”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” –Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Granted this is a cliche-ed cliche but nonetheless, we here at the SFHotlist are very pleased to see some neutral San Francisco real estate commentary from the Chronicle. Thank you, Carol!

Okay, it may not be the best of times anywhere for San Francisco real estate though for much of the City (Noe Valley, Castro, Potrero Hill, Bernal Heights, Pacific Heights, etc), times are pretty darn good. While the fear mongerers battle it out on the radio and TV news channel, we on the front lines, the real estate agents, can report low inventory and strong demand.

Today, I toured a Bernal Heights single family home. The sellers received an over-asking price offer before their 1st Broker’s tour!

Each day, I receive email from fellow Zephyr agents wanting to know if we have listings coming on the market soon that will meet their buyers’ needs.

I sold a SOMA TIC Victorian flat in December only to have the buyer back out with cold feet. Two weeks later, I sold it again….for MORE money.

And the examples could go on.

Moderately realistic sellers AND buyers are able to make happy, successful negotiations. It is not party like it’s 2004 for sellers, and it is not a Ross super clearance sale for buyers.

If you have owned your home for 3+years, your property has likely appreciated nicely & in early 2008 the buyers are back but the inventory is not. If you have saved for a down payment (even 5–10%) and have a good job/credit, there are properties you can buy for relatively good value AND with great interest rates.

So, why does the media consistently report that our market has busted and will take a long time to rebound?


Parts of San Francisco real estate are troubled. There are short sales, foreclosures, and REOs (bank-owned) sales. There is too much inventory and not enough demand.

As Carol Lloyd astutely wrote in her January 6th, 2008 column, “Far from the Nob Hills and Noe Valleys, the Pacific Heights and Outer Sunsets, there are neighborhoods stretching across the southern and eastern quadrant of the city that tourists have never heard of and many San Franciscans have never visited. And it is these areas — Portola, Ingleside, Ocean View, Mission Terrace, Outer Mission, Bayview, Excelsior — which have been hit hardest by the real estate downturn.”

These neighborhoods are skewing the numbers…

“Indeed, an inordinate number of the single-family homes coming on the market in recent weeks are located in these neighborhoods. What’s more, they seem to be staying on the market longer: 77 percent of December’s SFNewsletter’s list of “stalefish” (houses that have been on the market for more than 100 days) come from these neighborhoods. The result is that although they represent only about 25 percent of the city’s land, and less than a quarter of the city’s population, such neighborhoods are overly represented in the real estate statistics.”

Remember that all real estate is local and when I write local, I mean really local. This is about niche markets. What’s happening in your ‘hood may have absolutely nothing to do with what is happening across town. (Sometimes, even across the street if you live in an area with a lot of rent controlled housing and who doesn’t?)

As we usher in 2008, I wish you the best of times in your neighborhood and a critical eye towards the media. Depending on your individual situation, it really is a great to buy or sell.

Check out the complete column here: In real estate: A tale of two Friscos.

Tags: , bernalheights, noevalley, potrerohill, , singlefamilyhomes
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