We Deliver Enthusiastic & Comprehensive Professional Real Estate Services for Our Clients Who Buy & Sell Successfully in San Francisco  
— Kevin & Jonathan
Our Mission:

It’s All About You. 

Grow your success, wealth and happiness together with Kevin + Jonathan.

My name is Kevin Ho and I am Broker Associate and Top Producer at Vanguard Properties, one of the top San Francisco brokerages that is also locally owned and operated. I am also one of San Francisco’s Top 10% of Agents. Together with my partner Jonathan McNarry, we specialize in residential real estate in and around our fair city of San Francisco representing buyers, sellers, investors and builders.  My client base and business continues to grow — success begets success. I am from Iowa City, Iowa originally, I am also an active attorney in California and have lived in San Francisco for 10 years.  Jonathan hails from the U.K. via Atlanta and has worked in large-scale community development planning and sales as well as working in the healthcare sector in addition to real estate.  We do real estate differently than most: we genuinely love what we do, we are hand’s on and we work hard, wisely and empathetically.

I’ve been an invited commentator/expert on Curbed SF, have been quoted and featured in the New York Times for innovative real estate marketing, and interviewed a number of times on local television news talking about real estate.

Our clients benefit from having a two agents, a big black dog, a lawyer, realtor, mediator, reporter, and rapid response nurse work for them.

While this site is about our services and market information, it’s really about client success. So explore our site, send us an email or give us a call (415) 875-7408 to start today.




Kevin K. Ho, Esq.


Top Producer & Top 21 Club Vanguard Properties (bre 01875957 | sbn 233408) Member: SFAR MLS & Technology Committee, Residential Builder’s Association, State Bar Real Property Section, Bar Association of San Francisco, AIA, Top Agent Network (Top 10% of San Francisco Agents)




Jonathan McNarry


Realtor Vanguard Properties (bre 01747295)


line-book2   Over the past 4 years Kevin has been compiling our collected experience, learning and knowledge in one place — our ongoing and evolving Buyers’ Guide, which you can download below.

  • Learn how our clients win at competitive bidding without being the highest offer.

  • Familiarize yourself with San Francisco’s neighborhoods.

  • Get your ducks in a row so you can buy right away

  • Gain valuable knowledge so we’re competitive.

All of this and more by downloading our 100-page long Buyer’s Guide here.

Clients Say…

Kevin listened to our story and took the time to understand who we were and our personalities and then asked more than a few more questions to narrow down where we should live.  His advice definitely helped us narrow down the choices and helped us with the all important targeting of our search. [H]e gave us very candid and honest responses to our questions including dissuading us from a couple of apartments that in retrospect would have been completely wrong for us.

When we finally found a place that we unquestionably loved, Kevin guided us through the process in winning a bidding war before the house even made it to its first public open house.  He helped quell a lot of the eleventh hour jitters and pushed us in the helpful way not the overbearing way.  Ultimately, we were absolutely delighted with the purchase and he was integral in the process and could not recommend him more to others.

— Mitchell & Debbie

 Buyers, Relocated from New York, SOMA



Clients Say…

We bought our house and Kevin was super responsive, incredibly helpful and full of knowledge. He was the perfect guide in navigating what can be a complicated and confusing process. Thanks Kevin!

— Christel L.

Buyer, Berkeley

The Latest...

What’s the Latest?

Data Bits | August 9-16, 2014

For the past 7 days (August 9, 2014 – August 16, 2014) there were 128 properties that closed escrow (+13 from last week).

  • Single-family homes: 61 (+20 from last week); 6 sold under list price, 4 at the list price and the other 51 sold above the list price.
  • Condominiums, Tenancy in Common/Co-Ops: 60 (+4)
  • 2 to 4 unit buildings: 6 (-7)
  • 5+ unit buildings: 1 (-4)

