November 19, 2013

That Bernal Heights Dwell-ing Fetches $1,197 Per Square Foot

330%20Banks%202013.jpg

The sale of the Bernal Heights Dwell-ing at 330 Banks Street closed escrow today with a reported contract price of $1,500,000 or roughly $1,197 per listed square foot.

As we first wrote about the property when it hit the market last month having been purchased out of foreclosure for $450,000 in 2011, completely remodeled, and then listed for $1,195,000: "The rafters have been exposed, the heat is now radiant through concrete and cork floors, and there's an excellent use of space (and light) throughout."

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First Published: November 19, 2013 4:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

There ought to be a new Socketsite category called "Fresh cherries" to file stories like this. Would be helpful when the market goes down and accusations of cherry picking start popping up.

Speaking of categories, how about some InsertHeadlineHere stories?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 19, 2013 4:12 PM

boom goes the dynamite

Posted by: R at November 19, 2013 4:49 PM

Good price. Nice project.

Will probably be higher next year.

And this only keeps Noe on fire as well.

Posted by: Futurist at November 19, 2013 6:04 PM

Classic comment section quote from the 2011 post on this house. Not even three years have passed since:

"sure it's cute enough place, but isn't it on the wrong side of Bernal for most?

A place like this really should be more like 350k at least then you it starts to make sense to a single tech worker looking for a starter home."

We've come a long way, baby.

Posted by: ray at November 19, 2013 8:02 PM

LMAO.

Doesn't the market usually cool off a bit this time of year? It doesn't seem like it has cooled off any to me.

What about some of you realtors out there, I know a ton of you read socketsite. Is the market still on fire or has it cooled off?

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 19, 2013 8:13 PM

Isn't this just a case of rental math rolling over into the purchase market? A quick scan of Craigslist shows even older 3BRs in Bernal going for $4k+/mo. For this house, with 20% down, financed with a 5/1 IO ARM (now available at about 3%), cost works out to $3k/mo (with most of that being tax deductible). Yes, still have to come up with ~$300k down...but if the option is (a) fight it out in the insane SF rental market perhaps for many more cold, wet, winter months OR (b) place a needy call to a rich relative for a downpayment loan, option B doesn't sound so bad.

Posted by: no_ vally at November 20, 2013 8:57 AM

^ yeah, and small things like property taxes (1500/month), opportunity cost for the 300K, homeowner's insurance, all the maintenance and repairs that you have to schedule every few years.

I think this is a "buy anything" market where there's so much cash that people forget about pure math. Appreciation is being taken into account in many deals today. Why skimp on 50K if your property will certainly gain 100K within a year?

And people see it everywhere. My street saw a couple of crazy overbids just 12 months ago. One house went from sub-1.5 to 1.8. Now a similar house would sell for 2M. Would a buyer today see a similar price gain? Are the other bidders who didn't match the winning bid kicking themselves today?

This is herd mentality. People who went over the board last year are serving as an example to today's buyers.

Then again, these bids are usually all cash, which means it's a very real market. It's still hysterical.

Posted by: lol at November 20, 2013 9:26 AM

Even taking opportunity cost and property tax into count, a newly done house such as this rents for more like 5K+ a month. So no_vally's back of the napkin rent/buy calculation works or is close. And it was a cash buy anyway.

Posted by: Anon at November 20, 2013 9:53 AM

A Tale of Two Cities: http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/77-Anderson-St-94110/home/1213734

Or

More like, what will people pay for design.

Posted by: jack at November 20, 2013 1:22 PM


This result also speaks to the deep, wealthy market consisting of folks who want it new, want it done, and want it now. Most of the tech money crowd spends all their time at work and even a single bathroom reno or new front steps will turn them off. This place is stylish, in an up-and-coming neighborhood, and the owners can show it to their friends with pride. Bravo to the seller -- they hit a rich market spot on.

Posted by: around1905 at November 20, 2013 1:22 PM

Agree with 1905. I live in an area where 550-600 per sq is the norm. Old house redone in modern style, absolutely perfect, desirable hood, almost broke the $1000 per sq barrier last week. Serious premium!

