As we wrote at the beginning of the year:

Purchased for $1.21 million in November of 2015, the 1,003-square-foot unit #303 in the classic Russian Hill building known as Bellaire Tower (1101 Green Street) returned to the market with a $1.195 million price tag this past August.

Five weeks later, the list price for the “light and bright home” with “ample windows overlooking the neighborhood and Golden Gate Bridge” was reduced to $1.095 million, a sale at which would have represented depreciation of 9.5 percent for the unit on an apples-to-apples basis over the previous two years.

And this morning, 1101 Green Street #303 was listed anew as “an opportunity to own coveted 2 bedroom / 1 bathroom condo in San Francisco’s iconic Bellaire Tower” for $988,000 and with an official “1” day on the market, and no reductions, according to all industry stats.

Keep in mind that a sale at asking would now represent “apples-to-apples” depreciation of 18.3 percent for the Russian Hill condo since the fourth quarter of 2015 as the conversion of the former one-bedroom into a two (notice the now enclosed archway between the remodeled kitchen and former dining room) occurred prior to its purchase in 2015 while a contract price of $988,001 or more will now constitute an “over asking!” sale.

The sale of 1101 Green Street #303 has now closed escrow with a reported contract price of $945,000 or roughly $1,031 per square foot, representing apples-to-apples depreciation of 21.9 percent for the “coveted 2 bedroom / 1 bathroom condo in San Francisco’s iconic Bellaire Tower” since the end of 2015.

And once again, this is the Russian Hill building atop of which former Mayor Gavin Newsom once lived.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon2

    From the 3 month ago thread: “With a couple of exceptions, I can’t imagine that some of these grand-dame buildings aren’t going to take a hit.”

    But also, people try and rationalize away price drops in newer generic buildings. You can make up a narrative and a rationalization for each and every market segment, but it only serves to obscure the general trend.

    Not too long ago, people declared that hoping for 2016 pricing would be a fantasy. Then 2015 pricing, now here we have 22% below 2015!

  2. Posted by bender

    Of course, there are a ton of “apples” showing substantial price increases since 2016 and 2015. In line with the broader indexes, which, after all, compile all sales including those on both ends of the mean or median. But you aren’t seeing them here, with rare exceptions. Easy to find, however, as it’s all readily available.

    • Posted by anon2

      Keep in mind that this property was first listed on this site 7 months ago when it was first listed and *before* the outcome was known. As are many “apples” featured here.

      If you believe that the editor has some sort of pre-cognitive abilities that allow him or her to predict the outcome of the market half a year out, then even if there were some sort of bias here, it would seem to be an accurate one!

      • Posted by bender

        Don’t know anything about pre-cognitive abilities. I’m just saying that if you look at recent repeat sales from the 2015-2016 timeframe, there are about 9 that went up in value for every one that went down. You can see that this is true from the index data that is published every month showing pretty healthy price rises by lots of different metrics over the last couple of years. If you only look at the 1 in 10 that went down, you get a pretty inaccurate picture. There are a ton of websites that list every sale, so this is not hard to find.

        • Posted by anon2

          Firstly, not all repeat sales are apples. A while back, some people were posting repeat sales on these bad apple threads to “prove” that there was cherry picking going on and a good number of them turned out not to be apples. i.e Renovated, not arms length, change in permitting/condo conversion,… If nothing else, it seems that the properties presented here as apples are thoroughly vetted to see that both repeat sales occurred under comparable conditions.

          Secondly, if you think there is cherry picking going on, is there a credible explanation of how this is being done half a year in advance of the outcome being known?

          Thirdly, even if they were outliers, the mere existence the growing basket of rotten apples is significant. A year+ ago, the debate was what could possibly make prices stop rising, the fact now that you even have any rotten apples is a significant change. Particularly because there is some basis in the assertion that home prices can be sticky with sellers being reluctant to sell below their initial purchase price.

          • Posted by bender

            Look at the apples to apples repeat sales from 2015 or 2016. 9 out of 10 show gains.

            Over time, as the pool of 2015-16 repeat sales grows, the total number of the 1 in 10 showing losses has grown, but so has the 9 in 10 showing gains, and the latter is always 9X the former.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Unfortunately that’s factually incorrect, both in terms of your suggested ratio and trend.

