Summer 2010 Market Outlook for San Francisco’s Real Estate Market

Summer 2010 Market Outlook for San Francisco’s Real Estate Market

July 23, 2010
Real Estate Report News and Updates for Homeowners
In This Issue

Summer Market Outlook
Applications Now Being Accepted for GoSolarSF
Tax Credit Extension is Welcome News
Living With Nature in the City
SFPL Now Offers Free Language Learning Tools
How the City Can Help You Cut Clutter!

Cheryl Bower
DRE# 01505551

Summer Market Outlook

Consumer confidence has always played a major role in the health of the real estate market, and it’s playing a starring role in today’s lackadaisical summer sales numbers. Although it’s not uncommon for the months of August and September to show a decrease in closing volume (for properties that went into contract in July and August), this year we are experiencing an earlier than usual slowdown.

So if consumer confidence is to blame, what’s the story?  The story is that no one seems to feel secure about what’s just around the corner economically. Foreclosures are still taking place, and there haven’t been any clear changes in the course of unemployment statistics. There are positive signs from Wall Street, but nobody trusts that any more.

The cure for our consumer confidence doldrums will need to come in the form of some tangible changes in the general economy.

We did hear one piece of positive news that is worth repeating. Pete Elting of Guarantee Mortage mentioned that the recent numbers in jobless claims are misleading. He pointed out that they included hundreds of thousands of temporary census workers who saw their stint with the government discontinued. He also cited that the private sector had added 83,000 jobs! We think everyone can agree that we would prefer job growth in the private sector, and that seems to be what’s happening.

Our prediction… everyone who waits for consumer confidence to come around before purchasing will be wishing that they had bought property while the prices and the mortgage rates were low. There’s often a price for waiting for everyone to agree that times are good, and it usually comes in the form of higher home prices.

Applications Now Being Accepted for GoSolarSF

As of July 1, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is accepting applications for the GoSolarSF program. During the 2010-11 fiscal year, the program is allocating $5 million in funds to home and business owners who install solar power on their properties, with $2 million devoted to low-income residential applicants.

According to the mayor’s office, since its inception in 2008, GoSolarSF has increased the number of solar installations in San Francisco from 795 to 1,934 and created at least 40 new “green collar” jobs with local companies.

Making green improvements to your home not only improves its overall value, it also helps save money in the short term on your electric bill. How much could you save by going solar? For a quick and dirty estimate, check out; all you need to know is your zip code and the cost of your average monthly electric bill.

Any resident or business in San Francisco that is on a meter and pays an electricity bill is eligible for the GoSolarSF incentive. To learn more and apply, visit

Living With Nature in the City
•Warning: Animals in illustration may be much cuter than animals in real life.

In San Francisco, we enjoy an abundance of open space, from the Presidio to Golden Gate Park to Bernal Heights. But with it, we must accept the possibility of encountering those creatures we usually expect to meet out in the country.

We recently learned that the city is actually home to some coyotes. As unexpected as an encounter with one of these wild canines might be, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

So, the number one rule with coyotes is: don’t feed the coyotes! Like any wild animal, increased human contact and easy hunting can make these creatures more likely to confront people and pets aggressively. If you have small pets and live near an open space, it’s best to keep your animals supervised. A shaken can of pennies should startle and deter a coyote should one show up in your yard or intercept an evening stroll.

Unlikely urban neighbors like raccoons, skunks and even possums can be a pest. Since these animals are usually born and raised in our city neighborhoods, they are typically more bold when it comes to approaching humans; this can be particularly hazardous if you have curious children. The best way to keep these critters at bay is to cut off their nocturnal buffets: seal garbage containers and bring your pet’s food and water in at night. A motion-sensitive light can help scare off unwanted intruders as well.

With a little common sense, we can ensure that these wily animals enjoy their city life as much as we do.

How the City Can Help You Cut Clutter!

Unwanted handbills on one’s property are a seemingly small nuisance that can quickly get out of hand. Especially when you consider that everyone from the toddler next door to your grandmother can track down pages of business info online, yet another paper takeout menu seems downright wasteful, whether it’s taking up space in your junk drawer or littering your block.

In San Francisco, it is easy to stop the posting and delivery of these items. According to the Department of Public Works: “To stop delivery of unwanted handbills, you must post a sign that reads: “No Handbills”. The notice must be at least eight square inches and be posted in a conspicuous area. If a sign is posted, it is illegal to distribute handbills anywhere on your property, including your porch, yard, steps, hallway, or mailbox.” So, one sheet of paper can effectively block the wave of hundreds more!

Agent’s Corner

Summer is often slow for our business with so many people travelling or just taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather and truly unique events going on every weekend. It really reminds us of what makes San Francisco one of the very best places to live.

When you’re ready to come inside and start exploring the world of San Francisco real estate again, we encourage you to visit our brand new Web site, Designed with you in mind, it is a great resource for buyers, sellers and really anyone who’d just like to learn more about San Francisco.

When the time comes for you to consider either buying or selling a home in the City, we hope you’ll keep us in mind. And in the meantime, enjoy San Francisco!

Tax Credit Extension is Welcome News

Just before July 4th, we welcomed some wonderful news for home buyers, sellers, the real estate industry — perhaps even the whole U.S. economy! An extension of the very popular Home Buyer Tax Credit aims to continue to stimulate the housing market. This new legislation will create a seamless extension of the credit, with a new closing deadline of September 30, 2010. First-time home buyers may qualify for a tax credit of up to $8,000 while current home owners who purchase a new or existing home may get up to $6,500.

While the tax credit has been a boon to the industry and a welcome relief to home buyers, the National Association of Home Builders reminds us that with mortgage rates at historic lows,

increased inventory and more affordable prices, sellers are more motivated to enter the market now than they have been in some time. It’s truly an exciting moment in the fast-paced world of real estate, whether you’re looking to buy or sell.

SFPL Now Offers Free Language Learning Tools

Travelling overseas this summer? Tickets bought, hotels booked, housesitter hired. Don’t forget to renew your passport (the fee to renew just went up from $75 to $110) and make sure that your luggage meets new TSA and airline guidelines. You’ll also probably want to download some books or movies to pass the time on that long flight; might as well splurge on the bar cart while you’re at it. And before you’ve even reached your destination, your budget is blown!

Well, thanks to our San Francisco Public Library, at least one pre-travel task feels like a steal. If you have a library card, you can now access much of the collection of Rosetta Stone foreign language tutorials. This is the same costly program used by business professionals for years.

Finding this resource on the library’s new Web site is a little tricky; direct your browser to and let the learning begin!
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About Cheryl Bower

Cheryl is a S.F. native & 17 year property investor/renovator, specializing in S.F. real estate including residential sales & leasing.

She represents sellers, first time buyers, move up buyers, investors, & landlords in San Francisco, San Mateo County & beyond.

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