The Most Competitive House Markets in San Francisco Right Now

If you’re aiming to buy or sell a single-family home in San Francisco, it’s important to take note of the selling patterns in the city’s various neighborhoods. You’ve probably read my blog post from earlier this week on the hottest condo markets, but when it comes to overbidding on houses, the landscape looks slightly different.

The neighborhoods where buyers are overbidding most intensely are varied, and there are many. Here are the most competitive markets according to the average overbid percentage:
Inner Sunset 26.18%
The Mission 22.47%
Glen Park 21.95%
Inner Parkside 21.61%
Miraloma Park 20.48%
Noe Valley 20.14%
Bernal Heights 19.94%
Ingleside Heights 19.51%
Forest Hill 19.45%
Ingleside 18.96%
Crocker Amazon/Outer Mission 18.18%
Eureka Valley 17.77
Sunnyside 17.69%
Central Richmond 16.58%
Outer Richmond 15.38%
Potrero Hill 15.15%

The Runner-Ups
Central Sunset/Parkside 14.93%
Outer Sunset/Outer Parkside 14.80%
Excelsior 14.74%
Portola/Silver Terrace 13.93%
Mission Terrace 12.81%

What You Can Buy: 3BR Houses for $1M

Ah, a three-bedroom single-family home in San Francisco—the holy grail of local real estate.

There are currently 102 such houses on the market as of this writing, at an average list price of $1,206,627. But the good news is that there are plenty of homes available. It’s just a matter of being flexible about what you may need—and which neighborhood you’d like.

I found a trio of cool 3BR houses to consider which are below the citywide list price average, in three very different neighborhoods:
1723 22nd Avenue
Central Sunset

3BR/2BA, 1530 sq feet
1 pkg
List price: $927,000

This very charming, Marina-style home has good curb appeal, interior 1930s period detail, and upgraded kitchen and baths. There are two bedrooms on the main level, and a third on the garden level. There’s also a large garage and a really sweet yard. 1723 22nd Avenue came on the market on August 21st, and is not selling at its current $927,000 list price. I’m honestly not sure why, other than that buyers are recognizing that the house may be worth around that price and are wary of having to bid higher. If I were interested in the house and neighborhood, I’d schedule a showing and try to take advantage of a market opportunity. Plenty of public transportation nearby, and 19th Avenue puts you on the right track to the Golden Gate Bridge for North Bay commutes.

70 Sheridan
SoMa

3BR/2BA, 1359 sq ft
2 pkg
List price: $995,000

A house in SoMa? This rarity at 70 Sheridan is perfect for anyone who loves urban living and also would love the privacy that a single-family house can provide. Renovated in 2006, the property is a mashup of 1920s period detail and more contemporary finishes, and has a huge garage. There’s a freestanding shed in the yard, which you may be able to put to good use for something like guest space or a home office. One thing to note: The property is zoned RED (residential enclave district), so you should check with your lender to make sure there won’t be any complications with your loan if you’re purchasing 70 Sheridan as your primary residence.

30 Molimo
Miraloma Park

3BR/2BA, 1970 sq ft
1 pkg
List price: $989,000

30 Molimo is a very gracious, detached home with East Bay views and an updated, eat-in kitchen. Downstairs are the third bedroom, second bath and family room. Molimo is a quick drive to Mollie Stone’s, the West Portal retail area and 280. Warm weather is not Miraloma’s strong point, but what you do get are wide, open tree-lined streets and nice front yards.

Holiday Roundup: What’s Left?

Every year at this time, San Francisco real estate inventory begins to dwindle. Our broker tour sheets go from 40 pages to five, and less sellers put their homes on the market. However, there are some solid properties out there that are worth considering. I decided to showcase three of them today, in case they might fit your bill:

901 Rockdale
Miraloma Park

3BR/2BA, 1 pkg
$1.1M

Though it has odd curb appeal, 901 Rockdale has a nice floor plan and convenient location. This 1928 Tudor-style house has a living room with cathedral ceilings and a fireplace, and the window perfectly frames the Marin Headlands and surrounding homes (above). The formal dining room leads to the remodeled kitchen, and there are two bedrooms on this level. Downstairs is a third bedroom and separate bath. Square footage is on the small side, so this isn’t a sprawling home that could accommodate a lot of people. 901 Rockdale initially came on the market listed at $1,025,000, but fell out of contract and came back on at the current $1.1M price. This may be a good time to negotiate something. The house is situated just across Portola from the West Portal retail area, and is also right down the road from Mollie Stone’s.

