Purchased for $1.05 million in December of 2017, the two-bedroom, two-bath unit #504 in the Rowan building at 338 Potrero, which “exemplifies modern living,” returned to the market priced at $999,000 two months ago.

In addition to being outfitted with an open and efficient floor plan, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a Bertazzoni range, along with SubZero and Bosch appliances, in the galley kitchen, the unit features a deeded parking space in the garage (along with a storage unit and secured parking for a bike).

And the resale of 338 Potrero Avenue #504 has now closed escrow with a contract price of $925,000, down 11.9 percent on an apples-to-apples basis since the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Bay Area index for condo values was up 4.3 percent over the same period of time.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Rob D

    I hate all the sliding doors. So much less effective for noise isolation compared to a good old fashioned door.

  2. Posted by haighter

    Painful waste of square footage on that huge bathroom when the kitchen is tiny. Why bother with high end appliances, when that fridge will only ever be used for storing takeout?

    • Posted by inthemarket

      You can thank the ADA regulations for that. For new construction, the bathroom must be big enough for wheel chair to turn around.

      • Posted by Mao Zedong

        ADA regulation is probably the only thing preventing developers from cramming people into 200 sq ft “luxury” micro units so I’ll take it. The size of the kitchen was not constrained by the size of the bathroom, it was constrained by the developers desire to max out the overall unit count while pushing for efficiency and tight column grid line dimensions

        • Posted by Brian M

          Off topic, but if someone on this site chose the user name “Heinrich Himmler”, they would e roundly and correctly criticized. Why is it acceptable to celebrate a man who murdered millions? Why not “Pol Pot”?

          • Posted by Guy F

            ADA doesn’t apply within the units…

          • Posted by Call_Me_Ishmael

            That’s a very good question.

      • Posted by Dick

        That’s right. Here in Seattle, all new highrise residential construction bathrooms are ADA compliant, which means some bedrooms are smaller than the bathrooms. Kitchens locating on one wall helps keep the living/dining spaces appear larger than they actually are.

  3. Posted by jenofla

    3+ year hold, over 100K loss. Ouch. And in a place with no place to comfortably hang a 60″ TV (if on the wall, then the sofa would be too close for comfort).

    • Posted by Panhandle Pro

      FWIW, anyone renting a 1BR in SF for this period would have also seen a 100K loss 🙂

      • Posted by SocketSite

        You appear to be confusing “loss” with expense, which is a common mistake, particularly when being calculated by the “pros.” But if you’re trying to do an actual financial analysis or comparison, don’t forget to include the transactional and holding costs (i.e., mortgage, taxes, HOA and opportunity) for the homeowner, on top of the $80K capital loss, as well.

        • Posted by Panhandle Pro

          Thanks for the reply and classic SocketSite editor micro-snark. It’s warranted. My only defense is that I hadn’t had any coffee yet…

          It would be cool if Socketsite built an integrated plug in (very on-brand) / widget or perhaps just a screenshot which showed the “all-in” gain or loss from a transaction like this by plugging in the numbers you listed.

          And by the way, the “Pro” refers to tennis, not real estate 🙂

          • Posted by Notcom

            Well then, you should be all the more familiar with “net loss” shouldn’t you? 🙂

          • Posted by Panhandle Pro

            I just “got served” by Notcom 🙂

        • Posted by jimbo

          especially since the stock market has been booming,the opportunity cost of that downpayment is huge

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Does this calculation also include the mortgage interest deduction?

  4. Posted by tiktok

    I think the building looks great on the outside, the location sucks. Sandwiched between a gas station and a McDonald’s on Potrero which is basically a freeway. I Imagine the HOA’s aren’t cheap on a newer construction building like this.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Thank you !! Seven comments and six of them are whine-and-winges (three of each, I guess).

      But in an area where seismic bracing is a prominent feature of construction, it seems strange that so few buildings – only Maritime Plaza comes to mind – have chosen to do anything with it. “(Wh)Y (not)? the facade seems to ask, and I haven’t an answer.

  5. Posted by Anonoly

    What is the deal with The Rowan? Is the neighborhood bad? Units at this building always have trouble selling.

    • Posted by Mutal Kudi

      I don’t think the neighborhood is bad, exactly – the building is close to the cluster of restaurants and bars around 19th/20th Street, and Franklin Square Park itself is nice. But there has always been clusters of homeless tents around the park and surrounding streets, the corner of 16th/Potrero feels grungy, and as noted Potrero is not really a place for strolling. The wonky layout and $700/mo HOA don’t help.

      • Posted by Charlie in SF

        $700/month for a 2 bed is on the low side for SF Condo dues.

        • Posted by Rick

          It’s new construction so the HOA’s are set by the developer/builder who wants to keep them as low as possible, as do the buyers. With the passage of time (actually just a few years) the monthlies inevitably rise, especially as the homeowners realize future costs of maintenance/repair.

  6. Posted by SoFunderRatedPlayer

    This part of town is rough and likely will have more development replacing the McDonalds and Gas Stations in near future. Don’t see a decent ROI on this place for 20 years.

  7. Posted by inthemarket

    There is no doubt those who bought condos at the height of market lost money.

    I looked at Rowan units before. The problem is that they are tiny for a 2 bed 2 bath: 800 sqft. Which still come out to $1150 per sqft. Right now that is what “newer” condos are selling at approximately.

