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Market Updates: August is the first time since 2014 that SF 1-bed median rent has been below $3000, new report finds – SFGate

September 1, 2020 San Francisco Real Estate

“Despite much speculation of a Bay Area exodus, ApartmentList found that the percentage of renters who are currently living in the San Francisco metro and looking to move elsewhere has remained largely stable, increasing only very slightly from 31.6 percent at this time last year to the current rate of 32.1 percent. The demand for Bay Area apartments falling, it seems, is due to the fact that the region is simply attracting fewer new residents from elsewhere, as opposed to seeing existing renters leaving the area.”
— Read more www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/san-francisco-rents-still-declining-study-shows-15528773.php

Kevin Quoted in Mission Local: “Real estate market in the Mission appears to recover, for now – Mission Local”

Is it a good time or not for real estate?


Mission Local Talks Real Estate During Corona

Kevin gets quoted and sounds a bit more upbeat and nuanced than all those other agents. 

Is it a good time or not for real estate?

The real estate market in the Mission District and San Francisco appears to be on its way to recovering from the shutdown in March, according to several real estate agents ... 

— Originally published July 9, 2020 on missionlocal.org/2020/07/real-estate-market-in-the-mission-appears-to-recover-for-now/

Real estate market in the Mission appears to recover, for now


The real estate market in the Mission District and San Francisco appears to be on its way to recovering from the shutdown in March, according to several real estate agents, although some parts of the market remain sluggish.

“The market is holding up pretty strong, but it depends on the segment,” said real estate agent Ruth Krishnan. “Condos and high-rise buildings are the softest. I would say people aren’t super stoked about getting in an elevator. And people have decided that they really, really value outdoor space and greenery.”

Krishnan said her agency recently sold a condo in the Mission District on Shotwell Street.

“It did very well, but it had this beautiful private garden,” she said. “With condos, definitely the ones that are doing the best, selling the quickest, and selling for the highest prices have outdoor space. That’s a big thing for people right now.”


“Most of the stuff sitting right now, it just doesn’t have any yard space,” she added.

Krishnan said that, typically, March is the busiest month for real estate in San Francisco, but this year all listings were pulled when the shelter-in-place order was announced. That didn’t keep things down for long, though. The city added real estate to the list of essential businesses on March 31, and Krishnan immediately started seeing business pick up.

“I was shocked. Right coming out of [March], people were already writing very aggressive offers. I was like, ‘Wait, what? Really? Right now?’” she said.

The monthly median house sale price in San Francisco set a new record of $1.8 million in June, according to the monthly report from the Compass real estate brokerage. “But it’s just a single month,” added Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst for Compass.

“I never would have guessed that we would see this sort of rebound around the Bay Area, in the midst of one of the greatest health and economic crises in U.S. history,” Carlisle said.

Although the rebound in San Francisco is dramatic, it’s the smallest of the Bay Area, he said. Other counties — including more rural areas like Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties — have all seen spikes that “may be higher than at any time in history, in terms of offers being accepted.”

The rebound in San Francisco might not be as pronounced, perhaps, because the city has stricter shelter-in-place rules, Carlisle said, or perhaps because it’s the most densely populated region of the Bay Area.


“The Mission remains popular and strong,” said real estate agent Jennifer Rosdail. “The shutdown slowed it down at first, but people have figured out how to get their transactions done, and it’s accelerating a little bit.”

Since April, Rosdail said sales started coming back and have improved each month. “I’ve seen that in every segment I’ve checked — except for the luxury homes over, like, $2.5 million,” she said.

There aren’t many of those more expensive single-family homes in the Mission, but in a neighborhood like Noe Valley, the pattern is striking, Rosdail said. Single-family homes priced lower than $2.5 million there are moving much more quickly than those above $2.5 million, and more appear to be entering the market than are being sold.

“I think that dichotomy is interesting. I see a deceleration in the luxury homes” in Noe Valley, Rosdail said.

