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February 8, 2010

Entry-Level Price Range Explodes in San Francisco

There was a time when it was pretty challenging to find properties with decent space in San Francisco for up to $650,000. Now that the market has softened a bit—and some of the buyers who sat on the sidelines last year (saving money in the interim) have jumped back in the game—there’s a perfect first-time home buyer storm sweeping over the city.

Bad metaphors aside, I’m really encouraged by activity in this market segment. A look at the properties listed for up to $650,000 that have gone into contract recently or are pending is indicative of its strength. To date, 110 such condos have gone into contract since January, at an average price of $467,943. Of these, 61 one-bedroom units were listed at an average of $463,841, and most interestingly, 29 two-bedroom condos were listed at an average of $525,921. There was a time when it was virtually impossible to find a two-bedroom in this range, but that seems to be fortunately changing. And 78 condos are pending that were listed for up to $650,000.

I should note that not every neighborhood will have two bedrooms in this range. The most likely possibilities are areas such as the Mission, South of Market, Diamond Heights. Things open up for one bedrooms, with neighborhoods like the Van Ness corridor, Mission Bay, South Beach, South of Market and the Central Waterfront (Dogpatch) popping up.

If you’re dreaming of a single-family home, the entry-level range is a little sparse. For up to $650,000, you’re generally looking at two-bedroom homes in areas such as the Outer Sunset/Parkside; Ingleside Heights; Sunnyside; Bernal Heights; Excelsior; Outer Mission; Visitacion Valley; Silver and Mission Terraces. A total of 100 single-family homes are currently in contract or pending with list prices of up to $650,000. And yes, the homes are generally located in the aforementioned neighborhoods.

Heading into February, we’re looking at 244 condos currently on the market (a mix of studios, one- and two-bedrooms). Now might be a good time to get off the sidelines, take advantage of the federal tax credit before it expires in the spring, and negotiate your way to your first home.

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