Marina vs Mission, MoMa Update & More

The latest San Francisco numbers are out, and you can get the details in the latest MarketTracker. (Surprise: House and condo prices are up over the past 180 days.)

We also present a Mission vs Marina smackdown, along with an update on the Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming expansion. Plus, get the deets on Mission Playground’s excellent upgrades that will really benefit the neighborhood.

It’s all here in this issue of MarketTracker. Enjoy!

Mission Flat Won’t Leave You at Loss for Wacked Ice Cream

I checked out 2741 Harrison on tour last week and really liked it for those buyers looking for a spacious condo in a fairly central part of the Mission. And the best part: You’re about half a block down from adventurous ice cream shop Humphry Slocombe, famous for its bizarre flavors like government cheese, boccalone prosciutto and pink grapefruit tarragon (among many others).

But back to the property. The entire building was purchased as two units for $1,050,000 in 2004, and was subsequently condo converted. The lower 2BR/2BA unit was sold in July 2009 for $725,000 and now the top unit is available. 2741 Harrison is a 3BR/1.5BA flat with large rooms, a remodeled kitchen, a sunroom, and rear stairs that lead to a shared garden. List price is $725,000. There’s no garage, but the BART station is about six blocks away, and two ZipCar stations are nearby on 24th Street. I’d definitely recommend this flat to buyers who want some room, great weather, and close proximity to the shops/restaurants on the 24th Street corridor. Walk Score is 95.

A Little Bird Told Me About a Really Cool House in the Mission

If you’e looking for a nicely done 3BR home in a hopelessly hip location, 30 Bird Street may be for you. Located on a little stretch of street off Dearborn, 30 Bird sits on a corner lot and has a wood-burning fireplace, formal dining room, excellent kitchen and south-facing garden. Two bedrooms on the main level, master suite on the garden level. Here are the chef’s kitchen and master suite:

I’d say this one won’t be around too long. Contrast it with, say, the 3BR/2BA modern condo on 22nd Street and South Van Ness that just closed escrow for $1,025,000, and I’d say 30 Bird is a good deal.

Mission a Magnet for Tech Workers—and Rising Home Values

The Wall Street Journal ran a great article yesterday on the Mission’s popularity among San Francisco tech workers.

Facebook employees apparently congregate in Mission Dolores Park and in all the nearby bars, and shuttle 75 workers from the Mission to Palo Alto headquarters daily. And startups like Small Batch, Posterous and CrowdFlower have set up shop in the neighborhood. Reporters Cari Tuna and Stu Woo also mention the rising prices in the Mission, saying that while median home values in the district and citywide fell about 20% in the latest recession, values in the area have actually risen 4% since April 2009. No small feat.

Are we approaching another tech boom? This is starting to feel like deja vu.

Just Sold: 555 Bartlett #412

My clients and I have the distinction of being the first to close on a condo at 555 Bartlett, the excellent new development project in the Mission. The photo above is the courtyard, which will let all the residents enjoy the great weather in the neighborhood.

There are approximately 40 units in contract (with ten going into contract last week, largely due to the tax credit incentive)—so there are 24 condos left. Units come with parking and list prices currently range from the $400,000s to the low $700,000s.

Mission Dolores Mega Home Returns to Market

The last time I tried to get in to see 48 Linda on broker tour in July 2008, the home had already been sold (for $2,205,000) before there was time to cancel the tour. There was nothing to do except walk back up the narrow street to my car and move to the next property.

Flash forward to April 2010, and 48 Linda is again on the market—this time for $2,249,000. Billed as a “4BR family home,” the property has 3,000 square feet, two-car parking, a minimalist fireplace, and nice finishes throughout:

For those doubters who think a family wouldn’t choose to take up residence in the heart of the Mission, I beg to differ. There is a contingent of young, wealthy and hip parents out there that would love to tote their kids to Tartine, appear at 5:00 to eat a family dinner at Farina, or quiet down a crying child with sea salt caramel ice cream at BiRite. Sure, it’s an urban area, but the house does have four bedrooms upstairs, a playroom downstairs, and I’m guessing it has a pretty kick-ass security system.

Preview: Nove’s Noe/Mission Luxury Condos

The nine LEED-certified condos known as Nove (pronounced “Nov-ay”) are taking shape at 1060 Guerrero and 145 Ames on the Noe Valley/Mission border. I toured the property yesterday (no photos allowed yet) and the luxury units are pretty impressive.

Designed by Handel Architects—the same group behind downtown’s Millennium—Nove is subdivided into three lots, with each lot running from Guerrero to Ames. There are three condos on each lot—two units in the front building, and one townhome-style in the rear. However, the units in each building are not detached from each other. (A couple different developers own the lots.) There will also be three separate homeowners associations.

There will be eight 3BR/2BA condos, and one 4BR/3BA unit, ranging from about 1291 square feet through about 1800 for the 4BR. Finishes are high end and designed by Studio Becker. The living areas are spacious, and the master suites typically feature nice front and rear balconies. The Guerrero units get great light and have a nice feel to them. The Ames properties have less appealing/private outlooks, as they face the Guerrero building and the homes on Ames. But the benefit is that you have no one above or below you. The two buildings are separated by a nicely landscaped area that also accommodates deeded patios.

Prices aren’t set yet, but will range from around $1.1M for the smallest 3BR to around $1.4M for the other 3BRs. The largest 4BR/3BR condo will likely be in the $1.7M range, and Nove’s first open house will be the weekend of February 20th. Contact me if you’d like a preview. My take on this project is that it’s beautifully designed and provides excellent space and finishes in a highly walkable location near public transportation, freeways and some of the best restaurants in town.

Mission Makeover Gives It a Whirl in 2010

Last sold as a fixer in 2003 for $529,000, the pocket listing over at 1177 Alabama is resurfacing again as a renovated 3BR/2BA home. It was briefly on the market in roughly its current form in 2007 for $869,000 (tenants included).

List price on this 1930s-style home is a more modern $975,000 and includes the master suite on the garden level done with permits, upgraded heating/electrical systems, and a custom kitchen. The only permits I could access on the property were related to the lower level and electrical work, so I’m not sure about the extent of the kitchen work.

But the home’s current incarnation is worlds apart from its condition in 2003, when I showed the property to clients and we witnessed an ATM on its side in the neighbor’s yard. Location is steps away from 24th Street between Harrison and Florida. So you’re a bit far from BART and the Valencia corridor. But lots of new restaurants have popped up in the immediate area, along with some pretty cool shops on 24th Street. There are definitely comps that justify the price, though the fact that it’s a pocket listing means the seller is testing the waters. So wade on over and see if you can get a good deal.

A Look Inside the Mission’s Newest Development: 555 Bartlett

I attended a friends and neighbors party at the Mission’s new 555 Bartlett last night. The building isn’t quite complete, but it’s pretty obvious that it will cater to what San Francisco buyers need—reasonably priced units with parking in a central, increasingly hip location.

The 58-unit development is located at the corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez and features a mix of predominantly one- and two-bedroom condos.

The developer is pricing Bartlett in a very appealing price range for new construction—and for a majority of San Francisco buyers. The one bedrooms will start in the $400,000s, and the two bedrooms will be listed in the mid-$500,000s. There are a handful of three-bedroom units in the $600,000s, and a few studios. Many of the one bedrooms, some with studies, face the 26th Street side of the project, which will be quieter. The two bedrooms face Cesar Chavez.

Here’s a look at the living room of the staged one-bedroom model, along with the kitchen—and a desk area that lies between the bedroom and bathroom:

The two-bedroom model is staged a bit more whimsically, and also includes a painted “brick wall” :

Finishes are quite nice for the price point, and include quartz countertops, Bosch gas range, microwave and dishwasher, and Kohler faucets. Most units have small balconies or decks, and are pre-wired for ceiling fans and alarm systems.

There’s also an approximately 11,000-square foot interior courtyard, bike storage, an elevator, and a Walgreens on the ground level. Parking comes with each unit, but those opting for no parking can chop $40,000 off the purchase price. HOA dues will range from $270-$350/mo.

The location is extremely convenient for downtown and Peninsula commuters. BART is three blocks north on Mission, and 280 or 101 are about two minutes away. You can also walk one block to Valencia and find yourself a stone’s throw from Pi Bar, Anthony’s Cookies, and Beretta. Or head south on Mission and hit El Rio, Blue Plate, Good Frikin’ Chicken, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, the Front Porch, and Safeway.

Though not yet ready to be shown to the public, 555 Bartlett will open soon. And don’t get too put off by the existing exterior colors; I’m told they are primer for the final color scheme.

555 Bartlett is also approved for FHA loans.

Let me know if you’d like to schedule an appointment before the masses get through the doors.

