Price per square foot to live near BART 2016

The relative cost of living near BART has been newly mapped by Estately, which compiled the average sale price per square foot for all the houses, townhouses and condos that have sold within a one-mile radius of each BART station over the past six months.

The ten “most expensive stops” and relative commute times to Downtown San Francisco (defined as Embarcadero station):

1. Embarcadero – $1,191 per square foot (0 minutes)
2. Montgomery Street – $1,149 (2 min)
3. Powell Street – $1,099 (4 min)
4. 24th Street/Mission – $1,001 (9 min)
5. 16th Street/Mission – $998 (7 min)
6. Civic Center – $994 (6 min)
7. Millbrae – $854 (25 min)
8. Glen Park – $817 (11 min)
9. SFO – $735 (32 min)
10. Rockridge $704 (20 min)

And the ten least expensive:

1. Pittsburg/Bay Point – $219 per square foot (62 minutes from Downtown San Francisco)
2. Richmond – $258 (35 min)
3. Coliseum – $270 (20 min)
4. North Concord/Martinez – $306 (56 min)
5. Concord – $317 (43 min)
6. Hayward – $347 (32 min)
7. South Hayward – $356 (36 min)
8. San Leandro – $366 (24 min)
9. Bay Fair – $376 (28 min)
10. Castro Valley – $406 (32 min)

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    This seems like it might have been useful – or at least interesting – if it had (actually) adjusted for proximity to BART – for example how does a sale 1.0 miles from Walnut Creek Bart compare to 1/4 mile? 1.5 miles? etc.; this just seems to confirm the obvious fact that prices are, generally speaking, cheaper as one goes to ever more remote suburbs. As for the claim that Orinda in actually less than El Cerrito: B**@#$%. I’m not sure whether the problem is small sample size or outright error, but that’s ludicrous.

    • Posted by ess

      Yeah, I’ve thought for years about writing some software that would make exactly those kinds of calculations, but it’s pretty far down the to-do list.

  2. Posted by cleverpunhere

    Yeah, cute graphic but doesn’t mean much. The mile radius thing is a pretty weird measure in San Francisco, where several of the stops are a mile or less apart and nobody thinks living a mile from a bart stop has any impact on their housing values. 1/4 mile? Maybe. But if you have to walk a mile in SF you are probably taking another form of transit to get downtown.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yes – the metric should have been something like a 10-minute walk from the BART station… of course that’d be meaningless in the far ‘burbs.

  3. Posted by frog

    BART is a fairly good transit system. I used to commute daily from SF to Berkeley using it for about 5 years. So why are we building subsidized housing where prices are $900-1100/ft when there are tons of locations where the cost is approximately half that and that are less than 30min from central SF?

    What this graphic shows is that we need to improve public transit and transit access and not worry about the prices in any individual area.

    • Posted by zig

      Because of local land use controls of course.

      having a subway like system running 60 minute rides to far flung low density suburbs is actually ludicrously inefficient

  4. Posted by Frank C.

    Big thing is that BART was designed to get people to SF. It needs major expansion. Yet SF is pretty close to being finished re: the amount of office space that can/will be built. The problem is many more jobs are in Santa Clara county. Can and will BART and local rail and bus/self-driving, etc, be combined more effectively and expanded to reach more jobs in Santa Clara county? And to a lesser extent, San Mateo county?

    The last mile problem is major. SF is desireable, sure, but its capacity to absorb job growth is very limited by NIMBYism; we are not far from the end. I’d love to build the living crud (i.e. 15 or 20 story buildings) out of every 5 minute walking radius of every BART and Caltrain station, but that’s my fantasy world.

    • Posted by Mark

      The NIMBYs in SF are pretty much keeping the really dense office space where you see it now, rather than creating multiple commercial nodes throughout the city. For example, upzoning on parts of Geary west of Van Ness and near Stonestown could create vital commercial centers that can incorporate more housing/retail and promote serious transit upgrades to these areas, linking them with the rest of the city and region.

      • Posted by ess

        Do people ever used NIMBY to describe the planning policies in the Tri-Valley?

    • Posted by zig

      you mention the last mile problem but think we need more BART in Santa Clara?

