The Bellaire Tower is a classic Russian Hill building at 1101 Green Street atop of which former Mayor Gavin Newsom once lived.

Seventeen floors below the two-bedroom penthouse, the 1,003-square-foot unit #303 was originally built as a one-bedroom but later converted into a two (notice the enclosed archway between the remodeled kitchen and former dining room).

And having been purchased for $1.21 million in November of 2015, the “light and bright home” with “ample windows overlooking the neighborhood and Golden Gate Bridge” has just been listed anew with a $1.195 million price tag.

If you think you know the market in Russian Hill, now’s the time to tell.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by jimbo

    HOAs are a steal at $1,162/month .

    My guess is $1.15, but it is still overpriced

    • Posted by anon2.5

      second.

    • Posted by Tipster

      I’ll take the over. Current owner bought the property as a single male, not the type who usually overpays. So I doubt he overpaid when he bought it.

      And when market downturns start, like the one that is starting, they don’t hit the blue chip properties like these early on. A decent sign of a market downturn starting is when the blue chip properties can’t fetch higher. They don’t fetch lower until the downturn is well underway.

      1.120. He’ll still lose transfer tax and real estate fees, which are many tens of thousands of dollars, but I think this goes right around what he paid.

  2. Posted by Notcom

    Is the covered arch shown in the consecutive (kitchen/bedroom) photos, the same one? It appears much wider in the second shot (and the – closet?- door to the left would seem to open onto a refrigerator)…most confusing, tho a floorplan would help (hint, hint)

    • Posted by BobN

      If it’s the same arch, there’s a backdoor to the fridge.

    • Posted by socketome

      As the room was originally a dining room the “closet” may have only been the depth of the arched opening (about 12 inches) and used as a china cabinet. Might be a twin on the other side (out of camera view) too.

  3. Posted by Rillion

    It is still pretty common to list a place for a little underneath what you want in SF. We listed ours for just about 1% less than the place below us sold for a month ago, hoping to get about the same as they got. Imagine its similar here, they want a little above 1.2 so listed just under 1.2 (1.195). Don’t know Russian Hill well enough to know what it will go for but it won’t surprise me if it goes for just about the same price as 2015.

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    When you see a crazily foreshortened bed as in images 3 and 4 then you know the photographer used an ultra wide angle lens to make the room appear larger than it really is.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I don’t think it is foreshortened, I think the pillows are just on the side of the bed, rather than at the top: compare it to the door….it seems to be about as deep as the door is wide…~3′.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        I stand corrected. Fooled by pillow placement. It is probably a trundle bed. TGIF 🙂

    • Posted by BTinSF

      The room appears to be for a child (child seat, teddy bear). It’s a single sofa bed with, as suggested just above, the pillows lined up along the wall. No fore-shortening.

  5. Posted by BTinSF

    I always wonder about the seismic safety of these older (but post-1906) buildings. Anybody have any factual information about that issue?

    • Posted by Notcom

      This aspect was discussed earlier for a similar (i.e. 1920ish) building and I think the consensus was:

      (1) the buildings probably don’t meet current codes, but
      (2) they’re usually steel/reinforced concrete so they’re unlikely to just collapse (and the older luxury condos seem to usually be atop a hill so the soil is likely OK…or at least not a bunch of mud), but
      (3) if you’re going to lay down a few mill a professional seismic evaluation might make sense… of course if you don’t like the results, you’re out the money.

  6. Posted by Faceful

    What is the point of continuing to cherry pick places that people overpaid for in 2015?

    • Posted by condoshopper

      i actually appreciate these examples because it cautions that one can indeed pay too much and lose money if not careful, even when purchasing and holding in a hotter market like 2015-present.

    • Posted by JM

      Seriously. Why never an example of a sale that was about the 2015 price.

    • Posted by that_dude

      Bad news is better ‘news’ to cherry pick than good news.

      I bought a loft in soma in late 2014, it went up 200k, then dipped only to a 150k price tag gain. Regardless, I doubt SS would report the “increase” of $150k-$200k if I sold it. And yes, multiple units in my building have sold for 150-200k more.

      • Posted by anon2

        But a change in market conditions is news.

        Back when the market was strong everything was rocketing up. Now the ‘cherry’ crop gets bigger by the week. How is that significant change not news?

        In fact in a highly cyclical market such as SF, being able to catch a turn in the market from up to flat (and later from flat to down if you really want to cut things close) is of significant utility to most people.

        • Posted by that_dude

          If you’ve followed SF real estate over 40 years, it basically rises and plateaus. Yes, it drops, but 10-15% like we’re seeing now which is normal. It almost never burst, unless you’re talking Great Recession and Great Depression era. Even after the great Loma Pieta earth quake, it went down.. but barely.

