How Deep is Noe’s Valley?

Judging by the number of houses I’ve seen being redone from the studs up, together with the number of homes that seem to be hitting the market at over $2 million these days, you’d think that Noe Valley real estate is doing very well once again, thank you very much.

Exhibit A:  729 Elizabeth Street4  bedrooms and 3.5 baths of understated modernist luxury lovingly assembled by the owners behind a classic Victorian facade.  This  2750 home hit the market this month at $2,495,000 (that’s $907 bucks a foot for those with tape measures) and went  straight to pending status in 8 days. Take a ride to Boardwalk.  No financing contingency, no inspections, nothing.  Just hand us the keys please.

Back in the day — let’s say June 2007 — lots of realtors were saying that Noe Valley was immune from slumping home values.  That immunity lasted about 9 months.  When prices started to fall in around March of 2008, they dropped off a cliff.  Here’s a chart from my first detailed post on Noe Valley prices.

Things didn’t get any better for Noe’s denizens, even though the housing market for SF as a whole had recovered strongly by the end of 2009.

Despite an impressive  city-wide recovery in 2009, with prices going from 30% down to around 18% down for single family homes at  year’s end (see more detail here) , Noe Valley home prices continued to retreat.  In October and November 2009, prices were down 35%.

So have we seen the bottom of Noe’s Valley?  Here’s a chart comparing single family median home prices for SF as a whole to Noe Valley’s.

Check out that gaping jaw at the right end of the chart:  SF’s home prices are, as of August 2010, less than 10% off their all-time highs.  That is an amazing recovery considering what we’ve been through.  But take a look at Noe Valley:  after a strong recovery at the start of the year, prices headed downward again with a vengeance.  They’re once again down nearly 30% from their all-time highs.  With the economy and jobs continuing to struggle, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether home prices are going to start sliding again.  My question is whether Noe Valley is ahead of the curve.  Or behind.

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