Our Blog

Handy Dandy Infographics About Bay Area Real Estate for the 1st Quarter, 2018 with Kevin and Jonathan

Some Recent San Francisco Real Estate Stats

We love making infographics for our clients and newsletters. Here are some of the latest from 2018 where we highlight how strong the Bay Area's real estate market continues to be.

We pride ourselves on having the best prepared buyers and sellers possible. We believe our clients will make better decisions if we give them the best context, access and perspective. To aid in this credo we use our design and presentation skills to distill information into formats that are digestible and understandable. Take a look at some of our latest examples. 

Our Annual Review: Steady As She Goes — Median San Francisco Prices Rise 6% Matching Historic Norms in 2017

The 2017 Annual Review
SF Real Estate Sales Data
What It Means

It’s time to look back at sales data for SF real estate for 2017. While 2017 may not have seemed to be the most normal year around the world — wild fires, 106° days in San Francisco, mayors suddenly leaving us early, presidential lows and a whole renewed awareness of what ‘crossing the line’ meant one thing that held unsurprisingly steady: real estate prices and value. As we’ve said time and time again, real estate is the ultimate hedge against risk, change and surprise in that it’s both an asset with value that also has utility. 

So, how did 2017 compare to 2016? 

First, remember that San Francisco homes have had the same annualized 6-percent growth rate since the Regan administration. Second, supply is incredibly low: 2016 saw 5,500 new housing units hit the market (including rental and purchase) but 2017 only saw 1,988 new units come online and there are only 3,400 units under construction currently. Then it should come as no surprise that values continued to grow steadily despite concerns about what a Trump administration could do and creeping interest rate rises. Take a look at numbers below along with our observations and thoughts about what we’ve seen and what may see going into 2018.


Big Gains in 2017 Are Just the Start for District 3’s Rise  

As we predicted last year, the biggest gains in median home values took place near SF State and the Excelsior. This is thanks to more value-minded buyers being pushed out of neighborhoods like the Sunset, Mission Terrace, Glen Park and Bernal Heights (not to mention Noe Valley, the Richmond or Potrero Hill) into District 3 Central areas like Eureka and Noe Valley continue to be popular as do other areas where folks can get 101/280 access easily so they can commute to jobs in Silicon Valley.

The Whole Foods effect: With the addition of palm trees, new street lighting and repaving, Ocean Avenue (which straddles District 3 and 4) has itself been transformed and updated. Throw in a Whole Foods and the massive new rental inventory from Avalon it’s no wonder that the area’s natural proximity to 280, BART and MUNI were finally discovered.

Construction here is just emblematic of the District’s long-term growth plan. The massive Park Merced complex (those buildings behind Stonestown Mall, off of 19th Avenue as you go south out of the City) is already being torn down as part of a $15 billion, 15-year redevelopment project that’s gotten underway. The Park Merced project is the big game in town as its 40,000 new units make up the bulk of the total of 60,000 entitled units in the City’s entire new pipeline.    

Warning Will Robinson. Westwood Park (District 4) showed extraordinary strength in 2017. As demographic turnover continues in the area, which is known for very large, detached and charismatic houses that channel a bit of Southern California, folks looking to renovate houses into forever homes should beware of a few blocks of Plymouth Avenue where backyards abut City College’s parking lot. A bit of SoCal’s pesky suburban sprawl is on the way to the area in the form of 600-800 rental units from (of course) Avalon. The large dirt berm that separates the backyards of these houses on Plymouth from the parking lot will be bulldozed away. Construction is slated to take at least 2 years but who knows how many years property values will be impacted.  

District of the Year:
District 3 — The Southwest

Areas in yellow show where the prime real estate is for District 3 — between Ocean and Holloway. Also, note where on Plymouth Avenue will abutt Avalon's latest SF project that will replace parts of City College's parking lot

District 2: Houses in the Sunset need to improve to sustain price growth, otherwise expect steady values

People will get pickier. For example, the coveted 3-bedrooms-on-the-same-level layout will be at the top of people’s wish lists. Folks will want to live on the odd-side of a numbered avenue (to get views), developed in-law spaces that are flexible in use (income unit versus legitimate in-law use to an au pair unit) and finish level for flipped houses will be even more important going forward to motivate increasingly discerning buyers as prices move up (and up).

The Sunset’s prosperity may not translate to the Parkside.

As this cycle’s prosperity has moved from north to south and east to west the question that some folks may wonder is if the Central or Outer Parkside. Our guess is that while price strength may come to the area, the Parkside’s housing stock — especially the Outer Parkside — is smaller and denser with far fewer trees. Value-added homes will have to feature smarter design and higher-end finishes to get higher dollar-per-square foot prices than you might otherwise get for a Sunset home.  

West Portal’s limits is the Inner Parkside’s gain. 

We’ve talked about how the charm of this Americana-meets-San Francisco neighborhood has captured the imaginations and pocketbooks of buyers looking to have bigger homes with character and proximity. Indeed, average prices here are pushing past the $2 million mark, which has had a positive knock-on effect on its adjacent Inner Parkside neighborhood where there are more homes that have yet to undergo the mandatory Sunset-Parkside once-in-fifty-year updating. And while West Portal has been on many people’s radars for quite some time, the Inner Parkside’s growth curve just started about 3 years ago as $2 million is still a substantial number despite rising incomes. For both areas, watch for more fixer homes here go for higher prices especially if the house is on a bigger parcel with views and the potential for higher-end finishes or more desirable floorplans.    


