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October 18, 2013

1BR Houses a Popular Option for SF Buyers


In any other part of the country, a one-bedroom house would be scoffed at. But in San Francisco, such a property is viewed as a good condo alternative.

Buyers seeking a home in popular, centrally located neighborhoods for up to $1M are in a condo price range. That means shared walls, HOA dues, group decisions on building expenses, and shared or very limited outdoor space. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a second bedroom, a one-bedroom house can give you the privacy and exclusive outdoor space you need, and can also steer you clear of sometimes expensive HOA monthly fees.

The one-bedroom house market has been quite busy in 2013. A total of 37 such homes have sold this year, for an average of $630,351. Of course, there are the crazy, outlier sales that happen in prime areas, like the one-bedroom house at 439 Hill in Eureka Valley near Mission Dolores park that changed hands for $1,205,000. But these homes generally sell for well below $1M. There are five one-bedroom houses in contract at the moment, and six are on the market.

The neighborhoods in which you frequently see one-bedroom houses are Bernal Heights, Mission Terrace, Eureka Valley and Corona Heights. Many of these “cottages” were built in the Victorian era, so they’re also great for buyers who love period detail and charm.

One-bedroom houses fall into various categories. The most valuable tend to be the homes that offer expansion potential within the building and/or on the lot. These can be a good investment. Then there are the small homes that have one bedroom on the main level and some unwarranted space downstairs that could be legalized as a master suite. And then there are the cottages on small lots which have no development potential, but which will provide a nice home for someone for a few years in a good location.

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