Inventory Down, But Don’t Overlook Older Listings

It’s no secret that San Francisco housing inventory is pretty low right now. The above graph shows you how inventory levels have steadily decreased over the past two years.

So in one corner, we have prospective buyers out there who are feeling an urgent need to make a purchase, fueled by high rents and low mortgage rate. But in the other corner, we have a limited supply of homes to meet the need. What’s a buyer to do?

Answer: Don’t fall into the trap of only considering new listings. It may take a little more work and negotiating, but hunting down a home that’s been on the market for 30+ days may turn out to be the solution. With that in mind, I’m going to regularly feature trios of these types of listings across all property types and price ranges. Sometimes calling such listings to buyers’ attention gets the wheels turning.

939 Jackson #303 / Nob Hill
List Price: $869,000
2BR/1.5BA, 1131 sq ft / Built 2005
Days on Market (DOM): 75

Background: 939 Jackson #303 is one of those centrally located condo listings that makes me wonder why a buyer hasn’t yet snatched it up. The unit features an open floor plan, city views, nice finishes throughout and a limestone-tiled gas fireplace in the living room. One-car parking is included, and there’s also a shared roof deck. There are nine units in the building, and HOA dues are $396/month.

Location: Two cable car lines pass by, and the building is in walking distance of North Beach, Russian Hill, Chinatown, Financial District and downtown.

Market perspective: The average 2BR condo sale in Nob Hill from June-November 2012 clocked in at $970,758 for an average of 1280 square feet, and the most relevant comp is the 2BR on the same floor with similar square footage that sold in August for $905,000. Current list price is $869,000, down from $888,000.

290 Dorantes / Forest Hill
List Price: $1,385,000
3BR/3.5BA, 2464 sq ft / Built 1948
Days on Market (DOM): 62

Background: 290 Dorantes is a detached, mid-century single-family home with a nicely remodeled kitchen, two bedrooms on the main level and a master bedroom up. There are three decks, as well as a lovely garden. A bonus room and bath are downstairs, with a separate entrance, along with two-car parking. (And a termite inspection on file for only $3,000 in recommended repair work.)

Location: 290 Dorantes is in proximity to the West Portal retail area, and also happens to be located on a lovely, tree-lined street.

Market perspective: The property came on the market with an initial list price of $1,450,000, so the price has come down considerably since then. The 3BR/3.5BA home next door just sold for $1,485,000.

997 Carolina / Potrero Hill
List Price: $579,000
2BR/1BA, 1067 sq ft / Built 1978
Days on Market (DOM): 104

Background: It’s a challenge to find a two-bedroom condo in the city in this price range, as some of my buyer clients will attest. Take note of 997 Carolina, a well-appointed unit with a split-level floor plan that provides a nice separation between living space and bedrooms. The unit has pano views and access to a large, private deck, as well as a shared yard and one-car parking. And there’s a fireplace in the living room, too. There’s only one other unit in the building, and HOA dues are $80/month.

Location: 997 Carolina is situated in a reasonable location within Potrero that has an 83 Walk Score.

Market perspective: The unit was originally listed for $649,000, and last sold in 2006 for $665,000. The sellers just reduced the price yesterday from $599,000 to the current $579,000. Good comps for 997 Carolina are two 2BR condos that sold in June 2012 on the 600 block of Carolina for $700,000 each.