Purchased for $1,375,000 or roughly $1,610 per square foot in March of last year, the one-bedroom Lumina condo #D20H at 338 Main Street returned to the market listed for $1,499,000 two months ago, a sale at which would have represented apples-to-apples appreciation of 9.0 percent over the past year.

Reduced to $1,399,000 after two weeks on the market and then to $1,299,000 last month, the list price for the 854-square-foot unit “in the highly sought after…most premier residential building in SF” has just been reduced to $1,249,000, a sale at which would represent depreciation of 9.2 percent on an apples-to-apples basis.

At the same time, the list price for 338 Main Street #D35A, a 1,572-square-foot, two-bedroom Lumina condo which was purchased for $3,149,500 ($2,003 per square foot) last June, has just been reduced to $2,995,000 after two months on the market without a sale and having previously been listed for $3,199,000.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Jackson

    The front page photo of the Lumina condo article shows a much nicer layout than the actual listing.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The front page photo is for the second listing that’s featured in the piece and is now listed for 4.9 percent under the price which was paid for the unit last June.

  2. Posted by cleverpunhere

    Is such a short-turnaround sale of a brand new unit really apples-to-apples? I don’t think so, because the original sale has the “brand new” premium whereas the second sale doesn’t. If the unit was sold in year five again in year six it might be a reasonable comparison.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Are you suggesting – well, I guess you’re not “suggesting” as much as just coming right out and saying it – that houses are like cars and see an instant depreciation as soon as they’re off the lot (or whatever the equivalent phrase should be)?

      I’m not saying that’s untrue, but cars and houses don’t behave that way for very long after selling: though I sometimes refer to realtors as “Used house salesmen(women)” I don’t think most people would, since I don’t think they see property that way.

      • Posted by cleverpunhere

        I’m suggesting that this phenomenon exists for at least some slices of the market, yes. Someone who buys a brand-new home is probably buying it in part because it is brand-new. If you sell it in 12 months, it is basically the same unit except not brand new, which matters. It especially matters if a building nearby has similar units that ARE brand new.

        I would not take the houses and cars comparison too far–there are too many differences.

        • Posted by tm

          I agree. there are plenty of shoppers, especial new money, and people who are OCD (a lot of engineers are a little OCD at least), wants specifically new construction only.

        • Posted by jwb

          Also because these new buildings are disposable, they show a LOT of wear and tear even when they are just a little old.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Keep in mind that while there certainly are those who prefer brand new units, there were roughly four times as many used condos purchased last year versus contracts for new condos signed.

          And when the market is moving up, a “used” condo typically sells for more than when it was brand new, even one year later and assuming normal wear and tear.

      • Posted by Notcom

        Fair enough (and again, I’m not saying it isn’t true, just that I don’t remember ever seeing the claim being made); I guess the question at this point is whether/not a 9% markdown is what one would expect purely from the loss of that “new house smell” …as it were. Cars have that much – or more – I believe, so maybe it is.

        Another – much less positive – spin on this is what “jwb” is hinting at – or at least I’m interpreting as hinting at: that condos really ARE like cars and keep right on depreciating as they get older.

      • Posted by Just My Opinion

        How about, it wasn’t worth $1600 a foot then, and it is not now either.

  3. Posted by EBGuy

    Same owner? No sweat? Alas, the recorders website is a bit dicey.

  4. Posted by sfdragonboy

    My Mom said to never, ever buy a condo. Thanks Mom! Happy Mother’s Day in advance!!!

  5. Posted by Karl and Lenny

    why never buy a condo? I bought one in SF, owned it for seven year and made a 15% annualized return. It appreciated 8% annually. and brand new at the time of original purchase.

    If I listened to your mom I would have not only lost over $500k in cash gain but also would have been out an additional $200k in rent checks. Seems like poor advise but what do I know.

    • Posted by sfdragonboy

      You did great, but who is to say you wouldn’t have done better with a SFH ,right?

  6. Posted by anon

    Yeah, the “never buy a condo advice” is poor advice indeed. Another anecdote: we bought our SF condo in 2000 and sold in 2014 at just a shade under triple the purchase price, with just some minor, cosmetic upgrades. Worked out to being paid about $1600/month each month we lived there after all payments and expenses. Not bad. I do agree that in mid-2017, the market for condos in SF has softened while the market for houses is stronger.

    • Posted by Gary

      Man, you kicked my ass. I bought for 960K in 2001 and sold for 1.3M in early 2016. At least I can say I lived in SF for free for all that time. Good job!

      • Posted by anon

        Lower Haight gentrified a lot during the time we owned there. Dumb luck, but I’ll take it.

