What You Can Buy for $1M

There’s a wide variety of properties in San Francisco, and we take a look today at three very different homes at the $1M price point:


3569 Pierce
Marina
List Price: $995,000
2BR/1BA, 1575 sq ft
1-car pkg
HOA dues: $250/mo
This first-floor condo in a two-unit building has a gourmet kitchen, wood-burning fireplace, formal dining room and hardwood floors. There’s also a shared, landscaped garden. Location is prime Marina, close to Marina Green and the Chestnut Street retail area.


65 Borica Street
Ingleside Terrace
List Price: $998,000
4BR/2BA, 1719 sq ft
2-car parking
Fully detached and built in 1923, this Spanish-Mediterranean single-family home has a Mayan fireplace, formal dining room, spacious kitchen with a garden view, and rear decks. The price was reduced in mid May from $1,129,000 to the current $998,000 list price.


472-474 Pennsylvania
Potrero Hill
List Price: $995,000
Two units
2-car pkg
Consider this two-unit building that will be delivered vacant. There are two 2BR/1BAs, a terraced yard, and two-car side-by-side parking. Good Potrero location, in walking distance of both Potrero shops and restaurants, as well as the Dogpatch cafes and restaurants (and about five blocks away from the Muni line that runs up & down Third Street). You’re a little close to 280 here, but how much that will bother you is a personal choice. This is a good option for someone with a decent down payment who wants to owner occupy one unit and rent out the other. Or, go in with a friend and keep your costs manageable.

Mission Bay Making a Comeback

It’s been a while since I’ve come across a sale worth talking about in Mission Bay. Sales have generally been flat there since the economic downturn hit. But things seem to be changing. Case in point: The recent sale at 255 Berry #515.

The 2BR/2BA, 1225-sq foot unit fronting Mission Creek was listed on May 20th at $799,950. Five buyers competed for the property, an offer was accepted, and the sale just closed on Wednesday for $870,000.

This is good news for Mission Bay residents, who’d flocked to the assessor’s office over the past two years in bids to readjust their property tax bases due to falling values.

How's the Market In: Noe Valley


The reality about the San Francisco housing market is that there are multiple micro markets that experience their own local activity. I’m often asked by current/prospective clients, friends, and neighbors how particular neighborhoods are faring in the current economy. And with that, a new regular feature is born.

The way I’ll be selecting neighborhoods to profile will be based on how often I’m asked about a given area. So if you’re interested in how the market is doing in, say, Pacific Heights or Potrero Hill, drop me a line and I’ll put it on my list for a future blog post.

In the meantime, we’ll start with one neighborhood that’s near and dear to my heart: Noe Valley. I’ve lived here since 1998, so it’s the obvious place to start. (Oh, and about two people have asked me in the past week how the market has been doing in Noe.)

Noe has been holding up well, unsurprisingly, as it’s still the neighborhood of choice for young families, Silicon Valley commuters and downtown workers due to its proximity to freeways, public transportation and increasingly new restaurants. The fact that Noe has more sun and warmer temperatures than other parts of the city only serves to increase appeal. The streets are clean, architecture generally more appealing, and there’s a real sense of community there.

A total of 25 single-family homes has sold since April 1st, and quite a few for over their asking prices. The median sales price is $1,150,000. There are 19 active house listings, with 22 in contract (11 are awaiting contingency removals, and 11 are pending). Recent high drama in this segment of the Noe market occurred at 4015 26th Street at Sanchez, an unrenovated 4BR/1.5BA home listed at $1,449,000, but which sold for $1,710,000. (I know.)

Condo sales have been a little softer in Noe. There are 23 available listings, 17 in contract/pending, and 23 sold since April 1st. The median condo price is $768,000. A majority of units are selling for under their asking price.

The luxury Noe market is somewhat glutted, with 13 houses and one condo currently available for $1.5M+. Properties in this price category aren’t exactly flying off the shelves; only three such homes are in contract. Indeed, of the 23 expired or withdrawn house/condo properties since April, a majority were listed above $1M. Nine luxury properties have sold since April, including three houses and one condo for above the $2M price point. Boosting things a bit are the Nove condos on Guerrero (queue Spanish guitar music). If you’re a buyer in this range, you certainly have your pick of inventory.

What's the Latest on All the Tax Credits?

A quick update: You can still take advantage of the California tax credit. The $100M allocated for tax credits is still in play, as the Franchise Tax Board expects that some applications will be duplicates or invalid.

Bookmark this page for regular updates on the state credit.