2295 Vallejo #401
Pacific Heights

1BR/1BA, 1 pkg
$985,000

There’s a limited number of homes in San Francisco with these kind of views, so you pay dearly for them when such homes become available. In this case, you have a roughly 830 square foot, top-floor condo in Pacific Heights Place, a 43-unit building constructed in 1975. The kicker is the private terrace that’s perched above Vallejo and Fillmore Streets. 2295 Vallejo #401 has been recently remodeled, but this is all about the views, terrace, and prime San Francisco location. The buyer for this unit will value the latter two attributes above all. HOA dues are $423/month, and there’s an elevator in the building along with shared laundry. This condo has been on the market at this price since the summer, so maybe there’s a buyer out there who can break the stalemate?

365 Connecticut
Potrero Hill

2BR/2BA, 1 pkg
$829,000

On the market since the end of November, 365 Connecticut is a well-appointed first-floor condo in a two-unit building. This property has the elusive second bathroom, along with a remodeled kitchen and nice period details throughout. There’s a spacious shared yard, as well as one-car garage parking, extra storage and private washer/dryer. HOA dues are $250/month. The location at Connecticut and 18th is exactly where you want to be in Potrero, so for anyone looking for a nice condo in a good Potrero location, 365 Connecticut is it. This unit last sold for $800,000 in 2006.

Please contact me at 415.823.4656/ebermingham@zephyrsf.com if you’d like to see any of these properties. I’ll be here for the holidays.

What You Can Buy In: Miraloma Park

Miraloma Park is not always at the top of every single-family home buyer’s list. It’s situated kind of in between more well-known areas such as West Portal and Glen Park. Though most homes in Miraloma aren’t exactly in quick walking distance of retail areas beyond Portola’s Mollie Stone/Starbucks/Creighton’s Bakery strip, West Portal and Glen Park are a quick drive away (as are their respective Muni and BART rail stations).

Most Miraloma residents enjoy the quiet, decidedly suburban streets and find that the fog—which can be plentiful at times—adds an air of drama to their surroundings. The neighborhood is popular with young families who appreciate the fact that their kids can play outside, and that there are many schools in this part of town.

Here’s a roundup of new listings in the area so you can get a sense for value there:

530 Molimo
$949,000
4BR/3BA, 2294 square feet
530 Molimo (above) is a spacious, contemporary view home further up the hill near Mt. Davidson Park. There are four bedrooms across three levels, as well as a family room and office, and decks off two levels. Garage has space for two-car, side-by-side parking. 530 Molimo is situated on a cul-de-sac, which provides a good level of privacy. It’s a challenge finding this much space with views in San Francisco for under $1M, so buyers who value such attributes should certainly consider the property.

36 Juanita
$1,050,000
4BR/3BA, 1900 sq ft

36 Juanita (above) is located in the more central part of Miraloma, right off Portola. There’s a remodeled kitchen, and the master bedroom occupies the entire upper level. Natural light is king here, due to skylights and lots of windows. The fourth bedroom and third bathroom may be unwarranted, which means they weren’t necessarily original to the house and were possibly added at a later date without permits.

535 Teresita
$895,000
4BR/3BA, 2332 sq ft

Marketed as a fixer, 535 Teresita (above) is a fully detached home with city, bridge and Bay views. Along with a large eat-in kitchen, the home features a spacious, top-floor master suite, full-size basement with eight-foot ceilings, and garden with mature fruit trees. One-car garage, plus ample street parking. 535 Teresita is also not too far from the Portola retail area.

Miraloma Park Snapshot
Pros
Quiet, family-friendly environment
Many homes have views
Short drive from freeways, Muni, BART
More space for the money

Cons
Can be remote when you’re further from Portola
Foggy microclimate
Not in very close walking distance to popular retail areas

More About Miraloma
Zephyr Neighborhood Profile (Plus Video)
Nabewise Profile

Smackdown: Sea Cliff Condo vs. Miraloma Park House

If you have a $600,000 budget, you definitely have some options when it comes to properties in San Francisco. I thought I’d throw the smackdown spotlight on two very different properties in two popular neighborhoods. Which one would you pick?

