CFAH

141 Elsie (Image Source: veverka.com)
From the listing for 141 Elsie:

Bernal Heights Architectural Jewel. Built by a local architect as his personal residence and featured in many local and international publications, this modern lofty home exudes style and comfort!

We’re digging the “urban loft” vibe, built-ins, and urban Aspens out back.
141 Elsie: Living
And the aforementioned but unnamed architect? That would be Jerry Veverka.
∙ Listing: 141 Elsie (2/2) – $1,195,000 [MLS]
Veverka Architects [veverka.com]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by ex SF-er

    wow. that top photo is fantastic! This house isn’t for me at all, but the top photo makes me want to own this place!
    It looks so cozy and peaceful the way it highlights the house while dimming the neighbors
    it must be some sort of photoshop or something, but I think it’s A-ok to do that in this way.
    well done!
    [Editor’s Note: We’ll agree but note that it’s not from the listing (but it is the house).]

  2. Posted by Snark17

    Interesting juxtaposition of this house and the Lyon listing below– similar size house, great views, lacks the classic SF look but half the price. Better value in Bernal?
    I am biased because I bought in North Bernal in summer ’08 (smaller house). Now trying to re-fi and had the appraisal come in a little higher than what I paid, which was a big relief for what it’s worth.

  3. Posted by Snark17

    PS- Per the first Lyon comment, actually you get an extra 500 SqF in the Bernal house.

  4. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    This certainly puts $1.2m 1500sqft cookie-cutter condos in perspective.

  5. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Yes, that night photo is quite nice. Innovative way to exhibit curb appeal. If it wasn’t from the listing then where did the editor find it?
    [my guess is that the photo was created via flood lighting the facade to make it stand out combined with some post-processing to dim out the neighboring homes]
    Still Elsie street is one of those streets that gives me the death by immolation creepy crawls. It’s not as bad as the south slope, but those narrow streets on Burn All Hill are worrisome when considering emergency evacuation during a firestorm. I never quite got over the mayhem caused by the East Bay Hills firestorm.
    [Editor’s Note: Try mousing over the image and following the links (they’re there for you not us, we swear).]

  6. Posted by spencer

    I am a buyer at $750K. Come on market. Bring it down to me. 37% down and even i would consider a move to the Bernal Hts suburbs

  7. Posted by anonn

    “Now trying to re-fi and had the appraisal come in a little higher than what I paid”
    Not surprising. Good properties in good parts of Bernal have yet to see even the tiniest downward tick. And now government has stepped in to prop up pricing that dovetails pretty nicely with what Bernal Heights has been doing over the last four of five years.
    This house will sell quickly, I’d guess.

  8. Posted by tipster

    Quickly, and at full price. Look at photo #2 in the MLS. Fantastic curb appeal and a yard for under $650 psft is a good deal for the current market.

  9. Posted by FAA

    That first photo is gorgeous. I don’t think any lighting or post-processing was involved–looks to me like a photographer who really knows their stuff; well timed part of the day to get the light and a long manual exposure to really make the house stand out.
    And this house does stand out. In a good way.

  10. Posted by EBGuy

    I am not a real estate professional, so take my “analysis” with a grain of salt. At any rate, the green foreclosure pins on Trulia look like they are starting to turn ugly for this neighborhood. The majority are clustered around the $500k price range, with a couple around $700k.
    I am defining my informal REO ratio* as:
    # of Foreclosures/# of Resales as shown on Trulia. Bernal comes in at ~1/3.
    In my unprofessional opinion, areas like the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset are about to go REO Speedwagon. Their REO ratio is around 75% and approaching one.
    In the East Bay, Piedmont, Rockridge and Lamorinda are the only places I can find with REO ratios less than 1.
    *Foreclosure ratio would probably be a better term, but it doesn’t have alliteration going for it. Note that some of the “foreclosures” (NODs, NOTS and actual REOs) stand a chance of being cured before being put on the auction block.

  11. Posted by chip

    Gorgeous indeed but this house doesn’t work for a family. Lofts and spiral staircases are = no privacy and safety risks. Bernal is a magnet for young families. The Castro would be an ideal spot for this gem.

  12. Posted by rpiing

    Editor – For mouseover on images, it’s best to use the title attribute, not the alt attribute. I believe that only FF shows alt images on mouseover. Safari (and I believe more importantly IE) does not.

  13. Posted by amused

    So chip — have the forces in Bernal actually passed a “no singles” law? And I was under the impression that lots of people in the Castro have families.
    I think it looks nice, and great for a family. Space, light, yard…

  14. Posted by chip

    amused – not yet but I have heard rumors… 🙂

  15. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Ah, so that’s what was meant by mouseover.
    An even better solution would be to make the whole image a link :
    [a href=”blah.com”][img src=”somephoto.jpg”][/a]
    with the [] replaced by the proper gt/lt characters.

  16. Posted by Jim

    RE: night photo. I am not a photographer but several years ago there was an article in, I think, Architectural Record, that showed how they get photos with both good skies and good light on buildings. They took one photo to optimize building exposure, another photo to optimize the sky, and combined them in the darkroom. Today, undoubtedly done on the computer.

  17. Posted by noearch

    small place for the money. only 2 bedrooms??
    small, outdated kitchen.

  18. Posted by ex SF-er

    I think it looks nice, and great for a family. Space, light, yard…
    really? do a lot of people actually live in lofts with kids?? (I know that some do, but I really feel that lofts are for singles and maybe very close couples)
    I personally like the open look of some of the lofts, but would never live in a loft with another person because I like to be able to sleep when they are awake, or to have people over while they can work in another room, etc…
    with a loft it’s much more difficult. especially for a family.
    how would you put your toddler to bed and still watch TV as example? or let your teenager have their friends over while you try to get some work done?
    Family is great… but I would want to be able to have the option to watch basketball as the teens do their homework and the toddler takes a nap. or to work while the teens have friends over… you get the picture.
    as for this place, one bedroom is clearly lofted… I couldn’t tell if the second bedroom is a loft too…

  19. Posted by amused

    This isn’t a loft. It’s a home with one loft bedroom. Big difference.

  20. Posted by sparky-c

    A home with 2 real bedroom vs. one loft bedroom is a bigger difference.

  21. Posted by location

    How do you tell the difference between a 2br loft with one dedicated bedroom and a 2br home with one loft bedroom? Honest question, not being snarky. Is it because it is a single family building?

  22. Posted by Snark17

    This is an 1850 sf house with one loft bedroom, one regular bedroom and one big office. Plenty of room to have a toddler or whatever. Sheesh.

  23. Posted by curious

    But no fun to chase and/or tote that toddler up and down that spriral staircase…or to set up an extra long baby gate across that thing that looks like a giant step down between the dining and living room areas.

  24. Posted by jessep

    I’ll post this question again….
    Why buy suburban type homes in SF?
    I don’t think a place like this should be nearly that much money. You could get something similar in the East Bay for very cheap….
    As far as proximity to BART, Muni Metro, the Ocean, urban convenices…that I can understand paying huge premiums for…the number of substitutes is just so small..but bernal heights? That I don’t get.
    As I said before I live in a very urban part of the city, and while I don’t expect everyone to like the way I live, I am surprised that people will pay “San Francisco” premiums for suburban style residences…
    anywho…rant off.

  25. Posted by jessep

    addendum to my previous post:
    I can understand 1) urban convenience and walkability etc.
    2) great views
    Other than that, what is the SF premium? Please explain. Thank you.

  26. Posted by SFGov

    The SF premium is the collective good will of homedebtors to overpay for houses, thereby increasing the city tax base, and providing the 8k/yr per capita that San Francisco requires to mismanage their finances, give out free needles and money to the poor and homeless, overpay for city pensions, and pay for the literally thousands of muni and other city employess on disability. Without all of the home debtors to pay this “SF premium” to subsidize this expense how else would the city be able to sustain such compasionate inefficiency.

  27. Posted by Dan

    Jessup: I don’t understand your question. I live in Bernal Heights, a few blocks from the featured house. I have urban convenience and walkability (short walk to 24th/Mission BART, to lots of great restaurants, to hardware store, barber, produce stands, supermarket, etc., and short drive to anywhere else I go in SF) and great views (bridge-to-bridge, downtown skyline, bay, etc). This SF premium is worth it to me. Sorry, my life would *not* be the same if I lived in El Sobrante, even if housing would be much cheaper. Why do you live in SF, when there are cheaper places?

