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Porn Palace in Mid-Market Transformed Into Cool Condos

It used to be a popular, notoriously infamous porn palace in the now vanishing underbelly neighborhood of Market Street, the Mid-Market area. Now the building (known as Market Street Cinema) is being demo-ed to make way for condos designed for the gentry class millennial bike-to-work creatives filling up the office buildings in and near the Mid-Market Street area.

The old porn palace was sold by its owners to the Encore Housing Opportunity Fund, based in San Francisco, last year. The new building will be an eight-story midrise (with multistory vertical windows) with 90-units, will have 7500 square feet of retail space and 24 parking spots. It is designed by Levy Design Partners and will cost $56 million.

Robert Huggins of the Encore Fund says the midrise is the first condo project in this section of Market, which is rapidly turning into a desirable street-scene area to call home. “Job creation in the neighborhood is being enhanced by the day and the week and the month. These are millennials who want to live where they work and eat where they work,” said Huggins. Most of the housing in the area is now rentals. Prices for the condos will start at $529,000 for a studio up to $1.17 m for a 2-bedroom unit.

Companies such as Uber, Square, Dolby and Twitter have moved into the Mid-Market area resulting in a large increase in the number of new jobs available. And a large retail complex is scheduled to open Mid-Market in November.

July 2016 S&P Case-Shiller Index Report Affirms Ease of High End Prices

The much anticipated Case-Shiller report for the 5-county SF Metro Area just came out. Basically this report shows patterns for the entire SF Bay Area including comparison snapshots back to 2000 through the dotcom bust on through the great recession of 2008 and on up to July 2016.

The overall take away from these charts is that the higher priced home segment (houses and condos) has hit plateaus and is cooling down while the more affordable market homes are slowly appreciating. This conclusion is in line with other reports that have come out over the past month.

Our complete report is here.

All the numbers on C-S charts refer to a January 2000 home price of 100. Thus a reading of 228 signifies a price which has appreciated 128% above that of January 2000.


However, the mid-price and high-price tiers have exceeded their previous peak values in 2006-2007, while the low-price tier, though climbing rapidly, is still well below its subprime-loan-fueled high point.


The appreciation rate for higher priced homes was significantly lower this spring than in the previous 4 spring selling seasons, and has generally plateaued in recent months. This plateauing is not uncommon during the summer months.

The past 12 months:


Since the recovery began in 2012:


Long-term trends for the high home-price tier in the Bay Area, which predominates in most of San Francisco, southern Marin and Lamorinda/Diablo Valley.


Selling a Vacant Home—Simple, Effective Protection Measures

If you’re selling your home in SF and have moved out leaving the house empty and unlived in—meaning the castle is unguarded—one of the main concerns is How do I protect my house? Vandals and thieves are as evolutionarily adaptable as cockroaches so you need to stay ahead of them in the protection curve.

Here are some simple (and affordable) ways to protect your now-empty house:

1.) Check your insurance policy right away. What changes when you’ve left your home? How long will it cover the vacant home? There are vandalism and mischief coverage policies from some companies.

2.) The home’s exterior lighting should be beefed up. Timed lights and motion-activated lights are very efficacious deterrents to burglars and vandals. Include sheds and other outlier buildings. Timed lights indoors create the sense of being at home at night.

3.) If it’s impossible to visit your home off and on, ask a friend, relative or a neighbor to visit the home periodically. You may have to pay someone for this and there are companies that offer this service, plus taking care of any outdoor or other maintenance tasks.

4.) Be sure to alert the SF Police Department that you’ve moved out and the house is vacant. Submit a list of all people authorized to be on the property and make sure the police have your contact number, and the name, phone and address of a local person you have an arrangement with.

5.) Keep the home security system active. Don’t deactivate the system to save money. Vacant homes are easy targets for burglars and vandals (who strip everything that is of remote value down to basic plumbing) and the security and monitoring system can help keep them out. It could pay to have some kind of system installed to protect the empty house, as vandalism can be extremely costly.

6.) Replace weak or shoddy entry doors with hard wood or steal doors that come with strong locks. Perhaps set up an automatic timing system for lighting systems. Alert the home security company that your home will be empty. Set blinds partially open to look like you’re home and some light comes in.

California Migrations Into State for Home Buying Not So True for SF

According to a September 25th article in The Wall Street Journal there’s a sizable migration of homeowners moving out of California where home prices are steeply rising to states like Texas and Arizona where home prices are much lower compared to California, and are staying low.

The article states that between 2000 and 2015 2.5 home sellers left California for every 1 buyer coming into the state. On the other hand Texas, Arizona and North Carolina are showing the opposite: more buyers moving in and fewer sellers moving out. Further, as the housing recovery quickened the migrations out of expensive states like California and Colorado have increased. Prices for homes in Texas compared to California were up to 40% cheaper.

However, according to my experience and the data in SF’s real estate dynamics buyers of homes in SF are not necessarily coming directly in from out of state. They go from rent to buy over a period of time. The demand for housing in the city still far outstrips supply and the good stuff is still being overbid. My buyers who are not trade-up buyers typically have relocated from out of state within the past 3-5 years. When they arrived they chose to rent while they learned the neighborhoods and decided whether they wanted to stay long-term.

Modest High Sale and Fiercely Competitive Smallest Home Sale Last Week in SF

There was a battle in the same building last week for the lowest priced smallest home sale in SF, according to sfcurbed.com. Part of the Shipley House condo development in SoMa that just opened in the 2015 summer, #203 sold for $640,000. That bought a 529 square foot condo, 1 square foot smaller than the other 530 square foot unit that sold last week as well. Considering that square footage measurement isn’t standardized the two condos could actually be the same size. The #203 unit sold for the first time, and came in at its asking price.

On the high side of home sales last week, the top price was not nearly as tall in dollars as most of the “high” sales in a week that sfcurbed.com kibitzes about on Fridays. Usually the buys are at $8m or $6m or at least in the range of $4m but last week the high sale was #23 unit at 550 Davis Street, going to buyers for $2.6m which was shaved down from $2.8m. It went off the block at just after one week. So a fast buy at a comfortable multi-million price for this condo. The condo #23 is in is brick clad, large, elevated complex building on Davis Street. Built in 1981 the building was remodeled in 2011 by SF architect Olle Lundberg. The building is across from Sydney G Walton Square.

Climate Change Heat Could Make San Francisco Olympic City in 2088

Holding the Olympics in San Francisco has been a gold medal dream for quite a few SF leaders including former mayor Gavin Newsom who threw an effort into the hat in 2005. A long shot, but with some probability reality, and the Olympics are a prize of prestige and economic booty—so why not go for it. SF’s bid for a bid slot was withdrawn 11 years ago, while our cousins down in Los Angeles landed the US bid slot for the 2024 Olympics.

It turns out that by a process of climate change elimination San Francisco is a very viable candidate for the Olympics in 2088. That seems like a long ways out, what with the Brazil Olympics just held. But it is only 18 Olympics away, calculated at every 4 years. Michael Phelps could still be swimming. Well…no. Maybe his great grandkids.

Why are we so well placed for 2088? A 2015 paper from The Lancet, a respected science journal, laid out a case that the entire northern hemisphere will eventually be too hot to stage many outdoor Olympic events. For example the marathon becomes high risk when temperatures reach 82-83 Fahrenheit, and in 2088 only 3 cities in the northern hemisphere would be climate suitable (and have a large enough host population and not too high in altitude) for the events: Calgary and Vancouver in Canada, and our own cool-blessed San Francisco. Then, of course, there are rising sea levels which could knock us out of the running.

Gonzo Cubist Condo in Potrero Hill Asking $4 Mil

Could be in Barcelona, Spain, or other avant garde European cities. But it’s right here on Pennsylvania Avenue in the getting-posh Potrero Hill neighborhood. This cubist, rectangular-window-bays-sticking-out-at-90-degree-angles home that has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms tucked into its cubes. You could call it a post modern house, but technically it’s a condo, and its asking price is just south of $4 million. It has Spanish style outside paint colors as well.

