Hottest zone in the USA.

You see her every day, Mission, rising above our southern flank like a green Scottish bluff (well, in the rainy season, otherwise just good old California brown): the hottest real estate hood in the country.

Redfin, a national real estate brokerage website, has released a poll this week calling the northern slope of Bernal Heights the number one hottest neighborhood in the country for 2014. The page views searching for the area were up 196 percent over the last year, with a median home sales price of $982,500.

To come up with the winners, Redfin tallies page views for listings, and homes that users added to “Favorites” to monitor for price changes. They then added in real-world insight from real estate agents.

Redfin said the winning neighborhoods are one with a short commute, but a more affordable price than other nearby neighborhoods. Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman offered a more creative analysis: “Like the actress who was nominated for 18 Emmys before finally winning, these are the Susan Luccis of neighborhoods, finally getting their due.”

While we don’t know if Bernal offers “All My Children”-caliber familial drama, we must say the views of the Mission lowlands and downtown are utterly dramatic. I couch-surfed there for a month at a friend’s apartment last year, sipping coffee each morning with a queenly view of the city, and closing off each day with lavender sunsets and the Bay Bridge light show.

No, this couldn’t have stayed a secret for long.

I emailed my friend the news this morning that she now lives in the most coveted zone in the USA. She was considerably less ecstatic: “Depressing. I will never be able to buy in this neighborhood. EVER.”

Join the Conversation


  1. The only problem with North Bernal is that it is very close to South and East Bernal, which can be downright nasty.

    There’s only a few ways in and out of the neighborhood as well, so traffic can be congested. While it’s a stiff walk to 24th Street BART from much of the area.

    Still, it’s good to see our neighbors getting honored. I recall when Time magazine nominated the Mission the “hippest” neighborhood in America. I reckon that alone tacked about 100K onto the value of my building.

    All publicity is good publicity.

  2. Yea all pub is good pub, but realistically the Redfin “survey” is mostly schlock. Plus, I’m a fikin’ to pick me up another investment property this year, so a cooling of the market would be convenient. While the rest of the country has let up a bit, SF is still crazy. Lots of Chinese money and Irish flippers on the hound.

    May get pushed out to D 10. How bout you john, do you “do” D10? I expect it to improve, as all those angry white protesters are pushed out of the mish will start moving on in…

    1. Yo poorass, I would not buy in SF right now. I thought there were some great bargains among those bombed out condos that Jerry Brown built in Oakland about 2-3 years ago and, for a rental or a flip, they looked great.

      Right now, I’m more into stocks and riding the QE gravy train but I’m hedged with options ‘cuz the party could go pear-shaped.

      Best bet is what always work – buy a building with cheap rents from a depressed small LL and then Ellis/ TIC the bad boy. 100K a unit looks like smack to me.

      1. I’m not into flipping. That’s real, actual work, and then you have to keep doing it- phooey! I’m more buy/hold, renovate/bring to highest and best use, then rent out to the right tenants.

        I like the low rates, so locking in 30 yr fixed is a great advantage (thanks fed gov 🙂 what I don’t like is the super low inventory and rising prices. There’s a lot of loose Chinese money out there, and the Irish flippers are always willing to overbid anything that has tic-flip written on it. That’s why I’m looking at areas off the mainstream radar screen like D10. I’m not gonna do Oakland (even though this may be the cycle Oakland actually lives up to half of its promise); don’t feel like schlepping across the bridge. Life’s too short.

        Surprised you don’t wanna ride the equity train for the next couple of years by leveraging RE.

        1. I don’t flip much myself. But i do think that the way the current system is rigged, there is a compelling case for flipping undervalued units.

          1. There is. But it’s so much work finding, getting, cleaning up, etc. a bldg, I hate the idea of selling it if you can manage to keep it in portfolio.

            Personally, I’m quite bullish on SF RE over the next 10-20 years (allowing for usual market dips of course. ) why? 1- The way SF politics are going, almost any bldg you can manage to keep is guaranteed to become a more and more precious commodity. 2- I think the tech reign has a long reach, and will continue being a serious employment-wealth driver. Heck, even prior to the late 90’s tech boom, SF RE was doing better than most of the nation. What’s you take long term here?

          2. Yes, and in fact I have only been involved in one Ellis eviction, and that was with partners.

            I’ve condo converted one building and created TIC’s out of two others.

            I’ve been a net seller of RE since 2003 and prefer now to rent non-RC buildings. That said, most RC tenants have been reasonable for me, and didn’t linger, squat or hoard.

            I’d agree with your long-term prognosis for SF RE and the long-term economy. And paradoxically things like rent control can make RE more profitable for the shrewd investor.

