Two Homes Tell a Brain-Melting Story About Bernal Heights Real Estate


Our real estate-obsessed friends at the CurbedSF blog posted two stories this week that provide a snapshot portrait of the current (OMFG) state of the Bernal residential home market.

Coming just after this week’s (OMFG) update on the state of the Bernal residential rental market, the basic story in the residential home sales market is probably easy to anticipate. But let’s go through the motions anyway, if only in the spirit of science and inquiry.

Snapshot One is a remodeled shoebox on Peralta just south of Cortland that was just flipped for a staggering $400K (?!?!?!) above its asking price and doubled in value over the course of a year. Here’s a split view of the home before and after the remodel:


CurbedSF says:

The little house at 853 Peralta Street sits a mere stone’s throw away from the 101 freeway. It isn’t at the heart of trendy Bernal Heights, but that didn’t stop flippers from fixing up the once-simple house and selling it for $1.75 million. That price is more than double what the flippers paid last April, when they bought the home for $830,000. At that time, the home had the original fixtures from its 1977 construction, including a kitchen squished into one corner, a brick fireplace in another, and a red plank back deck. The house was given a makeover that left it with an open plan, a new kitchen, and a freshly landscaped backyard.

CurbedSF has a cool slider widget-thingy that lets you view lots of before/after shots of this house, so click through to play along.

Snapshot Two is a funny little house on Prospect near Coso:


CurbedSF sayeth:

There’s something off-kilter about the little blue cottage at 22 Prospect Avenue, on the north slope of Bernal Heights. And it’s not just the wide-set windows, whose lower-than-usual placement gives the facade a somewhat downcast expression. Inside, the two-bed, one-bath home reveals itself to be an oddball cross between a woodsy cabin and some sort of loft. The rafters are exposed, and more than a few walls look as though knotty wood panels (or possibly laminate?) have been rigged up below the ceiling. There’s a pair of stainless-steel sinks in the bathroom, and one bedroom has a weirdly institutional vibe, with streaky carpet tile and a ceiling that wouldn’t look out of place in an office or classroom.

The home—which clocks in at 1,314 square feet, per property records—is listed for $789K, a modest $600 per square for what the brokerbabble acknowledges is a fixer.

What our friends at CurbedSF were really trying to say (though perhaps they didn’t know it) is that this Bernal Heights house is a classic Bernal Heights-style home — only it now comes with a price tag inflated by several years limited housing inventory. Here’s an interior view:


Anyone care to guess what the sale price for 22 Prospect will be? And what it will look like 18 months from now?

11 thoughts on “Two Homes Tell a Brain-Melting Story About Bernal Heights Real Estate

  1. 22 Prospect also happens to sit on a fairly enormous lot (by SF and certainly Bernal standards) of 3,672 Sq. Ft.

    So the sky is the limit with this property once the flippers start throwing cash offers at this.

    My guess is that the facade facing the street will remain largely in tact (if it’s built circa 1900 as stated on Redfin, there are possibly some historical resource constraints that will limit anything drastic like demolition and starting from scratch) — frankly it looks like a potential earthquake cottage, thought that would need to be later than 1906.

    Someone will bolt on an ultramodern portion to the house on the backside, and will try to build up to take advantage of the view. My guess, is that this sells for $1.6 million and comes back to market in Spring 2017 as an uber-modern (read: bland) box with 3,500 sf of living space and and asking price of ~$3.5 million.

    Noe Valley pricing will start becoming the norm on this side of the hill.

  2. That cottage is rad. I’d love to have my hand at fixing it up… but like Infernal Heights said, it’s all about the land with that one. It sold for $4k in 2000 fer chrissake, certainly not based on the value of the structure.

  3. I hope a nice, local, funky, down-to-earth, do-it-yourself kind of family gets to buy that place for close to asking, and carries on in the fashion of the nice, funky, down-to-earth, do-it-yourself kind of family that lives there now. Sidewalk bench out front; mint juleps in the back on race day. It’d be a shame to waste this on some snot-nosed millionaire with more dollars than sense.

  4. the facade of 22 Prospect is certainly going to be historic. So nobody would be able to build forward on the lot. And it’s already set back, so building back would be the way expand it. Bernal has pretty strict rules for scale though … I think four different neighborhood planning boards? Not sure which one this falls in. But it’s not going to be as if you can take the city Planning ratio and simply slap it onto the back of that cottage, getting a monster home. Not without a variance. And how are you going to get a garage in, there? No, I think somebody will build it out but the ~$3.5M house is not likely to happen. That said, I do agree with Infernal Heights that Noe Valley pricing is on its way. Or else it’s already here, ’cause that’s what the Peralta house did, seems like.

      • Thanks. OK, so 70 %. But there are other things up a rung at the DBI level, like rear set backs typically. This house is already set back on the lot, and forget about going forward because it’s historic.

      • Google Maps suggests that the house is at the front of a deep lot. If so, there is plenty of room to go up and back. And, with the option of substituting bicycle parking for car parking, they could put in one off-street car spot in the front for saleability and satisfy the rest of parking requirements with bike spots.

  5. I was looking forward to seeing this house what I think was going to be the first open house today (5/3/15) but it appears the open house has been cancelled and the house is listed as a pending. That was fast. Either the sellers met their dream buyer or were given a huge check, big enough to fend off future offers. It will be interesting to see the final price.

  6. The house sold for $1.2 million on 5/8/15, so it must have been a cash offer with no contingencies with that kind of quick close.

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