In one corner is the condo in Sea Cliff:

6915 California is a recently condo converted unit that features one bedroom plus a sunroom. (The latter is currently staged as a bedroom, and the unit is being marketed as a two bedroom.) You have an updated bathroom and a nicely remodeled kitchen. The spacious living room has a fireplace, and there’s also a formal dining room. This is an excellent Sea Cliff location, so you’re in walking distance of Land’s End, the Legion of Honor and Lincoln Park. HOA dues are $220/month and there’s one-car parking, deeded storage plus a washer/dryer in the garage. This unit was last sold as a TIC for $565,000 in 2009. Current list price: $599,000.

In the other corner is the house in Miraloma Park:

116 Marietta has been on the market a couple of months, having started out with a $629,000 list price. This property also has two bedrooms and one bathroom. But also thrown in to the mix are two decks, a yard, garage, and bonus room. The property is in walking distance of Mollie Stone’s and the other shops on Portola, as well as central bus lines. It’s important to note that this house just sold in June for $610,000, and the seller is in escrow on another purchase. So this is looking like a pretty good deal on the horizon for someone. List price is $599,000.

What You Get For: Below the Average Price

We know the average price in San Francisco for a single-family home tends to be higher than that of California—as well as the rest of the country. The average house price year to date is $923,979, and the high dollar amount is due in no small part to the 55 houses out of 430 sold that changed hands for above the $1.5M mark.

I thought we’d check out four nice homes that have been recently listed for below the average price:

1509 47th Avenue, Outer Parkside
$689,000 3BR/1BA
The above beach house is solar powered, with a lot of little “green” touches throughout. It was last sold for $650,000 in 2004 and has been remodeled since then. The home features refinished wood floors, three bedrooms on the same level, a sunroom, and an eat-in kitchen with Marmoleum floors and Richlite countertops. There’s also a deck, cute garden and two-car garage. Plus, you’re a block from the beach.

We head further east to our next property in Miraloma Park:

124 Juanita, Miraloma Park
$879,000 3BR/2BA
This two-level, 1930s home has lovely period detail and a nicely remodeled kitchen. All three bedrooms are upstairs and there’s a living room with a wood-burning fireplace. 124 Juanita is right off Portola, so you’re close to the Mollie Stone’s shopping strip, as well as the Forest Hill Muni station. If you head further east on Portola, you’ll hit West Portal and its shopping/transportation area.

Next up is a stop in Bernal Heights:

137 Winfield, Bernal Heights
$629,000 2BR/1BA
This Victorian home is located in the prime north slope area of the neighborhood. It’s clean and in move-in condition, but could certainly use some updating. There’s no garage, so if you’re dead set on having parking, this is probably not the home for you. There are also some very nice views. You’ll have proximity to the Cortland retail strip, as well as the restaurants on/off Mission (Locavore, Emmy’s, Blue Plate, to name a few).

We end our tour in Potrero Hill:

1056 Carolina, Potrero Hill
$799,000 1BR/1BA
If you’re the Victorian cottage type, this home will fit the bill. It’s on the small side with about 1080 square feet, but has major views, a lot of charm and an unwarranted in-law with a private side entrance. So you can still have guests (or even tenants for some extra income). The front and rear yards are nicely landscaped. This isn’t ideal Potrero, locationwise, as you’re a little further southeast than most people want to be. But the house definitely smacks of San Francisco character.

How’s the Market In: Miraloma Park

I received an email from a prospective Miraloma Park seller this week, asking me how his local market is doing. So I thought it would be a good time to drill down on the nabe.

Miraloma Park is certainly holding its own in 2010. A total of 21 homes have sold this year, at an average price of $797,762. In general, you’re looking at paying in the $600,000s for homes that need work, and generally in the high $700,000s-$1.2M or more for a nicely done 3BR home in a good Miraloma location. The market is currently in a bit of a summer doldrum, with only three homes in contract. However, there are a dozen properties available, ranging in price from the mid $600,000s-$1,099,000. The hottie at the moment is 99 Marietta, a 4BR/2BA short sale home listed at $688,000 that will undoubtedly attract multiple offers. It’s located a short distance from the Mollie Stone’s retail area, which always jacks up the price.

