Purchased for $1.300 million in December of 2015, the “classic and beautifully updated” condo at 281 Clinton Park (“a quiet, tree-lined street in the heart of the Mission Dolores/Duboce Triangle corridor”) returned to the market priced at $1.395 million six months ago, a sale at which would have represented total appreciation of just 7.3 percent over the past seven years for the “quintessential San Francisco Condominium.”

Measuring 1,532 square feet, the flexible floor plan yields two or three bedrooms, with a remodeled split bath, vintage built-ins, an exclusive use laundry room and storage, and a deeded parking space with an EV charger in the three-unit building’s garage, which is half a block to Whole Foods and Safeway, two blocks to Duboce Park, and five blocks to Dolores Park.

And having been dropped to $1.295 million after a few weeks on the market and then further reduced to $1.269 million six weeks ago, the re-sale of 281 Clinton Park has just closed escrow with a contract price of $1.220 million, down 6.2 percent, below its 2015 value on an apples-to-apples basis. And yes, the frequently misreported index for San Francisco condo values is “still up over 17 percent!” over the same period of time in this “surging market” but trending down.

15 thoughts on “Quintessential S.F. Condo Drops Below Its 2015 Price”
  1. What an absolutely heinous floor plan. For $1.2M, I’d like my bedroom window to have some fresh air and light, not overlook a tiny light well. Too much hallway.

    1. I dunno, it seems pretty good to me. I’d give the bedroom and alleged “living room” over to the kids as 2 bedrooms, take the other bedroom as the master, and the supposed “3rd bedroom” would have my worktable. The garage situation is hilarious but no problem for those with the good sense to ride a bike. Personally, I really am attracted to these older floor plans that are not 30% bathroom. This one has just the right amount of bathroom.
      A drawback of the plan is that it’s the lowest floor. You’d have footfalls above and the probably-ceaseless sound of the garage door below. The same condo on the top floor would be more desirable.
      The real issues with this property have to do with the location. It faces nothing better than the wall and parking lot of a formula retail store. It is less than 100 yards from a weekly needle exchange program that brings a lot of people within fainting distance of your porch. I used to have a very similar building around the corner on Guerrero and while I thought that location had its good aspects, it also had that problem.

    2. Welcome to 25 foot wide lots with attached 3 story construction San Francisco. Stay for the politics.

    3. Bdrm1 opens up into the Dining Room. Bdrm2 opens up into the Living Room. Neither bedroom has direct access to Bathroom.

    4. Very normal floor plan in huge swaths of the city. My changes would be: 1) Need to find a way to remove some of those built-ins and make “Bedroom #1” into a living or dining room for a more coherent, larger single living/dining/kitchen area. 2) The “Dining Area” will never work in that role since it’s an 8′ wide room, that’s not enough width for a proper table. That’s best used as an office. 3) Try to convince your neighbors to move the mech stuff into the common storage below to free up that office if you can. 4) I agree with the other commenter to take the Nursery and convert it into another bathroom. 5) Seal off the pocket doors towards the front and make “Bedroom #2” the primary. 5) Demolish the fireplace if possible (or put closets on either side of it) and make the front room a bedroom.

  2. take the nursery
    run the water from the current bath over there
    put in a second bathroom and it will sell

  3. I think the title of the this article is a bit off in stating this condo as quintessential.

    The comments hit it spot on – This location is central but the block isn’t the greatest. Clinton Park is very dark street and you often get vagrants being so close to a main transit corridor. There is minimal light in the unit, a less than perfect floor plan, and minimal closet space. This unit will always be on the darker side and if you intended to rework the layout it would be cheaper to buyer a move-in ready property with the correct layout. Add tandem parking into the mix and you end up with a recipe for disaster. The only reason it even traded at $1.2 was because of the renovations.

    Overall I think it’s a great buy for a single person or young couple working in the city and that doesn’t have much need to access their car but a less than optimal purchase for majority of the buyer pool. The person that bought in 2015 should have thought about selling in 2020-2021. Everyone should be thinking sell after 5 yrs of equity growth unless they are in their forever home which this condo definitely is not. If you are buying now the 5 yr mindset is definitely how you should be thinking. Even less if you are single and only get the $250k in personal residence tax exemptions compared to the $500k for a couple on title.

