CFAH

461 2nd Street #C332
Yes, we have a soft-spot for the ClockTower Lofts. And while the exposed brick, timbers, barn doors and arches of 461 2nd Street #C332 are what first caught our eye, it was the two car (tandem) parking that caught our attention.
UPDATE: From a plugged-in tipster: “This is a unit that took over six months to sell last year and just closed escrow around this time last year…”
UPDATE II: And since you asked, it last closed escrow in June of 2006 after 144 days on the market and with a contract price of $1,090,000 (8.8% under the asking price of $1,195,000). And yes, it’s now listed for $21,000 (1.9%) under what the seller paid fourteen months ago.
UPDATE (9/12): This condo closed escrow yesterday with a contract price of $1,147,000. That’s 7.3% above asking and represents annual appreciation of 4.2% since its last sale for $1,090,000 in June of 2006.
∙ Listing: 461 2nd Street #C332 (1/2) 1628 sqft – $1,069,000 [MLS]
The ClockTower Lofts (461 2nd Street) [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Sp-encer G

    i love this place. If it comes down to 750K, I will gladly buy it.

  2. Posted by will_h

    I think it’s a deal as it is! That is some serious square footage…

  3. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    This appears to be an interior unit, which is good because the final rebuild of I-80 will put it within spitting distance of the Clocktower (and somewhat further from One Rincon). Although given the enormous noise levels I’m not sure if a few feet here and there will make that much of a difference.

  4. Posted by seehsee

    I used to have a friend who live in these lofts, with a the big main window right next to the “dough-nut’ Harrison Street off ramp. It was surprisingly not noisy at all.

  5. Posted by Meredith

    I’ve lived in the tower of the CT. There’s a hallway between you and your front door. The only way you’re going to hear the freeway traffic is if you have your front door open.

  6. Posted by blahhh

    Beautiful place with very flexible and engaging floor plan. $657 psf seems more than a fair deal.

  7. Posted by artdoggie

    I beg to differ with your plugged in tipser, but this unit was originally listed for $1,329,000 on 09/15/2005 & then spent 701 days on the mark. Along the way, it was dropped down to $1,195,000 & eventually withdrawn altogether.
    If it sold last year, I’d love to know the sale price.
    [Editor’s Note: Sold on 6/9/06 for $1,090,000 after 144 days on the market (and with an original list price of $1,195,000).]

  8. Posted by AC

    I’m sure a lot of buyers for that building have been turned off due to the brige demolition and construction that is sooo close to the building. The amount of concrete dust and noise from the demolition was terrible for my building, and that is several blocks further away from the western approach than the clocktower. I’d bet the clocktower building will get a bit of a price boost when the construction is complete.

  9. Posted by tipster

    I’m sure a lot more buyers will be turned off by the fact that the seller just lost his shirt to live there.
    He paid everything he would have paid to rent it and more, plus closing costs, points on a loan, etc, and now he gets to walk away from $20K (assuming it sells at that price), more than $50K in Realtors’ fees, the obligatory 2 years of HOA now given to the buyer, staging fees, any renovation costs, etc. So in addition to rent, he got to experience the joys of homeownership to the tune of something a little under $100K.
    And he didn’t even get to paint the walls to his liking: they’re brick. 🙂

  10. Posted by amused

    painted brick is actually quite chic.
    that’s a nice space. someone’s going to score.

  11. Posted by artdoggie

    CLEAN OFFER
    461 2nd St #C332
    San Francisco
    Off The Market
    Neighborhood: South of Market
    Original Price: $1,329,000
    Current Price: $1,195,000
    % Change: -10%
    Days on Market: 701
    Listing Date: 09/15/2005

  12. Posted by lookingtobuy

    There’s no gas hooked up to this unit. It’s heated by electric baseboard heaters (unattractive) and has an electric range. I imagine this unit can get quite chilly and heating the place would send your electric bill to several hundred a month easy.

  13. Posted by eddy

    This place would be $3.5-4 million in NYC.
    How is the neighborhood?

  14. Posted by anon

    The place would have been $10 million in Tokyo circa 1990 or maybe $6 million in Hong Kong in 1997. It also might be only $200K in Grosse Point Michigan 2007.
    Maybe it will be $750K in San Francisco 2008.

  15. Posted by Anon2

    CleanOffer is wrong. MLS shows the sale in 2006 at $1.09M.
    Not that it matters but this place would not be $2K a square in NYC.

  16. Posted by anon

    Who cares what the price would be in other cities? It’s in San Francsico not the other cities.

  17. Posted by diemos

    I know, one minute the bulls are saying that all real estate is local and that nothing that happens anywhere else will have any effect on our prices. The next they are saying SF is undervalued because it’s cheap compared to Paris.
    Pick one. You don’t get to have it both ways.

  18. Posted by anonoldtimer

    I think when members of the Real Estate Industrial Complex post on this board about how “cheap” these properties are compared to “other cities” , we are seeing the last ditch effort to try to prop up this market. AMEN to the anon who wrote “Who cares what the price would be in other cities?”. “It’s in San Francsico not the other cities.”

  19. Posted by clueless

    it seems like this unit is built on an indian burial ground or something, why would it keep changing hands so much and keep being sold for less than the owner bought it for?
    it just seems strange since the building is kinda neat (been to a party there once and it seemed really nice)

  20. Posted by eddy

    Anon2, you’re correct. I actually first mis-read the posting at 2600sf, not 1600. But with 2 parking spots it might get close!
    Other city comparisons are sort of relevant when you used to live there and have to laugh at the price differentials between the two cities. My point is that lofts like this are highly coveted in NYC and are rare here. You don’t see lofts like this come up in SF too often so it felt like more of a relevant comparison.

  21. Posted by Meredith

    These units typically dont get cold, so even though baseboard heating is the least efficient most CT owner typically dont have high heating bills because it’s a condo and heat rises and there’s a certain amount of heat generated just from normal appliances running. This unit was owned by the same owner for close to 12 years and sold for the first time since the mid 90’s last year to an out of state owner who likely did not use it like he thought he would.

  22. Posted by Anna

    It might have taken six months to sell last year but this time around it’s in contract two days after hitting Socketsite…

  23. Posted by LC

    All real estate is local. Over longer time frames, however, other cities do matter. The phenomenon works like this: a city gets hot, people make a ton of money, and bid up local real estate prices. When the boom subsides, many people in that city who aren’t wedded to be there fan out to other places where they bid up prices in the cheaper cities.
    It happened here in the Bay Area after the tech bubble burst. Lots of newly minted wealth that came for the bubble left the area and bought homes in Southern Cal, Washington, D.C., etc. The Bay Area had its runup during the boom, and those cities had a far greater % runup post boom, resulting in some catching up of prices. Take the money and run, basically.
    There’s a private equity and Wall Street boom going on in Manhattan that may come to a close. I personally think that Manhattan prices will fall more than San Francisco prices will rise. But there’s a ton of money there – if any of that demand thinks SF is as nice or better than Manhattan, that’s a lot of demand coming west.
    For the record, I personally don’t think SF prices are going to skyrocket anytime soon, but I don’t think the disparity with Manhattan is irrelevant. It can act as a support. Particularly now that the private equity boom is subsiding, and there are tons of younglings who went to Manhattan just for the boom and may take the money and run, deciding they like SF’s lifestyle.
    P.S. Pricing this loft at $2mm would be WAAAAY to low. It could be double that in a nice neighborhood. I thought that was hogwash myself when a New Yorker told me that, but I checked out actual prices and he’s really not off. I sense that most people around here (like me initially) don’t realize how extreme Manhattan real estate has gotten compared to SF.

  24. Posted by tipster

    In contract after two days means someone has a rate lock and needs to use the loan that they know they’ll never get again.

  25. Posted by Katy Dinner

    This amazing home is already in contract… four days on the market.

  26. Posted by Anon

    Tipster, I’m not sure where you came up with the idea about having to use a rate lock before it expired. At $650 psf, why can’t this just be a good deal that someone decided to act on? It sounds plausible to me considering the prices on comparable Real Estate in San Francisco. This person obviously didn’t want to wait for the mythical 50% drop that you keep predicting.

  27. Posted by blahhh

    “It might have taken six months to sell last year but this time around it’s in contract two days after hitting Socketsite…”
    Anna,
    It wouldn’t make any difference in the responses we see here if this place was sold in 2 hours. S.F market is very healthy given the boom it had a few years ago and the current credit situation. Quality things priced fairly such as this property are selling, many of them are selling fast. Prime new developments have been raising prices to record high. These are simple facts. But facts do not matter to a certain group of posters. Every time a listing shows up on socketsite, good or bad, you are guaranteed to see posts that fall into the following categories:
    1. calling people stupid for their involvement in the purchase/sales of the property;
    2. calculating/hoping for seller’s “loss” even though the poster knows nothing about the listing;
    3. attempting to diminish interests in the listing by “predicting” it will sell for 30% less next year.(Guess what, you predicted wrong for a couple of years, and you are still wrong now.)
    If you guys truly believe ownership is stupid and renting is smart, why spend so much time and energy with these venomous or pseudo-analytical messages hoping the market will crash? Obviously you wouldn’t want more renters to drive up your rents. I’m sure you’ve given all your reasons except the one that many of you would in fact like to own but can’t afford it. I don’t mean to turn this into a renter vs owner debate. Most people have been a renter at some point. You live with what you have and work for what you don’t. However you choose to put a roof over your head at the moment, one thing you can count on is that life becomes so much more pleasant when you stop hating.

  28. Posted by Trip

    “ownership is stupid”
    “many of you would in fact like to own but can’t afford it”
    “stop hating”
    Huh? Calm down.
    I think you’re overreacting to what I think has been a badly needed and intelligent discussion of some very serious problems that are brewing. Tipster, badlydrawnbear, ex-SFer, and others are providing some good counter-arguments to the omnipresent hype that has created the perfect storm we see now in which many, many people are going to lose their homes, have their credit ruined, and face huge financial downfalls for buying into all this before the inevitable correction.
    This particular place may or may not support some of the various viewpoints expressed on this board. Going into contract in four days says next to nothing. Will it close? At what price? How did the previous owner make out, or lose out, on this property? Let’s get some of that info and then add it to the discussion.

  29. Posted by Lance

    Actually, I think Blahhh has some valid points. I have seen a lot of posts on this blog lately that blast people for investing in what many of you purport to be a bust. Some people have gone as far as to say that people who lose their houses deserve it for being stupid or greedy; that’s nice. We all beliefs on what is going to happen, but it’s extremely difficult to predict or time when a market peak or valley is really going to happen. The market has certainly hit some obstacles over the last few months, but none of us really know whether that means a 40% drop or steady growth over the next several years. Seriously, do any of you REALLY know? What I do know is that Real Estate traditionally goes up around 4% annually (higher in SF), and it’s less volatile than stocks on the ups and the downs. I also know (as I’ve posted here before) that San Francisco real estate hasn’t dropped more than 10% in any stretch since at least 1987. If the intention of this blog is to give people some fodder for making an informed decision – and I think it should be — then make factual or well-informed statements without the wild predictions. The best debater is the one who can hear both sides and make somewhat unemotional responses comparing one side to the other. It’s the listener’s job to decide who’s right. Many of the posts here are highly emotional without relevant facts to support them. I’m not sure if that really serves any use except to the people writing them.

  30. Posted by Katy Dinner

    Economies of Scale – Todd Sinai, Wharton School of Business:
    Annual Appreciation 1946-2006
    1) San Francico 4.2%
    2) Los Angeles 3.7%
    3) Seattle 3.2%
    4) Boston 3.0%
    4) New York 3.0%
    National Average = 2.3%
    I would like to add that at a 4.2% annual appreciation, with 25% down you get 200% on your money in ten years, 600% in twenty years. Leverage! with 10% down, 4.2% = 42% annually, 20% down 4.2% = 21% annual return, 25% down = 16.8% annual return.10% down is going to be harding in today’s mortgage crunch but possible for A paper buyers.
    Click on my name and you will go to my blog with more statistics. (I do not know how to use HTML tags – can anyone help me?)

  31. Posted by rg

    you don’t need to do any CITY comparisons for this unit, just look at it’s own history. Not saying that this is the same unit, but my old boss lived in a 1/2 at CL in the 90s. She bought for about $175k in the early 90s and was selling in about 1996/7 when I worked under her. She was selling for about $385k and was AMAZED that they had made $200k in just a few years. So, someone needs to explain to me how these units are now priced at $1 MILLION more when salaries have only appreciated by a few %???

  32. Posted by Finance101

    Katy – A sixty year average of 4.2% seems completely reasonable for San Francisco but also raises the issue of mean reversion in order to balance out the past 5-10 years.
    You mention the benefits of leverage and some staggering returns but all of your calculations fail to take into account the cost of that leverage. Don’t forget that you’re likely paying 6.5% or more a year in interest for that house that’s appreciating at 4.2% a year.

  33. Posted by rg checker

    rg – demand for for-sale units has far exceeded salary growth in the last few years – pretty simple math – more people wanting to buy causes prices to go up. Income growth only matters if the number of housing units built equals the number of potential buyers.

  34. Posted by anon

    Katy, leverage (!) is indeed wonderful when prices rise. But now, in a downturn, that same leverage will multiply your losses (on a percentage basis, which is what we’re talking about). Buy a place for $1,000,000 with 20% down and then sell it 3 years from now for $800,000 and you have lost 100% of your investment even though prices only declined by 20%.
    As Finance101 noted, to get back to that long-term 4.2% number, we’re going to see a correction of much larger than 20% to balance out the bubble growth of the last decade.

  35. Posted by Katy Dinner

    Short term speculators are definetly in trouble. Real Estate is a long term investment. We experience seven year cycles so I recommned anyone buying should be buying for 10 years not two years. The challenge with most of the comments on these blog sites is that they are short term responses.
    The “real estate slump” and “mortgage mess” have created some great investor opportunities. San Francisco has a natural price floor – whenever prices start to fall, a whole new group of buyers step into the market and stabalize the prices out again.
    Buyers who are sitting on the sidelines right now are just waiting for the market to turn up (not down) you will never find the bottom of the market because the minute you think it is here, everyone else will catch on too! Most likely, you will think there is a deeper bottom and will miss it all together. Wham Bam – multiple offers drive prices UP.
    People who wait for prices to drop never buy. Instead, smart buyer negotaite prices down during times when other buyers are waiting. We saw this during the dot com bust, the 911 disaster, the start of the war blah blah blah.
    If you are a qualified buyer: Stable job, good credit, 20% down – this is a great time to get a super deal. If you wait until the mess cleans itself up, you are going to miss out.

  36. Posted by anon

    I saw this all in the early ’90s. The time to get a good deal is a couple years into the downturn (and these trends are measured in years, not months) not at the beginning of it. Prices in 1995 were about 30% lower than in 1991 in SF in real terms.

  37. Posted by Ann

    I live in this building and it’s not noisy at all, even with the constructin! Nor is it chilly. It’s the same temp all year. It’s a great building and someone is going to be lucky to get it at this price. I know that sounds like someone with an investment in the building, and that’s true, but it’s the best place in South Beach/SOMA. I know becuase I househunted for more than a year before I found a place I could afford in the Clocktower.
    And, sorry, but I’ve never had a problem getting into the garage. You just drive up and honk and point at the driveway. People let you in.

  38. Posted by SocketSite

    461 2nd Street #C332 closed escrow yesterday with a contract price of $1,147,000. That’s 7.3% above asking and represents annual appreciation of 4.2% since its last sale for $1,090,000 in June of 2006.

  39. Posted by Cruella

    I had an office in that unit for four years. That price was fair in the 2007 market and it was well worth the money. If I had $1M+ to spend at the time, I can’t think of a better value in a downtown condo. The unit is spectacular, several steps above standard San Francisco lofts in construction, finishes, size, appliances, and location. 2-car deeded parking on the same level, and a deed permitting business use don’t hurt either.

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