Posted by: djt at November 20, 2013 4:20 PM

Impressive $ per sq ft. Not even Hillsborough, CA fetches this kind of price. My agent couldn't even receive over $500 per sq ft for my 15,000 estate, pool, tennis court, etc. on 2.5 acres. Need more techies who pay through the nose or something next time.

Posted by: Mike P at November 20, 2013 8:33 PM

This feels like it will not end well.

Posted by: braisedleeks at November 20, 2013 9:07 PM

If this was all cash than it falls far short in the rent v. buy analysis. Assuming 4% oppty cost, tying up that $1.5M alone costs $5000/month. And no interest deduction. Add in property taxes (deductible), insurance and maintenance, and you're at about $6500/mo net. So losing about $1500/mo by buying over renting.

Not the only consideration, of course, but a bad move from a purely financial move. Only pretty good appreciation can make that up. We saw what happened last time houses were priced based on hopes for appreciation! This cash buyer can likely weather a loss, but those buying with leverage because they have to should be much more careful.

Posted by: anon at November 21, 2013 11:24 AM

@anon. You forgot the real and non-negligible economic value of appreciation in the underlying asset.

Appreciation in excess of about 1.2% makes ownership a breakeven proposition. But you already knew that ...

Posted by: Jimmy the House Flipper at November 21, 2013 12:21 PM

Jimmy, you need to go back and read that post! The whole last paragraph was on appreciation.

But you already knew that . . .

Posted by: anon at November 21, 2013 12:33 PM

"only pretty good appreciation ..."

1.2% is not "pretty good" ... considering appreciation was running at something like 16% y-o-y this summer. 1.2% is pretty marginal.

Posted by: Jimmy the House Flipper at November 21, 2013 2:00 PM

That's not what was being discussed. What was being discussed was no_vally's hypothetical. Of course the cash buy does pencil out in rent v buy terms. The point was that even at 1.5m, there is a sweet financing spot where it does or is close in this incredibly expensive rental market. This one will not be likely to appreciate any time soon, it is already a quantum leap. Hopefully that was known and the buyer simply lives the house. I can see 2ms happening with regularity in the near future, but north or cortland near the top,or north and west slope with views. Not likely there.

Posted by: Anon at November 21, 2013 2:07 PM

Jimmy, with realtor and transfer costs, they'll need 6% appreciation just to break even. You don't have any of those costs with renting. So yeah, counting on any appreciation beyond that -- when you've already dumped $1200/sf for Bernal (no a desirable nabe)? Yep, not smart imho. As I noted, lots of people buy lots of things for non-economic reasons. But this one doesn't pan out vs. renting from a financial standpoint.

Your "16% YOY!" talk simply further confirms we have a bubble mentality going on. If you really think that will continue, you should be buying up scads of places and also buying CSI futures. You'll be rich, rich I tell ya!

Posted by: anon at November 21, 2013 2:16 PM

Actually I'm buying a duplex as we speak.

But the stuff I buy at least breaks even in terms of cashflow.

I'm not made of money like those Bernal buyers. They're f'ing crazy.

Better?

Posted by: Jimmy the House Flipper at November 21, 2013 2:35 PM

"Assuming 4% oppty cost, tying up that $1.5M alone costs $5000/month."

I think this math should probably be changed a bit. I am still valuing opportunity cost (risk-free rate) at 1-2% given CD rates.

Posted by: jack at November 21, 2013 2:56 PM

If we use artificially low CD rates, almost every reckless venture is worth it. Heck, you could buy one of the 350sf Cubix boxes for 1M cash and you'd see cash flow and returns close to a 1 year CD. That's an impossible comparison.

A mix of cash, CDs and stocks would have brought you much much more than 4% last year. Lazy index investing would have put you ahead 30% on the S&P 500. With only 1/3 of your liquid assets in stocks, you'd have had a 10% return.

Posted by: lol at November 21, 2013 3:57 PM

Looks like Four Barrel. That area of Bernal has an "away feel", like it is a neighborhood from another time.

Posted by: noe mom at November 21, 2013 4:04 PM

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