8 Buchanan Street (Linea)

With the sales office still working to close out the last few units for sale at Linea on Market Street (a.k.a. 8 Buchanan), the buyer of a two-bedroom unit who closed escrow two months ago is looking to flip the condo for almost $200,000 more today.

8 Buchanan #610 Living

Purchased at the end of April for $1,199,500 or $1,150 per square foot, and not looking very lived-in, 8 Buchanan Street #610 has just been listed at $1,375,000, or $1,318 per square foot, for the 1,043 square foot condo.

8 Buchanan #610 Bedroom

Unlike the one-bedroom down the street at the Century which was just flipped for $101,000 more after two months, the Linea listing includes a deeded parking spot within the development.

87 thoughts on “First Flip At Linea Seeks $1,300 Per Square Foot, Quick $200K Gain”
  1. I think we can all agree that while we may not be in an absolute economic bubble, we are certainly in a residential pricing bubble here in the city, and it will pop. I can’t possibly feel sorry for all the suckers buying stuff now. All the more reason to build more so that the city doesn’t become an absolute cyclical mess filled with “investors” rather than devoted full time residents with local jobs.

    1. Housing prices are higher than they’ve ever been. Anyone who has bought anything in San Francisco, ever (on average), is now worth more than it ever was. And it will happen again, goes who buy now will [eventually] be made whole or profit.

  2. There was a unit near the corner on the Market St side that had (apparently) aluminum foil in the windows. Wonder if the HOA (or the developer) took care of that.

  3. while I would agree that we’re seeing a bubble forming.. we’re not nearly at the peak… since we’re just about to climb out of the hole from the last downturn… it’s likely we’ll head up higher before there’s any type of correction. Until you see the .coms failing, we’re going to keep heading up for now. Enjoy the ride and buckle up when we hit the top.

    1. .com are doing fine. Many of them are robust business. Those with high valuation are base on their underlying performance, not how other .com are valuated. Housing is more bubbly. You justify today’s price by last 3 months price. And today’s price in turn justify the price in the next 3 months, forming a positive feedback loop. We may not at the peak yet. But a bust is always foreboding due to this speculative nature.

  4. I not so “certain” that we are in a residential bubble quite yet. If you look at international/global pricing per square foot, you will see that San Francisco is middling, even downright cheap, compared to its peers. Linea can probably be considered a “luxury” product commanding the premium pricing that we are seeing. However, the average in SF is more like $800-900 psf. So yeah, we have a long way to go before catching our peers. This is what happens when demand outstrips supply and there’s nowhere to build except near freeway on ramp/off ramps, former warehouses, previously dumpy neighborhoods. The trend is up, and I’m buying.

    1. Monaco $4988
    2. London, UK $3158
    3. Hong Kong $1919
    4. Singapore $1645
    5. Geneva, Switzerland $1601
    6. Moscow, Russia $1553
    7. Paris, France $1426
    8. New York, USA $1420
    9. Tokyo, Japan $1065
    10. Stockholm, Sweden $888
    11. Sydney, Australia $810
    12. Rome, Italy $786
    13. Toronto, Canada $770
    14. MIAMI BEACH USA $715
    15. Beijing, China $689
    16. Frankfurt, Germany $458
    17. MIAMI, USA $440
    18. São Paulo, Brazil $399
    19. FT. LAUDERDALE, USA $305

    1. Our “peers”? Seriously. We’re [NOT] in the league of any of those cities you mentioned.

      I prefer to compare us, real estate wise anyway, with cities like Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Phoenix, Boston, etc. They are our peers. Let’s be real.

        1. I don’t think its farfetched. There has always been heavy international interest in coastal cities especially in California. More so LA but definitely SF is becoming more of a global city due to the tech industry. Comparing SF to Phoenix is way off.

      1. I think it would be foolhardy to compare ourselves to Denver or Phoenix – for sure! Artificially and naturally restrained supply (in our cities and surrounding burbs) and a large demand have made prices in SF what they are. Just take a look at what’s available in Denver – they usually have at least 3 times the MLS inventory of San Francisco (if not more) and they have built the heck of their surrounding suburbs. It is so much easier to build there. And Phoenix, well…

        Boston is a decent comparable in terms of square footage but the population is 200,000 less than San Francisco. They have plenty of rental turnover and from what I remember from my real estate development days there, it was pretty easy to build there as well.

        Take a quick look at a place like Palo Alto prices per sq ft and you can see what

      2. Phoenix? Seattle? Denver?? Lol.

        Oh, I think I see what you’re doing, you’re making outlandish claims that can be easily refuted so that you can cry out on his forum how everyone is so negative and hurts your feelings because they don’t agree with you.

