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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Parallel Universe: Noe Valley Apparently Didn't Get The Memo

Today, as we continued to obsess over this week's news that the real estate market tanked badly in January, we heard a story that sounded so bizarre we thought at first it came from the Twilight Zone.

"We keep trying to buy something, but then we get outbid," said a friend of ours who lives in San Francisco and who drove north over the Golden Gate Bridge to have lunch with us today. "Each weekend we keep running into the same people at open houses. I feel like I'm starting to get to know them."

Apparently, all those people are looking for the same thing as our friend and his wife: a condo in the $1.1-$1.3 million price range in San Francisco's Noe Valley, the hip-to-be-a-family-with-one-or-possibly-two-kids neighborhood where, if this wild tale is to be believed, multiple offers and bidding wars are still common.

Freshly bruised from a failed attempt to buy a 4BR condo on Church (a 2,283-square-foot Zephyr listing, with an asking price of $1.199 million), our friend had a haunted look in his eyes. "We were one of six who bid," he said. "And we came in No. 2."

"Who got the condo in the end?" we asked gently.

"Somebody who bid $1.31," he said. "We thought we had it, but they came in with a no-contingency offer and agreed to close in fourteen days. The owners had already moved out, and they just wanted the cash fast."

"Weird," we said, although frankly we would have taken the cash fast, too.

"You'll get the next one," we said (as if we knew the first thing about what's going on in the San Francisco real estate market). "It must have been a fluke."

Or was it? Is there some secret, robust real-estate market hiding out in plain sight in San Francisco?

[Photo credit: Historic Noe Valley street scene by way of]