The economy is improving, unemployment is falling, and the U.S. real estate market remains strong as we head into the holiday season, a period when activity typically slows as people take time to travel, celebrate, and spend time with loved ones. Although the market is not as frenetic as was seen earlier this year, buyer demand is high, bolstered by attractive mortgage rates and a low supply of inventory.
The most recent data from the National Association of REALTORS® reports the median single-family existing home sales price rose 16% in the third quarter of this year to $363,700, with all four regions of the country experiencing double-
digit price growth. In new construction, builder confidence increased in November, surpassing analyst expectations and rising to 83 on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), the highest level since spring, despite persistent labor and supply chain challenges and a shortage of available lots.
Mark Twain once said: “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” For the first time ever, that might not be true.
The Metaverse is a virtual world concept currently playing out across multiple online platforms. And one trend that’s rapidly gaining traction is the purchase of “real estate” that exists only inside these virtual universes. You can’t live there, build there, or even visit IRL. But there’s a land grab happening, just the same.
Visitors to the popular Decentraland Marketplace https://market.decentraland.org/ can shop for and buy a vacant lot using a plat map that looks much like traditional assessor’s tax maps.
(You can also pick up some pretty eclectic virtual outfits and costumes… “festival sunglasses” or a “baked turkey suit”, anyone?)
These items are purchased with – you guessed it – virtual money.
Obviously Etherium (which Decentraland accepts as a form of payment) and BitCoin are now household names. And the meta-economy runs on cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Online real estate experts like Republic Realm https://www.republicrealm.com/digital-real-estate are actually acquiring, managing, and developing online projects, describing themselves as “urban planners in the metaverse”.
Republic Realm reportedly developed 100 Fantasy Island retreats and listed them for sale in a virtual world called The Sandbox. The result was a San Francisco-style buyer bum-rush. All 100 islands – which feature villas that look a heck of a lot like Minecraft forts – sold out within 24 hours. In other words… real estate’s so dang hot, you can drop the “real” and still get a bidding war going.
If you love cruising Zillow just for kicks, check out Parcel https://meetparcel.com/. It’s like Zillow for the Metaverse.
Celebrities are getting in on the action, too. Wanna check out Snoop Dogg’s digital party mansion? (you know you do.) Check out this video (explicit lyrics warning!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD38OueA5zk
It’s like MTV Cribs. Sort of.
The price to be Snoop Dogg’s neighbor in the SandBox universe: $450,000. That’s US dollars, people. On the other hand, it’s pennies on the dollar compared to what one would have to pay to be Snoop Dogg’s real-life next-door neighbor. So from that perspective, call it a deal?
How fortunate we be, to reside between the Bay and the deep blue sea. If you’re looking to connect with your salty side, there are dozens of ways to take the plunge and get out on the water this year.
Here are some ideas, from fairly tame to brash and bold. As you can see, our team is full of water babies; we love getting our feet wet anytime we get the chance!
1. Swimming in Aquatic Park – We tried this for the first time in 2021 and *highly* recommend! Splash around with the sea lions and enjoy a spectacular view of Ghirardelli Square from this protected cove. Just bring a wet suit and walk right in from the sandy beach.
2. Rowing – On the bay?? Yes – it’s a thing. South End Rowing Club, founded in 1873, has incredibly reasonable membership dues (less than $500/year) Their boathouse is on Aquatic Park and in addition to rowing has groups and events for running, handball, and swimming. Get a $10 day pass and check it out!
3. Wingboarding – Not for the faint of heart, this involves holding an inflatable kite-like sail and using wind power to jet around on a foil board. You may have seen these daredevils (including our very own Cleveland Motley) zooming under the Golden Gate Bridge on windy days.
4. E-Foils (like windboarding for beginners) Never heard of an e-foil? You’re not alone. They’re motorized foil boards that give that “flying” experience without a wing or kite. Cool, right?! You have to check out the video on BayFoil’s website. They’ll rent you all the gear and take you out for a lesson – it’s sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience.
5. SUP or Kayak – Take on the bay without getting your hair wet. Maybe we’ll try to catch a foul ball in McCovey cove this summer. City Kayaks rents both kayaks and SUPs, and has fantastic reviews. Do you know another place? We’d love to hear about it!
