Purchased for $1.5 million in November of 2013, the 1,253-square-foot Dwell-ing at 330 Banks Street resold for $1.7 million in February of 2017, representing total appreciation of 13.3 percent over those three and a quarter years on an apples-to-apples basis, despite the “short term hold” and the property being “used,” which is what happens when values are actually going up versus down.

Yesterday, 330 Banks Street, which “embodies Northern CA living at its finest,” with “the highest quality craftsmanship,” “inviting indoor/ outdoor living spaces,” “abundant natural light,” and a “coveted open floor plan,” returned to the market listed for $1.895 million, a sale at which would represent total appreciation of 11.5 percent since the first quarter of 2017 or just 1.9 percent per year on a straight-line basis for the single-family home.  The frequently misreported Case-Shiller Index for “San Francisco” house values is up 61 percent over the same period of time.

If you think you know the market in Bernal and/or for Dwellings, now’s the time to tell.

36 thoughts on “If You Think You Know Bernal, Now’s the Time to Tell”
  1. I do not understand how this house EVER sold for $1.7M. I toured it and:
    1) there is no living room!!
    2) the floors upstairs are all linoleum (blue linoleum or fake-cork) throughout the bedrooms and baths
    3) the kitchen surfaces (countertops, cabinets, etc) are all laminate
    4) there is absolutely no sound blocking. All those transom windows you see in the sixth image are not actually sealed, there are huge gaps where they are held in place
    5) that ridiculous amount of shiplap is dizzying

    Who would ever pay close to $2M for that lineup…?

    1. “Who would ever pay close to $2M for that lineup…?”

      My only guess is someone who wants to use it as an AirBnB rental. None of these issues are a problem for a vacation home, but if this is where you live you’re going to want to make a lot of changes.

      1. The house has never been registered as a short-term rental. And if it were registered, it would have to be the primary residence of a natural person and the number of days it could be rented would be limited.

  2. Agree with everything above and open shelving doesn’t count as cabinet space. It would only fit someone with a very minimalist lifestyle.

    1. This – I’m generally a fan of opening up the kitchen and some open shelving – but *zero* cabinets? Where do you even store pantry items?

  3. I don’t think I know this part of Bernal too well, but this list price seems about right.

    91 Bronte at 1471 feet got $2.15m in May ($1461/ft). Banks is a better location, but I also think the extra 200 feet make up for that and more. So I’m calling it $1500/ft and a $1,879,000 sale

    1. This location is OK, far from prime Bernal but not terrible either. I’m going with $1.595M. Interest rates are have the desired effect on SF real estate.

    2. May was an eon ago in terms of the R.E. market. In late August I was looking at great condos in NoPa and Duboce that were sitting on the market for weeks despite being priced at $1200 / sq.ft. And mortgage rates have gone up almost 2 points since even then.

    1. That section of Cortland/Bayshore has nothing to do with this location on Gates. Residents would not know it was there if they didn’t drive through it on their way to get to 101 south or 80 east. Nothing from under that overpass or behind that liquor store makes it up to Banks. I live three blocks closer to it, north side of Cortland by half block, and that’s my experience here. Though I do hate that hot mess down there.

  4. No living room?? Actually there is one, up front, it’s just separated from the dining/kitchen area, an answer to all those people complaining about too-open floorplans. 3 bedrooms on one floor. Really close to Cortland. Original, cute, trendy design that’s still popular. Succulent live wall and even a little office/yoga studio in the back. Skylights galore, back pantry. Attached garage. It’s got everything an SF’er of a certain type would want…zapped with a shrinkray.

    Dang, it feels really tight, look at that garage! How would you get out of your car (I guess it’s for the e-bikes)? Those bedrooms barely fit a bed, the living room/den barely a loveseat, the backyard room barely enough to do a parsvakonasana move. This is a dollhouse. Could go either way, just needs two (petite?) parties with money to fall in love and fight it out. But I feel like the market is distinctly unromantic right now. I’m going to say 1.65 mil.

