Think Outside the Neighborhood Box for Under $1M

The single-family home market in San Francisco is a very competitive one, and the average price for a house is above $1M at this point in time. So it takes some serious strategizing, compromising and an open mind when it comes to finding a house for under a million dollars.

Most buyers in this price range realize quickly that if they want a house, they’ll need to go beyond buyer-saturated neighborhoods like Bernal Heights, Glen Park or West Portal. Because for every ten people who’d like to live in Bernal, there are maybe five that’ll consider less obvious and familiar areas.

That’s why I decided to highlight three neighborhoods that I believe are up-and-coming, meaning that someday, I may sit down with new buyers and hear them say that one of these areas is actually their target ‘hood.

Make no mistake: Homes in these neighborhoods are fetching multiple offers and over-asking prices. But if you approach your purchase the right way, your offer could be the one that prevails. So here, for your consideration, are my picks:

1. Ingleside
Average house price: $700,000
The Scoop: Has a solid retail strip with cafes, restaurants, gym, a Whole Foods, rail line and freeway access, and hasn’t been completely overrun by buyers just yet. Yes, the weather is foggy. But if you can deal with that, you will have a convenient location that’s a quick drive to Stonestown Galleria. There’s also a lot of student life with nearby City College. Developers are taking notice, too; there are at least two residential condo developments in the works on Ocean Avenue.
Cool House on the Market: 145 Lakeview
145lakeside
This cute 2BR/2BA corner home listed for $598,000 was recently remodeled and has a new furnace, tankless water heater, washer/dryer hookups, and double-paned windows. Though the floor plan is a little funky (e.g., the second bedroom is actually part of newly permitted space that could also function as a family room or gym), the house is located two blocks from the M muni line, four blocks from the Balboa BART station and 280. List price is $598,000.

2. Midtown Terrace
Average house price: $861,000
The Scoop: Literally located in the middle of the city, Midtown Terrace was developed on the western slope of Twin Peaks. You’ll find a lot of detached houses here, and many homes have views. The neighborhood is completely residential and doesn’t have its own retail area. But you can walk to the Mollie Stone’s nearby on Portola, and a bit further east is West Portal. Buses run along Portola, as well.
Cool House Recently on the Market: 45 Dellbrook
45dellbrook
45 Dellbrook is a gracious 3BR/2BA home that could use updating but is in overall good condition, and was listed for $799,000. All three bedrooms are on the main level, and there is a family room downstairs (with a bar!). The house went into contract within two weeks.

3. Crocker Amazon
Average house price: $614,725
The Scoop: Just south of Excelsior lies Crocker Amazon, another neighborhood populated with single-family homes. Nearby Mission Street provides multiple transportation lines, and the Balboa BART station is not very far. Good for commuting to downtown or the Peninsula. Two of my clients purchased a home in the area in late 2013, and were able to get past 18 other buyers for their home. They’re in the process of remodeling and are excited about their new ‘hood.
Cool House on the Market: 75 South Hill Blvd
75southhillblvd
The 2BR/1BA home at 75 South Hill is a great project house, as the kitchen needs work and there is expansion potential in the basement, which has high ceilings and parking for at least one car. Only blocks from City College and multiple elementary schools. List price is $599,000.

Just Sold: 2BR House in Crocker Amazon


My clients just purchased 181 Lowell, a house that was in the same family for years. They’re ready to remodel, and are excited about their new project. Apparently, 18 other buyers were also excited about the prospect, but we managed to secure the home and close before the end of the year. Just a couple blocks off Mission Street and featuring downtown views from the kitchen, 181 Lowell has plenty of room for expansion downstairs and lots of cool 1920s period detail. Special shout out to our lending team of Ryan Dang and Miky Cuo at Wells Fargo, as well as Chris Matthews at Old Republic Title. And thanks also to listing agent Kilby Stenkamp, who was a pleasure to work with. List price: $499,000.