Purchased for $710,500 in December of 2017, the 442-square-foot, north-facing studio #207 in The Austin at 1545 Pine Street (“one of Van Ness & Civic Center’s most coveted developments”) briefly returned to the market priced at $769,000 in early 2019 but was withdrawn from the MLS and held.

Offered for rent at $2,600 a month this past April but un-leased, 1545 Pine Street #207 has just been listed anew for $525,000, an “at asking!” sale at which would represent a net 26.1 percent drop in value for the Polk Gulch condo over the past seven years. And no, the unit doesn’t overlook the Grubstake site.

If you think you know the real estate and economics of this “surging market,” now’s the time to tell. And for those running the numbers at home, the HOA dues for the unit are currently running around $817 a month, the average asking rent for a studio in San Francisco is currently running around $2,100 a month, which is down nearly 30 percent from peak, and the unit comes with a parking space in the building’s garage.

14 thoughts on “Austin, Do We Have Another Problem?”
  1. It’s a 442 ft.² studio, so if it had sold for $769k in 2019, that would have been pretty crazy in terms of value for the money.

    I think the staging for this apartment really provides some additional insight about the seller. I don’t expect this to close in the next sixty days, but if it does (and I’m not claiming any special knowledge about the market for condos near Polk Gulch), I’ll guess $462k, or 12 percent under current asking.

    1. curious what’s the staging you’re referring to (looks empty and un-staged) and what’s the resulting additional insight about the seller?

      1. That was supposed to be a little joke there about the pictures above showing the apartment empty and not staged. The insight about the seller (sarcasm there) being that they’ve reached the end stage of their patience with carrying this depreciating asset and therefore aren’t willing to pay for staging. It wasn’t funny.
        But, if one follows the 1st link included in the post above, anyone can check out the 3d virtual tour on the Ascend Real Estate site and the furnishings look quite pleasing. Maybe the seller thought that was an adequate replacement for staging.

        1. oh i should have known that it was a joke; it’s just that with the new user interface on this website i’m not sure if i missed anything. this unit would start to get interesting in the low 400’s.

    1. Keep in mind that the interior useable wall-to-wall space is most likely even smaller than the stated 442 SqFt. That quoted number probably includes the building “load factor” to cover the unit’s percentage interest in common areas such as: elevators, stairways, thickness of walls, etc. Load Factor could possibly be from 5% – 15% depending on the architect design. Its permitted for broker marketing to my understanding.

      1. Not in residential condominiums. At the completion of construction, each individual unit must be measured by a civil engineer / surveyor and a condominium map drafted and filed with the city. The measurements are made to the inside surfaces of the common walls.

        1. So would a landlord use the larger SqFt number for marketing for tenants, but the seller is required to use the smaller SqFt number when it comes time to sell?

          1. There is no landlord and there are no tenants. This is a privately owned individual residential condominium. HOA fees cover the common areas and are proportional to the size of each unit.

          2. No, the inclusion of common area space into the square footage is a commercial concept, for multi tenant buildings. If a single tenant rents the whole commercial building, they will be paying a certain price per square foot for the entire building, which includes the square footage of for bathrooms and hallways. If a commercial landlord rents the same building as a multi tenant building, they assign the same square footage to all the tenants in total as they would to a single tenant, by allocating a share of the bathrooms and hallways ratably to each rentable portion, so that the price per square foot can be listed comparably and the landlord is then indifferent between renting the building to one tenant or multiple tenants at the same price per square foot.
            Condos are not traded off between people buying the whole building and people buying individual condos, so there is no need to try to make the square footage comparable between those two types of buyers. The common area square footage is usually not even known by a single owner, nor would a single owner usually be in a position to allocate it ratably among all the other owners in the building.

    2. It’s tiny, and it sold for over $1607 per ft.² in late 2017. Sure, studios go for a premium on a floor area basis. I guess that would be a deal compared to that pied-a-terre studio in Jackson Square that sold for $2360 per ft.² in the first quarter of 2018, but not much else.
      Apt 209, a 1,398 ft.² 2 Bed, 2 bathroom with 2-car parking in the same complex — in other words, something a real couple could live in as a primary home — appears to be currently asking $1.495 million after being purchased for $1.730 million in 2017. The unit currently appears to be ‘pending’, so it will be worth watching if it closes in the near future at that asking price and will therefore create a more general benchmark for apartments in Lower Nob Hill or Polk Gulch.

  2. The description says “north facing” but the brick building in the photos is across the rear alley (Austin) to the south. Also has “city skyline vistas” from the 2nd floor.

  3. The young tech dude buyer profile is not flooding into the city with a fat wallet these days. And in fact many tech companies are laying off people. No shortage of new “luxury” rental apartments either…at reduced rent values. It would be massively more expensive to buy this compared to renting something similar. A demand problem and not a property problem.

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