Monthly Archives: May 2009

Get a Deal on a Loft

If you’re a first-time home buyer looking for a nice space in San Francisco for up to $700,000, I’d like to suggest you consider a loft. Though not for everyone, lofts are great if you love open floor plans and nice light. Privacy can be an issue, as lofts usually don’t have walled-off rooms. But this property type is perfect for single professionals or couples who need good commute access to the Peninsula or downtown San Francisco.

Lofts are typically located in South of Market, the Mission, and the Central Waterfront (a.k.a., “Dogpatch”). South of Market and the Mission have been hit with higher short sale and foreclosure rates, so prices continue to decline in those neighborhoods.

Indeed, the average sale price for the 18 one-bedroom lofts that have sold since January 1st was $536,174, at an average of 1,073 square feet. With loft inventory not moving as quickly, buyers can expect to negotiate their way to the best deal possible. For example, there are presently 47 one-bedroom lofts on the market ranging in list price from $449,000 for a unit at Bluxome and 5th Street, all the way up to $995,000 for an 1896-square foot unit at the historic Hueblin building at 601 4th Street.

But a bulk of the 1BR lofts lies in the $500,000-$600,000 range, perfect for conforming loan amounts.

Parkside Home Gets 14 Offers

21staveAmidst the cautious landscape of the current San Francisco real estate market erupts the offer outcome of 2018 21st Avenue at Pacheco. This 2BR/1.5BA home with two-car parking and bonus room down was listed at $699,000 on April 30th and is officially pending as of Sunday. (This means the buyers have removed any contractual conditions, and all that should be left is the loan funding.)

The sellers received 14 offers, according to the listing agent. I thought the house was pretty nice, with a breakfast area adjacent to the kitchen and a reasonable floor plan. There was a large deck off both rear bedrooms, and had newer windows and roof. All told, there were 1440 square feet on the upper level.

The Highs & Lows of SF Properties

It’s fun to note the least and most expensive properties on the market every once in a while.

Who are the winners? In the single-family category, there’s tenant-occupied and bank-owned 1230 Palou Avenue in Bayview, a 3BR/1BA house with listed at $279,000.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s 2845 Broadway, still holding steady after 1172 days on the market. Current list price is $65M.

Switching over to condos, the least expensive unit available is a 3BR/3BA condo listed at $139,900 in Bayview. This is another bank-owned property, and as an extra incentive, the sellers are kicking in three months’ worth of HOA dues. And a glance at the other condos on the market reveals that 2174 Green in Pacific Heights holds the distinction of being the most expensive available condo, for $7.2M. The 9BR/9.5BA, 6,291-square foot unit is being presented as a single-family dwelling that is divided into three separate condos. So it’s sort of a house, or multiple condo dwelling…you be the judge.

Condos vs. TICs: The Condo Wins

There was a time when condos were worth substantially more than TICs. Well, the gap has narrowed as the San Francisco market has softened.

A look at two-bedroom units in the city with parking reveals that condo prices have declined to the extent that they may be the more obvious choice. For example, in the under-$1M category for two-bedroom TICs with parking, the average selling price from April 1st was $621,125, with an average of 1,052 square feet.

On the condo front, the averaged sale price was $671,360, with an average of 1169 square feet.

Though TIC interests will usually provide more space for the money, I think there’s something to be said for owning your property independently. In the current economy, being on title with other owners is more of a risk than it was when TICs first became more popular many years ago.

New Owners Remodel a Remodel in Noe Valley

313duncanWhat’s the first thing you do after you buy a $2.4M house in Noe Valley for all cash? Why, remodel, of course!

The sale recently closed on this newly renovated, 5BR/5.5BA, 3200 square foot home at 313 Duncan Street, but contractors are again pulling up to the driveway. The new owners have applied for permits to replace the kitchen cabinets and remodel the master suite, according to the Building Department’s online files.

The offending kitchen cabinetry:

And the type of bathroom that screams out to be remodeled (similar finishes, though I’m not sure this is the specific bathroom that will soon be pulled apart):

I’m getting nostalgic for the freewheeling days before the recession. It’s situations like this that give me hope.

