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October 22, 2009

SoMa Within Reach for First-Time Home Buyers

There was a time when one- to two-bedroom condos and lofts were out of reach for those who could afford up to $600,000. I know that’s a lot of money in most parts of the world, but in San Francisco, it’s first-time home buyer territory, and it’s not been an easy price range.

But things have loosened up a bit, particularly in the South of Market neighborhood. The ongoing short/foreclosure sales have brought prices down, and there’s actually plenty of inventory. A nice loft that previously commanded a price of $650,000 or $700,000+ two or three years ago can now be purchased for about $100,000 less.

There are currently 33 one- to two-bedroom condos/lofts on the market in SoMa for up to $600,000. Sure, many of them are located in less-desirable locales (hello, 140 South Van Ness!), but I thought I’d spotlight two properties I think could be good deals—at the right price—due to location and overall appeal:

601_4th You wouldn’t know it from the listing detail, but 601 4th St. #101 is located in the Heublien Building—the first large loft development in San Francisco. It’s always been a favorite of mine due to its large windows, high ceilings, and overall character. The building is also in a very central location (94 Walk Score). The unit itself features 16-foot ceilings and an outlook to a shared garden. It’s listed at $579,000, but maybe at $550,000 or so, more buyers will bite.

Next up is 695 5th #7:

695_5thLast sold for $700,000 in March 2005, this unit started out at $619,000 in July and is now down to $599,000. It’s not very different from other lower-priced lofts, so hopefully there’s room to move in price. But here’s the good stuff: You’re right at Townsend & 5th, which is a pretty central location (Walk Score: 92). The sleeping area upstairs is reasonable, and there’s one-car parking and a large deeded storage space. Knock this baby down to $540,000 or so, and you’ve got yourself a nice loft that’s just over 1,000 square feet in a hip location.

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