Containing Enthusiasm
District 2 — The West

What will happen with the Sunset, Parkside and West Portal? Where's better and where's to come?

The Rest in a Nutshell
Quicker Thoughts About Up north, down south and out east

We saw home prices in District 7 and 8 decline slightly but only in the aggregate as fewer fixers are coming available as showcase houses take time to prepare

Don’t let the slight declines in the traditionally strong north side neighborhoods trip you up. As we’ve said many times before, when folks think of Pacific Heights they think of grand redone mansion-like homes. But when they got there they would oftentimes encounter musty old houses that needed to be redone. Nowadays when you are in Pacific Heights you’re more likely to encounter construction crews and port-a-potties as the musty old houses are undergoing the conversion into those big mansions you’re picturing (if you want to see completed mansions then you should go over Presidio Heights). Anyway, these projects take time to complete (2-3 years at least) and, if it’s a flip, face an interesting dilemma: at these high price points folks want to customize and personalize their homes rather than live with what a developer picks for the ‘market.’ But when done right, flipped homes will sell and will sell very well.

South Beach and South of Market

Price growth isn’t as strong as the rest of the City for a few reasons: an oversupply of same-looking inventory, increasing traffic congestion, MUNI light rail construction and new building construction in general. But once things get a little more settled down as projects get completed the housing inventory picture will become clearer (at least for a foreseeable future) and the area’s traffic issues should become better (fewer construction-related delays) condo prices will start to rise at a rate closer to the City’s 6 percent average. This should take place within the next 2-3 years. And, to combat the sameness issue we will start to see more distinctive projects and architecture like 181 Fremont for example.  

Bits and Bobs

Bayview: Thrown-together, opportunistic flipper projects in the Bayview where unsophisticated developers have pushed prices down.

Bernal Heights: housing prices have stabilized but are still very strong for projects that go the extra distance or are otherwise special and well-executed

In the Know: July 23, 2017 Edition: Most Over List Top 10 + More


Recent Sales Activity Highlights Fragmented Nature of San Francisco Real Estate — which is normal for this time of year  

Happy Sunday! First things first: Be sure to come and our listings at 520 Natoma (which can now be used as a residential rental property) and 101 Lundys this weekend.

Now, making sense of what’s what and why things sell at X price and others for Y price requires continued education and awareness that we’re delighted to give you all as often as we can. This week is no different as you’ll see our latest ranking of the top 10 most over-list price houses that sold in the first part of 2017 (with our YouTube walkthroughs of a couple of those properties) below along with this week’s and last week’s Tall Tales of Sales (i.e., Stories of the Week). 

  • Apart from that we’ve seen some interesting properties hit San Francisco’s real estate market over the past couple of weeks that are appealing and intriguing. And a lot more listings are coming up as you’ll see in our Coming Soon and Off-Market section, which returns this week. With all of that, we’ve seen the following:  
  • For those special properties we’re seeing what you’d expect: multiple offers after a very tight and short marketing periods with final sale prices way, way over list price. This is especially true for the $899,000–$2M price range for condos and houses in the City.
  • But for other properties outside of that price range, we’re seeing sales take a (relatively) longer period to sell with final sale prices being closer to original list prices While we’re still seeing price reductions we’re not seeing as many as we saw at the end of June and in early July. 
  • As we ease into August, we will be begin to see more properties being withdrawn but still available off-market as we anticipate the market’s reawakening after Burning Man/Labor Day, which is the traditional start to the fall selling season.  Last, we’re also seeing strength in the rental market pickup again. There’s been some ballyhoo about the ‘declining’ rental market. In context you may see rents off by 4-5 percent (what is that, a hundred or two hundred dollars a month?!) but anecdotal evidence from new buildings going up like 600 South Van Ness — a 20-unit building with luxury finishes that Pacific Heights high-end flipper/developers built instead of doing another mansion flip — is almost rented out 100 percent without the building being completed.

Just How Much Over List Price? The Top 10 Properties in San Francisco for 2017 (so far)

Many San Francisco agents will under price their listings to see them sell for X% over list price. In fact, about 75-80% of San Francisco listings sell for over list price on average. We don’t know why this habit is the convention but that’s just how it goes.

Usually you can expect a property to sell at 110-120% of its list price. But there are the cases where agents really underprice their listings — much to everyone’s annoyance. Pricing like this creates mind games and has the risk pushing away better buyers and creating false hopes for many, many other buyers. Right or wrong, the market will find a property’s value regardless of a given list price. And despite what news headlines may scream there usually is some logic at play — at least we hope there is — that would substantiate a high sale price. Take a look at the properties that sold for way, way over their respective list prices.


We’re happy to announce that we are having our best year ever in real estate to date — thank you to all of you and yours. Please keep the referrals and confidence in our services coming!

