SoMa Brady Bunch Gets Better Prices

Not ones to let the grass grow under their feet, the sellers of the six units at 83-85 Brady just reduced the prices on five of the six condos.

The units came on the market around August 6-7 with two studios; two 1BR+/1BAs, one 1BR+/2BA, and one 2BR+/2.5BA. Prices ranged from $285,000 for a studio to $825,000 for one of the two bedrooms.

But buyers haven’t bitten, and prices have just been slightly reduced. Here’s the lineup:
#2: Was $375,000, now $349,000
#4: Was $285,000, now $275,000

#1: Was $575,000, now $549,000
#6: Remains at $749,000
#3: Was $585,000, now $549,000

#5: Was $825,000, now $799,000.

If you have any interest in these condos, you may be able to get a pretty decent deal. (And I’m talking about further negotiation on price. If you ask me, that #6 should’ve had a reduction, too.)

Inventory Floodgates Open as Fall Real Estate Season Kicks In

True to form, the San Francisco real estate inventory spiked after Labor Day weekend. A total of 157 single-family homes, 167 condos and 45 TICs hit the market, in a variety of price ranges.

Of course, many “new” offerings weren’t really new—just brought back on at revised prices, with new listing agents, or revised staging.

Given that the most popular price range in the city has been anywhere from $400,000-$800,000 this year, the new inventory in the higher price ranges isn’t helping matters for existing high-end home sellers. Of those 157 single-family homes newly listed, 38 are priced at $1.5M or more. And of those 167 condos, twelve are in that range. Prior to Labor Day, there were 132 houses and 61 condos listed at $1.5M or more, so those properties may have to take a back seat for a little while as buyers turn their attention to the latest and greatest offerings.

But those buyers who have been looking for a little while should revisit homes that were on before Labor Day. Those sellers may be most willing to negotiate, especially as the end of the year looms.

Fireplace Mania Rocks NoPa Tudor Home

Featuring four fireplaces and more “fire brick” than you can shake a stick at, the 3BR/3.5BA single-family home at 2076 Grove is perfect for those buyers interested in doing their share to wear down the ozone layer.

The entry fireplace lets you know right away that Christmas in this household may be over the top when it comes to hanging stockings:

And let’s not foget about the living room fireplace:

Or the dining room one:

In short, you won’t need to tune your television to the yule log on Christmas Eve. The house is around 3600 square feet, and also has separate guest quarters and expansive formal gardens. List price: $1,925,000. (Open Sat 9/18 and Sun 9/19 from 2:00-4:00 for those of you who like to plan ahead.)

What You Can Buy for $2M on Elizabeth St in Noe Valley

Every once in a while, a particular street will see a spate of For Sale signs. Today we look at four recently listed luxury properties on Elizabeth, a desirable street in the heart of Noe Valley.

First up are two single-family houses. 760 Elizabeth is a 3BR/2.5BA Edwardian with three parking spaces listed at $2,295,000. The property was converted in 2002 from a two-unit to a single-family dwelling.

A few doors down is the ultra modern 729 Elizabeth, a 4BR/3.5BA, 2,750-square foot house with an open floor plan, beautiful finishes, and lots of natural light:

729 Elizabeth is listed at $2,495,000. Recently signed-off work on this home includes vertical and horizontal rear additions involving new bedrooms and baths.

And finally, we have two newly renovated condos at 489 and 485 Elizabeth. 489 Elizabeth has 4BR/3.5BA and 3,113 square feet and is listed at $2,095,000:

The unit also has a top-floor office mezzanine space, five outdoor spaces, and ample natural light.

Lower-unit 485 Elizabeth has 3BR/2.5BAs, and 2,384 square feet. It also has a deeded yard:

List price for the lower unit $1,775,000. Both condos have elevator access, radiant heat and two-car parking.

So readers, if you had around $2M to spend, which property would you buy?

Masonic Vic Gets New Look, New Agent, Same Price

It’s always disappointing when one of my reputable, experienced and hard-working colleagues brings on a potentially overpriced listing and gives it his or her best shot for half a year—only to have the listing yanked and given to another agent.

Such is the case at 1322 Masonic, which hit the market earlier this year. The 4BR/2.5BA, 3400-square foot house was initially priced at $2,395,000 and then was reduced by $100,000 in June before the sellers withdrew the listing in July.

The house is now back on the market, with—you guessed it—a new agent, similiar price of $2,295,000, and new staging. I thought the floor plan was a little funky in terms of flow when I toured the home (probably due to the fact that the property was previously a five-unit building). However, I’m sure there’s a buyer out there for this home; it’s just a matter of timing. But sellers, before you spin your wheels changing staging, agents, and anything else you can think of, consider this basic tenet: A realistic price will do wonders for helping to snag a buyer, and close your sale.

How's the Market In: Bernal Heights

I have many clients who live in Bernal, and am often asked how the market is doing in the neighborhood. The Bernal real estate market is usually pretty healthy; buyers like the favorable weather, as well as the close proximity to the Cortland retail strip and freeways. First-time home buyers typically target Bernal because the homes are generally smaller and thus more affordable in comparison to other nearby areas like Noe Valley.