        1. Yea. same stuff the guy is smoking who tries to compare us (as peers) to Paris, London, et al.
          We’re a pretty small town, a tourist town, a wacky town: all good in the sense it creates a draw for outsiders.
          But, we’re basically small and provincial. Perhaps a bit overpriced. And, well, a bit full of ourselves.

          1. In all seriousness, I think you’re way too jaded. Every time I visit a “world class” city I get lots of comments from locals who think that SF is ‘the sh*t.’

          2. +1 to SFrentier’s comment – when I was in Paris last year – Paris! – French faces would positively light up when they’d ask where I was from and I’d say “San Francisco” – trust me, they did not do that with respect to any other U.S. location, except maybe NYC and L.A.

            Internally in the U.S., cities such as Seattle and Denver (and Chicago, grrr) may be competition for corporate HQs or dot-com wooing, but from the perspective of the world, and where the world’s people (especially the world’s wealthy people) want to be, we’re near the top of the heap.

      3. i think from an internation perspective, we are on the same level as Boston, Miami and Seattle. Phoenix and Denver is a level below us. NY , Chicago and LA are a lvel above us

        1. i take back the Miami comment. i think they are one level above us internationally too. Its a big draw for all of south america and a bigger draw from EU than is SF

          1. Agree with moto mayhem….Miami has an incredible amount of foreign real estate buyers and lately they are buying the very high end properties. Go to any of the top brokerage websites in Miami and note that they make sure to point out their agents speak French, German, Spanish (of course) , Italian, etc. I have also noticed that on their listing pages they usually show the price in Euros as well as dollars.

    2. Is it useful to compare San Francisco price to other cities? Is there any reason that they will come in parity? I don’t expect someone price out of Singapore will content buy in a second tier city like San Francisco. They are separate market for what I can see.

      1. WHAT? SF is second tier, and Singapore isn’t? Newsflash: both are first tier. And it’s certainly useful to compare them all, especially on a price per square foot basis. Wealthy people have options. They like these gateway cities. There are millions of wealthy people out there, and globalization has helped to spread them around the globe. SF attracts it’s fair share, and not just ones that are involved in tech. On a PSF basis alone, SF real estate is a great long term buy and hold, if you have the means to play in this market, or the knowledge and resources to buy and improve properties here. And all the usual SF forces- rent control, nutty protesters, NIMBY’s, inept city gov (for starters, planning dept, DBI, bored of sups)- are doing a fantastic job of complicating and restricting housing supply for future SF dwellers. (For some time now only the rich are moving in.) I’m looking forward to the day that we match Manhattan’s PSF. As far as I’m concerned we have a bright future for the next 20 years (inc. market cycles) and I’m all in!

        1. Its all semantics. There are clear first first tier cities above SF

          But SF is on all those international list of “global” cities and PHX and Denver and Seattle are not

          It’s like a second group global city

        2. Wealthy international investors cannot represent a significant portion of the market. After all there are only 1% of them. There maybe a lot them in a SOMA tower. But the house on my neighborhood street all have full time residents. The 15 bids submitted for every house on sale seems mostly come from eager locals, not investors.

    3. Ancedotal story. a friend at work grew up in Mumbai middle class. When I was complaing about housing prices here he said when he looks he sees detached 1500 sq ft houses 800k-1 million with 2-3 bathrooms and a yard on the Pennisula he is amazed. In Mumbai you save 20 years to buy a very small modest middle class flat outside the city.

      I’ve finally got my mind around things having changed

      1. So is Hong Kong. It is always super expensive compare to San Francisco.

        But these comparison are not meaningful. The houses are not fungible. You don’t see an influx of people priced out of Mumbai snapped up cheap housing in Bay Area. This just doesn’t happen.

        Their prices are not even closely correlated. Each place has their own social economical factor. Hong Kong has a big slump bottomed at 2003. They are only marginally impacted by the financial crisis and quickly follow by a huge rally when the US market is still down. Most recently the relative performance is reversed. Hong Kong is flat or down, possibly a result of government’s anti-speculation policy. In San Francisco the price is up up up.

  5. Maybe it’s crazier than I think out there, but I’d say this flipper already paid above market when he bought this place at $1.2 million. It’s on loud, ugly Market Street at Buchanan. I don’t think this flip will work out. To execute a flip, you need to find a place with some market slack, like a fixer-upper.

    1. To execute a flip, you need to find a place with some market slack, like a fixer-upper.

      …or a large enough number of hysterical/desperate/hysterically desperate home hunters. Some units are more in demand than others and the “gotta have the view and the double-exposure” buyer might come to make this work.

