Noe Valley Voice July-August 2007

The Cost of Living in Noe

By Corrie M. Anders

The real estate bubble may have burst in other parts of the country, but sales of luxury homes in Noe Valley continue to soar, with buyers scrambling to outbid each other for the choicest properties.

In May, two capacious homes--both substantially remodeled--sold quickly for nearly $3 million each.

Buyers paid $2,950,000--$250,000 more than the asking price--for the most expensive home. The premium offer landed the buyers a four-bedroom, 31/2-bath residence with 3,400 square feet of space, in the 4000 block of 25th Street between Noe and Sanchez streets.

That deal closed escrow in 26 days. Then, buyers of the home next door took only six days to get the keys to their $2,750,000 house, featuring five bedrooms and 31/2 baths.

The 25th Street residential properties were among 12 sales recorded in Noe Valley during May, according to monthly sales data Zephyr Real Estate provides to the Noe Valley Voice. The total equaled sales of the previous month and one fewer than in May of last year.

Only one of the homes sold for less than $1 million, and the two most expensive helped pushed the average price of a Noe Valley home in May to $1,765,000. Buyers on average paid 5 percent over the asking price to live in the neighborhood, and typically closed escrow in less than 30 days.

"It was a pretty strong month," said Zephyr sales manager Randall Kostick. Underlying the strength of Noe Valley's housing market is a dearth of homes for sale in the face of a strong desire to live in our cozy upscale neighborhood, known for its blend of vintage Victorians and new and remodeled dwellings.

"There were more houses to sell than four to six months ago, but we've had such a backlog of interested buyers," he said. "There are still not enough homes to satisfy all the buyers out there who want to buy a piece of property."

In the hot real estate market of recent years, the imbalance between available properties and buyers led to inevitable bidding wars. And, said Kostick, "there's still plenty of that going on."

Strong buyer interest also showed up in the condominium marketplace. Zephyr reported the sale of 11 condos in May, compared with two transactions in April and six in May one year ago.

"The average price to buy a house in Noe Valley is $1,750,000, and not everyone can afford that," said Kostick, in a clear understatement.

"If you want to live in Noe Valley, your option is to buy a flat or a condo--and that's what you're seeing," he said.

The average price of a condo in May was a shade over $880,000. Still, the most expensive condo was a lofty $1.4 million for a four-bedroom, three-bath unit with 2,500 square feet, in the 4300 block of 25th Street between Diamond and Douglass streets.

Seven small buildings, with two to four units each, sold in May--three more than in April and five more than in May 2006. Kostick noted that people often purchase these buildings as tenants-in-common--where they each own individual units--as a less expensive alternative to buying a detached home or condominium.

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
May 2007 12 $925,000 $2,950,000 $1,765,000 28 105%
April 2007 12 $900,000 $2,675,000 $1,456,250 19 108%
May 2006 13 $900,000 $2,400,000 $1,476,769 21 108%
May 2007 11 $340,000 $1,410,000 $880,818 31 105%
April 2007 2 $1,010,000 $1,400,000 $1,205,000 23 105%
May 2006 6 $629,000 $1,110,000 $817,500 33 106%
2 to 4 unit buildings
May 2007 7 $1,296,000 $2,200,000 $1,561,571 33 103%
April 2007 4 $1,190,000 $1,750,500 $1,580,000 43 112%
May 2006 2 $1,123,000 $1,630,000 $1,376,500 33 109%
5+ unit buildings
May 2007 1 $3,114,000 $3,114,000 $3,114,000 154 102%
April 2007 0 - - - - -
May 2006 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, June 2007 Average Rent, June 2007 Average Rent, One Year Ago
Studio 5 $1095-$1950 $1416 $1205
1 bedroom 25 $1400-$3000 $1909 $1879
2 bedrooms 24 $1700-$3000 $2402 $2683
3 bedrooms 12 $2399-$5600 $3535 $3038
4+ bedrooms 4 $4500-$5800 $4925 $4857

**These rent averages are based on a sample of 70 Noe Valley rental listings appearing on May 25 - June 16, 2007.