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Liberty Hill Neighborhood House Draws Fire Over Liberal Renovation

The four-story house at 151-153 Liberty Street is a classic and much beloved in the neighborhood—which itself is highly prized in San Francisco. It was built in 1913 in the Craftsman style and now the new owner—local contractor Brendan McGrath—has surprised and outraged many San Franciscans with the non-classic renovations to the front face of the house. McGrath bought the house for $1.28 million in 2012.

SFcurbed.com reports the outrage includes the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission that is alleging that McGrath may have damaged the home’s historic assets in the façade alteration. The official complaint from the Commission is: “Exterior alterations beyond the approved scope.” The complaint noted that the historic windows had been removed. Further the complaint stated “the completed unpermitted work qualifies as a demolition” and requests that ensuing construction restore the home’s curb front to its original form.

The SF Planning Department reviewed and agreed to the alterations submitted by McGrath in 2014—that permitting being what McGrath is charged to have gone beyond. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the Historic Preservation Commission, which is a separate branch of the Planning Department, will have a hearing with McGrath.

BART Getting Lowest Customer Satisfaction Reviews in 20 Years

BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system—which has several popular stations and routes in SF—has just received the lowest marks in 20 years by customers riding the system and rating it on several facets of satisfaction. The low rating came out in a new survey just released by BART that interviewed 5,432 riders during their rides from Sept 9th to Oct 9th 2016.

The questionnaire bravely asked how the riders felt about BART’s service, how they got to BART, how they rated the system’s website and what specific complaints they have.

What’s getting BART riders riled is the fact that many have to stand for their commute and the commute length itself is a pain along with a poorer riding experience. Those who were able to consistently sit on the trains were less inclined to complain than those who ride standing. Other complaints included not enough bike parking, overall cleanliness, and station conditions.

In sum 69% are satisfied with BART, down from 74% satisfaction in 2014. BART’s general manager said the transit provider expected the low marks, citing the fact that new rail cars they’re expecting to go online are just starting to arrive and they are just starting to spend the $3.5 billion bond approved in the November 2016 voting.

The Best SF Restaurant World According to Yelp

Help Yelp we say when we want to read reviews by actual customers (we can pretty much count on) for everything from painters to restaurants. Some people love em, and some people hate em, but they’re part of the zeitgeist—including here in San Francisco. Recently Yelp did some deep data mining (sort of deep) in the SF Bay Area to determine which restaurants are considered the 25 best in the area according to 1-5 star reviews and the number of published reviews posted to the restaurant. The popular eateries popped up all over the Bay Area.

Not surprisingly, SF came in with the most most-popular Yelp-reviewed restaurants.

Here is the SF list in ascending ranking order, and includes their star count and the number of reviewers.

16. Stones Throw star: 4.5 680
13. Seven Hills 4.5 692
12. Prubechu 4.5 203
11. Californios 4.5 165
9. Kokkari Estiatorio 4.5 3,674
8. Lardoise Bistro 4.5 1,046
7. Liholiho Yacht Club 4.5 1,081
5. Gary Danko 4.5 4,558
4. Kusakabe 4.5 527
3. Casa Flores 5 51
2. Bimini Twist 5 50
1. Ichido 5 62

Here’s the full article here.

Only 30% of 3-Bedroom Homes in SF Occupied by Families

The San Francisco Planning Department has just published a new report with surprising and even worrisome stats. Out of the 3-bedroom homes in SF just 30% are owned or occupied by families (a couple with children). One takeaway from the report (according to bizjournal.com) is that this status adds to the difficulties families face in living in the city. Most of the larger homes are occupied by roommates—meaning the rents are higher than many families can afford. Another hurdle is that most of the new home construction is for studios and one-bedroom residences in large multi-story buildings—thus swinging the city to being a metropolis of singles and couples.

Another astonishing figure from the report is that only 18% of San Franciscan households have children. This is a 18.9% drop from the city’s family households in the 1980’s. Further, middle income families are going more extinct in the city while low income and high income populations are expanding.

The report mapped out the dispersion of the city’s 9,500 children—the majority are located in southeastern neighborhoods of Bayview, Excelsior and Crocker-Amazon. The planning department is urging developers and city planners to work toward creating livable family friendly neighborhoods so that the city’s family population can stabilize and increase into the future.

SF Transit Stops Converted to Hashtags Reflecting Popular Usage Near Stops

This has already been done in Paris, Berlin, New York City and London, and maybe it should have been done here in trend-setting SF first. SFcurbed.com reports a mobile phone app converts Bay Area transit stops in SF from their official location name to Instagram hashtags based on what’s popular immediately around the station. The map is called Tags and the City—a cute takeoff on the TV series Sex and the City. So in one gander at the screen you can see #dogpark and know that the Duboce and Noe station has the best dog walking park in the city according to many fine Instagram citizens.

The results are useful and droll amusing. The Montgomery Street Station was renamed #sushirrito as a nod of the hat to the eponymous eatery that offers huge sushi creations slathered with mayonnaise. Fusion, anyone? Van Ness gets the new moniker of #twitter, and the Church Street Station ended up being dubbed #blackbird for the arcade/bar in the Castro. The map also careens over to other areas of the BART system in the East Bay, with Oakland Coliseum becoming #warriors—though that one will be defunct when the Warriors move over to our city at Mission Bay in 2019.

