Noe Valley Voice February 2002

The Cost of Living in Noe:
Flurry of Home Sales at Year's End

By Corrie M. Anders

If recent sales and a flood of people touring open homes are any indication, Noe Valley may be heading out of the recession.

Home buyers ended last year with a bang, purchasing 17 single-family homes in November and 16 in December, according to data supplied by Zephyr Real Estate. Those were the highest monthly totals for all of 2000, surpassing the previous top of 15 home sales each in April and June.

The new buyers included one who paid $1.6 million for a home in the 300 block of Day Street, and another who moved into a $1,495,000 gem in the first block of Valley Street. Both homes had four bedrooms and 41/2 baths.

Consumers appear to have newfound confidence in the economy and may believe that the one-year-old recession has nearly run its course, said Zephyr Manager Randall Kostick. That optimism has shoppers hitting weekend open house tours in a buying mood.

"The market is looking pretty good for January," said Kostick. Some shoppers admitted they were trying to get ahead of another appreciation surge if the economy does in fact take off in the next few months, he said.

While the number of sales was up notably in November and December, prices were still lower than they were a year ago during the booming dot-com economy. Single-family home buyers last November paid an average $830,000, or 98 percent of the asking price, in contrast to November 2000, when sales commanded an average $909,000 and buyers paid 119 percent of the asking price.

It was a similar story in December. New homeowners paid almost $835,000-- full price -- while a year earlier in the red-hot sellers' market, buyers paid an average $851,000, or 113 percent of the asking price.

The latest data showed condominium prices also were softer than one year ago and that buyers were no longer willing to overpay for them.

Rents Continue to Drop

It has also been a different year for renters, who were hard-pressed to find an apartment at any price in Noe Valley 12 months ago. Today, "For Rent" signs are plentiful and prices are significantly lower.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the asking price for a rental with three or more bedrooms was $2,931, a dramatic 28.2 percent decline from $4,085 in the same period one year ago, according to statistics compiled by Rent Tech, Inc.

In contrast to a year earlier, asking prices in the fourth quarter were down 14.9 percent for a two-bedroom apartment, 13.4 percent for a one-bedroom unit, and 10.7 percent for a studio.

Noe Valley House Sales: December 2001*
Total Sales
(Closings During Month)
Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
on Market
Sale Price as % of List Price
Single-family homes 16 $575,000 $1,495,000 $834,781 34 100%
Condominiums 3 $405,000 $640,000 $501,666 48 98%
2 to 4 unit buildings 3 $645,000 $735,000 $686,333 76 98%
5+ unit buildings 0

Noe Valley House Sales: November 2001*
Total Sales
(Closings During Month)
Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
on Market
Sale Price as % of List Price
Single-family homes 17 $524,500 $1,600,000 $829,764 30 98%
Condominiums 5 $431,000 $589,000 $510,600 24 103%
2 to 4 unit buildings 4 $635,000 $1,199,000 $803,000 26 100%
5+ unit buildings 0

Noe Valley Rents**
Size of Apartment Average Rent,
Oct-Dec 2001
Average Rent,
July-Sept 2001
% increase or decrease
Studio $1137 $1220 -6.8%
1 bedroom $1657 $1730 -4.2%
2 bedrooms $2373 $2415 -1.7%
3+ bedrooms $2931 $3118 -6.0%

*Information provided to the Noe Valley Voice courtesy of Zephyr Real Estate ( and based on all Noe Valley home sales (closings) recorded during the month. "Noe Valley" in this survey is defined loosely as the area bordered by Grand View, 22nd, Guerrero, and 30th streets.

**Data based on rentals listed by Rent Tech Inc. ( as of December 31, 2001.