Luxury Townhouse in Odd Mission Location Gives It Another Shot

The luxury condo market is challenged these days, particularly when such a unit is in a weird location. Situated on the Mission/Potrero border adjacent to a Safeway loading area, 141 Hampshire #B has been on and off the market since 2008. And it’s making a return appearance in 2012.

The 3BR/2BA, 2790-square foot townhouse is certainly spectacular enough. It spans two levels and features double height windows, two walk-out terraces, a private roof deck, and city, Bay, bridge and Twin Peaks views. The unit was built in 2001, so it has somewhat dated finishes at the moment (think granite counters). But you also get one-car parking and in-unit washer/dryer. I remember being pretty impressed with the space when I toured it a few years ago.

The property was listed back in 2008 for $2,788,000, believe it or not. Then the seller changed agents and dropped the price to $1.7M in 2009. When that strategy didn’t work after 244 days, they let the listing expire.

But now, I get the sense the sellers are thinking the 2012 market is a good one for 141 Hampshire #B. Because this time around, they’ve bumped up the list price to $1,795,000 (and are now on their third real estate agent). Considering there are nine other condos listed in San Francisco in the $1.5M – $1.9M range, it’ll be interesting to see if a buyer is willing to overlook the unglamorous Potrero Avenue/grocery store loading location. But the views could potentially make the sale happen this time around.

Just Listed: Charming Noe Valley 1BR Condo

If you’ve always dreamed of having a large bedroom with a sitting area and walk-in closet, allow me to direct your attention to my new Noe Valley listing at 156 Duncan Street. The 1BR/1BA condo is well appointed, with excellent 1920s period details, wonderful natural light and a top-floor position within this four-unit building.

156 Duncan is somewhat supersized; it’s about 1100 square feet. There are three walk-in closets, and we’ve set up the closet off the living room as an office so you can envision how you may use all the space. The sellers installed skylights in the kitchen and bathroom, so this unit is a nice fit for buyers who prize natural light. If you’re into giving dinner parties, the formal dining room will rock for you. If you’re not a big cook, you can use the space in a different way.

For those buyers who absolutely want an in-unit washer/dryer, the laundry room off the kitchen will make you happy.

The parking space is the best one in the building, as its garage door is exclusively used by 156 Duncan. And there’s generous storage, as well. HOA dues are $325/month. 156 Duncan is situated in an amazine location, near restaurants, shops, cafes, Muni, BART, tech shuttles and freeways.

List price is $739,000.

We’ll be open this Saturday, January 28th from 1:00-3:00 and Sunday, January 29th from 2:00-4:00. Stop in and see me!

For more details and photos, visit

First Look: The Luxe Condos in Noe Valley

I toured The Luxe (208 28th Street) in Noe Valley this morning, and am pretty excited about this new six-unit development that’s one portatoilet away from being finished. The developer, J Branch, has thoughtfully planned the project and has made efforts to go beyond the cookie-cutter condo approach.

As I’ve noted in past blog posts, The Luxe features three 2BR/2BA units and three 3BR/3BA townhomes. Prices range from $849,000-$889,000 for the two bedrooms, and $1,389,000-$1,549,000 for the townhomes.  HOA dues range from $414-$484/month.

There’s no garden, as the building takes up the whole lot. However, they have incorporated a patio with a fireplace and grill (keep in mind they’re still setting things up):


All the finishes in each unit are slightly different, which is nice. All the kitchens have Viking ranges, and the two bedrooms even have wine refrigerators. Here’s a shot of the kitchen in #201 ($889,000):

And here’s the kitchen in #203 ($849,000):

Living areas were generously sized; for example, the corner unit #202 overlooks Church and 28th Streets:

The three bedrooms are even more impressive, as they span two levels and have a house-like feel. I was a fan of #301 ($1,399,000) and its large master suite (that’s a king-size bed there):

I also liked the office area on the upper level of these units:

The largest unit is #303 ($1,549,000), and this is definitely the trophy unit of the group. It features three bedrooms on the upper level and a huge master suite overlooking the patio. There are also stairs to the roof from this unit.

A parking lift system provides a space for most of the units. (This means one car is parked beneath another in a “stack” arrangement.) However, the largest unit gets a standalone, regular space. And two other regular spaces are available for $50,000 each on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For those concerned about noise from the J Church Muni line that runs past the building, I have to say that they’ve done a good job blocking out street sounds. The double-paned windows and insulation give things an air-tight feel, though that will change once you crack open a window.

If there are any drawbacks to the project, I’d say that some of the bedrooms are on the small side. And that stacked parking is not ideal (but it’s better than no parking at all).

I think The Luxe will appeal to the tech/Peninsula or downtown professionals looking for what little new construction is available in Noe Valley. The project will most likely follow in the footsteps of the Nove condos that sold rapidly in 2010. Give me a call if you’d like to check out The Luxe. I’d be happy to get you in before the first public open houses.