    1. I promise you the room up front cannot be bigger than 9’x9′ (look at the listing photos on zillow, it barely fits a cowhide rug), therefore it is a study at best.

      $2M for an airbnb property in a city that has a bunch of restrictions/regulations sounds extremely overpriced. At least 91 Bronte has countertops that are not made of plastic…

      1. As we noted above, the house has never been registered as a short-term rental. And once again, despite all the nits, the home sold for $1.7 million 2017, establishing a comp for the neighborhood and other sales.

        1. The establishment of that as a comp is a lie, the collective lie that is post tech SF real estate. Pump and dump, until it’s over, and it’s over.

          1. It’s not. Contemporary appraisers default to $450/$500 ft for replacement costs on their worksheets. Building costs are not going to get cheaper. Labor is not going to get cheaper. Workmen’s comp is not going to get cheaper. Vacant lots are not going to become plentiful either. And sorry, but “post tech” ? As if tech is finished? It’s going through a phase right now, yes. But “post tech” ? I think not.

          2. Replacement cost hasn’t been a floor in previous downturns. Price of vacant lots/land is already dropping. Building costs will drop too.

          3. Folks just say stuff they can’t back up on here. Where? Where do you see the price of lots dropping? I’m looking at the lots for sale as I type this and they’re all either on steep hillsides, next to busy thoroughfares, and/or are astronomically expensive. And how do you see building costs coming down? Literally workmens comp went up like a month ago. Those type bureaucratic things don’t tend to reverse course.

          4. We’d suggest looking at the market for entitled land, which is less thinly traded, easier to compare and trending down. In terms of how building costs can drop, even if labor costs don’t decline or even rise, we’d look to material costs, which typically drop when building slows, and the line item that industry folks like to dance around: margin/profit. And in fact, in an attempt to keep teams intact and offset fixed costs, it’s not uncommon for projects to be bid at a cost accounting loss in severe downturns.

          5. I study the entitled lots market daily, thanks. But anyway, the topic of this thread is a single family home. Builders will take on a single family home project knowing that it’s going to lose money? In order to keep their crews busy? That might be a thing from time to time but it’s not going to be a measurable trend. The alternative is laying people off, more like. As to entitled single family lots dropping in price? That’s not particularly quantifiable either …. they’re not ever apples. When these things drop in price it has been because they’re sitting on the market for a great length of time at a dream price. A “make me not build it myself” price. Typically they don’t care that the engineering, site challenges, and the entitled architectural plans call for a very expensive build. That’s your problem, not theirs is the mentality. So they sit there for a super long time and maybe, maybe come down to a price where the next guy can actually turn a profit. Or else they need to access some cash. But that’s not very much of a trend ever. What they’re hoping for is the end user who has the trusted builder ready to go. And these days that’s not much of a demographic. Folks work too much. They don’t want to be bothered with hassle.

            As to materials dropping in price? I certainly hope that starts to happen across the board. There should be some relief there as supply line issues begin to get sorted. But there remains massive shipping and trucking problems in this country for various reasons. I talked to a trucking manager at length about the challenges the industry faces this summer. It was pretty enlightening. Shipping faces more geopolitical challenges. Domestic trucking has massive labor issues.

          6. Ohlone, the main issue is that you’ve got your starting premise backwards. Replacement cost drives a cap, not a floor on prices.

            If a new product can be produced for $X, its hard for the used market to stay too far above $X because suppliers can bring product to the market near that price. Granted that when the production pipeline is very long (such as in SF housing) the market can stay out of equilibrium for a long time.

            But as far a a floor due to replacement costs goes, if a seller either needs or wants to sell and the best offers out there are below what it would cost to build a similar new house, what mechanism is there to stop or slow those transactions?

          7. I mean, I follow you, but that’s merely one note I stated. And I actually think that most consumers will be encountering higher $/ft quotes in this marketplace and the foreseeable future. Because general contractors need to bake in the supply and labor issues I mentioned. Appraisers are generally quite conservative. Unless, you know, they worked for Trump seems like.

