Listed to Luxe in Under 30 Days

2601 Broadway Terrace -- $11 million, going gone

Actually, in the case of 2601 Broadway Terrace, the 9,700 sf, 7 BR 6 BA beauty shown above, $11 million was enough to take the property from “Just Listed” to “Sold” in — zero days.  For moving that fast, the buyer get a cool $950,000 off the asking price.   — Proving once again that time is money, at least for those who have the latter in buckets.

The full story is more complicated.  It was originally listed back in February 2009 for $13.5 million.  It’s been on and off the market ever since — with a fresh   start date for that “Days on Market” statistic each time it was put back on.  Last time’s the charm…. Continue reading

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Noe Valley Back Smartly in 2010



Author: Jack French -- Used under Creative Commons Permission 2.0

After nearly two years of sharp declines, Noe Valley single family home prices recovered smartly in 2010.  Not enough, however, for anyone to claim that Noe Valley is somehow immune from market forces affecting the rest of San Francisco.  As of December 2010, Noe Valley home prices were still down 20% from their all-time highs, almost exactly the same as prices for homes city-wide.

Here’s the chart (double click): Continue reading

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What’s A Better Value in San Francisco, A Condo or a Home? (Part 2)

In my last post, I included a chart that showed both single family homes and condos stuck in relatively narrow price ranges over the last 18 months or so.  At the end of 2010 the median price of a single family home ($744,000) was about $80,000 more than that for a condo/TIC.

But that doesn’t tell us anything about “value.”  Now, let me count the ways we could argue about what “value” means, but I think we’d agree that how each property type has weathered the market battering over the last few years has to be relevant.   Take a look at this table: Continue reading

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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 StreetContinue reading

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Homes vs. Condominiums: How much extra do you pay?

Recently, I blogged about the fact that condominiums seemed to be holding up better than single family homes in terms of their decline from their all-time highs.

At the same time, I noted that there was only about $100,000 difference in median value between condos and homes.  That seemed like a small delta and I was interested to see whether it was, historically speaking.  Turns out that it is.

Since, until recently (ahem!), home prices along with everything else have tended to go up, I decided not to look simply at the difference in price between condos and homes.  Instead, I converted the price difference to a percentage of the median value of condos sales for the given period.  This represents the “premium” for owning a home rather than a condo.  Here’s the result.

Average Premium for Home vs Condo

Sure enough, you’d normally expect to pay around 20% more for a home than for a condo.  But starting in 2008, the home “premium” started dropping significantly.  I believe that drop was a direct reflection of the housing market decline that began with homes and only subsequently spread to condos.  As I postulated in my blog, condo values possibly held up for longer as people got squeezed out of the single family home market by tightening credit standards.

But what about 2009?  The chart above shows the premium based on all sales for the year to date.  The picture looks a little different if you look at values on a monthly basis.

Average Premium for Home vs Condo 2009

Again this is consistent with my previous blog.  It suggests while that condo values may have held up longer, they too have fallen so that the premium paid for a home is now heading back to its historic norm.  Of course, the other possibility is that home prices are beginning to recover.  It may well be that both explanations are true.

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Are San Francisco Home Values Rotten to the “Core”?

Not long ago I did a guest post at The Front Steps in which I showed that city-wide home prices had fallen back to November 2003 levels. Here’s the chart.


That prompted some discussion about whether the results would be different if you excluded home sales in some of San Francisco’s outlying areas, such as the Bayview and the Westlake districts. These and other neighborhoods are included in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Districts 3 and 10. Here’s the official MLS district map.


The thinking, mine included, was that San Francisco’s generally more expensive “core” areas would have held up better than the more modestly priced outer areas, where the economic downturn could be expected to have had a greater and more immediate impact.  Did they? I recently posted this chart at The Front Steps as a partial answer.


What’s really interesting about this chart is how closely the “Core Areas” and “All Districts” price lines track each other. This isn’t altogether surprising since the “Core Areas” data overlaps with over 75% of the “All Districts” data.   The fact that “Core Area” prices are higher also isn’t surprising.

But have “Core Areas” been holding up better than the city as a whole?  Based on this chart, I thought the answer was “yes”, since it shows an increasing price divergence in favor of “Core Areas” starting around July 2007.