"All the talk of exodus — that’s the headline-grabbing news — but the real news is that a lot of buyers have a little more affordability. And a little more balance to the market allows them to own a piece of San Francisco." — Kevin Ho

Taking the city as a whole, Carlisle’s analysis shows luxury single-family homes priced above $3 million are increasing in price — but that’s based on properties that have accepted offers, while Rosdail is also examining the growing supply of inventory in Noe Valley.

By and large, Carlisle said he prefers not to look at individual neighborhoods.

“When you look at a specific neighborhood, the sales numbers are so low, it’s hard for the data to be statistically reliable,” he said. “I generally try to look at them only on an annual basis.”

But, even with small sample sizes, it remains the only tool we have.

Crunching the numbers for the Mission, Rosdail said things were picking up in terms of volume and price — but that didn’t mean losses had been fully recovered, especially for condos. Comparing the median price of a two-bedroom condo that sold in May this year with the same time period last year, the price had dropped from $1.25 million to $1.05 million — or about 16 percent less. But, again, prices have gone up since then.

“April was a terrible month to sell your home. May wasn’t so bad. June was pretty good,” Rosdail said. “I don’t think we’re going to experience a summer slowdown this year; I think we already had it in April. People are just going to keep charging forward.”

The pandemic has also shifted what many people normally think of as in-demand neighborhoods.

“Outer Richmond is hot right now. The Sunset is doing great, because people want more space, they want to be away from each other,” Rosdail said.  Meanwhile, condos in SoMa haven’t been moving as quickly.

“A lot of renters have become buyers,” observed real estate agent Kevin Ho. “All the talk of exodus — that’s the headline-grabbing news — but the real news is that a lot of buyers have a little more affordability. And a little more balance to the market allows them to own a piece of San Francisco.”

Ho said more of the buyers right now seem to be people who want to live in the home they’re purchasing, rather than using it as an investment. He said some of the recent changes to the law around tenant protections and rent forgiveness might be having an impact, and investors “don’t necessarily want to assume that risk.”

In San Francisco, the market for apartment buildings has also changed. For buildings with six or more apartments, Ho said the market had “quieted down, with not much movement.”

“For four units or under, we’re seeing good activity, because it’s more manageable,” he said. “Bigger buildings with multiple units, we’re seeing that market kind of take a pause as they wait and see how this pans out, because of all those changes” to rental laws.

Not all real estate agents Mission Local spoke to were convinced prices would continue to climb. An agent familiar with the Mission District, but who did not wish to be quoted by name, conveyed skepticism that the rush the city had seen over the past few months would be sustainable. Buyers may become choosier before submitting an offer on a less-desirable property, they argued, which could lead to more houses than buyers.

Analyzing numbers can tell us how the market has performed so far, but predicting the future remains as elusive as ever.

For More Media Mentions ...


SF Chronicle Sound-Off Q+A: Still Busy During Covid with Kevin+Jonathan

Even during a Pandemic, people need to buy and sell houses and properties. See why it’s been such a busy market in San Francisco with Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard Properties, the largest, locally owned and operated boutique brokerage in the Bay Area.

SF Chronicle Sound-Off Q+A: Impact a Second Corona Spike on San Francisco's Housing Market Considered with Kevin+Jonathan

How has another wave of Corona-19 cases impacted San Francisco’s housing market? It’s emphasized how important it is to be working with professionals like Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of San Francisco’s largest, independently owned brokerage Vanguard Properties.

Kevin Quoted in Mission Local: “Real estate market in the Mission appears to recover, for now - Mission Local”

“A lot of renters have become buyers,” observed real estate agent Kevin Ho. “All the talk of exodus — that’s the headline-grabbing news — but the real news is that a lot of buyers have a little more affordability. And a little more balance to the market allows them to own a piece of San Francisco.”

Ho said more of the buyers right now seem to be people who want to live in the home they’re purchasing, rather than using it as an investment. He said some of the recent changes to the law around tenant protections and rent forgiveness might be having an impact, and investors “don’t necessarily want to assume that risk.” In Mission Local.

Kevin on KTVU-2 Talking About Corona and SF Real Estate

San Francisco real estate and the coronavirus/COVID-19 as discussed by Kevin Ho of San Francisco’s Vanguard Properties, the leading locally owned luxury brokerage for the San Francisco Bay Area. The forecast is optimistic, the question is when.

Top Places for LGBTQ Folks to Live—and It's Not Just NYC and San Francisco | realtor.com

Talking about destination neighborhoods for LGBTQ folks, Kevin Ho of Vanguard Properties discusses how the Castro in San Francisco’s Eureka Valley, stacks up compared to other destinations and why it has a unique appeal.

SF Chronicle Sound-Off Q+A: On Setting a List Price with Kevin Ho + Jonathan McNarry

Setting a property’s list price or better yet trying to find a property’s real market value is always tricky especially in high-value and competitive markets like San Francisco. See how Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry, top-ranked agents at San Francisco’s luxury boutique brokerage Vanguard Properties handle the question in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sound-Off Section

San Francisco Chronicle's Sound-Off: What Can Buyers Do To Help Their Agents with Kevin Ho+Jonathan McNarry

Getting into San Francisco’s real estate market can be daunting, but don’t worry, Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry have a map.

SF Gate's Sound Off: Will the 49ers playing in the Super Bowl affect open houses this weekend? 

We compare how San Francisco real estate stacks up against its Super Bowl rivals Baltimore and Kansas City. It’s not even close.

Real Estate During COVID-19

Reaching Out And Touching Someone (Figuratively as social distancing says otherwise)


It’s back to the good ’ol phone call for most folks who are eschewing Zoom calls these days, according to the New York Times.

For all the virtual tours and property videos (like the several hundred we’ve done on YouTube), it turns out that people are using phones for their original purpose: talking.

When in doubt, phone a (real estate) friend.


From the New York Times:

Phone calls are making a comeback. The nation’s biggest telecommunications companies were prepared for a huge shift toward more internet use from home, but did not expect the return of plain old voice calls.

Verizon is now handling an average of 800 million wireless calls a day during the week, more than double the number made on Mother’s Day, one of the busiest call days of the year. Verizon added that the length of voice calls was up 33 percent from an average day before the outbreak. AT&T said that the number of cellular calls had risen 35 percent and that Wi-Fi-based calls had nearly doubled from averages in normal times.

In contrast, internet traffic is up only 20 percent to 25 percent from typical daily patterns, AT&T and Verizon said.

Which reminds us that if you need any real estate help — buying or selling — give Kevin and Jonathan a call today — 415.875.7408. 



Location, Location, Location to come back in SF’s School Assignments.

December 13, 2018 San Francisco Real Estate

San Francisco’s widely panned student assignment system needs a complete overhaul, and the process to change it starts now, the school board decided late Tuesday night.

The unanimous vote just before 11 p.m. set in motion the process to create a new procedure that would end the all-lottery system and make the assignment to schools more predictable and based on where students live, board members said.

SF Chronicle: Keeping it in the Family: tax benefit that keeps property inventory low

August 17, 2018 San Francisco Real Estate

California tax shelter saves children big bucks on inherited property


About 60,000 to 80,000 properties in California pass between parents and children each year without being reassessed, Uhler estimated. That’s about 10 percent of all property transfers. In 2015-16, this reduced property tax revenues by about $1.5 billion or 2.5 percent statewide.


A state law that protects children from steep tax increases on inherited property is likely contributing to the shrinking inventory of homes for sale in many parts of California.

As Baby Boomers — the oldest of whom are 72 — die and leave homes to offspring who convert them to other uses, the shortage could get worse.

