Joining the ranks of newly reduced homes is 4085 20th Street, a modern 3,720-square-foot Dolores Heights home perched above Dolores Park, with “breathtaking views” from each of its three levels, “outstanding craftsmanship, thoughtful design and ethereal beauty,” and a two-car garage with a (new) Tesla charging station and driveway parking for three cars.

Having been rebuilt in 2014, the three-bedroom view home was listed for $4.995 million in March of 2015 and sold for $4.5 million that May.

And having returned to the market listed for $5.595 million this past July, a sale at which would have represented total appreciation of 24 percent for the luxury home over the past four years, or roughly 5.4 percent per year on a straight line basis, the list price for 4085 20th Street has just been reduced to $4.495 million with an interim reduction to $4.85 million last month.

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Ohlone Californio

    This isn’t even sold yet and it is right on its last price point, yet it garners a headline. Meanwhile, around the corner, 312 Liberty sold for $6.2M even though it was unable to sell at a $5.75M list in ’17 or a $5.5M list in ’18.

    Typical.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      You might want to check yourself with respect to the actual listing and offer history for 312-314 Liberty.

      But you’re absolutely right, this one hasn’t sold yet and could simply be positioning for a bidding war.

      Regardless, unlike on Liberty, this sale will actually be apples-to-apples and with an outcome that has yet to be known. And as so thoughtfully noted, that is our typical approach and M.O.

      • Posted by OP

        Oh, foolish SocketSite! Don’t you know it’s your OBLIGATION only to publish stories about properties that have gained value and further to prop up this city’s inflated housing market?

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        No need to check myself, thanks. I don’t need to write a treatise every time in order to have a word or a phrase for you to parse into oblivion. The overall story arc is as written.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        When’s the last time you saw a property repeatedly reduced in price with the aim of creating a bidding war?

        That strategy really only works when you set a low price at initial listing. Dropping the price after that just shows urgency/desperation. I certainly wouldn’t bid above asking price on any property where it just went down.

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          Well, Socketsite said that. I just said it’s now at where it was last time when it sold for 10 percent under asking.

          Regardless, it’s impossible to have a dialogue on here anymore. It takes hours and hours for the comments to show up.

    • Posted by tipster

      “it is right on its last price point”. Yeah in 2015. Case Shiller says it should be up 20%.

      SFR. check. $2M+ sweet spot. Check. Yet it’s struggling to hit its 2015 price, despite having the two things that you and others have claimed to make it still in a hot market. I’d say that’s plenty newsworthy. Seems like cracks are now starting to appear even in the foundation.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        Yeah in 2015. If you want to preemptively slap an average percentage upon an individual property that’s cool, for you.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        Or, better yet, how about this? I thought 2015 was supposed to be a hot market. Why did it sell for 500K under asking back in 2015 during such a hot market?

  2. Posted by sockettome

    Although not a bad design, it doesn’t live like a house of 3720 square feet.

    1st Floor: The family room really functions as a quasi grand entrance. It’s two floors down from the kitchen so good luck entertaining with food or drink.

    2nd Floor: To much square footage devoted to circulation – including the den which feels like a space looking for a use. The bedrooms are on the small side.

    3rd Floor: The living-dining-kitchen space feels small – more like what one would expect in a 2000 square foot residence and it lacks any real usable outdoor space. Also, the master bedroom is on the non view side. It may have been better reversed with the secondary bedrooms on the second floor – although I suppose that’s subjective.

    • Posted by haighter

      I was thinking the same thing on all of your points! feels more like two apartments tacked together than a home

  3. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    Pretty clear to me that homes at the high end — the vast majority of buyers out there are not looking for a $6 million home — are sitting a lot longer on the market and seeing price reductions. That’s typical in a slowing/plateauing market. Things still seem more-or-less fine down at the $1 million and even $2 million properties.

    If I needed to sell a $5 million property right now, I’d be nervous, but I wouldn’t be nervous about a more mainstream property.

    But my #1 rule of real estate is that you should do your best never to urgently “need” to sell any property. Sell at the best time to sell. For high-end properties, that probably isn’t now.

