Noe Valley Voice December-January 2004

The Cost of Living in Noe:
Prices Stay High As Inventory Shrinks

By Corrie M. Anders

Only one million dollars, folks.... Do I hear one million? Who's got a spare million? Actually, you don't need a million dollars in hard cash to buy a house, since banks are willing to loan a bundle. But a million is pretty much the price you'll pay to purchase a house in Noe Valley these days.

Consider how wide homebuyers had to open their wallets in October. Twelve houses closed escrow during the month, and eight of them cost more than $1 million each, including one on Elizabeth Street that sold for $2.1 million.

The volume of sales was down 40 percent--eight fewer single-family homes exchanged hands in October than in September. But the falloff was not precipitated by a lack of interest, says Randall Kostick, 24th Street office manager for Zephyr Real Estate.

There simply were not enough homes on the market to accommodate the crush of shoppers in late summer, when the October deals were initiated, says Kostick. Successful buyers paid 11 percent more than the asking price to secure their deals--with the average price nearly reaching $1.3 million.

"All that put together reflects that there was not enough inventory," says Kostick, whose office provides the Voice with monthly sales data. "There are more buyers than there are sellers...even with a $1.3 million average sales price."

The home with the highest price tag, located in the 900 block of Elizabeth Street, featured four bedrooms and 31/2 baths. The costliest condominium was a four-bedroom, 21/2-bath spread in the 100 block of Duncan Street, selling for $1.1 million.

For some people, Noe Valley flats continued to be a practical alternative to condos or houses. Eight buildings with two to four units closed escrow in October, one more than in September. The buildings sold at an average price of just under $1.3 million.

Frequently, these flats are sought by "tenants in common"--buyers who share ownership of the building but live in individual units. The October sales included five buildings with two units each, two buildings with three units each, and one four-unit property.

Noe Valley Home Sales*
Total Sales Low Price ($) High Price ($) Average Price ($) Average Days
on Market
Sale Price as
% of List Price
Single-family homes
October 2004 12 $800,000 $2,100,000 $1,283,833 28 111%
September 2004 20 $719,000 $1,700,000 $1,113,450 37 105%
October 2003 16 $648,000 $2,000,000 $1,125,375 33 103%
October 2004 4 $580,000 $1,100,000 $828,750 16 104%
September 2004 9 $525,000 $1,285,000 $892,556 23 108%
October 2003 10 $355,000 $1,000,000 $673,000 29 104%
2 to 4 unit buildings
October 2004 8 $900,000 $2,100,000 $1,269,000 42 103%
September 2004 7 $1,140,000 $2,010,000 $1,336,000 20 106%
October 2003 3 $651,000 $1,400,000 $1,028,667 40 105%
5+ unit buildings
October 2004 0
September 2004 0
October 2003 2 $1,245,000 $2,400,000 $1,822,500 94 84%

Snapshot of Noe Valley Rents

Looking for an apartment in Noe Valley? Want to know how much rent money you need to stockpile? Or if you're a landlord, want to know what other property owners are charging?

Yes, we thought you did. So the Voice did a quick survey of postings on the online bulletin board, which lists rentals by neighborhood in San Francisco. We noted all the Noe Valley rentals listed on Nov. 11 and 12 (dates chosen arbitrarily), and then figured out the average rents--for studios up to four-bedroom apartments. The numbers in our survey are small (a total of 38 listings), but they should give you the market rates--for renting or letting--in what San Francisco Magazine calls "the Bay Area's most popular neighborhood" (November 2004 issue).

By the way, the Voice inaugurated this sampling after Rent Tech, Inc., which has provided the newspaper with quarterly rent prices for four years, recently closed down its web site, disconnected telephone service, and apparently went out of business.


Noe Valley Rents**
Type of Unit Number in Sample Average Rent
Studio 3 $1032/month
1 bedroom 17 $1526/month
2 bedrooms 11 $2097/month
3 bedrooms 5 $2480/month
4 bedrooms 2 $3550/month