Luxury Market Going Strong in Fall 2014

250cumberland
San Francisco real estate in the $2M+ price range continues to experience a healthy sales volume. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of buyers, particularly those paying in cash. Chalk it up to two factors—tech company stock options, and buyers’ desire to live in large homes in prime neighborhoods.

Case in point: 250 Cumberland (above), initially sold in 2012 for $1,775,000 as a major two-unit fixer that had been partially gutted by a fire. Flash forward to 2014. Rebuilt as a 5BR/4.5BA, 3,974-square foot single-family, the home was purchased by cash buyers for $6,000,000 at the end of October. [Read more…]

What You Can Buy: Smart Investments for Owner Occupiers

One of the most strategic and desirable investments you can make in San Francisco is to purchase a three- to four-unit property that has one or more units vacant, a garage, and a good neighborhood location. Let’s face it, rents in the city are high, and if your rents reflect today’s market, you’ll be ahead of the game in the long run.

It’s extremely important to be well versed in San Francisco’s rent laws before you consider such a purchase. I’ve been a successful owner-landlord for the past 16 years, and there’s definitely a list of do’s and don’ts to which you’ll want to adhere. You also will want to have a large down payment or you’ll have no cash flow. Here are three properties worth a look, particularly if you’re in this for a long-term hold:

1031-1037divisadero
1031-1037 Divisadero
Neighborhood: NoPa
The Deets: Two vacant Victorian two-unit buildings on one lot with a capacity for eight-car parking. There are two 1BR/1BA units, and two 2BR/1BA flats.
List Price: $3.7M
The Scoop: NoPa’s become all the rage in the past couple years, so finding tenants for three of these nice units shouldn’t be a problem. The property was built in 1880 and has all the period details people love. You can move in to one of the larger units in the front building for your primary residence, and rent out the rest. 1031-1037 Divisadero is on a double lot and has updated kitchens/baths, and hardwood floors. The building came on the market at the end of August for $3.9M, so the current list price reflects a reduction. [Read more…]

Noe House + Income Unit = Cool Investment

676sanjose
The Victorian two-unit building with an unwarranted studio at 676 San Jose in Noe Valley is the perfect choice for buyers looking for a spacious single-family home. Because not only do you get a 4BR/2BA house with fabulous Victorian detailing throughout,but you also get a legal 2BR/1BA apartment downstairs and an uwarranted studio that’s great for guests, home office or au pair. I’ll be hosting an open house at 676 San Jose this Sunday from 2:00-4:00. [Read more…]

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.