It’s Mother’s Day today, at least in the United States. Did you know that the modern incarnation of Mother’s Day in the U.S. originated in a West Virginian Methodist church of all places? Mothering Sunday, which you’d find the U.K. and other parts of the Commonwealth, arose in response to Mother’s Day being deemed too commercial. And while Congress toyed with the idea of making this an official holiday, the joke that whirled around the 1908 debate was that if Mother’s Day was made an official holiday, then they’d have to enact Mother-in-Law Day quickly thereafter. Bet you may not have known all of that. And this message is brought to you by Kevin+Jonathan.  

In all seriousness though, shedding extra light on things is indeed what we do around here. And this long-overdue edition of In the Know will catch you up to what’s been happening lately in San Francisco’s ever-changing housing market. In this edition of Tall Tales of Sales, we’ll tell you….
Quick bits and bobs
  • Mortgage rates just went up on Wednesday so it may be a little too fast to see what impact the Fed’s hike will have, but instead of 30-year fixed rates staying in the 3-4 percent range, we’re now seeing most folks come to us with preapproval letters showing rates in the high 3 to 4 percent range, which raises a typical mortgage payment by about $500-$1,000 depending on your circumstances. It times like these that we like to remind folks that the odds you’re going make every payment on a 30-year fixed loans are slim as it’s more likely that you’ll re-fi at one point as you pay equity down and your home continues to appreciate, or that you’ll sell your home at one point. Because 30-year loans are more expensive and the odds that you’re going to get a different loan down the road at one point, it may be worth considering an adjustable-rate mortgage instead as these loans will typically have lower rates and monthly payments. There’s a good deal to consider but the math may make better sense. If you want a lender referral, just ask. One impact is that refinancing applications have dried up which means home purchase loan underwriting should go faster.
  • As spotted on our 2022 Raffi wall calendar, the Fed’s rate-setters will mean again June 14 and 15, which is when the next rate hike is all but certain. Expect a little more urgency to get into contract before then.
  • We posit that May is always the best time in real estate in San Francisco, but this is only based on our own empirical experience. Even during the height of the early lockdown, our clients were still buying and selling proprieties that, in retrospect, were solid client wins as our buyers who bought around this time got great (relative deals) at low mortgage rates that are locked in for the foreseeable future while our condo sellers at least, also got strong prices that still stand as highwater marks given their locations. But May has always been good to our clients whichever year it is, although this May seems to be getting off to a slower start. 
  • We’re seeing pricing strategies (finally) change, just a smidge.
  • The number of pipeline units in the Planning Department’s queue apparently dropped, which was already low in the first place. According to a May 2, 2022, San Francisco Chronicle report, in the first quarter, the Planning Department received just 3 large project applications that would only add 62 new housing units in the City. Indeed, from the annual high of 2,084 new housing units from the 17 projects that submitted applications in 2015 (many of those are just now coming online), there’s been a steady decline of new proposed housing units. Given that it takes an average of 5 years from application to entitlement (not to mention actually building something), it’ll be some time before this dearth makes its way through the market. Of note, annual new unit application totals had already been failing precipitously. From that 2,084-unit high, the unit count went to 1,873 for 2015, then to 978, 543, 571, 486, and 891 successively. See the article here

We have more than 730 subscribers to In the Know and our readership keeps expanding. But we can’t do it without you, your referrals and your loyalty — thank you for that. Be sure to think of us anytime real estate comes to mind as we’ll be here to help you and yours achieve your real estate goals. Happy reading. 

Very Truly Yours and Best, 

Kevin K. Ho, Esq. 
Vanguard Properties 
Broker Associate | Attorney | Top Producer | REALTOR
DRE 01875957 | SBN 233408
(415) 297.7462 |

Jonathan B. McNarry 
Vanguard Properties 
Broker Associate | Top Producer | REALTOR
DRE 01747295
(415) 215.4393 |

Raffi McNarry-Ho 
Real estate super dog and Black Labrador Retriever extraordinaire. See his listing resume here.
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What Are We Seeing?
What Are We Seeing? 

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there. 

Congrats and thank you to our buyers and sellers on their recent successes. Over at 147 Day Street, Number 3, our clients who bought this with us some 6 years ago (who are now expecting their first) got a great new home in Marin County. After they left, we helped them execute our property preparation plan that raised the profile of the 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, top-floor Noe Valley condominium. We received multiple offers after just a week on the market and are in contract a good amount over our list price (compared to many 1-bedroom condos in the neighborhood that took at least a week or more longer to sell and many others across the city that have languished). Watch this space for details, watch the property videos below. 

Congrats to our buyers who stepped it up after a year of looking to win the cute-as-a-button Sunnyside house at 327 Hearst. With an extra deep and extra sunny yard, potential to expand and retool the home 1,600+ sqft home, our clients beat out 8 other offers. We can't wait to see what it looks like. 

And last, two off-market sales to share that has had positive outcomes that you may not see too often these days. At 4425 17th Street ( a 2-level, 3-bed, 2-bath, condo) our client sold this long-time income property to her tenant. After a long round of negotiations and given the fact our client is abroad and has only ever been at the Castro property for a grand total of an hour since she's owned it, we were happy to close that sale as it allows our client to get a special, cosmetic fixer flat at 115 Pierce Street over in Duboce Triangle (3 bed, 1 bath, 1,500+ condo). We worked with the neighbor (our client's bff) when they learned about an opportunity to buy the unit below, off-market. We worked with the seller's family, our client, the exchange company and the title company through a thicket of challenges but are on the cusp of wrapping it all up. In the end, 17th Street sold for $1.4M and Pierce Street will close for $1.45M. While 17th closed for less than it could have on the open market after preparation, it would have involved a very expensive tenant buy-out and updating that would have taken far too long. But the value at Pierce far exceeds any missed opportunity at 17th Street hands down. More details when that closes. 
We like to tell stories about how properties sell of course —well, Kevin is the one who likes the story approach, while Jonathan and Raffi favor the numbers-based approach. See what stories you can glean from sales data we examined from April 1 to May 8 in 2021 and 2022. 


Number of ”active” single-family homes on the San Francisco MLS: 223
Number sold since April 1, 2022: 300 
Median number of days a house is ”active’ before it sells:11 
Median sale price: $2,050,000 
Expressed in dollars, per square foot: $1,133
Number of houses sold, year to date: 818
Median 2022 sale price before April 1: $1,850,000
Dollars per square foot before April 1: $1,110

Most expensive (YTD): $16,500,000
Least expensive (YTD): $610,000 

Number of houses sold from April 1 – May 8, 2021: 326
Median house sale price for that period in 2021: $1,800,000
Median price: $1,800,000
In dollars per square foot: $1,003 


Number of ”active,” non-BMR condominiums on the San Francisco MLS currently: 746
Number of non-BMR condominium units sold from April 1 - May 8, 2021: 431
For 2022: 370
Median price in 2021 during this period: $1,200,000
Per square foot in 2021: $1,072
Per square foot in 2022: $1,198
Median price in 2022: $1,350,000
Median number, in days, a condominium would last before selling in 2021: 21
In 2022: 16
Source: San Francisco Multiple Listing Service. 



As you may know, we have made hundreds and hundreds of YouTube property walk-throughs of the things we see in San Francisco. Here are some that are worth an extra watch

Care to walk and talk?

