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Market Conditions in San Francisco : Real Estate Advice

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Activity 128
Wed Jun 24, 2009
Jed Lane answered:
They have been stable. Residential anyway, commercial is under pressure.
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Fri Aug 14, 2009
Shaban Shakoori answered:
I think it boils down to supply and demand on a neighborhood basis.

Certain areas of SF have seen over-supply and have probably dropped a bit since the beginning of the year. In these areas however, sellers have generally been responsive to the market and have adjusted prices down with good results.

In other neighborhoods, there is and will always be a shortage of quality condos and stable demand for these homes. So prices there have not dropped much and have possibly increased since the beginning of the year.

My office started off the year selling about a dozen properties each week, which was good but still slow based on our past performance. Our market activity has increased steadily throughout the year, roughly tripling in volume since the beginning of the year. Taking this together with SF market statistics tells me that that prices have been pretty stable and may have increased since January of this year.

If you would like more specific data, feel free to contact me.

Shaban Shakoori
TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
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0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
Tue Feb 9, 2010
The Binnings Team answered:
Hi Gigi,

Your best bet is to ask your Realtor. If you don't have one you are more than welcome to contact me privately at 415.830.2384 or

I believe the Chronicle publishes lists every week but not sure if it will have all the Bernal listings. Your next best bet is, but the sales prices are pulled from the County Tax Records database and take a LONG time to update (6-12 months).

Which brings me back to my original suggestion that you contact your Realtor. We get up to the minute info on sales, closings, and new listings, and homes that go under contract. Hope this helps!

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0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Tue Aug 24, 2010
Jed Lane answered:
When most agents place the square footage number we use and referance another source. Look for key words such as "per tax records" or "per appraisal". Brokerages have been sued for false advertising when the agents and therefore the brokerage states a number without naming the source.
Most people don't realize it but square footage is not an exact number. Two different appraisers can come up with different numbers.
If the rooms down, "nanny rooms" were added with permit they would be on the tax records. Look for the reference, if it isn't there have your agent ask the listing agent where the number came from.
Also be aware of the use of wide angle lenses and the difference the lack of use will have on a photo.
Suspicion should become infomred and it's no problem at all if an agent asks me a question becasue I have taken an oath as a Realtor to treat every party of a transaction with honesty and openness.
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0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Wed Mar 28, 2012
Jason Chapin answered:
Hi Jerry,

The two locations are so different, this is a tough choice. Mission Bay is going to continue to grow and evolve. On the plus side you have the promise of 10,000+ new jobs in stem cell research, biotech and medicine over the coming ten years. All of those people will need a place to live. That location isn't too far outside the part of Soma and South Beach that offer nice restaurants, convenient access to grocery stores and night life et cetera. The waterfront is being developed, too, to become nicer for evening walks.

The downside to that location is that there aren't a lot of residential buildings down there and most of the planned development is commercial. I have a feeling that area will feel more like Emeryville than San Francisco when it's all said and done. It's hard to know yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the area swells with people by day and then feels a little vacant in the evening and during weekends.

18th and Dolores, on the other hand, is very well established. I think that will be an attractive location for people for decades to come. If you're in a two unit building you probably own a Victorian/Edwardian style unit, which is also really popular. By the way, I am working with several buyers who really love that area and need a 2/1. If you do decide to list, I'd love to take a look...

I think this all boils down to which location will best provide the lifestyle you're seeking. Will more space and being by the waterfront trump the walkability and charm of Mission Dolores?

Interesting question you raise - good luck!

Jason Chapin
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0 votes 13 answers Share Flag
Thu Apr 30, 2009
Shaban Shakoori answered:
I think we are seeing a rare combination of good prices and excellent financing terms including low interest rates and a first time homebuyer tax credit. This combination doesn't come around often in San Francisco. The last few times prices declined, interest rates were much higher. San Francisco has historically held its value through trying economic times as compared to other markets.

Shaban Shakoori
TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
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0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Thu Dec 31, 2009
Cheryl Bower answered:
Hi Orie,

If you're working with an agent, he/she will be your best resource for this information. Your agent can pull from the MLS recent sales of condos in the neighborhood to help determine approximate value for the condo that you are considering.

It’s very difficult/impossible to try to give an average price per square foot without knowing the size/features of the subject property. Price per sq. ft. tends to go down as the footage for the living space goes up. A deeded parking space also adds value to the property and won’t be factored in with the square foot approach. To give you an idea of the price range per square foot, a 732sf condo sold at a price which breaks down to $854/SF whereas a 1541SF condo (a beautiful Zephyr listing) sold at $533/sf.

There are also other variables as you’ve mentioned including floor plan, views, quality of finishes not to mention if the property is well priced property & shows well which can generate multiple offers.

If you don't have an agent, hire one ASAP!!! There really isn’t an easy, accurate way to pull sales data other then through a MLS member. And even then, it’s ideal that your agent has seen some of the sold properties since there are so many variables which affect value.

I’m happy to be a resource. I frequently tour district 5 & know the inventory. Zephyr also has the market share in D5 meaning that if it’s a Zephyr listing, I’ve very likely seen the property.

Best wishes,

Cheryl Bower, Realtor , GRI, ABR
Cell 415.999.3450
Zephyr Real Estate
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0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Wed Apr 15, 2009
Lori Jeltema answered:
Patb, you may want to check with your home/condo association. Many have pretty strict rules regarding that
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Cheryl Bower answered:
Hi Ursula,

Are you referring to loan rates? If so, I believe there is about a 1% decrease from 4/08.
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Wed Oct 6, 2010
Mike Kelly Allison Norman answered:
Joe, a 4 month moratorium on Foreclosures has been lifted so the delay will take 30-60 days to bring more REO's to the marketplace. The next big wave is out there and building as it reaches the shallows of a neighborhood in your area! NOD's (noices of default-where the lender starts the clock ticking to the sale on the courthouse steps -In Calfornia with our Trust Deeds this is 122 days) had declined NOT because folks decided to stay in their homes or started making payments but because the government and lenders had agreed to hold off during the holidays and then extended the timeline out for our government to do their spending magic. But get ready as they are about to come onto the market. In our area of Sonoma County we have less than a 3 weeks supply of the hottest price and home segment--THE REO marketplace! If the lenders quit "lagging the market" or pricing them way under market, we'll start to see prices stablize.
The last month our median price actually increased which is simply a sign of where the action is (sub $300,000 is up 600+% over last year!!). But as my friend, Herr Liebling says at Coldwell Banker, "One swallon does not mean spring is here!" We are a market "On-Sale" NOT in Recovery!! That's going to be a ways out. How long? 2 years? My crystal ball is clouded by the "fog of war!".
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0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Mon May 17, 2010
Your strategy is a good one, as rates are incredibly low on the conforming loans (under $417k).

Yes, piggyback loans are still available, as long as you have good equity in your home. Most lenders will allow a second mortgage or equity line as long as your total loan-to-value ratio does not exceed 70%. Some will allow that ratio to go as high as 80%, one will allow up to 90%.

Our company is lucky enough to have relationships with some of the smaller community banks and credit unions -- that's how we are able to offer the higher loan-to-value loans that you might not be able to get on your own, or through the big box banks.

Guidelines change constantly, so if you are interested, please don't wait to look into this.
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Sun Mar 29, 2009
Kris answered:
One more thing: I want it reasessed for tax purposes....

I have the CMA but I don't think the comps will justify huge price shifts.
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Tue Mar 24, 2009
Cheryl Bower answered:
Hi Stephen,

This property is not on the MLS as being an active listing. Is there a website you're looking at that is showing it's for sale?
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Fri Feb 27, 2009
Sam DeBord answered:
Online courses are great if you can be focused at home. It works for some people, not for others. As far as appraisers, I think it's going to be more necessary to join a big appraisal outfit in the future. Gov regulations are making the 3rd party outsourcing of appraisals into an assembly-line job, and appraisal brokers will be locked in with big appraisal companies. ... more
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Fri Feb 18, 2011
Jason Chapin answered:
Hi Mark,

The two bedroom configurations you speak of are the most popular at the Infinity. They sold out in Tower I before the discounting we've seen recently began. There was a list of buyers awaiting the release of Tower II, so initial sales have been good - it's still early. The sales team has insisted that the developer would not be as flexible as they were in Tower II, but I wonder...

There are significant differences among prices in the corner stacks between the 5th and 30th floors. The fifth floor is just above street level, while the 30th offers great views... I don't have pricing in front of me, but can acquire examples if you'd like more information.

Take care,

Jason Chapin
Urban Bay Properties
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0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Mon Feb 23, 2009
Shaban Shakoori answered:
You've asked a good questions, but also a difficult one because it involves forecasting. Having seen market surges and declines, it is clear to me that it is nearly impossible to forecast specific events. What is possible is to realize what kind of market you are in compared to recent market changes and predictions of what the near future will bring.

In recent weeks we saw several accurately prices homes go into escrow (3388 Clay at $4.98M, 135 Locust at $2.998M and 2580 Broadway at $4.2M). Buyers are attending open houses, with many drawing 100 visitors on a given day. What seems to separate the winners from the losers is pricing.

I was debating how to price a roughly $4M home this past week and ended up picking a price that hopefully be received as fair and accurate as opposed to inflated. I have advised the sellers of this home to market it as soon as possible while good financing is available and buyers are looking for good properties to buy.

If I had to forecast where the market is going, I would say interest rates are going to rise thereby making homes more expensive for buyers.

Shaban Shakoori
TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
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0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
Wed Dec 2, 2009
Danielle Lazier answered:
Hi Larry,

The outlook for Soma lofts depends on your perspective.

As a home buyer, there are really amazing deals in the loft market right now and this should continue through 2009. Prices are down and some sellers really must sell.

Unfortunately, SOMA was one of the areas hardest hit by the credit crunch and meltdown. Whereas a lot of San Francisco was always too expensive for sub prime borrowers and/or zero down payment borrowing (even with the relaxed guidelines of days past), some lofts in South of Market were at a price point that made low down payment and sub prime loans possible.

In general, there are very few short sales, foreclosures, and now REOs (Bank-owned properties) in San Francisco. The ones we do have are primarily concentrated in the less expensive parts of town and/or entry-level housing stock such as District 10 and parts of District 9, specifically SOMA lofts.

In addition, SOMA and surrounding areas of Mission Bay and the Waterfront are the last frontier of development in SF. This means that there is excess inventory...right now. SF is a small City that severely limits development so this supply will be absorbed. Don't kid yourself to think that there will always be more new construction supply than demand. There is no more land!

All of these factors make it a buyer's market in South of Market.

If your a seller, you may find that the value of your loft has dropped quite a bit since the peak in 2006 plus/minus. However, if you've owned your loft for a few years, it is very likely that you will still have some pretty decent profit through appreciation. As I always say, real estate is a long-term investment. Owning pretty much any property in San Francisco will appreciate over time.

Lofts have a more specific buying demographic than other homes, like single family houses for example. So, the loft market tends to be more up and down. Their popularity comes and goes. Personally, I think lofts are a great option for folks who want low-maintenance living, like the urban environment, have a modern aesthetic and want a cool pad to call home. They also tend to rent for a lot of $ so they can be a good long-term investment too.

If you are thinking of selling your loft, don't despair. Your best options really depends on your particular situation. It may make sense to take advantage of the discounted real estate market and amazing interest rates and "trade-up." If you're having trouble keeping up with your payments, talk to your lender right away. I understand that squeaky wheels are getting amazing loan modifications. I say look at your overall life picture and make the best decision from there.

In summary, if you're interested in buying a loft, do it now or soon.

You won't know that the market's heading back up until it already has and timing the market perfectly is a fool's game. Make sure you work with an agent who knows the area and understands how the loft compares to the competition so you'll get the best value you can. Of course, I'm happy to talk to you about that part! :)

All the best,
Danielle Lazier, San Francisco Realtor
Zephyr Real Estate
danielle (at)
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0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Sun Jun 21, 2009
Shaban Shakoori answered:
There is not a general number in my opinion. There are certain rare properties and neighborhoods in high demand that have not dropped much at all. Some neighborhoods have dropped 10% or more though. The issue now for many buyers is fear. Some buyers have begun to see that this historically rare mix of low prices and low interest rates is a great opportunity. I anticipate more buyers to enter the market next year as confidence builds.

TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
... more
0 votes 23 answers Share Flag
Thu Oct 30, 2008
Fred asked:
What is the range, $ per Sq Ft, for small retail (store front) in the Pacific Heights area going up or down? Specifically since 2004.Thank you in advance.Fred
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