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December 8, 2009

Nob Hill Condos Target First-Time Home Buyers


I often get contacted by prospective buyers wondering what’s available for around $400,000 in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the options are limited and usually don’t involved parking. But if you’re looking for a highly walkable condo with luxury finishes in an affordable price range, 901 Bush Street may be for you.

A bit of background on this 38-unit building: Its owners Ellis Acted the property back in 2006. (This means they used legal means to get out of the rental business and empty the building of tenants, making it the largest property ever Ellis Acted in San Francisco.) Then came a fire and rehab. And an attempted condo conversion by the owners. The city denied the conversion—not surprisingly, since you can only convert buildings with six or fewer units. Lawsuits followed, and there was reportedly a settlement with the city that paved the way for a “special use district” that enabled the building to be considered new construction. The units then came on the market as condos.

The units were priced in the $300,000-$500,000 range. They feature high-end finishes such as Caesarstone countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Twenty-two units have sold since 2008, and sixteen have sold this year—the latter being mostly one bedrooms with an average sales price of $397,430. There are seven available now and four in contract. The owners have somehow managed to withstand the economic downturn that hit in late 2007 and got even worse in October 2008. The building is even approved for FHA financing. Monthly homeowner association dues (HOA) are $270.

Though the building history is rather unfortunate, I have to admit that 901 Bush addresses the need for housing in this price range that’s located in a walkable, transit-rich area.

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