This Week’s Most-Over-Asking Price Single-Family Home goes to a ho-hum Glen Park home at 616 Arlington with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1400 sqft. Reminiscent of a Sunset home with its center patio was listed at a modest $899,000 selling at $1.2M, some 133% of list price or at $857/sqft. A close Second Place should go to 15 Fountain, which was a single-family home at the top of Noe Valley that had a site permit issued to update the 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom 3600-sqft home with 3 levels of living space and a 2-car garage with views to boot. The property sold in 2012 for $1.53M, or at $421/sqft. Fast forward two years later and a major renovation that added about 300 sqft of space, an extra garage space and over-the-top finishes with stunning floor-to-ceiling windows that created a luxurious and modern home. Also going up, the 2014 list price: $3.998M And what about the 2014 sale price? A cool $5.15M or 128% over list price at $1,324/sqft! A Special Mention for the most seemingly absurd sale this week may well go to 551 Eureka. This 3-bedoom, 1-bathroom home at 23rd Street lacked parking and what’s more, had a large pre-school area in the home’s large lower level that ends — yes, ends — August 31st. Never mind all of this as the list price was still $1.425M for this 1620-sqft home with the selling price being some 126% of the list price at $1.8M at $1,111/sqft.


In Contract

868 Minnesota, No. 411, Chic, serene & spacious condominium with 1 bedroom / 1.5 baths at Esprit Park. Serene, bright & amenity-filled. (MLS 423598) Listed at: $739,000 (Contingent within 72-hours of debut)


In Contract:

1050–1056 Stuart Street, Lafayette, CA, 4-unit income property atop pretty hill in the affluent East Bay suburb of Lafayette adjacent to 2 vacant parcels. (SF MLS 423535) Listed at: $1,050,000


Just Sold.

135 Valencia Street, A210. Valencia Corridor/Mission condo with 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car parking, elevator. Spacious & smart (MLS 421175) Listed at: $599,000 SOLD AT: $725,000


Listings in the Works:

Top-Floor Mission Dolores Condominium SOMA, 2-Bed/2-Bath, 2-level Loft Condominium Large Parkside Single-Family Home with 4 beds/4 baths and 2-car parking with yard

Exclusive Listings from Two Real Estate Agents and A Big Black Dog from the recent past, present and future.


Now Available:

Two Vacant Parcels in Lafayette next to 1050–1056 Stuart Street in the affluent San Francisco suburb of Lafayette. (SF MLS 423537 & 423549) Listed at: $998,000 + $998,000


Just Sold!

788 Minna Street, No. 403, Mid-Market/SOMA condo 1-bed, 1-bath, 1 car parking, elevator. Sophisticated and bright (circa 2011)(MLS 421876). Listed at: $600,000 Listed at: $600,000 SOLD AT: $607,500 (July 21, 2014)


Recently Sold:

471 Hickory Street. Hayes Valley single-family home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 2-3 car garage parking, private center patio. Cute, bright and chic. (MLS 421090) Listed at: $1,060,000 SOLD AT: $1,400,000 (June 12, 2014, multiple offers)


Recently Sold:

273 Romain Street, Twin Peaks/Upper Market view single-family home. Refreshed with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1 car garage parking and private yard. Quiet street, light, airy with incredible 180º views from Bay to Peaks. (MLS 420070) Listed at: $995,000 SOLD AT: $1,270,000 (May 30, 2014, multiple offers)



Agents Say…

We received a lot of good offers…, but based on our past relationship and how smoothly it went, I pushed for your offer.

— Listing Agent, San Francisco, Castro

(Client closed on property beating out 2 other offers)

Let’s Roll.  What would you like to do today? 

Are you buying? Selling? Browsing? Regardless of what you’re doing we’re here to help. Take a gander at current listings by using the MLS search form to the left and/or call us to learn more about a given neighborhood, property or trend and we’ll get going.

Hire Us.

At a good friend's wedding.


(Search the MLS Live using Kevin’s credentials)

Sell Smart.




(Open House Picks for August 9-10, 2014)

Buy Wisely.




(Tuesday, August 19, 2014)




In the Know with Kevin + Jonathan …

This is custom, non-automated, weekly email newsletter grants you access to inside information about upcoming/off-market listings; relevant San Francisco real estate news; and, Stories of the Week the inside information about how a listing sells, e.g., multiple offers, over-asking or winning terms.

Become a Real Estate Insider with Kevin & Jonathan by signing up!

Take the Plunge.
Readers Say…

I love the style of your newsletter! It is so informative and fun! I love to see what is happening in my neighborhood too.