6. Sailing – Hire a captain for the day, or take lessons and learn to steer your own ship in one of the most challenging and beautiful sailing locales in the world. Sunset cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge? Yes, please! Modern Sailing is an excellent outfit with berths and a nice fleet in Sausalito. We’ve had sailing adventures all over the world, and can say that it’s tough to beat docking at Sam’s in Tiburon for oysters and an Anchor Steam.
7. Surfing – Linda Mar in Pacifica is one of the best beginner spots out there. Rent a foam top board and wetsuit at NorCal surf shop, just steps from the waves. If you’re more adventurous and have been thinking of tackling Ocean Beach or even Fort Point, maybe this is your year! You’ll be warm and toasty in the right wetsuit, we promise. 😊
The end of the year is a tough time to start searching for a new home. This December there was practically nothing for sale! Many buyers go into hibernation mode during this time, but we had some lovely clients that were ready and raring to use their holiday downtime to find their dream place.
This called for some creative thinking. We took a deep dive into the MLS “cancelled” archives; AKA the Graveyard for Homes That Didn’t Sell.
Typically this section of the MLS world is littered with musty shacks, backyards that face the freeway, and flophouses rented out by the room. But what’s this… a holiday treat? A totally renovated single family home that the Thanksgiving crowd had overlooked!
With this gem temporarily withdrawn from the market and totally under-the-radar, our clients were able to negotiate without competition and lock down a sweet, modern home and yard that seems made just for them. First 2022 resolution, done and done!
There are many other ways to source off-market properties. In fact, our team is regularly finding and showing off-market homes to our clients. Sometimes these are sneak-peeks; early looks at homes that will eventually hit the MLS. Other times, they are truly “pocket listings” that will never show up on Redfin or Zillow. In San Francisco and the Bay Area where competition is fierce, this can be a particularly compelling advantage. Contact us to see how we can help you access some of these secret gems in San Francisco and beyond!
Although Earth Day has come and gone, that doesn’t mean we get to forget about the planet until next year. Shopping with reusable bags and recycling is a great start, but if you’re feeling like there’s more you can do (and for most of us, there likely is much more we could be doing) there are plenty of organizations that can always use our help. We’re not saying you have to announce a climate plan aiming to drastically reduce an entire city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 like Mayor Breed just did, but everyone has to start somewhere!
Keep it outside
Last week Senate Bill 314 and 793, two bills seeking to streamline the permitting process for restaurants, both passed unanimously through the state senate committee last week and now just need to be voted on by state legislature. Essential outdoor changes that restaurants had to make to operate during the pandemic like outdoor drinking areas, to-go cocktails, and parklets will become legal for longer with proper permits, and the bills make it faster and easier for bars and restaurants to obtain the required permits.
Along with being pivotal in the survival of countless bars and restaurants, outdoor seating has been met with wild popularity. So even after emergency protocols are lifted, places currently offering outdoor seating will hopefully be able to continue to do so for at least a year after.
If you’re ever cautious about using hazardous cleaning materials in your home, luckily for you there are plenty of alternatives in your kitchen cabinet that work just as well. In this case, we’re talking about regular ol’ table salt. From stains to copper pots to clogged drains, salt can be your simple, natural best alternative to store-bought cleaning solutions. Check out this list of 15 surprising things you can clean with salt for other examples of the powers of our friend sodium chloride.
Just another reason why we love it here…
Korean-American supermarket chain H Mart just opened its first SF location last Wednesday and San Franciscans are psyched. The country’s largest Asian American supermarket chain, the new 42,000-square-foot location at Oceanview Village Plaza in Ingleside Heights will house a food hall with five stalls selling prepared food, an unbelievable assortment of snack foods, beauty products and housewares, and much more. If you’ve never been to an H Mart, prepare to be slightly overwhelmed in the best way ever. But if you’re up for a flavorful adventure, check out this article on what to expect on your first visit.
And now, this month’s crunching of numbers is, as always, courtesy of the San Francisco Association of Realtors.
Normal spring increases in sales activity, coupled with relaxing COVID-19 policies, created a very busy March real estate market as buyer demand continued largely unabated in the face of rising home prices and mortgage rates. Existing home seller and new construction activity continue to remain below levels necessary to bring the market back into balance, pointing to a busy and competitive buyer market in the coming months.
New Listings were up 33.9% for single-family homes and 68.8% for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales increased 61% for single-family homes and 146.7% for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.
The Median Sales Price was up 10.6% to $1,742,500 for single-family homes but decreased 2.4% to $1,220,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 32.1% for single-family units but was up 4.8% for Condo/TIC/Coop units.
While many homebuilders are working to increase their activity, the cost of lumber and other materials and a backlogged supply chain continue to limit new home construction and have increased costs substantially. New methods of construction, including 3D printed homes, could speed construction and reduce costs in the future, but realistically are several years away from making a measurable impact in the market.
Stories of how our clients scored deals in this difficult market
10 Linares –Single Family Home, Forest Hill
Original List Price: $2,998,000
Purchase Price: $2,853,000
How they did it: After battling with other buyers over homes that were staged to the nines and priced to incite bidding wars, our clients turned their attention to this under-the-radar beauty. It was substantially renovated, with electrical, plumbing, structural, and many stunning cosmetic upgrades. But the higher price and sellers’ traditional furnishings resulted in lukewarm buyer activity. Our clients, able to look past the superficial, negotiated the price down to $848/sq ft, much lower than the neighborhood average, and moved into their “forever home”.
Their Pacific Edge Partner: Cynthia Pagán
1694 York – Single Family Home, Bernal Heights
Original List Price: $2,595,000
Purchase Price: $2,065,000
Sales Price in 2018: $2,295,000
How they did it:“Something must be wrong with it.” That’s the conclusion most buyers draw when a home has high days on market or has failed to sell in the past. Instead of examining the opportunity for themselves, they allow this one indicator to determine that it’s not the right home for them, often before they’ve even seen it. Our clients used this dynamic to their advantage, making an aggressive offer on a chronically overpriced home that had been withdrawn from the market multiple times without selling. Even though the single-family home market is up, they paid a whopping 10% less than the seller purchased for 3 years ago.
Their Pacific Edge Partner: Alec Mironov
788 Minna – Condo, SOMA
Original List Price: $699k
Purchase Price: $665k
Approx. Top-Of-Market Value: $800k
How they did it: In the words of Warren Buffet: “Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” It takes a bold attitude to buy when/where nobody else is buying…. but that’s always where the best deals are found. With WFH still in effect, the SOMA market is suffering. Prices on small condos have slid back to 2015 values. By moving against the trend and betting on a more normal future when every inch of our 7×7 is again in high demand, our clients negotiated a fantastic price on their own sunny and modern city pad.
Their Pacific Edge Partner: Cleveland Motley
1800 Washington #317 – Condo, Pacific Heights
Original List Price: $825k
Purchase Price: $830k
Approx. Top-of-Market Value: $900k
How they did it:“Fortune favors the prepared.” When this Pac Heights gem came on the market, our client was one of the first people through the door. With swift and decisive action, she presented an offer before the listing agent could set an offer date, eliminating most of the competition. When another speedy buyer showed up and created a bidding war, our client prevailed with strong terms rather than a high price. By working with her lender to get her loan 100% underwritten prior to shopping, she was able to offer a short closing timeline and contingency-free financing, sealing the deal in one of SF’s best neighborhoods.
Their Pacific Edge Partner: Sean Komarmy
865 Corbett #2 – Condo, Twin Peaks
Original List Price: $659k
Sales Price: $800k
Approx. Value After Renovation: $950k
How they did it: “There are no such thing as ugly ducklings. Only swans in disguise.” Features of this townhouse-style condo included a mustard yellow 1970s kitchen, worn out carpet, and popcorn ceilings. But instead of focusing on the dingy and drab, our intrepid client saw the things that can’t be changed: Downtown views and a central location. Not to mention the opportunity to create a totally customized long-term home. Despite the condition, the home received more than 10 offers. Although he wasn’t the highest in price, our client prevailed with clean terms and a great loan agent that went to bat for him. Thanks to sweat equity and vision, he’ll soon own a renovated 2BR view home for the price of a basic 1BR condo.
Their Pacific Edge Partner: Amy Clemens