Craig, Home Buyer in 94110

Is Bernal Heights still a diamond in the rough?

Asked by Craig, 94110 Sat Mar 29, 2008

When I moved here in August, everyone told me that this was a diamond in the rough. but in the last 9 months I've seen a lot of renovations in roads, houses, and more businesses opening up.

To all of you Bernal Heights experts, do you still feel the same way, or do you feel that Bernal has already arrived? I am considering buying a place, and I want to try to find something great in a neighborhood on the cusp.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Kraig, I think the answer depends on where in Bernal you are buying. In my opinion, Bernal has three major sections: North Slope, South Slope, and South of Cortland (I sure hope we don't end up assigning monikers to these, I'm just identifying the micro markets there).

South of Cortland is an inconsistent area, the lots and streets are generally smaller, and you can find fair housing deals there from time to time. South of Cortland also slopes into the highway and St.Mary's Park. Generally easy access to Cortland shops and restaurants.

South slope is up from Cortland and is generally more valuable, but that again depends on the specific condition of the property. There are southerly views in many of the homes on the south slope. It's easy to get to the top of the hill to walk a dog or take in a panoramic view. Easy access to Cortland shops and restaurants.

North Slope is the more valuable, and homes here can have drop dead views, even if they are somewhat obstructed by trees or another property. North slope doesn't have so much of a walking neighborhood, but Precita park has a few small businesses that buffer that thought.

North slope prices are breaking the $1M mark with properly conditioned properties. South slope pricing is heading that way. South of Cortland you can get into with high 700s, but you should budget as much as 900 for a good offer on a good conditioned property. Bernal is consistently seeing multiple offers on good conditioned homes.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
I also think the Home Depot will improve the area. The shadyness starts just about where Cortland goes under the freeway and the hang out at the liquor store doesn't help. When the foot traffic increases the characters will move on.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
MVP'08
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I think the Home Depot will be a positive impact. I think there are some neighborhood members that differ with my opinion, they have fears that Cortland will become a speedway to that side of the hill. If more traffic comes thru Cortland, that should increase the cache of Bernal and drive people to consider moving there (perhaps putting pressure on what little housing there is in Bernal on the upside). It's synergistic.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
Kraig,
Chris has broken the market into it's actual segments. Bernal is no longer a diamond in the rough, most of it achieved diamond status a few years ago.
The only areas that could be considered "in the rough" are the areas overlooking the freeway, Alemany Boulevard, and The downslope of Cortland towards Bayshore. When the new Home Depot opens on Bayshore that southeast slope will probably achieve Diamond status.
If you want cusp neighborhoods look at the Excelsior, University Park area and the area between Silver Ave and 280.
Web Reference: http://www.jedlane.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
MVP'08
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It kinda depends on where exactly in Bernal... There are some areas that are already "up." There are some that are "coming," and there are some that probably won't "arrive" for a looong time. SF is such a block-by-block city, you know?

Anyway, as a Realtor who loves Bernal Heights because I both live and work here, I can tell you that it's a great neighborhood to call home, and it's still hot, especially near Cortland Ave or on the North or North-West Slopes.

Recently, at one of my Bernal Heights listings in July, we had 40-45 groups through each weekend for 3 weekends in a row! I'd say that this is very good demand. Add in the credit crunch and the usual summer slowdown, and I'd say it's phenomenal.

BTW, Gourmet magazine did a spread on Bernal Heights in their San Francisco issue years ago...so it's had the trend-watch factor for some time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 2, 2008
Kraig,
When I read that in the paper I thought of you. Listen we have an opportunity to change the political direction in the upcoming supervisorial election. Get involved and pick a candidiate that you can support. My two cents is that I don't think it serves our purpose to have the BOS involved in planning decisions. Some how it doesn't seem to work. You get Misters no growth and only affordable housing growth Peskin and Daly building all the high rises downtown, Calvin Klien can't get a use permit for upper Filmore. Ed Jew shakes down topioca joints because they have grown and might have too many locations.
Their opinions should matter but they shouldn't have yea or nea say on these issues.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
MVP'08
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I hear ya. I've only lived here for a year and I can't believe what people put up with here.

It's incredible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Don't get me started on the political failures of SF and our lovely staff of Supervisors.....
Web Reference: http://thefrontsteps.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Yep. I read about it. It's funny: now Gavin Newsome is begging Home Depot to reconsider after the city put them through 2-3 years of fighting over every little detail.

Well, I guess all the shady people that hang out at that dilapidated liquor store will be happy.

Way to go, SF!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Bernal has come and....almost said gone, but it's still hot. Not like it was, and definitely not a diamond in the rough.. Look to Glen Park or Diamond Heights for some real gems.

FYI, the Home Depot is a NO GO!
Web Reference: http://thefrontsteps.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 1, 2008
I have a client who absolutely loves the house I found for him in Bernal Heights. I helped him sell his first single family home in one part of Bernal and helped him find another that is way better for slightly more. He got it for $775k. It is 2 bedrooms/2 baths and backs onto St. Mary's park. Huge garage; driveway and easy street parking. It has a wonderful fireplace and inlayed wooden floors. The kitchen is upgraded now and when compared to new condos, it's an amazing alternative. 10 minute drive to downtown. But you have to know the micro neighborhoods...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
Last I heard was the board of Supes was quibbling over the size of the store and the size of the parking lot.
Contact Tom Ammiano's or Sophie Maxwell's office and ask. They would have the answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
MVP'08
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Thanks! Is there a timetable on it opening? That Coming Soon sign has been sitting there since I moved in in Sept.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
First of all, thank you for the well-thought out answers. Really super helpful. Right now I am renting on what you're both referring to as the South slope. In fact, my view is South East and I am high up the hill.

There are a lot of houses on the South slope, however, that really don't have much of a view. There also happen to be a few of these for sale. Would the new Home Depot impact this area positively? I, for one, can't wait until it goes up -- that area seems super shady and I am surprised that the city is holding it up as much as it is.

Thanks again,

Kraig
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
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