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...]

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...]

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. [Read more...]

The Most Competitive Condo Markets in San Francisco Right Now

One of the keys to success in the current San Francisco market is knowing which neighborhoods are the most competitive. Armed with that intel, you can more easily gauge how much to offer on a property, or what list price will work to your advantage.

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve been running a feature highlighting extreme overbidding for several months, regularly inducting new members into the SF Overbidders Club. The reality is that we have many neighborhoods in San Francisco that are showing double-digit overbid percentages, and it’s important to know what the selling patterns are when you’re determining values.

When it comes to the San Francisco market, these patterns can change pretty quickly. My sales data is based on reported MLS sales in the time period April 1 – May 12, 2014, so it’s the most current info available. [Read more...]

House Flippers Hit 2014 Market

Many contractors and small-scale developers who snapped up properties with their cash in the last two years in San Francisco have completed high-end renovations and are now listing those homes for sale. They were able to buy at a time when the market wasn’t quite as hot as it is right now. And we all know that the successful flip largely depends on timing.

Here are three flips that recently came on the market, with their before and after renderings:
212 & 212A Chattanooga
Noe Valley

3BR/3.5BA (front) / 2BR/2BA (rear)
List Prices: $2,495,000 / $1,595,000
212chattanooga_before
212chattanooga
212 Chattanooga is the front house on a lot that holds two renovated houses. The front (above) was purchased in September 2012 for $750,000. It’s now a three-level home with a tiered main level that has direct access to a west-facing yard.

The rear house, 212A Chattanooga, was sold in the same timeframe for $450,000 as a tenant-occupied cottage. This property is accessed via a walkway that runs alongside 212 Chattanooga. There’s no parking for the rear house, but the idea of a “Vespa pad” is cute:
212achattanooga_before
212achattanooga
I liked both houses, though the downside to the rear property is that it’s oriented toward a large, unattractive rental building. Getting to and from the property isn’t glamorous via the narrow walkway. But the location is excellent, and I think it’d be ideal to purchase the entire property as a family compound. [Read more...]

What You Can Buy: Vacant Two-Unit Buildings

The vacant two-unit building is one of the holy grails of San Francisco real estate. Two different owners can partner and pursue condo conversion, or a buyer looking to live in one unit and rent out the other can also benefit.

There are three such properties on the market right now, in transit-rich locations with plenty of restaurants, cafes and retail in walking distance. Let’s take a look at what’s out there:

159-161 Belvedere
Cole Valley

Two 2BR/1BAs
Parking included
List Price: $1.6M
159_161belvedere
159-161 Belvedere is one of those buildings that’s been in the same family for a long time. As such, it needs some heavy updating but is in a location (and has the square footage) that warrant the investment. There’s additional space in each unit that’s been used as a third bedroom, and there is also very nice preserved period detail that hopefully the next owner will maintain. The garage is huge and can accommodate three or more cars if parked in tandem. Excellent neighborhood location that’s near in heart of Cole Valley and also a block from Haight Street. [Read more...]

“White House” Maintains SoMa Design Trend in Noe Valley

28th_exterior
The newly renovated “White House” at 235 28th Street is right in line with one of the two design trends that have swept Noe Valley over the past few years—a completely renovated, whitewashed Victorian that looks nothing like a Victorian inside. You could be in SoMa based on the finishes and lack of period detail.

San Francisco real estate followers may remember this property when it sold for $1.3M in April 2013 and looked like this:
28th_before
The renovation approach follows in the footsteps of many recent, similar projects. For example, the main level has been opened up, and there are now four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Three bedrooms are on the ground level. And they come with living/kitchen/dining areas and yards like this:
28th
yard_28th

At the $3M price point in the neighborhood, this is about what you can expect. [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

2014 Welcomes New Members to SF Overbidders Club

2013 was the year that aggressive overbidding for San Francisco properties returned in full force. It does appear that, based on January 2014′s numbers, buyers are calming down ever so slightly when it comes to throwing money at houses and condos.