And what do you get for your $4 mil? A few days ago I wrote about creating your own wine cellar and starting your own wine collection. Well…this condo has a high-tech wine cellar room that can dutifully store 1,000 wine bottles. And this wine cellar is right next to the home theater that boasts cinema style seats, a 120-inch automated screen, and a wet bar with a built in dishwasher for washing the wine, cocktail or soda glasses sipped from during movie time, or the popcorn bowls. There’s an elevator to the fourth floor master suite so walking up stairs can be a lifestyle choice.

First built in 1979 the home changed owners in 2003 for $1,450,000. In 2008 they went full-on cubist, taking the home down to its studs and rebuilding into the condo style it is today. The owners tried the sale at $4.2 mil, but no joy, so they tried renting it at $15,000 a month with still no joy, and now its down to just under $4 mil.

Fabulous Art Deco 4th Floor Studio on Market in Cool Tenderloin

The Tenderloin in SF: lamented and celebrated, and there’s really a lot more to celebrate in today’s Tenderloin. It’s a cool place to live now, especially with the neighborhood’s art and night life, crazy good shopping, cable car atmosphere, its condos and micro apartments opening up in fashionable, history-blessed buildings. The history’s still fascinating: notorious madam Tessie Wall in 1898 opened her ground-breaking brothel on O’Farrell Street. The 1906 earthquake and fire razed the Tenderloin to the ground, and was rebuilt with a large number of single room occupancy hotels—and SF is still in 2016 the world’s capital of single room occupancy hotels. Famous artists, writers, and film directors lived here in their struggles-to-success days.

Now on 631 O’Farrell, at the famed and very Art Deco attractive 1920 Hamilton Building there’s a charming, uber chic studio apartment on the 4th Floor that I’m representing. It’s Unit 411 and its asking price is $479,000—an extraordinary value compared to many other Tenderloin micro units ensconced in buildings that don’t come near the splendor and glamour of the Hamilton. Consider its so-attentive round the clock front desk staff, the grand foyer and the contemplative courtyard.

The floor plans for this micro are very livable, conceived by someone with sense and taste. There’s plenty of closet space and a properly full kitchen and holy of holies bathroom.

Give me a call, and let’s talk about Unit 411 at the Hamilton.

  • Click here for an SFcurbed.com story on my staging of Unit 411 and why I put a skeleton at the piano.
  • Click here for a photo gallery of the Hamilton Building interior.
  • Click here for an SFcurbed.com look of well conceived micro apartments in the city.

San Francisco’s Median Home Prices Updated to 9/15/16

The tech wizardry of Paragon Real Estate Group has produced an updated online interactive map for San Francisco Median Home Sales Prices. The map is based on MLS sales reported from January 1, 2016, to September 15, 2016.

There are quite a few areas with houses under 1 million in the city. In the west (near the Pacific) of the city Outer Richmond is showing median prices at $790,000 and down in the south of the city in Ingleside Heights, there were 15 sales with a median price of $560,000. Also in the south the Oceanview neighborhood is coming in with a median of $750,000. Over in the eastern central area of the city, the Tenderloin condos were median priced at $721,500. In the far east of the city (near the Bay) the Yerba Buena area came in with a sub-million median price of $968,000 for condos.

On the higher to high end of median prices condos in Pacific Heights are going for $1,453,500 (while condos in Lower Pacific Heights are commanding $940,000. Taking a big leap up, houses in Presidio Heights require a median treasure chest of change of $7,800,000. And houses in the Lower Pacific Heights would cost you $3,250,000 median.

Another interactive map shows condo and house price medians across the Bay Area, a nice measuring tool to make comparisons against San Francisco.

Click here to view the updated map (and a map of the Bay Area as well) and other informative articles.

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