San Francisco / Bay Area Real Estate Market On Overdrive – by Coldwell Banker

One benefit of having one of the most popular real estate resources in San Francisco is I get spammed from all angles. Occasionally, I find good bits to share with you. So thank you Coldwell Banker for this update, I’m sure all of my readers will appreciate it.

“Dear Alexander,

The housing market is supposed to slow down as we get deeper into the fall season and inch closer to the holidays, but something very unusual is happening here in the Bay Area. Not only is the market remaining active overall, there’s been a remarkable surge in luxury home buying – in particular, the mega-home sales.
A quick look at closed sales at the end of October caught my attention. Our company alone closed an amazing 13 sales over more than $5 million in the Bay Area just in the last two weeks of October! The vast majority of these deals were in San Francisco, the Peninsula and Silicon Valley, although one was in Healdsburg. The homes went for as much as $11.1 million, the price paid for a Los Altos Hills property.

In all, we saw the strongest October in sales volume since 2004 for the San Francisco Peninsula Region. And although we can’t share with you Coldwell Banker’s proprietary sales figures, we can tell you that this added up to a 56 percent gain from just last October.

For a market that still faces a number of economic and political headwinds, this is quite a remarkable spike in activity for the upper end of the market.

So, what do we make of all this? It’s a strong signal that the so-called “smart money” is placing some very big bets that the housing recovery is well on its way. Well-heeled investors believe that real estate today offers a tremendous value and the long-term potential is quite attractive.

Additionally, we continue to see more and more signs that the economy nationwide is gradually turning a corner. But more importantly, here at home, the Bay Area economy and job market continues to gain steam, led by Silicon Valley, the biotech sector and the investment community.

A new report released last week by the Bay Area Council adds more evidence of the Bay Area’s economic strength.

‘Tis The Season For “Temp Off Market” Listings

This week and last, I’ve seen countless emails like this from real estate professionals:

” My listing is off MLS for the holidays, but still available.”

” Withdrawn in MLS, but seller wants to sell before Spring!”

” Not back on MLS until January, but actively showing. Motivated Sellers!”

” Off MLS for holidays, but can still show with some notice.”

During the past two weeks, in Marin and San Francisco, almost 100 listings have been withdrawn or temporarily taken off the market- but they aren’t really off the market.  

Contrary to popular belief, homes DO sell during the holiday season. Last year, in San Francisco alone, there were over 350 homes sold from November 15th through the end of the year.

So how do you market your listing during the holidays when it’s off MLS and your sellers still expect you to sell their home before Spring? You use Why? On any post can be searched, linked to, ranked, Shared, emailed, marketed, and seen by potentially thousands of people around the world. We also feed every post you do to our Twitter page  (over 1800 followers) and to our Facebook (over 1600 friends).

Your sellers may go dark for the holiday, but your listing doesn’t have to!

1 Ecker (16 Jessie) San Francisco: First Resale Hits The Market, Not Yet On MLS

This property has sold off market after one showing.

The first resale within 1 Ecker since its renovation in 2010, this is a rare 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit you won’t want to miss. Marketed “not on MLS” throughout the holiday season, now is your chance to beat the competition before (if) it gets to MLS.

Sold for $755,000, 1 Ecker (16 Jessie) unit #204 is an appealing blend of modern and timeless San Francisco charm. The original century-old building structure was painstakingly restored and updated with brand-new modern interior fixtures and finishes in every bedroom and bath. The soaring arched windows are 100% recycled, and the building’s sustainable interiors feature Bosch Energy Star® appliances (including gas range for the chef in all of us), Cesarstone kitchen counters, and bamboo flooring. Nestled among some of San Francisco’s tallest structures, the grand windows and high ceilings fill this residence with generous amounts of natural light, while the original brick structure is a welcome backdrop for modern, sophisticated living.

1 Ecker’s common area amenities include the comfortable rooftop lounge, with grill and plenty of seating for entertaining a large group or enjoying a quiet dinner for two. Sleek, comfortable modular seating allows for adjustment to meet your group’s needs, as art form meets function. Exotic foliage in vibrant hues frames an antique Balinese water fountain, a tranquil centerpiece. The lounge grill is ready to serve up favorites year-round.. The interior courtyard offers a stylish visual backdrop featuring exotic, vibrant foliage. Common areas are maintained by the building’s Home Owners Association, and monthly HOA dues of $525.72 for this unit help serve to keep them in pristine order. HOA dues also include water, garbage, and professional property management services.