  28. Posted by anon2

    “I have urban convenience and walkability (short walk to 24th/Mission BART, to lots of great restaurants, to hardware store, barber, produce stands, supermarket, etc., and short drive to anywhere else”
    Sounds more like small town life to me. Dan, you forgot to mention that part about a SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE. I agree with Jessep in that when I chose to buy in San Francisco, I did not try to create the suburban lifestyle I had growing up. I did not wish for a 2car garage and a back yard. I wanted to live close the center, be able to experience different cultures and hoods within short minutes. For me Bernal is farther away from the center of the city than Rockridge. Going to Bernal for me is like returning to suburban areas I wanted to escape from. If I wanted that type of lifestyle, I would rather choose Tiburon which at least has trees.

  29. Posted by Dan

    I like living in a single family house, but still living in the city. And I can still walk to Valencia Street or Mission Street, which is not suburban. I can walk to most of the places I run errands, which I couldn’t do in the suburbs. BART downtown is just a few minutes–couldn’t do that from Tiburon. I can drive anywhere in the city I go to regularly, if I prefer to drive, and get there in 5-15 minutes, which I could not do in Rockridge or Tiburon. I work in several places in the city, and I can get to all of them in just a few minutes by car or BART.
    I’ve spent time in both Rockridge and Tiburon, and I prefer Bernal. Different ‘hoods for different folks.

  30. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’ll chime with Dan and take a beating…
    If I ever move back to SF, I would only live in the city. Why? because I only like the city. To me a suburb is a suburb. They’re all the same. I think Chicago suburbs vs Houston suburbs vs SF suburbs are all basically the same thing. However there are differences between SF and Houston and Chicago.
    (Berkely lovers I’m sure will chime in how Berkely is a “special” suburb, and it probably is… but I’d never pay a premium to live in Berkely myself… I feel there are many Berkely-like places such as East Portland, Colorado SPrings, Ann Arbor, Madison WI, Andersonville in Chicago, Uptown Minneapolis etc…)
    but a SFH w/yard works better for my lifestyle
    1) I tend to “cookout” all the time. (every weekend and even 1-2 days/week in the summer).
    2) I have lots of people over to my place, and we like to sit OUTSIDE
    3) I like gardening
    4) I really like my own private SEPARATE area, because my daily life is stuffed too full of “people” (I’m a doc). This especially pertains to sharing walls with others… since I worry about noise from nearby units.
    5) I do not like commingling my finances with others. I don’t want to depend on other people to pay their HOA or to do their maintenance, etc. (many people are finding this out the hard way in this downturn).
    also:
    6) I think most of the SF nabes are ugly, especially the more “urban” ones, due primarily to the grafitti, the amount of concrete, the disrepair of many of the buildings, and most importantly the lack of trees.
    I think this would improve 100% if they just started planting a ton of trees. I’ve said this many times on SS. Thus, I’d choose a nabe with TREES. (which is why Duboce is one of my fave nabes)
    and
    7) I NEED (truly) a car and dedicated parking right there. I’m a doctor who is on call. You cannot take public transport or wait for valet parking when you need to get to the hospital for a medical emergency.
    8) I NEED (truly) to live near the hospital to which I admit. (not as important to live by my clinic). For same reason as #6.
    9) despite all the above, I like to be able to WALK for most of my needs.
    thus, a condo isn’t for me, unless it were a 3-4 BR condo with private dedicated rooftop deck where I could garden and a private deeded parking space. Nor is a shared yard type du-tri-quadplex sort of thing for me (gardening and I’d hog the yard w/ my cookouts). Nor is living in SoMa (concrete)
    That leaves SFHs.
    All of my friends and family live in SF. And like most SFers, they wouldn’t dream of going to Marin or Rockridge or San Bruno to have a cookout on a Tuesday night. Thus, doesn’t make sense for me to buy there. Instead… gotta be the city.
    I’m not saying I’d choose this particular neighborhood… I’ve tended to live in Inner Sunset or Duboce Triangle (nearer to Parnassus and SF General and Mount Zion etc). But I would choose this neighborhood over Nob Hill as example (Crazy I know).
    I’m also not saying I’d choose this house (I wouldn’t). because it doesn’t fit with my life. 2 bedrooms w/one of them lofted? doesn’t work for my family!
    but anyway, above are lots of reasons why people want to live IN SF while having a SFH.

  31. Posted by jessep

    ex-SFer:
    With all due respect, I don’t understand what you listed that you can’t get from the suburbs other than a psychological wish to be in “the city”.
    I totally understand the need for a SFH for your lifestyle and do not quarrel with that at all. But why San Francisco? Why not Berkeley or Rockridge? I just don’t get it.
    “unless it were a 3-4 BR condo with private dedicated rooftop deck where I could garden and a private deeded parking space.”
    I actually own one of those in a fairly urban neighborhood, and while there is grafitti sometimes I’d hardly call it unclean.
    “I ever move back to SF, I would only live in the city. Why? because I only like the city. To me a suburb is a suburb. They’re all the same. I think Chicago suburbs vs Houston suburbs vs SF suburbs are all basically the same thing. However there are differences between SF and Houston and Chicago.”
    This is what I quarrel with. What utility do you derive being in an urban area with a surban “feel” to it? Why is that worth paying huge premiums?
    @Dan, then I don’t really disagree with you. But areas of SF that don’t have that I question the high premiums for.

  32. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    EB Guy wrote:
    > In my unprofessional opinion, areas like the Outer Richmond
    > and Outer Sunset are about to go REO Speedwagon.
    I bet “REO Speedwagon” will become a popular real estate term in the next few years…
    Does the DataQuick sales data that Socket Site has been using for graphs include Trustee Sales when counting total “Sales”?
    With the large number of REOs the number of total sales should increase dramatically since every REO will mean two “sales” one to the bank on the court house steps and one more sale when the bank sells the property to get it off the books.

  33. Posted by diemos

    “I actually own one of those in a fairly urban neighborhood, and while there is grafitti sometimes I’d hardly call it unclean.”
    Last week the homeless left me a little present on my doorstep and I had to wonder whether it was time to abandon the city for a little suburban blandness.

  34. Posted by jessep

    lol @ diemos, you live in the castro right?
    I can totally understand that desire.

  35. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    ex-SFer wrote:
    > If I ever move back to SF, I would only live in the city.
    > Why? because I only like the city. To me a suburb is a suburb.
    > They’re all the same. I think Chicago suburbs vs Houston
    > suburbs vs SF suburbs are all basically the same thing.
    I like to read ex-SFers posts and would welcome him back to the city, but I totally disagree that “all suburbs are the same”. A Houston suburb is very different than a SF Suburb (but then again I grew up here and even as a kid I have always noticed the differences in the people from Atherton, Piedmont and Ross)…
    > I feel there are many Berkeley-like places such as East Portland,
    > Colorado Springs, Ann Arbor, Madison WI, Andersonville in Chicago,
    > Uptown Minneapolis etc…
    The last time I was in Colorado Springs (at a BBQ in the back yard at an amazing home in a nice neighborhood hear the Broadmoor) most of the people were talking about NASCAR and Hunting. I have lived in Berkeley and while the architecture in the old part of Colorado Springs did remind me a little about Claremont the people are very different…
    Then jessep wrote:
    > What utility do you derive being in an urban area with a surban
    > “feel” to it? Why is that worth paying huge premiums?
    There is a lot going on in the city and it is nice to be a cab ride away from a party or event. People that move away (even if it is just a few miles north, south or east) tend to get out of the loop. I’m paying a premium to live in SF, and I’ll probably move to the Peninsula if I ever have kids, but I would move back to the city (or at least buy a condo in the north part of town) as soon as the kids head off to college…

  36. Posted by diemos

    “you live in the castro right?”
    18th & Noe

  37. Posted by anon2

    I guess I am at a loss to understand. Sure I can see why someone would choose Bernal over Mill Valley, but I myself do not think of Bernal as urban living. For me, going to Bernal feels like I have left San Francisco. You don’t hear someone in Chicago demanding that they get to have a single family house with 2 car garage within 4 miles of the loop. Part of what keeps San Francisco from being the city it thinks it is, imho, is that many still want to have a suburban lifestyle in the city. They fight new towers, they fight for parking, they are against density.
    I am not saying these attitudes belong to anyone on this thread, but in general, many of my friends who own single family homes in San Francisco tend to have opinions about what the city should be that remind me more of someone in Carmel, than someone in Manhattan or Streeterville in Chicago. There are plenty of walkable neighborhoods outside of the city that allow you to have single family homes. Isn’t Rockridge a shorter BART ride to the Montgomery Station?
    As for me, living at the intersection of Jones and Clay is what I call “urban living”, and worth the “San Francisco premium”.

  38. Posted by Dan

    I have the same need as ex-SFer to be near a hospital (and north Bernal is near 2, SFGH and CPMC/St. Luke’s). Several SFGH doctors in the neighborhood. It’s only a 5 minute drive to the General from here.
    Versus living in a more urban part of the city– I wouldn’t mind that, overall, but I like the lack of street noise here in Bernal.

  39. Posted by sparky-c

    I’m with ex-SFer as well. I love having a single family house, and having my life in the city. SF is a big space and has room for this as well as higher density. I have friend who have moved out of the city and it is an event when then come in for the night, and I can easily go meet them. Not the case if I were in the burbs. Bernal, Duboce, Inner Sunset and West Portal (where I live) are not like the burbs.
    Another thing is, don’t get caught up thinking that the premium is very much to live in these hoods vs. the burbs. I have family in San Carlos and it would cost me more to be close to Laurel Ave. there than West Portal ave. here.

  40. Posted by ex SF-er

    I don’t understand what you listed that you can’t get from the suburbs other than a psychological wish to be in “the city”.
    it’s hard to answer this, I’ve rewritten it several times. I’ll do my best.
    In the end, where one lives is almost ALWAYS psychological. that’s why some people will pay top dollar for Noe over Bernal which is just a few blocks away. Or why some people choose Millenium vs the St. Regis, SF over Manhattan, Victorian over a loft. I personally have found that I enjoy life in a city more than life in the burbs. it is ONLY psychological!
    when I analyze MY life, I’ve found that I “need” the things I’ve said above (all psychologically again, but with practical applications). I need a SFH. I need a garage. I need multiple rooms that can be closed off from one another. And I need outdoor space and I’d also like to have a nabe that I think is attractive. I also need to be able to walk to things.
    In SF, I would choose a nabe like Inner Sunset or Duboce triangle because I can get all of those things, and it’s near family/friends. I COULD get all of those in Rockridge as well, but not the friends/family… so why choose an area that hampers friend/family when I don’t have to? (there are SF nabes that do the job). the premium I’m paying is for friends and family, not for “the city” per se. (Friends and family are the most important thing in my life)
    On a side note, I do NOT frame the question in terms of “urban” or “suburban” because I’m not so sure that delineation works well for me. Instead, I would rather live in an area that can provide my needs and wants without trying to label it “suburban” or “urban”.
    Interestingly, I would RATHER live within 1-2 blocks of a cool funky shopping district in Rockridge than live in Sea Cliff, as there’s more within striking distance in Rockridge. So being in “the city” isn’t enough.
    But I agree, I won’t pay too much of a premium to do this. Which is why I decided to move away from SF where I could have all my “needs” for much cheaper.
    My nabe in Chicago felt more urban to me than most of SF, and also felt more walkable with more to do. After Chicago the city of SF feels much smaller… (not a good or a bad thing).
    My current nabe is much much less dense than much of SF… and I’d guess even a little bet less dense than parts of the Bernal neighborhood. But my current ‘hood has a lot more to walk to. (IMO)
    I have more interesting/fun things within 6 blocks of my house in a “suburban” setting (I live in a city, but not dense by SF standards), than you can get within 5 blocks of ORH as example… or within 5 blocks of Noe valley.
    which is why I value the amenities of a location more than its designation as urban vs suburban.
    My guess is that you’d call my existense suburban (even though I don’t live in a suburb, it’s not as dense as let’s say Soma is). My daily life doesn’t seem suburban to me… but it’s certainly not as dense as when I lived in Lincoln Park, Chicago or in Paris.
    so in the end, I’m not wed to “the city” as much as I’m wed to “my lifestyle”. And my lifestyle tends to work really well in a SFH in a city… although there are likely SOME parts of certain suburbs that I could live in well. I could MAYBE even live in some small towns if I lived right on Main Street as example (if it were a liberal small town). And if the city were vibrant enough (Paris, Manhattan, Madrid, London) I would live in a flat within city center. But SF isn’t urban enough FOR ME to do that. I’d rather eat my cake (SFH) and eat it too (in the city) if I had to live in SF.
    anyway, not sure if this makes sense…just trying to elucidate why some people want to live in the city but still live in SFHs.
    I take no offense… I continually am challenged to understand why non-singles would want to live in a loft!
    🙂

  41. Posted by ex SF-er

    anon2:
    here’s the biggest reason why many people stay in the city:
    How many times have you gone out with friends? Do you ever go to their house?
    What if they said: “yeah, come to my house for a cookout on Saturday. I live in Duboce Triangle.”
    vs
    “come to my house for a cookout. I only live 1/2 mile away from the Rockridge BART station.”
    Rockridge seems 100 miles away even though it’s just around the corner.
    Most of my friends/family live in the city. not only that, most of them live near the central nabes of the city (inner sunset, duboce, bernal, noe, etc). they don’t consider driving to the burbs. Thus, moving away really is like, well moving away.
    ===
    using your logic, why stay in SF? why not move to Manhattan? Manhattan is far more urban than SF could ever be! My guess is that there are lifestyle reasons why you choose to stay in SF over Manhattan… even though you’d get a much more urban life in Manhattan!

  42. Posted by Opinionated

    I like the color blue. It is just so much more perfect than red, orange, pink or ANY of those other lame colors.
    That would make just about as interesting a thread as this one.

  43. Posted by lark

    We have a SFH on Potrero Hill and I like them hills, including Bernal, and I like SFH’s in San Francisco, and I don’t feel SFH’s in San Francisco are ‘suburban’. I grew up smack dab in the middle of South Side Chicago (Obama’s neighborhood) and I think those of you who assume cities and SFH’s are somehow incompatible should get out more. Lots and lots and lots of cities are full of SFH’s. If that’s not obvious, maybe you grew up in suburbia, and your urban experience is limited to Manhattan and San Francisco and various inner city tourist districts, just maybe?
    Anyway, San Francisco is not all one thing. I like to say our hills have ‘island cultures’: each one is different. Vive la différence!
    P.S. This house is a beaut.

  44. Posted by jessep

    ex-SFer good answer.
    I’m not sure with a lot of SFH’s that you could derive “having your cake and eating it too” but your response makes sense..
    You should always choose lifestyle in all these considerations.

  45. Posted by LMRiM

    Well said, lark. I always get a laugh out of suburban kids, fresh out of dorms at Ivy league schools, moving to SF or Manhattan for the “urban” experience and now ready to “own” in “The City”, lol.
    For my part, I sort of think of all of SF as “semi-urban”, having grown up in NYC. If you really want to live in a city, move to NY. You’re not going to find anything like that out here, that’s for sure. About the “premium” that people are willing to pay to live in SFHs anywhere in SF environs, that seems to be largely a legacy of a very long bubble. It should normalize itself as the bubble deflates, and people realize that paying $800K+ to live in the Sunset was pretty dumb (insert any number of nabes there).

  46. Posted by jessep

    My question isn’t so much comparing SF to NYC, it’s in about realizing what you’re paying for. If SF is urban enough for you fine, but I question paying high prices for SF property when there are not a lot of unique positives.
    I don’t know if a lot of people do get a lot of utility from paying so much. I know there are different strokes for different folks, but all areas in SF ask very high prices. I just hope everyone paying is getting CLOSE to that much utility.

  47. Posted by anonn

    “but I question paying high prices for SF property when there are not a lot of unique positives.”
    Huh? There are very many unique positives to being the premier city in the region of Northern California.

  48. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’m not sure with a lot of SFH’s that you could derive “having your cake and eating it too” but your response makes sense…
    yes. a paradox isn’t it?
    it’s just like lake cabins. everybody wants THEIR lake cabin to be as nice as possible, which often means big with all the amenities. but when everybody does this it no longer seems like a getaway lake but just a suburban subdivision.
    If everybody in SF lived in SFHs it would clearly change the city.
    “but I question paying high prices for SF property when there are not a lot of unique positives.”
    ironic that this is coming from me, because I often discuss how SF isn’t as special as the SF boosters claim, but SF is a very unique American city with its own vibe.
    We can argue about the premium that this “specialness” should be “worth,” but SF really is special.
    Of course most of the major cosmopolitan centers are unique/special in their own way, and have their own good and bad aspects. (yes, even Houston and Detroit are unique in their own way).
    but SF will likely always carry a premium to some metro areas due to its unique attributes such as temperate weather, microclimates, hills, ocean, being near wine country and Silicon valley, percentage of gays and liberals and asians as example.
    The premium has probably gotten ahead of itself since the mid 1990s. and going forward perhaps some of that premium will leave. or perhaps not… depends on if SF can figure out a way to remain high cost and still compete, a very difficult task.
    SF has headwinds including the high COL, the tax structure, the State Debt, and so on. but they’re not necessarily unresolveable, and although some industries are maturing (tech) others seem to be doing fairly well (biotech).

  49. Posted by 94108

    But is Bernal really the “special” part of S.F. worth paying the “premium” for? The worst thing about the now deflating bubble was that it had people buying into the fantasy that mundane cottages in blue collar neighborhoods are really million dollar “luxury homes in the city”. I like Bernal, but for me at least, a million dollars is still a million dollars, and when one travels to some other dynamic unique cities (excluding NYC) a million buys a lot in the more premium parts of town. Is Bernal really worth the SF premium?

  50. Posted by anonn

    I don’t understand the “million dollars” = mundane shack premis you seem to be going with here. Look at the property that tops this thread. It’s 1.2M, and anything but a shack. The “shacks” your thinking of in Bernal are like 650 to 750. And the superconforming limits along with Bernal’s gentrification are going to keep those sort of properties in that range, IMO. I happen to be a Bernal fan too. It has got a lot of green space and really killer views from numerous spots.

  51. Posted by Snark17

    The thread comes around to my orginal point– Bernal is very good value for SFHs in the city. Good weather, excellent views, diverse people, and it’s close to parks, the Mission, BART, and the 101/280. And it costs much less per square foot than you pay across the road in Noe, etc.

  52. Posted by sanfrantim

    Bernal is fine i’m sure, but at $650 psf, it is not “much less” psf than prevailing Noe prices. This place seems very nice, but it is not a great deal.

  53. Posted by anon

    “diverse people”
    Nice way to put it. Can’t beat SF for pc. LOL

  54. Posted by EBGuy

    Okay, here is the “real SF” using the REO Ratio* as determined by stats from Trulia. Anything north of these neighborhoods is in, anything south, including these neighborhoods, is out.
    REO Ratio (1 or greater) line from east to west:
    Hunters Point, Silver Terrace, Portola, Mission Terrace, Ingleside, Ingleside Heights
    * REO ratio = #foreclosures/(#resales+new construction)
    #foreclosures on Trulia captures current bank-owned as well as NOTS and NODS (which may not end up being foreclosed upon)

  55. Posted by Dan

    Anon, “diverse people” isn’t just a PC euphemism– it’s something a lot of us like about San Francisco. I like Bernal’s mix of people of many backgrounds, including gay and straight, old bohemians and young tech people, etc. Though there is also much ethnic diversity in many Bay Area suburbs, there is a particular jumble than I like about the city, and especially Bernal Heights.

  56. Posted by cityluvr

    My idea of urbanity…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPPbxSmYXIk&eurl=http://yochicago.com/today/#
    for those of us who dream of more than garages and backyards.

  57. Posted by anona

    Let’s not forget that Bernal itself is incredibly varied. I bought on the North Slope (wide streets, many SFHs with new construction within the last 10 years and most houses on the block are $1M+), but in the few times I’ve traveled south of Cortland it feels like a different world.

  58. Posted by ex SF-er

    cityluvr:
    it’s good to have a dream, but I’m not sure that SF will ever look or feel like the core of Chicago. SF just isn’t big enough, and more importantly the zoning is too restrictive. (this isn’t good or bad, it just is the way it is). Chicago has always prided itself on being the birthplace of the skyscraper, so the govt officials PUSH height. SF has prided itself on being “european” and quirky and different, so they eschew height. also, SF is more green, and the data tends to show that medium height density is more green (the Paris style) over the towers and super towers…
    With the latest RE boom SF did start allowing some height, but more of a Vancouver-like feel in the SoMa/SB area (towers 300-600ft), and I do think they can be successful at that. not sure what will happen now with the downturn… some of the enthusiasm for height may dissipate.
    Lastly, Chicago builds differently than SF. It’s not uncommon to see an office tower with condos on top. (like the Hancock Center or Park Tower). You don’t see that as often in SF. SF condos tend to be CONDO towers or sometimes hotel/condo towers (like the St Regis).
    but to put things in perspective: the two condo towers vying for public attention in Chicago were the Trump Tower (roof height 1170ft, antenna 1362ft) and Chicago Spire (height 2000 ft, likely cancelled).
    Compare that to ORH (642) Infinity (450) Millenium (645)
    I believe 25+ towers over 500ft were built in Chicago since 2000. Many many more were planned but will be cancelled (such as the 2000ft Chicago spire which is and will probably remain a hole in the ground).
    Chicago has almost 100 buildings over 500ft tall. SF has 18.
    Even with a MAJOR boom, it would be hard to build 80 buildings over 500ft in San Francisco!!!!

  59. Posted by flaneur

    cityluvr – The only problem with your idea of urbanity is the Chicago loop is dead at night and on weekends. It may be your idea of urbanity, but it is not mine, and it probably isn’t most San Francisccans.

  60. Posted by cityluvr

    @Flaneur, Downtown Chicago is dead at night? Are you kidding? There are more live theaters, museums, performance halls, hotels, restaurants in that small part of downtown Chicago than all of San Francisco. It is true that the couple of blocks around the civic center and Board of Trade gets dead at night, but NOT where the towers in this video are. Millenium Park is quite busy in the evening. What Chicago is doing is adding housing to the center and INCREASING density. (Watch the first video)
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3556524511134491044&ei=zz6_SZeBBIXo-wHG4vXPAQ&q=chicago+spire&hl=en
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPPbxSmYXIk&eurl=http://yochicago.com/today/#
    But Downtown Chicago is not just the Loop (which would be like comparing downtown San Francisco to only the Embarcadero Center). What about the Mag Mile district of Michigan Avenue, are you telling me THAT is dead at night? Or Streeterville (where the Hancock Tower and most hotels are)?

  61. Posted by ex SF-er

    flaneur:
    I think you are mistaken.
    Downtown Chicago is extremely busy at night. There are few to no places in SF as busy as downtown Chicago near where cityluvr’s pics were taken.
    For instance, that’s where most of Chicago’s broadway shows play, it’s where countless restaurantants and bars are, etc. I just watched Wicked at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts and that area was packed. (weekend).
    Perhaps you’re speaking about the West or South Loop which are more like the FiDi in SF?
    That said, I would guess more people “go out” just north of the loop in areas like Boystown and surrounding nabes, but there’s a lot of activity at night where cityluvrs pics were taken.
    also cityluvr: chicago spire is unlikely to happen. it’s a big hole in the ground, and construction has been stopped for some time. there are huge financial problems with the building. it’s been my most anticipated building on Earth, so I’m sad to say it ain’t gonna happen.

  62. Posted by flaneur

    I lived and worked in Chicago. I worked in the Loopp and lived in Lakeview. I often worked late in the evening, and never saw anyone out when I left my office.

  63. Posted by flaneur

    Granted, I wasn’t near Randolph Street itself.

  64. Posted by bk

    An awful lot of Chicago, including some within four miles of the loop, is dominated by single family homes, duplexes, and three flats. A few brick four story apartment buildings do not make axis mundi. It’s not all throbbing metropolis of the world.
    Of course, Chicago’s “equivalent” of the Sunset or the Outer Richmond is far more charming and appealing, but…

  65. Posted by SocketSite

    The sale of 141 Elsie closed escrow yesterday with a reported contract price of $1,100,000 (8% under asking and $597 per square foot).

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