  4. There should have been some sort of compromise that maintained these properties as apartments but compensated property owners for the lost benefit of going condo. Why? Because Romeo-flat layouts work very well for roommates but are not at all desirable to condo buyers. It costs a ton of money to reformat these units into desirable condos, and in the end, you almost always end up with fewer consumer-age residents per unit in the reworked unit. San Francisco and Oakland are not progressive; they’re just blindly anti-capitalist and the unintended consequences pile up like trash bags on the sidewalk during an NYC garbage strike.

    1. There’s about four or five things wrong in that comment, but I’ll restrict my reply to the middle of that final sentence, which seems to me the most obviously wrong.
      San Francisco is a warm, welcoming and inclusive city…for people with money. And at the same time a rapacious, dangerous place for people without money (witness the astonishing number of people living on the streets, being preyed upon by drug dealers). If it were truly “blindly anti-capitalist”, why in the world are all these libertarians moving here from all over the country and in some cases, the world to realize their boundless dreams of avarice? On the darker side (depending on your point of view, of course), why do so many people from all over the world move here to sell fentanyl, methamphetamines and other illegal, highly addictive drugs? Because whatever “San Francisco values” were in the past, as gentrification and displacement of those already living here have progressed, those values have been replaced with a full-on embrace of wide-eyed capitalism, red in tooth and claw.

      1. I’m going to “one up” you – that is, question the middle of your next-to-the-bottom sentence (“why do so many people from all over the world move here to sell fentanyl, methamphetamines and other illegal, highly addictive drugs?”): do you really think that’s true? Do you really think someone is sitting in a slum somewhere on some faraway continent, or maybe even a student lounge, and they’re perusing the ‘help-wanted’ section of the Daily Dealer, come upon a listing for SF, and decide to pack up and move here? Or maybe they come here for any of a number of other, random reasons and end up doing that? (I would question the “all over the world” part, too, but I suppose all six continents are represented here to some degree, even if 98+% of them are from North America).

        1. Notcom, even if you’ve even been lightly perusing the continuing coverage in The Chronicle or The San Francisco Standard about S.F.’s open-air drug markets over the past couple of years, I don’t think you’d be asking that question. If you haven’t been, I can personally highly recommend starting with the series bylined by Megan Cassidy and photographed by Gabrielle Lurie, most recently updated July 2023, titled This Is The Hometown Of San Francisco’s Drug Dealers about the boom in the building of (comparatively) lux housing in Siria Valley, Honduras from former S.F. drug dealers returning there after making their fortune selling drugs here, which directly addresses your question about how some residents there get the idea to move to S.F.. So, no, prospective dealers are not sitting in a student lounge reading wanted ads, they learn from first-hand experience seeing the wealth being brought back to their towns from previous migrant dealers that S.F. is (or at least was until recently), the place to go and make bank selling drugs, even as it remains true that “most Hondurans reaching the cities in the Bay Area or elsewhere in the U.S. find legal work”.
          If you don’t think the coverage from those two outlets is fair,you can read the official statements from The Mayor or any of the spokespeople from the various state and federal law enforcement agencies working on the multi-agency enforcement operation dubbed “All Hands on Deck.”

          1. I think it just supports the narrative that immigrants are putting hard-working, law-abiding Americans out of work: why should we tolerate Hondurans doing the work that shiftless people from backwoods America could be doing…at least if they were able to stay out of jail/rehab long enough to get established.

          2. I guess that was sarcasm, but just in case it wasn’t: the people who do drug dealing, by and large, do so because it’s an off-the-books job (income taxes & FICA aren’t being taken out, no need to prove to an employer one is in the country legally) that has a higher perceived return on time spent working than a formal, legal one, at least for the successful dealer (though most immigrants work legitimate jobs). I think that’s true regardless of where the person doing it comes from, which brings me back to what I wanted to be the original point: everyone now overwhelmingly embraces capitalism and the opportunity to maximize one’s earning potential is what attracts people here, immigrant or not. Legitimate business or not, the motivation is the same.

          3. And for which a side issue – passing thru (one country to get to your final destination) -remarkably gets us right back on topic: pocket doors…should they stay, or should they go ?

  5. I don’t think there is a Clinton St. in San Francisco; this is on Clinton Park (which is correctly noted later in the piece but incorrectly noted at the beginning.)

    [Editor’s Note: Since corrected in the first paragraph. Cheers.]

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