      We need more BART in Alameda and SF. Santa Clara Co already has a terribly inefficient VTA light rail system

      • Posted by Frank C.

        Not what I meant. I meant we need more last mile connections to BART in SV. I’d prioritize East Bay first if I was king, but if money was there, sure, I’d take it to Santa Clara. VTA would be fine with some expansion and increased service. BART is not comparable.

        • Posted by zig

          Santa Clara’s issue is land-use and most of the employers are/could be served by improved Caltrain and other rail services. Since the area does not have a city like core building a subway there is crazy

        • Posted by spencer

          I would prioritize geary. Much more efficient

          • Posted by zig

            Geary would be more expensive to build but you might have 100K riders on day one with zero parking spaces

    • Posted by Sabbie

      Growth restrictions in SF are not the problem, the Fed driven bubble economy is the problem.

      • Posted by anona

        Yeah, definitely better if the Fed would just stop doing its job.

  5. Posted by 4th Gen SFer

    If I were a RE investor I’d start buying property in Richmond based on that graphic. I believe it’s going to explode with growth & gentrification soon.

    • Posted by Mark

      People said that about Richmond and Vallejo back in 2000. Didn’t happen. However, given that nearly all SF hoods are now off limits to many folks (remember when “settling” for Bernal Heights was considered slumming?), Oakland has become more attractive and expensive (like the influx in Brooklyn in the late 90s) so you might be right.

    • Posted by Frank C.

      Theoretically Hayward is even better than Richmond as a prospect – BART access to SF, and car access to Silicon Valley. Existing cute-ish downtown buildings. Richmond is not commutable to Santa Clara county jobs.

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        Coliseum is much closer than either Richmond or Hayward to downtown SF. Lots of barriers to gentrification, but clearly lots of opportunity for upside. Not holding my breath, though.

        • Posted by Some Guy

          And Fruitvale is even closer than Coliseum. Come on in, the water’s fine!

  6. Posted by Bob Oaks

    Interesting, but I don’t think proximity to BART always determines value. Most people who live near a BART station in downtown SF probably don’t take BART to work. Not much impact on price. If you live in Orinda or El Cerrito, it probably is a consideration. Less so in San Francisco.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      I would say it’s a huge consideration at non-downtown SF stations. Anecdotally it has been for me. If you use transit to get to downtown, living near a BART station vs a Muni Station gives you a huge quality of life enhancement.

      • Posted by cleverpunhere

        Totally agree with Curmudgeon. Tell those living in Glen Park or even the Mission that there is no value to those BART stops–there clearly is. You see it in property values and you see it in the way people advertise their homes for sale, too.

    • Posted by anona

      I disagree with the notion that downtown stations don’t increase value – one of the prime reasons I looked at Rincon Hill was proximity to BART, even though I also work in downtown SF. I don’t need it for daily use, but having it there for easy trips to places outside SF (and the Mission) is a HUGE draw.

    • Posted by ess

      What do you mean, “always determines value?” You’re saying it has zero value? That the article is saying that it’s the only denominator? I think you may be overselling your point here.

    • Posted by Freeloader

      The correlation is an interesting view of BA RE prices even if there is no causation, even if causation is implied.

  7. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Another interesting analysis would be to compare housing costs of the one-mile circle vs. the pineapple ring that is greater than a mile but less than 2 miles (i.e. a little too far to walk to the station for most people). That metric puts a price on BART station walkability radius.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      I’d put the pineapple ring at 1/2 mile. That’s the common boundary for walkability. 1/2 mile is a10 minute walk at an average pace of 3 miles per hour. After 10 minutes, people start to think about things like biking or driving.

  8. Posted by moto mayhem

    its unbelieveable to me that we dont have an east-west line in SF, even if only for 3-4 miles

  9. Posted by alberto rossi

    BART has always been all about enabling sprawl.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      as Zig, points out above, you would have 100K immediate riders from a geary bart, add no new parking and keep street level traffic moving quickly which will be impeded by something like BRT. on top of downtown travel, people could actually use public transport to get to the airport as well as peninsula jobs. much more efficient use of funds.

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