The $8,000 federal tax credit is indeed kaput (though service members who were on official extended duty outside of the United States for at least 90 days between Jan.1, 2009 and May 1, 2010, may qualify for a one-year extension.) No word yet on whether the government will introduce a new credit.

SF Listings Fall by Wayside in June 2010, Inventory Up

One way to take the temperature of the current San Francisco market is noting the number of expired and withdrawn listings. These are properties that haven’t sold within their listing time period, or which have simply been withdrawn by sellers for the time being. In either case, buyers haven’t responded with acceptable offers.

A total of 183 single-family homes, condos and TICs have been withdrawn or have expired since June 1st. These are fairly high numbers, though last year’s June numbers were seemingly worse. (A total of 290 listings expired or were withdrawn in June 2009.) We’re more than halfway through June 2010, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t exceed last year’s June numbers.

In any event, there are 1,760 active listings seeking buyers at present. So some of these withdrawn/expired ones are easing inventory levels a bit.

Stay tuned for second quarter market observations in July.

Ultra-Modern Bernal Home Sells, Kicking and Screaming

Remember 210 Holladay, on the east slope of Bernal Heights? The 2300-square foot, 3BR/3.5BA contemporary home came on the market in September 2009, listed at $1,395,000. And it was downhill from there on the pricing.

The price was reduced four times until it reached $1,175,000 this month. That number apparently tempted buyers to write an offer, and the sale closed at $1,087,500 last week. Not bad for this level of housing, though Holladay is parallel to Hwy 101, and is probably in one of the least desirable locations in Bernal. And you know what they say about location, location, location. Yeah, it counts for a lot.

Miraloma Home Awaits Buyers Atop Mountain on Marietta

It’s not the most attractive home by any means, but 199 Marietta does have a unique, bird’s-eye view of San Francisco. Located atop a hill with views of Glen Park Canyon/downtown, and graced with its own gated driveway (above), the 3BR/2BA home has about 1600 square feet and was built in 1956. List price is $990,000.

I haven’t seen the interior yet, but I’m betting it hasn’t changed much since 1956. And no word on structural soundness just yet. Barring any serious defects, you’re probably looking at a fairly pricey remodel to achieve fabulosity. Prices for 3BR homes in Miraloma tend to top out in the $800,000-$1M range. But they may not have such a unique location (though the property Walk Score is 71, so those who don’t want to jump in their car every time they want to go somewhere need not apply).

238 Olive Offers Eight New Condos on Random Street

I stopped in to see the new condos at 238 Olive this week. There are eight 2BR/2BA condos with split floor plans, meaning the bedrooms are located on either side of the open kitchen/dining/living area. Finishes include Euro-style cabinetry, Ceaserstone countertops, porcelain-tiled backsplashes, and high-end appliances. There are two units per floor, and square footage ranges from 997-1,102.

Pricing starts at $739,000 and goes up to $819,000 for a unit on the top floor. Kitchens like these are becoming almost standard in new condo developments:

But they are quite crisp and modern. And there’s also a solar-powered roof:

The units have reasonable space, and are nicely done. I think the biggest drawback is the location; Olive is on a small street between Van Ness and Franklin, and Ellis and O’Farrell. So you have to be okay living on what’s known as the Van Ness corridor—an area that’s near desirable neighborhoods like Hayes Valley and Lower Fillmore, but isn’t exactly where you want to be. The block itself is all right; you’re adjacent to a large commercial building, which looks like a partial parking garage. Outlooks aren’t great, but the units get decent natural light. And if you buy #502—the top-floor, rear unit—you’ll get an awesome view of every local satellite dish atop all the neighboring buildings.

None of the eight units are in contract yet. Biggest competition is probably right around the block at The Artani, which also has two bedrooms in the $700,000s. But that building has a lot more units (52), so those looking for a smaller, lower-key building might prefer 238 Olive.

SF Ski Slope History Not Boosting Fillmore Vic Sale

It was five years ago that Fillmore Street between Vallejo and Green was transformed into a ski jump competition for thousands of spectators. That unique, historical event apparently isn’t adding any appeal to the 4BR/3.5BA Victorian for sale at 2846 Fillmore, located on that very block.

The home hit the market in mid May for $3,475,000 and was generally received well in the agent community. However, no buyers stepped forward and the price was just reduced at the end of last week. It now has a $3,249,000 list price.

This could be less about the “product”—though the house is located on a very steep slope and is a little busy, and it’s not “done, done, done,” as some agents like to say—than a statement on the $2M+ market. Fillmore has some competition among the dozen other single-family homes listed between $2M-$4M in the Pac Heights, Cow Hollow, and other neighboring areas.

