152 Elsie

Newly constructed upon a previously vacant Bernal Heights parcel, the contemporary four-level home at 152 Elise Street features an open floor plan on the main level, two bedrooms on the level above, another two bedrooms on the level below, and a media/family room on the lowest level.

What the new home doesn’t feature, however, is a garage or single off-street parking space.

152 Elsie Floor Plan

Regardless, having been on the market since September asking $2,199,000, the sale of 152 Elsie has just closed escrow with a reported contract price of $2,310,000, surpassing the $2,150,000 paid for 306 Mullen in 2008 and making it the most expensive reported home sale in the history of Bernal Heights.

That being said, if a tipster is correct, the quiet sale of another Bernal Heights home which was never officially on the market is poised to blow away the $2.3 million record.  As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by B

    It’s a terrible street for parking with very few spots and you need to be a mountain goat to walk up and down that portion of the hill daily. I live a couple blocks away and I didn’t think it would sell at that price with no parking, shows what I know.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      It is also the sector of Bernal that gives me the firestorm creeps. Narrow streets on steep hillsides provide less of a firebreak. They’re also more likely to succumb to panic evac traffic jams.

      Never forget the Oakland Hills fire. Lets learn a lesson and not let residents die in such a predictable way. If I were SFFD’s chief I’d push to remove parking on one side of Elsie and similar streets in this area just to remove fuel from the middle of the substandard firebreak.

      • Posted by Alai

        To be fair, they are very different places. The Oakland hills were full of winding roads and cul-de-sacs, where one or two blockages could leave you completely trapped, and a long way from help. Bernal Heights is mostly a grid, except where the freeway is, and even if a road becomes impassable to cars you can still walk out in just a few minutes.

  2. Posted by Mark F.

    Buying a new house with no parking? BAD IDEA, even if you use Uber all the time. Still, it’s pretty nice. But NO WAY would I buy this.

    • Posted by dotpocalypse now

      I hear you but to me its best left a choice. Unfortunately here they try to dicktate everything. I think it should be the choice of the builder/owner to have as many or few spaces as they see fit, and let the market respond. I can totally see having quality space instead of a half used garage, and I think about it often with our current base-mess-ment. Finish it as a nice living space or as a garage? I’m on the *FENCE* 🙂

  3. Posted by tahoejoe

    At that price they can lease parking elsewhere and have Uber shuttle them back and forth when they need to use the car.

    • Posted by shza

      I don’t follow this comment at all. Is your point that this is “so cheap” (because of its lack of parking) that the buyers will have plenty of money saved to spend on Uber? Or that no one buying a $2.3M house stretches at all to do so (plainly untrue)?

      In any event, we have friends who live on this block (and have two parking spaces) and B is correct that parking is a *huge* pain there, which almost always involves 10-15 minutes of trolling around the too-narrow streets in the surrounding blocks.

  4. Posted by observant neighbor

    I’ve heard anecdotally that Uber / Lyft are doing the same thing to the value of a residential parking space that they’ve done to the value of taxi medallions, but I haven’t seen any data to back up the claim.

    Does anyone know whether the developer of this home was required by the city (or, de facto, by the bedrock of Bernal Hill) not to include a parking space, or did s/he simply conclude that the space that could have been used for a driveway and parking was more valuable as a garden and a dining room?

    • Posted by formerly%whatever

      Looks like they got a variance for the required parking spaces.

    • Posted by Peterke

      They asked for a building permit a long time ago (before 2007) and a request to the city to modify the street in order to have the ability to put in a driveway. But a lot of neighbors objected to the change (a little spot of green had to go) so the city decided not make the change. So they re-filed different plans without driveway/garage.

  5. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Good thing Bernal Heights is so well served by mass transit. You can literally get to downtown SF in less than an hour! Amazing.

    • Posted by Anon

      A fit person could walk to 24th st BART in 20 minutes from there

      • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

        I’m fit and I can walk to Costco in 20 mins. Wonder why I take the car there and back?

        • Posted by Anon

          no, I don’t wonder that whatsoever. who cares why you do t hat.

        • Posted by Alai

          I can understand why you’d take a car back, but I don’t think you need to take a car there. Walk there, uber back.

          • Posted by Futurist

            Convenience. Because I want to. It’s just my personal choice.

        • Posted by NoeValleyJim

          Wonder why I take a cargo bike to Costco and back?

        • Posted by San FronziScheme

          Because you haven’t purchased your Hoverboard yet. Strap a leach on it and you can carry those 4-ply 128-roll packs of TP with no effort.

          If you buy a 2.3M house you can afford an Hoverboard. Just saying.

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            It’s not the toilet paper but the pallet of beer from Costco that I could never get home on a bike. Anyone who tells you that you can get by in SF with kids and no car is either (a) poor, (b) delusional, or (c) lying. No shame in being poor, but presumably the buyer of this $2.3 mm home does not fall into that category. Overwhelming odds are they have a car, and they will not be happy with the lack of a garage.

          • Posted by San FronziScheme

            Well, I had a neighbor in NV on a steepish hill with a 3BR, 2 kids, 2 dogs and… 3 cars but no garage.

            Twice a week he’d come in early from work to perform this giant switcharoo between the SUV, his fun little british convertible and the wife’s Z4. Incidentally they had purchased their Vic for 500K in 1999.

          • Posted by bus rider

            JR “Bob” Dobbs, thank you for determining the necessary criteria for families to live in SF without a car. I didn’t realize we were delusional or any of your other criteria. Living without a car (even for families with multiple kids and pets) is not hard in SF, especially if you’re within a few blocks of major transit routes (as this home is). The home in discussion its within just a few blocks of two 24 hour bus lines (and, of course, the 14 Mission is one of the most heavily used and frequent bus lines in the U.S.). There aren’t that many places in SF that have it that good and walking the hills will help keep this home’s residents healthy for as long as they can walk.

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            Excellent, bus rider – you are the rare exception that proves the rule!

            70% of SF households own at least one car, which is pretty close to the number of non-poor households. Obviously they think you need one, or I suppose they just want one because it saves so much time and makes life so much more convenient. Commuting up and down on the 14-Mission would certainly be an unpleasant, time-wasting way to spend one’s days. But to each his own. I love that we live in a city with such a difference of likes and dislikes.

          • Posted by Jake

            Only 2.5% of owner-occupied households do not have a car in this location (census tract 253). 17% of renter-occupied households do not have a car there. About half the cars are used to commute to work, which is typical for SF.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            wow, only 2.5% of owner occupied units don’t have a car. thats unbelievable, but matches closes with the 2.6% of SFers who commute via bike, but run the transportation policy in the city. Oh, to be elite.

          • Posted by bus rider

            moto mayhem: “the 2.6% of SFers who commute via bike, but run the transportation policy in the city” – now, there’s a delusion.

          • Posted by San FronziScheme

            Oh, to be elite.

            That’s a new twist on the Limousine Liberal narrative: in the land of SF, the elite is the guy riding his 40-year old Manufrance butted steel clunker.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            having transportation policy so heavily influenced by 25-45 yo white guys who are mostly transplants, have no training in transportation policy or engineering, and only represent 2.6% of the city is the epitome of elitist.

      • Posted by shza

        All well and good as long as the drought continues. But 20 minutes walking in the rain, not so much.

        The commute was easily the worst part of living in Bernal for us. As I’ve said here before, our public transportation commute to the financial district was literally cut in half (on average) when we moved from Bernal all the way across the Bay to Piedmont.

        • Posted by Anon

          There’s no BART in Piedmont either, though? and different strokes for different folks re: rain

          • Posted by shza

            There is a bus that drops off at the transbay. There is also casual carpool. Either one is much faster than our old need to walk down Cortland or take the totally unreliable Cortland bus, followed by another wait for a Mission bus to 24th, followed by BART. Generally 45 minutes in (and this 20-minute walk to BART, followed by a wait and then a 15-minute BART ride will not be much better), and always over an hour coming back. I’m reliably under 30 minutes each way now. It’s fairly indisputable that Bernal is horribly underserved by public transportation.