The neighborhood will still continue to be popular with buyers who need more space in a well-maintained area that’s reasonably close to freeways and retail areas like West Portal and Stonestown.

Miraloma Home Awaits Buyers Atop Mountain on Marietta

It’s not the most attractive home by any means, but 199 Marietta does have a unique, bird’s-eye view of San Francisco. Located atop a hill with views of Glen Park Canyon/downtown, and graced with its own gated driveway (above), the 3BR/2BA home has about 1600 square feet and was built in 1956. List price is $990,000.

I haven’t seen the interior yet, but I’m betting it hasn’t changed much since 1956. And no word on structural soundness just yet. Barring any serious defects, you’re probably looking at a fairly pricey remodel to achieve fabulosity. Prices for 3BR homes in Miraloma tend to top out in the $800,000-$1M range. But they may not have such a unique location (though the property Walk Score is 71, so those who don’t want to jump in their car every time they want to go somewhere need not apply).

Miraloma Flip Hits Market, Fingers Crossed

Intrepid city home flippers are still out there, looking to make a few bucks on a quick remodel in San Francisco. The latest attempt is at 407 Myra, a 2BR/1B home that was in “very distressed condition” when it came on the market in February for $525,000:

But a buyer scooped it up for all cash at a $450,000 selling price in March. Since then, they’ve installed a new kitchen, replaced windows, and removed the vinyl siding, among other odds and ends. Back on the market at $699,000, 407 Myra does admittedly look better (though I’m thinking staging & professional photography might boost the interior shots a bit):

Will the flip be successful? In terms of location, Myra is in the more remote part of Miraloma, at the base of Mount Davidson. Homes in that location tend to sit longer. However, the obvious comp is over at 546 Myra, a 2BR/1BA with excellent views that sold for $700,000 shortly before 407 Myra closed. In terms of a flip, though, I would’ve expected another bedroom out of the effort, which would have really added key value.

District 4 Down Off Its High

Sales are a little off this year in what’s known as “District 4.” This is the area that encompasses neighborhoods such as Balboa Terrace, St. Francis Wood, Miraloma Park, Forest Hill Extension, Mount Davidson Manor and West Portal (as well as a few others). The area has been on a bit of a downswing since the beginning of the year. Indeed, of the 52 single-family homes sold in District 4′s neighborhoods with 94127 zip codes, 27 sold for less than asking.

There are currently 28 available listings with an average price of $1,381,217 and a days on market average of 66. But the 25 properties in contract have an average list price of $1,063,508. Looks like these current properties might have to move in price to attract buyers.

Buyers, District 4 may be the place to go if you’re looking for more house for your money—and some favorable negotiating.

Buyers Flock to District 4 for Single-Family Homes

There seem to be many buyers hunting for San Francisco single-family homes in District 4. In Realtors’ terms, District 4 is the area that encompasses Sunnyside; Miraloma Park; Westwood Park/Highlands; Mount Davidson Manor; Balboa/Ingleside Terraces; Monterey Heights; Sherwood Forest; Diamond Heights; Forest Hill/Extension; West Portal; Midtown Terrace; Forest Knolls and St. Francis Wood.

Many of these neighborhoods have homes that are worth less than $1M, and for single-family home buyers, that’s the sweet spot. I’m seeing a significant uptick in homes sales in the area, as evidenced by the number of properties that have gone into contract or are pending (in contract, with sale conditions removed).

No less than 37 single-family homes are on their way to closing sales, with an average list price of $1,001,451. Most were listed in the $700,000-$900,000 range. And many reportedly saw more than one offer. A total of 37 homes have closed escrow in the area since the beginning of the year, with eleven homes selling for above their asking prices (244 Santa Paula in Forest Hill was listed at $1,395,000 and sold for $1,520,000). But most sold for less than asking (most dramatically, 69 Amber in Diamond Heights listed at $1,250,000 and selling for $905,000, and Sunnyside’s 266-68 Monterey listed at $1,049,000 and selling for $700,000.)

There are 64 active listings in District 4, some of which have had significant and attractive price reductions. If you’ve been sitting on the fence for the past year but long to have a single-family home in the city, District 4′s neighborhoods will likely have something for you.