And the adage that success begets success is one that applies with our brokerage too. MLS data for the first part of 2017 is in and Vanguard Properties now ranks as the top brokerage for all of San Francisco in terms of market share and sales volume. Leaving large, in-house brokers for new-construction buildings aside, Vanguard Properties was also top of the rankings for the number of residential listings in San Francisco according to MLS data. Vanguard Properties’ top-dog status in the sunnier neighborhoods Alamo Square to Bernal Heights, SOMA, Eureka Valley, this Mission to Mission Bay (Districts 5, 6 and 9) also continues to hold strong too. So know that you’re really working with the best in the City and for wine country too as Vanguard Properties also dominates residential real estate in Sonoma and Napa counties too.

Read what Successful San Franciscans in real estate read: In the Know with Kevin+Jonathan

* indicates required


Hatchbeat: September’s Full House of San Francisco Real Estate: Kevin’s Hatchbeat Column


Suddenly It’s September 

September is the time when SF real estate picks up. This one may be different than others as global forces impact what happens in our neighborhoods

Full House of Dollars

Would the Full House family be able to live in Alamo Square these days?

SF Median Sale Prices from July 15-August 30, 2015

Source: SFAR MLS

By: Kevin K. Ho, ESQ., Vanguard Properties

Originally appearing in the September 2015 edition of the Hatchbeat, a San Francisco neighborhood newsletter serving Alamo Square, NoPa, Hayes Valley, the Haight and more.

In many other parts of the country summer is the busy time for real estate. By the time fall comes, real estate quiets down. Not so in San Francisco. Real estate transactions pick up in the fall here; we suppose it’s because everyone is back from vacation or because the weather is nicer. Anyway, recent global and financial events may make the upcoming autumn more eventful than in years past.

  • An ode to a Chinese-made Greek urn… erm, will financial market swings impact SF home prices?

Not really/Maybe. A few of our buyers asked us if recent stock market corrections would allow them to get a discount on homes they each wanted. We said we doubted it. Nevertheless, these buyers thought they were being tactical when they chose to discount their offer bid amounts. Both those buyers lost out to higher (multiple) offers. Each would have won the property in question if they made a correctly priced offer. In other words, there shouldn’t be any price relief for buyers.

  • You cannot live in a stock, bond or mutual fund

More people may see real estate as a useful hedge against market risk… again. We said this a lot during the Great Recession, but it bears repeating: real estate is a great hedge against market turbulence as everyone needs a place to live and there are not only financial benefits from home ownership but you could also potentially earn rent off of your property. This may have the impact of increasing demand for real estate, which could drive prices up somewhat.

  • Interest rates will go up, but probably later than September

Act now… while you still have the chance. Everyone expects interest rates for mortgages to rise before too long. Recent market fluctuations may push that increase off until December which gives buyers a chance to lock-in extremely low mortgage rates for the next 30 years. This has the impact of potentially locking down a property for years to come. But in the short term, this may mean there will be more activity this fall with buyers pushing their budgets higher. Why? Here’s the logic: buyer purchase power is still strong today so financing a larger purchase price at a lower interest rate is viewed as being better than financing a lower-priced offer at a higher interest rate in the future as you’ll be paying more principal with a lower interest rate than a higher one.

  • Realtors matter and good ones will save you money and heartache

Every property is different, which makes having a professional more vital than ever. As alluded to above us realtors really take our clients’ interests to heart. Many of our clients benefit from our advice about property value. One couple closed on a downtown condominium recently and we found out that the backup offer behind us (which came in too late) was $100,000 above ours and was all-cash. Needless to say, our buyers were happy as they have instant equity. On the other hand, we had potential sellers ignore our specific prep and marketing plan by entrusting vital design choices to their contractor. That property now has four shades of clashing white paint in just one room. There’s also clashing crown molding painted sea-foam green and white kitchen countertops with embedded reflective confetti bits. These poor choices have harmed the property’s value by $200,000-$400,000 we believe. The property now presents a good opportunity for a buyer to get a steal of a deal.

  • What will $700,000 buy you at 555 Fulton?

How far does a dollar go these days? If you’re looking for new construction these days the most obvious choice is the big new development at 555 Fulton Street where 1-bedroom condo units without parking are selling for about $700,000 a piece depending on views. But if new construction isn’t your cup of tea, take a look at what’s selling in the neighborhood and in the City generally.

Where Homes Are Going Fastest This Spring — The Bay Area | from Trulia Trends

The Market is Fastest in the Bay Area, Quickening in New York, and Slowing in SoCal

The share of homes for sale today after being on the market two months ago ranges from less than one third in the San Francisco Bay Area to more than two thirds in several markets in the Northeast and South. The fastest-moving markets are Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco, where less than one third of homes on the market two months ago were still for sale in mid-April 2014.

via Where Homes Are Going Fastest This Spring | Trulia Trends.

Kevin’s Open House Picks of the Weekend: March 21-23, 2014, 1st Weekend of Spring Edition

There are just 92 new listings new to the MLS from Thursday into Friday with 10 listings coming back on the market during that time and 366 scheduled open houses in San Francisco this weekend.

There are A LOT of single family homes that have caught my eye this week. Yes, many of them are at the high end, but others are in the middle and there are fixers among them too.

There a fixer with a potential in Eureka Valley at 4540 19th Street listed for $1.495M, a cute, drop-dead views of SF home near Dolores Park at 293 Cumberland that could use a garage installation listed at $1.7M and there’s also an interesting Victorian/Cottage project-building at 3 Laussat Street listed for just $875,000.  In the theme of large homes: there’s a chic, large Noe Valley, eco-friendly, 2012-renovated home with 2 car garage, radiant heat, solar panels, yard, open floor plan, and extra deep 114’ lot at 257 29th Street listed for a modest $2.995M. A pair of smaller Noe Valley houses, one at 369 Valley and another seemingly small-looking-but-larger home is located at 1515 Noe. A little to the west is a nice 4 bedroom home at 265 Kensington with 4 parking spaces near West Portal and St. Francis Wood for $1.2M. For a large stunner nearer the coast, take a look at 160 San Marcos, a Forest Knolls 3500+sqft new 2014-built 3 bed, 3.5 bath, den, elevator and 2-car garage with high-end finishes. And for you Liberty Hill fans, there’s a Victorian fixer that’s been used as a 2-unit building with more than 13 rooms and a 1-car garage located at 4121 20th Street listed for $1.7M between Noe and Castro Streets that will be delivered vacant at close of escrow that has scores of possibilities. For an updated craftsman in Glen Park take a look at another chic renovation at 264 Surrey. There’s a vacant 2-unit building over at 27th and Dolores at 171 27th Street that also offers a lot of possibilities too that’s being sold as a 2-unit building or separate TICs.  And over in the eastern parts of San Francisco, there’s that ‘perfect’ air-conditioned 1 story Victorian at 878 Hampshire listed for just $1.2M, a stunner of a 2800-sqft newly renovated home at 1164 De Haro in Potrero listed at $2.25M.

For condos, I really like 1070 Guerrero, which is a modern 2-level LEED condo built recently with 3 bedrooms that has that chic white-wall, broad plank, tall-ceiling feel of a modern and urban home located among historic houses near the Mission Dolores corridor, listed at $1.5M. In the vicinity sits 942 South Van Ness Avenue, a 2009-built 3 Bed, 3.5 Bath, condo with nearly 1900 sqft of living area listed for $1.359M. The Onyx SF over at De Haro and 17th Street new condos are now open. Other condos that look interesting are a clutch in the South Beach area (200 Brannan, the Brannan across the street). There is a cute condo on Dehon Street, right near 16th Street and Sanchez that comes with parking, character and light at 14 Dehon that is worth a look as are the listings at the Arterra, 175  Bluxome and 177 Townsend for smaller condos/lofts as are the ones at 1310 Minnesota and 1800 Bryant.

And as for 2+ unit buildings, the three-unit building at 357 Sanchez at 16th Street in the Castro near Duboce Park is finally open to the public and is being sold as an entire building or individual TICs. In the Inner Mission area, a three-unit building at 2331 Bryant is open as is the stunningly huge Queen Anne home at 955 S. Van Ness is open as is the lovely 2-unit building at 728 Clayton near Cole Valley.

For the complete list of the 31 pages of open houses I flagged for San Francisco, click here. And to search all open houses in the City, click here.


The Top 13 Home & Condo Sales in San Francisco and more…

3, 2, 1…

The Year in San Francisco Real Estate

It’s that time of year where the number of countdown lists can get out of hand. Speaking of out of hand, here’s a look back at the top 13 sales for single-family homes and condos (not TICs) in our fair city by the bay.


Top SF Single Family Home Sales 2013

Here are notable facts from January 1, 2013 until now:

  • 1122 Homes sold for more than $1M
  • 349 Homes sold above $2M
  • 159 Homes sold above $3M
  •  79 Homes sold above $4M
  •  50 above $5M

4 homes sold for more than $2000/sqft, well, really 3 unless you believe a house at Grand View Avenue sold for $216,666/sqft. No, the prize for a recorded sale with reported square footage (remember, not everyone reports this figure) is 86 Stanton Street at Market Street, which is really comprised of 2 buildable lots with a 435 sqft cottage coming in at $2,091/sqft. No the real winner is stunningly renovated single family home circa 1888 in Russian Hill at $2,045/sqft located at 807 Francisco Street for this 7 bed, 5.5 bath, 2-car garage home that closed for $12.375M.

How much did someone pay for the most expensive single family sold this year?  How about $18M for 3660 Jackson Street, which is a 8800+ sqft ‘stately’ home at Maple Street with 6 bedrooms, 6.5 baths and 6 parking spaces selling for a modest $2,040/sqft. A couple things to note: the people who bought borrowed $8M to do it and the last time it sold was in 1978 for something in the $800,000 range for nearly 14,000 sqft of land. Oh, and it’s kind of a fixer.

The most expensive home in District 5 was at 715 Buena Vista at Frederick, another ‘stately’ home with a 9100 sqft lot, 4700 sqft of living area with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and 4 parking spaces was listed for $5.95M and sold for $6M in October at $1273/sqft.

The Top 13, part 1

3660 Jackson from the outside

3660 Jackson from the outside. (SF MLS)

Yes, really. One of the bedrooms from 3660 Jackson (SF MLS)

Yes, really. One of the bedrooms from 3660 Jackson. (SF MLS)

And without further ado, here are your top 13 single family home sales for 2013 listed on the MLS, which took an average of 44 days on the market with an average per square foot price of $1401 with about 8858 sqft.