    • Posted by sparky-b

      Sure the vast majority of people aren’t looking for $6m dollar houses, but that has always been true. I don’t see the data that they aren’t selling. For $5m houses, which you switch to: The last 6 months 52 have sold. In the six months before that 44 sold. So more recently than previous. In the year before that 78 sold, in the year before that 64 sold (96 in the last year vs. 78 and 64). More houses over $6m are selling now not less.

      It is basically the same for $6m houses; 50 3yrs ago, 63 2 yrs ago, 69 in the last year, and 39 in the last 6 months.

  4. Posted by [Leonard Y.]

    Guys, just answer this simple question and the author’s biases or misgivings will become crystal clear.

    Does the “SocketSite” author own a house in SF?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      That’s a great point! Our publisher doesn’t have a vested interest in talking the market up, nor down, nor any conflicts of interest when it comes to analyzing and reporting the actual trends at hand.

      Which brings us back to 4085 20th Street…

    • Posted by Sunnysider

      If this is meant to imply some sort of bias on behalf of SocketSite it is a sorely mistaken accusation. This is, hands down, the best SF real estate blog/website. It is cited by agents & real estate industry participants regularly and provides a valuable service to anyone who is interested in better understanding the SF market. If you take issue with the tone of some of the posts that’s fine, but this is about as far from a biased website as you are going to find.

      • Posted by Plugger

        This is the best SF RE blog.

        Compared to other cities, it’s middling. No sources cited (linked), no links to additional photos or listings, clearly a single editor/author which means posts are bursty.

        Getting pumped up about something that is way better in another city is very on-brand for SF, so it all fits neatly.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Unlike other sites, the basis of our reporting isn’t the regurgitation of other reports and press releases. If there is another source, it’s cited. But the vast majority of our content is based on our own analysis and research.

          Direct links to listings are always provided in the actual prose of our pieces when available, such as above.

          And in terms of appearing “bursty,” we’ve never prioritized quantity over quality nor have we ever set quotas for editors or authors. And while we could try to smooth our rate of publishing with filler posts, we’re not interested in wasting your time (nor ours).

  5. Posted by Footie

    I like this house except the master bedroom doesn’t have the view – which is a weird choice!

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Many people do not spent much of their waking hours in the bedroom. And the waking time they do spend are often consumed by bathing, dressing, or reading before bed. For those people a bedroom view is a waste.

  6. Posted by Sethgreen45

    Views galore….out doors space?

  7. Posted by Edward Fenster

    Comparisons to years-ago sales of even un-renovated properties are only helpful in mass quantity. It’s possible that the buyer of any given property, in an auction, massively overbid the cover bid several years ago, meaning they overpaid. So the learning isn’t that the market is down, it’s that the prior buyer overpaid. This is especially possible if the author is seeking out such comparisons to write about (a hypothesis I don’t take a position on).

    • Posted by thinker

      “Comparisons to years-ago sales of even un-renovated properties are only helpful in mass quantity.”

      That’s exactly what Case-Shiller is. And the overall Case-Shiller sharply decelerated from 11% year-over-year to 0.2%. With the middle tier going into negative territory year-over-year (-1.5%).

      Many of these apples, like this one, are posted before they are sold. That would require the author to somehow know that previous sales were because the prior buyer “overpaid”. When the author asks people to submit their guesses for a yet to be sold apple (“So you think you know …”) the guesses are all over the place. And if you have been following this site long enough you’d remember that when the market was hot the apples posted here were up.

      • Posted by sparky-b

        But this one wasn’t posted until it had a price reduction. That shows bias, as there were many other options for apples that didn’t get posted. Also, the “so you think you know” posts haven’t been appearing lately. What happened to that, that was fun.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          While this home has been in our cart since being listed, perhaps the “joining the ranks of newly reduced homes” line above, which is tied to another trend at hand, might provide a clue as to its timing.

          And in terms of a “so you think you know” post, if only there were one, or even two, over the past week with a property that has yet to sell and an outcome which remains unknown…

          • Posted by sparky-b

            That’s not a finished house and we would have no idea how much work is needed, so not really a good one to guess at

          • Posted by SocketSite

            The market for 210 Laidley is certainly more complex, but an over/under on the current list price, based on the information provided and linked, would be an easy place to start.