The Produced version of the Raffi’s property tour of numnber 3 at 147 Day Street in Noe Valley. 
We walk and talk telling you (and showing you) some of improvements we suggested to the sellers that combined to create this great space. 
As overheard, told to us or otherwise. This what we heard happened to the properties below over the past week or two. Remember what follows is obvious hearsay and subject ot change without notice. When in doubt, ask. 
Out of this World Views. Out of this World Price for a Dated Castro Condo. 608 Sanchez is the top-floor condominium of a 2-unit building at the cul-du-sac above 19th Street in the Castro. With ridiculous, unobstructed views of the entire skyline, Bay and more, this 1980s-architectural magazine-meets-cabin vibe was listed at $2.4M. With just under 2,400 sqft, 3 bed, 2 baths and two levels (and outdoor space to boot) this was going to be popular despite the dated finishes. (In case you were wondering, the lower unit, 608, sold in 2018 for $1.851M at $1,428/sqft) So it shouldn’t be a surprise that most of the 6+ offers were over $3.4M with the top offer landing at $3.6M, or at $1,515/sqft.

The Castro Charmer of a House at 45 Hartford was on the market for a couple of weekends before it got into contract. With 6 beds, 3.5 baths, and 3,200+ sqft, the updated home has that coveted mix of Victorian details and modern updates to kitchens, baths and building systems. While it sits on a large 3,100-sqft parcel, most of the potential yard is heavily landscaped. Set in the middle of this vibrant and free-spirited neighborhood, there were a few parties interested including one with two small children who, after their visit, ran into a quartet of the neighborhood’s 4 nudists on the sidewalk, (they continued their search in Noe Valley apparently). Nevermind them as the winning, all-cash offer for $3.6M came in shortly after.  

Not Everything Goes Crazy. The 5-bed, 4-bath, 2,400-sqft, mid-century home with huge Sunset views at 1922 Funston (near Pacheco) was listed at $2.75M. After sitting on the market for 2 months, the property, which has that 2007-update vibe, isn’t necessarily flat (it is Golden Gate Heights after all), is in contract under list price.

Top-Floor With Commanding Views, Gets Top Price on Lombard and Polk. Built less than 10 years ago and selling for $1.9M then at nearly $1,500/sqft, the top-floor, 2-bed, 2-bath, 1,425-sqft condominium at 1268 Lombard, No. 4, was bound to do well. Listed at $3.195M at more than $2,200/sqft the unit has two decks with dead-on, panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Indeed, the special home made it about two days before a preemptive, all-cash offer came in that pushed past the $2,300/sqft mark and then some.

Third Time A Charm. After a parade of listing agents and having just bought the property in 2018 for $2.030M, the seller at 738-740 North Point, a nice, updated duplex with a 2-level upper owner’s unit with a small roof deck (delivered vacant) finally accepted a lower list price of $2.6M this time around (versus the $2.8M and $2.7M they had been asking in 2020 and 2021). Combine that with the fact there’s a 2-car garage and a monthly income of more than $5,600 from the lower, 2-level unit, it seems like the price adjustment worked this time as they’re now in contract at the list price. 
Would A Lower List Price on Linda Got Even More? The ever-so-rare Mission Dolores single-family house (in the flat part, not the view part) at 85 Linda Street is a 3-bed, 2.5-bath, 1,500-1,800-sqft tunnel-style house that you’d usually find over in the Sunset, was listed for $2.495M (the square footage depends on if you count the lower semi-finished level). The home is an interesting one: it has a lush, sunny feel with some decent updates and outdoor space but is also on a shorter but much wider, 34-ft wide parcel and has one full vintage bathroom with a lower-level power room. Listed closer to market value, the property nevertheless received a trio of offers and will close above list just shy of the $2.7M mark (not too bad considering the home traded at $1.8M in 2013). Whether the home would have sold for even more if the list price was more aggressive is an interesting one to consider.   

As noted above, there has been some opportunity with it comes to multi-unit buildings, especially ones with tenants. Here are two more to consider.

Near the heart of the Castro, 3618-3620 16th Street is a Victorian-era, fully occupied, 2-unit building with especially tall ceilings. Generating some $5,700/month of income, the property was originally in January for $2.5M. After a reduction to $2.298M in February, a buyer who just had to have a building with tall ceilings (11 feet was not enough) found 3618, which has 12-foot ceilings apparently. All that searching took the better part of a year, but they did end up with a good price as the property is in contract for $1.93M.