The app was created by Jug Cerovic, David Goldwich and Tin Fischer, and is built from Instagrammer’s favorite things in the city, and so is an interesting reflection of the Instagrammer psyche.

Here’s the full article by clicking here.

Super Stars Golden Gate Warriors Break Ground in SF Today

One of the most beloved and talent-explosive teams in the National Basketball Association is moving to San Francisco from Oakland, with an official ground breaking ceremony today. The ground-breaking shovels are golden for the Golden State Warriors’ arrival in the city.

The ceremony is for the new $1 billion, 18,064 seat Chase Center basketball arena and surrounding support buildings being built in the 300-acre Mission Bay real estate development area at 300 South Street. The center is projected to open for the 2019-20 season with grand arena plans including the court and stadium plus an 11-acre site for two office towers, a five-acre waterfront park and a spacious plaza bordered with restaurants and shops. It’s a union project with a high score of good jobs for the area.

Rick Welts, Warriors President, commented, “Chase Center and the surrounding area will serve as a destination for the entire community and we will continue to work to make sure it is the best experience possible for everyone to enjoy NBA basketball, concerts, family shows, conventions and more.”

The center will be accessible by car, MUNI light rail, Caltrain, and bus lines.

San Francisco District Home Sales Breakdown

These charts show the breakdown of San Francisco home sales as reported to the city’s Multiple Listing Service in 2016 (as reported by 12/21/16). These analyses are sorted by city districts and neighborhoods by the number of transactions in different sales-price segments. Note that median sales prices will change every time the time period or neighborhoods included in an analysis change.

The first 4 charts are overviews for the entire city, first for house sales and the second for condo, co-op and TIC sales. Then below the San Francisco neighborhood map come the breakdowns for specific city neighborhoods and districts.

For further breakdowns of neighborhood home prices by bedroom count: SF Home Prices by Bedroom Count, Property Type & Neighborhood

Home Sales by Property Type & Price Segment
San Francisco Overviews

San Francisco House Sales



San Francisco Condo, Co-op & TIC Sales




Home Sales by Property Type & Price Segment
by San Francisco Neighborhood & District
















These 2 charts below track San Francisco luxury home sales by price range and neighborhood. In these charts, we designate the luxury segment as those condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $2,000,000 or more, and those houses selling for $3,000,000 and above.


These statistics are based upon sales reported to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
All data herein is from sources deemed reliable but may contain errors and is subject to revision. All numbers should be considered approximate.

© 2017 Paragon Real Estate Group

$500,000,000 Historic Donation to UCSF Largest in UC History

And this goes in the really good news department. The University of California San Francisco announced on Wednesday that the well-regarded life sciences school received a half a billion dollar donation recently. It is a magnanimous donation and as it turns out is the largest gift ever given in University of California’s history. It’s also one of the largest ever presented to an American university. The school’s endowment was instantly boosted by 18%, adding the $500 million onto its current $2.25 billion.

The extraordinary and very welcome gift (in the face of the reduction of state funds for UC) was pledged by the Helen Diller Foundation. The late Helen Diller is a San Francisco native and well known crusader for UCSF, and was the wife of Sanford Diller who founded the Prometheus Real Estate Group—based in San Mateo and working in commercial real estate.

Diller’s daughter Jackie Safier, 52, is president of the Helen Diller Foundation board and also current president of Prometheus. She commented, “My mother believed in science — and she believed in health care. She asked: ‘What type of institution can have the most impact on global health care in the world, for all of humanity?’” Safier continued, “She believed UCSF would have an incredible impact, with the necessary resources.”

The gift is identified for supporting faculty and students of UCSF.

Time to Invest in San Francisco Multi-Unit Residentials?

Multi unit residential sales worked out well for both buyers and sellers in 2014 through 2016, and could be an excellent investment opportunity in 2017—even in a cooler market. And according to new data Paragon Real Estate Group would be the best broker to successfully work these deals with. In two graph charts just released from Paragon which tracked sales of 2+ unit residential buildings Paragon was the top real estate broker (among 9 other major real estate companies) for multi unit selling and buying—at win-win prices for both parties. This is in a market where for every 2 multi-unit listings that sell, 1 listing does not sell and expires.

Over the past 4 years Paragon has concluded the sale and purchase of $2.2 billion in Bay Area multi-unit and commercial real estate transactions.

Below are the two graphs.



Some Hidden Traps for First Time Home Sellers

Selling your home for the first time? Don’t glue yourself to the HGTV network as you may pick up some bad habits and misperceptions. Here are a few tips to avoid walking into bear traps in selling your home.

1.) If you’re thinking of renovating or doing a makeover or major repair on your home, think again, and talk to a knowledgeable local real estate agent to see if makeovers or repairs are really necessary to sell your home in a hot market, or if it would really be helpful to renovate in a cooler market.

2.) Don’t jump into current trendy design approaches without some real solid research as to what works in your neighborhood and what doesn’t. Experts say upgraded baths and kitchens are pretty safe, but beware of going into strong designer wall colors and bright accent walls or trim. A neutral palette is best to allow potential buyers to visualize their painterly preferences and furniture.

3.) Planning your next chess move as to moving to your new home from the one you’re selling is extremely helpful. This is not a matter of get up and go, and in SF homes sell very quickly so you need to have everything for your upcoming move and new home well in place. This should include financial prepping for possibly higher taxes and expenses.

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