            Regardless, there’s a perfectly good apple that’s yet to be picked still waiting for you above.

          • Posted by sparky-b

            Well if you are expanding the “guess the price” to non-apples like Laidley why not pick one without so many variables. How about guess at 350 Jersey? It’s in contract so we are gonna find out soon. It’s one of the highest prices to ever come out in Noe, and the highest under 5000 feet. Let’s guess at that; So you think you Noe?

            My guess is $7.25m a number that will split the commentators on here. High price but under asking sale, is the market down? should it have got asking? were they expecting over bids? We’ll never know, making it a great sales price for this site.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Big homes, of which there are few, do tend to attract big prices, such as the 4,456-square-foot home at 553 Elizabeth, a couple blocks away, which fetched $1,571 per square foot back in 2015 versus the $1,606 per square foot list price for the 4,670-square-foot home at 350 Jersey.

            And with that in mind, you’re suggesting the price per square foot for the home on Jersey, which would be $1,552 per foot at a $7.25 million sale, will actually be below the price per square foot 553 Elizabeth fetched in 2015?

            All of which brings us right back to the apples-to-apples home at hand…

          • Posted by sparky-b

            Yes, I am “suggesting” (guessing, really) that it will sell at a price under asking, but the highest total dollars in the flat.
            I was suggesting (actually) that it would be cause discussion at that point about whether it said the market is up or down. I can confirm by your response that this will happen if my price is close and will now guess that it will happen up to $8.33m. The price of the Elizabeth house per foot plus 4 years of appreciation. Anything under $8m mean the market is down!

            While I am at it, I’ll guess this 20th street house sells for $4.625.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            A sale at $4.625 million would represent total appreciation of 2.8 percent, or roughly 0.6 percent a year, for the Dolores Heights view home on an apples-to-apples basis since the second quarter of 2015.

          • Posted by thinker

            @sparky:: You are inconsistent. You say editor is bias and picks this apple because he knows somehow in advance result will be bad. Then you say you think result will be good: “While I am at it, I’ll guess this 20th street house sells for $4.625.”

            Before result is known, people are all over the place. After, they scream “bias” if they don’t like result.

          • Posted by sparky-b

            Thinker,
            This property already had a price drop, then it was posted on here. That is the bias. Plenty of properties to choose from before a price drop effectively sets a cap.
            I am choosing a number above the current price, but below the original list price.
            I don’t see that as being inconsistent

          • Posted by SocketSite

            This apple was actually “picked” when it was listed, prior to any reductions. The notion that “a price drop effectively sets a cap” is specious, at best. And while we certainly could have waited until it sold prior to featuring its apples-to-apples outcome, the reduction(s) fit another trend at hand, as already noted above.

          • Posted by sparky-b

            Is there an early thread posted when it first came out? I must have missed that, in which case my bad.

      • Posted by heynonnynonny

        A little while back, the editor explained their methodology on this and specifically asked for properties that might have dropped since 2015. Not even a pretense of objectivity.
        There have been many months of SFH apples since the last one the editor thought was worth cherry-picking, why didn’t those properties didn’t make the site?
        SS has really dug themselves a hole by calling the top for over a year now. You’d be biased too.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Apparently the ‘alternative facts’ and misquoting phase of the market cycle is now in full swing.

          In fact, it’s starting to sound a lot like mid-2008, back when one of the very readers above dismissively declared: “Scare tactics are dead. San Francisco never really took a price hit and it won’t, either” (after which the Great Recession era downturn in San Francisco, which actually started in mid-2006, kicked into high gear and lasted through early 2012).

          Which brings us back to the property and/or actual trends at hand

          • Posted by heynonnynonny

            I don’t know who you’re misquoting but it wasn’t me. I was bearish for most of the 2000s, and I’m hardly a bull now.
            I actually don’t have a position on where the market is going. But I trust Case Shiller to tell me what happened over the past year, and it doesn’t match what this site was reporting or predicting at the time. Meanwhile you’ve developed a habit of insulting any commenters who question your forecasts, even when your forecasts turn out to be based on bad math. Most of the old commenters seem to have left. Did the site had a change of ownership?