Mission’s Union Gets FHA Approval

One of the latest condo developments to get FHA loan approval is Union, the 76-unit complex at Bryant between 19th & 20th in the Mission. The project has been on the market since last year, and is more than 50% sold, according to the sales team, and it’s now possible to buy a condo in Union with as little as 3.5% down.

Union is split into two parts: the townhomes, and the recently released brick-and-timber lofts. Price ranges for remaining townhomes are $675,000-$799,000 for two bedrooms, and $820,000-$895,000 for three bedrooms.

One-bedroom lofts range from $575,000-735,000; two bedrooms are $660,000-$755,000 and three bedrooms are listed between $795,000-$859,000. The loft units tend to be smaller than the townhomes.

Before you run out to get preapproved for an FHA loan, make sure you run the numbers and find out how much your monthly payments will be. As I’ve noted in this blog before, FHA loans let buyers purchase homes who don’t have the required 20% down payment. But be mindful of how much cash you’ll have to come up with on large loan amounts.

Miraloma, Marina, Mission Homes for the Holidays

What kind of properties come on the market the week before Christmas? A handful across several neighborhoods in San Francisco have appeared in search of buyers since late last week. Here are my picks for the decent ones that seem worth writing an offer for before you leave town:

Hot on the heels of its similar neighbor at 155 Stillings that garnered 13 offers earlier this month, 79 Melrose in Miraloma Park is an 806-square foot 2BR/1BA single-family home. It has a two-car garage and a remodeled kitchen (though a preliminary check doesn’t show any permits for the remodel). List price: $699,000.

3571 Pierce is in a sweet Marina location at Beach. The 2BR/1BA condo also has the expected sunroom in its floor plan, as well as one-car tandem parking, a fireplace, and formal dining room. HOAs are $160/mo. List price: $985,000.

3453 18th Street at Valencia is in the heart of the most desirable part of the Mission. This newly converted, top-floor condo in a two-unit building has 2BR/1BA and a remodeled kitchen, with an “additional bedroom/artist’s studio and half bath” on the ground level. This space is about 250 square feet and is being suggested for an in-law or au pair unit that could possibly generate income. There’s also one-car, tandem parking and HOA dues are $150/mo. List price: $799,000.

Noe Valley/Mission Luxury Condos Unwrapped

Once the site of the Palm Broker nursery, the new development called Nove is taking shape on the 1100 block of Guerrero on the Noe/Mission border are getting closer to coming on the market.

The development will encompass the three two-unit buildings above that front Guerrero, as well as three single-family homes on Ames, which is directly behind Guerrero. No word on unit configurations yet, but sources say pricing will clock in at around $850 per square foot.

This is an excellent location for buyers who want to walk to everything, including BART, Muni, Valencia corridor and the heart of Noe Valley on 24th Street. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade, and can attest to the convenience factor.

Walk Score Winners: $700,000-$800,000

Here’s another trio of properties that have high Walk Scores. Today, we check out Noe Valley, Lower Pacific Heights, and the Mission.

23rd
3884 23rd Street
Condo
Noe Valley
List Price: $775,000
2BR/1.25BA
1042 sq ft
HOAs: $240.98
1-car pkg
Walk Score: 88
This top-floor condo on 23rd at Sanchez was on the market in October at $825,000, but the sellers just changed agents and reduced the price to $775,000. You’re a block from the 24th Street retail area, and only a short walk to Dolores Park and the Valencia corridor.

steiner
1880 Steiner, # 210
Condo
Lower Pacific Heights
List Price: $775,000
2BR/2BA
983 sq ft
HOAs: $454.75
1-car pkg
Walk Score: 98
They’ve managed to pack two bedrooms and two bathrooms into less than 1,000 square feet. But you’ve got a small balcony, parking, and a phenomenal walking location a block from the Fillmore retail corridor. The building was constructed in 1999, so you don’t get a ton of charm, but the floorplan works and there’s also a gas-burning fireplace—and a gas range.

25bartlett
25 Bartlett #2
Condo
The Mission
List Price: $749,000
2BR/2BA
1266 sq ft
HOAs: $275
1-car parking
Walk Score: 98
If you want to be in the heart of the Mission and all its restaurants, bars, shops and public transportation, you can’t get much closer than over at 25 Bartlett.The floorplan works, and the unit is in good condition. The current owners paid $813,500 in September 2005 for the property, so there’s a bit of compromise in the current asking price. There are only three units in the building, and the HOA dues are very reasonable.

