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By Corrie M. Anders
Noe Valley home buyers who closed escrow in March--and there were a large number of them--discovered that sellers once again were firmly in the driver's seat.
Home shoppers purchased 15 single-family homes during the month, compared with eight in February and 11 in March one year earlier, according to sales data Zephyr Real Estate provides to the Voice.
A low inventory of homes for sale pushed buyers into bidding wars, forcing them to overpay for property and to complete their transactions especially quickly, said Randall Kostick, Zephyr's general sales manager. Buyers on average paid 9 percent more than the seller's asking price, and closed escrow in less than three weeks, compared to the more leisurely 8 to 12 weeks in January and February.
Kostick said two factors appeared to be keeping the inventory on the skimpy side: interest rates and property taxes. Many owners purchased their homes five years ago with excellent mortgage rates. They were reluctant to give them up. They also worried that their property taxes would increase markedly if they had to purchase another similarly-priced home.
Instead, they decided to stay put. Those types of owners "often are referred to as people who are married to their interest rate and property taxes," Kostick said.
Noe Valley real estate remained the province of the wealthy in March. The sales data showed that 13 of the 15 homes sold for at least $1 million--and two sold for at least $2 million. The average sales price for a single-family home in the neighborhood was just over $1.4 million.
Six condominiums sold in March, matching sales both in February and one year ago. Buyers also paid a premium for condos--3 percent more than the asking price--and sealed their deals in just over three weeks.
Sales were also robust for two-flat Victorians and small apartment buildings, which groups of individuals often buy as a less expensive alternative to condos. Zephyr said seven buildings of two-to-four units changed hands in March, compared with four the previous month and three one year earlier.
The two most expensive residential sales last month both occurred in the southern part of Noe Valley.
Buyers paid $2,879,000 for a four-bedroom, 31/2 -bath home, with 3,900 square feet of space, in the 500 block of Valley Street between Diamond and Castro streets.
Another four-bedroom, 31/2bath home sold for $2.1 million. It is in the 600 block of 28th Street between Douglass and Diamond streets.
A two-bedroom, one-bath condo in the 3800 block of 22nd Street between Castro and Noe streets sold for $1,025,000.
Noe Valley Home Sales*
Total Sales Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
Sale Price as
% of List Price
Single-family homes March 2007 15 $910,000 $2,879,000 $1,411,800 20 109% February 2007 8 $1,040,000 $2,725,000 $1,437,250 39 103% March 2006 11 $785,000 $2,000,000 $1,201,545 35 106% Condominiums March 2007 6 $721,000 $1,025,000 $873,333 23 103% February 2007 6 $475,000 $1,050,000 $810,000 47 103% March 2006 6 $610,000 $1,502,000 $1,094,333 46 106% 2 to 4 unit buildings March 2007 7 $1,275,000 $1,850,000 $1,544,643 38 105% February 2007 4 $1,270,000 $1,960,000 $1,488,750 64 100% March 2006 3 $1,321,000 $1,706,000 $1,492,000 21 106% 5+ unit buildings March 2007 0 - - - - - February 2007 0 - - - - - March 2006 0 - - - - -
*Sales figures include all Noe Valley home sales completed during the month. In this survey, Noe Valley is defined as the area bordered by Grand View, 22nd, Guerrero, and 30th streets. The Voice thanks Zephyr Real Estate (www.zephyrsf.com) for supplying the data.
Noe Valley Rents**
Type of Unit Number in Sample Range of Rents, April 2007 Average Rent, April 2007 Average Rent, One Year Ago Studio 8 $1300-$2950 $1611 $1170 1 bedroom 15 $1350-$2700 $1850 $1791 2 bedrooms 26 $1700-$4750 $2516 $2724 3 bedrooms 16 $2200-$6500 $3973 $3735 4+ bedrooms 3 $4000-$5500 $4616 $6325
**These rent averages are based on a sample of 68 Noe Valley rental listings appearing on www.craigslist.com March 25 - April 20, 2007.