As we outlined at the end of last year, the light-filled, one-bedroom cottage at 4353 17th Street, which sits above the Castro in Corona Heights and was purchased for $675,000 in January of 2014, re-sold for $915,000 in November of 2016, 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.”

Having returned to the market priced at $998,000 in October of last year, 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 reduced to $930,000 after a month on the market and to $899,000 after two, 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.

Withdrawn from the MLS in January and then relisted anew for $899,000 this past May, the condo alternative cottage has just been re-listed anew anew, with a further reduced list price of $849,000, a sale at which would represent depreciation of 7.2 percent since the fourth quarter of 2016 on an apples-to-apples basis but would be considered to be “at asking,” and with “only 3 days on the market” as of this morning, at least according to all industry stats and aggregate market reports.

If you thought you knew the market for “condo alternative” properties in San Francisco, and the implications, now’s the time to tell.

14 thoughts on “Condo Alternative Cottage Slips Further Below Its 2016 Price”
  1. $1,300 per foot for a studio format condo on a busy-ish street, with no parking, no dishwasher and small, dated kitchen was an overpay, even taking in to account its relative uniqueness and the inflated per square foot prices of smaller places.

      1. You would be limited to one of those half-height dishwashers due to the clearance needed for plumbing and the sink bowl. Code may not allow that config though: seems risky to put a source of leaks above an electric appliance.

  2. The small kitchen and bath, the lack of parking…it seems like it would be ideal for an airbnb than an actual place to live longterm. Not sure what the rules are these days renting out full units, if allowed. Hope the current sellers got something out of living there (if they did) for four years given the loss they will likely suffer.

    1. How is the “lack of parking” any different than for thousands tens of thousands of other houses or apartments (or condos)?? Given the lack of a curb cut – both in front of the house itself and the neighbor on the left – I would think it would actually be less of one…not that anything is guaranteed, of course.

      Clearly the house isn’t for everyone; personally I think a lot better use could be made of the space, but really how many options are there for this price level w/i the city limits ??

  3. This isn’t a condo, it’s essentially an SFH.

    Seems like under State Senate Bill SB 9 from the recently concluded legislative session, the buyer of this place could convert this single-family home into a fourplex. So the seller should have highlighted that fact (which unlike the small kitchen and bath, lack of dishwasher and lack of parking, is something that has changed since the last listing on the MLS) and raised the asking price.

    1. it’s a ‘condo alternative’, as in ‘I was thinking of buying a new condo downtown with parking and common areas but this tiny old house without parking would cost about the same so why not’.

      Not so sure about up-sizing, the *lot* size of this puppy is only about 1100 sqft, which is below the SB 9 lot size minimum of 2400 sqft, so you can’t split it to get to the 4-unit max. presumably the best you could do is make it a duplex (or add an ADU?) but either way you’d likely have to add a second story to get a 2nd unit out of this.

  4. The adjective “light-filled” is the new “cozy”: a euphemism for “tiny house”. That’s because of the higher ratio of windows:interior_space. Clever marketing.

  5. It’s a cute house in a nice (albeit busy) block for the right sort of person. If it came down by $100k and you put that money (and probably more) into some modifications it’d be gem (potentially, in theory).

  6. This place has almost no back yard. Its only a matter of time before the folks behind it go up a story and block the light. Then you’re left with a storage unit.

  7. I looked at this place years ago. I believe there is no significant foundation and its a hilly site. BYOF. Bring your own foundation. That is the deal breaker. Not the dishwasher or parking or other seemingly minor things.

    1. And yet there was not much of foundation in 2016 either…right ?? In fact I’m guessing there has never been much of one, unless it was stolen (That’s what ‘jacking’ a house is all about…huh?? 🙂 ) So the point is the lowering of the price, not its lowness overall, tho that may have been why it was “cherry picked”…out of the vast orchard of declinations.

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