West Portal Property Values

West Portal Property Values on Fire

By Eric Castongia

Residential Sales Specialist

 

It may be hard to believe, but the market has actually gotten more accelerated than the last time I filled you in.  Signs of recovery started quickly at the start of 2012, over the course of the first few weeks of  February.  In 2012, we saw multiple offers, over asking prices and steady appreciation.  In the fall, it slowed a bit and then in January of 2013, we were off to the races again; this time with prices even higher and offers more aggressive.  We are seeing no contingencies on the part of buyers in an effort to look more appealing to a seller.  It’s hard to believe that it was as recent as 16 months ago buyers were reluctantly in the market and were able to negotiate as they pleased.

At the close of the first quarter of this year, we had one active (it just came on the market and hasn’t taken offers yet), eight pending (not yet closed) and 13 sold (closed) properties.

Of the 13 sold, 10 received multiple offers (77%) and all 10 sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $5,000 to as much as $241,000 (really).  Conversely, $70,000 is the largest amount under in which one listing sold.

For a little perspective, at the close of the first quarter of 2012, we had eight sold (closed) properties.  Of the eight, five received multiple offers (63%) and four of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $14,000 to as much as $52,000. Conversely, $69,000 is the largest amount under in which one listing sold.

We were coming out of a slow market in 2011, so $52,000 over asking at that time was really good; now we can get a sense of the level of competition there is in the market one short year later.  Buyers who win in competition are setting the market, those who are not, are following it.

We did not have any short sales and foreclosures on the market in this neighborhood this quarter; it was down citywide too.

Interest rates remain historically low.  Part of the panic in the mind of buyers now is getting to take advantage of the low interest rates while they can.

The market is still being driven by a supply and demand problem (lack of inventory).

For West Portal and Inner Parkside up to Ulloa, prices were up from the end of last year to now (one quarter!) 12 to 18 percent.  This percentage is based on one specific property profile that had the most activity-two bedroom, one baths with rooms and baths down.  That segment had eight of the 13 sales in the first quarter.

The area that I call North of Ulloa, has seen a big change in property values for the better.  This area got hit the hardest when the economy went down and it has regained much of what it lost.  I figure approximately 17 percent in the past year.

Interestingly, North of Ulloa typically has the most sales in the neighborhood, but that is not true in the current analysis; they had only three of the 13 sales, which is exactly opposite of expectation.  Notably, seven of the eight properties pending in the first quarter due to close in the second are all in this area.  Once these properties close, I think we will get a better sense of how this part of the neighborhood really appreciated in the last quarter.

This may be a great time to sell but a few words of warning: 1) buyers still take a hard calculating look at what is available, if there is more than one fatal flaw in the property, they may pass you by, and 2)  Iist price is still critical; it must seem like it is a good value in order for buyers to be motivated to act.  Pricing a little under neighborhood expectation is still the best way to net you the most on your sale.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article. The content of this article is an interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at Eric@SFHotBuy.com, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700. DRE Lic. No. 01188380

West Portal Property Values 2012

The West Portal/Inner Parkside 2012 Year-End Real Estate Market Update

By Eric Castongia, Zephyr Real Estate

Eric Castongia This was an interesting year to look back on.  In looking at my analysis for 2011, I was reminded as to how many price reductions, withdrawn listings and how much longer properties sat on the market.  It was much harder to motivate buyers to move and it was more of a challenge to set a list price than it is now, and we were lucky, since our property values stayed stable over that year.

2012 was different from the start.  Mid February was the beginning of the frenzy and it really didn’t slow down all year.  I believe it would have plowed right through the last week of December if Christmas and New Years hadn’t landed on broker’s tour day.

The total number of sales for 2012 was 50, neck and neck with 2011’s 51.

At the close of the fourth quarter of 2012, we had six active, four pending (not yet closed) and 17 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 17 sold, 12 received multiple offers (71%) and 12 sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $2,000 to as much as $262,000 (no typo).  Conversely, the most under asking offer, was sold at $148,000 under asking (again no typo).

For a little perspective, at the close of the fourth quarter of 2011, we had 15 sold (closed) properties.  Of the 15 sold, seven received multiple offers (47%) and six of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $1,000 to as much as $105,000.  That in a slow market, so one can see how we have a built-in demand.