  1. 3660 Jackson St, $18,000,000, 6 bed, 6.50 bath, 8820 sqft
  2. 2622 Jackson St, $13,300,000, 7 bed, 6 bath, 11,450 sqft
  3. 2504 Jackson St, $13,000,000, 6 bed, 5.75 bath, 7260 sqft
  4. 2020 Jackson St, $12,750,000, 7 bed, 7.50 bath, 11,500 sqft
  5. 807 Francisco St, $12,375,000, 7 bed, 5.50 bath, 6050 sqft
  6. 2898 Vallejo St, $11,700,000, 6 bed, 5.75 bath, none listed
  7. 3598 Jackson St, $11,000,000, 7 bed, 7.50 bath, 10,227 sqft
  8. 2430 Broadway St, $10,950,000, 5 bed, 6 bath, none listed
  9. 2755 Fillmore St, $9,999,998, 4 bed, 4.50 bath, none listed
  10. 15 Arguello, $9,750,000, 9 bed, 7.50 bath, 9,398 sqft
  11. 2570 Jackson St, $9,600,000, 11 bed, 8.50 bath, 9,885 sqft
  12. 34 Presidio Ter, $9,500,000, 5 bed, 6.50 bath, 8,040 sqft
  13. 2668 Vallejo St. $9,500,000, 4 bed, 5 bath, 5,950 sqft



Top SF Condominium Sales 2013 

Here are notable facts about condo sales here from January 1, 2013 until now:

  • 33 Condos sold for more than $1M
  • 119 Condos sold for more than $2M
  • 31 above $3M
  • 9 above $4M
  • and 3 above $5M

Which San Francisco condo was the priciest sale for 2013? The winner is the $7.85M penthouse condo at the Four Seasons, #27A 765 Market Street, with 3318 sqft and 3 beds, 4.5 baths and $2590/month HOA dues. Oh, and the closing price per square foot was a modest $2,365/sqft.

The Top 13, part 2

Three luxury condos sold this year at Jackson and Octavia after a stunning renovation.

Three luxury condos sold this year at Jackson and Octavia after a stunning renovation.


The view from up there…

Here are your top 13 (number 13 has 3 as there was a tie) condo sales for 2013, which took an average of 63 days on the market with an average per square foot price of $1763 with about 3105 sqft.

  1. 765 Market St #27A, $7,850,000, 3 Bed, 4.50 Bath, 3318 sqft
  2. 990 Green #6, $6,500,000, 5 Bed, 6.50 Bath, 5600 swift
  3. 2064 Jackson St, $5,710,000, 3 Bed, 2.50 Bath, none listed
  4. 765 Market St #35F, $4,950,000, 3 Bed, 3.50 Bath, 2,572 sqft
  5. 268 Lombard St #1, $4,900,000, 3 Bath, 2 Bed, none listed
  6. 1170 Sacramento St #11D, $4,650,000, 2 Bed, 3 Bath, 2780 sqft
  7. 301 Mission St #48B, $4,250,000, 2 Bed, 2.50 Bath, 1664 sqft
  8. 2220 Sacramento St, $4,085,000, 5 Bed, 6.50 Bath, 5726 sqft
  9. 2062 Jackson St, $4,000,000, 3 Bed, 2.50 Bath, none listed
  10. 2060 Jackson St, $3,995,000, 3 Bed, 3.50 Bath
  11. 301 Mission St #48C, $3,850,000, 2 Bed, 3.50 Bath, 2180 sqft
  12. 611 Washington St #2101, $3,800,000, 3 Bed, 3.50 Bath, none listed
  13. 301 Mission #35C, $3,800,000, 2 Bed, 2.50 Bath, 2170 sqft
  14. 1945 Hyde St #6, $3,800,000, 2 Bed, 2.50 Bath, 1936 sqft


April’s First Broker Tour Sheet for San Francisco

Here it is: Your Broker Tour Sheet for Tuesday, April 2, 2013 here in San Francisco.


As usual, if there’s something you want me to see or if you’d like to come along with me to the speed dating of open houses, please let me know. Until then Happy Easter Egg Rolling!


[gview file=”https://www.kevinho.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Broker-Tour-for-April-2-2013.pdf”]

Kevin’s Picks and Updates of the Week for San Francisco Real Estate 2/2/13 Ed.

Go Niners (next week)! Go See Your Next House on Saturday or Early Sunday

GO NINERS! (Bet of the Week: Niners, by 6)

Hello! Happy Weekend!. Welcome to Kevin’s Open House Picks of the Week — although this week I’m picking our 49ers. 

Just a year ago interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 4.18% This year they are averaging 3.5% while the median price for San Francisco residential properties has shot up 39% since then. While that median price is a hard number to rely upon because inventory has changed — fewer foreclosures, lower inventory generally — one certainty is that interest rates will float down like a feather but will shoot up like a rocket and fast. And with the recovery starting nationally the risks of inflation will almost certainly lead to interest rate hikes. So while prices are higher, your overall cost and tradeoff between having more money today on hand versus money tomorrow or a decade from now can be measured by whether or not you get to make that assessment from your home.

Today’s market demands decisive action. Bidding $20,000 or $30,000 over an asking price — itself an inaccurate almost irrelevant value — is almost pointless and expected. In fact, we’ve started to see what they do in New York: the “suggested price.” Remember, market value only equals what someone (hopefully not someone else) is willing to pay for a property, which explains price flexibility especially if a property is not listed on the MLS. In fact, there is thinking that a third of property that will change hands in 2013 will be done off-market; all the more reason to have someone plugged in like me working for you.

Listing Sneak Peeks

(as overheard/shared by my colleagues)
I’ve been pounding the pavement, making calls and carefully listening to learn about new opportunities for you all before others do so you can get a head start.

  1. 24th and Dolores – Stunning renovation of two condominiums from a former single-family house. Won’t last long. Stunning views, high-end finishes, solid and quality construction. 1101 Dolores St. Lower unit 1.5 million upper at $1.995 million. Upper has four bedrooms, two and half-bath and 2300 ft.² (sold at +15% to an exclusive appointment client. Lower home has three bedrooms two baths with Cornerview at 1800 ft.² each comes with a parking space and it essentially new construction. Exclusive appointments only.
  2. 160A Linda Street @19th Street, 2-Bed/2 Bath 1 Bed/1Bath, TIC home in lottery, expected in January, February, pre-sale possible, middle unit, recently remodeled and sold (2010), expected list price range: $479k–$525k
  3. 486 Chestnut, Three new condos, 2 or 3 bedrooms with 1 to 2 parking spaces each, at least 1600 sq ft each expected, priced from $1.6M to $2.1M are coming on the market in January [construction delay]. It’s a rare to find something new in this area at all. See more: https://1456chestnut.com
  4. 2069 Green Street @ Webster, 3-Bed/3 Bath Pacific Heights Condo with parking and 3000+ sq ft., good light & garden access, expected list price range: $1.695M
  5. 1610 Sacramento at Polk, Nob Hill condos, eight recently renovated condos, each with independent parking spaces, 2 beds, 2 baths each either at 1150 sq ft or 1500 sq ft, prices range from $900k – $1.3M on within a week. [Staged this week, one already in contract].
  6. 96 6th Ave at Lake, 1 Bed, 1 Bath, + den, 6 unit bldg, Edwardian, great period details. Leased parking $150/month, Fireplace, wood floor, $400/month HOAs, wood floors, west facing, off market as sellers will deliver at the end of the year. Expected price: $675,000.
  7. 1653 Golden Gate, tic converting into 3 Bed/ 1.50 bath, 1800 sq ft, restored and upgraded top-of-the line, 7 rooms south-facing garden view.; price TBD, prob $800k – $900k+ (on this weekend or next)
  8. 1880 Steiner, 2 Bed/2Bath, 1 pkg second floor, at Post, nice layout with nice light, comfortable, fireplace, wood floors, built in 2002, 39 units altogether, around 1000 sq ft expected 1st week of Feb. Anticipated list price: $779,000 on next week
  9. 601 Van Ness #1132 1bd condo, opera plaza, $439k
  10. 627 Castro, top-floor TIC unit, 3 Beds, 2 Bath (1 is en suite) 2 parking spaces (!) recently renovated Edwardian flat, with 1600 sq ft. approx.
  11. top-shelf remodel, 2 fireplace, open kitchen, speakers in ceiling, new overhead light fixtures, small patio, restoration hardware finishes, garage parking, great location. List price $1.25M. Open to the public shortly thereafter and who knows what it will sell for and how long it will last. Seller is willing to take an offer now.
  12. 355 Buena Vista Ave, #301, 1 bed, 1 bath, extra storage, TWO parking space, condo, 774 sq ft, HOA dues around $400/month, expected list price $599k
  13. 352 Richland at Andover, Bernal Heights single family home fixer with APPROVED, shovel-ready plans for a 2300 sq ft expansion/addition to an otherwise large 1 Bedroom, 1 Bath, deep lot with yard, listed at $795k. Listed this week generally on MLS.
  14. 86 Wool St, Single Family Home at Eugenia Ave — 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car, 1800 sq ft, was on the market last summer as a fixer, now it’s just about complete with high-end finishes and remodel. Expected list price $1.5M
  15. Noe Valley, Single-family House on Jersey St, between Noe & Sanchez, 290 Jersey, with AMAZING finishes; Previously 2 unit-probate at Jersey and Sanchez – now a stunning single-family home – 4 bedrooms (3 on same level); 3.5 bathrooms; formal living & dining; gourmet kitchen with family room / eat-in area; media room with wet-bar and adjacent outdoor living space with fire pit, garden and parking. Suggested list price in the $2.8’s. Shown by appointment only this Sunday, seller would love for Vanguard to sell the property and willing to take advance offers before going to open market.
  16. 994 Corbett near Market/Portola, it’s improved (perhaps over-improved, which means more value for you). Single family with 4 levels, w/ elevator, 3000 sq ft, master suite level with deck overlooking the city, fire place, steam sauna, infinity tub with views, master walk-in with chandelier, then three other levels with another 2-4 bedrooms depending on how you configure each floor. Decks on each. Excellent finishes and remodel. Radiant heat. Wood floors throughout. The kitchen is, well, wow, viking, gas range, custom wine fridge in addition to full-length refrigerator and freezer, two dining rooms, two sitting rooms, family rooms, workout room. Each person gets their own level. There’s a place to plugin your electric vehicle, the views are stunning, Anyway, it’s off market for a while and the list price now is $2.9M. Sellers are willing to negotiate.
  17. 537 Natoma @ Russ, 13 new construction condos, 9 2Bd/2Ba, 4 1Bd/1Ba, 850 sq ft–1100 sq ft, elevator building, all with parking, ready soon with exclusive for Vanguard agents and their clients. Expected price range $525k–$799k
  18. Oak & Baker, 5-unit building, with one renovated owner’s unit with 3-4 units some delivered vacant, excellent redevelopment opportunity, expected $1.8M–$2.0M
  19. Bryant & 1st Street, 3 Bed, 3 Bath, penthouse suite that combined two units into a space with more than 2500 sq ft with 2 parking spaces, 2 fireplaces decks, bridge and water views, expected list price: $2.7M
  20. 25th St & Castro, 2002-built 2 level, 3 bedroom, 3.5 Baths, upper unit that’s big and spacious with decks, sauna in a luxe building, tenant-occupied until Aug 1, expected list price $2M.
  21. 14th and Valencia, 411 Valencia, 1 bedroom, 4th floor, new construction condo, no parking, expected at $550,000.

