Noe Valley Voice December-January 2003

The Cost of Living in Noe:
Multiple Offers for Both Palaces and Fixer-Uppers

By Corrie M. Anders

Anyone shopping for a home in Noe Valley this fall couldn't help but notice they were on a movie set for "Real Estate Gone Wild." It was wild enough during October that:

--Eight homes sold for more than $1 million, including one for a stunning $2 million.

--The average home price soared well above $1 million.

--Even half-million-dollar homes provoked frothy bidding wars.

"People love Noe Valley. It's unbelievable," Randall Kostick, office manager for Zephyr Real Estate on 24th Street, says in an attempt to explain the high prices people are willing to pay.

In October, a total of 16 single-family homes changed hands for the second consecutive month, according to Zephyr, which supplies the Voice with monthly sales data for Noe Valley.

"And we've gotten an even higher sale price percentage--103 percent--in a shorter time period," says Kostick. That was a reference to the 33 days it took to close escrow in October, compared to 51 days in September. Buyers also paid an average 3 percent over the asking price in October--a bit more than the 1 percent premium the previous month.

Fears that mortgage interest rates, which have been exceptionally low for the past year, were about to rise stoked some buyers into action. And signs that the stagnant economy was starting to flow helped other buyers muster the courage to make the big decision.

So where is most of the real estate action in Noe Valley? It's at the low end and the high end.

Kostick says homes in the $400,000 to $500,000 category, if you can find them, "are being snapped up with multiple offers." In addition, the million-dollar market--"we're talking about people who have significant incomes and can afford it"--continues to bustle, although it's "not quite as crazy as at the lower end."

Sandwiched between those polar extremes are shoppers buying in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. "They're taking a breather and saying, 'Wait a minute. That's a lot of money,'" says Kostick. Those properties are less likely to attract "vast, multiple offers."

Buyers paid exactly $2 million for the most expensive home sold in October. The four-bedroom, four-and-one-half-bath house is located in the first block of Homestead Street, near 24th Street.

Ten condominiums were sold in October. An even $1 million was the top price for a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath unit in the 2000 block of Castro Street.

Noe Valley Home Sales*
Total Sales Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
on Market
Sale Price as
% of List Price
Single-family homes
October 2003 16 $648,000 $2,000,000 $1,125,375 33 103%
September 2003 16 $560,000 $1,350,000 $1,004,694 51 101%
October 2002 9 $545,000 $1,612,500 $896,056 33 101%
October 2003 10 $355,000 $1,000,000 $673,000 29 104%
September 2003 7 $585,000 $875,000 $716,429 35 105%
October 2002 4 $575,000 $760,000 $630,000 35 100%
2 to 4 unit buildings
October 2003 3 $651,000 $1,400,000 $1,028,667 40 105%
September 2003 4 $793,000 $1,363,000 $1,034,625 35 109%
October 2002 4 $850,000 $1,395,000 $1,056,250 33 106%
5+ unit buildings
October 2003 2 $1,245,000 $2,400,000 $1,822,500 94 84%
September 2003 1 $1,170,000 $1,170,000 $1,170,000 189 90%
October 2002 0

Noe Valley Rents**
Size of Apartment Average Rents
July-Sept 2003
Average Rents
one year ago
July-Sept 2002
% increase (+)
or decrease (-)
Studio $1175 $1079 +8.9%
1 bedroom $1455 $1560 -6.7%
2 bedrooms $2098 $2261 -7.2%
3+ bedrooms $2956 $2744 +7.7%

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

**Data courtesy of Rent Tech, Inc (