As we wrote when we noted the slightly sub-2015 sale price for the one-bedroom unit #403 at 72 Townsend Street last year, “if you’re kicking yourself for having missed yet another anomalous and cherry-picked outcome (as some will certainly continue to rationalize), please don’t. Instead, turn your attention to 72 Townsend #502.”

Purchased for $1,675,000 in November 2015, the 1,294-square-foot, two-bedroom #502, which boasts a gourmet kitchen and views from its balcony, returned to the market priced at $1,746,900 in May of 2017, a sale at which would have represent total appreciation of 4.3 percent since the end of 2015 or roughly 2.9 percent per year on an apples-to-apples basis.

Subsequently reduced down a number of times to $1,495,000 last year and then relisted for $1,595,000 this past October, with an official “1” day on the market, the sale of the 72 Townsend Street #502 has now closed escrow with a contract price of $1,550,000, officially “within 3 percent of asking!” and “under 45 days on the market!” according to all industry stats and aggregate reports.

And while it’s not in the Mission or on Mint Plaza, nor across the street from a development site or in the Ritz, the two-bedroom, two-bath unit sold for 7.5 percent less than its 2015 price on an apples-to-apples, versus “but the median price,” basis.

35 thoughts on “Another, Bigger, Sub-2015 Sale in South Beach”
  1. I hate when more space is devoted to bathrooms than to kitchens. That floor plan says everything about how dumb modern development can be (and how “home” is really only about sleeping and watching TV these days).

    1. Isn’t that modern living? I have neighbors who literally have never used their kitchens. For every single meal they either dine out or order food and throw away leftovers. Might as well convert the kitchen to any other use.

      1. To eat my own bad cooking is the ultimate form of cruelty. My oven and dishwasher remain unused.

        I have a property with a highly similar floor plan, not in S.F. Not my favorite given the problems of no windows in the bathroom. I have tubs in both bathrooms and single sinks.
        Planning to renovate it in 2019 so this unit gives me some ideas. No plans to sell my unit yet, I like to enjoy the fruits of my labor first.

    2. You can thank the ADA for that. The bathroom must be able to accommodate a full 360-degree wheelchair turn. You’ll see this in all new construction.

      1. Thanks. I was not aware of this new ADA requirement. While I strongly support the spirit of ADA, it seems like it is getting a little out of control. Why not just require that some percentage of units have large wheelchair compatible bathrooms? Or maybe just one BR per unit be compatible? Seems like a waste to require all bathrooms to be large enough to comply. A wheelchair bound person can use only one at a time.

        Just as removal of parking minimums has released home buyers from having to pay for space they don’t need, this new ADA requirement makes them squander their precious floorspace on something else unwanted.

    1. come to think of it, this speaks to the trickery behind removing the listing and re-listing it as “new”. i wonder if the current buyer who paid 1.550 was aware that there are no other buyers for this at even 1.495, and if he didn’t know, would he still have paid 1.550 if he had known.

      1. It’s more likely that the “$1.495 million” list price failed to generate the bidding war, and an acceptable “over asking” offer price, that the agent and/or seller had hoped.

        1. could be but i think the theory of just trying to create a bidding war is not supported by the fact that it had to be reduced “a number of times” prior to arriving at the 1.495.

          1. Actually, the listing pattern and fact that the “$1.495 million” price was pulled after a week, and after which the unit was offered for rent at $5,150 a month, is right in line with our “theory” (and outcome).

      2. I was following a condo in Sausalito last year that went on the market at $750K with no takers. Then lowered to $695K with no takers. Withdrawn and relisted with a different agent several after about a 3-month gap at $625K or $635K. Had an offer at the first open house and it sold >$700K. Apparently, the buyer didn’t know that the unit had languished at $695K.

        I believe there are some buyers in the market who haven’t done their homework and believe that they need to overbid.

        1. How do you know his/hers was the only offer the second time around? How do you know the seller didn’t receive more than one offer when listed at $635K and bid the price up through a multiple counter-offer scenario?

        2. I believe there are some buyers in the market who still believe they have to overbid, and thus probably only look at houses BELOW a certain list price. Properties actually listed at a reasonable price they would accept might be at a disadvantage.

  2. Nothing like a good old fashioned 3/1 reset to motivate a seller. They weren’t going to admit the price had fallen until the reset was staring them right in the face.

    Poor guy, his payments after taxes were about $500 under the rental market price, he probably thought he was the smartest guy on the planet. The $200K he lost here added $5500 per month to his costs, so he ended up paying $5,000/mo over market.

  3. Condo prices peaked in late 2015 then dropped off. They have recovered some but are still below their 2015 peak. This seems to be par for the course – a bit larger drop than the average but in the ballpark. The true outliers are condos which have dropped plus 10% since 2015. It does seem like were are seeing an uptick in those outliers but they remain the exception.

    1. Pretty typical for a lot of new construction condos that I see. They tick all the boxes for the favored appliances, bathroom fixtures, cabinetry, and countertops but don’t show much effort devoted to good design or differentiation from anything else in the same price range.

  4. To put the whole “cherrypicking” theory to rest, could the editor cite some condos declining in price which are *not* in the SoMa / South Beach / Mission area? That area seems ripe for declines given continued new openings, homeless issues which haven’t resolved themselves, restaurant closings, etc.

    Is the Panhandle / NoPa area seeing condo price declines? The Richmond? The Marina?

    1. Good catch. Or how the guest bathroom door swings outward, shown and also non-ADA compliant (in response to the above comment.)

  5. Our friends just sold their place at 661 Waller. Paid $1,840,000 in June 2015 and just sold it for 2,250,000. Anyone who thinks prices peaked in 2015 is smoking something.

      1. Nope they put minimal dollars into it. Close to zero

        [Editor’s Note: It helps to follow the given links. Of course, those don’t appear to be the only changes. And as always, design has value (and typically isn’t free).]

        1. Why do you delete posts? Very dishonest. This place sold way over its 2015 price. Period.

          [Editor’s Note: A comment that misrepresents what we wrote doesn’t help to advance your argument and is simply a waste of your time (and ours).]

      2. SS: Usually when you put realtor copy in quotation marks, you are making fun of it. Do you mean Sfres’ example really was Exquisite & Rare?

        And doesn’t your usual line go, “Well, if it had that designer kitchen in 2015, why is it trading down now?” So, it had the Dwell magazine designer kitchen in 2015. Why did the place trade up in 2018?

        Or do you mean that changing a bathroom sink and adding a shower curtain explains the $390,000 price change?

    1. The June 2015 sale was an extreme distress sale. There was a notice of default AND a notice of assessment lien filed in February of 2015. That was not at all normal in 2015, nor for a property that had been purchased 10 years prior. Your “friends” got a lucky break for a quick close. Someone needed to get out in a hurry.

  6. 368 Lily is another that is near me. Just sold for 1,175,000. Up 150,000 from exactly two years ago. Prices are definitely up in the last 2-3 years. Although there certainly are counter-examples. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking the counter-examples are all there is. There are good indexes that measure the whole market.

    1. That’s smart to quickly transition from a unique condo, with designer finishes, to a starter single-family home in Hayes Valley which sits on a lot which zoned for development up to 40 feet in height and includes a basement that runs the length of the structure that has yet to be developed.

      Regardless, that’s total appreciation of 14.6 percent for the property at 368 Lily since the end of 2016 while the median sale price in San Francisco is “up 22.7 percent!” over the same period of time.

      Which brings us back to the topic at hand, the actual market, versus median sale price, for typical condos in San Francisco.

    2. Up 14.6% in the last two years is sure pretty close to the median of up 22.7%. so I guess this place underperformed a little bit. Just pointing out the silliness of comments above that prices generally are below 2015 levels. I don’t think this Hayes Valley place got rezoned in the last two years.

      1. The market for single-family homes with room for expansion, and then some, has certainly outperformed the rest of the market in San Francisco over the past few years. Heck, the appreciation of your counter-example totaled nearly 65 percent of the change in the median sale price over the same period of time!

        And once again we’re back to the topic at hand, the actual market, versus median sale price, for typical condos in San Francisco.

  7. SS is literally obsessed in 1,000’s of postings with suggesting that every property’s “distance from asking price” and “days on market” are fraudulent. SS, this has really, really, really gotten old.

    But with this posting, your sarcasm doesn’t even make sense. The property was listed at one point last year at $1,495,000. Now it has sold at a higher price than that, $1,550,000. In fact, it did sell “within 3 percent of asking” and it was “under 45 days on the market”.

    We get your point, that when a property has one or more price drops, and then quickly sells at a lower price point, it is misleading to crow about how close it was to the most recent reduced asking price. And that when a stale listing is removed from the market, and then quickly restored, it is misleading to crow about how how quickly it thereafter sold.

    But if you have to go back to listings 1-2-3 years ago to make these sarcastic points, it is nonsensical. And it is even more absurd in this case, where the listing last year was at a lower price than the 2018 listing that your are being sarcastic about.

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