The large, Victorian building at the corner of Lyon and Oak, 124 Lyon (1387 Oak), is a vacant, 2-unit building with more than 5,200 sqft. While the building is truly stately (the scale is pretty great), there is a lot to do if you wanted to update it from its rental-quality finishes. And it is on Oak Street and there really isn’t a yard either. Listed for $2.295M, the property is in contract at $2.25M to a non-contingent buyer. Given the original $1.35M purchase price in 2009 with the intervening years of potential rental income earned, we’d say this was still a positive outcome and case for how real estate can hold its own against the stock market for example.

The 4-unit building at 207-215 Jersey Street in Noe Valley, listed at $1.75M for the fully tenant-occupied building with no parking that generates about $6,700/mo in rental income (the range for the 1-bedroom units goes from $850 - $2,900), is contract for $1.55M. 

That being said, we do live in San Francisco; compare that to what happened at a 2-unit building at 262-264 17th Avenue.

262-264 17th Avenue is indeed a vacant, 2-unit building you’d expect to find in the Richmond. Circa 1916, the 3-story building comprised two big flats with wood floors, gumwood details, updated kitchens, and baths, two rooms in the back with that third strange room that you’ve to go through another to access on each level – all set on a big, 3,000-sqft parcel with a big garage level and yard. Listed at $2.2M the building took offers after a weekend of open houses with 6 offers coming in. The winning one being submitted by buyers who have been looking for a while with a final contract price of $3M.

If at First You Don’t Succeed (Or, List Price Matters, pt. 2). Selling in 2018 for $1.885M, the condo at 1569 Clay Street has 4 beds, 3 baths and more than 1,800 sqft. The classic, Victorian-Edwardian, 4 unit building shares a common roof deck with views to the Golden Gate and Tiburon and has a striking façade. On the inside, you’ll get the mix you’d expect, picture rails, wood floors, laundry, updated kitchen, and subway tile bathrooms. The property was listed at $2.195M initially and was in contract with one set of buyers who had a financing contingency that didn’t work out. After those folks left, the property came back on at $1.995M and is now in contract at a higher price than the first time around with much happier buyers.

Time for An Upgrade Dear? The buyers of a 2-bed, 3-bath, relatively newer condominium at 2101 Bryant (called Union SF), already live in the building but have a 1-bedroom unit. Looking for a little more room, the buyers made a move when number 304 came onto the market. Listed at $1.495M for its 1,149 sqft, the buyers here got their new place for $1.85M beating out the other offers that came in.

Micromarkets are the Name of the Game in Bernal Heights. Last selling in 2019 for $1.4M, the 3-bed, 2-bath, 1,350-sqft house at 758 Andover, which is south of Crescent and Benton, was listed at $1.295M. Given its proximity to the freeway, the home was always going to have a little bit of a challenge. Indeed, it did take three weeks to get the property into contract with the price landing close to $1.5M. 
Patience Works. I
f a property doesn’t sell within the first 2 or 3 weeks it’s on the market, people get nervous. But, as with many things, it all depends on the particulars involved. In the case of 1423 South Van Ness Avenue, a 3-bed, 1-bath, top-floor, TIC unit in a 6-unit building with just under 1,300 sqft, the area average days on market for TIC units is much longer. Selling in 2017 after 69 days on the market for $1.025M, the unit is now in contract after 58 days on the market at just a little over its $1.099M list price.  

Sometimes The List Price is Enough. Over at 301 Main Street, The Infinity, Number 3E, a 1-bed, 1-bath, condominium with just over 1,050 sqft of living area was listed at $1.050M. The property had been on for 80 days and is tenant-occupied (but only until June). The buyer here got the property at list price.
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