Don’t Forget About Lofts in San Francisco

49zoe
Lofts have always been one of my favorite types of homes in San Francisco. With their high ceilings, open spaces and large windows, lofts always feel bigger than they actually are. Developers went on a loft-building spree in the late 1990s-early 2000s to create live-work housing in “transitional” neighborhoods like South of Market, The Mission, South Beach, and Dogpatch. And these properties still offer good bang for the buck.

The new construction coursing through the city no longer includes lofts. But it’s important not to overlook existing loft inventory, as it provides a unique, spacious form of housing that’s near downtown, freeways, public transportation and some of the best restaurants in the city. And most lofts come with parking and modest HOA dues, which can’t be said for today’s new construction condos. [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…]

What You Could’ve Bought: For Under the List Price

Buyers are paying an average of 12% over asking for houses and 10% for condos in the current San Francisco market. So I always catch a little thrill when I spot properties that sell for under the list price.

A handful of homes sold for under asking in April in popular neighborhoods. Let’s take a look at some sales that were possible without overbidding and waiving contingencies:

301 Main #20B
South Beach

List Price: $2.1M
Sale Price: $1,975,000
Days on Market (DOM): 50
Cash Sale: Yes
301Main_20B
Shed no tears for this seller, who managed to flip this unit for significantly more money. Purchased in October 2013 for $1.6M, this 2BR/2BA unit at The Infinity was listed again in February for $2.1M. That price apparently didn’t fly, but $1,975,000 did. If there’s ever a case that needs to be made for the strength of the 2014 market, #20B is a good sale to reference. [Read more…]

Latest SF Sales, Spotlight on SoMa

Who doesn’t love to look at sales reports hot off the presses? This edition of the Zephyr Market Tracker shows you what sold, and for how much above or below the list price.

We also look at what’s for sale in SoMa, and what Project Open Hand recently did for the community.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

Onyx in Potrero Knows Its Target Buyers

onyx_livingroom
I guess it was only a matter of time before someone decided to build a condo development with the look and feel of an Apple store. Sharing its name with an OS X utility app and saturated in white, Onyx in Potrero Hill certainly knows its buyer demographic.

I visited Onyx this week on my broker tour, and I do like the finishes and the location within the neighborhood. Onyx will ultimately house 41 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos across three stories and two buildings. (The second building will rise at the corner of 17th and Carolina, and will be completed in Fall 2015.) The two-story lobby has white porcelain flooring and “signature, ONYX stone.” You may stop momentarily to look for the Genius Bar, but the best bet is to either head up the stairs or take the elevator to the second floor to check out the available units. [Read more…]

What You Can Buy: Large Condos in San Francisco

San Francisco is a dense city, not unlike other popular urban areas. Many of its single-family homes and condos can average 1,000-1,200 square feet (or less). However, large condos are a fun find, and buyers who need more space typically snap them up quickly. Here’s a look at a trio of spacious units that recently hit the market:

620 Haight
Hayes Valley

3BR/2BA, 1827 sq feet
1-car tandem parking
List price: $1,099,000
620haight
I previewed the Edwardian top-floor flat at 620 Haight before it officially came on the market and was quite impressed with the space. This is a highly convenient location within steps to restaurants, bars, cafes and services, as well as a few blocks from two Muni rail lines. The unit features soaring ceilings, great period detail throughout and a nicely remodeled kitchen with plenty of room for entertaining. All three bedrooms are a good size (e.g., one isn’t a closet under the stairs). Bonus: There’s a private deck and shared manicured yard. HOA dues are $343.50/month. This unit was last sold as a TIC in 2005 for $1,110,000, after about $300,000 in renovations were completed.

881 Corbett #3
Twin Peaks

3BR/3.5BA, 2545 sq feet
1-car parking
List price: $1,549,000
881corbett_3
881 Corbett #3 is the two-level penthouse in a three-unit condo building. It’s detached on three sides, which translates into great natural light, and there’s also a huge, west-facing terrace. You can also enjoy the stunning view deck off the living room. So this condo is all about views, light, and more space than you’ll get in Noe Valley for the price. There are three master suites, so if you have kids, they’ll appreciate having their own bathrooms. The seller has agreed to pay HOA dues through August ($349/month), and you also have the option of parking a second car in front of the driveway because you’ll only be blocking your garage. Last sold in January 2012 for $1.3M, it will be interesting to see how much this condo has appreciated since then.