The location of this wonderful city home puts you steps away from tons of shops, restaurants, clubs, art museums (MOMA), theaters (Metreon), Outdoor Parks (Yerba Buena), conference centers (Moscone), World Champion baseball stadium (Go Giants), and so much more. Multiple Zipcar® locations are within walking distance for pay-as-you-go car convenience, and the future Transbay Transit Center steps away at 1st and Mission Streets will house 11 transportation systems, including AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Muni & Amtrak, for easy access to all of the Bay Area and beyond.

*Images are not of the actual unit; however, finishes, quality, and features are the same or better.

Wanderlust: Big Sur 20 Acre Estate Edition


It’s easy to get lost in thought from this description. Especially coming from the urban jungle we call home here in San Francisco.

Located on Clear Ridge in the heart of Big Sur, this stunning redwood and glass, 3,100 sq. ft. private residence is perfect for family getaways and romantic get-togethers. A peaceful retreat home with vaulted ceilings and skylights, overlooking its own 20-acre meadow, valley and ocean view. No visible neighbors but the deer, a seasonal pond, mature redwoods, oaks, sycamore and other native trees. Private walking trail, ancient redwood-lined stream, large octagonal deck with centerpiece fire pit and natural seating…

You can meet me there. Looks like there is room for all of us. ‘Tis the season of giving and sharing after all…

Big Sur 20 Acre Estate Vacation Rental []

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank You!

It has been a great year for real estate, particularly theFrontSteps and me. This website continues to get a TON of traffic, you all continue to be loyal readers, and I continue to help many of you buy and sell your San Francisco dream properties. For that, I am thankful. Thankful that I created this site years and years ago. Thankful that all of my hard work is paying off. And thankful that many of you have the courage to contact me without knowing who the hell I am, and take the leap of faith to work with me.

Thank you all for your continued support, links, referral, content ideas, inside tips, market data, listings, purchases, dinners, cocktails, rounds of golf, skis, and bottles of wine! I am truly grateful for all the wonderful things this year has brought to me, and I hope (with your help) it continues through the Holidays and into next year.

Many of you still decide to work with other agents, and that will be my goal of next year…convincing all of you, I am your choice for San Francisco real estate representation. This site (theFrontSteps) gets more traffic, has more relevant market data, features more real estate porn, and receives more incoming links than any other Realtor’s site in San Francisco. That means when you list your home with me it gets more traffic by being featured here, and that means more potential buyers for you. It also means buyers that work with me get more opportunities outside of MLS simply because more agents and companies contact me about what they have going on, what properties they’d like to feature, what developments are coming up, and ultimately what you need to do to be successful against multiple offers. It also means I am clued in to, and participate in, activity at all price points, and I have the multi million dollar testimonials to prove it. And for that, many of you readers that become clients are very thankful.

You can expect a continued low volume of posts on theFrontSteps as I wrap up this year, but rest assured…I’m here to stay, and I have a million posts in my head I’m dying to find the time to share, and I’m thankful it’s working with you that keeps me and this blog going.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Pray for snow…and surf. :-)

California housing market continues strong performance in October

I always hesitate to post any California housing article that begins with “Los Angeles”, but here goes anyway:

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 15) – California’s housing market continued its momentum in October, posting strong year-over-year sales and price gains in nearly every county of the state, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported.

“Sales surged to the highest level since May, with demand continuing to be strong across all parts of the state,” said 2013 C.A.R. President Don Faught. “Sales were particularly robust in the coastal markets, but they also rose significantly in many non-metropolitan areas, as confidence toward the housing market continued to improve. Most counties in the Northern California region, for example, posted double-digit year-over-year sales gains in October.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 544,380 units, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. Sales in October were up 12.5 percent from a revised 484,050 in September and up 10.2 percent from a revised 493,790 in October 2011. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2012 if sales maintained the October pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home declined 1.1 percent from September’s $345,000 median price to $341,370 in October. October’s price was up 23 percent from a revised $277,450 recorded in October 2011, marking the eighth consecutive month of annual price increases and the fourth consecutive month of double-digit annual gains. The year-to-year increase was the largest since May 2010.

“Although the statewide median price was off its recent high reached last month, it is not unusual to see an October dip in price as we transition from the peak season to the low season,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The year-over-year price gain, on the other hand, has been accelerating since early 2012, as sales of higher-priced homes continue to improve. With the supply shortage, especially of lower-priced homes, expected to remain an issue in the near future, we will likely see solid year-over-year price gains through the first quarter of next year, as sales of higher-priced homes grow.”