Without the law, “I think there would be notably more housing turnover,” said Brian Uhler, a fiscal and policy expert with the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The tax break, passed in 1986, lets parents transfer a primary residence of any value, plus a generous amount of other property, to their children without it being reassessed at market value for property tax purposes. In California, where long-held homes are typically assessed at a fraction of their current value, this can save children thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Rather than lose this tax shelter, many children who inherit homes they don’t want to occupy convert them to rentals or vacation homes rather than selling them. Data from Los Angeles County over the past decade support this, according to a report last fall by Uhler.

This may help renters, but makes it harder for buyers to break into the tight housing market. It also “has exacerbated (property tax) inequities among owners of similar properties,” Uhler wrote.

About 60,000 to 80,000 properties in California pass between parents and children each year without being reassessed, Uhler estimated. That’s about 10 percent of all property transfers. In 2015-16, this reduced property tax revenue by about $1.5 billion, 2.5 percent, statewide.

Some, including Uhler, say it’s time to revisit this break. Santa Clara Assessor Larry Stone said he would not vote for the measure if it was on the ballot today. It’s “just a way for people to transfer wealth to another generation,” he said.

The California Association of Realtors is preparing an initiative for the November 2020 ballot that would scale it back, in part to pay for another property tax break the group is pushing for in this year’s election.

The parent-child tax break amended Proposition 13, the landmark law passed by voters in 1978. Under Prop. 13, real property in California is generally reassessed at market value only when it is sold or transferred.

In between changes of ownership, the assessed value can go up by no more than 2 percent a year, plus the value of improvements. Property taxes, including local ones, average about 1.2 percent of assessed value. Normally, when long-held properties change hands, taxes soar. But voters have excluded some transfers from reassessment.

Proposition 58, the law passed in 1986, excluded transfers between spouses. It also excluded transfers — by gift, sale or inheritance — between parents and children of a primary residence and up to $1 million in assessed value for other property. It’s most often claimed by children who inherit property, but the parent doesn’t have to be dead, and it also applies to transfers from children to parents and can be used by an unlimited number of generations.

Escape hatch

In 2016-17, about 16,200 Bay Area homes and other properties escaped tax increases thanks to state laws that exclude from reassessment transfers between parents and children (and between grandparents and grandchildren if the parents are deceased). This is how many exclusions each county granted that year:

County Exclusions granted
Alameda 3,113
Contra Costa 3,393
Marin 726
Napa 415
San Francisco 1,079
San Mateo 1,669
Santa Clara 3,201
Solano 1,028
Sonoma 1,579
Total 16,203

Source: California Board of Equalization

Proposition 193, passed a decade later, exempts transfers between grandparents and grandchildren, but only if the grandchildren’s parents are dead. These exclusions are pretty rare. For simplicity, we’ll assume children are inheriting property from a parent.

If they are inheriting the parent’s primary residence, there is no dollar limit on the exclusion, and children can rent it out without triggering a reassessment. However, if two children inherit the home and one sells or transfers his or her share — even to the other sibling — that share will be reassessed for tax purposes.

If one child wants the home and the other doesn’t, parents should consider leaving the home to one and other assets to the other, said Terri Lyders, an estate planning specialist with Fidelity Investments in Burlingame.

Each parent can transfer up to $1 million in other property — such as a vacation home, rental unit or strip shopping center — to one or more children combined. The $1 million limit applies to the assessed value, not the market value.

“Say I have a $1 million assessed value on a shopping center I’ve owned for 30 years and now it’s worth $25 million. I can transfer that assessment, plus the low assessment on my house,” to children, the assessor Stone said.

James Zapata applied for and received the exclusion on a Mountain View home he inherited from his father, who died last fall. His grandparents bought the modest, 1,017-square foot home around 1962 and gave it to his father as a wedding present.

His father was a machinist whose business went “belly-up” during the “manufacturing exodus” of the early 1980s, and he never recovered financially or emotionally, Zapata said. A decade ago, Zapata quit his job as a cable lineman to care for his father, who developed multiple sclerosis at a young age, and his mother, who died in 2013.