323 Mississippi
Potrero Hill

3BR/3BA, 1775 sq feet
1-car tandem parking
List price: $1,249,000
323mississippi
323 Mississippi has a house-like feel, and is situated in an ideal Potrero location around the block from Plow, Farley’s and half a dozen other popular restaurants. The unit was expanded into two floors about six years ago with the addition of a master bedroom on the garden level. Unlike the more contemporary Twin Peaks condo, this one is in a building constructed in 1909. The owners have preserved the picture moldings, coved ceilings and other period details, yet have updated the unit for more modern living. Amenities include in-unit laundry, interior garage access, additional storage and shared yard. And oh, yeah—three bathrooms.

Modest Price Increases in SF, Spotlight on Potrero Hill

The new Zephyr MarketTracker is out, and the biggest news is that prices in the single-family home and condo markets are only up 2.8% and 3.8%, respectively, over the past six months.

We also take a look at some properties in Potrero Hill (average price, roughly $950,000 for a home), as well as note that the move-in date is coming up for Nob Hill’s Marlow development.

Plus, details on the Fairmont’s giant gingerbread house! It’s all here in the latest edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker.

Top 5 Food Neighborhoods in San Francisco

One of the requirements I often hear when talking with home buyers is that they want to be in walking distance or at least a short drive from restaurants. So I’ve put together a list of my top five neighborhoods that offer standout and diverse restaurant choices. Here you go (not listed in any particular order):

1. Hayes Valley. Home to high-profile restaurants such as Rich Table, Boxing Room, Jardiniere, Absinthe, and Zuni, Hayes Valley continues to supply locals with great food. There are also excellent cafes and wine bars like Samovar, La Boulange, and Momi Toby’s Revolution Café and Art Bar. And don’t forget about the variety of brunch/lunch spots, delis, and an endless variety of ethnic restaurants and food stands.

2. The Mission. There’s no disputing the Mission’s prominent standing in the San Francisco food world. The lineup is awesome, and includes mainstays like Delfina, Flour and Water, Farina, Limon, along with “newer” hotspots such as Locanda, Central Kitchen, St. Vincent, and Local’s Corner. Not impressed? Also consider the more casual eateries that include Little Star, Pauline’s Pizza, Pizzeria Delfina, Mission Beach Café, Boogaloos and Pi Bar. And if take-out is your thing, the tons of taquerias or standbys like Old Jerusalem and Good Frikkin’ Chicken will keep you going.

3. South of Market. The blocks are longer and restaurants more spread out. But there’s a heavy concentration of excellent restaurants in SoMa, from Salt House and Benu to Anchor and Hope, RN74, AQ and Ame.

4. Dogpatch. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Dogpatch has the best neighborhood-level restaurants around. This area has really developed over the past decade, and restaurants and cafes are proliferating by the month. Some of the best: Piccino, Serpentine, Poquito and Piccolo. There’s also Yield Wine Bar, Kitchenette, Just For You Café, Oralia’s, and who could overlook The Ramp?

5. NoPa. This hot neighborhood boasts NOPA, Bistro Central Parc, Nopalito, Bar Crudo and Papalote Mexican Grill among its top places. More casual places like Candybar for desserts and Herbivore for vegetarian fare round out the offerings.

What You Can Buy: 2BR Condos

There’s a healthy inventory of condos on the market right now in San Francisco—particularly in popular neighborhoods which are convenient to transportation, restaurants and services. I thought I’d share some of my picks for newly listed condos that I would consider if I were searching for this type of property in the city:

50 Lansing #601
South Beach

2BR/2BA, 1499 sq ft
2-car parking
HOA dues: $763.43/month
List Price: $1,295,000

The Lansing is an 82-unit development right off Harrison and First that’s a great option for South Bay or financial district commuters. #601 has two balconies, a large, 640-square foot private roof terrace and two-car parking. (The latter is a challenge to find in the San Francisco condo market.) The well-appointed kitchen features Studio Becker cabinetry, and the unit has air conditioning, another thing you don’t find often in San Francisco. Common areas include a fitness center with sun deck, pano-view roof deck and on-site property manager. 50 Lansing is perfect for buyers who want to be near the Embarcadero waterfront, Ferry Building and everything that South Beach has to offer (including good weather). This unit sold in 2006 for $1,395,000.

