While not quite as aggressive an attack as Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle’s “Three Kinds of Idiots” blog post regarding the comments on his recent “appreciation” (that’s the sort of featuresy version of an obit) of the late Brittany Murphy (spoiler alert: many were mean!), SFGate On The Block blogger Anna Marie Hibble manages to poke some gentle fun at the howler monkeys the Gate calls a “community” in her most recent post:

Many an SF Gate commenter has written things like “Who’d want to live in Bayview?”, or, worse: “No one wants to live in Bayview-Hunter’s Point.” It doesn’t take much logic to dismantle both these statements, since clearly, people do want to and in fact do actually live in Bayview.

Hee! I kind of like this Anna Marie Hibble‘s style!

Hibble goes on to describe some Bayview-located homes that, from the photos presented, wouldn’t be out of place in my neighborhood (that is, the Outer Funset), but are offered at $300-400 K.

The Gate commenters go predictably apeshit, many of them accusing Hibble of being a plant, snake oil salesperson, etc attempting to leverage the mighty weight of a SFGate blog to influence Bayview/HP home values.

All that said, and assuming you had the kind of money to buy a modestly-affordable house (not me: I am writing this using my TV as a monitor because my dog broke my laptop screen and I can’t afford to fix it), would you invest in Bayview/HP? Or do the Gate commenters have it right? Or maybe I should ask this a different way: how cheap would a Bayview/HP-located house have to be for you to consider buying it?

Photo: $410K 3 bedroom, 1 bath home at 1554 Shafter Ave from Redfin

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • sallyTV

    Buying it is different than living in it. No one is making any more space. Real estate is still a great investment, especially (unfortunately) in these dire times. If I had the opportunity to purchase it I’d consider it an investment and then hopefully find great renters. That way I’d be able to afford the mortgage.

  • sf_slant

    I had the unfortunate experience of buying in Bayview many years ago, when there were similar run ups in housing price and everyone was scared of being “priced out” of SF. While the architecture is similar to what you would find in the rest of the city and the weather is actually nicer than most areas, the deal breaker was the roving gangs of thuggish kids (and adults) that take every opportunity to prey on each other and generally abuse the surrounding environment. While not a daily occurrence, the specter of random crime is more common than …other parts of the city.

    So my answer would be, if I was a single person or young couple with a reliable car and no interest in getting involved in the ‘neighborhood’, I’d ‘invest’ in a cheap house in the Bayview, thereby saving on rent/mortgage while enjoying close proximity to the city. But if I were an older couple, or had kids, or didn’t have a reliable car, I would not consider ‘investing’ in HP regardless of how cheap the housing stock.

    As for buying investment rental property, I thought it was illegal to be a landlord in SF anyway?

  • Greg Dewar

    I’ve been out there plenty of times, and every time I’m out there, I notice little things improving, much due to the T Third line (hey don’t laugh.)

    The biggest concern I would have wouldn’t be the neighbors (the neighbors will eventually move on, and the neighborhood will evolve – most SF neighborhoods do), I’d be way way more concerned about the toxic situation at the former naval base, and the rates of cancer out there.

    Besides, this is San Francisco and Sally is correct – there’s nowhere else to go and real estate done right is a good investment. Eventually there’ll be nowhere else left to buy, and there’s plenty of places that are falling apart that someone can bulldoze and put in things like, say, a grocery store (Bayview doesn’t have one) or other things that neighborhoods need. The weather is indeed nicer over there, and if cleaned up, would be fine.

    Still, when you drive down 101 and see some of those rather unfortunate examples of “architecture” dotting the hillsides, you gotta wonder. (and yet at the same time there are some nice places too!)

  • annamarie_sfgate

    thanks for the snaps, Batey. I’m on the same budget as you are, but the question is still interesting enough to be asked, or at least I thought so. Glad someone ( mean you) so literate and clever agrees!
    -Anna Marie (Sfgate.com)

  • sfalex

    i’ve lived in the neighborhood just down the street from the albion castle that inspired the rancid commentary for more than 10 years. i have a second child on the way and couldn’t imagine myself moving right now. frankly i’m not surprised by the rank ignorance and dare i say racism of many of the commenters on that “on the block” blog post.

    first off, the plain fact is that the stigma attached to the overall neighborhood is one of the biggest things that anyone wanting to see some material improvements in the bayview will need to overcome. despite the fact that there’s more murder in the mission and more mayhem in the ‘loin the presence of large amounts of working class black people scares the hell out of san francisco’s gentry. sure there are pockets of the ‘hood that i wouldn’t want to be in but to blanket the entire neighborhood with that is purely ignorant.

    second, apart from the stigma and “placism” there’s also a fair amount of ignorance about the neighborhood. yes there’s a grocery store – two in fact (foods co and super save) with another (fresh n’ easy) on the way. they’re not great stores but have improved markedly in the past few years. plus the mission bay safeway is a short streetcar ride away. there’s some life in the 3rd street commercial core, a new library on the way, and a good deal of public investment throughout the neighborhood.

    lastly, things will get even better if we can move a large part of the sewage treatment plant to the port’s backlands and get that caltrain stop at oakdale. the HPS redevelopment, for good or for ill, will also have a pretty significant transformative effect on the neighborhood.

    the bottom line is that the bayview remains a good buy but one needs to closely scope out the specific part of the neighborhood since some parts are better than others

  • daystnative

    Bayview/HP is a huge neighborhood and includes some very different areas. Let me preface this as a ramble. Let me also say that most parts of the Bayview I would not want to live.


    I don’t really ever go there because I don’t have any good friends from there. I do work as a high school teacher in the public schools in San Francisco. A lot of the students that I work with live in District 10, with a large portion of those living in Bayview/HP.

    I often ask students if they like where they live, and while the neighborhood is home to gangs, tragedy, polution, etc, students almost never answer that they do not like where they live. They also always say that they feel safe where they live. This puzzled me a little bit, ever after I got by the fact that kids are rarely going to hate on where they consider home. Here are a couple of thoughts:

    1. There is one of the highest rates of home ownership in the city. (http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=5715)
    2. Most of the kids I talk to know most of the folks on their block, and have several grandparents or extended family members in the hood.
    3. The people committing the crime are a tiny minority of the residents.

    What does these facts have to do with each other?

    In certain ways it is awesome that the home ownership rate is high, but in many ways this is a testament to the segregation that exists in SF. This is because many of the AA homeowners were only able to buy houses in this area because they were priced out of, or denied entry into other areas. Even Willie Mays needed help from the Mayor to buy a house in a white neighborhood (http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-03-08/sports/17211681_1_san-franciscans-babe-ruth-nat-king-cole).One of the results of this is that many AA and minority students really feel safe in the neighborhood because it is one of the only places that they won’t be judged. This high ownership rate has created a vibrant community that extends generations.

    Now to my third point point from above: The people committing the crime are a tiny minority of the residents. I believe that one of the reasons that the dialogue over the redevelopment of this neighborhood is so controversial is because is it racially tinted. I think that when most people here the word redevelopment they think “black people out.” This is for good reason, because that is what has happened in the past. Most racist legislature and processes do not mention race. So I cringe when I here the word “redevelopment,” because I think of the past and the ways that it has been used to oust people of color from vibrant communities.

    The Bayview needs a lot of help. If the home values go up, the high rate of home ownership means that many minority residents have a lot to gain. But we need to make sure that the neighborhood remains for those that live there and should not serve as a vehicle to increase the profit of the very few at the head of the major construction companies.


    Basically, I don’t think that I would want to buy a house in most areas of the Bayview, but I can see why others would.