A Little Bird Told Me About a Really Cool House in the Mission

If you’e looking for a nicely done 3BR home in a hopelessly hip location, 30 Bird Street may be for you. Located on a little stretch of street off Dearborn, 30 Bird sits on a corner lot and has a wood-burning fireplace, formal dining room, excellent kitchen and south-facing garden. Two bedrooms on the main level, master suite on the garden level. Here are the chef’s kitchen and master suite:

I’d say this one won’t be around too long. Contrast it with, say, the 3BR/2BA modern condo on 22nd Street and South Van Ness that just closed escrow for $1,025,000, and I’d say 30 Bird is a good deal.

Round Bed, Pool and Fire Kick It Up a Notch in Luxe Eureka/Noe Home

I toured 775 Sanchez when it sold in 2006 for $3.7M. The 4BR/4BA only had three bedrooms and three bathrooms then. The location is one of the best on the Noe/Eureka border due to its nice cul-de-sac, view position.

The property is back on as 775-777 Sanchez, and is listed at $4.8M—quite a hefty price tag (not to mention considerable appreciation). Here’s another look at the round bed:

And when the sun goes down, you can break out the marshmallows and wine, and hang on the deck:

I remember the infinity lap pool from four years ago, too. It appears to be holding up well:

At any rate, we’ll see how this sale goes. There are eight other homes in the Eureka/Noe neighborhoods listed for $2M+, and six such homes have sold there since January. Market activity in the luxury market has definitely slowed a bit in the south part of the city.

Market Action Slows in Sunset, Parkside

The Sunset and Parkside districts have been neck and neck over the past couple months in terms of sold and in contract/pending properties. The Sunset has seen 30 single-family homes sell since May 1st, for an average of $742,097; the Parkside is close behind with 29 homes sold at an average of $739,923. And 30 Sunset homes have gone into contract since the beginning of May, while the Parkside saw 28 homes ratify.

No surprises here. Many single-family home buyers are in this price range. But another thing these two neighborhoods have in common is the available inventory count. There are 49 homes on the market in the Sunset, and 51 in the Parkside. And that’s pointing to some slowing market action.

Word to sellers: Make sure you price your homes competitively, and that they show well.

Just Sold: Pacific Heights View Condo

How’d you like to look at this view every day? My clients will be, as they just purchased a 1BR/1BA at 2230 Pacific #303.

Listed at $649,000, the home had multiple offers within the first week of coming on the market. And it’s no wonder—the unit in this very charming art deco building is spacious, has a great floor plan, and is in a prime Pacific Heights location.

Ingleside Terrace Home Sells for a More Earthbound Price

The 4BR/3BA home at 112 Lunado Way in Ingleside Terrace first came on the market in February at $1,650,000—potentially ready to ride the coattails of the April 2009 sale of neighbor 25 Mercedes. The latter had sold for $1,765,000 after 112 days on the market. But it was also the most expensive home sold last year within the confines of Ingleside Terrace.

However, no buyers materialized for Lunado at its initial list price, and after a series of reductions, the property sold last week for a more realistic $1,289,000. Indeed, the median price for the area over the past year was $1,083,800.

So buyers, it goes to show you that, given enough time and sufficient reality doses, some sellers will sign on the dotted line for significantly less than asking. But it just may take time (about four months, in the case of Lunado). And make no mistake: There are seemingly plenty of buyers looking for $1M+ homes in San Francisco. But many of them are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to make the right move at the right time.

Noe Valley Condo Inventory Spikes for Summer

Not only have Noe Valley residents busted out their grills for summer, but several of them have decided to break out the For Sale signs on their condos, too.

A total of nine condos hit the market in Noe Valley over the past week, ranging in price from $669,000 to $1,038,000. And you can add these to the other 21 condos in Noe that are already on the market. But it seems like buyers aren’t hesitating to make purchases in this property category and neighborhood; a total of 35 condos have sold since January, with a median price of $848,000. The most expensive unit sold was at 1068 Sanchez, a3BR/3BA, 1,753-square foot property that sold for $1,625,000. In fact, twelve of the sold properties had $1M+ selling prices—buoyed by four luxury condos sold at the new Nove project on Guerrero—which tells you that Noe Valley is still attracting affluent buyers.

And it seems like listings are being absorbed at a pretty good pace.

If you’re a buyer looking to get into Noe, you have a lot from which to choose. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a genuine buyers’ market in the neighborhood, but over the next few weeks, it could spin in that direction.