Mission Terrace Foreclosure Gets 30+ Offers

navajoWithin days of coming on the market at $586,575 last week, the 4BR/2BA 1930s home with 1766 square feet located at 1 Navajo, in Mission Terrace garnered more than 30 offers.

Obviously, those who need more than two bedrooms in San Francisco are actively seeking homes and are ready to pounce when the price is right. And this location within Mission Terrace is close to the BART & Muni stations, making it more attractive. Of course, an individual seller not involved in a short sale or foreclosure would probably never price his/her home this low. So buyers looking for deals will still have to rely on foreclosures to make their dreams happen.

455 Vallejo Shored Up & Ready to Sell

455vallejoThe latest unit to go on the market over at 455 Vallejo in the North Beach area is #111—a very lovely 1BR/1BA listed at $630,000.

Best known as the building that was perched atop the hill directly affected by the landslide that occurred in February 2007, 455 Vallejo hasn’t been successful on the resale front since the incident. #111 was on the market in late 2008 for about a month at a list price of $649,000, but there were no takers.

Only three other units have been on the market since the landslide, but all were withdrawn. However, the city has completed all the work required to stablize and anchor the hillside, according to the listing agent. So maybe 455 Vallejo is back in business? There are 22 1BR units available now in neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, the North Waterfront, Marina, and Cow Hollow for up to $700,000, with an average price of $565,261. We’ll see what the market says.

Telegraph Hill Treat For a Friday

37calhounThe weather is great, the weekend promises to be just as good, so why not take a look at this dreamy, secluded Telegraph Hill home that just came on the market?

Built in 1920 and featuring unobstructed views of the Bay, Bay Bridge, and downtown, the 3BR/2BA has been tastefully remodeled. The living and dining rooms span the 45-foot width of the lot. There’s also two-car parking. The property is located on a cul-de-sac, at the end of Union Street. Current owners paid $3,200,609 in July 2003. Today’s price: $5,995,000. Go and get it.

Mayoral Penthouse Still Seeks Buyer

newson As Mayor Newsom and his new bride continue their house hunt for a single-family home, his penthouse at 1101 Green awaits a new owner. Listed at $2,995,000 twelve days ago, Newsom’s former bachelor pad hasn’t exactly attracted a feeding frenzy, despite its seller’s pedigree. Could the price be a tad high for a one-bedroom unit, despite the 1693 square feet shown in the tax records? No matter; the unit has a commanding, three-bridge view, and the interior was designed by noted architect Michael Agins. The unit was last purchased for $2,350,000 in February 2006.

Excelsior Heats Up

stoneyfordOne neighborhood that’s not exactly suffering in the economic downturn is Excelsior, in San Francisco’s southeastern area. Twenty-seven single-family homes have sold since January at an average of $517,459—generally considered to be quite affordable for first-time home buyers who prefer a house to a condo.

The darling of the week was 59 Stoneyford, (above) a 4BR/2BA home with 1470 square feet and a lovely garden. Listed at $589,000, the home reportedly attracted 100 groups on each of the two Sundays it was open before going into contract amidst five offers. Goes to show you, sellers, that if you price a home attractively, buyers will come.

And with 21 other homes in contract and/or pending at a list price average of $496,786, Excelsior doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

SF in Housing Withdrawal

A good indication of market health is the number of properties sellers withdraw after the reality sinks in that buyers are not interested.

Sellers withdrew a total of 235 single-family homes, 331 condos, and 184 TIC interests from the market, from January-April 2009. Those are big numbers. Yes, times have certainly changed: Only 96 houses, 72 condos, and 87 TICs were withdrawn in the same time period in 2005.

Stay tuned: I’m sure many of these properties will appear on the market again over the next year, adding to the already heavy San Francisco inventory.

1990 Funston: Slick Mid-Century Remodel

Fresh out of rehab and on the market for $1,495,000, 1990 Funston is a 5BR/3BA home on a corner lot in the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood.

I’m into the kitchen, and this bathroom:


The current owners remodeled the kitchen, bathrooms, and added a bedroom, bath, and family room, among other things. Looks like the property was transferred for $1,020,000 in May 2008. Will Funston fly off the shelf? Depends on how many buyers out there have the purchase power and willingness to live in a somewhat remote area with unfavorable weather.

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate


BRE# 01352627

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