The home is assessed at about $54,000, and the property tax last year was $948. Homes in his neighborhood are selling for around $2 million — and often being torn down to make way for larger ones. Had Zapata’s home been reassessed at $2 million, his taxes last year would have been close to $24,000.

Zapata said he “never anticipated getting” the tax break, but it has helped him stay in the home he’s lived in since birth. He also got the exclusion on an inherited home in Sunnyvale his family had purchased around 1972. He rents it to his sister at a deep discount.

In 2016-17, county assessors excluded about 62,000 properties from reassessment under Props. 58 and 193.

That is seven times the number they excluded under Propositions 60, 90 and 110. These three measures let homeowners who are 55 and older or permanently disabled sell their primary residence and transfer the tax assessment from that home to another one in the same county or in one of 11 counties that accept incoming transfers. However, the replacement home can’t cost more than the original home, and homeowners can only do this once.

The Realtors association says those restrictions keep empty-nesters in their homes and has placed an initiative on the November ballot that would loosen them.

Proposition 5 would let seniors and disabled homeowners transfer their property tax base to a replacement home of any price, in any California county, any number of times. If they bought a more expensive home, the difference in price between the old and new home would be added to the old home’s assessment. If they bought a less expensive home, their assessment would actually be reduced.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that if Prop. 5 passes, local governments and public schools would each lose $150 million a year in tax revenue in the early years, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year. Needless to say, governments and schools are against it.

While pushing ahead with Prop. 5, the association is hedging its bets by submitting another initiative to the attorney general for the November 2020 ballot. It would do the same things as Prop. 5, but offset the cost by capping the parent-child exclusion on a primary residence, eliminating it if the child does not live in the house, and abolishing it on other property.

It also would rein in “the shenanigans” big businesses use to avoid reassessment on property transfers, said the association’s lobbyist Alex Creel. He called this provision a “reasonable alternative” to a more sweeping split-roll initiative that would require reassessment of commercial and industrial property, but not homes and small businesses, at least every three years.

Although Zapata benefits from the parent-child tax break, he could see limiting it on high-end homes and eliminating it on other property. “The top 1 percent doesn’t need another break,” he said. “We have all these people who need help; if a little higher property tax would help I’m willing to chip in. What I don’t want my money going to is pension obligations” for government employees.

Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer said he thinks the exclusion “is fine the way it is. People voted on it.” In fact, it got 76 percent of the vote in 1986.

Where it’s most useful is “when someone with special needs had a home modified for them” and is able to keep it, Kramer said. “Or sometimes you have a child who is not as successful as the rest, they’ll never be able to buy a home. You can transfer it to them so they have somewhat affordable housing.”

Google Maps And Our Neighborhoods?

August 2, 2018 San Francisco Real Estate

Google Maps has also validated other little-known San Francisco neighborhoods. Balboa Hollow, a roughly 50-block district north of Golden Gate Park, trumpets on its website that it is a distinct neighborhood. Its proof? Google Maps.

“Don’t believe us?” its website asks. “Well, we’re on the internet; so we must be real.”

Even locals may not know these San Francisco neighborhoods ever existed – SFGate

Even locals may not know these San Francisco neighborhoods ever existed – SFGate.
— Read on m.sfgate.com/news/article/SF-neighborhoods-you-had-no-idea-existed-12973721.php

What Did the Market Say Last Month?

November 12, 2013 San Francisco Real Estate

New sales data from the San Francisco Association of Realtors was released today and it looks that we’re seeing a stablizing market….

[gview file=”https://www.kevinho.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/SFAR_MarketFocus_2013-Oct.pdf”]

Tuesday Broker Tour for San Francisco, April 23, 2013

April 19, 2013 San Francisco Real Estate

It’s Tuesday Tour Time! Here’s what we’ll be seeing this upcoming new market week.

