Noe Valley Voice May 2003

The Cost of Living in Noe:
Rents Slump Further

By Corrie M. Anders

How the mighty have fallen. The latest data from Rent Tech, Inc., shows that the once-explosive rents of the go-go dot-com era are becoming a fading memory for both Noe Valley tenants and landlords.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the first quarter of 2003 was $1,497--a 9.2 percent drop from last year's rent ($1,649). Three-bedroom rentals dropped almost as much, falling 9 percent to an average $2,728.

But that's nothing compared to their decline since the peak of "irrational exuberance." If you've forgotten what rents were like during the high-tech boom, here's a reminder. During the third quarter of 2000, tenants paid an average of $3,857 for three bedrooms, $2,908 for two bedrooms, $2,056 for a one-bedroom unit, and $1,194 for a studio. That means that today's one-bedroom is renting for 27 percent less than it was two and a half years ago; a three-bedroom is down a full 29 percent.

Meanwhile, despite the proliferation of "For Rent" signs, people are continuing to pay a premium for homes in Noe Valley.

Shoppers in March purchased 10 single-family homes at an average price of $769,510. That was 5 percent higher than what home sellers were asking, according to sales data provided to the Voice by Zephyr Real Estate.

Condominium buyers also paid more than the asking price. They purchased four condos and paid an average of $520,500--4 percent more than what sellers sought.

The number of buyers engaging in overbids has been creeping up the past two months, says Randall Kostick, sales manager for Zephyr's 24th Street office.

"It means demand is still very high for property," Kostick says.

Still, March sales posted something of a modern-day rarity: not a single house or condo sold for more than $1 million. Since the Voice started keeping track of house sales in October 1999, one or two homes have broken the seven-figure barrier each month.

Million-dollar homes "are a different ballgame for most people," Kostick notes. "So for this one month at least, we know that there weren't that many [rich] buyers out there."

The most expensive home sold in March was a two-bedroom, one-bath house in the 100 block of Valley Street. The sales price was $902,000.

A two-bedroom, two-bath home in the 4500 block of 25th Street took top honors in the condo sweepstakes with a $770,000 price tag.

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
March 2003 10 $597,100 $902,000 $769,510 22 105%
February 2003 6 $660,000 $1,060,000 $843,667 32 103%
March 2002 11 $561,000 $1,430,000 $967,818 42 108%
March 2003 4 $427,000 $770,000 $520,500 63 104%
February 2003 2 $595,000 $780,000 $687,500 87 100%
March 2002 9 $354,000 $820,000 $586,555 32 105%
2 to 4 unit buildings
March 2003 4 $845,000 $1,400,000 $1,067,959 78 96%
February 2003 4 $781,000 $1,400,000 $1,035,875 66 98%
March 2002 0
5+ unit buildings
March 2003 0
February 2003 0
March 2002 0

Noe Valley Rents**
Size of Apartment Average Rents
Jan-Mar 2003
Average Rents
one year ago
Jan-Mar 2002
% increase (+)
or decrease (-)
Studio $1058 $1133 -6.6%
1 bedroom $1497 $1649 -9.2%
2 bedrooms $2145 $2303 -6.9%
3+ bedrooms $2728 $2997 -9.0%

*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 (