628 Rhode Island
Potrero

2BR/3BA, 1850 sq ft
No parking
HOA dues: $332/month
List Price: $950,000

628 Rhode Island is great for buyers who are looking for a unique property that could use some cosmetic and reconfiguration work to bring out its full potential, in a prime Potrero location. The property consists of a three-unit association, and this particular unit is a freestanding cottage with a separate, rented studio space. The cottage is at the rear of the lot, amidst a very nice garden. It also has city views. 628 Rhode Island is located in the heart of Potrero, and is in proximity to the design district, restaurants, Anchor Steam Brewing Company and the freeway.

2750 Market #101
Corona Heights

2BR/2BA, 1528 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $623/month
List Price: $825,000

1980s construction may not have the classic San Francisco architectural charm, but it is extremely functional and typically more spacious. Witness 2750 Market #101, which has good natural light throughout, generous square footage and an open living/dining area. There’s a raised hearth fireplace, as well as recessed lighting and a walk-out deck. The remodeled kitchen has lots of storage space and hardwood floors. Yes, this building is right on Market at Douglass, so you traffic will be a presence. But the unit has double-paned windows, and many also have plantation shutters. Common areas include a roof deck with views and outdoor furniture. You’re just up the hill from the Castro and its Muni station, restaurants, services and bars. This unit last sold for $705,000 in 2009.

Strong Appreciation Expected in SF Market

With a 12.7% appreciation expected in San Francisco property values, our city is poised for strong growth in the near future.

Indeed, with 18.8% and 8.6% increases over the past 180 days in, respectively single-family home and condo/TIC prices, it certainly seems as if there’s no stopping the real estate juggernaut here.

We also check out San Francisco’s three most popular neighborhoods, along with recent sales stats in this edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker.

New Condos on Tap for Potrero, Dogpatch

Potrero and Dogpatch are the sites of two new condo developments currently under construction—Onyx and Millwheel North. Both are situated in very different locations, and have unique appeals:


1717 17th Street / Carolina
The Homes: Phase 1, 20 units, divided among one-, two- and three-bedroom plans
The Scoop: “Onyx” is located in a great part of Potrero, within walking distance to Whole Foods, World Gym, restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s across the street from Jackson Playground, so you get some green to look at. You can expect high-end finishes that will command top dollar, as well as parking for each unit and commercial spaces on the ground level. There will reportedly be 21 more units coming in Phase 2 of this project next year.
Buy If: You want a home in the heart of Potrero, as well as in proximity to Mission Bay and the freeways.
Developer: Paragon
Sales Begin: Spring 2013


1275 Indiana/1260 Minnesota
The Homes: 39 condos, mix of one-, two-, and three bedrooms for sale
The Scoop: Millwheel North follows the success of Millwheel South, which sold out rapidly in 2012, and is located right next door. Similar to Millwheel South’s layout, the North building will have addresses on Indiana and Minnesota, and both buildings will be linked by a common courtyard. A bulk of the units will be two bedrooms. There will be parking for each condo. The Indiana building faces 280 and a public green area, and the east-facing Minnesota side will be quieter. You’ll be in proximity to the Third Street rail, freeway and a healthy walk to the Dogpatch restaurant and cafe area on 22nd Street.
Buy If: You’re looking for a spacious condo with high-end finishes in a constantly developing neighborhood.
Developer: R Group, Inc.
Sales Begin: Late 2013/Early 2014

If you’re interested in taking a look at any of these condos, please let me know and we can schedule an appointment or get your loan preapproval going as soon as the sales office is in place. I can only assist you if I accompany you on your first visit to the sales office, and am happy to arrange for that at your convenience.

What You Can Buy: 2BR Condos

Two-bedroom condos are one of the most popular options for first-time home buyers in San Francisco. I thought we’d take a look at a trio of new listings that offer good space, cool locations and nice amenities for their price points:

1099 23rd Street #19
Dogpatch
2BR/2.25BA, 1904 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $641/month
List Price: $850,000

I’m digging 1099 23rd Street #19, a spacious tri-level loft with multiple skylights, soaring ceilings and a wall of windows. The updated kitchen has stainless-steel appliances, granite counters, and maple cabinets. There’s a large bedroom upstairs, and the lower level has the master suite with a second gas fireplace. Nice closet space and laundry room, too. HOA dues are on the high side for a 21-unit building in Dogpatch, but they include outside management and grounds maintenance. This is a solid Dogpatch location, in easy walking distance of all the restaurants and shops on and around 22nd Street, as well as near the Muni line and freeways.

