Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Beaver Trio

There’s something for everyone on the 100 block of Beaver Street in Corona Heights/Eureka Valley. For the single-family home set, there’s 141 Beaver, a 2BR/2BA home listed at $1,850,000 that boasts a modern design by renowned architect Bernardo Urquieta:

141beaver I was last in this home when it was on the market in 2002 and purchased by its current owners for $1,650,000. It doesn’t appear to have changed much, so I’ll let prospective buyers be the judge as to how much appreciation a 2BR/2BA home will be allowed under the auspices of the current market.

Across the street is 146 Beaver, a nicely remodeled 1BR/1BA with just under 1,000 square feet: 146beaverThis Marina-style unit is listed at $669,000 and was last sold in November 2007 for $715,000.

And then there’s 2BR/2BA 136 Beaver:
136beaverListed at $949,000, this top-floor unit actually has three-car parking between two garages. The master suite (above) is what I’m diggin’. You can really get a feel for it in person. Nice remodel on this unit, too.

Battle of the Midcenturies

Two 1950s single-family homes are currently duking it out in Upper Noe.

In one corner is 260 Day:
day This has been on the market since early March. Its current list price is $1,045,750, down from $1.1M. This 3BR/1.25BA house has two-car parking, room to expand on the garage level, and sits opposite the Day Street Rec Center.

Just around the corner lies the new contender at 228 30th Street:
30thThis 3BR home is missing the .25 bath, but also has three bedrooms and two-car parking. The kitchen has been remodeled—though it appears to be a bit awkward—and it’s slightly larger on the main level than Day Street. However, the location right on 30th Street between Chenery and Dolores means Muni will be a big factor, both rail lines and buses. That block is busy.

A Heavenly Kitchen

central I stopped in at 542-546 Central in the North Panhandle during my broker tour this week. This is a three-unit building involving an upper unit priced at $835,000, and a lower flat listed at $760,000. Both units share an interest in a third, ground-floor unit that is being viewed as rental property.

I stumbled upon the lower unit’s whitewashed kitchen, which struck me as the type of room that’d be used in a movie about a dead chef. What you can’t see in the photo above is the other half of the room, which is occupied by a huge, wooden designer picnic table easily accommodating eight or more people. Even the wood floors are painted white throughout this unit. You kind of have to see this room in person.

Realtor Association Steps Up To the Plate

You’ve been reading a lot about the various home buyer assistance programs being offered through the government. But I wanted to share information about a new California Association of Realtors (CAR) program for first-time home buyers.

CAR’s Housing Affordability Fund is sponsoring a mortgage protection program aimed at buyers who are qualified to make a home purchase—but who may also be concerned about the potential of losing their jobs. Through this program, first-time home buyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per month, for six months, to help make their mortgage payments.

I’m not a proponent of pursuing a house purchase amidst the backdrop of possible layoffs. But if this program can throw out a safety net for those who think their job is secure, I’m thinking it’s worth considering. Check out the CAR program requirements for more information.

Two-Unit Buildings Abound in SF

I’m often asked about the availability of two-unit buildings (a.k.a. “duplexes”) in San Francisco. The idea of residing in one unit and renting out the other is a popular one—if the cash flow works out.

A quick look at the market reveals that there are 147 two-unit properties available right now. They range in price from $394,000 for a fully tenant-occupied, bank-owned building in Bayview; $1.1M for a Noe Valley duplex with a tenant in the lower unit; and $4,250,000 for a vacant property featuring 4BR/3.5BA up and 2BR/2BA down in the Buena Vista Park area.

Here’s the lowdown on these types of properties. Vacant two-unit buildings will likely be priced well above what a single owner will want to pay (i.e., cash flow won’t make sense if you’re renting the other unit out). This is because such properties are targeted at TIC buyers who want to owner occupy both units.

If you’re considering a two-unit building in which both units are tenant occupied, it’s important to recognize that owner move-in evictions are limited to one unit per building.

There are many variations on these types of homes, so knowing the facts before you even take time to look at a building is key.