Only two of the 17 sold properties in the last quarter of 2012 was a short sale or foreclosure; the total for the year was six-that was the same number in 2011.

There were 6 ‘failed to sell’ listings for the year, of which two came back on and sold, so net affect is four; in 2011, we had 8.  Again an indication of an accelerated market and motivated sellers.

Interest rates have bounced around a bit, but remain historically low.  Now that buyers feel that the housing market has reached it’s low point, interest rates are having the effect that they are supposed to have.

Property values went up this year, mostly as a supply and demand problem.  For West Portal and Inner Parkside up to Ulloa, prices were up between four and eight percent from a year ago.  Larger homes generally had more bidders and larger overbids than smaller homes, so on a percentage basis, they went up more in value than smaller homes; in one instance, it was 13 percent higher.

Inner Parkside on the North side of Ulloa has seen the biggest change in property values for the better.  This area got hit the hardest when the economy went down and it has gone up the most this year; between 10 and 20 percent from it’s low.

This may be a great time to sell if you have been waiting, BUT, buyers still take a hard calculating look at what is available.  If there is a fatal flaw in the property, they will take that into account.  If there are choices of homes to look at, that will affect pricing as well.

List price is still critical; it must seem like it is a good value in order for buyers to be motivated to act.  Overpricing will still yield you less on your net than pricing it correctly to start with.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article. The content of this article is an interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at Eric@SFHotBuy.com, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700. DRE Lic. No. 01188380

West Portal Fire Stirs memories

 The fire at 1 West Portal a few weeks ago stirred some strong memories for me.  My very first ‘grown up apartment’ was at 330 West Portal back in 1987. My landlady was Demitra (Demi) Georgas, who also owned 1 West Portal-which has remained in her family.

The Avenue was totally new to me even though I had already lived in the city for two years.  It was much different back then; there was no Starbucks, Café for all Seasons was the hot ticket and Sylvanus Upholstery was at 199 WP.  A friend went with me to look at the apartment and although Demi’s property manager showed me the property, Demi dropped in to check me out-we hit it off immediately.

I loved my first apartment.  Built in the 1920’s, the Spanish Mediterranean flavor had me hooked.  Although it was a studio, I had my own fireplace, a balcony, a vintage purple tile bathroom and hardwood floors- all for $500 a month.  I was working in an architectural firm at the time and she had a soft spot for architects, because one of her nephews was studying architecture.  Instead of raising my rent, she asked me to change the burned out light bulbs in the hall ways; when my car got broken into on 14th Ave., she rented me a parking place in the building for $25 a month and when I was ready to buy my first place, she offered to help me out.

Demi and I stayed in touch over the years and occasionally ran into each other on the Avenue.  When I found out that she had passed away some years ago, I went to her funeral. This phenomenal woman made a huge impact on my life.  To a large extent, she introduced me to West Portal and I’ve considered it my neighborhood ever since.

The West Portal Real Estate Market

The West Portal/Inner Parkside Real Estate Market Update 3rd Quarter 2012

As I have previously reported, the real estate market has been accelerated since the beginning of the year.  Low interest rates and even lower inventory have created upward pressure on real estate values.  Buyers are feeling confident that we have passed the bottom of the market and they are now being moved to take advantage of low interest rates.

The following market analysis covers both Inner Parkside and West Portal.  Although the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service identifies these as two districts, I see them as three neighborhoods, with Inner Parkside split into two pieces (South of Ulloa and North of Ulloa).

For the third quarter, we had 14 sold listings, keeping in line with the expected sales numbers for this time of year.

Although we have the expected number of sales in the neighborhood, there are more buyers now than usual because: 1) buyers have been waiting on the side lines for the last few years and 2) buyers are getting pushed out of their preferred neighborhoods and finding ours.

Generally speaking, there has always been demand for good homes in preferred locations within the neighborhood, no matter the market.  The difference is that everything is selling if it is priced within neighborhood expectation.  So, we have moved from buyers being very selective, to being more flexible in what they are buying.

Of the 14 sold properties, 10 received multiple offers and 12 of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $1,000 to as much as $146,000.

