Going Up? San Francisco Inventory Is!

It’s Tuesday, which means that as soon as I finish writing this post, I’ll be out the door and touring homes for the rest of the day. From the north end to the south side I’ll be hoofing it all over the city in the hybrid, all so you don’t have to see the ugly ones on Sunday!

I’ve been using TheoTour as a beta-tester for the past several months, and one of my favorite features is the at-a-glance snapshot of market inventory. As you can see, while we are far from the October 2011 fall peak of 300 new listings, new listings have taken a substantial tick upward from the beginning of the year. Our first real estate buying/selling season begins in earnest in February (tomorrow!), running through June (roughly). Then things will momentarily pause for the fog in July and August, and pick up again in September and October before they quiet down for the holidays in November and December.

Today the are 136 new listings on tour today, up from less than 50 at the beginning of January.

Broker's Tour Stats for January 31, 2012

With interest rates at historic lows and improved consumer confidence, my prediction for San Francisco real estate in 2012 is that it will be a very good year, with an increase in volume and a slight increase in prices.

We are also beginning to come to the end of our new construction inventory, with only one new condo building opening this year (The Madrone). Given the uptick in buyer interest, I’m willing to predict that buildings like One Hawthorne, The Millennium, Blu, and One Rincon will sell out their remaining inventory in 2012.

Am I crazy? Ridiculously optimistic? Professionally informed? Talk amongst yourselves in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the San Francisco real estate market in 2012!

2011 Most Expensive homes in SF

What were the most expensive homes sold in San Francisco during the 2011 calendar year? I always have to wait for the tax records to catch up with December recordings, but now that they have, the results are in. It was a blockbuster year for luxury real estate in 2011!

To refresh your memory, here is our 2010 list of the most expensive homes in San Francisco. As you can see from the list below, Pacific Heights dominated the top 10 sales list, with 6 out of the most expensive homes sold in 2011 located in that neighborhood. Presidio Heights comes in second place with two sales, and Yerba Buena and Russian Hill each have one sale.

Rank       Address                         Sales Price              Source
1 2840 Broadway $ 33,000,000 Tax
2 2950 Broadway $ 29,500,00 Tax/MLS
3 188 Minna St. – PHA $ 28,000,000 Tax
4 2920 Broadway $ 23,473,000 Tax
5 3070 Pacific Ave. $ 20,000,000 Tax
6 3701 Washington $ 12,100,000 Tax/MLS
7 2550 Green St. $ 9,500,000 Tax/MLS
8 3362 Jackson $ 9,250,000 Tax
9 2323 Hyde St. $ 9,000,000 MLS
10 60 Normandie Ter. $ 8,800,000 Tax/MLS


2840 Broadway was an off-market deal, while 188 Minna St. (the only condo to make the list this year, with all of the other sales being single family homes) was the foreclosure sale at The St. Regis that received plenty of press during the year.

It was clearly a good year to be among the 1%, with the 2011 most expensive sale coming in more than twice as high as the top 2010 sale (2600 Pacific Ave). Five of this year’s most expensive real estate deals were valued at $ 20,000,000 or more, while not one of the 2010 sales broke the twenty million dollar mark. Broadway Avenue kept it’s ranking as the most expensive street to live on, with three of this year’s sales located in the Pacific Heights stretch of Broadway, which was the same as last year.

So there you have it – the top 10 most expensive San Francisco home sales in 2011. Talk amongst yourselves about these homes and their respective sales prices. Good investment for the years to come, or outrageous and unjustifiable at any price? Keep your comments friendly but interesting :-)


Mobile Homes of San Francisco

Tell someone you live in a mobile home in San Francisco and they’ll look at you like you’re crazy. Which you might be, but I digress. While San Francisco real estate might be known for six-figure sale prices in small packages, we aren’t known as the land of trailer parks. Perhaps it’s because we’re prone to earthquakes instead of tornadoes? There are a few homes in San Francisco, though, that are more mobile than their appearance suggests.

200 Woodside Ave., now found in the Forest Hill extension neighborhood but once part of St. Francis Wood, is one such house.

The Forest Hill Extension neighborhood was built out primarily in the 1920s, and most of the homes are finished in stucco and have a rather consistent look and feel to them – vaguely Spanish Med. 200 Woodside, on the other hand, is a cape-cod style home that is finished primarily with wood siding.

200 Woodside Ave. - A San Francisco Mobile Home

Below is a photo of the home in the context of its block, and as you can see 200 Woodside stands out as the home that doesn’t look like all of the others.

View of Forest Hill Extension

It turns out that the home was moved to this particular site back in the 1950’s, when Portola Drive was being widened. Below are several photos of Portola, before it was widened, during the construction, and how it looks today:

Portola before the street was widened
Portola when it was being widened, 1958
Portola Drive, 2012

Freeways were all the rage in the 1950s, and the plan at the time was to pretty much put a freeway everywhere. Portola wouldn’t have been turned into a freeway, but it was widened in the late 1950s to accomodate the additional traffic envisioned as a result of the freeway expansion. As you can see, it was doubled from a two-lane to a four-lane street.

I’m not sure where exactly the home at 200 Woodside Ave. started out, but it was somewhere over in the construction area and instead of being demolished it was moved to it’s current location.

The only other homes that I know of being relocated are a strip of Victorians in the Western Addition neighborhood that were moved back in the 1960s. How about you, what mobile homes in San Francisco do you know about?

San Francisco, 1955

Today’s quick afternoon distraction is a video of San Francisco taken in 1955.

Here are a few of my thoughts after watching it:

– Twin Peaks is naked! It was shocking to see how different Twin Peaks is today compared to the video, since most of Twin Peaks wasn’t built on until the 1960’s and 1970’s.

– Golden Gate Park in 1955 looks pretty much like Golden Gate Park in 2012, with the exception of those museums that have undergone an earthquake-induced transformation.

– Downtown San Francisco, where are your skyscrapers?

What stands out to you in the video?

Congratulations to 2011 Zephyr Top 10 Producers

At this morning’s Zephyr sales meeting, the company top producers were announced.

Top Producer is one of those terms that might seem straight-forward, but upon closer examination is actually a bit ambiguous. While a real estate Top Producer is exactly that – an agent  that does a lot of business (usually by dollar volume) – the definition varies from company to company. Some real estate companies might recognize their top 10%, or their top 25%. Even if two different companies recognized their top 10%, the dollar volume required to be in that bracket might vary wildly. Top Producer status is certainly a honor and an accomplishment, but just remember that the criteria vary from company to company and year to year.

Now that I’ve explained a bit about Top Producer status, I’d like to take a moment and congratulate the top 10 Zephyr agents (in terms of dollar volume) in 2011. This isn’t the entire list of Zephyr Top Producers, just the top 10.

In no particular order, congratulations to the following Zephyr top producer agents:

  • Tim Gullicksen
  • Chris Sprague
  • Tim Hawko
  • Robin Hubinsky
  • Richard Meyerson
  • Don Woolhouse
  • Bill Kitchen
  • Mollie Poe
  • Danielle Lazier
  • Anna Spathis

I’d also like to give a special shout out and congratulations to Zephyr’s company-wide Top Producer, Danielle Lazier.

Britton and I have both been at Zephyr real estate since Day 1 of our career, and we have a great deal of respect for our colleagues, sales managers, administrative team, and everyone else that is on team Zephyr. We couldn’t be the happy and dynamic team that we are if it wasn’t for the awesome staff that surrounds us, and our fellow colleagues that bring their “A-Game” to their business on a daily basis. To every agent out there (top producer or not) that runs an honest, solid, reputable and awesome business, we say thank you and congratulations!


Portola Dr & O’Shaughnessy Blvd. – Then and Now

While doing some research for an upcoming blog post about Portola Dr. I came across this great picture of the strip mall located along Portola between Evelyn and Fowler that was taken in 1938. For comparison, I went out and took a picture from roughly the same vantage point last Friday. As you can see, the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Portola Dr. in 1938, source: foundsf.org

The Miraloma Appliance co. is now home to the Portola Cleaners, while the Merit Food Center has made way for Tower Burger (yum!). I can’t quite read the signs on the next two buildings, does anyone know what was once there?  However, the Miraloma Market (far right hand side of the picture) is still the Miraloma Market (although way back in 1938 it didn’t have a taqueria).

Portola Dr. in 2012, source: Matt Fuller, GRI

If the street configuration and parking lot looks a little different to you, then you get bonus stars for your eagle eyes. Portola street was widened in the 1950’s during the lets-build-freeways-everywhere craze, which actually resulted in some of the original homes on Portola Dr. being relocated to other spots in the city.

Anyway, just a fun little then and now picture to satisfy you on this Tuesday. I’m headed out the door for broker’s tour shortly, and will be visiting neighborhoods from the north end to the south side of the city. Not much to view in Miraloma Park today, but inventory across the city is slowly creeping back up.

Have a favorite spot in the city, or an old picture that would make for a great then and now comparison? Get in touch, I’m a big fan of San Francisco history and always love to learn more about the history of the streets and homes in San Francisco.