Listed for $1,449,000 two months ago, the asking price for the three-bedroom Nob Hill condo #106 at 850 Powell Street (a.k.a. The Francesca) has recently been reduced to $1,349,000.
With a box beam ceiling in the dining room, a wood burning fireplace in the living room and a remodeled kitchen, the elegant 2,461 square foot unit is now priced at $548 per square foot.

Not included in the list price, however, is parking in the building (which is leased and “available on a seniority basis”) and HOA dues of $2,058.82 a month.
The condo was purchased for $587,000 in 1999 at which point the average 30-year mortgage rate was around 7 percent, a rate at which a $2,059 monthly payment would have serviced around $350,000 in debt versus closer to $550,000 at today’s 30-year rate.
∙ Listing: 850 Powell Street #106 (3/3) 2,461 sqft – $1,349,000 [850powell106.com]

25 thoughts on “An Elegant Three-Bedroom Nob Hill Condo For $550 A Square Foot”
  1. assuming the HOA stays at $2,059, that’s like having another $545k added to the purchase price (at 4.5% borrow rate). Still not bad. I think people are irrationally scared by the HOA so high resulting in a disproportionate discount on the asking price.
    It would be interesting to look at HOA dues over the course of the last 20 years to try to predict future increases and re-do the math above

  2. Where do the high HOA fees go in buildings like this? I’m sure the building is really well insured and that counts for a good chunk of the 2K per. month but what else is involved?

  3. TJ: I live in a similar building nearby and our largest expense is for doormen. I wish we’d get rid of at least the night doorman, but other residents consider them essential. Next largest is maintenance and repairs–old elevators, boilers, and other equipment are not cheap to repair.

  4. I’m from Chicago and the high HOA fees are not just in buildings this old. It seems after a building reaches about 30 years of age, the repair costs shoot through the roof. Many residential towers in Chicago that were built in the 70’s (Hancock Tower as an example) and early 80’s now need new boiler room equipment, new elevators, replacements to switch gear, air handlers, security systems, flashing and caulking, and on and on and on. I would imagine many of the newer towers such as One Rincon will see their fees creep up as well over the decades. The older the building, the higher the fees.
    And don’t forget the special assessments! Sigh.

  5. HOA aside this is a very classy unit that is functional, elegant and stylish all at the same time. Enough with the open floor plan crap… (I don’t want to watch TV literally right next to the kitchen island. Yes, I’m taking to you Infinity!) Very civilized indeed.

  6. “Enough with the open floor plan crap”
    Couldn’t agree with Willow more! I recently went to a party in a unit similar to this but located on Jackson near Gough and was envious of my host’s having an actual dining room and living room. I forgot how wonderful the ritual of an evening at someone’s home could be with cocktails being enjoyed without standing in someone’s kitchen, and then enjoying a meal without watching dishes being cleaned. While the adults ate, their children watched a movie undisturbed by simply closing the library room door. Imagine!
    There is something to be said for having actual rooms!

  7. Looking carefully at the unit #, the floor plan, and the photos, this unit #106 is close to the sidewalk level. Only the first floor has flat windows like this, the upper floors have bay windows until you get to the penthouse level.
    I am guessing by window types, please correct me, that the master bedroom is on the corner of Sacramento and the rear driveway/alley – that is why the blinds are drawn in so many room photos.
    granted Sacramento is very steep here, but how long before you can identify individual 1 California buses by the sounds they make as they struggle up the hill?

  8. Who cares about high HOAs???? Just Imagine the convenience of having Dim Sum everyday, after all this building is in Chinatown!

  9. It’s near Chinatown, but definitely still Nob Hill. The Fairmont is right across the street and this building is just a few doors down from the University Club. It looks nothing like Chinatown although it’s right on the border.

  10. It would be a very good deal except that it is on the rez de chausée, facing the rue, not an inner courtyard with trees, and has no garage.
    Lack of a garage on Nob Hill is a big problem.
    Except for that, Mrs Lincoln, it is a great real-SF apartment, with rooms and doors.