Bernal Heights is divided into a few key areas—the north slope, which is arguably the most desirable; west slope, which is closer to Mission but is also very desirable; the east slope, which is a little more remote and can come a little too close to Bayshore and Hwy 101; and the south slope, which features the appealing Holly Park area (but can get a bit less desirable the closer you get to Hwy 280). Architecture runs the gamut, and includes Victorians, Edwardians, and boxy 1940s offerings.

Many homes change hands in a given year in Bernal, so inventory is not usually a problem. To date, 96 single-family homes have sold at an average price of $753,805, with a 1,370 average square footage. Thirteen of those homes sold for more than a $1M, but this price range is usually in the minority. Your dollars at the higher end in Bernal will get you more house than in nearby Glen Park or Noe Valley.

There are currently more than 40 single-family homes and eight condos on the market in Bernal. Though condo sales aren’t as common in Bernal, they do happen. Condos usually don’t rise above the $700,000 price point; however, Bernal isn’t where most buyers go to purchase condos. (More likely neighborhoods for condos would be the Mission or Noe.) Notable homes currently available include 91 Winfield, a 2BR/1BA with a bonus room, listed at $629,000, as well as a very nice Edwardian listed at $949,500 at 212 Banks that has 3BR/3BA and 2,385 square feet.

I think Bernal is the type of neighborhood that will continue to perform pretty well throughout this economic downturn; its average sales prices are smack dab in the middle of the range where most homes are selling in San Francisco. Add to that the fact that you can own a house for what a condo would cost you in more pricey neighborhoods, and it’s no surprise that many homes on the west/north slopes sell with multiple offers.

Strong Summer for San Francisco House, Condo Markets

The economy is chugging along, and the downward trend continues to affect the national housing market. San Francisco has its share of foreclosures, short sales, and limited ability for buyers to get loans in what’s considered a very expensive geographical area. Despite these issues, however, the summer real estate market was surprisingly resilient.

A total of 616 single-family homes sold in San Francisco from June-August 2010, for an average of $1,044,790. Of those 616 homes, 93 were sold for more than $1.5M—including one eight-bedroom home on Pacific that sold in June for $11.5M in an all-cash transaction after spending 278 days on the market. These stats are an improvement over last summer; the average then was $997,132. However, it’s interesting that more homes managed to sell in 2009′s decidedly worse market.

The condo market saw a jump in volume this summer; 509 units sold from June-August 2010, in comparison to only 447 last year. Average prices were very similar ($748,716 in 2010, and $755,128 in 2009). Of the 509 condos reported sold this past summer, 21 units sold for more than $1.5M, and six sold for more than $2M. Buyers are clearly continuing to invest in luxury condo properties, most specifically in Noe Valley; Pacific Heights; Russian Hill; and in buildings such as the St. Regis and Four Seasons. (These numbers don’t include data from new development sales offices such as One Rincon, The Infinity, One Hawthorne and more.)

Prices over the past three months across San Francisco zip codes remained fairly stable for condos, but dropped off for single-family homes. Heading into the Fall, there are 637 single-family homes currently on the market, as well as 663 condos. That’s a lot of inventory that will be topped off by all the new properties I’m expecting to hit the market in mid September. Those are also the properties that may represent the best opportunities for negotiation; I find that the homes that fall off the radar can end up being the hidden gems buyers have been seeking, and are connected to increasingly motivated sellers.

Open House Spotlight: 1555A Sacramento in Nob Hill

If you’re one of the few souls staying home this weekend in the city, you might be interested in checking out some open houses. Nob Hill is a great place to do this, as you can mix in some brunch and sightseeing along the way.

So head over to 1555A Sacramento Street, where this 2BR/1BA cottage is listed at $969,000. There aren’t many places in the north end of San Francisco where you can get a two-bedroom single-family home for this price. The property is located on a shared parcel, with an HOA. But it is fully detached, and has a desirable open floor plan, private rear deck with spa, and a living area with a 16-foot, vaulted ceiling. There’s also parking for one small car. 1555A Sacramento is between Hyde and Larkin.

Open 2:00-4:00 on Sunday.

What’s Left at 555 Bartlett

It’s been a while since I checked in with the sales team at the Mission’s newest condo development, 555 Bartlett. But there are still some units left.

There are currently four one bedrooms from $465,000; a pair of two bedrooms from $685,000; and one three bedroom in the low $700,000s, according to Matt Woebcke at Bartlett.

This is definitely the time to negotiate; the developer is angling to finalize all sales, and buyers are probably in the driver’s seat to a certain extent. The average sales price for a one-bedroom condo in the Mission is $467,182, according to the MLS (time period January to September), as well as $640,203 for a two bedroom, and $855,628 for a three bedroom. Clearly, it’s worth making an offer at Bartlett for a price you deem reasonable.

Update: 238 Olive Condos Return with Refreshed Prices

I stopped in to see the newly built condos in mid June over at 238 Olive. I liked the overall finishes and spaces, but questioned just how many people would want to live on that particular street.

