My Sweet Summer is (Almost) Gone

bakerbeach
I’ve punched out for the week and will be back after Labor Day, in a last-ditch attempt to have a summer vacation.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I look forward to sharing more insights from the field when I return!

Story Behind Prop G, Noe Luxury, Latest Prices

The contentious Prop G will be on our November ballot this year. The proposition calls for a higher transfer tax on people who sell certain residential real estate within five years of purchase. The tax would increase to 24% in those first five years, and then would drop to 14% after five years.

As always, there are multiple sides to the issue, and this edition of the Zephyr Market Tracker looks at some of the different angles.

We also check out some luxurious Noe Valley properties, as well as feature the most recent citywide sales and averages.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker.

2BR Condo Market Explodes in Noe Valley

100day
Buyers competing for two-bedroom condos in Noe Valley are apparently willing to pay whatever it takes to snag them a home near a tech shuttle stop and the freeways.

The average price for such a unit in the time period from June through mid August was $1,250,667. Only two of the nine condos sold were under $1M; the rest ranged from $1,250,000-$1,475,000. Average overbid? 27%.

Yes, there are some such condos selling for less, but they generally involve 1,000 square feet or less and don’t include parking—or have other quirks. (For example, a 2BR/2BA condo with parking on Dolores at 29th Street sold recently for $875,000. But the developer owns three of the 13 units, meaning any buyer needing a loan would have to use non-conforming financing.) [Read more...]

No Car? No Problem!

San Francisco continues to head toward a transit-oriented environment, fueled by new construction residential developments that are providing one parking space for every two units (or no parking at all). Car-sharing services are also helping the anti-car ownership trend. Indeed, if you’re buying a condo in a central location near retail areas, rail or bus lines, there is not as much of a need to own a car these days.

I rounded up three great condos that are currently on the market and which don’t provide parking. [Read more...]

Community Doesn’t Just Happen, You Have To Build It

colevalleylibrary
I was on the way to meet a stager at my upcoming listing in Cole Valley last week when I came upon this “lending library” on Woodland. Sheltered by a Far Niente wine box (and signalling immediately that one of these neighbors has good taste in wine), the library is used by neighbors who leave and borrow books on a regular basis. I’ve seen a few more of these lately in the Mission and in Noe Valley, and the libraries are a great way for neighbors to interact and build community.

Many San Francisco buyers tell me that one of the things they’re looking for—besides a suitable house, of course—is a sense of community and good neighbors. And one important factor to note is that a sense of community doesn’t just appear; you actually have to sometimes work to create it. [Read more...]

Just Sold: 250 Los Palmos in Miraloma Park

250lospalmos
On the market for about three weeks, 250 Los Palmos was overlooked by many buyers. However, my clients seized the day and purchased this spacious single-family home in a great neighborhood. (They also avoided a multiple-offer situation, rare in San Francisco these days.)

250 Los Palmos is just up the hill from Monterey Boulevard and Sunnyside, and is conveniently located near Glen Park and 280 for the Silicon Valley commute. The property has three nice-sized bedrooms all on the same level, a remodeled kitchen with skylight, and an additional, unwarranted bedroom and bathroom downstairs which will be very useful as a family room or guest space.

The average price for a three-bedroom house in San Francisco is well above $1M, but my clients have managed to snag themselves a deal. Congrats to them, and I wish them much happiness in their new home!

Outside Lands Shines Spotlight on Richmond

The annual Outside Lands festival takes over Golden Gate Park this weekend, and the Richmond is one of the adjacent neighborhoods that’s very much in the mix. For better or worse, neighbors can hear the show from their very own residences, and compete with festival goers for street parking and public transportation.

But during the rest of the year, Richmond dwellers enjoy proximity to the park, various retail strips that pepper the area, and the ocean. Yes, you get fog in the Richmond, but from a real estate perspective, there’s a variety of architecture, and the houses and condos have more square footage. In the end, I believe there’s good value, particularly on a price-per-square-foot basis.

Open house access will be a bit challenging this weekend, but here are some listings worth noting. My advice? Skip the open house circuit and make a showing appointment in the morning, before the festival gets going.

607 7th Avenue
Cross street: Balboa
4BR/4.5BA
1 pkg
$2,795,000
607_7th
With four levels of living space, 607 7th Avenue could have probably hosted part of Outside Lands. Seriously, this is a big, renovated house with large bedrooms, high-end finishes and a cute garden. The house has been on the market a couple weeks with no bites, but I’m thinking it’s worth writing an offer at less than asking and seeing what you can negotiate. [Read more...]

SF Construction Boom Boosts Tire Industry

Construction in San Francisco is going gangbusters these days. No matter where you walk, drive or bike, there’s a building rising or a home being extensively renovated.

One byproduct of all this construction is what I experienced last week. I headed to my garage en route to an appointment and discovered that I had a flat tire. An hour later, AAA diagnosed the cause of the flat—a nail.

The service guy said that he is seeing nails in tires “every day, because of all the construction.” Unfortunately for me, the tire wasn’t repairable.

Consider this a public service announcement of sorts. Part of my job requires me to go to new construction sites, but I’m also now making every attempt to avoid driving past work sites if I can. That’s no easy task, but at the very least, I don’t park near renovation areas.

So watch where you drive, and make sure you have a reliable roadside assistance plan in place—and a solid spare tire.

New Listing: 7 Bennington in Bernal Heights

19Ext1My new listing on one of the most desirable blocks in Bernal opens its doors this weekend. 7 Bennington is a sweet single-family home that features an open living/dining area, three good-sized bedrooms all on the main level and an updated kitchen and bath. This is a great house for entertaining, as the deck and stairs off the kitchen lead to a lovely yard that’s perfect for enjoying Bernal’s sunny microclimate while you fire up the grill and hang with your friends.

Oh, and did I mention a two-car garage and laundry area with a top-of-the-line washer/dryer?

All this only one block from a prime stretch along Cortland Avenue, and also near public transportation, tech shuttles, and freeways.

List price is $899,000.

We’ll be open Saturday & Sunday from 2:00-4:00, so stop in and see me!

For more details & photos, please visit our 7Bennington Web site.

Market Softens for $2M+ Homes, Condos in Big Buildings

The media and local blogs love to grab headlines by touting the latest crazy overbids made by buyers who don’t think much of throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at sellers. (Yes, I cover these overbids occasionally, as well, because they’re an intrinsic part of the current market here.) Homeowners love those headlines, but would-be buyers cringe.

But the latest news is that there are certain segments of the market that are softening, as evidenced by several July sales. [Read more...]

What You Can Buy: 21 Days & Counting

Properties in San Francisco commonly go into contract within a week or two of being on the market. Which means that things move quickly. However, there are many homes that have been on the market for three weeks or more. In my never-ending quest to unearth buyer opportunities, I wanted to profile a trio of properties that are available with no offer date—and potentially, no competition:

424 28th Street
Noe Valley

Days on Market (DOM): 24
3BR/2BA, no parking
List price: $1,595,000
424_28th
Finding a spacious, detached single-family home in a good location in Noe Valley for less than $2M is a bit of a challenge these days. That’s why I’m surprised no one’s snapped up 424 28th Street. Yes, this house is a little quirky, with bedrooms scattered among three levels, and no, there’s not a garage. But you can take it upon yourself to add parking (there’s an estimate on file for $120,000 for a garage installation). The sellers have secured a leased parking space in the interim that’s only half a block away. You also have front and rear backyards, views, and a family room. The house is situated two and a half blocks from the J Church Muni station and the shops/restaurants in the south end of Noe. [Read more...]

Let’s Start Pushing for “Blue” Construction in SF

Two things are certain right now: Our California drought doesn’t have an end in sight, and construction is booming in San Francisco.

The push for “green,” or eco-friendly construction erupted several years ago. But what I’m wondering is whether architects and builders can start including “blue,” or drought-friendly features in future renovations and new construction.

A recent piece on NPR discussed how Australia—which has a nine-year drought in its history—began addressing its water shortage problem by revamping home plumbing systems. Consider Melbourne, which gets 23 inches of rain annually (similar to that of San Francisco in a typical year). Half the homes in Melbourne now have systems to capture and store rain, and newer homes are being built with dual plumbing systems to recycle graywater. For example, rinse water from the washing machine goes to the toilet for flushing.

Melbourne is now down to 40 gallons per person per day, including outside watering. Californians average two to four times that amount.

Green construction is great, and should continue. But it would be awesome if, in the future, homeowners and builders would take the lead from Melbourne and create “blue” construction properties.

Real Estate Near Fort Mason, Twist in Latest Sales

There are plenty of events happening in Fort Mason, the Marina outpost that hosts food truck gatherings, the city’s best vegetarian restaurant, a music school and other more interesting enterprises. Welcome the Epic Foodie Festival to the mix, which is sponsored by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and features multiple events such as The Grand Tasting.

And if you’re interested in real estate that’s in walking distance of Fort Mason, we profile three new listings that fit the bill.

All that plus a market overview that shows that not every sale in San Francisco sells for way over the asking price. In fact, this batch has several sales that show under-asking prices.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

Hard Hat Tour: Amero in Cow Hollow

Exterior_Amero
I went on a hard hat tour of the new Amero condo building at 1501 Filbert between Van Ness and Franklin last week. Featuring 27 two- and three-bedroom units, Amero also includes one parking space per unit. (Many other properties only provide one space for every two units.) There are four penthouses, as well.

Units range from just over 1,000 square feet to 2500 square feet. Finishes will feature natural stone countertops, walls and flooring; carpeting in bedrooms; European grey oak/wide plank flooring. The kitchen will be fully stocked with Italian cabinetry, Bertazzoni ranges and Thermador refrigerators, along with polished quartz countertops. [Read more...]

Q2 Goes Out Like a Lion for SF Real Estate

Has San Francisco real estate hit its peak for 2014? That’s the word on the street among many of my colleagues, and the second quarter stats certainly point to a buyer frenzy over the past three months.

Let’s hit up the single-family home and condo markets and see how they stack up against first-quarter numbers. [Read more...]