Noe Valley Searches for Buyers

Thirty-eight single-family homes and 36 condos/TICs are apparently more than current San Francisco buyers can handle. That’s the level of inventory currently available in Noe Valley. There was a time when Noe homes were snatched up within days. But with less loan money available to buyers, Noe sellers—like those in the rest of San Francisco—will need a dose of patience, luck and good fortune to clear out the inventory.

The once popular $1.2M-$1.5M single-family home price range is awash with inventory in Noe. But there are likely not enough Silicon Valley-commuting buyers on hand to get some of these homes into contract.

Up for a TIC in Noe? There are 29 TIC interests available, ranging in price from $389,000-$997,500.

With only 12 single-family homes, eight condos, and 11 TIC interests in contract or pending, it doesn’t appear that Noe Valley will have a dramatically new influx of residents over the next month or two.

The Under-$1M Club in West Portal

West Portal is a high-demand neighborhood, with a low level of inventory—particularly for first-time home buyers. But there’s a trio of single-family homes now available for under $1M.

67madrone67 Madrone only has one bedroom (no exaggeration there), but its location is prime West Portal. With about 1,000 square feet on the main level, you have everything you need for a 1BR/1BA house. The garage isn’t large, but can accommodate one car and has a bonus room that could be enhanced. The seller had plans for an addition and expansion, but is leaving that up to the next owner. List price: $829,000.

Next up is 225 Granville, the newest listing in the area.
granvilleThis 3BR/1BA home has about 1325 square feet, a living room with fireplace, and original kitchen and bath. This baby will be sold in a probate sale, so if you’re not up for being the sacrificial lamb in court, get your cashier’s checks together and plan on some overbidding in court. List price: $890,000.

And finally, there’s 542 Ulloa:
ulloaThis 2BR/1BA home comes with permit-ready plans for adding a master suite, sitting room and laundry on the garage level. List price: $948,000.

Feinstein’s Former Manse on the Market

feinstein2030 Lyon just came on the market for $4,495,000. The 6BR/6BA home on an oversized lot in Pacific Heights is the former home of Senator Dianne Feinstein. It was last sold in 1996 for $1,575,000.

The property features a Thomas Church-designed garden, library, family room, huge deck and four fireplaces. Here’s the garden: feinstein-garden1

Open this Sunday, April 19th from 2-4PM, in case you want to stop in.

The Next Noe Project House

369duncanWithin a few weeks of me witnessing the presumed owner of 369 Duncan shimmying a tombstone out of the property and into a car trunk, the For Sale sign was slapped up on the exterior.

This 2BR/1BA Victorian “fixer” built in 1884 has about 1249 square feet and is now the latest magnet for contractors and developers looking for their next project in Noe Valley. And the comparative sale for the finished product is just a few doors away at 313 Duncan. This 5BR home was originally a small Victorian that sold a few years ago for $725,000. It was first listed about 170 days ago at $2,850,000 and just sold for $2.4M.

And I’m thinking removing the tombstone before the marketing period was a sound decision.

St. Regis Rides Again

188-minnaWith a lengthy history of price reductions and agent changes stretching back to the Fall of 2008, 188 Minna #25D in the St. Regis Residences finally sold this past week.

The unit, which features two bedrooms, two and a half baths, panoramic views and HOA dues of $2,236.35 monthly—tack on an additional $200 per month for a parking space—was originally listed in 2008 for $3,995,000. It was withdrawn from the market at the end of last year and relisted with a new Realtor for $3.2M, and ultimately sold this week for $2.5M after three subsequent price reductions.

Perhaps there are a few more buyers out there who can snatch up the other four St. Regis units on the market? Current two-bedroom offerings start at $2,250,000, and there’s a three-bedroom unit listed at $5.8M.

Battle of the Bakers

1bakerEntering the market within two weeks of each other earlier this year, 1 Baker #3A and #4A continue to look for Haight buyers. These 2BR/2BA, 1337-square foot condos are neck-and-neck as far as price goes, with both experiencing price reductions in March.

In one corner is #3B, which first came on the market at $749,000, and is now down to $699,000. Its master suite overlooks Buena Vista Park. The unit was last sold in March 2005 for $701,000.

And in the other corner is #4A. Also originally listed at $749,000, its new price is $679,000. It’s a little slicker than #3B, with hardwood floors. Last purchased for $665,000 in December 2004, this unit will not break even for its current owner, either.