—Cynthia W.

Home Owner, Noe Valley

Top 10% of San Francisco Agents


Remodeling and Home Design

Clients Say

We couldn’t be happier with the service we received from Kevin.

He’s personable, helpful, tech-savvy, and extremely dedicated! Kevin is a very opinionated realtor, but I say this in a good way.  There were many homes that we were willing to bid on in what was a very challenging market, but thankfully Kevin kept our best interests in mind.  Rather than going for a quick close, he actually talked us out of a few homes to make sure we stayed true to our criteria.

Aaron & Ashley 

Buyers, Charming Victorian (Noe Valley)


T H E  W E E K  I N  R E V I E W

In the Know with Kevin & Jonathan: Our Annual Summer Slowdown —Opportunities for Buyers & Sellers Alike

August 16-17, 2014 Edition, No. 33

And It’s Time for the Annual Summer Slowdown

First spotted last week, agents are now really already withholding new listings until the traditional post-Labor Day push. This really does means potential deals for buyers but competition for stand-out properties.

Here are some observations for this week:

According to this week’s Business Times, one hundred percent of pre-leased office space in San Francisco is slated to go to tech companies. With 53,000 tech-based jobs already created by tech it’s only natural that of the 3 million sqft of office space being built today 2.2 million sqft has been pre-leased by tech companies. Indeed the average square footage rate has gone up to $64/sqft a 50% gain since 2008 market lows and for more “creative” work spaces prices have surged by more than 76%. (Over the past few years commercial owners have converted nearly 10M sqft of space into the type suited for tech companies. If 10M didn’t meet the demand the 3M being built now Market watchers say this counter-commute trend is in response to worker preferences and the notion that a company’s workspace being a draw especially if they can bike or walk to work. Anyone renting should be buying instead. It’s crazy with interest rates being so low and rents so high not to be locking in interest rates now. But, you may ask, won’t I have to compete? Aren’t sellers expecting 10, 20, 30 percent over the list price? Well, maybe, because buyers are facing less competition as the stock market’s volatility is impacting how people think of their finances and giving them pause which is causing them to hold back when in reality they should be investing in something far more stable and tangible — real estate. Yes, but … not in all cases and the summer stupor that usually sets in of agents having offer dates but receiving nothing is happening more often than not as you’ll see from this week’s Stories of the Week. This past week’s Tuesday Broker Tour was lightly attended and the agents themselves are feeding into this summer slowdown by holding back on their listings. Therefore you may see two trends emerge that are somewhat opposed to each other (no one said complexity was simple!)

  • Now is a great opportunity to buy… if there isn’t an offer date set as most agents are still expecting an offer date to be set. So when one isn’t set this will throw them for a loop. Indeed, some agents are now going to two offer dates: A ‘soft offer date’ with the first one being told to agents while the second one being the one that matters. Is this the era of the second offer date with the first being fake the second being real?
  • And if your property is truly a gem then this is also a time to sell and go on the market as attractive properties will really draw attention (and offers see 15 Fountain below and watch for 16A Henry this week).

Almost got that real estate is more stable than stock… almost. You may remember 5800 Mission Street, which was a 50+ entitled project that was bought earlier this year for $8M by a young 34 year-old with $51M in stock who wanted to try his hand at real estate development. Well, instead of getting started right away he wanted to finance construction, which his a long process even for folks with $51M in stock. Well, because he failed to liquidate his stock portfolio instead his stock account is now down to $18M. And thus endeth the real estate experiment. The property will be returning to the market this year.

Interested in Interest Rates?

Before you miss out on historically low rates lock ‘em in now as last week saw rates surge up by .25% over the span of a few hours one day and then slipping back to where they started at the beginning of the day. There’s volatility out there to say the least.  Vanguard’s lending partner, Citibank and Tony Alencar told us that the following rates are current as of this weekend. Feel free to contact Tony Alencar at: 415-215-1239.

  • 30 year fixed – 3.875% @ 0- points (rates this week are generally less by 1/8th point)
  • 10/1 ARM – 3.250% @ 0- points
  • 7/1 ARM – 3.000% @ 0- points
  • 5/1 ARM – 2.625% @ 0- points

All loans are at 0 points and no pre-payment penalties. Additional discounts available where a 30-year jumbo up to $8M (yes, million) can be as low as 3.625% with 0 points. 

Our Network is Bigger than You Think.

Leverage Your Real Estate Position Anywhere in the World with Vanguard Properties

Don’t forget that Vanguard is aligned with Leverage Global Partners — with a network of 140-member independent brokerages including the Partners Trust in LA and CORE in New York. The network is comprised of vetted brokerages that are connected to each other and bound by a common set of life-style like-minded agents. How’s that for a better alternative to Realogy?


The Latest Real Estate RSS News:

RSS The Latest from Our Friends at Curbed SF

RSS From SF Gate’s On the Block

  • Danielle Steel puts Seadrift home on the market August 19, 2014
    Novelist Danielle Steel’s romance with Stinson Beach is over. Earlier this month she put beachfront 164 Seadrift Rd. on the market for a staggering $8.995 million after selling off lagoon-facing 165 Seadrift Road in 2008. (The three-bedroom, three-bath recently resold in June for $2.511 million, 70K less than what the author got for it six years […]
  • Rare example of Mid-century Modern hits Hillsborough MLS for first time in 50 years August 18, 2014
    Whether you’re a fan or a hater of Eichler homes, this Hillsborough home demands your attention. First, its attributes distinguish it as a more dramatic example of the style, with an extreme, high-peaked roof, “bold angles,” and “steep lines running the length of the home,” to quote Realtor.com. Indeed, the house is distinct from the […]
  • Noe is the new Pac Heights: Luxury home market shifts southward August 14, 2014
    In the last seven years, sales of $2-million-plus homes have shifted from the city’s northern neighborhoods (like Pacific Heights, the Marina and Telegraph Hill) to southern locales (like Noe and Eureka Valleys), according to a new report from Paragon Real Estate. In 2007, 62% of $2-million-plus single-family sales took place in what Paragon dubs “Prestige [
Check This Out

Relevant information for you now


Why You’re Hiring Vanguard Properties

Vanguard Properties continues its Number 1 position in District 9 (SoMa, South Beach, Dogpatch, Potrero, Bernal Heights) and have moved up in District 5 (Noe and Eureka Valleys, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores) to the Number 2 position just $10M short of Zephyr (a company that has nearly 80 more agents than Vanguard Properties) with 14.5% of the district’s market share. And of note, Districts 5 & 9 are the most traded in the City. Overall for all of San Francisco, Vanguard Properties is now Number 4 in overall trade/dollar volume as based on closed transactions. Vanguard Properties is on the way to the $1B mark for 2014 thanks to all of you and your referrals. Keep them coming! At Vanguard Properties we are committed to understanding your individual needs. We promise to provide you with the kind of quality service that will exceed your expectations. Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. And all of this is thanks to you and yours. Keep up the support and help us succeed in helping you succeed. Learn more HERE.


San Francisco is Worth the Price

kevinhoSFO map You’ve heard it before — San Francisco is a truly international city that will command a premium that attracts international buyers the world over. And while you may hear of growth in Houston, for example, would you really want to live there? Would the rest of the world’s people want to visit? Instead, San Francisco stands out from most of the country (bar NYC) as being tops in real estate and the place to be for tourist and techie alike —18 of the top 25 tech companies are here for example.

Our universities, proximity to emerging markets, financial base and diversity attracts the best and the brightest (although Berkeley and Stanford may have something to do with it). Plus our climate, while foggy sometimes, still beats cold vortexes and heat waves. And because land is scarce here … well, you get the picture.

Did we mention there’s wine here too?


A Little More About Kevin & Jonathan.

Team Kevin and Jonathan’s background and personality lend themselves to real estate naturally.  Kevin loves what he does and doesn’t think of it as work at all. It beats being a full-time lawyer hands down, but Kevin values being a lawyer at the same time as it gives him an edge in that he can interpret documents for clients as well as to bring an additional layer of confidence, knowledge and authority. Meanwhile, Jonathan bring a background of large-scale real estate development and health care to the table. He worked with his family in the Southeast as they developed large tracts of land into communities and has been selling real estate since he was 18. Jonathan works as a RN at UCSF where he has provided healthcare to patients of all ages, shapes and sizes. He is part of the hospital’s elite Rapid Response Team, works with ICU patients that requires absolute focus and the ability to handle all kinds of situations adeptly, calmly and professionally.  He has also worked as a paramedic/EMT, Respiratory Therapist, banker, insurance agent and Notary Public. He brings experience as well as a perspective that is cool, steady and nimble — just what the real estate doctor ordered!