      1. Maybe. But I know this area well, and even $1000/sf for a 2 bedroom condo is a high outlier. So it seems like the flipper already paid well over the hysterical/desperate price. But again, maybe it’s crazier than I think. Super risky move that I certainly wouldn’t make. Better risk/reward ratio buying a million in twitter stock on margin or something that at least doesn’t have high monthly carrying costs and a huge selling commission.

  6. Maybe the owner just decided it was too noisy to live there and lack of sleep caused the asking price, not greed.

  7. Just to play devil’s advocate – I don’t see why you wouldn’t put the bay area in that peer set. Its a dense, space-constrained city being fed by a huge, international industry (tech) with lots of local and international money chasing few housing options. The average income in SF is higher than in almost all those cities, so from a housing price / income ratio, it looks cheap compared to just about all those cities. Also, the difference between this tech boom and the last one is that the companies this time around are generating metric f*cktons of free cash flow, so we’re unlikely to see massive layoffs of high-income workers.

    1. Boy, just go visit any of those cities in the top 12 on that list and see if you can honestly say that SF is in their league, particularly with respect to international residents. I love it here. Chose it over NY and Paris (lived in both several years back). But SF is a small town in comparison. A very pretty, wonderful town, but not even close to these. “Expert” is clearly just talking his book as a realtor or flipper wannabe or something.

      1. Exactly. We’re not anywhere near the league of those mentioned up to, say, number 14. SF is a nice city. It’s my home, so far. Yea, a nice town. A small town.

        We think too highly of ourselves. The really great cites are the top 13 mentioned.

      2. I disagree. You can’t just look at population size. NYC is 5-6 mil? So what? Most of that is boring junk. Compare SF to manhattan. Brooklyn to Oakland. Etc. Paris? Beyond the core arrondissement is pretty suburby. Even by intl standards SF is fairly dense, has many distinct neighborhoods/cultures, and a fair amount of art and cultural institutions. Yeah, not in the league of London or NYC, but then they have the sucky weather 6-8 months of the year as well. At the end of the day it’s a balance of features, and what’s important to you, that make a city desirable.

    2. My view from the back of the front line: 1/2 of my airbnb monthly guests are getting hired by the big tech usual suspects. The other 1/2 go into artsy design, small tech startups. 3/4 are transplants from NY. I see their starry eyes and can’t help but be brought back to 1998.

  8. I have not seen anything listed for “only” $800psf in a while. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong sources? I think we’ve cleared $1,000psf as the average at this point, but still, yes, we are cheap compared to Monaco, which is only existence as the dominant playground for the world’s rich/elite and makes Miami Beach look like a podunk white trash town. SF is right there with Tokyo, closer to New York and Paris than to the rest of the US, yet we ARE a small town in every other way.

    I agree we’re going to see prices continue to rise for a while, but I do think that residential prices are more in a bubble than our economic driver, tech. Tech is driven by somewhat sound fundamentals, and despite the good salaries, our housing prices are climbing well out of reach of most those workers. Buyers are flippers/”investors” and foreign buyers. At some point, any “scare” in the market (i.e. a softening/correction with tech) will scare all of those guys away and pricing will crash.

    How many times do we read about things put back on the market after only 2 months and selling for 10-30% more? That’s not “normal”. Long term buyers, i.e. techies who are “here to stay” or folks like me who would like to be able to afford a home have a different kind of buying head on our shoulder and are not as willing to pay oddball “flipping” prices. More likely to buy from the developer or a former long time owner than someone who owned for 1-5 months. Though I do have a tech friend who paid $1.1M for a 1BR in the Mission recently. OUCH

    My theory. Take it or leave it.

      1. I wonder what the subsidized housing is like in Monaco. Maybe their developers also have to include 12-20% inclusionary housing in any new development :~)

  9. Love it. This is precisely why i cashed out a month ago. Other than social media and applications, what is SF’s economic base? 25 years ago, banking, insurance, import/export, law drove the City’s economy. Now those sectors have reduced considerably, but social media and applications have grown. That’s not a diverse enough base to be considered in the same league as the Top 10 list.

    1. Monaco $4988- Global tax free haven for the world’s top 1000 richest people.
    2. London, UK $3158- World financial center, national capital.
    3. Hong Kong $1919- one of two Asian financial capitals and the gateway to 1 billion people.
    4. Singapore $1645- A country, national capital all in one and the other Asian financial center.
    5. Geneva, Switzerland $1601-A global city of 200k people, that is the home to international organizations and of course swiss banking.
    6. Moscow, Russia $1553- The capital and economic engine of a country of 250mm.
    7. Paris, France $1426-Really? Do i need to note the national capital of one of the G7 countries.
    8. New York, USA $1420- We all know NY’s deal.
    9. Tokyo, Japan $1065-National capital of a G7 country and one of the world’s biggest economies.
    10. Stockholm, Sweden $888- National capital of the country with the highest standard of living in the world.

    Now, I admit we have Twitter, Yelp, Linked has an office as does Google, and a host of a other startups etc and we have a few of the old blue blood companies still (Bechtel,Wells Fargo), but really does the City of SF belong in that top 10? Come on.

    1. Perhaps a nitpick but your #6 re Moscow is way off. The population of Russia is about 143 million not 250 million (hey a hundred million people here or there, no big deal…). And I think the relevant fact is not that it is a national capital but that it is the financial center of a a country with massive income inequality run by oligarchs. Y’know, kind of like New York..

      1. good call on russian population, forgot about the old break up of the soviet union which at one time rivaled the US population.

    2. Dude, if you’re including Geneva, Stockholm, and Singapore, then yeah, SF belongs in there. Easily. Allow me to follow your format:

      San Francisco, USA ~$1100- Tech and bio tech capital. Gateway to silicon valley. Co-anchor of California, worlds 8th largest economy.

    3. I’m shaking my head at the $3100 figure for “London”. Those stats would make sense for the tiny part of the city known as the City of London but don’t at all match what is happening in Wandsworth, Lambeth, etc…. the other 98% of London.

      1. Yes, the data is for “prime inner city area” as defined by the source, Global Property Guide, for their “World’s most expensive cities” (namelink). They have cities from around the world, but their sampling seems to leave out many cities.

        Their list of assumptions includes:

        ” Figures are typically based on the average for a 120 square metre apartment”

        “We are interested in the sort of properties which will be attractive to foreign renters….In European cities, we lean towards properties in the historic city centres.”

        1. Hmmmm… I’d think that foreign renters would be a lot more interested living in Knightsbridge, Camden, or Chelsea all of which are in inner London but outside of the City of London.

  10. I am not sure about the $1426 for Paris. The official number is 8160EUR/m2 which amounts to $1000/sf and change.

    1. I would totally agree… was just there in April, and prices seemed reasonable like for like. they have slightly older buildings… like 1800’s vs 1900’s, but other than that… it seemed pretty comparable to what we see in SF.

  11. PER CITY: Prices coming down due to Schlage Development — from Office of Economic Analysis:

    “The Schlage Dev alone will cause:

    A decrease in market rents across the city of 0.2 percent, phasing in over the construction period.
    A decrease in housing prices across the city of 0.8 percent, phasing in over the construction period.”


    Now, what about the effect of the other 4-5000 units coming online each year for the next 5 years and beyond?

    [Editor’s Note: A key line in the OEA’s report with respect to those decreases which the Business Times seems to have missed: “…compared to what prices and rents would have been without the development.”]

  12. Ummm…Schlage Dev…The project is expected to be completed by 2026. That’s waaay off. We will have ended and started another housing bubble by then.

    Historically housing bulls have lasted 5-7 years. We are only 2 years in currently.
    Historically after a crash, the housing market plows WELL past the previous bubbles peak. We have just barely passed the peak.

    Outside of Lumina, Arden and some boutique condo buildings…Most of the 4-5000 housing units coming online in the next 2 years will be in Hunters Point area.

    We might see a slowdown in appreciation, but there won’t be any sort of prominent housing pullback in prices for at least a few years in San Francisco.

    1. All possible, but this is post hoc, ergo propter hoc.. Because these patterns have appeared in the recent past does not mean they will appear again and continue indefinitely into the future.

  13. I actually think SF is more world-class than Geneva, and I agree that Paris number is not correct. I’m also going to venture to guess that we are nearing the top of this current crazy run. It might be short-lived before it starts up again, but the current pace of growth is not sustainable in my opinion.

  14. I’m not a developer, wouldn’t the dev community spread out units coming online to prevent deep discounts? It wouldn’t make sense to flood the market, right?

    1. Oh I can imagine the discussions between developers trying to spread out development.

      Market cycles are what they are. It takes time to gather funding, plans, permits, logistics, contractors, etc. All it takes is a few months and you could get stuck at the wrong end of the market cycle.

      Timing is everything. The biggest winners are the ones who start early and push for their projects when everyone was still scarred from the previous crash. The biggest losers are the ones who got too scared and waited too long. But I can bet you that nobody will back off because they want to let someone else’s inventory to be eaten first, lol.

  15. Maybe I’m missing something here, but this doesn’t seem like a very exciting flip at those numbers. Sold for 175k more than the original purchase price. ~70k goes to realtor commissions, and then isn’t there capital gains for a hold that short? This person made money, but the risk/reward for that level of profit seems a little off.