In addition to my Picks of the Week, Advances and Exclusives, I thought you’d be interested to see how things ended up with previously listed properties. So without further ado:


Stories of the Week:

  1. 310 Townsend, a big one bedroom loft in that historic restoration building next to CalTrain, that was listed at $799,000 went in to the $800,000s — for a one bedroom!
  2. 2776 Golden Gate, a 2 unit building with one unit being tenant-occupied was listed at $999,000, received 6 offers and will close nearly 20% over the asking price.
  3. 1015 Florida, the single family home in need of some TLC in the hot Inner Mission area, listed at $665,000, received at least 14 offers and entered escrow at a “substantial” amount over the asking price.
  4. 1610 Sacramento, 3 bedroom Nob Hill condos with more than 1200 sq ft, which was exclusively previewed last weekend to Vanguard agents and their clients, already has the top-floor unit in contract at more than $1,000 a sq ft.
  5. 411 Valencia, the last 2-bedroom condo available went into contract over its asking price of $759,000 with multiple offers.

Extras: Access various reference resources — including my exclusive 60-page User Guide on how to navigate real estate successfully in San Francisco for buyers and sellers at www.kevinho.org Ask me for reference materials via Dropbox. And see pictures of many the homes I preview for you at Photobucket or on iCloud or YouTube.

This week there seems to be a lot of single-family homes and larger condos at the $2M price point. I’ve always said that the $2.3M – $2.9M price point is the perfect price in SF as you’ll get the most ideal home, or amenity-filled condo in areas like Pac Heights/Marina, South Beach (condo), Noe Valley/Eureka Valley, Haight (single family homes) Also we’re seeing more fixers pop on to the market too. So, take a look here and also be sure to go to www.kevinho.org to see the upcoming broker tour sheet for Tuesday.

My business comes from you and yours, so please feel free to pass this along to your friends, colleagues, pet walkers, etc. Thanks! Kevin Ho

Picks of the Week

 TAKE NOTE: Many of the open houses this weekend are on Saturday or are EARLIER on SUNDAY.

(a .pdf version will appear when clicked)

Um Yeah, Can You Say Sellers’ Market?

Market Focus from the San Francisco Association of REALTORS, DECEMBER 2012

San Francisco Housing Market Remains Upbeat Throughout Holiday Season

quick stats

Single-Family Homes

Median Sales Price:
↓ $821,000

Active For-Sale Inventory:
↓ 516

Days on Market:
↑ 48


Median Sales Price:
↑ $772,000

Active For-Sale Inventory:
↓ 663

Days on Market:
↑ 48

Even though the city’s housing market has had to deal with month-after-month of low housing stock in 2012, it has not stopped a wave of motivated buyers from making San Francisco their home. Families have been rushing all year round to purchase and settle into their new homes, eager to take advantage of historically low interest rates, knowing that rental prices will only continue to rise.

Single-Family Home Sales

Compared to November of last year, the inventory of single-family homes for sale in the city fell by 38.1 percent, to a total of 516 properties. The number of homes under contract improved by 1.4 percent, while the number of homes sold also increased by 14.2 percent, to a total of 265 properties sold.

For homes that were priced below $700,000, the months of supply inventory dropped by 56.6 percent to a reading of 0.9 months. For higher-priced homes between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months of supply inventory also fell, by 63.8 percent to 1.2 months.

(These exceedingly short time frames are indicative of a seller’s market, where sellers have more leveraging power over buyers who are all vying against a limited amount of properties.)

One region of the city that experienced a heightened boost of activity is in the northwestern section, more commonly referred to as the Richmond District, which includes such neighborhoods as Laurel Heights, Outer, Central and Inner Richmond and Sea Cliff. Since November 2011, the number of homes sold in this area jumped by as much as 64.3 percent, to a total of 23 properties sold.