    But still compare this to unit 409, which is exact same layout, sold in December 2020 for $800K (probably at the bottom of the market). On that “apple to apple”‘s comparison, you can argue the market recovered over 15% from December 2020?

    • Posted by Gee Ess

      409 and 504 might have very different views? That can be worth a lot of money.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      We’re starting to sense a pattern, in terms of false equivalencies and poor due diligence.

      In addition to being in a different stack, on the other side of the building, unit #409 didn’t include a parking spot (and was outfitted with a lower end fridge to boot).

      But on an actual apples-to-apples basis, it did sell for 18.3 percent below its second quarter of 2017 price and $955 per square foot (versus $1,104 per square foot for #504, with a parking spot).

      • Posted by inthemarket

        Sure, let’s do that comparison. In 2017 prices: #504 is $1,050K and #409 is $980K. The difference of $70K is actually pretty close to what a typical parking spots costs. Let’s say the parking space is worth $70K (probably less now since it is easier to find parking), and let’s take that amount out. Then there is still a price of gain of $55K from December 2020 to Feb 2021. That can’t all be because of the fridge (or even the views).

        • Posted by SocketSite

          You’re getting closer with that quick 56 percent haircut!

          But again, different stacks, floors and sides of the building and you seem to be out of touch with respect to the demand for off-street parking, which has actually been on the rise due to an increase in pandemic-driven car ownership and a spike in property crimes.

          On top of which, you might want to account for six month difference in the original purchase dates, which might not seem like a lot but is significant when analyzing 39-43 month holds, which dropped an average of 15 percent on an apples-to-apples basis despite an increase in the Bay Area index and “median sale price.”

    • Posted by jimbo

      the amount of natural light looks very minimal. cavelike

    • Posted by redseca2

      The Rowan is the kind of tiny San Francisco 2-Bedroom that you buy when you really only need a one bedroom, but one with space and decent closets.

      • Posted by Michael

        Perfect for a single person, couple or parent with shared custody. Nice to have an office that can double as a guest bedroom with its own bath. Works for roommates that aren’t homebodies too.

  8. Posted by Bluntcard

    The rest of the pictures on the realtor’s site, give a better impression. It is two bed, two bath for under a million. That’s pretty good. But, I would change that kitchen to a more traditional L shape to give the sense that there is an actual kitchen and to make the living area bigger. The barn door would be replaced and the ceiling finished.

    • Posted by Chris

      It would be very expensive to reconfigure the kitchen and there really is no good place to move it that would not block a doorway. Also, the marginal amount of reclaimed living space would not be worth the cost. However, finishing the ceiling and replacing the sliding door would be reasonable improvements to make.

  9. Posted by JIPB

    Super ugly location, and remains that way for at least three blocks in any direction. If you live on the east side of SF, you should at least have decent walking amenities for $1M+.

    • Posted by AY

      Lack of amenities?
      Franklin Square in your backyard
      Safeway, Smashburger, Noah’s less than a block away
      Sports Basement 2 blocks away
      Whole Foods 4 blocks away
      Trader Joe’s 5 blocks away
      Tartine M 5 blocks away!
      Universal Cafe 6 blocks away!
      Anchor 6 blocks away!
      Too many coffee shops and other restaurants to count within walking distance.

      • Posted by Gee Ess

        If you haven’t heard of it, a service called “walkscore” rates walkability to a diversity of nearby services. You may not always agree with it (eg a crappy coffee shop might contribute just as much as a top-tier one? I forget) but it’s a pretty good way of summarizing the above.

        I live in the neighborhood .. the Potrero center with the Safeway is kind of a blight and I wouldn’t want to live right on that block because you do kinda have to wade through trash in every direction to get where you’re going. Still it is central and very walkable to a few different areas.

  10. Posted by JIPB

    If you actually read my post, I said the area is “super ugly” – not that it lacked amenities. As Gee Ess said, there is a lot of blight there, and I agree that the location is central and walkable. It just isn’t pleasant to do so, particularly after spending that much per square foot.

  11. Posted by RySF

    I have no issues with the design/look of the building, but if location, location, location means anything this one says stay away, stay away, stay away.

  12. Posted by L'Urbanista_SF

    Imagine living above a McDonald’s drive thru.

    • Posted by EmoSF

      Oh, and it’s the infamous “bloody raccoon McDonalds.” There are videos on google…

      • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

        Sure. And you didn’t include a link. Okay, I’ll bite.
        From January of 2019, Man brings bloody raccoon carcass into McDonald’s restaurant.

        This has almost nothing to do with that specific McDonald’s restaurant location and everything to do with the fact that San Francisco has so many mentally ill people living on the street. This could have happened at any fast food restaurant, anywhere in The City.

  13. Posted by cleverpunhere

    These “apples to apples” condo comparisons are so frequently new units re-sold in a very short period of time. To me that’s not really “apples to apples” because the first apple is brand new construction and the second isn’t. Some people don’t care about that, some people do; its the ones who do who pay the premium for new construction and then lose money when they try to re-sell in 3 years or less.

  14. Posted by Sierrajeff

    And now #508 – another 2 bed, 2 bath unit – has been listed for $899,000….

  15. Posted by SocketSite

    In terms of actual comps for unit #504 (and another apples-to-apples sale): Another Modern Two-Bedroom Trades Down Over 10 Percent.

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