In general, I note higher over bids on lower priced property, while more expensive properties seem to be getting smaller over bids.  I would expect there to be the same pressure throughout the market, but this seems to indicate that the entry price range is driving the market; probably through a fear of missing their window to buy at all.

Only one of the third quarter’s 14 sold properties had a price reduction compared to same quarter in 2011, which had five.

Two of the 14 sold properties were a short sale or foreclosure.  In the second quarter we had none.  There are several short sale or foreclosure properties that are either active or pending right now that will probably close in the fourth quarter.

It is interesting to note that seven of the 14 homes had no previous recorded sales history in the multiple listing service.  This means that longtime owners had lived in the properties and had not traded hands for years.  Further proof that only those people who need to sell or have a place to go are selling.

It can pretty clearly be called that the market has gone up 10 percent since last year at this time.  Notably, most of our increase in values occurred in February and March of this year and have been continuing on their creep up ever since.

The same rules apply now as before; if it doesn’t sell within the first two weeks, sellers need to consider a price reduction to keep the marketing momentum going.  The good news is that it is still possible to generate multiple offers and an over asking offer; buyers have to see your listing as a bargain and once they do, they will make a move on it.

The week after Labor Day, we had a number of new listings on the market citywide and I thought we would finally see the increase in inventory that we have been waiting for to slow prices down.  The next week, however, there was very little on the market, so it seems that the shortage of inventory will continue until those owners who are still underwater can get out.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist (DRE No. 01188380) at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article. The content of this article is an interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at Eric@SFHotBuy.com, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700.

Activity in West Portal Second Quarter 2012

The West Portal/Inner Parkside Real Estate Market Update

 

As I reported in the First Quarter Market report, buyers are out in the marketplace in full force.  Low interest rates and confidence in the real estate market have brought them out.  Low inventory has pushed prices higher with demand higher than supply.  We have seen a pretty dramatic increase of property values so far in 2012.

This analysis covers both Inner Parkside and West Portal.  I see these two districts as three neighborhoods-Inner Parkside is split into two pieces in terms of property values (South of Ulloa and North of Ulloa).  The majority of neighborhood market activity typically shows itself in the area North of Ulloa.  This area is also more susceptible to market changes and has more fluctuation in property values.

At the close of the second quarter of 2012, we had five active listings; which is great-we didn’t have any at the end of the first quarter.  Sellers are coming out of the woods slowly but surely.

For the second quarter, we had 10 sold listings, which is light for this time of year. Historically, Spring and Fall are our two busiest seasons.

Of the 10 sold properties, seven received multiple offers and five of them sold over their asking price.

You can tell the market is hot when there are no expired or withdrawn listings (failed to sell); there are none this quarter-everything has sold.

Total transactions for the current quarter, which is active, pending, sold and failed to sell, totaled 21.  This number is down 30 percent measured against the same quarter every year over the last 5 years.  The last time this quarter’s inventory was worse was in 2007 after the financial crisis came to light.

Two of the second quarter’s 10 sold properties had a price reduction and then sold (compared to the first quarter’s one).  Pricing the property correctly at the start is crucial-testing the market doesn’t work to get the most value out of a property.

There are a few currently active listings which I feel are pushing the envelope of value-I predict they will have either a price reduction, or get withdrawn in the third quarter.

The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $21,000 to as much as $207,000 (that’s not a typo).  There are larger increases in the amount of overbids from the previous quarter-particularly for three bedroom homes.  Two other overbids were $100,000.

None of the 10 sold properties were a short sale or foreclosure.  In the third quarter we will have at least three, as they are pending now.

Since the beginning of the year, I estimate we have seen increases in value as much as10 percent. List prices are starting to slide up a bit, but are (and should be) still kept below neighborhood expectation to drive activity.

The same rules apply now as before; if it doesn’t sell within the first two weeks, sellers need to consider a price reduction to keep the marketing momentum going.

I do not think we should assume that all is well and we are on the way to recovery.  We are beginning to see a few more listings coming on; that combined with buyer fatigue could slow things down and generate lower overbids (and maybe fewer multiple offers).  The market changed for the better very quickly; we should assume it could go in the other direction just as quickly.

