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By Corrie M. Anders
Homebuyers shook off their economic worries over the summer and went on one of the biggest Noe Valley shopping sprees in years.
The house hunters, who often engaged in bidding wars, purchased 37 single-family residences in the neighborhood during June and July, according to monthly sales data supplied to the Voice by Zephyr Real Estate. (Zephyr's stats cover properties from 22nd to 30th streets, and Guerrero to Grand View.)
The two-month total was the highest since 2005, when 39 homes changed hands during the same period. It also was the second highest tally in 10 years.
The high volume was in sharp contrast to that of a year earlier. Last summer, as the housing market was showing signs of stress, a total of 19 detached homes changed hands during June and July. The near-collapse of the banking system a few months later helped knock sales into single digits during the winter and spring.
Randall Kostick, Zephyr's general sales manager, said deflated home prices, as well as consumer sentiment that the economy might be starting to recover, stimulated buying this spring. In addition, people were concerned that prices and mortgage rates might rise again, "so we were seeing buyers get off the fence and say, 'Hey, it's time that I do something about this.'"
For the record, the average price for a detached home in July, when 22 were sold, was $1,196,000. That was 35 percent below the average sales price of $1,847,000 one year earlier, when there were 12 transactions. But the story was different for June sales. Fifteen detached homes closed escrow at an average price of $1,499,000 in June. That number was nearly 21 percent higher than the average for last June's seven sales: $1,243,000.
During the summer rebound, buyers on average paid the seller's asking price, or close to it. But some sellers got even more than they asked for, due to what Kostick said were "multiple offers on a fair number of properties."
Bidding wars broke out in more than a quarter of the transactions, he said, though nothing like the rampant overbidding that once flummoxed buyers and delighted sellers in 2005.
"I don't want to give the impression it's anything like it was three to five years ago," Kostick said, but "it's pretty incredible, considering what the marketplace has been like."
In June 2009, the most expensive home sold at the asking price of $2,850,000 and closed escrow in one day. The four-bedroom, 3.5-bath home sits in the 3900 block of 25th Street, between Church and Sanchez streets.
Another 25th Street home was the costliest in July. The four-bedroom, 3.5-bath property was on the market for six days and sold for $2,610,000, slightly more than the $2,599,000 asking price. It is located in the 4200 block of 25th Street, between Castro and Diamond streets.
But the low end of the market also performed well--from a buyer's perspective. "There are some prices out there that would have knocked your socks off three months ago," Kostick said.
The lowest-tagged detached home sold in July for $675,000, compared to $975,000 last July and $1,037,000 in July two years ago.
Buyers trying to break into Noe Valley had an equally good shot in June, when the least expensive home sold for $700,000. In June of 2008, the cheapest house went for $850,000, while the price a year earlier was $900,000.
Condominiums offered the best opportunity to purchase in Noe Valley. The least expensive condo in July cost $349,000, compared to $563,000 last July and $457,000 in July 2007.
Kostick said a number of low-end prices were the result of financially distressed owners "selling because they had to sell, and not because they chose to sell.
"We've had an increase in the number of bank-owned or foreclosure properties on the market," he said, "but it's not a large percentage of the total inventory."
Painted Lady Sells for Close to $2 Million
A six-room Noe Valley house that once belonged to San Francisco artists William Campbell and Frank Brown sold July 31 for the $1,975,000 asking price. (See "A Painted Lady and Her Paintings," July-August 2009 Voice.)
The Dolores Heights Victorian, located at 3733 21st Street, closed escrow after 29 days on the market. The sellers were Dexter and Judith Garnier, who inherited the 124-year-old property after Brown died in 2000--15 years after his partner passed away in 1985.
Campbell and Brown paid $9,500 for the house in 1955. The property is pictured in Painted Ladies: San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians and in Bill Yenne's San Francisco: Then and Now.
The two 20th-century painters produced approximately 800 art works--half of which Dexter Garnier recently exhibited in The Brown and Campbell Collection Catalog (Stonehopper, San Francisco).
--Corrie M. Anders
Noe Valley Home Sales*
Total Sales Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
Sale Price as
% of List Price
Single-family homes July 2009 22 $675,000 $2,610,000 $1,196,411 53 100% June 2009 15 $700,000 $2,850,000 $1,498,567 65 99% May 2009 14 $750,000 $2,895,000 $1,172,536 53 98% July 2008 12 $975,000 $2,950,000 $1,847,417 29 99% June 2008 7 $850,000 $1,725,000 $1,243,000 33 100% Condominiums July 2009 9 $349,000 $1,030,000 $827,667 54 99% June 2009 3 $560,000 $912,000 $680,500 43 97% May 2009 4 $600,000 $1,200,000 $826,250 38 98% July 2008 13 $563,000 $1,300,000 $894,538 59 100% June 2008 7 $399,000 $1,300,000 $781,857 75 99% 2 to 4 unit buildings July 2009 3 $1,120,000 $1,725,000 $1,393,333 97 100% June 2009 0 - - - - - May 2009 4 $925,000 $1,200,000 $1,090,000 42 99% July 2008 3 $947,000 $1,575,000 $1,234,333 74 100% June 2008 1 1,155,000 $1,155,000 $1,155,000 17 103% 5+ unit buildings July 2009 0 - - - - - June 2009 0 - - - - - May 2009 0 - - - - - July 2008 0 - - - - - June 2008 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,
Studio 7 $1,250 - $1,800 $1,472 $1,263 $1,500 1 bedroom 31 $1,400 - $2,400 $1,633 $2,043 $1,995 2 bedrooms 36 $1,895 - $4,800 $2,767 $2,856 $2,995 3 bedrooms 23 $1,700 - $8,000 $4,332 $3,794 $4,357 4+ bedrooms 4 $4,650 - $5,450 $4,950 $5,398 $7,450
**These rent averages are based on a sample of 101 Noe Valley rental listings appearing on www.craigslist.com from July 27 to Aug. 9, 2009.