Friday, November 24, 2006

Luxury market hits record high

According to First Republic Bank's Prestige Home Index San Francisco's luxury market ($1 million or higher) is now at a record high of $2.96 million. That is a 1.1% increase in the 3rd quarter over the 2nd quarter of this year, and 4% higher than the 3rd quarter of 2005.

So much for the Bubble pundits - one of whom I just saw is going to try to charge for his blog. All he does is posts rants and raves about the market and people in it... now I can't see if he'll avoid this report since it flies in the face of his never ending bubble prediction.

Interestingly too is that San Francisco's luxury price of $2.96 million is higher than both San Diego's at $2.18 million and Los Angeles at $2.37 million.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences

690 Market Street is the Ritz Carlton's new high rise condo hotel. There are currently 6 condos listed on the MLS and interestingly 5 of them are "fractional interests". Somewhat similar to time shares, fractional interests are the opportunity to own the condo with others.

The Ritz is advertising 1/12th, 1/6th and 1/4th interest in various units, as well as normal 100% ownership interests. Obviously the fractional interests are for those who want a vacation home, and don't need a full time residence.

Similar to the Ritz Carlton is the Four Seasons at 765 Market Street, about 1 block away. Everything in both buildings are $1 million plus - including the 1 bedroom 1 bath condos. More common are the $3 million to $6 million 3 bedroom to 5 bedroom condos. The Four Seasons was built in 2001, and the Ritz Carlton is just now opening up for residency. Both feature full service amenities that you'd expect in any 5 star hotel - including room service. They also appeal to those who either need or want to be downtown near Union Square shopping, and/or the downtown and financial district business centers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Zillow complaint sent to FTC

As this article says "... it is almost an open joke, the information on this website." Whether this non-profit group's complaint to the FTC about the obvious inaccuracies of the Zillow service goes anywhere or not, it should be easy enough for any consumer (potential home buyer or seller) to easily discover that Zillow is nothing more than a "toy" as one blogger called it, or a "research tool" as Zillow calls it. The bottom line, never trust any home valuation unless it's been done by an expert, who has visited the home, and thoroughly evaluated all possible comparable properties. And for a superior San Francisco home valuation service, check out

General SF Real Estate Advice

While Luxury homes and the luxury market are unique in many ways, certain real estate practices are universal. So for general advice about the San Francisco real estate market check out

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Aerial Property Photos - see before you buy

The amazing clarity of Microsoft's Local Live site trumps Google Earth's or any other satellite map. For luxury property buyers you can evaluate the neighborhood, or see the grounds of the property. Despite it's name, the site's web address is

Check out 34 Presidio Terrace, a $10.4 million listing in the exclusive gated community bordering Presidio Park and walking distance to Laurel Village.

Here's the only
property photo
in the MLS
And here's a
screen shot
of the gated
area from
the sky
taken from
a Local Live
screen shot

And the
same photo
but close up
of the house.
Notice the small thumbnail photos to the left on the screen shot. With those you can move in any of the eight directions, and see that the 10th tee box and the 19th green of the Presidio Golf Course are steps away. Check out Local Live, my new favorite internet tool for getting to know real estate. Try it wil and if you're not already familiar with San Francisco, you soon will be.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Trend Report - the more expensive, the slower.

$10 million and up price range
If you're in this price range you are in control. 11 homes are on the market (see previous post) while only 2 have sold in the past 6 months, or one every 3 months. Since 2 are in contract right now, the trend has been met, and the 11 listings may take well over a year to deplete - an informed Buyer can take advantage of the "DOM" (days on market) and slow pace of the highest end of the luxury market. Many of the For-Sale listings are just above $10 million too, so they may be had for under $10 million.

This "CMA" style report lists each of the Active, In-Contract, and Sold homes priced above $10 million. Notice too that 9 of the 11 for-sale homes have been on the market 6 months or more. So get your negotiation shoes on - I've got mine ready to go!

$2.4 to $3 million
Looking much lower, but not going too low because below this range is a much larger market, we see a much faster market. In the prior 6 months 29 sold (5 per month), but 14 are currently under contract. This reflects a very active September and October, which is often one of the hottest times in the San Francisco market. Despite 2 to 3 times more sales than the prior 6 months, there are still 12 active for-sale listings in this range, but even at 5 per month this is less than 3 months supply (less than 6 months is consider a Seller's market). Here is the CMA style report in this price range (scroll down to pg 2 of the report to see Condos/Coops listed separately). Interestingly, very few of the Active or in-contract homes were priced-reduced, and the Sold properties went for 1.8% OVER the asking prices on average. 15 of the 29 sold listing went over the asking price with this one selling for 45% or $850,000 OVER the asking price, and this one went for 20% over or nearly $500,000 over the List price. 9 did sell for less than the asking price, so it is a mixed market, with some obviously highly motivated buyers going after the cream of the crop. Notice the Condos on page 2 - more price reductions, but still a relatively active market.

$3 to $5 million
25 sold in the last 6 months, 5 are in contract, and 14 are for-sale now. Days on Market (DOM on this report) were quite fast for the Sold's and in-contract, but the activity on the for-sale listings is nearly twice as slow. There should be some buying opportunities here now that we're approaching the late Fall which is when the overall market starts to slow.

$5 million to $10 million
As you can see, the more expensive homes are in slower markets, and this report puts an exclamation point to the trend. Only 8 have sold in the last 6 months, with half going for well below the original asking prices. None are currently under contract, and 10 are for-sale right now. So with less than 1.5 selling per month, 10 puts it into the over-6 month Buyer's market realm.

Email home search

Enter your criteria once, and whenever a new home matching your criteria comes on the market, you'll be emailed the same day. is San Francisco specific, and you can enter as many searches as you like. Be the first to know about new homes of interest to you, and get full listing information.

Active For-Sale Homes in San Francisco

As of October 17th, 2006 here are all of the "Active" for-sale luxury listings in San Francisco. The below reports include Single Family, Condos, Co-ops and TIC's:

$2 to $3 million homes (34 homes)
Summary report
Detail report

$3 to $4 million homes (11 homes)
Summary report
Detail report

$4 to $6 million homes (11 homes)
Summary report
Detail report

$6 to $10 million homes (9 homes)
Summary report
Detail report

$10 million and up (11 homes)
Summary report
Detail report

You can call or email me for additional information on any of these listings, or check try out (for tax records, recent sales, etc) or for a computer's guess at it's current market value, or which has a person on the other end doing a more refined Computer search.

Finally, you can find, and save the MLS listing at by entering the MLS # (found in the above reports) in the MLS # area, or an address search or focus the map on the area.

San Francisco UP, Bay Area down

According to Dataquick the Bay Area's median sales price dropped 0.8% in Sept '06 over Sept '05. Read the general press and you miss the fact that they also break out individual areas like San Francisco so you can see how the city did on its own. The news verifies what I've been seeing.... the Median sales price is up 3.5% in the city during the same time. The next closest increases were Santa Clara at 1.7% and Marin at 1.4%. Contra Costa County wasn't so lucky dropping 5.5%.

San Francisco did twice as well as the next best areas in terms of price appreciation. The bottom line is that San Francisco is an unusual area that is world renowned, and essentially land locked. Not all neighborhoods are up in San Francisco, but when you can get views of the Golden Gate Bridge, play volley ball next to the Bay, and get great dining, culture and night life, real estate stays in demand no matter what's happening in the suburban neighborhoods outside of the city, or the rest of the country. So if you're looking to buy or sell, it is a pretty solid market for both.

Search all SF homes via Map

Searching the MLS just got easier with a new Map interface at You can select any area of the map, add your criteria, and little home icons pop up to show you the available properties matching your criteria. Keep moving around the map and changing your criteria until you're happy, and then hit "Go to Search Results" or choose to save your search. will help you learn the city, or if you know if well will allow you to eliminate blocks in neighborhoods you like, where you don't like certain parts of it. The system also allows you to set up email searches, so it will email you whenever new homes matching your criteria come on the market.

$3 to $5 million San Francisco homes

There are 20 homes in the city of San Francisco in the $3 to $5 million range which you can find in the following two links:

$2.9 to $5.2 million homes were included since some homes sell for more, while others sell for less than the advertised asking price.

For an email service that send Listings that match your criteria, visit, which is a San Francisco specific service.

You may also email me the 4 basic criteria for an ideal email search are:

1. Property type - for example, only Single Family homes, or include Condos, Lofts, TIC's and Co-ops, or any one of these. Include 2 unit or more buildings (you may be able to convert them to single family)

2. Neighborhoods or Areas - north of the city with Bay views is sufficient if you're open to Sea Cliff all the way over to Telegraph Hill. If you're not familiar with San Francisco, drop me a line and I'll interview you for your wants and needs, and recommend areas based on what you tell me

3. Minimum Size Home - you may have a maximum size too, but most people are concerned with having "at least" 2 or 3 bathrooms, or whatever you require. You can include other amenities like views, but the system only works as well as the data received, and often times amenities are not properly input by Listing Agents.

4. Maximum Purchase Price - the most expensive homes you want to see in this email service, so if you want to see homes that are more expensive than you plan to buy, that's fine. Anything above $10 million and you'll only be seeing an extra email a month.

Call or email with the above, or again, visit which asks for similar criteria.