    1. maybe he’s expecting a bidding war? In any case a short hold is always a risky proposition. We’ve had this discussion for months in 2007-2008 when the market was at the previous top and flippers were starting to come up a little short. There were endless cost breakdowns, etc… The common agreement between bears and bulls: short hold = bad idea

  16. Bet this wasn’t intended to be a flip, more likely a buyer who is in over his/her head and getting while the getting is good. Lack of furnishings/staging the giveaway.

  17. No clue what the source of prices listed above is; but, according to the Chambre des Notaires de Paris, the price per square meter is 8160€–or about $1032 per square foot not $1426. And, no, San Francisco is NOT a world-class city like those at the top half of the list.

  18. Forget about SF’s current peers. If growth isn’t addressed the city’s future peers will be Venice, Bruges, and Lamu.

  19. In the long term the comment by Grubber 2 is the most important. Our tax base and the decline in people in those occupations has had an enormous impact. I cannot image the changes in Noe Valley and the Mission without that. At the risk of stereotypes, those people in those occupations, in the past, would have chosen Pac Heights, St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, etc., if they did not live in the suburbs. Noe Valley really started to change in the mid to late nineties when the Silicon Valley people figured out about Hwy. 280. We will have to see what happens in the next five years (or less) with this “linkage” with tech jobs and SF housing prices/bubble.

    1. To be clear, it was when 280 re-opened after Loma Prieta. I remember moving here in 1991 when 280 was shut down – it made a huge difference when it re-opened. (And hence it’s so hard for me to imagine anyone who was here then being in favor of tearing down even part of 280 today.)

      More generally, I’m with several others here, in the camp of “San Francisco is Manhattan, not New York City”. It’s both unfair and inappropriate to compare small constrained S.F. with all of NYC or L.A. or London… the more appropriate comparison is to sweep in the entire mid-Bay area (i.e, not Sonoma, and not Santa Clara / San Jose, but the rest). Oakland is Brooklyn, San Mateo County is New Jersey + Westchester, etc.

    2. Plus, SF’s economy is more diverse than you make it out to be. Bio tech, medical/universities, business consulting, legal, banking, design, etc. Social media, phone apps, disruptive tech and all other Web 2.0 is probably 5-10%* max of all good paying/professionals employed. Yeah a tech hard landing would blow, but would not devastate our economy-not by a long shot.

      *Any good stats on that btw? Apples to apples is more relevant; i.e. professionals employed, not dish washers, cabbies and retail sales.

  20. This condo complex is way over price to begin with. Most of the floor plans are awful and the rooms are tiny. Not a good investment in my view.

  21. Sold my condo and left SF. Very happy with this decision. Just because a city is “world class”, doesn’t justify the high prices and future consumption you will have to give up in order to live there.

    I may be heading to Texas now.

    1. I feel for your frustration. It’s a crazy place these days.

      2 scenarii:
      1 – you are actually into a mortgage too high for what value you give to SF and I understand the move
      2 – you are equity rich and cash out, letting the suckers paying you the high life

      I am in situation #2 but couldn’t resolve myself to selling last year. Instead I went into the corporate rental option, collecting more than market rental rate and still being protected from rent control. I moved to 75%LV, 25% South of France, using the SF crazy rents as a really nice monthly bonus. The move that keeps giving.

      One thing that really bugs me: landlords are supposed to be much wealthier than their tenants! In SF today many of my tenants are doing as well as I do. How do you maintain some sort of hierarchy in that case? This is socially and culturally very disruptive.

  22. I was more of a blend between 2) and 3) annoyed by high bills that I could pay. I had no mortgage, and ample other assets, but I did feel it was a good time to unload it + I feel comfortably living much more simply and cheaply as I get older.

  23. I can completely understand the decision to cash out at this (probably) bubble high and leave SF. But . . . life is short and you only live once! Texas? I’ve spent a ton of time there for work. No way would I move there. Paris, NY, London, Madrid, Marseille, or on a smaller scale Monaco, Santa Fe, Tahoe, Telluride. I can come up with 100 great places, large and small, where I’d be happy to live instead of SF (which I love). But Texas??? That’s where you lost me.

    1. I don’t think I have to live in a designer city to be happy. I can buy a huge house for cheap in AZ or TX.

    2. Fair enough. I respect that. We just have different priorities. I really like wonderful, dynamic places. A big house in the styx doesn’t really interest me. But I do recognize that I’m in the minority on this point, at least among Americans. And I’m thankful everyone isn’t just like me or the world would be very boring!

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