Here’s what Kevin has done in bullet-point form:


  • Lawyer, ’04 to present (Cal. SBN 233408)
  • Law degree, (JD) U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall) ’04
  • Master’s in Diplomacy & Int’l Studies (MA), University of London (SOAS) ’01
  • BA, East Asian Studies,WashU ’00 (Junior Year Abroad,New College, Oxford University)
  • Worked as a reporter, lawyer, mediator and legal clerk
  • Bay Area resident, 13 years, born & raised, Iowa City, Iowa
  • English, Cantonese, Mandarin, German, HTML
  • Cook, bike and play with Raffi (a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainee) in my free time


  • In 2012,  I tripled my real estate business here in San Francisco — going from $2.8M worth of transactions to about $10M.
  • In 2013, I closed about $20M in business and 2014 is surpassing 2013… I’ve gotten to the point in my career where clients are firing their agents to work with me and I am starting to develop a more robust team to support.
  • On average, I have an active pool of 15-20 clients looking to buy or sell property from the $500,000 range to $4M price points with a ratio of 70% buyers and 30% sellers.
  • I have an average of 3-4 escrows open at a time which means my days are busy but only just so; my schedule also allows me to focus on my clients, handle last-minute issues, and to meet new clients.
  • I am backed by one the City’s most experienced and cooperative brokerages that expanded from 2 offices to more than 5 in 2013 alone.

Because we are curious and enterprising we are always listening and learning — plus we like people! This is how we can deliver our clients exclusive opportunities that others cannot.

We incorporate technology effectively in our practice using iPhones, iPads, laptops, laser measurers and mobile technology to streamline the entire process for our clients freeing us to spend more time assisting clients on what’s important. We work creatively and think broadly but also approach real estate under the premise this is important business — home buying is the most important decision people make and it’s something we love doing and we hope you love what we do.

Take the next step and contact us today to get started.



Clients Say

Kevin was a superb real estate agent, and did a great job helping us buy our first home! Kevin is funny and personable, and knows how to get the job done.

—Dana & Drew

UCSF Med Student & Chip Engineer

First Time Buyers (Miraloma Park)

Real Estate Starring Raffi (Our Dog)


For More Vimeo Videos from Kevin, Click Here or on YouTube.

See Kevin Move and Talk: Hello & Welcome

Raffi's Real Estate Videos: 4658 18th Street — Someone is Waiting for You at Home

Raffi Returns: 243 Romain — What Goes On at Home While You're Away

Our Services For You.

Brainstorming and Creativity at Your Service

An agent who can see what you can't is one who sees the potential for success

It's a Vision Thing that Translates into a Success Thing.

I have worked with many agents. Kevin always makes himself available and is willing to go the extra mile for his clients. He is helpful with ideas and brainstorming. He definitely has a passion for real estate. — Edward G. Successful San Francisco Real Estate Developer, Buyer, Multi-Unit Fixer (Mission Dolores)

Streamlined, Technology- and Data-based Responsive Service

We're in a 24/7, connected, data-rich world. Your agent should be too.

Knowing how to navigate the 1's and 0's of real estate with technology

If you have Kevin on your side, I think you will end up with a real advocate for your needs who can streamline the entire home-buying process for you. He’s also up-to-date with the latest tools to conduct the transaction…. —Hass L. SF-based Start-Up, Buyer & Seller (Mid-Market/SOMA & Uptown Oakland)

Connected Insider with Powerful Knowledge

How exclusive advance information from a connected agent will benefit you.

The Results from Being Attentive, Listening and Asking the Right Questions

He truly knows about all available properties and not just what’s on the market, but more importantly, what’s coming on soon so that you get early previews… — Jay S. Startup Mogul, Buyers and Sellers (Duboce Park & Upper Market/Eureka Valley)

Successful Buyer Representation

How to identify and win the right property competitively but prudently.