    2. I did some math based on the floor plans. If I did it right, and it’s been a long time since I’ve figured fractions and things, the garage is 8.5ft x 21ft. My oldish, smallish Hyundai Elantra is 6ft by 15ft, so a door will open 1.25ft, and that’s to the outside of the door. The width you will squish thru is less than that. The living room is 8.5ft by 10.5; the 2 front bedrooms are a little smaller. My early 70s Richmond Special bedrooms are 11 by 11. And with a sushi restaurant across the back fence…

    3. There is a small den (not a living room) upfront. It very snugly fits a loveseat, a knitted beanbag chair, and a mini coffee table. The bedrooms are very small, but yes, there are three (though, it would probably0 make sense to combine two to make a bigger primary bedroom). You could get a condo with more upscale finishings and a better layout, and possibly a bit more square footage, for the same price. The house’s tiny yard does not add much, and the whole thing is set among some very nondescript and boring residential blocks.

  5. Sooner or later, there will come a time when workingmen’s cottages, all fixed up for flipping, are seen for what they are. The prices will fall to the correct square foot price, adjusted for the modest incongruous facade. Many people now living in SF do not remember that this was largely a blue-collar town, with a few fancy neighborhoods. There are almost no modest areas left.

    1. Agreed. I think a lot of people don’t realize a lot of the lots in Bernal tend to run smaller than “average’ SF lots, and hence the homes tend to be smaller as well.

    2. I wouldn’t hold my breath…SF is not going back to being a blue collar town. Also, what exactly is the correct square foot price?

      We are in a downward correction for sure but that is largely due to FED policy. Given the liquidity risk that many institutions and countries are facing, I suspect the FED is going to proceed a lot more slowly over the next six months. Given the extremely restricted supply of SFH’s, eventually prices will cycle up again. It may take 2-5 years but it will happen…

    3. Like this Dwellified one, there are indeed lots of houses out there “all fixed up for flipping” – ones that look nice at the open house, but aren’t necessarily designed for living (they are instead designed to maximize the flipper’s return). As mentioned – open shelving in the kitchen (okay if you have lots of other storage, not okay here, when space/storage is limited); narrow and small rooms, garage and lot; the suggestion it’s a house that would be okay as an Airbnb, but not actually living in; etc. Also – no entry closet, no space/built-ins/storage for things like a vacuum/ broom, shoes/ coats, seasonal items, books, cleaning supplies, etc – space for how we actually live, with features that would mitigate the limited size and space. My guess would be all this stuff of living gets dumped into the cottage, or more likely the garage, with the car on the street, and the garage door serving as the main entry, with garage as storage/ mudroom. Perhaps designers did what they could with the limited space – visually minimizing railings, visually and physically connecting indoor and outdoor spaces with windows, doors, and balcony, and the use of pocket doors, but it seems more could be done too, say a built-in entry bench with storage at the bottom of the stairs, actual kitchen cabinet uppers, and a built-in bench along the dining room wall providing seating, storage, and opportunity to shift the dining table towards the side wall, opening the center of the dining room/ kitchen.

      You hope that buyers aren’t so swayed by the look that they miss the limitations, paying big money for a house that ends up not working well for them, but I’m not sure potential buyers will indeed see small workingman cottages like this for what they are…

  6. Is the toilet exposed behind the bed? Nothing like keeping the fire of romance burning by taking a dump in front of your partner.

    1. nevertheless … Yes. A frosted glass enclosure w/o door ain’t stopping the unromantic sounds and aromas from the use of the water closet…

  7. I actually really like it, but admit it’d work better for me than the typical small family that’s shopping for a home.

    Movie it to the north slope or maybe above Cortland I’d say closer to $2M on a good day, but on the back side of the Hill where it sits at 6.5%? Maybe $1.5ish.

    And to SF Doc: c’mon, dumping in the en suite when your partner’s in the bedroom is a totally uncool move even with a traditional door.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *