According to its website, 625 Duncan is “a masterpiece in progress” and “estimated to be marketed in Fall 2008.” Four bedrooms, four and one-half baths, and a one bedroom apartment. And the anticipated asking price? $6,250,000 (only slightly below that of the record seeking 3816 22nd Street).

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

48 thoughts on “Coming Soon: A Noe Valley “Masterpiece In Progress” (625 Duncan)”
  1. Noe Valley continues to shock. I think you probably need to go outside the contry to find anything comparable. Two years ago ~2M was an anomaly. Until recently, ~3M was pretty much non-existant. Think about that. I’m not cheerleading here. I’m bewildered.

  2. According to the MLS, this home is already in contract. They already had a buyer in place and it was only put on for comp purposes only.

  3. I am honestly flabbergasted. that seems way out of line to me. but I’m a peeon and so that’s not surprising.
    fluj: remember when I said that I wasn’t sure if Noe had arrived at a premier neighborhood yet… well looks like I was wrong.
    that said, I saw a post recently from an appraisors blog that seemed to indicate that people were putting fraudulent sales (or at least erroneous data) on the MLS intermittently to give a false impression of what local comps and sales were.
    I’ll see if I can dig it up again.

  4. I’m with fluj – there have been “only” 10 sales all year greater than $6M – all in the usual northern areas.

  5. Fraudulent sales data on the MLS? For boundary-testing properties? I doubt it. There’s too much scrutiny number one, and the tax records become public knowledge after a period of time anyway. For middling type properties, perhaps it could fly. But what would be the purpose of that?

  6. fwiw before the slams come:
    I’m not saying anything about this project being fraudulent. It just raises an eyebrow for me, and jay’s post reminded me of the appraisors blog that I had read.

  7. fluj:
    I don’t know. I’ll try to find the thread for you. It was a bunch of appraisers discussing it. My understanding was that what was happening is that somebody would want to sell their property, but couldn’t get the “comps”. Thus, they’d put in fraudulent data into the MLS showing recent similar sales comps to get the deal done. Once the deal is done, they take the fraudulent comps down… but the sale happens so it’s the new comp.
    I found it. it’s password protected now. I’m sorry.
    appraisors forum website
    some quotes:
    “Beware of false MLS listings:
    Some Realtors are now entering false
    high priced ‘listings’ and even pendings
    into MLS systems for appraisers to use.”
    “Not new around here. I’m always a little
    skeptical about the solds that say
    “entered for comparable use only”. ”
    “Folks, not a new one; this has been
    happening for years. Beware of these high
    sales/listings that do not appear in line … ”
    “Since the agents know that listings and
    pendings are pretty much required by many
    lenders now, there will be more “false listings”.

  8. I have now decided I no longer understand this city. Does anyone here understand what 6 million gets you in other “world class” locations? I worked on a project in Pebble Beach that overlooked the world’s most famous golf course, near the Lodge and Stillwater Cover for about the price of this house! (A 4 bd-4ba home featured in Western Interiors and Design) 6 million puts you on the beach in Laguna, in Beverly Hills, or anywhere you would like in Manhattan (though not in a house). Now I understand you will not get a mansion in Laguna or a penthouse in New York, but really, this is shocking. Look at the neighboring homes to this property. This is what 6 million buys?!

  9. that said, it would seem that a house of this price isn’t financed anyway, would it be?
    so it’s unlikely that comps would even be needed.
    Thus just probably the proverbial crazy person with too much money.

  10. Whatever they build here, I think one og the big selling points is the lot. It is 5698 sf, or double the regular size of what’s on the streets around there. It is very desirable to have a large lot as not only can you build a big house but you can also have a decent sized garden, a big luxury in this part of town. Any garden at the firehouse?

  11. The change in Noe that is happening right before your eyes is why real estate is so interesting. Neighborhoods move up (and down) in strata slowly enough that you can observe the trend happening (not over minutes or days as it does with a favored momentum stock on Wall Street). More importantly, the trend is ‘sticky’ and for a very long time typically.
    When I moved to this city 6 years ago Noe was a nice area, but hardly the playground of the rich and famous. In the past 6 years it has moved out of the upper middle class and into the upper class/wealthy.
    I rarely put much stock in those who say ‘buy now or be priced out forever.’ It always sounds like a bunch of real estate agent fear mongering. There are a few examples, however, where this axiom holds true. There was a time in the past half decade when I could have purchased a reasonably nice 3BR SFH in Noe – not anymore, and barring a big earthquake, likely never again.
    Just like I would never look for a SFH in Pacific Heights (the real part, not Western additon/lower pac hts) or Sea Cliff (unless I won the Mega Millions), I wouldn’t really bother with Noe anymore. It truly has moved past a price point that I will ever be able to reach on my income, even if I am a little north of the ‘average SS reader.’
    I watched this same process happen to Soho and the West Village in NYC, but back then I didn’t have the income to even consider myself getting ‘priced out.’
    It is fascinating to watch, in real time, as a simple little neighborhood like Noe moves up and takes its place alongside other ‘known’ luxury nabes. Perhaps it is also just a little disheartening too.
    There was a time when Pac Hts, Malibu, and a cliffside house in Monte Carlo were all ‘affordable’ too.
    I wonder if we’ll be talking about Noe the same way someday…

  12. I kinda get Pac Hts, Sea Cliff, and of course Malibu, etc – but I just can’t see why Noe Valley justifies such a premium. Can someone explain what makes it so special?

  13. yeah,
    As I had said a while back, I still think of Noe as working and middle class, because that’s what it had always been IMO until the mid 1990s. the parents of my friends who lived there were teachers and welders and things like that.
    it’s just hard thinking of Noe as luxury, although it clearly is changing.

  14. One thing about Noe is that it is “safe.” There is not a single subsidized housing unit in the entire, large, neighborhood.

  15. I can see the appeal, but there are still a fair number of streets and houses in Noe that look kind of scruffy and run-down. It has a long way to go before it acquires the “look” of a wealthy neighborhood.

  16. A couple of things going on for Noe:
    1 – A big part of the hood is higher than the “shopping cart line”. Few transients, nobody will pee on your porch.
    2 – The Bart/Muni keep the riff-raff on the Market Street corridor.
    3 – Traffic is pretty light, apart on Saturdays on 24th. You can walk your kids around.
    4 – You’re pretty close to town.
    5 – Attitude is really relaxed, thanks to this suburbia meets
    6 – A lot of blocks still have gardens that connect into green belts. On a down slope, your backyard looks extended by your neighbors’
    7 – Density is still low enough. Lots of SFHs, a few 2-units, very few 3+ units outside of 24th street.

  17. Addendum to the last point: I don’t know the ratio between RH1s and RH2s, but most of the few RH2s I know in the few streets around my place have been kept as SFHs. No doubt there is the potential for somewhat higher density on these units.

  18. one more big one with noe:
    8. great easy access to 101/280.
    As we all know, the wealth being created in the Bay Area is largely being created south of the city. I know a number of people looking to buy a home, and they all work south of the city, and they all put Noe #1 on their neighborhood wish list, but none of them can afford it.
    A couple that I am friends with that did take the plunge 4 years ago just upgraded from their small 2bd in Noe to a medium (2000sq ft) 3br in a nicer part of Noe. Their return, cash over cash, was just under 500% in 4 years.
    Even with similar incomes, by virtue of luck (or a willingness to take risk), one couple owns their dream home, which amazingly continues to appreciate, while their friends watch as real estate inflation (in this unique neighborhood) prices them out.
    And I agree, by the way, that if I had crazy cash, Noe would not be where I would choose to buy my trophy home. But as trophy homes start to populate Noe, it is clear evidence of a change in neighborhood, even if it is appears slow.
    Make no mistake, this is not your father’s Noe, or even your older sibling’s Noe.

  19. fluj/SFS, correct, but these things have always been true about Noe. What’s changed recently?
    I know you all hate to keep hearing this, but it’s google. I’ll wager a third of the offers for the nice properties in Noe are from current/former google employees, many of whom still work. I have no way to check this, but maybe you do! Noe has very easy access to the peninsula (and to SOMA, for those who have moved on, but still work).
    I think many posters here are not involved in tech, and are unaware just how much money has been created within the last four years. Couple that with easy lending, and you’ve got a pretty explosive combo.

  20. Have any of you driven by this place? It’s freaking huge! There’s enough concrete foundation work and towering steel moment frames to build a skyscraper. It’s weird seeing it at the end of Newburg street, which is mostly modest mid-century boxes.

  21. It’s beautiful from the rendering (and the half-finished photo from Google street view). It has a kind of Frank Lloyd Wright Arts/Crafts-ish look (without looking cheaply modernized or preciously faithful) maybe it’s the windows.
    Seems like Google has to be at least a part of it. There was a story this spring about how in a year, they had overtaken all the established British markets for advertising. A lot of the world’s wealth is concentrating in the Bay Area, it’s like the British Empire condensed into a decade. Also, this week I read somewhere that 1/3+ of North America’s VC money is here too.
    So you have lots of people with lots of money (even though they’re still only maybe 5% of the local population. And Noe Valley is regarded as a safely stylish place to get a little domestic.

  22. dub dub,
    In my hood (West of Castro and 24th), most new buyers are retired businessmen/professionals or young couples with good paying jobs in the Financial District. I see also a few “Google types” more like managers in tech companies.
    I work in Tech (back to my old trade after a few great years in RE) and have friends in the Valley who cashed out (1 w/Google-Youtube). I know this kind of money is out there and just wants to buy whatever their money can buy.
    I also see people in the Valley with regular tech jobs in the last 10 years. Low-Mid 100s, some cash, time to start a family. They buy what would be considered 1960s 1970s manual worker houses in so-so neighborhoods that have been spiffed up with stainless steel and marble countertops (fugly staple of our times) for 700+. They can afford it easily but they are priced out of the better areas. Not all techies are created equal.

  23. Noe is just a great place to live: safe, walkable, clean, nice people, good weather, kid friendly and near lots of great jobs in the Financial District and SOMA. The only San Francisco neighborhood that really compares is The Marina and no one asks why The Marina costs so much (it is still more than Noe). They have better views, but we have better weather and don’t sit on fill.
    I think the easy commute to South Bay has an influence too, and it is not all just Google money: Yahoo, Cisco, Intel, Sun employees all live here, too. Just for giggles, my wife and I looked last weekend at what $1.2 to $1.5 M will buy you in San Mateo or Palo Alto or Burlingame and by those standards, homes in Noe Valley are still relatively cheap. Noe homes are about the same size for the price, but much nicer construction and character. The lots are bigger on The Peninsula, though.
    But the people who have bought homes on our block in the last few years have not been high tech employees, they have mostly been Middle Aged business executives. In that way, Noe is changing even from when we bought our place in 2003.

  24. Hugh: Beautiful? Are you kidding? How can anyone suggest this is like F.L.Wright? This is the typical decades-behind-the-times mediocre crap that SF architecture continues to be known for — completely unoriginal, heavy-handed, bad design. So much for the sucker that pays this much for this. Its very sad this is what’s considered beautiful in contemporary design by anyone in the Bay Area — go look at what’s happening in Spain, Chile, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Los Angeles, Phoenix, etc, etc in terms of high quality residential design. PLEASE, we need to raise the bar here on design, not bring it to the very bottom.

  25. you need to step “outside the box” when looking at this property..don’t compare it to other Noe houses even nearby.. there are no comps..
    this is a great, unique house, high high quality construction, first class finishes, huge lot, huge SF area, great views, nice quiet street…
    architecturally, I think it’s world class.. and should sell accordingly..and yea, Noe is a pretty hot ‘hood..i live nearby.

  26. I agree with dub dub and, as I guessed in the last thread about this home, it sold very quickly. People underestimate the amount of wealth that’s concentrated in the few. It only took one person rich enough who wanted to live in Noe Valley. Maybe GOOG, maybe a hedge fund, who cares.
    Remember this is one unique home that is/was for sale. There isn’t a street full of similar comps that have to attract a whole bunch of buyers that need to decide that Noe is better than Malibu, Pacific Heights, etc. Just one. In fact, I’m not the least bit surprised that this sold faster than the $5M home near Jackson Fillmore that’s still sitting there. The scarcity value alone of this type of home in Noe is high.
    And it’s got that phallic pole too.

  27. Some time ago someone here asked if you had no monetary constriants, where would you live? Someone in just such a position answered “Noe”. Others have mentioned most of it, but the views can be quite spectacular. It is easy to reach much of the City on foot from Noe going downhill. It has all of the charm and advantages of the Castro without the madness or Market Street.
    For a gargantua it is quite tasteful. Views are obviously a bit part of what is driving this design, and yet there are numerous places made for trees. Looking at the foundation work it appears that these spaces for trees are being made at phenomenal cost, so this design is really way outside the box in numerous ways. In almost any other city a location with a view like this would have minimalist landscaping only. Here a cloistered and “safe” feeling is being deliberately constructed in a big footprint urban context. This building says a lot about the City and Noe, but even more about how society and how our “want to wants” are changing what desirability means.

  28. The thing about a lot of Noe (not really this big lot) is that it doesn’t make sense to buy a 3Million house if you can buy a fixer for $1.2M and spend $800K to make it into these houses. There are many, many old houses in Noe that this can be done with. So, can it really maintain these values?

  29. vortekxt: it looks great in the rendering. maybe less so in the street view pic. I was picturing the windows framed exquisitely in dark wood like in the rendering that seems to have been largely lost in execution. But I like poured concrete, exterior surfaces that patina, high ceilings.
    It’s hard to tell, but it looks great in the rendering.
    I totally agree about SF architecture compared to other places. Maybe my standards have lowered in being here. It raises the bar at least a little bit by not using porous stucco as an exterior, or corrugated aluminum as a design element. And god knows what was there before, but at least it doesn’t have an italianite facade hiding an arsenic pressboard box.

  30. Fluj – Do you think this run up is self contained to Noe or do you see spill over to nearby hoods?

  31. Sparky, 800K really?
    1.2M would buy you a crappy 2 story (converted attic/basement), which will require more like $1M and beyond to make it into a decent house (+2500 sqft). Are you really doing such jobs for 800K?
    This specific house is on a double lot and it is huge, like 6K sqft. The developer bought it 5 yrs ago and was fighting neighbors for sometime. Finishes would also make a huge difference in the cost.
    Do you think the owner of Teutonic const spent $800K on the firehouse, I’d bet he put at least double that.

  32. Agreed on this and Firehouse. But right on for 25th street, Valley, other 25th last year, and most of the Noe stuff, like I said the $3M stuff. And yes I think $800k is right for a excavated basement, all new interior, new story and out the back.
    I didn’t count the permits, holding and architect/engineer. So another $100K max.
    I think my point is still valid, there are tons of run down homes in Noe.

  33. Noe valley is safe but i have had my car broken into numerous times and my neighbor had his truck broken into so many times he moved. My girlfriends motorcycle was stolen and one early morning i confronted some people i believe were preparing to steal mine. I saw a guy steal a car out my front window. My motorcycle has been graffitied and vandalized many times, even knocked over once by a typical rich noe neighbor that didn’t like the way I parked. And every now and then there is the random totally wasted yuppie screaming and sometimes threatening people in the street. I think the streets lack foot traffic up here so it is easier to steal and break into cars without the chance of someone coming around the corner or out of their house and calling the police.
    I do love it up here but i don’t get the whole noe valley thing.

  34. Wow. Where is the part of Noe Valley you’re talking about? I’ve never seen anything like this where I live.

  35. Somewhere between the blocks of liberty and 22nd and chattanooga and sanchez. Don’t want to give my exact block away. Neighboor around the corner had her motorcycle stolen also.

  36. I always read the NVV Crime Beat section. It’s a good indicator of local crime, though not everything is reported.
    It’s good to have some insight, noevalleyrenter.
    In our area (21-25th / Castro and up) the only concern is a cat burglar that was around at some point, going through from garden to garden. But other theft and misdeed are pretty rare. Way way safer than many neighborhoods.

  37. @ Willow, I do see spillover into Bernal and Glen Park, especially the north slope of Fairmount Heights in Glen Park. I think most people perceive this as well. The 30th and Church area has gotten a lot more attractive to buyers in the last few years.

  38. I have been thinking about this house quite a bit and I have to agree that $6M is hard to imagine. The neighborhood has transformed over the years, from a mostly middle class neighborhood of firefighters and school teachers, to an upper middle class neighborhood of engineers and nurses to sort of upper upper middle class neighborhood of lawyers and business executives, but even my CEO would not be able to afford a $6M home, at least not on his salary alone.
    I was surprised a few years ago when the first $3M home sold on Valley, then even more surprised when that home Duncan sold for $5M+. There are still plenty of fixers uppers in the neighborhood, but that area with the big lots and great views has really moved into its own price range, beyond mere mortals.

  39. It’s all a zero-sum game. If money is moving to NV, that’s going to hurt the Marina, Russian Hill, etc.
    Just give and take.

  40. These are the same debates that rage on a Santa Monica-specific blog I read pretty regularly. Longtime Santa Monica residents scratch their heads as to how modest houses on modest lots (7500 sq ft is an average lot in the good part of SM) are going for $3-4mil. A high-end new house is $4-5. And this is for the privilage of having almost no yard and living on top of your neighbor. But it’s safe, clean and has the best weather in all of LA. Per sq ft, SM is more expensive than Malibu, Bel Air, Beverly Hills or any of the other high end neighborhoods around LA. Funny thing is, there is this attitude that once Google opened offices in Santa Monica, that’s what drove up prices. People also think the entertainment industry drives it, but those are both false assumptions because the entertainment industry is too top-heavy to create a large enough pool of buyers to move a market and there just isn’t enough tech money in LA either. It’s really business owners, investment bankers and lawyers more than anyone else buying these homes…I suspect the demographic would be very similar in Noe. SFR prices in Santa Monica have also proven surpisingly sticky in the current housing market…condos, on the other hand, have already slid back to 04-05 levels.

  41. The first ever $3M sale in Noe other than the pretty spectacular (IMO) 526 Duncan’s $5.6M was actually this year. Most people are surprised to know that. But 2212 Castro, which sold for $3.038M, was it.

  42. PVC, what is the name of the Santa Monica blog? I was also shocked recently when I read what a bungalow near Main Street south of the 10 freeway sold for in Santa Monica. It made parts of Noe look reasonable. (Almost) I think San Franciscans would be suprised how many parts of Los Angeles have similar real estate conditions to here.

  43. Leave it to Fluj to know every single sale. I could have sworn one of the two big new homes up on Valley sold for $3M, but checking Zillow, I see that one sold for $2.89 and the other for $2.75.

  44. Yeah, the west side of LA has held up shockingly well during this downturn…and that area around Main Street isn’t even the most expensive part of SM. Lots/tear-downs in Santa Monica start around 1.3 in marginal areas and go for over 2m north of Montana Ave. Maybe the crash will come later to these more affluent areas, but it’s amazing. I live in Santa Monica and I’m about to move either to the East Bay or SF and I’m finding prices pretty comperable in the better parts of town. There are two excellent West LA / Santa Monica housing blogs – Westside Bubble and SM Distress Monitor. westside-bubble.blogspot.com and smdistress.blogspot.com

  45. Fluj – Totally agree on Fairmount Heights…Anything within a few blocks of 30th should do well.

  46. I rent a unit a few doors down from this monstrosity. The rumor from the neighbors about a week ago was that it sold for $6.5 million. I’m just glad that 2+ years of noise, construction debris floating around the neighborhood, and apparent lack of respect for the immediate neighbors is almost over…and that I don’t live on 27th between Diamond & Douglass because these awkwardly large houses are taking over that block too!
    Who needs that much space anyway? I’m surprised that the city hasn’t come up with a requirement for a certain percentage of green space to be retained for all “remodels” like this one (boy, do I wish I had some ‘before’ pictures!).

  47. Duncan street is all about the level of construction detail and the finishes. Trust me, if you could see the caliber of the products used, it would knock your socks off! Nothing has been skipped or short changed…..from the cabinets to the lighting system, it is all “the best”! So, if you don’t know the difference between a Hyundai and a Mercedes, then you can’t appreciate what this house is all about. Not to mention the difficulty of building on this site and the amount of concrete that it took to build. It’s built as good as any commercial building! When the next earthquake hits, everybody should go to 625 Duncan Street… or wish that they had been the lucky ones who bought Duncan Street!

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