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Once again, if you’re hanging your hat on the Case-Shiller index, the middle of the market, the bucket into which the majority of San Francisco home sales would actually fall, peaked over a year ago. And of course, there are a few other, San Francisco specific, trends at hand.

            Regardless, we’ve never suffered fools lightly (such as those who suggest we “specifically asked for properties that might have dropped since 2015,” when it was actually the opposite) nor are we misquoting anyone above.

          • Posted by heynonnynonny

            If you want to clear things up about what kind of apples you are hunting for, how about sharing your original request? I don’t remember it exactly, and I may have misinterpreted you – though I don’t think I can really be accused of misquoting you since I didn’t attribute any quotes.

    • Posted by sockettome

      Except they didn’t overbid. The asking price from 2015 was $4,995,000 and they paid $4,500,000.

    • Posted by tipster

      “the three-bedroom view home was listed for $4.995 million in March of 2015 and sold for $4.5 million that May.”

      The buyer beat the seller down by half a million dollars. This wasn’t a bidding war. Got any other excuses?

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        None of you responded to the verbiage Edward Fenster actually used. One person presumed that knowledge of CS was not implicit, someone else said overbid to “overpaid,” and a third inserted “bidding war.”

        • Posted by sockettome

          Ohlone Californio – You might want to reread what Edward Fester wrote: “massively overbid the cover bid several years ago”

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            You decided to clip the language that indicates the concept was hypothetical and not specific to this property. Why did you do that? So, don’t presume to tell me to reread something when you’re only bringing your own confirmation bias into a context where it doesn’t belong.

        • Posted by tipster

          I did respond to it, precisely.

          “It’s possible that the buyer of any given property, IN AN AUCTION, massively overbid” (Capitalizing the point I was responding to).

          So this property is struggling to hit what looks like a heavily negotiated 2015 price. Not a bidding war where someone got carried away.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            No, you didn’t respond to it “precisely” by any stretch of the imagination.

  8. Posted by sockettome

    OC – I think we all understand what EF is saying, but his language is rather garbled. “It’s possible that the buyer of any given property, (we are discussing a specific property) in an auction, (what auction?) massively (really?) overbid the cover bid (conspiracy / plant bidder?) several years ago, meaning they overpaid.” Translation: It’s possible they overpaid.

    • Posted by Ohlone Californio

      We? Well, some of us are discussing a specific property. Numerous posters were seeking to take this singular property and extrapolate it outwardly. So, there’s that. Then the term “auction” would refer to the mechanics of the SF real estate market in practice. Overbid the cover bid? no, no conspiracy, no plant, merely again the nature of the marketplace. And yes, it is possible that they overpaid. Is it not? Regardless this is much ado about nothing in the end. This property’s story here has not been written. And I happen to know it’s still garnering a great deal of attention at this price point. This price point, which was the previous sales point, which was 10 percent under asking, in what we now know was a climbing market. This thing is so far from emblematic in so many ways …

      • Posted by tipster

        “And yes, it is possible that they overpaid. Is it not?”

        No. The reason is that I have never once heard a realtor make that statement right after the buy at the too-high price. Instead, it’s just crowing about how that’s the “new” market, and everyone either pays it or is “priced out forever”, or in the present case, evidence that the market isn’t really falling.

        You can’t make that statement now when you never make that statement at the time.

        And presumably, the buyer had a real estate agent guiding them. If buyers always seem to overpay, wouldn’t that argue that buyers shouldn’t listen to them?

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          First off, nobody believes you talk to realtors with any frequency regarding sales prices. Then your silly scare quotes and whatnot when the case in point was 10 percent under ask in the first place. Then it’s some disclaimer about some inability to make a statement now when — who, precisely ?? — never made it then. That’s all unearned and weird and unbalanced, not reasonable words that would be deleted in a heartbeat [if written by a more bullish poster] in this forum. Then you’re onto what, “buyers always seem to overpay” when nobody said that either. Give it a rest. So cliched and fake you are.

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