Archive for January 2011 | Monthly archive page

Where to Concentrate Marketing Efforts

NAR just released their 2010 Profile of Buyers and Sellers. Below are charts regarding Buyers’ use of media and other informational resources in finding the home they purchased.

Weekly Market Charts

These charts track activity by week for the past 6 months through January 16, 2011 for SFDs, Condos, TICs & 2-4 Unit Buildings. The market is starting to wake up after the holidays.

New Listings: Starting to accelerate after the big slow-down of late December.
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Listings For Sale: Increasing slowly but still very low by general standards.
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Listings Accepting Offers: Accelerating as the market warms up.
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Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers: On a percentage basis, we’re back up over 5% (per week), which is among the highest percentages of the past 6 months. Of course, this is a function of both buyer demand (increasing) and inventory available (increasing, but still very low).
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Interest Rate Chart from rates have significantly climbed from their 40-year lows, but at under 5% are still very low by historical standards.
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Tenancy In Common Dispute Resolution

“Over the past 20 years, residential Tenancies In Common (TICs) established themselves as an affordable pathway to home ownership in an otherwise unaffordable San Francisco marketplace. TIC ownership offered a solution to the City’s vexing condominium conversion rules, which allow for easy and affordable conversions, but require a waiting period before conversion can begin. As a short-term bridge to condo ownership, problems inherent in TIC ownership were tolerable, often even invisible and thousands of 2-6 unit buildings were transformed from tenant-occupied investment properties to owner-occupied homestead. However as the waiting time for condo conversion has lengthened from 3-5 years to over 20 years, the challenges of long-term TIC home ownership have become more apparent, heightening the need for a clearer understand of how TIC disputes are resolved.”

Read the rest of the article here:
2011 TIC Disputes Brochure

633 Waller Street

Represented Seller

Market Update: Pricing Reigns Supreme

2010 saw a very strong spring market turbo-charged by federal and state tax credits, a much slower summer, and then a strong finish from Labor Day on. The 4th quarter of 2010 had more accepted offers than the 4th quarters of 2009, 2008 & 2007. Comparing 2010 to 2009, overall median sales prices for SF houses and condos barely budged. The luxury home market woke back up. Interest rates jumped at the end of the year, but are still very low. Of those homes that did sell in 2010, most sold relatively quickly, without price reductions, at or a little above or below list price: the market identified them as good deals. A minority of sales sold after one or more price reductions, taking much longer and at a substantial discount to the original price. And many listings didn’t sell at all because buyers perceived them as overpriced.

There seems to be a positive momentum to the market as 2011 begins. A large influx of new listings will arrive in coming weeks as both buyers and sellers jump back in after the holidays.

Statistics are generalities, subject to fluctuation due to a variety of reasons. Median prices may be affected by other factors than changes in value. Averages may be distorted by a small number of sales substantially higher or lower than the norm. New-development condo sales not reported to MLS are not included in this analysis. All information herein should be considered approximate. It is derived from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and omissions, and is not warranted.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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San Francisco Unit Sales: 2007 – 2010
Comparing 2010 to 2009, the market strengthened and sales went up in every property type except TICs. From 2007 to 2009, the total number of sales fell 23% (plus an approximate 15-20% decline in values). Now, house sales are almost back to 2007 levels; condo sales are 17% up from 2009 but still 14% below 2007; TIC sales are 62% below 2007; 2-4 unit buildings are up from 2009 but still down 28% from 2007; 5+ unit buildings recovered a bit but are still 34% below 2007.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Median Sales Price & Average Dollar per Square Foot
These 2 charts are for SF house and condo sales over the past 3 years. From late 2007, early 2008, the median price dropped about 15% and the average dollar per square foot about 18%. However, there has been a remarkable stability over the past 7 quarters: the median was within 1½ % of $700,000 in 5 of the 7 quarters (the 2 other quarters were about 5% above that); and the average dollar per square foot remained within about 2% of $550/sq.ft.. 2009 to 2010, the overall median prices for both houses and condos was virtually unchanged.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Median House Sales Price by Neighborhood
Median price in thousands of dollars. The median price is that price at which half the sales occurred for more and half for less. For more information on median price trends and average dollar per square foot, click on the below link:
Median Price Overview

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Condos: Average Dollar per Square Foot
Dollar per square foot is calculated on liveable square footage, which doesn’t include garages, attics, storage or outdoor space. This calculation is based on those sales that reported square footage. Square footage figures are often unreliable or unreported, and average $/sq.ft. figures can fluctuate, but as a general statistic, this gives a relatively fair picture of the progression of condo values by neighborhood in San Francisco. Remember that the average age, size and condition of condos can vary widely by neighborhood.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Home Sales by Realtor District
The big districts for house sales were southern District 10 (hit hard by distress sales), western District 2 (Sunset/ Parkside), central Districts 4 (St. Francis Wood/ Forest Hill/ Miraloma Park) and 5 (Noe/ Castro/ Haight). District 9 (SOMA/ South Beach/ Mission), with dozens of large condo developments, had twice as many condo sales as District 8 (Nob/Russian/Telegraph Hills) and District 5. TIC sales have dramatically declined in the city and are mostly found in Districts 5, 8 (Nob/Russian Hills) and 6 (Hayes Valley/ NOPA). The big districts for 2-4 unit building sales are 5 and 1 (Richmond).
SF Realtor Map

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Sales by Price Range
For sales of SF houses, condos, co-ops and TICs over the past year, the largest price segment by far was $500,000 to $750,000, with the next largest being the segments on either side. Once the million dollar mark is passed, the quantity of sales in each segment steps down dramatically.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Luxury House Sales
Luxury house sales – sales of $2m and above – bounced back dramatically in 2010, but are still below 2008 levels except in District 7 (Pacific & Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow & Marina), which saw a large surge this past year.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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SF Luxury Condo Sales
High-end condo sales – sales of $1.5m and above — have not recovered as well as luxury house sales, except in Realtor District 5 (Noe/ Castro/ Haight), where after a huge decline in 2009, there was a huge increase in 2010 (though still slightly below 2008). The Pacific Heights area (District 7) also saw a small increase in 2010.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Distress Home Sales by District
Bank-owned property sales and short sales (loan amount greater than market value) can be found throughout the city, but are heavily concentrated in specific areas. Distress house sales are concentrated in the southern band of neighborhoods running from Bayview west to Oceanview (Districts 10 & 3). Distress condo sales are mainly found in the eastern band of neighborhoods that experienced massive new development in the last 15 years (District 9). Compared to other counties, San Francisco has been much less affected by distress sales, with the overall percentage in the past year running at roughly 15-16% of total sales.
SF Realtor Map

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Listings Accepting Offers; Listings Expiring
The dark blue columns delineate the number of listings accepting offers in any given quarter over the past 3 years; the purple columns show listings that expired or were withdrawn (without selling). In the top chart, last spring’s market surge shows clearly. The 4th quarter of 2010 was more active in offers being accepted than the 4th quarters of 2009, 2008 or 2007, and the usual slowdown between 3rd and 4th quarters did not occur. However, a high number of listings expired without selling in the 4th quarter of 2010 as well. Many of these will be relisted in January at reduced prices.

Paragon Real Estate Group
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Months’ Supply of Inventory & Days on Market
These 2 charts pertain to SF house sales only, which is the hottest segment of the market. The gray columns show months’ supply of inventory over the past 2 years, which at 2.5 months, is now at its low for that time period. Inventory will increase significantly in January. The dark blue columns show the average number of days it took a house to accept an offer (by quarter over 3 years).

San Francisco Property Tax Reduction Appeals

Informal Reviews & Formal Appeals for the 2011/2012 Tax Year

If you believe your home may be eligible for a reduction in property taxes based upon a decline in value, there are two ways you might proceed: an Informal Review by the San Francisco Assessor’s office and/or a Formal Appeal with Assessment Appeals Board. The Formal Appeal, in particular, can be a complicated and time consuming process. Generally speaking, homes purchased 2005 through mid-2008 (the time of peak values in most SF neighborhoods) have the best cases for a property tax reduction. Declines from peak value in the city generally range from 12-25%, though it all depends on the exact time, location and terms and conditions of your purchase. If your appeal is successful, the reduction in assessed value only applies to the 7/1/11 – 6/30/12 tax year. A decline-in-market appeal is only good for 1 year, the year for which it is filed.

If you need help gathering comparable sales data with which to make your case, I am happy to be of assistance. You may also hire a professional appraiser. The Assessor’s “valuation date” is January 1, 2011, so the nearer your comparable sales are to that date, the better. However, all sales comparables submitted must have closed before March 31, 2011.

Requesting an Informal Review
The SF Assessor’s Office has announced that they will now accept “Requests for Informal Review of Assessed Value” for tax year 2011/2012. Such requests must be filed by March 31, 2011 and apply only to single-family dwellings, residential condominiums, townhouses, live-work lofts and cooperative units.

One can email the Assessor’s office with questions (Assessor@SFGOV.ORG), as well as call or visit the Assessor’s office in City Hall to speak with the appraisers that are on duty (415-554-5596). And the SF Assessor’s website offers information regarding Decline-in-Value Informal Reviews:
SF Assessor’s Office Forms and FAQs

FAQs as Posted by the SF Assessor’s Office


First, check your current assessed value at Second, if the assessed value is higher than the market value, you have the following options:


(Single family dwellings, residential condominiums, townhouses, live-work lofts and cooperative units only) – From January 3, 2011 to March 31, 2011, the Assessor will accept requests to review the market value of your property. Your request must be in writing by completing an application with supporting evidence of your opinion of value. If you were granted a reduction for the year 2010-2011, we will automatically review your assessment for the year 2011-2012 to determine whether a reduction is still warranted. Send your request to: Assessor-Recorder, ATTN: Informal Review, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall – Room 190, San Francisco, CA 94102. Mail-in requests for an informal review must be U.S. postmarked by the March 31, 2011 deadline. By Fax: (415) 554-7915 or E-mail: Be sure to keep a copy for your records.


(All property types) – From July 5, 2011 to September 15, 2011 you may file an Application for Changed Assessment with the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB), an independent body established to hear and resolve valuation disputes between the Assessor and taxpayer. A $60.00 filing fee due at the time of application and the AAB will schedule a hearing for you at a later date. Applications may be obtained by contacting the Assessment Appeals Board – Clerk of the Board at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall – Room 405, San Francisco, CA 94102, by phone: (415) 554-6778 or directly from their website:


Yes. If upon the receipt of your annual Notice of Assessed Value, which will be mailed at the end of July 2011, you disagree with the assessed value, you can file an assessment appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board. Please see instructions above.


Market value is the price a property would sell for when the property is put up for sale in a competitive and open market.


The Assessor is required to enroll the lesser of your factored base year value (assessment) or the market value. For example, if the market value (what you could sell your house for) of your property as of January 1, 2011 is $500,000 and your assessed value is $200,000 the Assessor would enroll the $200,000 as your taxable value. You would not qualify for a lowered assessment.


The assessed value being appealed will cover the fiscal year from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.


You will need to submit sales information and/or an appraisal performed by a licensed real estate appraiser to support your claim. The sales information or appraisal’s date of valuation should be near the January 1, 2011 lien date but no later than March 31, 2011.


No. The reduction is temporary and only applies to the tax year being appealed. Once a reduction is made, the assessor is required by law to annually reappraise the property until its fair market value exceeds the factored base year value.


Unlike residential condominiums and cooperative units, TICs do not have separate parcel numbers. A review of a single TIC unit is more complex. TIC owners can appeal their taxes by filing an Application for Changed Assessment with the Assessment Appeals Board beginning July 5, 2011 thru September 15, 2011.


Homeowners will be notified of the results of their informal review in the annual Notice of Assessed Value which will be mailed at the end of July 2011.

Making a Formal Appeal

The next open formal appeal filing period for San Francisco will be July 5, 2011 to September 15, 2011 — to appeal the 2011/2012 assessed value of your property. A formal appeal can be made for multi-unit and commercial properties, as well as for houses, condos & cooperative units. There is a non-refundable $60 processing fee.

It is possible to attend assessment appeals board hearings for other people to see how they work. They are open to the public.

These online resources offer important details regarding the filing of a formal appeal:

Formal Appeal Overview

Forms & Documents

Publication 30: “Residential Property Assessment Appeals”

There is also a very good video on the formal assessment appeal process. This video is divided into the following sections: Introduction, Decline in Market Value, Base Year Value, Reassessment After Calamity, Escape Assessment and Roll Changes, Filling Out the Application, Preparing for Your Hearing, and Your Hearing. It is highly recommended you view this video:

Warning on Scams

There are a number of property-tax-appeal service companies, who have been sending out their solicitations on stationery that suggests a government agency affiliation. SF Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting has stated the following:

“We’ve received reports from dozens of taxpayers who have received a letter from companies offering to facilitate the property tax reassessment for $179 [or more]. This is unnecessary and deceptive. Taxpayers can fill out a simple, one-page application for a review of their property in my office, free of charge. There is no need to pay for this service.”

All information is from sources deemed reliable but subject to change, error and omission, and not warranted.
Interested parties must contact the appropriate government agency to confirm all pertinent guidelines and procedures before proceeding.