Twenty-three (23) of the twenty-four (24) new Hayes Valley condos at 1600 Market Street are being offered for under $224,000, with one-bedrooms priced from $201,345 to $203,547 and two-bedrooms priced from $218,726 to $223,906. But there is a catch.
Built to fulfill the mandated affordable housing component (BMR) for the market rate development at 1998 Market Street (aka LINEA), buyers of the twenty-three 1600 Market Street condos must make less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which means a one-person household can make no more than $56,700 a year, a two-person household no more than $64,750.
The condos range in size from 504 to 917 square feet (the floor plans) with a communal 2,000 square foot roof deck. And while none of the units have parking for cars, there is a room for bikes.
Applications to buy the condos are due by October 25 at 5pm with a lottery to be held on October 30 and occupancy possible in November.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by zouaf

    Like most everything else to do with San Francisco’s housing policy, this is broken. As if two people making $70 or $80k can afford to buy a house!

  2. Posted by Taco

    Why take a bunch of low income people and bundle them in a building on one of the busiest streets? Doesn’t that just seem like it’s asking for trouble? I want to live on Market, but I work too hard and make too much money to get a break.

  3. Posted by Mark

    @zouaf: yes, the system is broken, but this situation allows lower income folks to own property. However, the middle class, especially those trying to raise families, get screwed. My partner and I fit in this category. With a combined income of 150k we are now priced out of homes in the Sunset where we rent. Even if I quit my job to become a stay at home Dad we’d still make too much to quality for the units discussed here, not to mention raising a teenage girl and boy which would require a 3BD unit.

  4. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Making $56k/yr makes you low income? I don’t think that even in the expensive Bay Area that this is true. Maybe working class or something like that would be more accurate.
    There are tons of new rentals coming online mid-Market for those who make a bit more and wish to live there. A bunch of my co-workers are living in NEMA. I honestly don’t see the attraction, but I guess there is the short commute.
    Have middle class people ever been able to afford their own Single Family Home in San Francisco? There was probably a brief window in the 70’s, when crime was super high and people were fleeing the cities, but I think other than that, the San Francisco middle class have been renters.
    What was the percentage of home ownership in the 50s? Does anyone know how to find that out?

  5. Posted by noe mom

    NoeValleyJim: go to the Government Documents section of the Main Library and look at U.S. Census figures for 1950 and 1960. They may tell you something about homeownership for the census tracks that comprise San Francisco. Or in the archives of the SF Redevelopment Agency. They probably had the same info from the census or maybe their own refined data based on the property tax records for a good part of San Francisco as they were getting ready to decimate the Western Addition, SOMA and do a great deal of building up on the open space/dairy farms of Diamond Heights.

  6. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    My wife and I bought our first place when our combined income was just a bit under $150k/yr. We did buy a two unit building and had no kids yet, so we had some rental income from the downstairs unit and fewer expenses. But interest rates were 6.25% then too, so our mortgage costs were higher.
    It all depends on your debt, lifestyle and other expenses, but I am thinking that a modest $600-700k Sunset house should be within reach of a combined $150k/yr income with 20% saved for a downpayment. It is definitely a comittment though.

  7. Posted by Schaetzer

    These are very affordable for the income range. I bought my first “market rate” condo in 1992. A 1BR in North Beach for $182K with 20% down and income around $60K. And the starting interest rate was much higher at well over 8%! Given today’s rates, it would be even easier to carry the debt. Within a few years owning was cheaper than renting, even if there hadn’t been the interest write-off. Within ten years it seemed downright cheap to be an owner. And no landlord to deal with.

  8. Posted by GoodByeBadTimes

    Note to floorplan illustrator:
    A “DW” is typically located in a kitchen; a “W/D” in a hall closet.
    Otherwise great job on this project! If I could retire I might just fit the income requirements . . . .

  9. Posted by Hello

    NoeValleyJim…you say you bought your first house in the early 90s for just under 200k and 60k income. But do you understand that every single item in the US costs more than double today than it did back then due to inflation? Everything from MUNI to street hot dogs to cars and gasoline to parking tickets is more than double. This means Americans earning 60k have very little savings. This housing project is in a prime spot on Market st but I do not know who can earn so little but still actually afford to live there.

  10. Posted by BobN

    The kitchens are so small, that thing in the hallway might indeed be a DW.

  11. Posted by Rob

    I really can’t believe that the city doesn’t have any kind of design standards guideline for new development on Market. More permanent building materials, like brick, steal…etc. on the exterior only seem fit for the main artery of the city.
    This place looks cheap and out of place on Market.

