Purchased for $675,000 in January of 2014, the light-filled, one-bedroom cottage at 4353 17th Street, which sits above the Castro in Corona Heights, returned to the market priced at $995,000 in August of 2016 and sold for $915,000, or roughly $1,336 per square foot, that November, representing total appreciation of 35.6 percent over those 34 months for the 685-square-foot, free-standing home despite its various imperfections and the “short term hold.”

And having returned to the market this past October priced at $998,000, positioned as a “great alternative to cookie cutter condos in this price range – with easy street parking and opportunities for future expansion,” the list price for 4353 17th Street was just reduced to $899,000 with an interim reduction to $930,000 last month (a sale at which would have represented net appreciation of just 1.6 percent for the cottage since the fourth quarter of 2016 on an apples-to-apples basis).

If you think you know the market for “condo alternative” cottages in San Francisco, now’s the time to tell.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Metroliner

    Man, this place is back on the market **again** and **again** touting the mythical “opportunities to expand!” which do not exist in the plane of reality that we live in. Good luck!

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      The listing is probably asserting an opportunity to expand upward, which of course would require a significant amount of capital to pull off. And each time the property gets sold, a porttion of the return on that investment gets captured by the seller.

  2. Posted by ST

    Is there a back yard?

    • Posted by Brisket

      Doesn’t appear to be. The listing says the lot size is 1,123 square feet and seems to show another cottage right behind it.

      • Posted by ST

        OK, without a back yard, I am guessing $725K?

        • Posted by Pablito

          Agreed. $725ish. Tiny house. The bare minimum in kitchen. Most studio apartments have more in cabinets/ counter space.

          The big negative to me is 17th Street. With no off-street parking, you either try to park on that really steep narrow street with a lot of traffic, or walk or bike up a steep climb up from Market.

  3. Posted by jimbo


  4. Posted by Dixon Hill

    It seems to lay-out much better than most newer condos but the kitchen needs *a lot* of work at this price point.

  5. Posted by 7by7

    What’s the minimum lot size in SF? (I thought it was 2,500?)

    With a lot size of 1,123 square feet, if this place burns to the ground, could you even rebuild, or would you be stuck with a $900k community vegetable garden?

    What’s the most square feet that could be put on this lot?

    • Posted by sockettome

      The current minimum lot size in SF is 2500 square feet. However, lots exist that were subdivided years ago that are smaller. They are classified as substandard lots, but are still buildable.

      This property is a bit of a mystery. If you click the Google Maps link and enlarge it, there doesn’t appear to be a lot line between the two houses that back up against each other. I believe there are situations where the land is treated similar to a condo where you “own” the land, but it is not a separate lot.

      • Posted by Dixon Hill

        Per the assessor’s parcel map, it is a separate parcel. You can look it up at [namelink].

  6. Posted by 7by7

    Right, it’s a separate parcel that’s 1,123 square feet. What could be built here, on this substandard lot? Is there a formula? Or is it all SF magical mystery, “permit expediters”, etc?

    • Posted by Ohlone Californio

      I think the answer to expanding this structure on this lot is “obtain variance(s) once a historic survey determines resource level, and design review confirms viability.”

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