RSVP This Week for Home Buyer Boot Camp!

Time is running out for RSVPs—Get in shape for the Spring real estate market by attending our Home Buyer Boot Camp! Back by popular demand, Boot Camp will whip you through the ins and outs of getting financing, writing a winning offer and completing a smooth transaction. We’ll give you tons of practical, useful information you won’t find anywhere else.

Here are the deets:
Date: Saturday, April 19th
Time: 10:00-noon
Place: 1746 18th Street (betw Arkansas & Carolina in Potrero Hill)
Your Hosts: Yours truly, blogger-Realtor Eileen Bermingham of Zephyr Real Estate, and loan extraordinaire Mike Koran of Primary Residential Mortgage.

We’ll have refreshments and we won’t make you do push-ups. RSVP today to Eileen at ebermingham@zephyrsf.com, or call/text at 415.823.4656. I’ll confirm your reservation. Space fills up quickly, so please RSVP as soon as you can so we can guarantee you a seat.

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.

229 States
Corona Heights

List Price: $2,050,000
Sale Price: $1,925,000
DOM: 27
Cash Sale: No
229states
This ultra-modern, 2BR/2.5BA view townhouse on a great block in the neighborhood was designed by well-known architect Zack de Vito. The property was very well appointed, but a little on the small side (1545 sq feet) for buyers in the $2M range.

1806 20th Street
Potrero Hill

List Price: $1,650,000
Sale Price: $1,585,000
DOM: 38
Cash Sale: No
1806_20th
1806 20th is a two-level condo on a prime Potrero block, in the 86-unit development called Victoria Mews. Featuring three bedrooms and technically one bathroom—one bath was converted to a laundry room—the unit had stunning city views and a remodeled kitchen.

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!

RSVP for Home Buyer Boot Camp!

Get in shape for the Spring real estate market by attending our Home Buyer Boot Camp! Back by popular demand, Boot Camp will whip you through the ins and outs of getting financing, writing a winning offer and completing a smooth transaction. We’ll give you tons of practical, useful information you won’t find anywhere else.

Here are the deets:
Date: Saturday, April 19th
Time: 10:00-noon
Place: 1746 18th Street (betw Arkansas & Carolina in Potrero Hill)
Your Hosts: Yours truly, blogger-Realtor Eileen Bermingham of Zephyr Real Estate, and loan extraordinaire Mike Koran of Primary Residential Mortgage.

We’ll have refreshments and we won’t make you do push-ups. RSVP today to Eileen at ebermingham@zephyrsf.com, or call/text at 415.823.4656. I’ll confirm your reservation. Space fills up quickly, so please RSVP as soon as you can so we can guarantee you a seat.

Where’s 2014 Going in SF Real Estate?

The first quarter of 2014 is history, but the sales stats and other market conditions I’m experiencing give us an idea as to where the market is heading this year.

Let’s take a look at activity for single-family homes and condos first:
Single-Family Home Market
# Sold: 442
Average Price: $1,401,901
Percentage of Cash Sales: 25%
# Homes Sold for $1M or Less: 226
Where to Buy for $1M or Less: Outer Parkside/Sunset; Parkside/Central Sunset; Merced Heights; Ingleside; Midtown Terrace; Miraloma Park; Sunnyside; Bayview; Crocker Amazon; Excelsior; Outer Mission; Visitacion Valley; Portola; Silver Terrace.
Volume Lower, Prices Higher: It was full speed ahead for the single-family home market in the first quarter. Though volume was down slightly from the first quarter of 2013 when 497 houses sold, the average price was up from $1,164,962 (Q1 2013). Of the 109 cash sales, more than half were for homes above $1M, including a $10M home on Green Street in Pacific Heights and a $7M property on Duncan in Noe Valley.

Condo Market
# Sold: 568
Average Price: $1,033,560
Percentage of Cash Sales: 24%
# Homes Sold for $1M or Less: 321
Where to Buy for $1M or Less: Ingleside Heights; Diamond Heights; 1BRs in Eureka Valley and NoPa; Western Addition; Downtown; Van Ness Corridor; Bernal Heights; Mission; Mission Bay; Potrero; SoMa; South Beach; Dogpatch.
Volume Again Lower, Prices Higher: The condo market also didn’t miss a beat where prices were concerned. A total of 546 condos sold for an average of $901,046 in Q1 2013. A year later, the average has broken $1M.

Where Are We Headed in 2014?
I’ve received at least half a dozen calls or emails from clients in the past two weeks asking whether it’s a good time to sell. The concern is that selling now may find them leaving money on the table if prices increase.

I think that if you own a home right now and are in a position to sell it, you should take advantage of this market. For one thing, interest rates are on the rise. And though 25% of buyers are running around with cash, the other 75% of the buyer pool will be sensitive to higher interest rates, and will be watching their offer prices a bit more closely. I also believe that we’re in somewhat of a peak period, and that prices have only so much further to go this year before they flatten. I didn’t feel that way in 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. But based on market activity to date, it feels like 2014 will be different.

Another major factor that may keep resale prices even in 2014 is the expected increase in inventory. We’ll see the typical inventory bump in Spring and Fall, as well as many new construction condo projects kicking off sales on many buildings in the city pipline. This means that buyers will have more properties to choose from. And for sellers, that will translate into less offers per property and less intense overbidding.

What You Can Buy: For Up to $500,000

symphonytowers
The average condo price in San Francisco in the first quarter was just over $1M, and for houses, it was around $1.4M. So what can you buy if you can afford…half that amount or less?