But I did manage to find three homes that attracted buyers who were wiling to pay 25% or more over the last price. Say hello to the latest members of the SF Overbidders Club:

746 South Van Ness #A
The Mission

3BR/2.5BA
List Price: $863,824
Sale Price: $1,210,000
Overbid Amount: 40%
Closed Escrow: 1/9/14
746svness
We can always count on a 3BR Mission condo to attract a cash buyer who’s ok with paying 40% more than asking. This unit is remodeled, with garage parking and patio, as well as a shared yard among the three units in the building.

237 Sanchez
Eureka Valley

2BR/1BA + in-law unit
List Price: $1,195,000
Sale Price: $1,500,000
Overbid Amount: 26%
Closed Escrow: 1/3/14
237 sanchez
Featuring a 2BR main house with a 2BR in-law unit downstairs, 237 Sanchez captured the attention of buyers who most likely really wanted to be in this Castro/Duboce Triangle location. No garage, but who needs one when you have Muni right nearby?

200 Amber
Diamond Heights

4BR/2.5BA
List Price: $1,299,000
Sale Price: $1,670,000
Overbid Amount: 29%
Closed Escrow: 1/10/14
200amber
It’s not that often that a cash buyer swoops into sleepy Diamond Heights and bids way up on a home. But that was the case for 200 Amber, an Eichler with a lot of bedrooms. Located half a mile from Safeway and the Diamond Heights shopping center, this house also has hills/canyon views.

SF Overbidders Head Into the Holidays

The two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving saw a flurry of buying activity in San Francisco. However, the level of overbidding wasn’t as rabid as it was a few months ago. I did manage to find three new SF Overbidders Club members (criteria: paying 25%+ over the list price) who turned up in the Castro, Marina, and Presidio Heights.

1032 Castro
Eureka Valley

3BR/2BA
List Price: $959,000
Sale Price: $1,340,000
Overbid Amount: 40%
Closed Escrow: 11/15/13

This modest home with a quirky downstairs third bedroom and bath received an onslaught of offers, primarily because it was a house vs. a condo, in a popular location—and also had two-car parking.

2451 Bay
Marina

4BR/2BA
List Price: $2,375,000
Sale Price: $3,250,000
Overbid Amount: 37%
Closed Escrow: 11/27/13

Graced with odd curb appeal, 2451 Bay is situated directly across the street from the Palace of Fine Arts—which is fabulous if you don’t mind the constant presence of tourists outside your door most of the time. The spacious home has been updated throughout, and also has a large, unwarranted one-bedroom unit and a large garage. Paying almost 40% over asking in all cash did the trick!

3311 Jackson
Presidio Heights

3BR/2.5BA
List Price: $2,880,000
Sale Price: $3,701,000
Overbid Amount: 28.5%
Closed Escrow: 11/15/13

3311 Jackson was in the same family for six generations, which is code for “needs updating and probably a major renovation.” But that didn’t scare off the buyer, who paid almost 40% over the list price for this large corner home in a great location just south of the Presidio.

What You Can Buy—Before the End of the Year

There’s still time to get into contract and complete a home purchase before the end of the year. There are about 14 business days left before Christmas, so buyers with cash or very large down payments will be in strong demand to achieve the year-end selling goal.

If you’re one such buyer, you may want to consider one of the newer listings that have recently come on the market. Here’s a look at three homes that I love, and which I believe have list prices that leave room for the requisite overbidding:

3754 Cesar Chavez
Noe Valley

2BR/1BA, 936 sq feet
$895,000

3754 Cesar Chavez is the classic small Noe Victorian that’s great for a single person or couple planning to live there for a few years before upgrading to a larger, more spacious place. The home is well appointed, with an open, bright kitchen, period detail throughout and a deck off the rear. Brick foundation and one-car parking in the garage. Though the house is situated on a busy stretch of Cesar Chavez between Guerrero and Dolores—and backs up to the Samoan Church/sits next to a parking lot, the location is central to BART, Muni and the freeways. You’re also in proximity to the Mission restaurants and shops, as well as the excellent 26th & Guerrero grocery store around the corner.

16 Amber
Diamond Heights

2BR/2BA, 2 pkg
$699,000

Yes, Diamond Heights is foggy and somewhat remote. But where else can you get a top-floor condo with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two-car parking and views listed for under $700,000? 16 Amber is in a smaller complex with a building entrance that’s shared by only three other units. The condo has a balcony with south-facing views and an updated kitchen. HOA dues are just under $500. You’re a 10-minute walk from Safeway, and five minutes’ drive to 280.

2374 Union
Cow Hollow

3BR/2BA, 1696 sq ft
1 pkg
$1,399,000

2374 Union is my pick of the bunch here, and with good reason. First, this 2300 block of Union is completely residential but is only one block east from the retail stretch of Union. Second, the condo itself has all the amenities—remodeled kitchen, parking, shared yard—and is in a well-preserved 1906 building. There are four units in the building, and HOA dues are a low $394/month.

Just Sold: Noe Valley Victorian Condo


My clients just purchased this quintessential, top-floor Noe Valley 2BR condo in a prime neighborhood location. Featuring wonderful period detail throughout, a formal dining room and private deck with panoramic, south-facing views, 21 Clipper also has parking and a lovely garden. We managed to get past five other buyers who submitted offers, and my clients are thrilled with their new home. And a shout out to the fabulous Patrick Skovran at Wells Fargo for efficiently getting our loan through at the holidays, as well as Charles Richards’ team at Chicago Title. List price: $899,000.

[Please note that we're taking a Thanksgiving break at Inside San Francisco Real Estate. Have a restful and fun Thanksgiving, and check back in on Monday for more market insights & shenanigans.]

SF Overbidders Club: 2-Unit Building Edition

San Francisco’s two-unit building market has been quite busy in 2013. No surprises there, such properties—particularly when they’re completely vacant—are excellent options for buyer partners or those who want to owner occupy one unit and rent out the other.

A total of 303 two-unit buildings have sold citywide, year-to-date. And 29% of them were sold in all-cash transactions. Of the 112 such buildings sold from July-November 12, 2013, 66% were sold for more than the list price, which mirrors the selling pattern for single-family homes and condos in San Francisco.

Let’s welcome some new two-unit building owners to the SF Overbidders Club. Remember, you can only gain entry into the club if you pay 25% or more over the list price:

157-159 Collingwood
The Castro

List Price: $1,600,000
Sale Price: $2,125,000
Overbid Amount: 33%
Closed Escrow: 11/6/13

These two spacious, vacant units in a prime Eureka Valley location are exactly what a lot of buyers are looking for. Each unit had an oversized living room, formal dining room, large eat-in kitchen, and original hardwood floors. And the kitchens provided the opportunity to do your own remodeling. There was also a large, unwarranted in-law unit on the main level, as well as a large yard. (But only one parking space.) In the end, the seller received ten offers, five of which were all cash. The winning offer hit it out of the ballpark with a contingency-free contract and cash.

426-28 17th Avenue
Central Richmond

List Price: $899,000
Sale Price: $1,325,000
Overbid Amount: 47%
Closed Escrow: 9/23/13

This is another vacant two-unit building, with one 2BR unit and one 1BR. The property needed work, with broken back stairs and general TLC needed throughout. Kitchens and baths were in their 1950s original condition, too. In walking distance of Gaspare’s Pizza and Aziza on Geary, as well as four blocks north of Golden Gate Park, 426-28 17th Avenue is in a very convenient part of the Richmond.

29-31 Delmar
The Haight

List Price: $1,499,000
Sale Price: $1,988,000
Overbid Amount: 33%
Closed Escrow: 11/7/13

Yet another vacant two-unit building hit the market with a splash, in a popular Haight location. Each flat had 2BRs, split bath, living rooms with bay windows, formal dining rooms, and 1915 period detailing. The large garage had four-car capacity, and there was a landscaped garden. 29-31 Delmar was also sold in an all-cash transaction.