Market Mood Swings: Buena Vista & Cole Valley

I routinely check sales prices to get a timely sense of where the market is, and how buyers are responding. As is typical, some properties are selling very quickly and for well over their asking prices, but others are not experiencing such good luck. Here are two examples of what I call market mood swings that occurred last week:

The 4BR/3BA Edwardian single-family home above at 892 Ashbury in the coveted Buena Vista neighborhood is a real charmer. The kitchen was nicely renovated, and the home was featured in design publications. There’s plenty of room (4300 square feet), and there is also a legal 1BR unit.It was listed for $2,795,000 in early April, and closed last week for $2.5M after 70 days on the market. So there was clearly some room to move on the list price.

On the other end of the spectrum is 575 Belvedere in Cole Valley:

Belvedere Street in Cole Valley is one of the most desirable streets in the neighborhood. And this sale proved that point. The 4BR/2BA home needed updating and refreshening. But there were good bones. (No garage, though.) The property was listed at the end of May for $1,095,000. It closed last week for $1,350,000. Someone obviously needed to be on Belvedere. Let’s hope their plans include a garage door installation.

Just Sold: Adorable Noe Valley Condo

I just closed escrow on a very cute 3BR/1BA condo at 4187 26th Street in Noe Valley last Friday. Sold for $660,000, the top-floor unit of this two-unit Victorian has three good-sized bedrooms, spacious kitchen and a lovely rear deck that overlooks a truly charming English garden. And the best part? The property is in close proximity to the 24th Street corridor, J Church Muni and everything in between.

Open House Spotlight: Condo Charmer on Fair Oaks

Just in time for the post-brunch Sunday open house crowd comes 359 Fair Oaks. This is an impressive top-floor condo with two bedrooms, one bath and a load of period detail. The kitchen and bathroom have been remodeled and the two rear bedrooms feature expansive views overlooking the city, downtown and the Bay. There’s a formal dining room, laundry room/pantry, storage room and one-car deeded parking. There’s only one other unit in the building, and HOA dues are $200/mo. Did I mention that the unit is 1500 square feet? List price: $879,000.

This is technically Noe Valley, but it has more of a Mission feel—so if you tend to be more hip and appreciate easy walking distance to Papalote, BART, Beretta and about 50 million other haunts, 379 Fair Oaks will fit right into your lifestyle.

Open 2:00-4:00 on Sunday. Fit it in between the Pride parade and revelry.

MarketTracker: Latest SF Sales & More

Check out the latest city sales, along with an update on Treasure Island. Plus: What’s new on San Francisco sidewalks for the summer and the battle between West Portal and Portola!

It’s all here in the mid June Zephyr MarketTracker.

Hot Mission Dolores House Hunts for Buyer

One of my favorite neighborhoods is Mission Dolores. It’s got great weather, proximity to hip retail and restaurants, parks and transportation. Much of the inventory there is in condos, so whenever a house comes on the market, I’m there.

So I found myself at 32 Hidalgo Terrace on broker tour yesterday, looking at the 1920s-style 2BR/1BA single-family house that just came on the market for $1,049,000. (Walk Score: 100!) Hidalgo Terrace is a cul-de-sac off Dolores, between 14th and 15th Streets. There is an unwarranted room and bath on the entry level that’s probably best used for guests or an office. (You have to go through the small garage to get to the room, and the bathroom is across the garage from that room. So it’s by no means a master suite.)

The main level has a desirable open floor plan with refinished oak floors, and a nicely remodeled galley-style kitchen. Both bedrooms on the main level face the yard, and there’s one-car garage parking.

The main level is just over 1,000 square feet, so the house isn’t very big. But it is a house, so you don’t have to deal with other people living in your building—or monthly HOA dues.

Hidalgo has a pretty low turnover. The most recent sale took place in 2008 for $2.2M.

Trulia’s Crime Map Tool Rocks

I checked out real estate site Trulia’s new Crime Map tool, which is designed to help home buyers evaluate neighborhood safety.

The San Francisco Police Department has maintained its own CrimeMap site for the past few years. It’s up-to-date, accurate and is one of the first resources I present to my buyer clients. What Trulia has done is taken that information and made it a lot more user friendly. The Trulia tool (in beta) provides more of a city overview, so you can simply mouse over a given region and get a snapshot of the recent crimes. For example, I clicked on the Central Sunset and found that there have been 60 recent crimes. Another click brought me to a neighborhood overview page, which detailed the individual crimes, as well as the most recent “dangerous” areas in the Central Sunset (apparently, 25th & Irving is a real hotspot). You can follow crime stats for a specific area, too.

If you want to get very specific, the Police Department’s site is best for inputting an individual address. But I’m finding Trulia’s site to be pretty comprehensive.

Good Deal: 2BR Richmond Condo

I toured the 2BR/1BA condo at 791 14th Avenue this week. It’s a great deal for a buyer looking for good space, period detail and a nice outlook of the Park Presidio greenbelt.

The condo is situated in a smaller, four-unit building that was constructed in 1921. So you can appreciate the coved ceilings, hardwood floors, and original built-ins of this Edwardian property. There’s a wood-burning fireplace, remodeled kitchen and bath, large storage unit and a private, one-car garage. The property is professionally managed—unusual for this size building, but a big plus—and HOA dues are $300/month. (The dues are pretty low, considering the latter detail).

Public transportation options largely consist of buses, but you can walk across the park to catch the N Judah. Speaking of which, Golden Gate Park is essentially your backyard, so if you’re into running, dog walking,  or museum going, this location is excellent.

