60-clarendon1If you have ever driven up Clarendon from Laguna Honda, you are familiar with the thrill of the City suddenly spreading out before you as if you are on the very top of the world.  If you lived at 60 Clarendon, this surreality would be a constant.  With 180 degree City and Water views from all five levels, this home is worth a peek.  It will be open this Sunday from 2 to 4 and is priced at a mere $799,000 per view story (or $3,995,000 total).  Don’t be vexed by all the stairs – it has an elevator.

Solar Made Easy

December 11, 2008

I got a call a few weeks ago from a long-time client asking me if I’d ever thought about going solar. I said I thought it would cost too much for me and was worried about the hassles. Well, he introduced me to Jesse Brennan of SolarCity and all my assumptions turned about to be wrong. With zero downpayment and an initial net savings of about $5/month my family will be going about 50% solar in early 2009 using a lease program that’s easy to understand and sign up for. You may say, $5 a month isn’t much, but the real point isn’t the savings, it’s doing something better for the environment PAINLESSLY. I recommend that each and every one of you give Jesse a quick call or email and see what SolarCity could put together for your home. Jesse can be reached at jbrennan@solarcity.com or at (650) 963-5140.

Save Your Credit Score!

December 11, 2008

The biggest challenge to buying and selling homes these days is the tighteness in the credit markets.  The first step as a buyer is to do everything you can to protect your credit.  Mortgage Broker Eric Nelson of The Honte Group has some tips to remember this month:

With the economy slowing and holidays just around the corner, many consumers may be looking to credit cards to help them get through the heavy shopping season. While that may be a good short-term solution, you want to make sure you don’t overlook the long-term impact on your credit rating. After all, the actions you take today could hang over your head for years to come–and may make it tough for you to get the home loan or car loan you want in the future.

To help you make sure you manage your credit cards–and your credit score–during the upcoming holiday spending season, follow these steps:

  • Double-check your card limits. Many credit card companies today have started lowering credit limits. That means you have less credit available, but it also may mean that your credit score is about to take a hit. That’s because approximately 30% of your credit score is based on the amount you owe in relation to your available credit. So, if a credit card company cuts back your limit, you may find that you’re suddenly almost maxed out. That’s not a good sign for your long-term credit score rating.
  • Ask, pay down, or move around. If some of your credit limits have changed or are nearly maxed out, you can take a few steps to help alleviate the problem. First, consider simply asking for a higher limit to your card…not necessarily to use up with spending, but to allow more unused credit line to be available and therefore boost your credit score. You can also pay more money to the cards that are near the credit limit, if you can. Or, if you have cards with little to no remaining credit line, transfer some of the larger balances onto the cards with lower balances. That’ll give you a more… well… balanced financial picture.
  • Leave home without it. One of the best tips for the holiday season is to: make a budget, identify specific items, and then leave home without your credit card. Instead, bring just enough cash to purchase the items on your list. That will help you resist the urge to impulse buy, and keep your credit card balances lower.
  • Pick a card… not just any card. If you can’t bring cash, make a credit card plan. Identify specific items that you’ll pay for on specific cards. By making a plan and spreading your purchases to different cards, you won’t overspend and you won’t risk running up one or two cards that are near the credit limit, which will hurt your credit rating.
  • Resist card offers at the counter. Retailers are famous for offering “savings” when you open a credit card. But those savings often don’t outweigh the long- and short-term negatives. For one thing, opening a new account–or multiple accounts in a short period of time–can negatively impact your credit score. In addition, consumers often spend more than planned when a new card is suddenly available. So this holiday season, resist the temptation.
  • Stay active. If you have older cards that you don’t use, make sure you keep them active. For one thing, some of those older cards help establish a longer history of positive credit. For another, the available credit on those older cards can help keep your credit score higher because it improves your overall debt-to-credit ratio. To keep those cards active, make sure you charge one or two items on them throughout the year… like, say, when you go shopping for the holidays. Then, pay them off when the bill comes in.
  • Always pay on time. Your payment record is a very large part of your credit score, so it’s crucial that you have an idea how your holiday shopping will impact your credit card bills and that you make a plan to pay those bills on time. If you have trouble for any reason, contact your card companies right away to work out a plan that helps you pay down your debt… and save your credit rating from a huge hit.

Eric Nelson is Broker and Owner of The Honte Group, an independent mortgage brokerage.  He can be reached at enelson@thehontegroup.com and at 408-457-6052. Thanks, Eric, for the great tips!

Market Update

December 11, 2008

I have a big statistical update for you this issue, but the highlights are a) normal seasonal market slowdown, b) buyers shift toward less expensive inventory, and c) buyers are gaining power as inventory climbs.

Statistics from the last two weeks show a slowing market, which typically occurs as the holiday season begins. Fewer new listings and fewer accepted offers. There are still large numbers of price reductions and of properties coming back on market (from deals falling through), as well as increasing numbers of listings expiring without sale and listings being withdrawn from the market. (Listings are often withdrawn for the holiday season to be relisted in the new year. Sellers who have given up on getting their price will also withdraw their properties from the market.)

MLS Hotsheet Statistics comparing the last two weeks, 11/24/08 – 12/8/08
with the 2-week period 11/10/08 – 11/24/08


Districts 1-10 (All SF)

  Houses Condos TICs 2-4 Units
2 weeks ending 11/24        12/8 11/24          12/8 11/24         12/8 11/24        12/8
New Listings 105               57 86                70 26                 26 24                20
Went Contingent 52                49 43                32 22                 10 12                11
Went Pending 74               64 44                47  7                 22 10                12
Sold 78               67 50                 45  4                 17 11                11
Back on Market 31               31 33                 21  9                 11 10                  9
Price Reduction 127              71 135               69 40                 38 31                 20
Expired 25               36 21                45  8                 31 13                 16
Withdrawn 47               52 68              105 20                 28 13                 17

SF MLS Statistics: Active as of 10/27/08 and as of 12/8/08
& 30-Day Sales Figures Comparing 11/1/08 – 12/1/08 to the comparable period of 2007

  Houses Condos TICs 2-4 Units
                    As of: 10/27/08       12/8/08 10/27/08     12/8/08 10/27/08   12/8/08 10/27/08   12/8/08
Total Active 713                     601 792                   660 275                 241 245                213
Contingent/Pending 105/ 176       96/ 153 86/ 141        76/ 112 35/ 32          42/ 29 24/ 44         29/ 35
Median List Price (LP) for Active Properties 850k                 840k 765k                 725k 638k              599k 1.395m       1.349m
Median LP for Properties Contingent & Pending                         629k                          645k                       549k                     1.131m
Avg Days on Mkt (Active) 67                        79 63                        74 60                     73 83                    94
         
 30 Days Ending:
(Year to Year Comparison)
12/1/07         12/1/08 12/1/07          12/1/08 12/1/07       12/1/08 12/1/07     12/1/08
Total Sales 188                   139 190                     86 46                      12 48                      17
Median Sale Price 928k                  780k 778k                 702k 600k                551k 1.272m              1.2m
Avg Sale Price 1.292m              1.027m 893k                 794k 644k                565k 1.323m          1.265m
Avg $/sq.ft. $641/sq.ft.     $548 $744/sq.ft.     $635 N/A                 N/A $458/sq.ft.    $457
Avg DOM 40 days            55 days 48 days          60 days 61 days        70 days 49 days         56 days
% Selling within 30 days and the average % of LP for those sales 08: 37% at 99.8% of LP
07: 52% at 104.9% of LP
08: 27% at 100.9% of LP
07: 47% at 104% of LP
08: 25% at 99.3% of LP
07: 21% at 106% of LP
08: 24% at 96.7% of LP
07: 39% at 103.1% of LP
Months Supply
of Inventory
  11/30/08
4.8 months 7.8 months 8.9 months 12.0 months

 

 

Still dramatic differences between the median prices for properties recently sold and currently actively for sale and the median prices for properties that have accepted offers but not yet closed (contingent & pending), indicating a market in the midst of a significant shift. The 2008 sales figures above generally reflect the closing of properties which accepted offers after September 15th, when the financial crisis took a quantum leap with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Looking at year-to-year comparisons, we see large drops in the number of sales: 26% for houses; 55% for condos; 74% for TICs; 65% for 2-4 Unit Bldgs. Also significant declines in median sales price, average sales price and dollar per square foot. Months-Supply-Inventory and Days-on-Market have increased dramatically for all property types. There were significant drops in the percentage of properties selling within 30 days of going on market and in the average sales price to list price percentage (SP/LP).  It is the first time in recent memory that houses selling within 30 days of going on market sold at an average sales price below the list price.
And now the question you are all asking:  Is it a buyer’s market (finally)?  Well, the answer is complex.

