Category Archives: Potrero Hill

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

San Francisco Pocket Listings, Not On MLS Opportunities, And Buyers Looking!

I’ve been resisting the urge to continually share the opportunities popping up in San Francisco on my new venture, PocketListings.net, but I can’t hold back. Here is a summary of what is going on “behind the scenes” in San Francisco real estate that we’re gradually bringing to center stage.

-Thirty-three hundred square feet in Pacific Heights for $2,875,000:

-A “creative buyer looking for development opportunities…flexible on property type and price.

-Three bedroom Potrero Hill Condominium For Sale, but not on MLS.

-Telegraph Hill Buyer looking to be on the East Slope, and desiring views. Price up to $2,000,000.

-One bedroom condo in Dolores Heights, very much for sale, but also “not on MLS”.

-Should you find yourself itching to move to Marin, here is a nice 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with 4 Car Parking, also “not on MLS”.

-If you want to get way the hell out of dodge, perhaps this Daytona Beach, Florida “family compound” is for you.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. The moral to the story is that what you see on MLS is not close to the entire picture, AND PocketListings.net is pioneering a platform to give the buyer a voice. We plan on completing the real estate circle, if you will. Think of the countless properties that could be marketed before MLS, thousands that get withdrawn or expired from MLS, bank foreclosure inventory, and so much more. If you’re an agent, I’d encourage you to use it, and if you’re a principal, I’d encourage you to browse it, then tell your agent to join!

-PocketListings.net

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!

Mission District “Is Our Backyard”-Says Potrero Hill

[Image Source]

Every so often older posts get comments that are so good, I just can’t pass up posting them right front and center on the home page. This one came in on an old post we did about La Mission District and just how cool it is.

Sorry Mission District, according to this Potrero Hill reader you’re nothing more than their “backyard”.

Potrero Hill is SF’s best neighborhood TO LIVE IN for these reasons:

1) VIEWS – don’t have one? Step outside, you get one every time you head towards any of the other neighborhoods or just to get a cup of Farley’s coffee. Can’t do that? Watch a commercial or movie, it’s likely it includes a scene shot from here.

2) PARKING – every one of the other neighborhoods has you looking and wishing you could drink and drive while looking.

3) SUNSHINE – if we don’t have it, neither do you. If we do, you probably don’t.

4) PROXIMITY – 280, 101, 80 and trains and the #10 make getting up and down the peninsula or to the East Bay, or to the beach or along the Embarcadero or FiDi or the ballpark a snap. Bernal, Bayview, Glen Park, Mission, Noe, Castro, Soma – are all neighbors, in fact La Mission is our backyard. Every thing else is really minutes ‘cept for the Golden Gate Bridge or Golden Gate Park which really is meant for a lovely drive anyway.

5) COMMUNITY – it’s tight and effective and gets more and more inclusive vs. many of the other conformist, hands-off-the-merchandise ‘hoods. This means childless hipsters, muralist breeders, biogeneticists, game designers, street soldiers, old-timers, turistas, baristas and anything with paws come together for the Good Life. And it’s small enough that everyone knows your name, “my friend”.

Touché!

-San Francisco’s Coolest Neighborhood…La Mission, Hands Down [theFrontSteps]

“Fastest Sales-Cycle For New Home Development In San Francisco”

Generally, we shy away from posting media blitzes on our site as they usually are simply a way for us to publish a sales pitch, but this time given the state of the housing market across the nation, and here in San Francisco, we thought this PR push worthy of a mention at the very least.

Union by Palisades, a new residential condominium and loft development at 2125 – 2101 Bryant Street, “has concluded the fastest sales-cycle for new home development in San Francisco this year, and at an average price that exceeded many luxury high rise properties. Between January and September of 2010, Union closed transactions on all 76 homes…”

That’s pretty impressive, and great to hear buyers are out there, loans are funding, and deals are closing.

-Union by Palisades [website]

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

New Developments Face a New Reality in SF

 

I’ve heard from multiple sources that SF real estate is, for the most part, immune to the havoc wreaked on other parts of the US. But sales at our most recent condo complexes show that happy-smile-don’t-worry line of rhetoric is about as reliable as the clown’s was in Poltergeist (Happy Halloween!).

 

 
Socketsite reports that Symphony Towers, with only 55% of its units sold, has recently reduced prices 30%. The “Tower One Close Out,” advertised on the building’s webpage, demonstrates:
 
T-907 Penthouse studio w/built in Murphy bed & views $515,000 $419,000
T-602 1-br, Quiet courtyard location $565,000 $449,000
 
You have to wonder if those buyers among the 55% sold group are perhaps a wee bit upset. You might also wonder if you can’t, given the hint of desperation (“close out”= we really, really want to sell these goddamn condos!), get one of these units for even less than the advertised price.
 
Plus, Symphony Towers is not the only recent development cutting prices. The Hayes is also making cuts, despite its central location and uber-hip marketing (including requisite “ambient” track playing over your web tour of the property, a photo from which appears below). #610, for example, is a 1 bed/1 bath down now from $599K to $499K.  
inside "The Hayes," life is fabulously vogue

 

 
The Arterra, our newish “green” building at 300 Berry St. is also offering reduced prices, (such as #904, a 1 bed/1bath down from $649K to $599K), as is The Potrero.  
 
More good news for people who love bad news is that, according to the San Francisco Business Times, construction has been suspended at 535 Mission St: “The $100 million HOK-designed tower was put on hold earlier this month in response to worsening market conditions.”   
 
Well then. Seems like if one wants to buy right now, one should take these worsening conditions to the negotiating table. Don’t invite the clown.
—————–
Photo credits, respectively: Scary ass clown: Brain Handles.com; The Hayes staged unit: The Hayes.com.
 
 
 

When you look at this chart/map, what do you see?

I feel like this is a bit of a litmus test.

I was on another blog and a poster actually used this map to back up a point made about neighborhoods north of California st. showing signs of weakness. I was like, huh? This map? Aren’t all the areas north of California YELLOW? (Yellow shows appreciation.)

It isn’t the greatest map/chart/whatever ever. It shows Noe Valley like half green and half yellow. I think most of us are pretty sure Noe hasn’t slid. It shows the north part of Potrero Hill as green. It shows all of SOMA as a chunk of green and I think we can all agree SOMA varies wildly. And the Inner Richmond has fallen? That would be a surprise to everyone working at any brokerage in town, in any capacity.

So, not the best. It needs more variegation certainly. But it sort of just goes to show where we are right now. We who are the buyers, sellers, agents, brokers, fence sitters, you name it. We who post on blogs about real estate. We’ve all come to think that the glass is not full. What does this chart tell you about the the status of said glass?

You’ll notice I didn’t get into who they quote, what they actually say in the article versus what’s happening here in the city, etc. You can get into that if you want. But what do you see in that graphic? I’m curious.

– fluj a k a kenneth kohlmyer