March Goes Out Like Lion for SF Overbidders Club

Did you hear the roar buyers paying more than 25% over the list price for San Francisco homes in March? Well, I did. The SF Overbidders Club closed out the month of March making me wonder whether or not we can really expect April overbidding to be lamblike.

Overbidding happened across all property types this month, with healthy overbid averages happening:
Houses: 10.5% Condos: 9% TICs: 4.5%

But I found a home in each category that trumped those averages. Please welcome our newest SF Overbidders Club members:

465 Hoffman
Noe Valley House

4BR/4.5BA, 2 pkg, 4500 sq ft
List Price: $3,795,000
Sale Price: $5,105,000
Overbid Amount: 34.5%
What else can you tell me? Big, SoMa-style house with epic views.
465hoffman [Read more...]

SF Real Estate Market Strong, Despite Earthquake Risks

I was interviewed for a story that ran yesterday in the British daily The Guardian about the threat of a large earthquake and how that might influence people when they consider purchasing real estate in San Francisco.

Yes, local market is particularly strong right now, and yes, I routinely have conversations with home buyers about the concept of earthquakes and how they can protect their investment. When it comes down to it, it’s important to know what ground you’re on and how solid your foundation and other seismic components are.

The Guardian’s Nate Berg did a great job presenting all angles of this topic. Check it out here:
When, Not If: How Do San Franciscans Live With the Threat of the Next Quake?

And if you’re interested in my take on earthquake insurance, this past blog post discusses that:
Should You Buy Earthquake Insurance?

What You Can Buy: View Condos

San Francisco properties with views of the hills, city skyline, ocean or Bay command a premium. The whole “million dollar view” tag line really does ring true for some homes.

And when it comes to condos in centrally located neighborhoods, views are the icing on the cake. View condos certainly fall under the “luxury” category, and they’ll typically cost above the $1M average for a two-bedroom unit.

I surveyed the market and picked out my favorite three view condos to spotlight today:

657 Corbett #3
Twin Peaks

4BR/3BA, 2101 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $316.22/mo
List price: $1,495,000
657corbett657 Corbett #3 is the penthouse condo in this four-unit building, and it certainly pulls out all the stops. The two-level residence features walls of glass with stunning views of downtown, The Bay and beyond. And it’s a corner unit, so you also get great east and south views. Three bedrooms are all on the same level, with the fourth bedroom on the main level. Though you’re not in the heart of a retail area, the reason to live on Corbett is for its views. Because let’s face it, you don’t get views in the flatlands of the Castro. Quick comp: #1 on the first floor of 657 Corbett is a 4BR/3BA unit with 2007 sq feet that’s in contract with a list price of $1,395,000. [Read more...]

Spotlight on Mission Dolores Park, SF Conserves Water

The latest Zephyr MarketTracker gives you the scoop on Mission Dolores Park’s renovations, and also takes a look at a couple properties on the market in this very popular neighborhood.

We also congratulate San Franciscans for leading the way where water conservation is concerned!

You’ll also see recent sales and a market overview. It’s all here in the current edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker!

Onyx in Potrero Knows Its Target Buyers

onyx_livingroom
I guess it was only a matter of time before someone decided to build a condo development with the look and feel of an Apple store. Sharing its name with an OS X utility app and saturated in white, Onyx in Potrero Hill certainly knows its buyer demographic.

I visited Onyx this week on my broker tour, and I do like the finishes and the location within the neighborhood. Onyx will ultimately house 41 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos across three stories and two buildings. (The second building will rise at the corner of 17th and Carolina, and will be completed in Fall 2015.) The two-story lobby has white porcelain flooring and “signature, ONYX stone.” You may stop momentarily to look for the Genius Bar, but the best bet is to either head up the stairs or take the elevator to the second floor to check out the available units. [Read more...]

What Do Home Inspections Cover?

garage
Buying a home is a big deal, and you want to make sure there are no surprises with any of the systems once you own the property. There are typically two types of standard inspections done in San Francisco. One is a general contractor, and the other is a structural termite.

