Archive for October, 2007

The Front Steps Price Per Square Foot Debate revisited

I remember seeing a comment on the Front Steps – (great real estate blog too I must say), regarding a listing at 23 Belmont in which one commenter stated, per the tax records, that listing was a ridiculous price per square foot for the location.

Well, apparently the market did not think so because it recently closed (sale price is at the bottom fyi) for $300,000 over its ‘insane’ list price in 12 days on the market with 3 offers.

For what it’s worth I loved the unit and thought it was well priced. My only question was how much were my clients going to have to bid over to win it, and would it be well priced if they did win? These are questions that keep good agents up at night. (As it turns out my clients had to bid zero as they were out of town while the entire process started and finished).

Here’s my trouble with price per square foot totals – and to some extent people who rely solely on numbers to try to determine market value – it is only worth a third of what actual market values are, at least for residential, commercial is a different animal. In residential, where people are going to actually live, the emotional quotient is huge.

Alan Greenspan stated on his interview with Jon Stewart that forecasting hasn’t improved in the past 50 years…if he could figure a way to predict consumer confidence then he would have been way ahead of the curve.

That to me was brilliant because it’s what I’ve been watching for the past 14 years in real estate. If the market responded solely based on facts and numbers prices would never have increased – at least the way they did the past 7 years.

Not that a price per square foot totals should be ignored, simply that they should only be relied upon as part of a bigger picture that takes location, location within the building (if it’s a condo) and rarity of whatever type of property you are bidding on (or selling) into account.


Another busy weekend… Armenian Food Festival and the Fiesta on the Hill!

This weekend is full of great events, so if you have time, here’s a few I’d like to mention. As my company’s weekly office meetings take place at St. John Armenian Apostolic Church,I’ve been looking forward to the 65th Armenian Food Festival! It’s open both Saturday the 20th from noon until midnight (dancing with live music starts at 9pm) and Sunday the 21st from noon till 4pm. There’s the food, children’s crafts, entertainment including the Karoun Dance Ensemble plus jewelry and crafts for sale. Did I mention the free admission and parking?

On Sunday, there’s the Fiesta on the Hill up on Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. It’s free and open to all, so October 21st from 11am to 6pm make your way up to Cortland Avenue between Bocana and Folsom and have fun. It’s a benefit for the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, an organization that provides many services to seniors, youth, housing services and some great community organizing.

The Fiesta (the last of the street fairs for the year, I think) features food, crafts, dancing in the street to live music including Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, Julio Bravo Y Su Orquestra Salsabor, Two Tall Drinks, the Bernal All Stars Brass Mafia , Judea Eden Band, Amy Meyers Band , Go Van Gogh and more!

There’s lots of kids entertainment too, activities, crafts and usually even a petting zoo.

If you’re not familiar with the neighborhood, it’s a great friendly way to get a little favor of the area. Or if you live nearby, come meet your neighbors…


More Facts Ma'am

137 properties sold in the two weeks from October 3rd through October 16th:

Single Family Home Sold = 60

34 ↑ over Asking
4 ↔ At Asking
22 ↓ Under Asking

Condominiums = 64


2-4 Unit Buildings = 9


Source SFAR Multiple Listing Service

But that doesn’t really tell the entire story.

The questions you should be asking yourself, if you’re a true market watcher is:
1. HOW much over and under are they going for?
In most cases not a lot under; or over – with several exceptions on the ‘not much over’ camp.
2. Where are properties selling the most under their asking prices?
For instance almost half of the SFH (that’s Single Family Homes) that sold under their asking price – 10 to be exact – sold in District 10. More on Visitation Valley to follow in a later post which is a really cool ‘affordable’ neighborhood…caveat being affordable by SF standards, of course.
Finally there are also the few anomalies in the stats…3 of the properties that sold over their asking prices did so after they went through price reductions.

The rainy season has begun…

And it’s time for the 4th annual Sandbag Saturday. If you are a San Francisco resident and have a business or residence here in San Francisco, you can pick up free sandbags tomorrow Saturday October 20th from 11am- 1:00 pm. There will also be flood prevention information available. Bring proof of residency!

On October 20th, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Department of Public Works will kick off the 4th annual “Sandbag Saturday” to raise flood prevention awareness and provide free sandbags to San Francisco residents. Introduced in 2004, “Sandbag Saturday” events have successfully distributed more than 6,000 sandbags. Sandbags can provide a useful barrier for diverting rain and street runoff away from homes and businesses in low-lying areas and below-grade properties.

DPW’s Corporation Yard on 2323 Cesar Chavez Street
(enter from Marin Street at Kansas Street)

Saturday October 20th, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

For more information call(415)554-3289.

Can’t make it to the giveaway tomorrow? You can pick the sandbags up at other times.

Looking for information about the sewer system and the upgrades needed?
Read about the Master plan


Enough about bubble blogs…

Let’s watch some films from around the world. San Francisco has no shortage of film festivals to enjoy:

It’s the 10th United Nations Film Festival with pre-festival screenings starting today and the festival running thru October 28th. If you are unfamiliar with this festival, read an excerpt from their website

UNAFF celebrates the power of films dealing with human rights,environmental survival, women’s issues, protection of refugees, homelessness,racism, disease control, universal education, war and peace. Documentaries oftenelicit a very personal, emotional response that encourages dialogue and action humanizing global and local problems. To further this goal, UNAFF hosts academics and filmmakers from around the world to discuss the topics in thefilms with the audience, groups and individuals who are often separated by geography, ethnicity and economic constraints.
Over three hundred sixty submissions from all over the world have been carefully reviewed for the tenth annual UNAFF. The jury has selected 32 films to be presented at this year’s festival. The documentaries selected showcase topics from Afghanistan, Bolivia,Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, France, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Italy, Lesotho, Macedonia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Peru, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Sudan, Uganda, the UK, Ukraine, the US, Vietnam and Zambia.

I’m looking forward to see Gypsy Caravan!

Also starting this week is the 11th annual Arab Film Festival
Running until October 28th, you’ll have a chance to see shorts and features that in the words of the festival:

The mission of the Arab Film Festival (AFF) is to enhance public understanding of Arab culture and to provide alternative representations of Arabs that contradict the stereotypical images frequently encountered in the American mass
media. The Arab Film Festival screens films from and about the Arab World that provide realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics.

There’s no shortage of interesting activities to do here in San Francisco… just not enough time for them all!