Gung-Ho Buyers Hit Mission Dolores

Back in the mid 2000s, it was quite common for bidding wars to culminate with one or two buyers offering way, way beyond the list price because they really wanted that property—and the home was priced low to allow for overbidding. The underpricing strategy is certainly making a comeback, particularly with respect to the Mission Dolores area.

The most recent incident occurred at 3668-70 18th Street, between Dolores and Guerrero (exterior above). Right—the block with Tartine, Bi-Rite and Delfina. The two-unit property with an unwarranted third, garage-level unit was listed at $995,000. Though the building was in very sound condition, kitchens and baths needed updating, and the exterior was certainly nothing to write home about. However, 21 sets of buyers wrote offers, and the winning bid turned out to be $1.3M.

And then there was the sale over at 3883-85 20th Street, which borders the south end of Dolores Park:

One of the two units was basically down to the studs, requiring substantially more money to complete the job. List price was $1.3M, and the sale closed in November for $1.5M.

Chalk up this somewhat frenzied activity to the fact that Mission Dolores continues to be a hot, hip neighborhood for TIC/condo/multi-unit buyers who want the proximity to the 18th Street/Valencia corridors, Dolores Park, and public transportation (not to mention tech shuttles to the Peninsula). Buyers really will go nuts for these things, and they obviously will respond in droves when a property is purposely priced low to attract interest.

Just Sold: 1BR Condo in the Haight

My client just closed escrow yesterday on the lovely 1BR/1BA Edwardian condo at 21 Delmar in the Haight. The unit has high coved ceilings, two fireplaces, an updated eat-in kitchen, and central heat. List price was $499,000.

21 Delmar has a 92 Walk Score, and is blocks from Buena Vista and Golden Gate Parks, and around the corner from Haight Street. This is a perfect example of the type of property that provides great space in a classic architectural style, all while being situated in a quintessential, central San Francisco neighborhood.

SoMa/South Beach Tour: Condo Trio

There’s often a lot of inventory in the SoMa/South Beach neighborhoods, primarily because all the buildings translate into condos—and lots of ‘em. So to cut through the clutter, I decided to hone in on three condos in the $1M range so you could get a sense for what these properties have to offer.

1160 Mission #2313
SoMa Grand

2BR/2BA Penthouse
1600 sq ft
2-car parking
HOA dues: $851/month

Though its “French chic meets SOMA hip!” mashup may not be for most, this penthouse unit #2313 has killer city views. The 246-unit SoMa Grand is located in the still transitioning mid-Market neighborhood, which means you will want to take advantage of the hotel-style services like concierge, house cleaning, and organized activities—not to mention in-house restaurants—so you don’t have to wander around at night doing your own legwork. But that was the goal behind the SoMa Grand.

229 Brannan #17G
The Brannan

2BR/2BA Penthouse
1517 sq ft
2-car parking
HOA dues: $918/month

South Beach standby The Brannan has been the site of many condo sales across four-building property since 2001. Though many properties have been constructed since then, The Brannan continues to age well. This particular penthouse unit #17G has city, ballpark and Twin Peaks views, and 9.5-foot high ceilings. The Brannan’s location is excellent, and is a great place from which to walk to the Ferry Building, Union Square and more.

1 South Park #408
1794 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $575/month

The lone low rise of this trio, 1 South Park has an excellent location near the ballpark, as well. #408 is a top-floor, two-level unit with plenty of natural light. Two of the three bedrooms have their own ensuite baths, and the upper level entertaining rooms feature walls of glass that face both east and west. There’s also an expansive view deck. This unit came on the market last October 2011 at $1,695,000, so the current price reflects a reduction. 1 South Park isn’t an amenity building, so it’s a good fit for buyers who don’t want to factor in paying for a fitness club, media room, concierge or other benefits that are included with the larger properties in the area.

First SF Market Stats of the Year

Single-family and condo sales are down slightly, but multi-unit sales have increased by 8.2% in the last six months. Yes, the lastest Zephyr MarketTracker sales deets are now available exclusively here. Check out the most recent city activity, plus a special look at hot Richmond properties and the new BART cars!

Plus, some bonus info on the Cal Academy of Sciences.

It’s all here in the Zephyr MarketTracker.

Potrero Cottage a Cool Condo Alternative

The two-bedroom cottage at 655 Mississippi may be the cute, well-appointed house Potrero buyers have been waiting for in the new year. Listed at $699,000, the home has a lovely open floorplan that features a side deck right off the remodeled kitchen.

You wouldn’t know it from the exterior, but 655 Mississippi has vaulted beamed ceilings, two large skylights, and a gas fireplace. The kitchen even has wine storage and an island with breakfast bar, as well as a sizeable yard with a detached bonus room at the rear of the property.

 And the best part? No one living above or below you, and no HOA dues.

Now, the house isn’t huge—tax records show about 1000 square feet—but sometimes it’s all a matter of how well the space is laid out. And there’s no garage, which could be a dealbreaker for some.

The 600 block of Mississippi isn’t a particularly poor location; it’s important to note that your neighbors are a mix of residential and commercial. However, if you walk out your door and hang a left on 22nd Street, you can hit all the Dogpatch restaurants and cafes that have sprung up over the past several years.

The property last sold in 2004 for $759,000, so let’s give the sellers credit here for being realistic in the current market with their list price.

Open Sat 1/14 and Sunday 1/15 from 1:00-4:00.


New Pacific Heights Condos Closer to Market

It’s almost time to start touring The Washington, the upcoming 26-unit condo development at 1840 Washington, between Franklin and Van Ness. This property is kind of a big deal, because there’s not really much new construction available in Pac Heights.

The eight-story development will offer six 1BR/1BAs, 18 2BR/2BAs, and two 3BR/3BA penthouses with wrap-around decks. Units will be well appointed with high-end finishes such as Studio Becker cabinetry, CaesarStone counters, Bosch appliances, and Ann Sacks tilework in the bathrooms.

All homes have one-car deeded parking and storage, plus a landscaped roof terrace.

And preliminary pricing is in! Here are the early deets:

1BRs (Floors 2-7)
837-863 sq ft
HOAs: $411-$416/mo

2BRs, North Facing (Floors 2-7)
824-985 sq ft
HOAs: $408-$442/mo

2BRs, South Facing (Floors 2-7)
955-1,009 sq ft
HOAs: $436-$447/mo

3BRs, South Facing
1,467 sq ft
HOAs: $545/mo

The current project completion date is the end of January, as per the sales office. Contact me if you’d like to get in early and I’ll see what I can do!



SF Real Estate Forges Ahead in 2012

The San Francisco real estate market isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Buyers went into contract in December on 94 single-family homes, 77 condos and 24 TICs, obviously taking advantage of the low interest rates and end-of-year bargains.

The last quarter of 2011 stayed on par with that of 2010. A total of 635 houses sold at an average of $987,196, again proving that the under-$1M club is still kickin’ when it comes to inventory being moved. There were 493 condos that sold at an average of $784,173. Again, not a big change from the same time in 2010.

Current inventory is fairly low, which isn’t surprising for this time of year. I’m expecting more sellers to put their homes on the market as the month wears on; those who are motivated or have to sell will be in a good position with respect to pent-up buyer demand.

Though loans are still a challenge to obtain due to tighter lender scrutiny, plenty of properties are selling. The key factor in closing sales in 2012 will be due diligence—making sure that lenders are aware of all buyer details up front. These days, I continue to insist upon lenders reviewing full buyer and property documentation before an offer is even made (especially when it comes to condo purchases). This guards against a lot of wasted time and buyer/seller disappointment.

I’m expecting a busier year in terms of volume in 2012, based on my own experience, as well as conversations with my colleagues. It will likely be business as usual, which means carefully navigating escrows by skillfully handing negotiations and addressing lender concerns.

Hot San Francisco Market Will Get Hotter in 2013

The San Francisco real estate market hit new highs in 2012. Activity significantly picked up over the summer, when serious multiple-offer scenarios and buyer overbidding proliferated. And I’m expecting this level of activity to continue in the coming year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 4.3 percent from Oct 2011, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010. It was the fifth straight month of year-over-year gains. In San Francisco, the year-over-year increase was 6.04 percent.

Indeed, home value averages were impressively high in the last quarter of 2012. A total of 672 single-family homes sold with an average price of $1,272,509 (propped up by 15 homes sold in the $5M-$28M range). Additionally, 598 condos sold at an average price of $914,198, with 23 such properties selling in the $2M-$8M range.

This year was also one during which many all-cash transactions took place, particularly in higher price ranges. For example, there were 114 single-family homes and 123 condos that sold in the last quarter for cash. As a result, it was sometimes challenging for buyers with loans to compete.

Buyers will welcome the return of new construction in the city, which will vastly increase in 2013-2014. As of October 2012, there were 4,200 new housing units under construction in San Francisco. Building permits for another 1,450 units have been approved, and permits for another 2,610 units have been requested. These predominantly include residential developments downtown, along the Market Street corridor in Eureka/Hayes Valleys, SoMa and South Beach.

Historically low loan interest rates, along with a growing tech sector and overall Bay Area population increase will continue to fuel demand for home purchases in 2013.

So let’s get busy! Call, text or email me if you’d like to chat about buying or selling a home. I’m in my tenth year of selling residential real estate exclusively in San Francisco, and will be happy to help you.