Two of the eight 2BR/2BA condos are in contract, and one is closing next week, according to the listing agent. Prices originally ranged from $739,000-$819,000. However, the remaining five condos took a summer hiatus; they’ll be back in mid September priced from $699,000-$789,000. Though the location isn’t the most desirable in the world (I’ve never yet met a buyer who preferred to live on the “Van Ness/Civic Center” corridor), it is convenient to a lot of other neighborhoods, and the new pricing may make up for that factor.

Third Time a Charm for 1391 Clayton?

Purchased as a vacant lot in July 2006 for $995,000, 1391 Clayton was transformed into a contemporary 4BR/4.5BA, 2,900-square foot home with all the bells and whistles.

The Clarendon Heights/Twin Peaks property was then initially listed in the Fall of 2008 for $2,795,000, and withdrawn a couple months later. It then came back on the market in January 2009 for $2,695,000 and the listing expired in March of that year. I personally liked the home when I toured it, and was impressed with the views and finishes. It has a laundry list of gotta-have-it, high-end features, such as an elevator; chef’s kitchen with mahogany leather grain sandblasted granite counters; Berg & Berg Brazilian cherry flooring; an indoor-outdoor sound system; a wine cellar; four-car garage, and two view decks. I’m a little surprised no one has purchased the property, but I’m sure it has less to do with the house than the ability of potential buyers to come in with all cash, or obtain a large loan.

1391 Clayton gets its third chance to sell starting in two weeks, when it will officially hit the market at $2,695,000. Give me a call if you’d like to schedule a showing.

Open House Spotlight: 558 Chenery in Glen Park

If you’re in the Glen Park area and would like to check out a nice renovation this weekend, stop in at 558 Chenery, midway between the Glen Park downtown and Noe Valley’s 30th Street corridor.

The 4BR/3.5BA, 2,850-square foot home listed at $1,995,000 was on the market for a few months in early 2009 for $1,080,000 as a fixer. The current owners had purchased the property in an off-market transaction from sellers who’d owned the home for a very long time. When the house didn’t sell as a fixer last year, the current owners decided to take their chances and complete renovations themselves.

Finishes are high end, and I’m into the European porcelain bath tiles:

I also like the kitchen cabinetry and marble island:

The three-level home has three decks, radiant heating and walnut floors. Open Saturday from 1:00-3:00, and Sunday from 2:00-4:00.

Updates: Warfield Condos Crash, Blue Church Condos Pray for Cash

Things looked promising for the hip “office condos” at The Warfield building when they hit the market in mid May. Seven of the eight floors were being offered as commercial office condos with a special use that would allow for residential dwellings. Prices for the spaces ranged from $1,339,000-$1.4M. Thrown in with each purchase were eight tickets to all performances at the Warfield Theatre.

But unfortunately, the Planning Department has squashed potential buyers’ rock star dreams. Shortly after Pacific Union International started marketing the properties, according to one of the listing agents, city planners decided that they didn’t agree with the seller’s interpretation of the “accessory use housing” designation which allowed for 25% of the space to be used for residential purposes. The result? The units can only be sold now as commercial condos. There are two companies currently negotiating to lease several of the floors.

In other news, the infamous “blue church” condos as the corner of 28th and Church in Noe Valley are officially on hold once again:

The former church was demolished in October 2009, after a protracted battle between the church’s pastor and the property developer. But then…Nothing happened. Rumors recently began circulating that the property was going to revert back to the pastor.

Here’s the latest: J Branch Development is currently trying to obtain financing for the project, according to lead architect Tony Kotas at Kotas/Pantaleoni Architects. Unfortunately, lending is at a premium, and this has become a huge challenge. In the meantime, the developer is planning to maintain the site by cutting back weeds and cleaning things up in response to growing complaints from neighbors.

Dog Days of Summer: Price Reductions Up, New Listings Down

New condo and single-family home listings over the past month have declined steadily. Indeed, this trend is reflected in my broker tour lineup for Tuesday; there haven’t been many new listings in the past couple of weeks. At this point, sellers are waiting to bring their properties on after Labor Day.

And that strategy could be fueling a price reduction fever among sellers of existing available properties.

With many buyers finishing up their summer vacations and existing sellers getting nervous that all the new inventory will undermine them in September, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the timing if you’re a qualified buyer who’s ready to make a home-purchase decision.

Sale at 236 Elsie Proves Bernal is Still Hot

In case there’s been any question about whether Bernal Heights is still reeling in buyers, the sale last week at 236 Elsie at Cortland showed Bernal’s continued cajones.

The 3BR/2BA 1894 Victorian on the desired north slope had pretty much everything buyers are looking for in a house listed below $1M—views, space for a master suite, nice yard & deck, and a main level with a “great room” feel (and parking, too). Listed at $849,000, the seller received nine offers and the home sold for $902,050.

The Elsie sale is something for Bernal buyers (and sellers) in this range to keep in mind as we head into the Fall real estate season. Remember, there are eight other buyers out there who’ll compete for these types of homes.