Bernal Tops List of SF Neighborhoods with Most Growth in $1M+ Homes

According to the number-crunchers from the online real estate site Trulia, 63% of all homes in San Francisco are now valued at $1 million or more. But which San Francisco neighborhood has seen most growth in the concentration of million-dollar homes? Gird your loins, humble neighbors, because that dubious distinction belongs to us.

Indeed, Trulia estimates that 87% of all Bernal Heights homes are now worth more than a million bucks. (Their calculation is based on the estimated value of each home, independent of whether or not its actually for sale.)

After looking at the same data, SF Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius wrote about this strange new reality last week while describing the situation of Neighbor Jennifer and Neighbor Russ:

In June 2014, Jennifer Ott and her husband, Russ Poldrack, bought a house in Bernal Heights for just under $1 million.

It’s a fixer-upper.

It needs such extensive renovation that it scared off house flippers who speculate in the white-hot real-estate market, Ott says. That’s why, she says, they were able to land what she jokingly calls “the ugliest house in the nicest neighborhood we could afford.”

A year later the house is valued at $1.2 million, and Ott says there’s no way they could afford it now.

They got in just in time.

Only five years ago, 7 percent of the houses in Bernal Heights were valued at $1 million or more. Today, more than 86 percent are million-dollar homes.

That astounding fact was rooted out by housing economist Ralph McLaughlin, who produced a study for the real-estate web site Trulia on the spike in housing values across the city from 2010 to 2015.

But, but… why? Why have home values in Bernal increased with such nose bleed-inducing quickness? Bernalwood also reached out to Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s housing economist, for some explanation. He told us:

With respect to market dynamics, Bernal Heights likely made the top of our list because of it’s relative proximity to already expensive neighborhoods in 2010. In 2010, Bernal Heights didn’t have many $1 million dollar homes, but was in very close proximity to Noe Valley, Portrero Hill, and the Mission, which did. So as demand increased between 2010-2015, $1 million dollar homes spilled over into other “bargain” neighborhoods that were close by, such as Bernal Heights. A similar phenomenon occurred in the Central and Outer Sunset, which were in close proximity to other million dollar neighborhoods in 2010 (Forest Hill and West Portal).

6 thoughts on “Bernal Tops List of SF Neighborhoods with Most Growth in $1M+ Homes

  1. “Their calculation is based on the estimated value of each home, independent of whether or not its actually for sale.”

    Because if all Bernal houses were for sale at one time, or even say 20% were simultaneously on sale, the price would fall below $1m pretty quickly. Wonder if the Trulia folks can adjust average and median values based on historic inventory levels vs. today’s somewhat diminished supply.

    • “Because if all Bernal houses were for sale at one time, or even say 20% were simultaneously on sale”

      Because if all the Bernal parkland was used for housing, I wonder if Trulia folks can adjust average and median values with all the new real estate on the market?

      • Well that’s one way to solve the housing crisis…

        Still a good idea to reality check assumptions about paper housing values. If inventories are at historic lows, that might explain a lot of the increase.

  2. Pingback: NIMBY Neighbors Seek to Appeal Approved New Housing at Board of Supervisors | Bernalwood

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