Hayes Valley real estate has been through many transitions. The area was a summer foraging area of Native Americans, then a patchwork of produce farms of Italian immigrants after the 1849 gold rush. Beginning in the 1850s it was built up as a neighborhood of grand Victorian homes and smaller abodes for workers and craftsmen. After World War II it became an African-American enclave, then fell into urban blight and decay with the construction of the now demolished Central Freeway.
Beginning in the 1990s, Hayes Valley began to blossom as an uber-chic destination for urban sophisticates and tourists alike as gentrification brought fine restaurants, hip cafés, bars and nightspots, and trendy boutiques. One of those large mid-19th century Victorian homes recently sold for well over $3 million and new condominium developments are drawing large numbers of prospective buyers.
There is plenty of information available on the community, including websites of the Hayes Valley Merchants Association and Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association.