On the Crushing Nature of San Francisco Real Estate

On the Crushing Nature of San Francisco Real Estate

If you have somewhere between $300-$500,000 to spend on an apartment in San Francisco, the real estate market is an oppressive series of tiny, run down and “fixer-upper”/”starter home” listings. Places where you would never want to live, let alone pay the price of a small used car for each month.

But, oh to have $770,000! This seems to be the magical amount where listings start being amazing, gorgeous places. We visited the open house of 27 Henry on Sunday. Not only is this apartment on my favorite street, in my favorite neighborhood, it was also huge and well done. Two full bedrooms and dining room. A fireplace and built in bookcases. A huge modern kitchen with an old wood stove. A real laundry room! A gorgeous little back porch and small, perfect garden. It is the kind of place you could imagine living in forever.


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There are 10 comments for this article
  1. love.boxes at 10:47 pm

    It’s so funny what $770,000 would buy around here. Let me see, something like a castle I think with more like 6 baths and 10 bedrooms, but not, sadly, not near Britex or any of my other favorite San Francisco spots.

    The place you mentioned sounds so lovely. 🙂

  2. mrsem Author at 10:49 pm

    I know! It’s hard to feel too sorry for myself. It’s such a ridiculous amount of money!

  3. jordan at 12:16 am

    Emily, I have the same complaint. MY friend just bought a beautiful 3 bedroom Victorian in Potrero. She said you just have to get in the game (ie: buy a 400,000 condo) and then trade up every couple years. It took them 7 years!

  4. Rebecca at 12:18 am

    I lived at 118 Henry when I was a baby (before my parents moved to the suburbs). I’ll tell my mom she has the EmilyStyle seal of approval! Good luck with the search.

  5. kate at 12:32 am

    I totally sympathize–we just bought a place in Cambridge, MA. After months of searching in Boston I realized that we’d have to up the budget about $200K to Boston’s Magic #, $650,000 to get something we’d really love. In Cambridge we were able to stay well under our original budget and get a huge place with lovely molding, fireplace, porch, etc.

    (And yes, Love.Boxes, it’s really amazing to see what the same money would buy somewhere else! I’ve lived in Boston and NYC my whole adult life and real estate is just so obnoxious.)

  6. e at 12:46 am

    $770,000 plus leased parking and $300 in monthly dues (and property taxes)! yikes! and i thought i was in bad shape with a $375,000 2 bdrm 1 bath and $280 condo fee. at least my off-street parking is free.

    the market is faltering here in cambridge, but it sounds like s.f. is doing well. as for trading up, i don’t know if it’s worth buying if you’re moving every few years. the realtor’s fee and other selling costs (not to mention the annoyance of moving yet again) is forcing me to stay put for at least 5 years.

    maybe you should calculate your mortgage/insurance/condo fee/taxes costs for a $400,000 condo, subtract the amount you would be willing to pay for a nice rental, and save the difference in a high-yield interest savings account? and later, when the economy and market stabilize, you could find something that’ll do for at least 5-10 years?

    i feel like i made such a huge mistake in buying a condo so early in my life (married, no kids, two cats, unemployed/students). there are so many hidden costs, plus my upstairs neighbors are complete jerks and will never sell. i thought i could sell my place in a year or two for more than i bought and trade up, but the market tanked and now i’m saddled with a huge mortgage and an uncertain income.

    for the amount i’m paying, i could rent an amazing 2 or 3 bedroom in a great neighborhood closer to school or in a historic neighborhood in boston proper.

    i wish you better luck than mine!

  7. Sara at 8:17 am

    that is beautiful!!
    and i can commiserate with you on the prices, you pretty much have to be a rich banker to purchase anything in Geneva, it is crazy!

  8. Nicole at 5:06 pm

    i totally agree with jordan. in california you won’t get your dream house on shot #1. we also wish we had $750K when we bought, but had to settle for less. most people trade up later.

  9. Beth at 6:55 pm

    Sounds exactly like Dublin. At least we have a great landlord now… since we’ll be with him for a while! 😉

  10. BlueLogan at 6:31 pm

    Wow. Just, wow. Having not grown up in the San Fran area, I wasn’t used to the outrageous real estate prices when I moved.

    I was staying in a hotel for a week, sweating over $2500 apartments, watching my savings dwindle to nothing. Thank god I actually found a decent apartment finding company. The Apartment Hunterz set me straight.

    My first move was to California was to the south bay area, and it was gorgeous. I loved it there.