[gview file=”https://www.kevinho.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Broker-Tour-April23-2013.pdf”]

What Happened This Past Egg-straordinary week

Your Egg-tradinary Holiday Weekend Open House Guide

Your agent, returned safe and sound, tan and is ready to go.

Happy Holiday Weekend Real Estate Fans.

The numbers still continue to surprise us with ratified transactions and final sales figures that closed this and last week among my fellow Vanguard agents. While sales data figures are strong, don’t feel too disconcerted if you’re a buyer as interest rates fall back down to the 3.5% neighborhood after a brief spike. Also, while many houses are selling over list prices take note that some are selling at or slightly under —yes, under— list price. So there is opportunity out there.

Trends This Week:

For Sunset and Richmond homes, simply add 15% to the list price no matter what, where and for how much to get your final closing price.

Looking at the sales figures from the MLS for homes closing this week, a swath of homes out in the Outer Richmond and Sunset closed this past week and no matter which house nor what original list price there was, nearly all of the homes nevertheless close an average of 15% over the asking price with a range from 8% to 27% in some cases where the property trust sale was subject to court supervision.

Fixers are expensive in San Francisco

One 4-unit fixer at 1812 Lyon Street listed for $1.6M sold for $1.9M — for a fixer! The trend is prevalent throughout the city (see Stories of the Week below)

You will have to pay at least $1M for a single family home in the Mission and Inner Mission.

One preemptive offer for a home my colleagues were going to put on the market on San Bruno Avenue near 26th Street on a ‘so-so’ block with 1200+ sqft. pushed well beyond the suggested list price of $879,000 to enter into contract at more than $1M with a backup too. Essentially, $800 per square foot is now the price of admission.

It’s a lighter week: There are a trio of smaller homes in Bernal on the market this week. Nothing new in District 1, few new in District 2.

Stories of the Week

Here is a sampling of some last week’s happenings
128 Laidley, a single-family home viewed by most as a fixer listed at $1.299M received multiple offers and is in contact for 20% over the list price with an all-cash, short-close offer.
23rd floor condo at The Infinity, a South Beach chic condo with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths at 1150+ sq ft, got 13 offers — including some all-cash offers — but the winning offer, which will be financed thanks to the buyer’s in-depth pre-qualification with Citibank, beat out an all-cash offer with a 10-day close. Listed at $999,000 the property is in contract for at least 16% over its list price.
232 Ellsworth, some of you may remember the pre-market opportunity for a detached home just three up from Corltand in the sunnier part of Bernal Heights with 4 bedrooms, garage, small yard and cute upgrades that was going to be on the market for $1.198M. Well after two weeks and no open houses the sellers accepted an offer for just a little over $1.2M for the property.
350 Broderick, 4th floor, one bedroom, one bath listed at $599K. This condo was cute and nice. But after only 1 open house the property solicited 8 offers with the accepted offer touching the $650K region to make this 14-day close the highest sale price for a one bedroom ever in the development. The listing agent said that he would have gotten 20 offers but for potential buyers self-selecting themselves out of the running by not submitting an offer.
400 block of Noe at 18th Street, the vacant, 2-unit fixer with location and potential listed at $899K received 20 offers and most likely is in contract over its asking price.

If It’s Tuesday, It’s Tour Time. Broker Tour for March 19 2013

March 16, 2013 San Francisco Real Estate

While I’ll be out of town for this upcoming week’s tour, let me know if there are any you’d like to see and I’ll make it happen for you at another time or, you can even go in my place! Otherwise, enjoy!

Broker Tour for March 19 2013


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It’s Tuesday Tour Time: What’s On Broker Tour on March 12th

Finally, it looks like we have some more choice out there. It’s about time. Let’s hope it keeps up. If there’s anything you want me to see, let me know and you can tag along or we can coordinate!

Broker Tour for March 12 2013

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