          3. “paradoxically things like rent control can make RE more profitable for the shrewd investor.”


            Do you own any non RC units in the city?
            Btw, are you hip to socketsite? It’s also a local blog, albeit a bit more RE friendly. Check it out!

          4. Just a 4-plex and a 2-plex. The last time I had a vacancy in one of them, I had 150 applicants, and that was for a unit not covered by RC!

  3. All of a sudden this is the landlord message board.

    And you’re offering to house angry protesters? How benevolent.

    Oh, wait — maybe you’re just preying on the sufferers and scheming to make more easy bucks without actual labor?

    Opportunities abound, let the free markets rain. Perhaps you should give the peeps in D10 fair warning that the evictions are coming their way now … or is your post it?

    Oh yeah, and remember — the market is ‘free’ not ‘convenient’ …

      1. ‘rain’ — as in rain additional wealth on the already well to do.

        And a healthy dose of regulation is absolutely essential.

        1. It’s not that wealth accrues to the wealthy. Rather, that they are wealthy because they see how to generate that wealth.

          Taking risks to provide homes needs to be well-compensated, else investors would seek higher ROI’s and lower risk elsewhere.

          Property owners have a choice whether to rent to you or not. You should want them to be well-rewarded for choosing you.

    1. I’m with you, backtotheburbs. These comment pages have become a veritable landlord lonely hearts club.

      Some of the blame must fall on the editors, who, despite warnings, have allowed one landlord to write around one-third of all comments, the substance of which is the rough draft of his forthcoming memoir, “How I Got Rich By (Mostly Legally) Exploiting and Fucking Over Other People”.

      For a contrast, may I suggest Seth Tobocman’s “You Don’t Have To Fuck People Over To Survive?”

      1. landline, are you suggesting that only tenants should be able to post here? And that landlords do not have an equal right to put forward their perspective?

        If ML is a socialist advocacy website then I must have missed that in their mission statement.

        1. No.

          The fact that you write about 1/3 of the comments here stifles free speech and belies the fact that a large majority of Mission District residents are renters.

          Mission Local has no stated political ideology, but “reserve[s] the right to delete material that is…posted by a single user.”
          If only the website would enforce that policy and reclaim these pages from your monopolization in order to foster constructive discussions.

          1. Untrue personal attack. How can anyone avoid you when you respond to almost every comment?

            I continue to point out your abuse of these comment pages in order to urge the editors to take action and reclaim them for the general reading public.

          2. OK, so you admit you are stalking me to try and blackmail ML into doing what you personally want them to do, i.e. censor others?

            Got it.

          3. I will not admit something that I am not doing. You are stalking these comment pages and the various commenters here. I didn’t write the Mission Local comment policy that I quoted in my above comment nor am I advocating censorship. Do you actually believe that your level of commenting frequency is fair use of this site or that your tendency towards name calling and personal attack doesn’t deter participation?

            Get a blog if you want to share your opinions so vociferously.

          4. Being an active commentator is not stalking.

            Stalking is repeatedly replying to the same poster attacking them.

            We do not need your verbal admission because your actions admit it. Why can you not simply do what the rest of us do, and ignore those posters with whom you disagree?

          5. I already largely do that. This back and forth started when you replied to my comment to backtotheburbs in which I didn’t refer to you by your screen name. Over the last several days, I have replied to p.a.m’s direct questions to me only to have you answer. Not only are you talkative, you are rude and a bully.

        2. Landline- I tried to find a free pdf download of the book you suggested was wasn’t successful…

    1. Speak for yourself. Many people love the high-rise lifestyle. And the fact they deduce the pressure on existing housing stock is vital too.

        1. Yes, I saw that. It’s not a part of the city I have ever had any reason to visit, so can’t really comment. I suspect it has relatively low prices along with the reasons for that.

          But overall I am just not seeing good values in SF RE and so am in a holding pattern. If things fall back, I have the liquidity to snap something up, but do not feel that I have to. I’m just sitting back and enjoying the price appreciation.,

  4. If you don’t drive and are not physically capable of dealing with walking steep hills every day, Bernal is a no-go. The public transit options are very slim. I don’t understand how it is rated the hottest hood, when there’s not easy transit access. I’ll stay on the flat in the Mission, thanks.

  5. I still don’t get all the love for Mission. Last time I was in SF we wandered over there to try to get some breakfast. Every single place was closed, the streets were dead and dirty, there weren’t any cool shops that we came across. I just didn’t get the hype, maybe it has been cleaned up since as this was a couple years ago.

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