Will someone please step into the ring and buy one of these units? Sure, the 1982-era design isn’t as alluring as the other architecture in the Haight, but the square footage is generous, and parking is included for both units. The location is convenient for buses downtown, and you’re a short walk from the Castro and Hayes Valley.

Condo Prices Hold Steady

Condo sales volumes were minimal in comparison to past first quarters, but again, prices held up. Areas such as Potrero Hill were given a boost by new construction buildings aimed at first-time home buyers. Once again, the mid-market selling range was king. Here’s a look at how some neighborhoods fared that cater to condo buyers:

Inner Richmond
# Sold: 1
Avge Price: $899,000

Inner Sunset
# Sold: 2
Avge Price: $750,000

Noe Valley
# Sold: 14
Avge Price: $794,071

Eureka Valley
# Sold: 7
Avge Price: $747,286

Mission Dolores
# Sold: 7
Avge Price: $787,143

Duboce Triangle
# Sold: 6
Avge Price: $862,333

The Haight
# Sold: 2
Avge Price: $835,000

Cole Valley
# Sold: 1
Avge Price: $760,000

Hayes Valley
# Sold: 1
Avge Price: $840,000

North Panhandle
# Sold: 6
Avge Price: $717,833

Pacific Heights
# Sold: 7
Avge Price: $763,667

Lower Pacific Heights
# Sold: 5
Avge Price: $669,200

Potrero Hill
# Sold: 13
Avge Price: $505,558

*South of Market
# Sold: 14
Avge Price: $693,343

*South Beach
# Sold: 17
Avge Price: $869,781

*Mission Bay
# Sold: 5
Avge Price: $611,700

*Limited to data provided in MLS; does not include data from sales offices in new development properties.

Checking Out Q1 House Averages

With volumes and prices down, the first quarter of the year opened with a whimper. Buyers were reluctant to make purchase decisions, and sellers held back from putting their homes on the market.

Most neighborhood averages were below $1M. That just supports my theory that the most popular price range continues to be $400,000-$900,000. Here’s a look at how single-family homes fared in a variety of neighborhoods:

Inner Richmond
# Sold: 2
Avge Price: $860,000

Inner Sunset
# Sold: 4
Avge Price: $793,200

# Sold: 11
Avge Price: $719,000

Ingleside/I. Heights
# Sold: 14
Avge Price: $445,279

Miraloma Park
# Sold: 8
Avge Price: $831,375

# Sold: 9
Avge Price: $684,333

Noe Valley
# Sold: 19
Avge Price: $1,291,605

Glen Park
# Sold: 8
Avge Price: $941,625

Corona Heights
# Sold: 2
Avge Price: $1,145,000

Pacific Heights
# Sold: 3
Avge Price: $3,524,500

The Mission
# Sold: 2
Avge Price: $592,625

Bernal Heights
# Sold: 11
Avge Price: $710,455

Potrero Hill
# Sold: 6
Avge Price: $952,333

The Excelsior
# Sold: 18
Avge Price: $529,411

Stop in tomorrow for a look at condo averages!

Pay Your Property Taxes This Week

Yes, it’s that time of year: The second installment for San Francisco property taxes is due this Friday, April 10th.

You can make electronic payments online at the
Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector site, or by phone (1-800-890-1950). Keep in mind there is a small “convenience” fee for using these methods.

If you haven’t received your tax bill in the mail—say, if you’re a new homeowner—it’s a good idea to use the Treasurer site to look up your address, and check on what you may owe.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Ingleside

An often overlooked neighborhood is Ingleside. Located south of Sunnyside and City College, east of the Stonestown area, and just west of Mission Terrace, Ingleside enjoys close proximity to Hwy 280. It’s also fairly close to the Balboa Park BART & Muni station, which provides service to downtown San Francisco.

Ocean Avenue is the retail strip that runs across the north end of Ingleside. This is where you’ll find sandwich, coffee, and produce shops, clothing stores, library, veterinarian, and even a massive 24-Hour Fitness.

And the neighborhood is priced within the first-time home buyer range. Approximately 26 homes have sold in Ingleside since October 2008, at an average price of $504,277.

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate


BRE# 01352627

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