SoMa Within Reach for First-Time Home Buyers

There was a time when one- to two-bedroom condos and lofts were out of reach for those who could afford up to $600,000. I know that’s a lot of money in most parts of the world, but in San Francisco, it’s first-time home buyer territory, and it’s not been an easy price range.

But things have loosened up a bit, particularly in the South of Market neighborhood. The ongoing short/foreclosure sales have brought prices down, and there’s actually plenty of inventory. A nice loft that previously commanded a price of $650,000 or $700,000+ two or three years ago can now be purchased for about $100,000 less.

There are currently 33 one- to two-bedroom condos/lofts on the market in SoMa for up to $600,000. Sure, many of them are located in less-desirable locales (hello, 140 South Van Ness!), but I thought I’d spotlight two properties I think could be good deals—at the right price—due to location and overall appeal:

601_4th You wouldn’t know it from the listing detail, but 601 4th St. #101 is located in the Heublien Building—the first large loft development in San Francisco. It’s always been a favorite of mine due to its large windows, high ceilings, and overall character. The building is also in a very central location (94 Walk Score). The unit itself features 16-foot ceilings and an outlook to a shared garden. It’s listed at $579,000, but maybe at $550,000 or so, more buyers will bite.

Next up is 695 5th #7:

695_5thLast sold for $700,000 in March 2005, this unit started out at $619,000 in July and is now down to $599,000. It’s not very different from other lower-priced lofts, so hopefully there’s room to move in price. But here’s the good stuff: You’re right at Townsend & 5th, which is a pretty central location (Walk Score: 92). The sleeping area upstairs is reasonable, and there’s one-car parking and a large deeded storage space. Knock this baby down to $540,000 or so, and you’ve got yourself a nice loft that’s just over 1,000 square feet in a hip location.

“Outskirt Luxury” Trend Takes Over Mission

1495valenciaYes, I’m coining a new term for a trend that seems to be hitting its stride this year—developers constructing high-end, luxury units in areas that lie just beyond the heart of where everyone wants to be.

In this case, it’s the Mission, and there are two projects currently on the market in the Outskirt Luxury category. The first is 1495 Valencia (above), an eight-unit production located on the more lonely stretch of Valencia, between 25th & 26th Streets. Your finishes, appliances & accoutrements: CaesarStone counter tops; vertical grain douglas fir; Bertazzoni range; Broan-Elite hood; Bosch dishwasher; Dacor microdrawer; Cifial faucets; centralized audio system wiring. Your neighbors: The Salvation Army, St. Luke’s (scheduled for a massive renovation), a funeral home, and a busy stretch of Cesar Chavez.

1495 Valencia is a two-building development. The modern structure houses six two- to three-bedroom, two-level townhomes and a roof terrace. The adjacent property has a Victorian facade and is being sold as two units (heading for a “fast track” condo conversion). But all will be part of the same HOA. (I’m curious as to how that will be structured, as mixing condos & TICs in the same HOA is a new one for me.)

Prices in the modern building range from $739,000 for a 2BR/2.5BA (the smallest unit) to $999,000 for a 3BR/3BA. The two TICs will be priced between $779,000-$889,000. The six units in the modern building come with two-car deeded, stacked parking.

And over at Union, on Bryant between 19th and 20th, a much larger development has just come on the market. The hole in the ground that existed for the past decade has now been filled with two buildings on the lot. One houses 53 townhomes and flats, and the other is a brick-and-timber style property that will feature 23 lofts.

Union is another property that’s several blocks east of the Valencia corridor, and on the border of Potrero. But it’s a good ten blocks to Valencia, and much further to the heart of Potrero. These aren’t necessarily walks you want to take home late at night.

In any event, Union presents itself well, with spacious, two- and three-bedroom homes ranging from the high $600,000s to the $800,000s. And there are Carrera marble counter tops, Burmese walnut floors, bathroom tiles by Ann Sacks, and huge showers and tubs.

So if you build luxury properties in outskirt areas, will the buyers come? Developers are obviously hoping the high-end finishes and spacious units will mitigate the somewhat less-than-desirable locations. I’ve toured both Union and 1495 Valencia, and have been impressed by their quality and well-appointed natures. But it remains to be seen whether buyers with this level of purchasing power will agree to live in less-central sections of the ever-popular Mission.