Sold! A Winning Noe Valley Example.

We worked with Kevin as buying agent and he was superb. He invested considerable time and energy to help us understand how the market and process here works and is super-responsive, even late at night…. Importantly, he had great suggestions and advice on making our offer compelling. —Ross & Sarah M. Googler & EBayer, Buyers (Noe Valley)

Winning & Comprehensive Seller Representation

How to get the most money & satisfy your goals using your property.

Broad and Comprehensive Service that Goes Above & Beyond

If you want a realtor who lives and breathes your deal, keeps you constantly abreast of your property’s progress and does nice little things for you, you have to call Kevin Ho. We have ushered in the era of smart, technology literate, well educated, vibrant deal closers like Kevin Ho. —Peter G. Media & Advertising Director, Seller (SOMA, the Palms)

Broader Counsel from an Experienced Attorney

Clients benefit from a lawyer's experience and background.

Cutting through the paper chase.

Kevin reads contracts in detail and really protects your interests — he knows his stuff on this. He had a stronger understanding of the market than other realtors I spoke with. I felt a lot of confidence throughout the process knowing I was working with someone who knew their stuff inside out. —Joanna S. Manager, Clinton Global Health Initiative, Buyer (Noe Valley)

Sold in Noe Valley!



Clients Say…

Importantly, [Kevin] had great suggestions and advice on making our offer compelling, helping us secure the property we really wanted despite not being all-cash nor the highest offer.

— Ross & Sarah

Successful Buyers, Noe Valley Single-Family Home



Starting in February 2012, the market changed in SF — and it hasn’t looked back ever since.

In February 2012 things changed in San Francisco’s residential real estate market. From the slump where there were far too few qualified buyers we started seeing far more buyers going after a smaller amount of properties fueled by cash, low interest rates, high rents and sheer determination

What Caused This to Happen?


Inventory levels have declined and remain down. Why? San Francisco is limited physically in how much of its land can be developed and development is limited by public policy choices — e.g., Rent Control, historic preservation, neighborhood input and environmental considerations combine to constrain home demolition, planning and construction. Meanwhile, other factors like capital gains taxes (some 37% after any primary residence exclusions), Proposition 13 and the limitation of capital gains exclusions have ossifed the marketplace as folks who would otherwise sell properties that are too big for them or who otherwise want to downsize cannot because of the sheer tax burden of a replacement property, because of the value gains they’ve had and because replacement properties are hard to find.

The number of REO and short sales in San Francisco, which were less than other parts of the country, are largely gone.


The tech sector has created new jobs that are high-paying thus creating a new crop of well-heeled buyers.

Moreover, interest rates are low and have stayed low for a lot longer than people thought. Because rent is up, mortgages — while tedious to get — are increasingly more affordable than rent in San Francisco.

The generation of current, newly minted young buyers is competing with aging baby boomers who are looking for a home in the city either as a second home, a downsized home that is walkable and accessible by transit. Or, in some cases they are buying units for their adult children and holding on to them.

What are the Effects?


There are more buyers out there, which means there are multiple offers (as many as 22 in one recent example on Landers Street in the Mission Dolores area) on desirable (and even less desirable ones) properties. For every one property that sells this way there are scores of unsatisfied buyers still looking (saving more money all the while)

Agents have been using the Offer-Date System. Sellers and agents have maximized this scarcity by using the Offer-Date System, which produces gamesmanship, pre-emptive bids and an auction-like atmosphere that is competitive as it is expensive. This leads to price escalation.

Concessions to sellers have gone up. Apart from cash offers, a lot of buyers are waiving inspection rights and are doing other things like offering long rent-back periods after escrow closes or not having any financing contingencies or appraisal contingencies.


The growth is more widespread. In Noe Valley, 3 is the new 2 — as in million. Just a couple of years ago, spotting a transaction in the $3M+ range was rare while $2M+ would get you a really large and nice home. For example, Noe Valley now rivals Pacific Heights for the number of homes selling in excess of the $2M threshold and home are now pushing the $4M threshold more and more. This means that other parts of the city are also getting attention from those priced out of traditionally popular areas.

How Do You Successfully Navigate this Market?


Kevin + Jonathan are here to help you, your family and friends succeed. So get in touch with us today to start.

It’s time. Email Us Already.


P A R T I N G  S H O T

Big Daddy’s Big Data.

One More Thing: Data is King!

Why 2013 and 2014′s recovery in San Francisco is more profound that just another market cycle. Like all economic cycles — up and down — there is a recovery period that is to counterbalance the period of slower growth that preceded it as the system reaches a new equilibrium. So then, 2013 and 2014′s growth bear the hallmarks of recoveries in the mid-1990s and early to mid-2000s. Among the similarities are these:

1. We have ready, willing and able buyers chasing after…

2. Low inventory, but that are nevertheless financed by…

3. Low mortgage borrowing rates.

But in distinguishing this cycle from previous ones and why there’s been a shift that is more profound than other past real estate surges, consider a large shift. Yes, like all cities, we see growth too. Detroit has seen a big gain of +16% in home prices (San Francisco has seen +26% so far since 2012). But what explains the phenomenon that the median sale price for a single-family home and/or a condominium is now solidly above $1M? Why has 80% of all demand for limited office space within San Francisco city limits has been by tech sector-related companies. One fact should be clear: we now have different types buyers looking San Francisco and these folks are the kind who live in a place that takes the lead in a new technology and data driven society. So what type of buyers are these folks?

A. San Francisco Buyers are A+ Buyers who may know something about C++. We have folks who have cash or access to credit that want are using different metrics for valuing properties. Mainly, they’re eschewing metrics like dollars-per-square-foot and previous comparable sales and are instead judging their target properties by zip code, proximity to transit and cachet factor that trumps all other data. In other words, they’re looking for how a home will suit their lifestyle more than anything else.

In past market cycles, you’d be leery of such an approach. But the salient distinction that sets our Bay Area Buyer 3.0 apart from those in the past and those in other parts of the country is Silicon Valley. Arguably two bubbles were caused by tech folks over leveraging and pie-in-the-sky startups that had no chance of succeeding. That and society probably wasn’t ready for pets.com yet. But technology, which supported the first wave of Silicon Valley is now integral to all of our lives.

B. Why there will be more A+ Buyers who know about C++. The Bay Area’s future looks to very different than other places in the world because its linked with a new, digital, era: The paper options are gone and the online, mobile and cloud-based solutions are often the only options these days. Technology isn’t just part of the economy it is the economy. You can’t do much of anything these days without using technology. And while technology allows us to be more efficient and more productive it also allows us to do something more profound: namely, technology is the means of collecting vast amounts of data and insights about people, places and things that was once impossible.

And herein lies the reason why we shouldn’t expect Silicon Valley boom to go the way of Detroit’s boom-to-bust.


C. Hello Big Data Mining. Silicon Valley created a enormous amount of wealth in developing the technologies that support daily life, but now they’re the leader in the next big thing — namely we have entered into a data resource-rich environment and data-based economy. Like crude oil, unrefined data is messy and unwieldy when it first comes in. But like refining oil our big Silicon Valley/San Francisco titans take that raw data and refine it into insights about consumer behavior, consumer wants, vital data that influence medicine and public health trends, finance, energy, etc. It is a highly valuable prize that will add ever more value to our economy and our real estate.

Okay, you’re skeptical of the pie-in-the-sky stuff. Let’s look at the numbers instead:

If more than a billion people access Google and Facebook per day and these companies are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue where is it going? Also, big folks like Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and more are sitting on a collective $3 trillion worth of cash with another $7-$8 trillion offshore. That is a staggering amount of cash that could almost pay off the national debt! What are they doing with all that money? Yes, they’re buying up companies ($40 billion on Oculus, Beats Music, What’s App anyone?) and they’re paying their employees and where do those folks live? Where do they want to live? Here is where and not just here in the Bay Area, but here in San Francisco proper, why else did google pay $60M+ for an Embarcadero building to bring its total office footprint in the city to more than 700,000 sqft.? (Hint: you can google the answer on your iPhone while listening to your Beats headphones while waiting for your Tesla to charge).

Bulk Email Sender