Opinions vary but generally speaking, 4-6 months supply of inventory is considered a “balanced” market between buyers and sellers; less than 4 months is considered a sellers’ market; and more than 6 months is considered a buyers’ market. By these definitions, for the first time in many years, the residential market in most of San Francisco’s neighborhoods is moving into a buyers’ market.

Area/Property Type Months Supply of
Inventory (MSI)
As of 11/30/08
Months Supply of Inventory
As of 11/30/07
Average Days on Market (DOM)
(under contract)
Average Days on Market
(for sale)
All SF: SFD 4.8 months 3.8 months 52 days 120 days
All SF: Condo 7.8 months 3.2 months 64 days 90 days
All SF: TIC 8.9 months 4.2 months 58 days 98 days
District 1: SFD & Condo 6.2 months 2.1 months 56 days 85 days
District 2: SFD 3.4 months 2.4 months 51 days 80 days
District 3: SFD 6.5 months 6.7 months 61 days 96 days
District 4: SFD 3.1 months 2.0 months 63 days 84 days
District 5: SFD 9.6 months 2.0 months 45 days 140 days
District 5: Condo 3.5 months 1.3 months 41 days 71 days
District 5: TIC 7.6 months 3.0 months 66 days 87 days
District 6: Condo 6.2 months 2.2 months 49 days 152 days
District 7: SFD 20.5 months 3.2 months 20 days 179 days
District 7: Condo 9.1 months 1.3 months 40 days 71 days
District 8: Condo 6.4 months 4.1 months 58 days 81 days
District 9: SFD 6.3 months 3.7 months 53 days 185 days
District 9: Condo 12.6 months 4.1 months 89 days 101 days
District 10: SFD 3.4 months 7.5 months 50 days 110 days

 AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET (DOM) is defined as the average number of days it took all of the properties that went under contract during the period to accept a first position offer.

MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY (MSI) is a measure of how long it would take, in months, to sell the existing inventory at the current sales rate for the specific neighborhood and property type. MSI is defined as the number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month, less the number of properties that have been withdrawn or expired, divided by the number of properties that have gone under contract during the month.

As this analysis was done on 12/5/08 regarding November 08 activity, the Months-Supply-of-Inventory figure is possibly skewed a little higher than it should be since a number of ratifications occurring in November may not have yet been reported to MLS.

The only districts showing a decline in MSI year to year are Districts 3 & 10 – where sales activity has picked up in recent months, probably due to foreclosure sales. Many districts saw a major increase of MSI – sometimes doubling, tripling or more – comparing 11/08 to 11/07.

Average days-on-market have increased significantly for both sold and pending-sale homes, but it is the “For Sale” DOM which particularly stands out. Many properties are sitting on the market for much longer periods of time. Subsequently, the number of price reductions has soared as well.

All data is derived from Agent Metrics, may contain errors and omissions and is not guaranteed. Statistical data can sometimes swing dramatically from month to month.

 

Upcoming Listings

December 11, 2008

$3,700,000/ Clarendon Heights/ 21 Villa Terrace, BR/BA: 5/4.5 PKG: 2 Brief Description: Spectacular home with a unique floor plan and incredible views of the City

$1,999,000/Pacific Heights /2067 Green St BR/BA: 3/3 PKG: 2 Brief Description: Top floor unit in two unit condo building. 2 levels. Master with Bay and Alcatraz views from sitting area. Not on MLS until early February

$1,349,000 / Marina / 3530 Webster BR/BA: 2/2 PKG: 2-car Brief Description: Withdrawn from MLS but still available for sale. Fabulous full-floor condo in a 2-unit building in a prime Marina location. Beautifully remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. LR w/ wood-burning fireplace, formal dining room, great floor plan for entertaining. Over 1500SF per the condo map. 3% CSO

$1,249,000/ 72 Lippard Ave/ BR/BA: 3/2 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Marina style in good cond. 5 rms up, 2 dn w/ access to the private deck and yard. Being staged this week and OPEN Sat/Sun 1-4. 2 blks to BART

$1,099,000/ SOMA/ 410 Jessie Street, #902 BR/BA: 1/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Mint Plaza 1200+ sq. ft. light filled unit features restored historic facade; high ceilings, acid-stained concrete floors, gourmet kitchen, City views, forced air central heating/cooling. Roof deck with Viking grill, custom spa and fitness center.