3236 17th Street #1
Mission
2BR/2BA, 1534 sq ft
1-car pkg
HOA dues: $200/month
List Price: $899,000

Another spacious condo, 3236 17th Street #1 is situated on the first floor of a three-unit building constructed in 2008. The open floor plan has a remodeled kitchen, and the main living spaces are nicely separated from the bedrooms by a long hallway. There’s side-by-side parking for one car, a storage room, and shared rear yard. 3236 17th Street is right in the thick of it all in the Mission, with a bike lane outside its door and plenty of restaurants, shops and cafes a few steps away.

899 North Point #1
Russian Hill
2BR/2BA, 1171 sq ft
1-car pkg
HOA dues: $312/month
List Price: $949,000

899 North Point #1 is an excellent option for buyers who want to be in a convenient location close to The Bay. The unit is located on the first floor of a three-unit building, and it’s another contemporary property that was constructed in 2009. As is typical for more recently built condos, the living/dining/kitchen areas are open and provide good space for entertaining. The bedrooms are a decent size, and the master has a bath with a stall shower. Amenities include radiant heat, hardwood floors and views of Mount Tam and The Bay from the living room. You’re a stone’s throw from iconic Ghirardelli Square, Aquatic Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach. And the cable car stops one block away!

Which Neighborhoods Have the Best Weather?

If you’re new to San Francisco, then it’s important to be aware that our city has a variety of microclimates. One minute you can be driving around with the top down, sweating, and the next you’re turning on the seat warmers. If you’re considering purchasing a home here and are particularly weather sensitive, it’s important to know which neighborhoods tend to have the most favorable climates.

Of course, San Francisco has citywide fog and wind no matter where you go. But some areas have longer periods of time during a given day when the sun shines and the wind is at a minimum. So here’s a quick rundown:

Bernal Heights. Make a good garden space a priority in Bernal, because you’ll be able to spend a lot of time enjoying it. And the Cortland retail strip is usually pretty hoppin’ because you can wander in and out of the shops and restaurants and not have to keep zipping and unzipping your jacket.

The Mission. Bernal’s neighbor is the Mission, which also shares in the weather fun. The nice part about the Mission is that the dining scene has exploded, so there are tons of restaurant options, as well as unique shops along Valencia and throughout the neighborhood. If your commute involves walking to BART at either 16th/24th and Mission, your morning and evening strolls won’t force you to confront driving winds.

Noe Valley. I live in the part of Noe that’s defined as “Upper Noe”—the area bordered by Guerrero, Cesar Chavez, 30th Street, and up as far as Diamond. For the most part, you can avoid the high winds in Noe, but it does depend on how into the “valley” part you are. Most days when I walk my dogs in the late afternoon, I’m wearing sunglasses and have a light jacket on. However, up there in Diamond Heights, the fog hangs thick. And when I drive down, say, Clipper, from Portola in the Twin Peaks area, I typically experience a transition from no sun and heavy fog to sun. There’s a notable difference every time.

South Beach. Located right off The Bay, South Beach is blessed with lots of sun most of the time. This is conducive to a very desirable, urban lifestyle that involves walks to the Ferry Building, runs along the Embarcadero, and Giants games.

South of Market. The blocks are long in SoMa, but that’s okay because if you’re running, biking or walking, you’re not being blown into traffic. The neighborhood is always developing, and it’s definitely the most urban area in this list. But having good weather is key to enjoying those shared rooftop decks that pervade SoMa living.

Mission Bay. Constantly in development, Mission Bay has amenities like Mission Creek Park, the ballpark, and outdoor dining. Developers have taken advantage of the on-the-Bay setting by incorporating as many deeded outdoor spaces as they can in condo complexes.

Potrero Hill/Dogpatch. Potrero is a well-established neighborhood offering a mix of residential and industrial properties, and Dogpatch (a.k.a. the Central Waterfront) has truly been transformed over the past decade into a hub for local businesses, restaurants, wine bars and the like. The T Muni line connects Dogpatch to downtown, and the freeways are extremely convenient to access.

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.