There’s plenty of inventory in three San Francisco neighborhoods—South Beach, South of Market and Yerba Buena. This trio collectively accounts for 34% of all condo inventory at the moment, and I can personally say that there are deals to be had.
These neighborhoods have taken a hit over the past few years when workers deserted formerly bustling office buildings. And there are certainly challenges when it comes to homelessness, crime and vacant retail/restaurants. But the reality is that most companies are requiring their employees to be in the office at least a few days a week, and I do believe that downtown will build itself back up again (though it could take several years before we rise from the current slump).
Buying a condo right now in South Beach, South of Market or Yerba Buena will turn out to be a good investment in the long run. Values are lower than they have been over the past few years, and you can put yourself in a good position if you purchase a unit that has amenities such as in-unit laundry, a den you can use to work from home, storage, parking, and private outdoor space (or access to a shared roof deck or common area). It’ll also be a real plus if that condo has nice outlooks or views; units that face a wall or look directly into another condo tend not to hold their resale value as well.
Here’s a quick dive into each of our inventory-heavy neighborhoods to give you a sense for what’s out there and how they stack up:
South of Market
Where Is It: Bordered by 101, Market Street, Fifth Street, Townsend
Why You Want To Live Here: Still the place to be when you want access to clubs, bars, restaurants, and the annual Folsom Street Fair. Retail like Costco, Trader Joe’s, REI. Easy access to 101 and BART.
# Current Listings: 59
Avge Condo Price 2023: $756,171
Avge Price Per Square Foot: $775
Recent Good Deal: 99 Rausch #216. This 2BR/2BA, 931-sq ft unit in a 112-unit building last sold in August 2018 for $1,120,000. #216 closed for $859,789 in April 2023.
My Current Pick: 1288 Howard. I toured this new construction project last summer and was impressed. The corner units like #320 ($1,292,000) get great light, and there’s a mix of studios, one-, two- and artist-style lofts available. Amenities include in-unit air conditioning, a beautiful gym, door person, business center, rooftop terrace and garden courtyard. HOA dues are also comparatively lower than most of the newer buildings in the city. Give me a shout if you’d like to take a tour. (Photo below courtesy March Properties)
Where Is It: Bordered by Fifth Street, Market, Main/Essex, 80
Why You Want To Live Here: Yerba Buena Gardens is a great place to hang out. Cool museums are there like the SF Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Lots of bars and restaurants, along with plenty of hotels for visiting family. Just under a mile to Oracle Park. There’s also a Whole Foods on 4th Street. Easy freeway and transit access.
# Current Listings: 51. It’s worth noting that a bulk of the inventory lies within 301 Mission (The Millennium) and 188 Minna (St. Regis).
Avge Condo Price 2023: $1,677,913. (There were several multi-million dollar sales this year that are bringing up the average.)
Avge Price Per Square Foot: $1,217
Recent Good Deal: 855 Folsom #517—2BR/2BA, 1,396-sq ft loft with large private terrace and two-car parking in modern 200-unit building designed by noted architect Stanley Saitowitz. Sold for $1.6M in February 2019 and then for $1,395,000 in June 2022, #517 just closed again in April 2023 for $1,350,000.
My Current Pick: 246 2nd Street #1104. 1BR/1BA, 644-sq ft unit with city views, private balcony, in-unit laundry and parking. The bedroom has windows on three sides and has city views, too. This building is in good proximity to the Market Street corridor, Embarcadero and the heart of Yerba Buena. Listed for $729,000, #512 has been on the market for almost a month. (Photo below courtesy Compass)
Where Is It: Bordered by Main, Market, Embarcadero, Fourth
Why You Want To Live Here: The Embarcadero and Ferry Building are big draws, along with Oracle Park and Chase Center. And of course, easy transit and freeway access.
# Current Listings: 88
Avge Condo Price 2023: $1,471,698
Avge Price Per Square Foot: $1,139
Recent Good Deal: First listed in May 2022 for $5,995,000, the 4BR/3BA, 2,685-sq ft Lumina water view unit at 338 Main #30B had sweeping Bay and bridge views. The sale closed in April 2023 for $5,450,000.
My Current Pick: 239 Brannan #15G. I’ve always been a fan of The Brannan, which has a nice neighborhood location near the water and offers amenities like a 75-foot heated lap pool, sun deck, huge fitness center, 24/7 lobby attendant and concierge services. #15G is a 1,549-sq ft 2BR/2BA + den and lofty city/water views. First listed for $2.1M earlier this year, the current price is $1,949,000, which shakes out to $1,258/sq ft. Room to move a little more? (Photo below courtesy Corcoran Icon Properties)