If you are very lucky in life, you know where you want to be and you have the ability to be in just that right spot. For a whole generation of mostly newly minted San Franciscans, that spot that feels “just right” is an area that I will call “The Quad.”
Quadsters are young – under 40 anyway. They like to hang in the sun with their friends. They work very hard – mostly in high tech – and make a lot of money. They value time greatly and want to be in a place where they can get to work quickly, meet up with their friends easily, and walk or bike instead of sitting in traffic. They take the Google Bus, the Apple Bus, or another of the reputedly less well equip shuttles like the eBay Bus. They also like to eat really good food, but don’t often have time to cook it. And since they work on “campuses,” and are the millennial version of the Cow Hollow “Triangle” dwellers of the 70s and 80s, the name “The Quad” seems a good fit.
I define The Quad as being from about 17th & Market to Market & Valencia to 25th & Shotwell to 25th & Church and back again.
From a real estate perspective, what does this mean? And why am I taking the effort to define a meta-hood? The reason is that I started to notice that the values in this area are crazy high compared to just a few years ago. The Quad crosses through 4 real estate sub-districts, so that valuing properties using the standard MLS classifications is difficult – especially when something is near the center of it (the center being approximately 20th & Valencia). I wondered if The Quad fared better in the recession than the surrounding areas (it did), and whether values are outstripping even the highest value areas of the surrounding districts (they are).
Though rents are not the subject of my analysis, hearsay is that Quadsters are willing to pay some pretty high rents. Anecdotally, I have heard of 2 bedrooms for as much as $10,000 a month at 19th & Valencia. (My informant though it could only be “Google douches,” who would pay that much.) I have heard that $6,000 is the going rate for a 2 bed/2 bath at the new rentals above whole foods on Dolores @ Market and I personally know people paying $7,000 for a 3/2 at Lexington and 20th. These rents are Manhattan high and tell me something is happening here.
Why are the values shooting up in an area that was/is kind of edgy? The answer is that the lifestyle provided by the weather, the more walkable & bikeable landscape and the ease of access to both downtown and Silicon Valley is very desirable. A bit of an edge does not detract too much – it may in fact be desirable. Being in a changing area is exciting. You may hate “gentrification” but Quadsters like the mix of lux and grit. It may also be that in a world where clothes don’t matter, and other status symbols are considered irrelevant or even gauche, an address can be a way to differentiate oneself. It can certainly put you at the center of the party.
I would like to thank Patrick Carlisle, Chief Market Analyst at Paragon Real Estate Group for his encouragement and the data on other neighborhoods and my husband, Stefan, for thinking up the name.