With its close proximity to Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach and the ethnic shopping corridors of Geary Boulevard and Clement Street, there is a never a shortage of activities to do here. Growing families will find the neighborhood vibe of the Richmond District and its abundance of turn-of-the-century Edwardian homes and stucco houses alluring. The median price for a home here is $1,280,888, which is up by a dramatic 49.8 percent from this time last year.

Another region of the city which continues to experience vibrant sales activity is in the area of San Francisco known as Twin Peaks West. Compared to this time last year, the number of homes under contract here moved ahead by 13.8 percent, while the total number of homes sold boosted by a whopping 100 percent, to 46 properties sold. Located in the mid-western part of the city, Twin Peaks West has a total of 16 neighborhoods, including the upscale and exclusive St. Francis Wood and Forest Hill, and the more approachable and family-friendly communities of Diamond Heights and West Portal. There is an array of architectural styles available for everybody here, from stately Spanish Mediterranean homes to charming craftsman bungalows. The median price for a home here is $950,000, which is up by 20.3 percent from November 2012.

Condominium Sales

Along with single-family homes, the inventory of condominiums for sale in the city fell by 36.3 percent, to a total of 660 condominiums. The number of condominiums under contract rose by 20 percent, while the number of condominiums sold increased by 25.1 percent, to a total of 259 units sold.

For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months of supply inventory tightened by 48.4 percent to a reading of 1.4 months. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months of supply inventory also dropped by 46.7 percent to 1.6 months.

One area which saw a robust increase in condominium sales activity is in the Marina, Cow Hollow, and Pacific and Presidio Heights neighborhoods of the northernmost section of the city. Since November of last year, the number of condominiums under contract here increased by 43.5 percent, while the number of condominiums sold has also magnified by 54.5 percent to a total of 34 units sold. Successful professionals, both young and old, who prefer to live in what many consider to be “old San Francisco,” will find satisfaction in any of these four neighborhoods where luxury condominiums reside next to posh shopping destinations and unique restaurants. The median price for a condominium here is around $1,041,250, which is up by 12 percent from this time a year ago.


The consumer confidence index, which had increased in October, posted a moderate increase in November. The index now stands at 73.7, up from a reading of 73.1 in October.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, says that, “The Consumer Confidence Index increased in November and is now at its highest level in more than four and a half years (76.4 Feb. 2008). This month’s moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations, while consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions continues to hold steady. Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence.”

CNN Money recently reported that, “In another sign of a housing market rebound, home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the third quarter, according to the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index. The 3.6% increase from a year earlier is more than three times the rise in the previous quarter and was the biggest jump in prices since the second quarter of 2010. But that 2010 rise was much more of a temporary blip caused by a homebuyer’s tax credit of up to $8,000 on homes purchased in late 2009 and early 2010. This latest rise comes as the housing market has shown numerous other signs of recovery in recent months. The rebound is spurred by a combination of record low mortgage rates, an improving jobs market and a drop in foreclosures to a five-year low, reducing the supply of distressed homes available. There is also a tighter supply of both new and previously owned homes on the market. The improvement in housing market fundamentals have helped to lift the pace of both home sales and home building.”

According to USA Today, “Apartment rents will go up again next year for the fourth consecutive year as the economy improves—good news for landlords but tough on renters. Rents for apartments—which make up about half of all rental housing—will jump 4.6% nationally next year after a 4.1% increase this year, the National Association of REALTORS® predicted Monday [November 26, 2012] in its commercial forecast. Rents will keep rising, more than 4% a year for 2014 and 2015, says market researcher Reis.”

From the SF Chronicle, “San Franciscans appear to have avoided slashed library hours, surging swim lesson fees and fewer street sweepers, at least in the near term. The city has a projected deficit of $129 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1—the lowest shortfall in five years and one that isn’t expected to mean draconian service cuts, according to budget projections that Mayor Ed Lee’s office released Tuesday [December 11, 2012]. San Francisco’s improving fiscal picture is due to a recovering economy and the early effect of reforms implemented in recent years, including two-year budgets and pension program changes, officials said.”

Two houses, Unalike on Cesar Chavez

The 3900 block of Cesar Chavez sees a nearly $2M preemptive for a duplex and more

Over Cesar Chavez nearer to the top of the block at Sanchez there were 2 open houses on yesterday. One was a duplex with expansion potential to a 3rd unit (3978 & 3980) and the other a single family home needing a complete blowout (3993). For those of you who wanted a bargain, think again. The duplex was listed at $1.99M (even though that means nearly $1M per unit which were 3/2 granted w/2-3 pkg) but never made it on to the open market after an all-cash 21-day close offer came sailing in.





Meanwhile you’ll need to bring your imagination across the street at 3993 Cesar Chavez as its a single family house for $899k with at least 6 disclosure packages out (offers due today), but the house is typical of a hodge podge that needs to be sorted out thoroughly so someone can take full advantage of the location.



Special only-in-S.F. homes on the market – SFGate

Tales of the City’s Real Estate. Special only-in-S.F. homes on the market – SFGate.

What are those Ladies Doing?

%d bloggers like this: