San Francisco is inarguably a city of “hot” neighborhoods, but the hottest of these, according to online real estate site Redfin, is not Pacific Heights, the Marina or the Mission; it’s Bernal Heights.

Yes, you heard that correctly: the humble, funky neighborhood located on a hill overlooking the Mission was named “Hottest Neighborhood in the U.S.” for 2014. Two years later it’s showing no signs of cooling.

Why is Bernal so hot? There are plenty of reasons. To begin with, Bernal Heights is located in the southeastern corner of San Francisco and close to numerous transit lines, perfectly positioned for Silicon Valley commuters and downtown workers. And while “easy 101 and 280 access” may have replaced “city and bay views” as the most desired perk for San Francisco buyers, Bernal provides many of the latter as well. It’s not a stretch to say that the skyline views from Bernal’s north slope are among the best in the city.

For the country’s “hottest” neighborhood, and despite a recent history of surging home values, Bernal Heights remains at its core a “small town within a city.” Like similarly hot neighbor Glen Park, Bernal has a large inventory of two- and three-bedroom single-family homes — many of which have yet to experience their first down-to-the-studs restoration — making it very attractive to younger buyers, who also love its quirky commercial district on Cortland Avenue. Cortland is the core of Bernal, a lively strip full mom-and-pop stores, casual-yet-sophisticated restaurants like Bernal Star and Red Hill Station and increasingly popular nightspots like Holy Water. Bernal is also adjacent to Mission Street and its almost endless array of food, beverage and shopping opportunities.

But Bernal isn’t just about cool restaurants, new boutiques and finding that unrestored Victorian gem; it’s a distinct place with a distinct character that sometimes looks ahead and sometimes looks into the past. A stroll up and down its hills reveals obvious treasures like Bernal Hill Park and Precita Park and hidden ones like the Esmeralda Street Slides , plus block after block of Victorian and Edwardian homes and maybe a few yards with chickens. Until recently, Bernal Heights was the only neighborhood in San Francisco that still had unpaved streets.

All of this adds up to a neighborhood whose real estate market, after years as an afterthought in a crowded city, is aflame. Right now, the median price for a single-family home in Bernal is a shade over $1.4 million ($950 per square foot). Condominiums clock in only slightly lower, at $1.17 million ($765 per square foot), and it’s meaningful to note that 8 of the past 10 properties to sell in Bernal, dating back to the beginning of April, have gone into contract at well over their asking price.

A closer look at recent data reveals numbers that are impressive even in today’s hot market. Since January, sale prices for single-family homes in Bernal have increased by 20.3 percent, while condos have jumped 17.6 percent. Considering that historic annual rate of return for residential real estate is four to six percent, these figures are otherworldly.

And regarding those overbids, when we say that eight of the 10 most recent Bernal sales have gone for over asking we’re not talking about a few percentage points above list price. Those homes (seven SFH and one multi-unit building) sold for an average of 20 percent over asking. Homes listed under $1 million sold for 28 percent over asking, which is significant in Bernal, one of the few neighborhoods left in San Francisco with a large inventory of homes priced under $1 million.

It all adds up to Bernal Heights enjoying a run as one of the hottest neighborhoods targeted by homebuyers in San Francisco. And why not? When they built Bernal they broke the mold. That uniqueness, along with a convenient location, a friendly, sophisticated commercial core and a wealth of classic San Francisco Victorian and Edwardian homes, is why Bernal is so hot.

Want to learn more? Click here for our comprehensive profile of Bernal Heights.