The West Portal/Inner Parkside First Quarter 2010 Real Estate Market Update

By Eric Castongia, Zephyr Real Estate

It’s been a very active quarter in West Portal/Inner Parkside.  We currently have the most transactions in any one quarter than I’ve seen in a long time-certainly the most in the first quarter.  Given the number of sold and pending transactions, that would indicate that there are active buyers in the marketplace.  Sellers who waited until 2010 just might do better than they would have in 2009.  Following is my ‘reading of the tea leaves’, interpreting data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and an analysis of the real estate market in the West Portal/Inner Parkside area.

  • In 2009, we had flat values, a lack of consumer confidence and tough lending standards.  In our neighborhood, we had 38 sold properties for the year; that’s lower than average-we usually see an expected sales activity of somewhere between 50 and 60.
  • In each of the years from 2005 to 2009 where there were more sales in the first quarter, we reached the normally expected sales activity. 
  • In 2005-6 and 2008, sales in the first quarters of those years ranged from seven to 16 (with the number of sales ranging between 53 and 60 for the year). In the first quarter of 2007 there were six sales (37 sales for the year) and the same time in 2009, there were four sales (38 sales for the year).
  • For the first quarter of 2010, we’ve had 32 transactions-a high number for us in any one quarter.  Of those, eight are active listings, 12 are pending (this is a very high number), three failed to sell and nine sold and closed.  Of the nine closings, three sold over their asking price and four transactions received multiple offers. I suspect that the number of transactions in this quarter represents those sellers who waited throughout 2009 for a better year.
  • Citywide, we’ve seen listings come on at a slower rate than usual for the spring.  This may explain the number of active and pending transactions at the end of the quarter.
  • The trend seems to indicate that the number of transactions for the year will be more in line with usual expectations. 
  • While interest rates are still good, banks are continuing to make loans very conservatively.  Some good news-at Zephyr’s sales meeting last week, our in house mortgage broker, Guarantee Mortgage, announced that investors have started coming back into the market place making jumbo loans; loans over $729,750.  That means that investors are feeling confident about the economy and are starting to make high balance loans available.
  • 2009 was a terrific time to buy real estate-some buyers got good bargains-particularly in larger homes that historically have commanded a premium.  There are still deals to be made for buyers, however, with more buyers in the marketplace, less unbeatable deals are available.
  • Values from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010 appear flat if you look at the properties which have already closed.  Once we see what happens with the pending sales in the second quarter, we should get a better snapshot of the value trend for the year.
  • The bottom line is that the number of sales and transactions are up and buyers are out looking and buying.  I still consider it a buyer’s market, so appropriate listing prices is still an absolute necessity.  With guarded optimism-perhaps we’re on our way up.

Eric Castongia, Residential Sales Specialist at Zephyr Real Estate provided the information in this article.  Eric can be reached by e-mail at, the web, or via mobile phone at (415)307-1700.