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January 27, 2010

Luxury Market Finds Its Footing

Properties in the $1.5M+ price range in San Francisco have been selling at quite a reasonable pace, considering our current economic challenges. Unsurprisingly, the city continues to attract buyers with substantial wealth, and these buyers are deciding to snap up luxury real estate.

But make no mistake: Just because luxury buyers have the money to spend, it doesn’t mean they aren’t also looking for a deal. And sellers in higher price ranges are discovering that they may need to get realistic about their properties’ value.

79 single-family homes have sold for more than $1.5M since October 1, 2009. And 50 of those sold for under their original asking prices—well under. Of the 30 condos sold in the same time period, 22 sold for under asking.

I thought it would be interesting to check out two properties that sold for dramatically less than their asking prices, to give you a sense for what’s possible heading into 2010.

3212 Baker was a completely renovated, 4BR/3BA home with two-car parking situated steps from the Palace of Fine Arts:

The sellers completed renovations in late 2008, and the home came on the market in March 2009 for $4,250,000. It then sat on the market throughout the year, enjoying a series of price chops, until all-cash buyers purchased the house in mid January for $2,950,000.

Another example of a huge list/sale price disparity was over at 66 Sea Cliff:

The Cape Cod-style, 3BR/2.5BA single-family home—located on one of the most desirable Sea Cliff streets—was listed in September 2009 for $2,448,000. (It previously sold for $2,525,000 in 2004, and $2.1M in 2002.) 66 Sea Cliff went in and out of contract in the Fall, and the sellers reduced the list price by $100,000 before Thanksgiving. However, its buyers ended up paying $1,850,000 in mid January.

So if you’re considering purchasing a luxury home in San Francisco, know that it may take sellers a bit of time to come to terms with their property’s value. Make an offer, and if doesn’t work the first time around, try again—and again. You just might walk away with a good deal.

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