The content of this article is Eric’s interpretation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and Eric’s observations in the marketplace.

West Portal Property Values-Second Quarter 2011

Throughout San Francisco, there is a debate about whether the real estate market is doing well or not.  The reality is that some properties are selling quickly with multiple offers over asking, while others are stagnant with price reduction after price reduction.  This makes predicting the success of the sale of a specific property a bit more of a challenge.  Whether it applies to your property is dependent on where it is, how much it’s listed for, if it is remodeled, or whether buyers in the market place find it desirable.  This is true in the hottest neighborhoods and most particularly in the less sought out neighborhoods.  Even in West Portal/Inner Parkside, with our lack of supply and stable demand, we have the same considerations, which in recent years has not been the case. West Portal

For the second quarter of 2011, we had nine active, six pending (not yet closed), 14 sold (closed) and no ‘failed to sell’ listings, which indicates that eventually, sellers are really selling.

Of the 14 sold properties, three received multiple offers and six of them sold over their asking price.  The amount of over bids ranged from as little as $4,000 to as much as $79,000.  As a matter of fact, three of the six properties that sold over their asking price had bids ranging from $51,000 to $79,000 over asking (ranging from five to 10 percent of their list price).  The properties had several things going for them: they were remodeled, staged, in a prime location and most importantly, under priced for the market, which created a call to action on the part of the buyer.  This is the same strategy used during the dot com era.

Four of the nine properties currently active in the market place have been on the market for over 60 days, with a fifth quickly approaching.  Buyers are being very selective, which means that a property with a perceived flaw (such as floor plan, lack of remodeling, or location) gets passed by.  For those with flaws, the price needs to be discounted even further to make up for it-buyers are simply not as forgiving as they have been in recent years.

West Portal Avenue

In comparing the days on the market of the active to sold listings in the second quarter, seven of the 14 sold properties took less than 60 days to close from marketing to closing.  Time is very important now; getting a listing to sell at or above asking must sell in the first few weeks.  Properties that sold below their asking price, saw reductions up to 10 percent.

The second quarter had three distressed properties ( short sales or bank owned ) on the market; one sold, of the other two, one is active, one is pending.

Financing still requires lots of hoops to jump through, particularly on jumbo loans (those with loan amounts over $729,750); qualified buyers are gold.

Property values in the neighborhood have stayed pretty consistently even for the last few quarters for desirable properties.  Prices on less desirable properties; those with flaws, have come down more in value.  I see this trend continuing for the foreseeable future.

West Portal Property Values

The West Portal/Inner Parkside First Quarter 2011 Real Estate Market Update

A typical street in West Portal

It has been fascinating to watch the West Portal/Parkside Real Estate Market over the years and a challenge to predict what will happen in it. In the last quarter of 2010, we had a very active quarter-one of the most active in recent memory. The beginning of 2011 has not continued that trend.
• For the first quarter of 2011, we had eight active, three pending (not yet closed), seven sold (closed) and no ‘failed to sell’ listings. At the beginning of 2010, I reported eight active listings, 12 pending (which was a very high number), nine sold and three ‘failed to sell’. Although the number of active and sold properties were stable quarter to quarter, there was more activity last year, reflected in the number of overall transactions.
• Interestingly, in 1st quarter 2010, of the nine closed properties, three sold over their asking price and four transactions received multiple offers. Conversely, in same quarter 2011, only one property received multiple offers and one other received an over asking offer. This could be indicating less buyer activity, but it could also be reflecting higher list prices, which slow down activity, as buyers wait for price reductions and for sellers to get used to the idea of a smaller sale price.
• Of the eight properties currently active on the market place, three have been on the market for over 30 days, with a fourth coming pretty close. Unless some price reductions happen in the next quarter, a few of the second quarters ‘failed to sell’ may be the first quarter’s active listings.
• I tried something new for this analysis-to look at the number of short sales and bank owned properties on the market. One bank owned property closed in fourth quarter of 2010 and one short sale is active in the first quarter of 2011. There was neither in the first quarter of 2010.
• Despite there not being a drag on the market from short sales and bank owned properties, property values in the neighborhood ranged from staying even to down five percent from the last quarter.
• Overall, the San Francisco Market seems to suffering from a lack of good inventory in preferred locations. To illustrate, in prime West Portal/Inner Parkside (Portola to Ulloa and 18th Ave. to Kensington), there are currently no active listings. This may be a good time to put your property on the market if you are in a prime area-priced for the market of course.
• In each of the years from 2005 to 2010 where there were more sales in the first quarter, we reached the normally expected sales activity. To illustrate, in 2007 and 2009, there were six and four sales respectively (with 37-38 sales for year, which is lower than expected), and all other years in that time period, it ranged from nine to 16 sales (51 to 60 sales for the year, which is expected.) Interpolating that information, and with seven sold listings in the first quarter, I’m going to predict that we will have fewer sales in 2011 than normally expected-so the economic recovery will likely continue to trudge slowly along this year.

 

West Portal Real Estate in 2010

In my year-end article last January, I wondered if, in 2010, we would bounce back to our expected number of sales-we did.  We did not, however, see an increase of property values.  In the end we had overall stability in terms of values and the number of expected sales, despite all the drama of the market occurring behind the scenes.  Here’s what happened:

West Portal Avenue

The total number of sales for 2010 was 51, up from 2009’s 38, and in line with 2008’s 54 sales.  Total annual sales since I started recording in 2004, have ranged between 52 and 60 each year, except for 2007 and 2009-so, for this year, we seem to be back in expected territory in terms of the number of sales.

As for ‘failed to sell listings’, in 2010, we had a total of 11 (18% of sold and failed to sell listings) and in 2009 we had 13 (25%).

Looking at sales in the 4th quarter of 2010, only one of 12 sales (.8%) sold over the asking price, with nine selling under (75%).  In the 3rd quarter, seven of the 13 sales (54%) sold for more than list with five selling under (38%).  In the 4th quarter of 2009, there were nine sales, three of them sold over list (33%) and five sold under (56%).  These numbers indicate a slow down in activity in the fourth quarter.  Inventory and activity were higher in the third quarter, yet both were down in the fourth quarter-prices remained stable.   It seems to me we had our Fall burst of energy a little earlier this year.

More properties sold and sellers were willing to negotiate.

Interest rates have remained historically low, but have seen an uptick over the past two months.  I expect this to push some buyers off the fence in the new year, as purchasing power goes down with each rise in interest rates.

Lending is still tight and easier for those with verifiable income and good credit scores.

Historically, we see a healthy supply of listings coming onto the market in January-April.  The challenge we have run into over the past few years, is that the inventory coming on doesn’t necessarily match the buyers in the marketplace-creating a supply and demand issue.  This may explain why some listings are getting multiple offers over asking and others are lingering on the market and selling below their asking price.

Most of the loss of value we experienced occurred in 2008 and the beginning of 2009.  I think the real estate values flirted with the bottom of the market mid-2009.  Since that time, our neighborhood seems to be stable overall.  In my interpolation, I think we have stayed even in terms of values over the course of 2010.

While, I feel rumblings that more buyers are starting to poke around in preparation to buy in 2011, I do not expect the extra buyers to push prices up too much in the short term.  Sellers still need to consider this a buyers’ market.

Water Pipe Leaks West Portal

This was sent to me through the Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association.  If water pipe leaks in the West Portal Area have affected you, please contact below.

Dear Neighbors,

CBS 5 is looking into a long series of water pipe leaks along the L
Taraval line. Residents have had to make costly repairs to pipes between the street and their homes, often multiple times. It’s possible these unusual instances of corrosion in copper pipes are due to stray current from the MUNI LRV’s.

Since we began investigating this issue in 2007, the city has been
reluctant to release information related to their own investigation,
and has most recently told us their probe was “inconclusive” and
that there is no written report. However, officials say letters went
out to about 200 households in the area asking if they had trouble, and inviting them to request help. The city says only 1 household responded. We have not found anyone so far who received this letter.

Have you received such a letter? Or, have you filed a claim for water pipe work? Or, have you received any compensation? Or, have you had to pay for your own repairs?

If so, please contact CBS 5 Producer Abby Sterling at 415-765-8972 or asterling@kpix.cbs.com.

Thank you.