The West Portal/Inner Parkside Third Quarter 2009 Real Estate Market Update

By Eric Castongia, Zephyr Real Estate

The number of sold properties in West Portal/Inner Parkside in the third quarter of 2009 were up slightly from last quarter and the same quarter last year.  The ‘State of the Neighborhood’ follows, which is an interpolation of data from the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service and my analysis of the real estate market in our neighborhood.

  • There were 13 sales in the third quarter of 2009; a few more than the 11 reported in both the second quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2008.
  • There are five active listings currently; at this time last year (and in the last quarter) there were seven. There’s not a lot of inventory for buyers to choose from, which is one of the reasons why demand remains constant in our neighborhood.
  • Four of the five currently active listings are in the prime West Portal/Inner Parkside areas which is the reverse of what it typically is; usually the area outside prime West Portal/Inner Parkside (including the area around the Safeway on Taraval and 19th Ave.) have the most listings available; that is not true at this time-the inventory is getting snapped up in these areas.
  • Of the 13 sales this quarter, seven had multiple offers and sold over their asking price. The over-bids ranged from one to seven percent-with one to two percent the norm. In all cases the list prices were set attractively to get buyers interested enough to act.
  • While we’re seeing more buyers in the real estate marketplace, they remain selective.  Testing the market with a wishful sales price is not working; those properties sit on the market unsold or get withdrawn to be sold at a later time.
  • The highly anticipated homes at the corner of 15th Ave and Wawona have come onto the market.  Originally listed between $1,995,000 and $2,195,000, they have since come down in price.  The first of the homes sold at an undisclosed selling price-being shown as it’s last list price of $1,825,000.  According to the Multiple Listing Service, one of the remaining six are currently in contract, expected to close escrow in mid-October. The homes are setting a new benchmark in the neighborhood.
  • Total transactions for the third quarter including active properties, is 25; down from 31 in the second quarter and 29 in the third quarter of 2008.  In addition to fewer active listings, there are fewer withdrawn, or failed to sell listings, which is good.  That means that both buyers and sellers are being realistic and coming to acceptable terms-indicating stability.
  • Interest rates, have bounced around a bit, but remain low.  We are also seeing many all cash and high down payment transactions. People are starting to feel like we’ve hit the bottom of the challenging economy and want to take advantage of lower prices. Obtaining financing can be challenging, so qualified buyers are gold.
  • As I have previously reported, my scientific comparison method for determining property value involves printing out all the sales in a given quarter and spreading them out on my dining room table, then comparing them to each other.  The challenge is finding comparable prices between quarters, so the compared properties change with each analysis.  Sales prices seem to be holding steady, fluctuating between depreciation of one percent to appreciation of one percent.
  • I’ve said this many times: if you are going to buy, remember location, location, location.  If you are going to sell, prepare your home to make a great first impression and price it correctly.

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