Still, the divergence was relatively subtle, so I decided to take another stab at answering the question. This time, I focused directly on Districts 3 and 10 and compared the results to the city as a whole. I also looked specifically at how far prices had fallen from their respective all-time highs. Here’s the resulting chart — note, this is single family homes only, not condos (click to enlarge) .

In both cases, all-time highs were reached in June 2007. What this chart clearly confirms is that prices in Districts 3 and 10 really did fall further and faster than prices for the city as a whole. Initially, that is. Starting around July 2008, prices dropped off a cliff city-wide. As of February 2009, Districts 3 and 10 are actually doing slightly better than the city as a whole.

I will spare you the details of my travails with Excel, pivot tables, and generating median values for large data sets. Not fun – and the principal reason why I haven’t posted for a few weeks. However, I do think that this chart allows us to conclude that “Core Areas” haven’t performed substantially better or differently than the city as a whole. Much ado about nothing you say? Perhaps, but at least we’ve now established a baseline — sort of like the S&P 500 — against which to compare specific neighborhoods and areas.  Stay tuned.

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“San Francisco Property Sales and Prices Rebound in February”

…or so proclaims my venerable data-crunching guy at the REreport.  All the data is available and updated monthly under my  “Market Trends” tab, organized by MLS District, or city-wide, annual or monthly, single family or condo — it’s all available here.

This chart, from the lead-in page, shows unit sales and median prices for both homes and condos are up from Jan 09, but down year over year.


But not so fast.  Much as I’d love to believe we’ve hit bottom, it’s hard to know whether this is anything more than the usual seasonal uptick in sales now that we’re coming out of the winter doldrums.  Here’s the chart for single family homes sales.  See those incredibly regular troughs right around Jan/Feb each year?  I’d say it’s way to early to declare a bottom.


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January Data Sings the Blues

Here’s the latest sales data broken down by MLS District.  Full reports are available here under the Market Trends Tab and are well worth a look.


Median and Average prices are down substantially year over year for single family homes in all districts except District 7 (“North”, which includes top-shelf enclaves like Pacific Heights and the Marina), but with only 2 sales for the month in that area, it’s not a meaningful statistic.  Indeed, as I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, sales drop off so dramatically every year during December/January that I’d be cautious reading too much into the  statistics for those particular months.

However, the three month moving average  for SF as a whole, which smooths out the seasonal fluctation, has clearly been heading south since last summer, as these two charts show (also available, much more prettily, under that Market Trends Tab):



Details on individual MLS districts to follow in another post.

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What $2.1 million buys in Noe Valley

Out on brokers’ tour yesterday, I looked in on two homes  available in my Noe Valley neighborhood, priced within $2,000 of each other.  731 Douglass (at 24th Street) sold in March 2005 for $1.944 million and a mere $29o,000 in March 1997, when it was a sad-looking 1200 ft marina-style house, with a 6-car garage.  Back then:


and now:


In 1999, the owners completely redid the building, right around the same time that my wife and I were remodeling our house just around the corner and converting it from a two-unit building into a single family home.  At the time, there weren’t too many larger homes in Noe Valley.  Now, everybody seems to be adding floors or building out the basement.

For $2,150,000 you’ll get 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, plus an office with panoramic views of the city on the top level, plus a good- sized family room downstairs.  Around 3,000 square feet, based on the 2005 listing information.  It’s a nice livable layout, has lots of light and the high quality finishes you’d expect.

What’s missing?  No backyard, just a postage-stamp sized courtyard.  Another possible negative:  it’s across the street from Noe Courts and the bus stop for the 48 Quintara which might make it a little noisier than average.

Just up the hill and around the corner, on one of the nicest streets in Noe Valley,  is 110 Hoffman Street @ 23rd, selling for $2,148,000 after two price drops.  Originally listed for $2.395 back in November.


This one sold a year ago for $1.2 million as a 1600 sf “fixer”.  Well, they sure fixed it.  It’s now just under 2900 sf, 4BR/3.5 BA family room/media room, and a built-out attic with panoramic views of the city, accessible by a spiral staircase.  The flow of the space is not quite as good as  731 Douglass and there’s less of it.  But it’s an impressive home nonetheless.

What 110 Hoffman has that Douglass doesn’t is a beautiful back yard and a location on one of Noe Valley’s best streets.  Now that Hoffman’s price is returning to earth, it’ll be interesting seeing how these two thoroughbreds compete.

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