        • Posted by Gary

          My location was in the vicinity of City Beer on Folsom, for context.

          • Posted by Condoboy

            Bought for $1.1m in mid-2013, sold for $1.7m early 2017. Best investment I’ll ever make.

    • Posted by Richard

      I bought a condo in 1983, did minor cosmetic upgrades over the years and sold it in 2015 for a 750% gain. Since even that wasn’t enough to buy and remain in SF, I left and am now living in a manner to which I’ve never been accustomed. There is life after SF.

  7. Posted by another anon

    A condo, just like any other asset, can be a good investment or not, depending on the purchase price. At today’s price levels and with all the units in the pipeline I would be extremely selective in buying.

    After all, the City’s stated intent is to build enough housing supply so that prices fall, or at least, don’t rise as quickly.

  8. Posted by SF Guy

    If 35A was purchased last June, it can’t be marketed for sale for at least 1 year until June 2017. How come the owner or the selling agent are marketing this unit? Both the owner and the listing company should be penalized by the developer. Even if this unit sold, they can’t close escrow. The developer has the right to stop the sale.

    • Posted by Sarah

      The owner may be trying a ‘pay me now, close escrow later’ deal which may explain the drastic price cuts.

  9. Posted by Pablo Cela

    First resale at lumina’s first tower just closed at $2100+ per square foot which is a record closing at Lumina. 23C. Panoramic views. There is still less than 3.5 months supply of inventory with considerable demand for condos in South Beach/Yerba Buena. It’s not all doom and gloom out there, market is active/steady.

    • Posted by condoshopper

      interesting that a resale would set the record price (per square). if i were to pay more than anyone has ever paid why not go for one of the brand new units that are still available.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Keep in mind that the 1,403-square-foot unit #23C at 338 Main Street, which just closed escrow for $2.945 million and officially “at asking” with a list price which was adjusted to match, was on the market for $3.2 million last year.

      Regardless, at $2,099 per square foot, it is 17.3 percent more than the price the seller paid the Lumina sales office for the two-bedroom unit with panoramic Bay Bridge views twelve months ago.

      • Posted by Pablo Cela

        Closed at $2,960,000 ($2108/foot) per listing broker Paul Hwang Skybox Realty.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          And per the MLS, and we’d be willing to bet future tax records, the buyer actually paid $2,945,000 and $2,099 per square foot.

  10. Posted by SocketSite

    We now have the apples-to-apples sale of 338 Main Street Street #D16G, another Lumina two-bedroom, to add to our cart.

    Purchased for $1.925 million ($1,374 per square foot) in March of 2016, the 1,401-square-foot unit has just resold for $1.7 million ($1,213 per foot), down 11.7 percent over the past year despite having “never [been] lived in!”

    But having been listed (by Skybox) for $1.675 million two months ago, the sale is officially “over asking!” as well.

    • Posted by Sabbie

      The developer still has over 100 units left to sell too.

  11. Posted by SocketSite

    Purchased for $960,000 ($1,043 per square foot) in December of 2015, the 920-square-foot Lumina one-bedroom #C6F has just resold for $968,000 ($1,052 per foot), up 0.8 percent over the past 17 months, not accounting for the added value of the window coverings and custom closets that were added to the “special south facing unit” at 333 Beale Street with a parking spot and HOA dues of $996 month.

  12. Posted by SocketSite

    In related news, a floor above the two-bedroom unit #35A, Million Dollar Price Cut for a Brand New Penthouse Condo.

  13. Posted by @pablocela

    Follow up to 23C sale: officially closed at $2,945,000; 97 days on market. almost 2100/foot. But this will never be the headline story i suppose.

  14. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: Purchased for $1,375,000 or roughly $1,610 per square foot in March of last year, the asking price for the one-bedroom Lumina condo #D20H at 338 Main Street has just been reduced another $20,000 to $1,229,000.

  15. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: Having hit the market five months ago listed for 22.4 percent more, 338 Main Street #D20H has just been listed anew for $1,225,000 with an official “1” day on the market and no reductions (according to all MLS-based stats and future reports).

  16. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The list price for 338 Main Street #D20H has just been reduced to $1.195 million or roughly 13.1 percent ($180K) less than the $1.375 million price at which the high-end condo was purchased 18 months ago.

  17. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The list price for 338 Main Street #D35A has just been reduced anew as well.

    Purchased for $3,149,500 in June of 2006 and having been on the market for $2,995,000 since this past May, the list price for the “highest and largest” two-bedroom with two baths in LUMINA’s tower D has just been dropped to $2,900,000 and re-listed with an official “1” day on the market according to all industry stats.

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