          • Posted by bender

            If you disagree, just list all the sales out. Both the ratio and trend are spot on.

  3. Posted by Oaklandlover

    Wow roughly 1000 per sqf. That’s pretty poor.

    I hope this was a distressed sale. Otherwise the SF pedastool is about to be kicked off its feet.

    My gut says lotsa younger strut money in the SF proper market was buying up on funny tech money as the market was peaking and moving up into the city cause it’s cool now to live in the city, whatever the real creative individuals already moved away from lemming mass 2.0 ….and now the tides a turning. And they’ll jump ship like and old rat on a sinking barg when they see the depreciation coming.

    It’s crazy how the cycle repeats.

    The cycle is over. It’s pretty clear now. Bargains are coming! Those who are prepared will prosper.

  4. Posted by HappyinSF

    What would be useful to me is background on why this unit’s price is down 22% versus 2015. I’ve drifted away from Socketsite over the past couple of years because of posts like this one which seem intended as red meat for the usual bear-or-bull market back-and-forth that spins out 40+ comments from the usual readership.

    • Posted by anon2

      Less important than the tactical rhetorical battles is the overall movement of the front lines.

      Were you a SocketSite Rip-Van-Winkle breaking out of your slumber every six to nine months to check in, you’d see that the battle lines moved from if the price rocket ride would continue, to if they stabilized to single digit gains, to 2017 prices, then 2016 prices, then 2015 and now sub-2015.

      If you go back into Morpheus’s embrace for another year, you may very well awaken to find the same people going through the same back and forth here. But if the reference year of pricing being argued about has changed from 2015 to 2014, that alone will speak volumes.

  5. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    Isn’t this the building where the lesbian lacrosse coach was mauled to death by those Nazi-owned dogs?

    • Posted by Fishchum

      No, I believe that was in Pacific Heights.

      [Editor’s Note: That’s correct.]

    • Posted by Tipster

      That building is a rental apartment complex deep in Pac Heights. I was in the rental market then, and went to see her apartment. The carpet in the hallway was old and dingy, but right in front of the apartment they were showing me, it looked brand new. I asked about it and the manager sheepishly admitted it was hers.

      We walked past another apartment on the way to see hers and the door looked like it had been kicked in. The door jam was completely cracked and the front door was being held in place by a cheap safety chain, the old kind you slid down in a receiver to keep the door from opening while you were inside. I asked the manager why they hadn’t repaired it and he explained they tried, but every time they repaired it, the neighbors just kicked it in again, to try to force the residents out. The residents were the dog owners. The manager said after the second day, they just gave up repairing it. I declined to take their apartment.

  6. Posted by anon realtor

    lots of millennials with a child or two or even one in the oven are regulars at open houses for SFR’s in SF and Bay Area in general. And many are making offers. There is demand for family oriented housing. And unfortunately a huge shortage of “affordable” supply. Thus the prices for SFR’s are at record highs. Condos like this and many others (new and old) are in decent supply. Reduced buyer pool. You get lower selling prices. A similar assessment possibly could be made about millennial buyers in the car market. Smaller two door coupe sporty car sales have been declining. SUV (modern station wagon) are increasing sales. I have a feeling there are all kinds off purchasing trends that can be seen changing with aging millennials and many starting families. Such as demographic spending patterns with baby boomers. Read recently that large national builders are shifting their construction from multi unit apartment/condos to modest single family homes in response to changes in demographics and demand.

  7. Posted by anon realtor

    Socketsite….true. But very very hard to find that in the under $2m price range.

    Look at what is happening in the Sunset, Richmond, Ingleside/Merced, Bernal, D10. Now an argument can be made for sure that a softening of prices at the upper end will eventually trickle down to working class neighborhoods mentioned above. And true I think there is a compression of values in the market now, where price per square foot in more affordable neighborhoods – say Sunset and Bernal is quite similar to ppft for your step up areas of Noe, Glen Park, Potrero, etc.

    What to make of the fact you have challenged values in the upper end and it is becoming nearly impossible to buy even a small fixer SFR for under $1m in any SF neighborhood? I believe it is because the employment situation remains very strong and you have a large number of older millennials in the $250,000 income range looking to buy a starter family home.

    Should the overall employment situation change dramatically, then there will be more substantial price adjustments across the board. My 2 cents.

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