I surveyed first-quarter sales to nail down specifics about what you can expect to be available in the $500,000 range. So let’s get to the point and look at each property category:

Condos
The condo category will have the most inventory in this range. Studios or one bedrooms will come up most frequently in larger buildings in neighborhoods such as Ingleside Heights, South Beach, Downtown, the Van Ness corridor and Potrero. For example, a 400-square-foot studio with parking at 750 Van Ness in Symphony Towers (pictured above) sold for $454,000 and overlooked the courtyard.

Other buildings that often have units in this range are 631 O’Farrell and 900 Bush, along with 8400 Oceanview Terrace in Ingleside Heights.

Two-bedroom condos do come up for under $500,000, but are typically located in Hunters Point or Crocker Amazon.

About a quarter of condos in this range were purchased in cash transactions in the first quarter.

Single-Family Homes
Inventory here mostly consists of houses that need work or are tenant occupied (or both) in the city’s southeastern neighborhoods such as Bayview and Visitacion Valley. Many of these are purchased in cash transactions.

TICs
It’s possible to purchase a TIC in this range that will be in a smaller, more charming type of building, in a more popular neighborhood, However, such units will be in properties with three or more units and will require fractional financing.

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

338 Spear #7J
South Beach Condo

1BR/1BA, 1 pkg, 1025 sq ft
List Price: $849,000
Sale Price: $1,130,000
Overbid Amount: 33%
What else can you tell me? The buyer for this one-bedroom in the Infinity Tower 2 made a pre-emptive offer that the seller accepted. Marketed as a “unique floor plan of a large 1 BR plus den with a private patio for less than $850 per square feet!”, the buyer one-upped that proposition by paying $1102/sq ft.
338spear_7

49 Dorland
Mission Dolores TIC

2BR/2BA, 1 pkg, 1032 sq ft
List Price: $699,000
Sale Price: $926,000
Overbid Amount: 32.5%
What else can you tell me? TIC with fractional loans in a three-unit building. Parking tandem. Building Ellis Acted in 2004 by previous owners.
49dorland_2

SF Real Estate Market Strong, Despite Earthquake Risks

I was interviewed for a story that ran yesterday in the British daily The Guardian about the threat of a large earthquake and how that might influence people when they consider purchasing real estate in San Francisco.

Yes, local market is particularly strong right now, and yes, I routinely have conversations with home buyers about the concept of earthquakes and how they can protect their investment. When it comes down to it, it’s important to know what ground you’re on and how solid your foundation and other seismic components are.

The Guardian’s Nate Berg did a great job presenting all angles of this topic. Check it out here:
When, Not If: How Do San Franciscans Live With the Threat of the Next Quake?

And if you’re interested in my take on earthquake insurance, this past blog post discusses that:
Should You Buy Earthquake Insurance?

What You Can Buy: View Condos

San Francisco properties with views of the hills, city skyline, ocean or Bay command a premium. The whole “million dollar view” tag line really does ring true for some homes.

And when it comes to condos in centrally located neighborhoods, views are the icing on the cake. View condos certainly fall under the “luxury” category, and they’ll typically cost above the $1M average for a two-bedroom unit.

I surveyed the market and picked out my favorite three view condos to spotlight today:

657 Corbett #3
Twin Peaks

4BR/3BA, 2101 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $316.22/mo
List price: $1,495,000
657corbett657 Corbett #3 is the penthouse condo in this four-unit building, and it certainly pulls out all the stops. The two-level residence features walls of glass with stunning views of downtown, The Bay and beyond. And it’s a corner unit, so you also get great east and south views. Three bedrooms are all on the same level, with the fourth bedroom on the main level. Though you’re not in the heart of a retail area, the reason to live on Corbett is for its views. Because let’s face it, you don’t get views in the flatlands of the Castro. Quick comp: #1 on the first floor of 657 Corbett is a 4BR/3BA unit with 2007 sq feet that’s in contract with a list price of $1,395,000.

2139 Green #F
Pacific Heights

2BR/2BA, 1460 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $526.27/mo
List price: $1,795,000
239green_f
The best part about 2139 Green #F is its 500-sq foot deck with amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz and then some. The building was constructed in 1988, so the interior is modern in design. This is another two-level unit, and the master suite, second bedroom and two baths are downstairs. The master features French doors that lead to a colorful garden and patio. An elevator in this nine-unit building takes you right to your front door, too. Quick comp: The slightly larger 2BR/2.5BA unit at #E sold a year ago in a cash transaction for $1,750,000. That also had a large deck, striking views and a similar floor plan.

219 Brannan #18A
South Beach

3BR/2BA, 1611 sq ft
2-car parking
HOA dues: $1013/mo
List price: $2,500,000
219brannan_18a
Perched on the top floor of 219 Brannan, the penthouse at #18A has soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and views spanning Twin Peaks to the downtown skyline and the Bay Bridge. There’s a bedroom terrace that lets you really connect to that big view, as well as a chef’s kitchen and rare two-car parking. HOA dues include attended lobby, fitness center, concierge, pool, and security service. Quick comp: The 2BR/2BA at #16D with northeast views of the skyline and Bay sold last month for $2.1M in a cash transaction. #18A itself was sold in 2007 for $2,150,000, and then again in 2010 for $1,650,000.

Spotlight on Mission Dolores Park, SF Conserves Water

The latest Zephyr MarketTracker gives you the scoop on Mission Dolores Park’s renovations, and also takes a look at a couple properties on the market in this very popular neighborhood.

We also congratulate San Franciscans for leading the way where water conservation is concerned!

You’ll also see recent sales and a market overview. It’s all here in the current edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker!