Noe Valley Voice December-January 2001

Buyers Wary Despite Lowest Interest Rates in 40 Years

By Corrie M. Anders

Two families purchased homes costing more than $1 million each in Noe Valley in October. One home in the 4300 block of 26th Street sold for $1,260,000, while a second in the first block of Vicksburg Street sold for just under $1.2 million.

The properties--both with four bedrooms and three baths -- were among nine local homes that closed escrow in October, according to data supplied to the Voice by Randall Kostick of Zephyr Real Estate. That number was one more than the eight sold in the previous month, but a far cry from the 22 homes sold in October of last year.

Clearly, recession worries have tempered homebuyers' once exuberant mood. Not only are there fewer shoppers, but homes are taking slightly longer to sell and buyers don't feel as compelled to overbid.

Buyers on average paid 99 percent of the asking price for single-family detached homes and an average 98 percent for condominiums. (The most expensive condo was $938,000 for a three-bedroom unit in the 4500 block of 25th Street.) Until this fall, Noe Valley buyers routinely paid up to 10 percent more than the initial price tag.

The lowest mortgage rates in 40 years have sparked a refinance boom that also has had an impact on home sales.

"It's tough to get a property appraised out there," explains Kostick. "Appraisers are taking three to six weeks" to evaluate properties. Now, "it's near impossible to get a deal closed any sooner than a month and a half," instead of the previous 20- to 30-day closing, Kostick says.

Meanwhile, renters perusing newspaper classified ads are finding a larger selection of apartments and are getting more bang for their buck in the softer housing market. On a recent weekend, more than 50 Noe Valley apartments were advertised, often with parking available and pets allowed.

Noe Valley House Sales: October 2001*
Total Sales
(Closings During Month)
Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
on Market
Sale Price as % of List Price
Single-family homes 6 $655,000 $1,260,000 $886,500 33 99%
Condominiums 3 $399,000 $938,000 $689,000 26 97%
2 to 4 unit buildings 5 $695,000 $1,200,000 $989,000 26 91%
5+ unit buildings 1 $1,300,000 $1,300,000 $1,300,000 135 94%

Noe Valley House Sales: September 2001*
Total Sales
(Closings During Month)
Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
on Market
Sale Price as % of List Price
Single-family homes 4 $585,000 $985,000 $752,000 15 105%
Condominiums 4 $285,000 $1,550,000 $755,000 18 98%
2 to 4 unit buildings 3 $700,000 $1,290,000 $915,333 37 97%
5+ unit buildings 0

Noe Valley Rents**
Size of Apartment Average Rent,
July-September 2001
Average Rent,
April-June 2001
% increase or decrease
Studio $1220 $1376 -11.3%
1 bedroom $1730 $1766 -2.0%
2 bedrooms $2415 $2651 -8.9%
3+ bedrooms $3118 $3358 -7.1%

*Information provided to the Noe Valley Voice courtesy of Zephyr Real Estate ( and based on all Noe Valley home sales (closings) recorded during the month. "Noe Valley" in this survey is defined loosely as the area bordered by Grand View, 22nd, Guerrero, and 30th streets.

**Data based on rentals listed by Rent Tech Inc. ( as of September 30, 2001.