Morbidly Fascinating Home Sales Reflect Current Status of Bernal Heights Real Estate



Last week our real estate-obsessed friends at the CurbedSF posted two stories that capture the zeitgeist of Bernal Heights real estate, now that we’re officially the hottest neighborhood this side of Tattooine.

To wit:

1. 228 Ellsworth Street, just sold for $1.6 million. That’s a $900,000 boost in value, nine months and a thorough renovation after the property changed hands last May for $705,000 .

2. 138 Elsie Street, a 2000 sq ft 3BR just sold for $1.69 million, nearly $300K over its asking price.

This would appear to be the new normal. Let the teeth-gnashing begin.

PHOTOS: Top, 228 Ellsworth, Below 138 Elsie, via SFARMLS

14 thoughts on “Morbidly Fascinating Home Sales Reflect Current Status of Bernal Heights Real Estate

  1. 15% of the people in SF make over $300,000 a year. If you’re not making at least $300,000 a year the Powers That Be say something is wrong with you. They keep telling us that hard work is what makes you money, which is why the Mexicans who work in restaurants are so rich that they’re sending all their excess money home.

    • I regret that I do not. You caught me in one of those rare moments when I can’t back up what I’ve posted. I believe it was on one of the following: KALW news, KQED radio news, or KCBS. A Google news search does not turn up anything at the moment.

  2. Thanks Richard, thats helpful.

    David, to your original point, I don’t know who you mean by the “Powers That Be” nor what they are telling people making less than 300K or 200K. But higher salary *is* not just correlated with hard work. It is correlated to education, investment decisions and the industry in which people work, among other variables. On average, lawyers, doctors, basketball players, software engineers make more than restaurant workers (regardless of ethnicity) , the clergy, retail clerks, cab drivers, or non-corporate farmers. Specialization of labor has led to income disparity as certain types of labor are valued more greatly.

    Is your point that people should all be compensated equally, regardless or job? Compensated based on daily exertion? Not trolling, honestly. I’m curious as to how you think we can course correct for income disparity or enabling people to improve their income.

    • Amory, sorry I’m a bit lame at sarcasm since I am not inclined to use it. The Powers That Be are the rich propagandists who claim that they all became rich because of hard work and that this is how the rest of us will get rich. That, of course, is utter nonsense, otherwise the Mexicans among us would be the richest people in our country. Heck, my Mexican housemate has 2 jobs and has just started driving for Uber because he has an extra 4 hours a day free. I have no idea how he can do it.

      I also don’t agree with your assessment that education, investment decisions, and the industries where people work matter much, either. Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were college drop-outs. Investment decisions by both of them run contrary to common wisdom — both invested heavily in their own companies and did NOT diversify.

      As for the industries where people work, they’re not what people would suspect. For instance, I know a guy who makes dovetail drawers for cabinets. He began 15 years ago with his brother and now I believe he has 15 or 20 employees. Lots of people make cabinets and drawers, but few are getting rich. So, I don’t believe it’s the industry, either.

      TWO THINGS I believe make people rich: (1) being born rich — Bill Gates is an example. The Forbes family is another. (2) Doing something rich people are willing to pay lots of money for. Examples are my friend Max who makes the dovetail drawers (though it didn’t hurt that he is the scion of rock and roll royalty as well). Another example is the high-flying celebrity chefs. They open restaurants rich people want to go visit. They don’t open corner diners.

      THIRD: There is also a third option, and this applies to Gates, Jobs, Paul McCartney, and Michael Jackson’s estate, and celebrity chefs as well, and probably is one of the most important means to wealth: leveraging yourself. In other words, do something that once you set it up OTHER people who are paid cheaper can run with it. This means writing software or making movies — something hard to create but easy to distribute and charge premiums for, and owning something that pays royalties such as Paul McCartney’s music holdings (he owns most of the Tin Pan Alley music fo the early to mid-1900s, including even the song, “Happy Birthday”). Music can be tough to write, but once you distribute it and collect royalties, you’re set for life. Celebrity chefs often lend their names to restaurants in which they have minimal work or money invested. Wolfgang Puck was notorious for this.

      But hard work? Nawww…

    • There’s aother way. My dear and departed mother always asked me why I didn’t “get married” to a rich woman. I told her I’d try, but that I simply didn’t meet many.

  3. Looks like a nice place.

    You know, instead on concentrating on the top of the market, you could concentrate on the bottom of the market.

    • Here’s the bottom of the market in Bernal for the last three months – everything that sold for less than $725,000. I have no inside info on any of these.

      421 Nevada (below Tompkins) $470,000
      700 square foot unliveable – essentially a tear down – likely no bank would finance on it – so probably all cash deal sold to a developer

      162 College (at Mission) $650,000
      1200 square foot – looks like maybe a foreclosure, went on MLS and went into contract the same day, then took 3 months to close.

      747 Anderson (below Crescent) $660,000
      992 legal square foot with unwarranted space in attic – “great fixer” – approved plans, probably all cash deal sold to developer

      37 Rutledge (at Brewster) $700,000
      900 legal square feet – definitely an all cash deal – complete tear down – but a large lot

  4. Does anyone know what the exact/official/TRUE boundaries of the Bernal Heights North Slope are ? From what I have seen on some real estate websites, it looks like some lower hillside properties very close to the 101 freeway (to my knowledge, this is the easternmost boundary line) are being listed as in the North Slope. Thank you.

  5. Had a quick laff over the weekend — the buyers of the property at 138 Elsie were seen leaving the open house for the 4bedroom/2.5bath home at 142 Elsie (went on sale last week). They were clearly depressed (maybe even angry), after seeing the fab layout of the house offered for $1.525M after they’d paid nearly $1.7M for their new pad – with its awkward and less family-friendly floorplan… Oops, buyer’s remorse or neighbor-envy?? We call the pink house at 138 Elsie St. “Gus’ old house” and sorta miss the incredibly friendly orange tabby cat known for biting strangers who dared to pet his underside…

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