The general contractor inspection should be conducted by a certified professional from a reputable company that works in San Francisco on a regular basis. The inspector will go through the fundamental components of the property, which include a look at the electrical, plumbing and heating systems. The inspection will extend to the overall condition of the foundation and structural support, which extends to crawl and attic spaces. The roof will also be evaluated. What the inspector is looking for are any deficiencies, and he or she then can make recommendations for repair, or defer a particular item to a more specialized professional. For example, if there are any signs of issues with the sewer line, the inspector may recommend having a sewer lateral inspection done. [Read more...]

Microhoods Key to Bernal’s Home Values

bernalheights
Bernal Heights has many distinct areas within its neighborhood. From the hip enclave of Precita Park to the winding streets on the East Slope, the price of real estate literally varies depending upon which part of Bernal you’re in. So it’s important to lean heavily on sales in your particular part of the neighborhood when you’re accurately trying to determine property values in Bernal.

To help buyers and sellers with that task, I’ve deconstructed Bernal Heights into seven unofficial microhoods, complete with their respective price averages and low/high prices, as well as recent sales volume.

A few ground rules: My geographical boundaries are rough approximations, and there will be some overlap with streets that fall on microhood borders. Also, sales information is for single-family homes sold from September 2013-March 10, 2014.

North West Slope
Average Price: $1,195,589
Low: $699,000 High: $1,688,888
Number Sold: 10
northwestslope
The North West Slope has quaint tree-lined streets, hidden staircases and lots of charm. It’s near Mission Street’s bus lines and not far from the 24th & Mission BART station/30th & Church J Muni, as well as The Front Porch, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, Cole Hardware and Safeway. Five homes on the North West Slope sold above $1.3M over the past seven months, including a 2BR/2BA at the top of Bocana listed for $1,095,000 that sold for $1,610,000. [Read more...]

What You Can Buy in March: 21 Days & Counting

The San Francisco market is low on inventory right now. That means you have to dig a little deeper to find buying opportunities, especially for properties in desirable locations. One of my strategies is to take a closer look at homes that have been on the market for three or more weeks. The possibility of multiple offers is lower, and sellers may be thinking about taking a little less on their list price.

Here are three properties that I think are well worth considering at the moment:
555 Bartlett #321
The Mission

Days on market (DOM): 48
1BR/1BA, 1 pkg
List Price: $629,000
555bartlett_321
I’m a big fan of 555 Bartlett, as I sold a unit there in 2010 when the building was constructed. Unit 321 has upgraded cabinetry and quartz countertops in the kitchen and plenty of natural light. This particular unit is on the third floor and overlooks the landscaped courtyard (that has a bbq area). Very convenient location near BART, Valencia/Mission restaurants and easy freeway access. One huge plus is the newly landscaped Cesar Chavez, which has really transformed the look and feel of the street. HOA dues are $375/month in this 58-unit building, and parking/storage are included. #321 last sold in 2010 for $452,500. [Read more...]

Spring a Good Bet for More Inventory

We’ve been operating at a very low housing inventory to date in 2014. It seems like there are anywhere from five to twenty buyers for every property that comes on the market, creating consistent multiple-offer situations and substantial overbidding.

I do expect this activity to continue throughout the year. Our economy is strong in the city, and there is seemingly no end to the number of buyers who are materializing and willing to pay very high prices for homes. But I believe there are many homeowners who are in the process of either planning a move or seriously considering one. It’s hard to pass up an opportunity to cash out, especially if you own a home in a very “hot” neighborhood.

As a result, we can expect a spike in inventory as soon as April, which will scatter buyers around a bit more. Coupled with new construction condo projects beginning sales in the Spring, the pressure should ease a bit on the resale market.

What’s the takeaway? If you’re a buyer who’s planning to start looking in the Spring, it’s important to get sorted out now with your financing. And if you’re a homeowner, this is the time to start preparing your home with painting, repairs and staging so it stacks up well against the competition.

Ocean Views & Space on the Great Highway

1580greathighway_4
Yes, it is possible to find a three-bedroom condo with three bathrooms (!) and almost 2,000 square feet with parking and ocean views for less than $1M in San Francisco. Case in point: 1580 Great Highway #4 in the Outer Sunset, which offers all of the above for a list price of $699,000. That’s a lot less than the $1,388,270 citywide average sale price for a 3BR condo in San Francisco, isn’t it?

But there’s more: This four-unit building was constructed in 1985, so it’s more up to current city codes than, many of San Francisco’s older buildings. The kitchen is well appointed with granite countertops and new appliances, and you also get a deeded deck with lovely hill views.

What’s nearby? Well, besides the ocean and a great running/biking path, you’re two blocks from the N Judah that runs downtown. Two of my favorite restaurants, Thanh Long and Outerlands (currently closed for an expansion project) are five blocks away, and let’s not forget that Golden Gate Park is a healthy jog to the north.

A couple noteworthy items: HOA dues are a low $310.51/month. And because two of the four units in the building are tenant occupied, you will need to work with a portfolio lender such as First Republic that will lend on a property with this type of rental/owner-occupier ratio. (In other words, your loan will be an ARM vs a 30-yr fixed).

1580 Great Highway #4 was listed last year for about $50,000 higher and buyers didn’t bite. But I think they’ve nailed it this time around. If you’re a buyer who can be a little patient with the time it takes to get downtown or to the freeways—-and want to have your own urban refuge on the water—give this condo a look. Offers are due on March 19th, so if you want to pop in to check out the property, give me a call and I’ll schedule a showing for us!

Pricey Prospects for New Condos in SF Pipeline

thecentury
It’s been quite a year for developers of new construction condos and houses in San Francisco. After an economic downturn during which very few new projects were built in the city, construction lurched ahead again—particularly along the Market Street corridor, in Hayes Valley, the Mission and many other popular neighborhoods.

And oh, what a reception these new developments received! Projects such as 300 Ivy in Hayes Valley and ICON in the Castro sold out in record time, and at record prices. Buyers seemed very willing to pay a premium of $1,000-$1200/sq foot for new and shiny, particularly in transit- and retail-friendly communities. And 3500 19th Street at Valencia took advantage of the tech-buying boom and Mission mania by largely selling out all of its 17 condos with sales prices in the $1.3M-$2.3M range. [Read more...]

What You Can Buy: Condos for $1.1M with High Walk Scores

Prices for condos with period detail and which are located in very walkable, central neighborhoods are averaging $1.2M for two bedrooms and $1.4M for three-bedroom units. These types of units command a premium because: a) who doesn’t love a quintessential San Francisco property with Edwardian or Victorian detailing, and b) everyone wants to live in an area that lets you walk out your door and be only minutes from a retail area and public transportation.

There’s a handful of condos on the market in this price category, and I thought I would provide a tour of three of them today. So hop in the front seat, and let’s get to it:

1332 Waller
The Haight

3BR/2BA, 1769 sq ft
1 pkg
Year Built: 1904
List Price: $1,099,000
Walk Score: 92
1332waller
1332 Waller is a two-level Edwardian condo. As the listing agent notes, the property is situated in the middle of three great neighborhoods—the Haight, Cole Valley and Buena Vista. So you can take advantage of both the Haight and Cole Valley’s excellent retail areas, as well as many nearby public transportation options. This flat was renovated in 2003, and it has two bedrooms, a formal dining room, split bath and modern kitchen on the main level. A staircase off the dining room leads you to a large master suite with a wet bar and full bath; just outside is a deck and garden. 1332 Waller has exclusive use of the garage parking spot, storage, and the washer/dryer. [Read more...]

New SF Overbidders Club Members for February

February ushered in some noteworthy overbidding in San Francisco, and that means we have quite a few new members for the SF Overbidders Club. Yes, sellers are still agreeing to price their homes lower than the estimated value, and why not? Particularly in neighborhoods like Noe Valley and the Mission, buyers can’t seem to help themselves from throwing money at homes even if the final selling prices are well above comp range. (By “comp range,” I mean the range for which other, similar homes have sold.)

Here are the February members who have paid 25% or more above the list price:
2527 16th Avenue
Inner Parkside

3BR/1.5BA house
List Price: $788,000
Sale Price: $1,129,000
Overbid Amount: 43.27%
What else can you tell me? Cash sale, no contingencies. Much deferred maintenance and foundation settlement issues.
2527_16thave [Read more...]