  12. Posted by markk

    I am all in on this one . Thanks socket site

  13. Posted by Futurist

    @ Rob: The City does have info for exterior materials in the Residential Design Guidelines, but they are very broad and do not really dictate actual materials.
    You may not “like” the exterior, but is your reason really about materials or the design in general? The construction budget usually defines what materials will fit within the budget. Don’t forget, this is not high end housing. Brick is never appropriate here, except for brick precast panels.
    But the exterior materials, dryvit and aluminum are appropriate for this project and location, and budget. They are also long lasting with little maintenance.
    We can’t have low cost housing, which this is, with expensive materials.

  14. Posted by 1965

    @Rob This is a truly desolate intersection and this building is already making the area feel a little more hospitable. It’s infill, and that’s ok.
    I’m actually pleased with how the color came out, it echoes the historic brick building across the street. The original renders made it look like it was going to be bright red.

  15. Posted by Rob

    @futurist Makes sense… I think the design / build was executed nicely for what it is, I think I’m just a bit saddened by the use of the lot. And so on…
    @1965 Tasteful for what it is… definitely nice to have some infill. You’re right; the area feels much nicer already.

  16. Posted by Zig

    “With a combined income of 150k we are now priced out of homes in the Sunset where we rent.”
    Mark I think you could indeed still afford a modest house in the Outer Sunset/Parkside. Other affordable, relatively safe, unpopular neighborhoods are Portola and Crocker Amazon where you could buy a house.

  17. Posted by ByeByeMiddleClass

    Unless you make $250k/year (for the luxury units in SOMA), or less than $56,700/year (for the BMR units in Hayes Valley), there is nowhere to buy in SF. I make a good living, even by SF standards (low $100k range), have 20% cash saved, and can’t find a home to buy. The middle class is dying in SF.

  18. Posted by Futurist

    I disagree as to “no where to buy” in SF unless you make $250k/year.
    The real issue is those who want to buy ONLY want to buy in the trendy, hip, already gentrified neighborhoods. They don’t want to be “urban pioneers” and buy in the more southern and much cheaper ‘hoods and create new hip/urban areas and create wealth that way.
    That’s the problem.

  19. Posted by ByeByeMiddleClass

    @Futurist – I would actually buy outside of the “trendy areas”. However, I’m not spending $750k on a 2 bed/1 bath teardown in Bernal/Bayview
    The point too, some developer is going to come in, buy the above building for $800k cash as is, knock it down, build two properties on the double lot, and double their profit. The middle class can’t compete.

  20. Posted by Futurist

    You proved my point, ByeBye:
    There’s always some “excuse” or some “issue” as to the idea of moving to cheaper neighborhoods, buying and creating a new ‘hood.
    just for your fyi: Bernal is becoming the next Noe Valley. Give it 5 years.

  21. Posted by ByeByeMiddleClass

    Fuurist, that’s not an excuse and I’m sorry that I don’t have the cash, time, or want to fix up an “issue” of a house. The point I’m making is “I’m not spending $750k on a 2 bed/1 bath teardown in [insert neighborhood here]”
    I don’t think you’re looking at this from all lenses – there are many types of buyers out there, not just people “looking for an up and coming neighborhood”, a “fixer-upper”, a developer, etc. I’m not complaining about the price, it’s the market itself and how it functions here. At least in other urban areas like NY and Seattle, you can find decent pried homes in and outside of the city.

  22. Posted by Futurist

    I hear you, but if you don’t have the cash, then the point is moot. I get that.
    Prices here are, yes, high. That’s not going to change, nor will they get lower.
    But we’re also not Seattle. Why compare?
    I’ve said it before here and get some heat for it, but the fact remains that not EVERYONE can afford to live in SF proper. Reality. Nor is everyone “entitled” to live here. Same comment for Manhattan, Paris, London and other quality cities.
    Then why not Oakland? Why not the outer SF neighborhoods. Why are those not valid choices?
    In my previous comments I gave you my opinion why.

  23. Posted by Zig

    To ByeByeMiddleClass I would suggest Mission Terrace and Sunnyside south of Monterrey
    Or some of the older homes off Geneva in the Excelsior and Southern Hills.
    There are some interesting old homes with character in each of the above I have listed.
    You know where else there are interesting old homes in the area? South City around Grand Ave. That is about as real as it gets.
    If you free your mind there is options. I get that it is frustrating. My wife and I are really struggling ourselves with where to live and it sucks

  24. Posted by Futurist

    I applaud Zig for his comments. Yes, it can be a struggle, but you are being open about the possibilities and potentials of those southern neighborhoods.
    Looking ahead to the future, those areas have enormous potential to become great neighborhoods.
    Remember, 15-20 years ago, Noe was not considered a good neighborhood. Neither was Bernal, nor Glen park.

  25. Posted by Zig

    Another town I am very high on is Alameda, especially for families.

  26. Posted by Average Joe

    thanks, Zig. appreciate the voice of reason. much like those families who claim the school lottery is a mess, but only apply to Clarendon, Miraloma, and Rooftop, housing in SF for the traditional middle class is a study in our willingness to examine our personal biases.

  27. Posted by Zig

    LOL, Well this is the first time I am lauded as a voice of reason here I guess.
    I should be clear that I think things are bad here because of very poor transit and land-use planning and that the areas I mentioned will never be the next “Noe Valley” for various reasons.
    I am in the boat of people priced out of the areas they want to live in (for us it is Bernal, Noe and Glen Park). But we still have options is my point so I can’t elicit much sympathy for myself or others like us because we don’t have stock options.
    I am very concerned about how these issues are affecting the true working class people. People settled in places like the Mission for the very reason that they were close to services, close to downtown and close to good transportation. Even within San Francisco just pushing people out to illegal units in SFHs is a really bad solution to this problem.

  28. Posted by anon94123

    “While Seattle decided to embrace infill development as a way to save open space at the edge of its region and put more people in neighborhoods where they could walk, San Francisco decided to push regional population growth somewhere else.”
    Great article on the “San Francisco Exodus”

  29. Posted by Jake

    Seattle, with about half the population density of San Francisco’s Sunset District, has plenty of ‘in’ to fill.
    Here is an article with some perspective on urban density:

  30. Posted by Ugh!

    Oh please, the point of the article was not that San Francisco would drop its oh so important density crown, for it still reigns supreme, which seems so strangely important to the armchair planners on Socketsite.
    The POINT of “San Francisco Exodus” is that most of the housing built in the Bay Area in the last 40 years has been built VERY far from the city center. That is why San Francisco also gets to wear the crown for the LONGEST commute times of ANY urban region, and the LONGEST commutes in terms of distance travelled as well. Don’t believe me?

  31. Posted by anon

    ^I don’t see why you think we wouldn’t believe you. The “density crown” that you speak of doesn’t matter much to me, but it DOES matter that we’re not continually increasing that density, and instead building out into the hinterlands, as you note.
    To avoid that, it’s VERY important that we continually be increasing density in all parts of the Bay Area, but especially places like SF that are already built in such a manner that can easily absorb additional density.

  32. Posted by S

    Agree whole-heartedly with Zig and Futurist – any area south of Glen Park and within reach of Balboa Park or Daly City is affordable as well as convenient – you can be downtown in 20 – 30 minutes which is so much more than I can say for the Outer Sunset or Richmond. Portola is a great option as well that has views of downtown, McLaren Park, and restaurants/grocery options. Ingleside is great too and there’s a brand new Whole Foods that just opened. I myself live super close to Portola and bike into work downtown in 30 minutes and taking Muni/Bart is also a breeze. It’s safe, sunny, and this city is so small – you’re not far from anything.

  33. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    …it’s VERY important that we continually be increasing density in all parts of the Bay Area, but especially places like SF that are already built in such a manner that can easily absorb additional density.
    I agree though think that it is more beneficial to increase density on the inner rail transit nodes than in SF. That’s mainly because those semi-suburban locations can absorb density easier and that density produces a greater local impact. I’m thinking of the Caltrain stations on the west and BART+Amtrak on the east. But not in the exurbs like Pleasanton or Pittsburgh. Yet.
    So far only a few places like Sunnyvale, Mt. View, and San Jose have made significant strides towards this direction. There’s a lot of distributed opportunity out there. SF need not shoulder the entire burden nor does it make sense to concentrate development in SF.

  34. Posted by Ugh!

    My point about the silly “density crown” is that many who post here love to bring up North Beach and Chinatown as examples of how we have a density like New York or Paris (Part of the Francophile fetish of some San Franciscans…re “I heard French spoken at an open house today”, etc.) but the reality is that our URBAN REGION has a density far worse than regions we pretend we are not, like Los Angeles.
    With the LONGEST commute distance and travel times of ANY urban region (see my links posted above), the Bay Area has a lot of catching up to do. Some people here look at the Google bus as a sign of civic success, but I see it as a regional failure where workers are living over 30 miles from their office and spending hours a day on freeways, even if it is in a bus with wifi.
    The “San Francisco Exodus” article above basically says that we could learn from some other regions, and why is it so hard for San Franciscans to admit that?

  35. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Your link doesn’t prove what you think it does Ugh! The Bay Area does not have the longest average commute times in the country, New York City does. We don’t even have the largest number of mega-commuters, somewhere in Louisiana does.
    The Bay Area does have some pretty bad commutes though, no doubt. The thing we need to learn from other regions is to invest more in our transit infrastructure and to build more housing near jobs. For far too long we have let the NIMBY THD mindset dominate housing decisions.

  36. Posted by Zig

    I would argue that we invest a fair amount in our infrastructure. It is just in the wrong places with the wrong land-use planning.
    VTA light-rail is one of the worst in the world by many standard metrics for efficiency. BART is one of, if not the most sprawling metro in the world. The BART San Mateo extension literally build metro stations next to cemeteries, a mall and a Costco. Next up is BART to Livermore and downtown San Jose. More junk

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