Hunters Point: Real estate gold?

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The mad dash to buy up property surrounding redevelopment-heavy Hunters Point has begun — a sign the neighborhood is already morphing from its middle-class roots, real estate experts say.

As home prices plummet across the Bay Area, the neighborhood known for its toxic soil and aging 49ers stadium has emerged as the hot-ticket for property buyers searching for a return on their investment.

Hunters Point has seen the largest increase in property values this year compared with other areas in San Francisco, shooting up more than 18 percent, according to the Assessor-Recorder’s Office. In comparison, property values citywide increased by just 8.74 percent since 2007.

The dramatic increase for Hunters Point comes amid plans to clean up and redevelop sections of bayfront land that were contaminated with toxic materials when the U.S. Navy held a base there more than a half-century ago.

In the decades following the Navy’s departure from the land, the residents of the Hunters Point-Bayview neighborhoods, which are among the highest areas for homeownership rates in The City, have remained predominantly black and middle class.

But with the looming prospect of a large-scale redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Point — which would include 1,600 new homes that could go on sale as soon as the end of next year — investors are lining up to make bids on nearby properties, say real estate experts.

“I’ll bet you that some properties are getting overbids,” said Richard Dixon, an agent with SavOn Realty, which lists homes in the neighborhoods. “People that have the money to spend are picking up properties at a good price now because they know [development] is going to happen.”

That future development is already increasing property values in Hunters Point, according to the Assesor-Recorder’s Office.

The combined value of property in Hunters Point increased from $561.9 million to $665 million between 2007 and 2008. Of that $103 million increase, about $67 million is attributed to the value increase in property that will be redeveloped, including the former naval base, the Assessor-Recorder’s Office said.

Some local homeowners who decry the region’s shoddy upkeep and high crime rate are welcoming the development as a renaissance. Others say development is yet another step to force black families out of San Francisco.

“San Francisco has already been experiencing a crisis of African-American displacement,” said Jaron Browne, community organizer with San Francisco-based People Organized to Win Employment Rights. “The City needs to make a dramatic shift [in the development] or I don’t see this leading to anything benefitting families here.”

But some longtime residents are glad to see change.

Bereta Davis, who has lived in the area for 43 years, says the neighborhood over time has fallen to pieces.

“Quality-of-life issues are important to me, and they’re almost nonexistent here,” Davis said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.

Hunters Point leads value increases

The top growth in property values by neighborhood 2007-08

Hunters Point  18.4%

Potrero Hill  16.3%

South of Market 12.7%

Inner Mission 11.7%

Bayview 11.3%

Civic Center 10.7%

Marina/Pacific Heights 9.8%

Upper Market  9.2%

Haight-Ashbury 9.0%

Lakeside/Diamond Heights 8.8%

Financial District  8.3%

Western Addition  8.2%

Source: San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s Office

My Story

“I think change will be good for Bayview-Hunters Point.”

Bereta Davis, 58, a retired Parking and Traffic Control Officer and Bayview-Hunters Point
resident.

“This southeast sector of San Francisco has been long-neglected. The people who are against it are basically the people who are not homeowners, and they feel threatened.”

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