Noe Valley Voice June 2006

The Cost of Living in Noe

By Corrie M. Anders

Luxury home buyers, including two who each paid more than $2 million, continued to throw their weight around in Noe Valley this spring.

Twelve homes closed escrow in Noe in April 2006--the same number as in April a year ago--according to data provided to the Voice by Zephyr Real Estate. But of those 12 properties, only one sold for less than $1 million, and the average single-family home cost above $1.4 million, 18 percent more than last year.

Condominiums also attracted big bucks. Buyers purchased 11 condos in April, compared with six sales in March and nine one year earlier. Four condos sold for more than $1 million, and the average sales price was just $5,000 shy of $1 million.

As they have been doing for the past few months, buyers have been offering more than the asking price--but not the sometimes outrageous overbids that characterized the market last year.

Detached-home buyers paid a 5 percent premium compared with a 16 percent overbid one year ago, and condo purchasers gave sellers a 3 percent bump over the list price in contrast to one year ago, when they paid 19 percent more.

Buyers took a few days longer to close escrow, and that, along with the deceleration of overbids, could make it appear that the Noe Valley market is "not quite as red hot as last year," says Randall Kostick, Zephyr's general sales manager.

But home prices in the neighborhood continued to rise, he says--especially in the top tier of the market.

"Prices have not suffered," Kostick says. "And the reason is that we have enough buyers out there to keep the interest level in property very high."

Just how much interest? A buyer paid $2.3 million for a home right in the heart of Noe Valley. The four-bedroom, 31/2-bath residence, with more than 2,800 square feet of space, is located in the 100 block of Clipper Street, between Church and Sanchez streets. Another $2 million-plus sale occurred a few blocks away, in the 500 block of Clipper Street between Diamond and Douglass streets (see below).

The highest-priced condo, a 2,300-square-foot unit with three bedrooms and 31/2 baths, sold for $1,620,000. It is located in the 1000 block of Dolores Street between 23rd and 24th streets.

'Green House' Snapped Up

A newly-built "green house" in Noe Valley sure brought in a lot of green.

Back in April, the Voice featured a front-page article about an environmentally-friendly home that three local developers built in the 500 block of Clipper Street. The LORAX Development team bragged that it was the greenest house in San Francisco.

The asking price for the four-bedroom, four-bath contemporary home was a cool $1,899,000. But the number didn't deter three groups of buyers, who all offered more than the asking price. The home sold in May for $2,150,000, to the president of a pharmaceutical firm.

The family, which includes three children, was moving in at the end of last month. The Voice checked in with Mike Kerwin, one of the partners of LORAX Development, who said the new owners have lived and traveled internationally.

What attracted the family? The family told Kerwin it was the home's modern, international feel and its earth-friendly features--particularly the solar-panel energy system and the hardwood floors fashioned from 100-year-old railroad ties salvaged from Southeast Asia.

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
April 2006 12 $835,000 $2,340,000 $1,402,213 30 105%
March 2006 11 $785,000 $2,000,000 $1,201,545 35 106%
April 2005 12 $900,000 $1,855,000 $1,188,625 22 116%
April 2006 11 $650,000 $1,620,000 $995,318 30 103%
March 2006 6 $610,000 $1,502,000 $1,094,333 46 106%
April 2005 9 $675,000 $1,200,000 $861,889 27 119%
2 to 4 unit buildings
April 2006 5 $1,125,000 $1,616,500 $1,372,800 31 107%
March 2006 3 $1,321,000 $1,706,000 $1,492,000 21 106%
April 2005 2 $1,195,000 $1,218,000 $1,206,500 37 101%
5+ unit buildings
April 2006 0 - - - - -
March 2006 0 - - - - -
April 2005 0 - - - - -

*Sales figures include all Noe Valley home sales completed during the month. In this survey, Noe Valley is defined as the area bordered by Grand View, 22nd, Guerrero, and 30th streets. The Voice thanks Zephyr Real Estate ( for supplying the data.

Noe Valley Rents**
Type of Unit Number in Sample Range of Rents, May 2006 Average Rent, May 2006 Average Rent, One Year Ago
Studio 7 $995-$1300 $1134 $1092
1 bedroom 13 $1300-$2295 $1655 $1489
2 bedrooms 21 $1600-$4000 $2446 $2286
3 bedrooms 9 $2250-$4500 $3259 $3147
4+ bedrooms 7 $3200-$8500 $5950 N/A

**These rent averages are based on a sample of 57 Noe Valley rental listings appearing on May 15-19, 2006.