Transformed by the Boom: Noe Valley’s Evolution

Transformed by the Boom: Noe Valley’s Evolution

All across San Francisco, neighborhoods are quickly evolving, with multi-unit buildings replacing underutilized parcels and single-family homes. The transformation is most evident in a select set of neighborhoods, like the Mission, Dogpatch, and SoMa, to name a few. Yet, established neighborhoods aren’t immune to the development rush, and the transformation is playing out in these iconic SF districts in more subtle ways.

Noe Valley is a prime example. As recently as the 1990s, Noe was a rough-around-the-edges community; home and commercial spaces sat vacant and in disrepair. But thanks to the Dot Com years, the neighborhood rapidly evolved into what we know it today – an upscale, family-oriented neighborhood – Stroller Town as it’s now colloquially known.

That evolution is continuing in this latest real estate boom. Noe has long been one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city, with listings sparking a bidding wars and aging single-family homes undergoing multimillion-dollar flips. Noe’s Victorian and Edwardian row houses – one of the largest concentrations in the city — are being replaced with modern, mega-square-foot castles. And retail property owners are looking to add square footage and housing along the neighborhood’s 24th Street corridor.

The question remains: How will Noe Valley fare during the latest real estate boom? Will the neighborhood retain its quaint, manicured Victorian charm?

Noe Valley’s Latest Transformation

In recent years, Noe Valley has become a prime neighborhood for new home construction. Aging Victorian and Edwardian homes are being demolished and replaced with luxury mansions, at the chagrin of neighboring homeowners. Some of these projects are truly eye-popping:

  • A 1,050-square-foot two bedroom was recently replaced by a 5-bedroom house with a 5-car garage
  • A 6,000-square-foot two-condo building now sits were a 1,000 square foot Victorian once did
  • A developer wants to replace one of the city’s last remaining Shake Shack’s – cottages that housed refugees after the 1906 earthquake – with a 5,000-square-foot, 3-story home

These are just a few examples; there are dozens more. Flipping is also big business in the neighborhood. One home, which was purchased in 2012 for 1.575 million, recently hit the market at $5.8 million. And a Noe Valley home in disrepair recently sold for more than a half-million dollars over-asking price. Along the 24th Street corridor, developers are looking to demolish existing commercial space, and redevelop it as multi-use properties. There are four such projects in the works.

Noe Valley Home Prices are Skyrocketing

It’s clear that Noe Valley is in a transitory period, and one of the biggest drivers is San Francisco robust real estate market. Homes in the neighborhood consistently sell in upwards of $1,100 per square foot. In the most recent quarter, nearly 90 percent of homes sold over asking price, and the medium sale price currently sits over $2 million. That, in a nutshell, is what’s driving these million-dollar flips and redevelopments, and with a strong economy, it’s likely to continue.

So what’s the verdict: Is this development good for the neighborhood? On the one hand, yes. It’s good for homeowners and buyers, as home values continue to rise. Plus, San Francisco and Noe Valley could certainly benefit from some more density, especially around the neighborhood’s commercial corridors. But will the development alter Noe’s quaint, Victorian charm? That’s yet to be seen, but it’s certainly one of biggest periods of development since the early 1900s in the neighborhood’s history.

Transformed by the Boom is a series looking at how real estate development is transforming San Francisco’s established neighborhoods.