Miraloma, Marina, Mission Homes for the Holidays

What kind of properties come on the market the week before Christmas? A handful across several neighborhoods in San Francisco have appeared in search of buyers since late last week. Here are my picks for the decent ones that seem worth writing an offer for before you leave town:

Hot on the heels of its similar neighbor at 155 Stillings that garnered 13 offers earlier this month, 79 Melrose in Miraloma Park is an 806-square foot 2BR/1BA single-family home. It has a two-car garage and a remodeled kitchen (though a preliminary check doesn’t show any permits for the remodel). List price: $699,000.

3571 Pierce is in a sweet Marina location at Beach. The 2BR/1BA condo also has the expected sunroom in its floor plan, as well as one-car tandem parking, a fireplace, and formal dining room. HOAs are $160/mo. List price: $985,000.

3453 18th Street at Valencia is in the heart of the most desirable part of the Mission. This newly converted, top-floor condo in a two-unit building has 2BR/1BA and a remodeled kitchen, with an “additional bedroom/artist’s studio and half bath” on the ground level. This space is about 250 square feet and is being suggested for an in-law or au pair unit that could possibly generate income. There’s also one-car, tandem parking and HOA dues are $150/mo. List price: $799,000.

Geocaching in Miraloma Park & Mt. Davidson

A great way to get to know San Francisco better (and to pass the time with visiting relatives for the holidays) is to go geocaching.There are almost one million caches hidden worldwide, according to the Geocaching Web site. The activity involves using a GPS device in conjunction with the Geocaching Web site to find hidden containers.

I had the opportunity to go geocaching over the Thanksgiving holiday, and thought I’d share my experience with you. My partner and I decided to head to Miraloma Park and Mount Davidson (click here for a map) to find a couple caches. Our first one was off Myra, where we had to find some secret steps between people’s houses. Here they were:

A short while later, I was heading uphill to find a cache that was hidden in a fake rock, according to the instructions:

And about twenty minutes later, we found the cache:

This would be a great cache to seek with relatives. Once you’re up those steps and on the trail, it’s like you’re hiking somewhere outside San Francisco.

The other cache we hit was on the northeast side of Mount Davidson. We parked down the street from the trailhead, and then headed up. We were looking for an ammo box hidden somewhere near a dead Eucalyptus tree. The best part was when we got to the top, we had the honor of standing at the highest point in San Francisco. And the views were there to prove it:

We made the find after a while, and then descended. Fun outing—we also hit Golden Gate Park earlier that day. But since this is a real estate blog, I’ll throw in that Miraloma Park has some pretty good homes for sale. There are eight houses listed from $699,000-$1,098,000. All have been listed for an average of 42 days, so if you decide to look for a cache in the neighborhood, you might want to also look for a holiday house bargain.

Single-Family Smackdown: 440 Teresita vs. 847 Oak

It’s time to pick your favorite between two very different houses in the $1.2M range.

In one corner, we have 440 Teresita, in Miraloma Park:440teresita

This 3BR/2BA, 2200-square foot property has a whole Miami Beach thing going on—though ironically, I think it’d be out of place in Miami Beach. There seems to be a disconnect between the interior style and the exterior (with the exception of pastel paint colors). You’re not far from the Mollie Stone’s/Portola corridor, but as you’d imagine for Miraloma, the Walk Score is only a 77. But the large lot is a huge plus. List price: $1.2M.

847 Oak sits squarely in the other corner:oak

This 3BR/1.5BA, 2200-square foot Victorian is the quintessential San Francisco property. The architect-owner has done a superb job updating the home. Yes, it’s located on Oak, a notoriously busy Hayes Valley street. But if must have an iconic single-family home, this could be for you. There’s also the 92 Walk Score to crow about. List price: $1,175,000.

So which is it, readers?

50 Chaves Closes Escrow

50chavesListed in mid May for $719,000, Miraloma Park’s 50 Chaves experienced a torrent of open house visitors. The 2BR/1BA home is located near Mollie Stone’s, and isn’t far from Muni and the West Portal retail area. There was a fairly expensive termite report, but buyers liked the desirable Marina-style floorplan and two-car garage. Final selling price last week, amidst multiple offers: $780,000.