List price for 791 14th Avenue is $599,000, which is right in line with the comps. Square footage is around 980, but if you factor in the aforementioned amenities, fact that you’re dealing with a smaller, architecturally appealing building and a smaller HOA, things balance out quite nicely. Sounds like they’ll likely be taking offers soon, so give me a shout if you’d like to see the place.

What You Can Buy for $450,000

The options in the $450,000 price range have increased lately, mainly due to the softened condo market. Here’s a trio of condos in reasonable locations that may be a good fit for your lifestyle—and wallet:

55 Page #516   Hayes Valley

This stylish studio at 55 Page #516 in The Hayes will work for someone who can live in a small but well-appointed space. (It’s only 474 square feet). The Hayes was built in 2008 and has amenities such as a fitness room, roof deck, and attended lobby. The location is right off Market, which makes it a great commuting spot. The unit has high ceilings, Twin Peaks views, and a kitchen with Studio Becker cabinets. And don’t forget the washer/dryer in the actual unit, as well as one-car parking. HOA dues are $265/mo, with an additional $100/mo for parking.

1556 Green #F   Pacific Heights

Recently reduced to its $449,000 asking price, 1556 Green #F is a 1BR/1BA condo in a great location. The unit is on the first floor, so it doesn’t get a ton of natural light. But it does have a nicely remodeled kitchen and one-car parking. HOA dues are $208/month, and there are seven units in the building. There’s a common area laundry, as well as a barbeque area and garden.

1097 Howard #103   South of Market

1097 Howard #103 is a first-floor unit in the Historic Light House Lofts. (And by first floor, I mean on sidewalk level, so you have to be okay with that.) With 1017 square feet, it’s larger than most lofts in this price range and includes 1BR/1BA, a large walk-in closet, washer/dryer hookups and a large deeded storage space. There’s a fabulous roof deck with a barbeque grill, too. HOA dues are $364.77/month. This unit was on the market last year for around $500,000, so the price has come down since then.

Pac Heights Buyers Go Crazy, Ignore Grim Outlooks

The activity over at 2530 Sacramento this week turned its nose up at the latest negative housing reports. Listed at $1,295,000 in mid May, the vacant two-unit building is being sold via probate and is subject to court confirmation. This means that the accepted offer heads to court, a date is set, and then others can attend the court date and outbid the accepted offer.

The property garnered multiple offers, with the accepted one clocking in at…$1,905,000. So if you’re still interested in outbidding that baby, you’re gonna need to come up with a minimum of $2,000,750. What recession? Just goes to show you where the market is for vacant two-unit buildings in prime San Francisco locations.

How’s The Market In: Outer Parkside

I’m in escrow with buyers on a lovely house in the Outer Parkside, so I thought I’d throw out a market snapshot of the neighborhood and kill two birds with one stone. I’ve always been a fan of the Outer Parkside, particularly after selling my listing on 45th Avenue a couple years ago. I liked driving out to the beach to show that house and felt like I was partially on vacation when I did so. It was a great way to get a break from the more hectic parts of the city.

And many others apparently agree. The typical buyer demographic these days in the Outer Parkside is a combination of young couples and families seeking a single-family home with reasonable space and the elusive third bedroom (which usually comes in the form of an unwarranted room down). Buyers with FHA financing are also quite common, as the home prices fall within typical FHA ranges.

The Outer Parkside is bordered by Ortega on the north, Sunset on the east, Sloat on the south and the Great Highway on the west:

A total of 32 single-family homes have sold in the Outer Parkside since January 1, 2011 at an average of $592,648. A bulk of those properties sold in the high $500,000s-mid $600,000s, which is very indicative of values there. The most expensive home sold was a 3BR/3BA property with about 3,000 square feet that changed hands after 112 days on the market for $800,000. And the least expensive home was a 3BR/3BA, 1950-square foot bank-owned home that sold in 163 days for $445,000 in an all-cash transaction.

There are currently 15 homes in contract, including one listing on the Great Highway that started out at $1.4M but was reduced to just above $1M before having an offer accepted. The other properties carry list prices of the high $500,000s. And there are 16 homes currently available, including another Great Highway property listed at $1,550,000. That one was a former church originally built as a vacation retreat. My pick of the current crop is 2120 Sloat (pictured above). Listed at $598,888, the 2BR/1BA is located on a busy stretch of Sloat, but is in close proximity to the beach and nearby Lakeshore shopping area. There’s probably negotiating room in the price, and the house is clean and move-in ready.

The bottom line on the Outer Parkside is that it’s one of those neighborhoods that will always fill the need for a buyer who wants a cute house in a clean, safe neighborhood with access to shopping areas and recreation. And some houses will get you those ocean views, too.

1470 Noe Hits the Market–Again

There are some properties that are destined to be tossed around more often than a ball inside AT&T Park. Case in point: 1470 Noe, the previous home of San Francisco Giants’ former outfielder Moises Alou.

The three-story, 2300-square foot home was renovated and ultimately sold to Alou in 2005 for $1,875,000. Alou left the Giants and sold the home in 2007 for $1,865,000 after 97 days on the market. Stay with me.

1470 Noe went on the market in 2009, and was sold inside of a month for $1,850,000.

The property is listed at $1,849,000, which seems to be right in line with what everyone wants to pay for this house every few years. We’ll see if a 2011 sale shows signs of decreased value; after all, prices have declined in the luxury market. (Had Alou played on last year’s team and still owned the house, I’m sure the next buyer would be paying a premium.)