$875,000 / South Beach / 400 Spear #205 BR/BA: 2/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Top floor Brick/Timber loft at Harbor Lofts. 1 block to Embarcadero. One of the larger lofts (1450 sq. feet) Large great room with vaulted ceilings and lots of brick throughout. New floors, kitchen and bath.

$749,000/ South Beach /1 Federal St #10 BR/BA: 1/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Fabulous New York Style loft – 967 sq. ft. with full-time concierge, a workout facility, community room, and storage rental. It is in close proximity to transportation, freeways, Waterfront Trail, restaurants, shops, the nearby Embarcadero, Muni light rail, Ferry building and the ballpark.

$599,000/ St.Mary’s Park/443 Justin BR/BA: 2/1 PKG: 2 Brief Description: Fixer w/ great potential to expand-big space and high ceilings down. 2/1 plus sunroom and FDR up. No open houses, brokers tour next week, 24 hr notice for showing but owner occupied.

$550,000/ South Beach/ 50 Lansing Street #606 BR/BA: 1/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: “Oversized Junior One”, deeded storage room, balcony, hardwoods, custom walk-in closet, custom frosted screen in bedroom area

$495,000 / North Waterfront / 240 Lombard #933 BR/BA: 1/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Penthouse condo in Parc Telegraph with water and Alcatraz views. One car on-site parking. Perfect for first time buyer or pied a terre.

Pocket Listings:

$1,999,000/Pacific Heights /2067 Green St BR/BA: 3/3 PKG: 2 Brief Description: Top floor unit in two unit condo building. 2 levels. Master with Bay and Alcatraz views from sitting area. Not on MLS until early February

$1,999,000/Pacific Heights /2067 Green St BR/BA: 3/3 PKG: 2 Brief Description: Top floor unit in two unit condo building. 2 levels. Master with Bay and Alcatraz views from sitting area. Not on MLS until early February

$1.8M’ish / Telegraph Hill – Greenwich Steps /221 Greenwich BR/BA: 2/2 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Get your clients in NOW at almost $200,000 below asking. Just withdrawn from MLS, pending a price reduction and re-marketing in Spring. This is a beautifully redone SFR with HUGE bay views, but located on a stairway street, so not for everyone. http://www.221Greenwich.com

$1,349,000 /Marina / 3530 Webster BR/BA: 2/2 PKG: 2-car Brief Description: Withdrawn from MLS but still available for sale Fabulous full-floor condo in a 2-unit building in a prime Marina location. Beautifully remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. LR w/ wood-burning fireplace, formal dining room, great floor plan for entertaining. Move-in condition. Over 1500SF per the condo map.

$1,099,000/ SOMA/ 410 Jessie Street, #902 BR/BA: 1/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Mint Plaza 1200+ sq. ft. light filled unit features restored historic facade; high ceilings, acid-stained concrete floors, gourmet kitchen, City views, forced air central heating/cooling. Roof deck with Viking grill, custom spa and fitness center.

$875,000/Corona Heights/ 108 Lower Terrace BR/BA: 2bed/1 PKG: 2 Brief Description: Magical Victorian farm house condo that feels like a single family home. Property is completely detached w/ windows on all sides with wonderful verdant outlooks. Features include remodeled kit, updated system, wood floors, high ceilings, in unit w/d, shared patio and garden, and 2 deeded garages. Truly unique!

$799,000/ Ashbury Heights / 401 Upper Terrace #3 BR/BA: 2bed/1 PKG: 1 Brief Description: Views, views, views…Modern panoramic view condo a top Ashbury Heights. Renovated 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, with gourmet kitchen, wood floors, and huge deck with views of the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Bridge, SF Bay, etc.

$470,000 / Opera Plaza /601 Van Ness, Unit 1131 BR/BA: 1/1 PKG: Leased Brief Description: Top floor, view, done unit with fire place.

Price Reduction:

$1,187,500 Old Price: 1,250,000/Russian Hill/ 22 Bergen Place BR/BA: 3/2 PKG: 1 Brief Comments: The Perfect Condo Alternative for any clients looking in the north side of town. This quintessential single family is nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac convenient to everything