talking about lawn chairs unfolded on the rocky, cold shores of the Bay. I’m talking luxury, better than VIP, seats…like rolling over in bed, looking out your window, and seeing the action.





You might be saying to yourself, “That’s a great view, and I’d love to be that close, but how can I get it?” The answer my friends is right here, where for $4,750,000 you can have a luxury four level, four bedroom, five and one half bath, remodeled waterfront VIP entertaining palace for the America’s Cup. It comes complete with a gourmet kitchen containing a Thermador 6-burner gas professional cooktop with built-in grill and a one-of-a-kind Abbaka pure copper and brass hood, a full-sized Sub-Zero refrigerator with two additional refrigerator drawers and a completely separate full-sized Sub-Zero freezer with additional drawers, two Miele dishwashers, and two refrigerated beverage storage drawers…because you know your kitchen will be serving up some cold beverages and tasty meals.

It also has two master suites and baths, a landscaped back yard (to escape the commotion out front), AND 2 car parking (because you know it will be a nightmare) for yourself, and extra parking in the driveway for your friends (I’m not talking the “friends” that will suddenly be knocking on your door to take advantage of your good fortune, I’m talking true friends.)

Friendship debates aside, the fact is, a Marina Blvd home is up for grabs whether you’re a fan of sailboat racing or not, and your chance to snag a slice of prime San Francisco waterfront property is here…it’s just not on MLS.

-Marina Blvd Luxury Waterfront Home: $4,750,000 details [Principals contact me for details, agents just create an account.]
-(Potential) America’s Cup Race Route Revealed, Realtors Frothing [theFrontSteps]

Opportunity For Fence Sitting Sellers And Desperate Buyers

Are you somebody that lives in San Francisco, has a home that is either on one level or contains an elevator, and you’ve been on the fence about selling your home? PocketListings.net has a buyer for you, they aren’t picky about their neighborhood, and they have $2,000,000 to spend.

Maybe you are a resident living in Pacific Heights, Sea Cliff, Cow Hollow, or Presidio Heights and you don’t want all the hullabaloo of listing on MLS, but you’d love for a buyer to come take a look at your home. PocketListings.net has a couple of those multi-million dollar buyers too.

Are you a buyer looking for a two unit building in the Marina? PocketListings.net has that too!

The moral of this story is if you are a buyer or seller anywhere in the United States, and especially in San Francisco (our hottest market), you should not only be visiting the site yourselves, but telling your real estate agent to do the same. There are opportunities galore, and it’s getting better every day!

-Single Family Home Buyer Needing One Level Or Elevator Home
[PocketListings.net]
-Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Sea Cliff Buyer [PocketListings.net]
-Marina Two Unit Building “Not On MLS”, $2,800,000 [PocketListings.net]

Outdoor Shower, And The Only Game In Town (Marina District Town)

Last sold in September of 2009 for $1,550,000, hats off to the agent and sellers bringing 2519 Chestnut onto the MLS in 2011 with a market adjusted price of $1,450,000.

Currently the only game in town (Marina District) priced between $1.1MM and $1.8MM you’d have to think there could be a fair bit of traffic and families itching to get in on this.

Sweet kitchen, sweet back yard, outdoor shower (Can we get a picture of that, preferably with someone in it please?), wood-burning fireplace, and two car parking!

We were sold on the outdoor shower, but two car parking is nice, as is this condo. It’s definitely worth a look.

-2519 Chestnut [MLS]

[Update: The other game in town that hit MLS today (it's a SFR).]

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!

Marina Has The Hotties, Inner Richmond…Apparently None

I was just clued in to a new startup website that is striving to allow you (people on the move from city to city, ‘hood to ‘hood, house to house) to learn about a neighborhood based on the reviews, comments, and opinions of locals. It’s a simple concept and easy to see the value. Hell, I tried going block by block to clue people in on the different San Francisco Neighborhoods in my Tour De San Francisco (real estate), but I only made it halfway through. Hence, the value I see in NabeWise.com.

It’s a startup, so the site is pretty lean with content at the moment, but I expect that will change over time. Regardless, how can you resist checking out a site that ranks where San Francisco’s Most Beautiful People hang out. Surprise, surprise! It’s the Marina! Sorry Inner Richmond (no really I am sorry cuz I live here), you are last on the list.

For the record, it is ABSOLUTELY imperative that you take such criteria into consideration when buying or selling a home in San Francisco, but you should not base whether you work with one particular Realtor over another on looks alone.

Speaking of hotties…check out the NabeWise Team.

-NabeWise.com [Website]

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!!!!!!

King Edward II (The Inn That Is) Wants Your $$, We Just Liked The Aerial

The name piqued our interest, the net income of $399,526 and 9.08% Cap Rate made us click through to the Edward II Inn & Suites marketing schtick (asking $4,400,000), but it was the aerial pdf (with zoom on pg. 4) of San Francisco that made the post:

Click for details

-Edward II Listing Details, Arroyo & Coates