            How anyone might enjoy having wet shoes and cuffs all morning is beyond me, but OK. Or maybe you have these: http://www.swims.com/MEN/Galoshes/tabid/133/ProductID/24/Default.aspx

        • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

          It’s not even relevant if you or I or Anon could or would walk 20 mins to BART. This is a 4BR home in Bernal Heights. With 90% certainty, the buyer is a family with kids or with plans for kids. And with 100% certainty, said family has at least one car.

          • Posted by Anon

            shza, once you get on BART it is not 15 min to the FiDi, and you usually don’t wait that long in the station either since you can take any train.

            but yes, much of Bernal is not served by public trans that great. This part though? Not that bad and for the reason I mentioned. And North Bernal/Precita area? piece of cake walk to Bart.

          • Posted by shza

            We can discuss the details all you want. I lived in Bernal. The commute was horrible. My commute from all the way across the bay is considerably shorter. Those was my actual experience. But yes, if you’re on Precita Park, that’s a different proposition than if you’re right in the center of the neighborhood, by mid-Cortland (which is where we were, and which is worse than where this house is on Elsie).

            In any event, if you work in the financial district, you’ll be even unhappier driving to work from this location than dealing with the miserable public transportation, since just getting out of the financial district and onto 101 can often swallow 45 minutes. But I also would never buy a house on this block without a garage, for the reasons formidable doer points out. As much as you can use Amazon Fresh or Good Eggs for your groceries and take lots of Uber, if you have a couple of kids, like I do, you’re going to have a car, and you’re not going to love circling the narrow streets of Bernal every time you come home in it.

        • Posted by S

          I live by the Alemany Farmer’s Market and can get downtown in 35 minutes (including 8 min walk to bus stop). Just take the 67 and hop on Bart from there

          • Posted by Richard

            I like the 67 but I got a bit turned off by the unreliability of BART lately – ironic I know. I’m up the hill from the Farmer’s Market – a 5 min walk to Bayshore, a few minutes to wait for a 9L, and then it’s 20 minutes to Market Street. I’m no fan of Muni but credit where it’s due.

        • Posted by NJ

          Bart infill station at 30th and Mission – and a funicular up Bernal! One thing, if you live there without a car you are going to be healthy. Also, there are several car shares in garages nearby.

        • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

          Yeah, two houses ago, we considered Bernal for the same reasons anyone does, I imagine, because it was a lot cheaper than other neighborhoods (for a reason). The lousy commute/transit issues nixed that for us. I can’t even imagine living there with no parking – esp. at this price – since you’d really need a car there.

          If you simply cannot afford a place with both good transit and parking, I guess you need to give up one or the other (or both). But if you can afford it, you’re crazy to buy a place like this that has neither.

    • Posted by Jake

      That location (census tract 253) has a high percentage of bike commuters: 9% overall and 13% for males. Not far from the Valencia bike sewer.

      • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

        I think you’re missing the point of a garage. That’s where a car is parked, not where it’s driven. Even if 95% of the trips can be done on foot/pedal/transit, someone dropping $2.3M on a house has a car. Or several. And now they’re competing for street parking in a neighborhood where it’s scarce.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          This street would be an excellent location to deploy zipcar or other car share in dedicated on-street parking spots.

        • Posted by Alai

          Someone dropping $2.3M on a house can also afford to pay for Uber/whatever a couple times a week, for those other 5% of trips (or a rental to Tahoe, or whatever other means is most convenient).

          Actually, just about anyone who can afford a car in SF can afford to pay for Uber a couple times a week.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            unless you are stretching yourself to pay $2.3M. A lot of people I know buying in SF are house poor

          • Posted by Alai

            Point is, a couple trips a week on Uber are cheaper than owning and operating a car, so it’s silly to claim that “obviously a person buying a $2.3 million house will have a car” while also saying that spending the same money on Uber is a financial stretch.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        “Bike sewer”. Love that term!

        • Posted by Brian M

          Given the lack of serious air pollution or (anecdotal and scattered insults aside) other impacts of bicycles, this term is not funny and is pointless.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            FWIW the reason I like the term is for its ironic value.

          • Posted by Jake

            Sub-supervisor in the sub-division of the department of sub-terranian sanitation, I just keep things moving along. Ed Norton (The Honeymooners), LinkedIn profile.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        bike sewer is a great moniker for valencia

        • Posted by Alai

          If real sewers get clogged by fat deposits and tree roots, do bike sewers get clogged by taxis and double-parkers?

  6. Posted by Pax hts dweller

    That project was first submitted to planning back in 2006 which is (yet another) great example of why there is a “housing crisis” largely manufactured by SF planning. From the filings it looks like they attempted to add an off street unenclosed space which was later revised to no parking at all (likely due to some technicality or crabby neighbors empowered by planning).

    • Posted by Zig

      What does that have to do with our housing crisis

    • Posted by Peterke

      Hit the nail on the head: crabby neighbors objected

  7. Posted by BayviewSF

    If it is on the flat land and close to public transit, will no-parking still be an issue?

    • Posted by shza

      Neither of those premises is true of this home though.

  8. Posted by alberto rossi

    I was just wondering how they were not required to follow the law that limits a front yard fence or hedge to 3 feet.

    • Posted by NoeValleyJim

      Can you please point me to that ordinance? A few of my neighbors have six foot fences and I am sick of them. It is downright un-neighborly.

      • Posted by Futurist

        I don’t think it’s “un-neighborly” at all. Is your idea being neighborly the ability for you to look directly into their front windows at will? It’s also a good security defense.

        Go look at all the large houses in Pac Heights along Scott/Steiner/Pacific/Broadway. most of the front walls/fences are 6′ high. what’s the problem?

        Go look

        • Posted by Brian M

          This is a California thing, actually. It’s weird now to go back to the Midwest (or look on Google Street View) and see how…open…and unfenced everything is. Now, the yards ARE bigger (in only SOME neighborhoods), but does 10 feet extra of grass provide that much more privacy?

        • Posted by NoeValleyJim

          Code says 3 feet of solid material, or 6 feet if it is mostly see-through for your front fence without a permit. I think that having “eyes on the street” is an important part of good Urban design. Why does The City have code around this at all?

          Apparently you can get a over the counter permit for anything up to 10 feet though.

  9. Posted by mikey woodz

    Does the person in the top bedroom really have to walk down two full levels to use a full bath?

    • Posted by shza

      Good point. I’m guessing that that bedroom may be used as a nursery but will then function as a home office (or similar) once the house is baby-free. So more a 3BR with “bonus room” than a true 4BR due to the layout.

    • Posted by BobN

      Maybe they pre-plumbed that secondary walk-in closet??? If not, what a weird choice (large master bath, no 2nd bath on floor).

    • Posted by Another Bernal Resident

      Actually, I read this as needing to walk down three levels since it appears the only bath tub in the house is on the bottom level.

  10. Posted by friscan

    If I had a choice between my next house in SF with or without parking, I’d always choose “without” (assuming it’s priced down accordingly) and only in neighborhoods where this works — downtown, Soma, Mission, Duboce, Haight, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Noe Valley, Glen Park, etc. Bernal is on the cusp.

    carfree works for us now because we are 50 feet from a carshare station and three blocks from three metro stops.

    • Posted by johntrev

      $2.3 million and the highest ever price in Bernal is decidedly not “priced down accordingly”.

    • Posted by frog

      I’ve yelled at Zipcar multiple times in the last few months because they’ve let their cars get disgusting. I use them a lot, but as a person with allergies, pet dander is horrible for me. And most Zipcars smell like smoke these days. Car sharing is great in principle, but the reality is pretty gross at times.

      There’s no where to park an electric bike without it getting stolen, muni is gross, and car share is becoming gross. I’m happy you don’t need a car, but the way this city and other services are run, having transport of my own is really nice.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Well said, and that’s exactly why car ownership and use will continue in SF. Having my own car is a pleasure; it’s in my own garage, it’s kept clean, smoke free and it’s always there when I WANT TO USE IT.

        Nothing can replace that convenience.

        • Posted by frog

          I guess I shouldn’t even bring up that Zipcar does allow me to keep a sports car in my garage and still have access to an SUV or minivan when I need one. Putting the top down and driving on 1 early on a Saturday morning is one of the great pleasures of living in California.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Oh my Futurist. frog brings up a complaint against a specific car share company and you use that to get on your soap box about keeping your own car. Surely you travel and rent cars at the destination. Why the guilt? If you want to own a car then just do it. And certainly carshare companies can improve the quality of their vehicles.

          BTW, if you want a really nasty rental car, try renting in the Middle East.

          • Posted by Futurist

            Read HIS comments again:
            Car sharing is becoming gross.
            Having transport of my own is really nice. I said the same thing.

            I like my soapbox. And my own car.

        • Posted by Alai

          Indeed. I was just thinking that, as I was relaxing in my private garden. So much better than those public parks– no worries about undesirables wandering around, and I can wander out there whenever I WANT TO USE IT. Such a pleasure.

          That’s why private garden ownership will continue in SF, and that’s why SF should require private gardens to be included with each and every new residential unit. Will it make high-density living uneconomical, and severely restrict the number of units built? Maybe so, but if you can’t afford it, live somewhere else! It’s a matter of choice: you can choose to enjoy your garden, or you can let it go to seed. But allowing the construction of residential units without private gardens would unduly interfere with people’s ability to choose to enjoy their own private gardens– and that’s just unacceptable.

      • Posted by NoeValleyJim

        If you are on an electric, you can carry 20 pounds of chains around with you. I have never had a bike or motorcycle stolen that had a couple of industrial strength chains attached, have you? It is a pain to have to do this, but much easier and more convenient than circling for parking.

        Having a car is “nice”, well put.

        • Posted by TeslaOwner

          “Having a car is “nice”…..Indeed it is NoeValleyJim, as even you have admitted you own and use one. I have no problems with homes being built without parking, but I do have a problem with armchair pundits telling us why we should not have cars, when they themselves have one parked in their garage.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            You have problems with people having opinions that differ than yours? You should turn off your computer and go for a walk or something then. The world of full of people who differ from you.

          • Posted by Futurist

            I agree.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            You know what I have a problem with Futurist? Scofflaws blowing stop signs at Sanchez and Day in their white 5 series white BMW SUVs without even slowing down. And then complaining about cyclists who do it.

            I was sitting there stopped at the stop sign on my bike when you blew right by me.That was you, right? And then he turned left at 30th and Sanchez without slowing down either. Why the hurry Futurist?

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            Hey TeslaStalker, I do not have a car parked in my garage, thank you for stalking me though.

  11. Posted by johntrev

    Far too many of the spec and flip houses are designed for the open house and not actual living. …There’s no storage in this house; where do you put your Christmas decorations, kids bikes or toys, the weedwacker that keeps the back grass cut? How do you get the grass clippings out of the backyard? For $2.3 million you don’t even get a built-in backyard storage bench, let alone a garage.

  12. Posted by Dan

    I live in northwest Bernal and have a car, but rarely use it. It’s a great location for bike commuting via Valencia St (or Harrison St to the east). BART if I want to go downtown, to the East Bay, or to SFO. Bike commuting does require a steep walk up the hill at the end of the day (unless you are very fit or have an electric bike). I, too am a bit puzzled why a garage wasn’t built into this house, but perhaps there were issues with the steep site. New 4 bedroom houses in this desirable location are very rare, which explains why a buyer might be OK forgoing a parking space.

    • Posted by frog

      I bought an electric bike from The New Wheel in Bernal. Great people and it’s no problem getting up the hill with one. My fear is where do I park it when I get to where I’m going. Any decent electric bike is 2-4k and bike theft prevention in this city is a joke.

      • Posted by observant neighbor

        Maybe the dining room on the main level will be renovated into a mudroom / electric-bike storage & charging station. (I use our electric bike for schlepping the kids quite a bit. It’s practical but I’m also glad to have a car when I want it.)

        • Posted by frog

          I keep mine in my apartment. I’m not so concerned about where something can be kept at home. But I’m scared to leave my bike alone if I’m getting brunch in the mission. Friends are always confused as to why I want to meet in the Sunset.

        • Posted by Alai

          In this particular case, I think I would look into something along these lines.

          Put it just inside the street-facing wall, and add a plug for charging if necessary.

  13. Posted by mikey woodz

    John, Appears to be synthetic grass, no upkeep, but screams fake IMO

    • Posted by johntrev

      I read that green wall mounted box in the backyard as part of an automatic sprinkler system, but perhaps you are right. Still, form before function, right? Is an entry closet too much to expect? A place to store the vacuum? A decent overhang providing reasonable chance of staying out of the rain as you enter? The aforementioned missing upstairs bath? You’d hope for good design at any price point, but particularly when paying top of the market pricing on new construction.

  14. Posted by alberto rossi

    The City’s fence rules

  15. Posted by Willow

    How does this sell for over asking given it was on the market for almost 5 months?

    • Posted by Fishchum

      Multiple buyers found it at the same time and put offers in, and it got bid up. It happens.

  16. Posted by San FronziScheme

    OK, heres the thing. About a year ago I decided to dig my former bear self out from its June 2010 grave.

    Seeing this absolutely ridiculous proposition, I am officially declaring we are at the top and the only way from here is sideways until an exterior element pushes prices down.

    I mean, BH is a bit far from the FiDi or SOMA compared to the Mission or the Castro.

    The market has heated up a lot for Bernal these past 3 years precisely because of the SV commuter crowd who save a good 10-15 minutes because the 280 starts right there and yet gets to live in a fantastic San Francisco neighborhood.

    The combination of a great SF neighborhood and access to the 280 IS the main reason for BH’s attractiveness.

    Now, without a garage? It takes some dedication. It’s doable but it’s a sign that people have officially lost touch with reality.

    • Posted by Anon

      Bernal is going to start seeing 2M and up sales regularly now. For better or worse.

      • Posted by Anon

        point being, “top”? for Bernal, I doubt the statistics will bear that out looking back a year from now. Sideways? doubt it.

        • Posted by San FronziScheme

          The top I am calling is for SF in general. There could be some hiccups, just like between 2007 and 2008.

          As far as Bernal is concerned, will we see 3M aside from exceptional quality and brand new?

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            San Francisco market trends pretty closely with the S&P 500. I think this bull market in both has a ways to run still. At least two more years.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            NJV. I agree with you at least thinking the bull market will be strong for 1 more year. there is so much venture capital money flowing right now. 2 yrs is much harder for me to feel comfortable predicting.

  17. Posted by Anon

    I think a few $3M sales here and there, yes. Bernal is kind of capped by its smaller lots and tertiary building size maximums and review boards, though.

  18. Posted by jenofla

    Well, nobody knows who bought this house. It could be a polyamorous, bicycle-loving, FINK (four incomes, no kids) collective who work in boutiques on Cortland. Sheesh, let the market decide. If this doesn’t work out for the buyers, the house may be back on the market, with a bit of a price cut.

  19. Posted by Scott

    NoeValleyJim, I don’t want to speak for the Tesla guy or girl, but how is it stalking that someone reminded you that you yourself admitted on this site your family owns and uses a car? I enjoy your posts but you continually lecture people against the use of automobiles, yet admitted you needed one mostly to shuttle your children, which in my opinion is completely understandable. The fact that I also remember you own a car, makes me wonder, is it stalking to remember what someone wrote on this site?

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