          A few units is not a “significant change” IMO, not would be if the market when down 15% as we’ve all talked/seen about for a while.

          • Posted by anon2

            First off, with selling costs a 15% drop would just about eliminate even a 20% down payment. And if you look at stats of how long it’s taking people to save up a down payment these days it’s hard to argue that the elimination of a decade plus of savings is not significant.

            Personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the market as a whole has dropped 15% now. But when that happens that obviously seems like ‘news’ to me. And the market doesn’t go from rocketing up to down 15% in the blink of an eye, so why wouldn’t you expect to see a slow progression of leading indicators, data points with slight weakness, data points with obvious losses and then wider averages. And why shouldn’t this be reported on every step of the way?

            Also, while it’s possible that this will just be a typical cycle, I think that many of the factors that made the 2007 era cycle extra large will also make this cycle unusually pronounced. Loose lending then and low interest rates now have allowed buyers to lever up to atypical large price-income ratios. Low rates have also contributed to a great deal of froth in tech sector valuations. Globalization of finance has allowed capital from around the world to pile into a price runup. And buyer behavior has changed to become more focused on monthly payment vs price.

            The 2000 era tech boom-bust was also a pronounced cycle, but it’s effect was mostly seen in rents. Back then people with debt (even ‘good’ educational debt) who were working at jobs with limited stability rented rather than bought. But during the 2007 era national boom people started to buy when they could make the payments and this change has persisted. Those who would have been renters in the 2000 era bubble are now more likely to be buyers and while the 2000 bust provided downward pressure on rents I think the effect of this tech bust will instead manifest in prices.

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          What do you mean, “back when the market was strong” ? Is the market not strong at the moment?

  7. Posted by NA

    Except when the message of SS has been that the market is going down (due to picking only the negative) for several years, while the market has said otherwise. Again, I’m all for the market to go down and expect it, but when a site is biased then readers pick up on it.

    • Posted by Jackson

      Socketsite simply points out the practice of Realtors taking a property off market the MLS, re-list at a lower price a day before closing, only to claim “sold over asking!!”

  8. Posted by derrysf

    Myself, I cannot get past the Home Depot kitchen and bath remodel in this building and at this price point.

    • Posted by Mark F.

      Right, resembles something a person would do to a $125,000 home in Green Bay.

  9. Posted by Conifer

    The bathroom and kitchen are modest, but perhaps, absent the tacky staging, the owners had an apartment full of 1925 French Art Deco furniture or 18th century English furniture, a collection of Dutch and Flemish old master paintings, with a two bookcases full of incunabula and 16th century books. It does happen. There are some things more important than expensive kitchens and bathrooms.

    • Posted by soccermom

      Or a lot of beanie babies.

      • Posted by Brian M

        I still remember the long line of overnight campers in DOWNTOWN VACAVILLE on a freezing December night waiting for the chance to SCORE the big beanie bonus prize.

  10. Posted by Conifer

    Beanie babies are not works of art or antiques.

    You might be surprised at the number of houses and apartments in northern SF similar to the one I described. They are also in other cities, including London, Edinburgh, Paris, Lyon, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Genoa, Venice, Rome, Munich, Cologne, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and of course New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Boston, and even Los Angeles, and Toronto and Montreal.

    Yup, old or modest kitchens in houses with great art, objects and books, the collections sometimes worth as much as the house.

  11. Posted by highflyer

    Whenever a HOA allows their monthly dues to run up it inevitably leads to lower property valuations and less perspective buyer interest for all units within the association.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      Well, we don’t know what the HOA dues were in November of 2015, and that’s one of the things that’s severely lacking in the MLS (or maybe it’s available to realtors and outsiders just can’t see it), but assuming that it hasn’t gone up that much over the CPI in under two years, a $1.16k monthly dues payment seems within reason for a building of this class with 24 hour doormen and valet parking.

  12. Posted by Richard

    This building suffered many years of penny-pinching longtime elderly resident owners who failed to keep the building current, particularly window replacement. Most of that shortsightedness has passed. This is a classic iconic Art Deco high-rise tower and the prices reflect that fact.

  13. Posted by Mark F.

    It’s a nice unit, but I’d need to do some higher end remodeling. Also, not sure about that second bedroom. I think I would return it to its use as a Formal Dining Room. Guests could sleep on the sofa.

  14. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The list price for 1101 Green Street #303 has just been reduced to $1.095 million, a sale at which would represent depreciation of 9.5 percent for the Russian Hill two-bedroom on an apples-to-apples basis over the past two years.

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