Other key facts of C.A.R.’s October 2012 resale housing report include:

• California’s housing inventory tightened in October, with the Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes dropping to 3.1 months, down from 3.7 months in September and a revised 5.5 months in October 2011. The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. A six- to seven-month supply is considered normal.
• Interest rates dipped further in October, with the 30-year fixed-mortgage interest rate averaging 3.38 percent during October 2012, down from 3.47 percent in September, and down from 4.07 percent in October 2011, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates also edged down in October, averaging 2.59 percent, down from 2.60 percent in September and down from 2.92 percent in October 2011.
• Homes continued to sell at a faster pace in October, with the median number of days it took to sell a single-family home falling to 38 days in October 2012 from 39.3 days in September and down from a revised 55.1 days for the same period a year ago.

Unsold Inventory by price range [PowerPoint].
Change in sales by price range [PowerPoint].

All you San Franciscans, focus on the hyperlocal San Francisco stats, which you can find here:

California Housing Market Continues Strong Performance In October [California Association of Realtors Report]

Your Noe Valley Dream Home Awaits…Lucky Buyer

Is this your style?

Been searching for the perfect Noe Valley Single Family Home that is LEED certified?

Dreamt about having a say in the final touches of your down to the studs remodeled dream home?

If so, I have the home for you. You, meaning unrepresented buyer.

The home pictured is not what is available, but it will be along those lines, and it is in an A++ Noe Valley location. Feldman Architecture and Scott Lewis landscaping, five bedrooms, three and one half baths, two car garage, 3000 plus square feet, and LEED Platinum Certified baby!

You, lucky buyer, would have the oppportunity to customize the paint colors and tile choices (to some extent- within the allowed budgetary guidelines). You can put the finishing touches on your dream home – all as a part of the sale. Seller is NOT selling an incomplete project, he will stay until the end, working with you, lucky buyer, to choose the finishes.

Price around $3,000,000, and as stated…Principals only.

How nice that luck is on your side, simply because you read theFrontSteps today. If only everything in life was that easy.

-Email or call 415-254-5351 for more information. Don’t delay.

MLS Alternative, And Real Estate Match Making Service Is Here To Stay

As many of you know, I founded a website for agents to share (and hopefully sell) more real estate ( A website designed to give sellers an alternative to listing on the MLS, and a way to give buyers a voice in regards to what they desire. Put the two together and it only makes sense that you’d find a match, which we do. Some agents have embraced the site (1,176 members so far), and many of the tech savvy agents around the country are starting to “get it”. But still many don’t. And that’s okay.

Our industry moves at a Neolithic pace, and I’m used to it. Heck, when I started real estate over 10 years ago, my broker told me, “I don’t need email,” and when I started sfnewsletter as a way to keep my clients informed of recent sales and new listings, fellow agents regarded email marketing as a waste of time. Then I started a blog, which none of my colleagues could grasp as a real form of information sharing and client acquisition. Then I did a “Tour de San Francisco” to help people get a grasp of neighborhoods (now we have Google street view, Google earth, and neighborhood social networks/blogs). And now I want everyone to get used to the idea of

The concept is here to stay, and I’ve partnered with a new real estate marketing pro to help get the word out, and get the word out she is. Site traffic has gone way up, blog posts are flying, and information is being shared. It’s just a matter of time before more deals start happening, so agents, wake up and get on board!

To learn more, and keep up on all things bookmark, Feed, follow, and friend us all over the place @pocketlistings. And most definitely read the PocketListings blog. You’ll be glad you did.

Buyers and Sellers, you can search the site too! Tell your agent about it, keep an eye on it, ask to have your criteria posted there.

The Classic Ocean Beach, San Francisco Moment…

There are so many things happening in this sunset pic I just had to share…

I snapped this while I was sitting on the trunk of my car having just changed out of my wetsuit on Tuesday afternoon/evening down at Ocean Beach. What is so great is that the crew in the foreground was straight out of a movie. They rolled up in a beat up van with the fan on the dashboard, foam dice hanging from the rear view mirror, and smoke (of the cannabis kind) spilling from the van. They staggered out (check out the one dude’s frizzy fro), hauled their bongo drums to the bench, and set up shop. Cerveza Modelo was flowing, the one guy with the flame shirt claims to have been in Santana (the band), drums were being played, Espanish and Spanglish (say that with a South American accent) was being spoken, girls were being whistled at, and “Viva Fidel Castro” was being shouted loud after every song. The tunes they played were very Cubana and they engaged every person around. They got two girls to join in and share in the dance (and smoke), and their their universe seemed complete. The sun was setting, the waves were pumping, and the music was loud…so my universe was rotating perfectly too.

Take a minute to check out this photo and all that is going on…classic Ocean Beach, San Francisco moment to take you to your weekend.