  11. I think it is a lovely apartment that has been updated with care. You truly could entertain in style in the DR. The parking is probably a drawback, and I wonder if the HOA budget forecast includes any surprises. While everyone shopping in this price range would expect a 700 to $1000 HOA, that extra $1100 carries a double penalty as you can’t write it off. That explodes the impact of that cash, based on your marginal tax rate.

  12. I think redseca2 is correct about the location of this apartment within the building. The window in the master bedroom has a view of the Transamerica Building, rather than the Fairmont, which is across Powell. Also, since this room also has a north-facing window, this unit has to be on the Sacramento Street side. That said, if someone wants to make a gift of this unit to me, I’d be happy to let readers know if the 1 Sacramento is a problem. Not only is Sacramento steep, it’s an electric bus, so I’m pretty sure I could live with it.
    It’s a beautiful apartment. Put me in the camp who still thinks rooms are a good idea.

  13. Except for the fact that the HOA alone is more than my current mortgage+taxes+HOA I like it. I guess it costs that much to have a Formal Entry as compared to the informal entry I have to use at my place (crawling through a window?).

  14. As a buyer, you’ve also got to look down the road to when you’ll eventually be selling. What makes it a hard sell now will still make it a hard sell in X number of years. So you’ll be the one stuck trying to unload it with the extremely high HOA fees and no confirmed parking. Unless money really doesn’t matter at all, sadly it’s better to stay away from this place. The significant drawbacks make it an elegant, gorgeous white elephant.

  15. Jim T. is right, as I am sure we can all agree.
    Then why other than political correctness is San Francisco government forcing the building of hundreds ( ? thousands) of apartments with no parking, unless it is an attempt to keep prices down and make people live without cars. What a stupid way to create “affordable” housing!

  16. conifer – you should go back and re-read the threads specifically about parking maximums in dense congested areas to understand the objective reasons. It has nothing to with being PC and everything to do with allowing the city to grow without suffocating itself in congestion.

  17. MOD–
    If the city were interested in avoiding congestion they would not make proposals to reduce traffic lanes South of Market.
    The old argument about gasoline has to be retired as alternative power sources, including hybrid and electric cars, are increasingly available.
    So the car haters will now find another argument, congestion, which they are deliberately creating.
    This is entirely political correctness. Electric cars with plenty of parking and wide streets would be a sound solution. But those who want to tell others how to live are not interested. They think it makes sense to tell the very young, the elderly, and the infirm to ride bicycles.
    This is an old story on socketsite.

  18. I can only speak for myself conifer, but congestion and land use has long been one of the key reasons for limiting autos in a dense area (the other being safety). It isn’t a new concern brought in to replace the gasoline argument.
    This thread has nothing to do with parking or congestion. However this thread from five years ago and dozens of others since then would be a good place to discuss that.

  19. Ah yes. People like conifer think that they always need 3,000 pounds to drag themselves around in. They reassure themselves that their 3,000 pounds are fueled by coal, or natural gas, or nuclear power, or maybe bird killing widmills, but every person in every neighborhood in every apartment MUST have a parking space.
    conifer: there is such a thing as low density suburbia. With individual garages and driveways. You DO have a choice. Even within the offical city limits of SF!

  20. @conifer Where is the electricity to power electric car going to come from? Burning natural gas. This also is polluting, though not as bad as gasoline.
    They think it makes sense to tell the very young, the elderly, and the infirm to ride bicycles.
    Enjoy beating that straw man to death? No one has said that.

  21. @conifer Where is the electricity to power electric car going to come from? Burning natural gas. This also is polluting, though not as bad as gasoline.
    Well, electricity comes from power plants. Power plants operate in all kinds of ways, one of which is natural gas.
    But there is ample unused electrical capacity at night. Electric cars are a good use of that. No new powerplants will be necessary for several years.

  22. I knew someone who once owned an apartment in this building and referred to it as a co-op rather than condo. If that is indeed still the case, the ownership model is different than a condo, and the monthly fees include property taxes.

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