It wasn’t only the prices of San Francisco’s largest residential sales in 2021 that shocked. It was how quickly they sold, and the overall volume of luxury sales.
Some of the city’s priciest homes lasted for only a few weeks on the market before being snapped up — sometimes at reduced prices, but at a speed that belied the urban flight narrative that gained traction during the pandemic’s worst days. There are enough luxury buyers, at least, to keep the market churning.
Indeed, luxury home sales as a share of overall sales activity in San Francisco surged in 2021, Compass data showed. The percentage of homes sales valued at more than $5 million increased by 124% compared with 2019, while the percentage of home sales valued at between $3 million and $4.9 million increased by 84%. Sales of homes across all price ranges increased by 41%.
Also notable: The property behind San Francisco’s highest-ticket home sale in 2021 broke its own record from a couple of years ago. San Francisco’s Billionaire’s Row, a three-block stretch in the Pacific Heights neighborhood where the city’s old money and tech magnates reside, and nearby Presidio Heights, saw much of the year’s action.
2920 Broadway St. | $43.50 million
The seven-bedroom, seven-bath house at 2920 Broadway on Billionaire’s Row sold for a cool $43.5 million in an off-market deal — a San Francisco record. The buyer, a newly registered entity called NARF NAS LLC, remains a mystery.
In 2018, Michael and Xochi Birch, the computer programming moguls who founded the social networking site Bebo, sold the three-story, 11,455-square-foot house, built in 1931, for $39.0 million, which was a city record at the time, too.
The property, which was once owned by the heirs to the Hills Bros. Coffee fortune, has a 5,000-bottle wine cellar and, like many of the other properties on this list, panoramic views of the San Francisco bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
3524 Jackson St. | $29.00 million
The year’s second-highest home sale in San Francisco more than doubled its previous sale price. The 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom home at 3524 Jackson St., in Presidio Heights, sold in July for $29.0 million. The 4960-square-foot home last sold for $12.5 million in 2013.
The house, originally built in 1910, was rebuilt with steel frames in 1998. It includes a library, conservatory, wine cellar, a garden, a dumb waiter and two garages.
3414 Washington St. | $25.0 million
The city’s third-highest-priced home sale is a case study in just how far luxury home prices in the city have come.
The Paul Wiseman-designed six bedroom, six-and-a-half bath home at 3414 Washington St. — again in Presidio Heights — spent only 20 days on the market before selling this year for $25.0 million. The property, which comprises nearly 9,000 square feet, last sold in June 2003 for $3.7 million (about $5.5 million today, adjusted for inflation).
The house dates back to 1900, but Bay area architect Charlie Barnett rebuilt it in 2010. It has a guest apartment, terraces on every level, a roof deck, a gym, a 5,000-plus-bottle wine cellar and an elevator.
2567 Union St. | $19.8 million
San Francisco’s Cow Hollow, between Russian Hill and the Presidio, was once used for cattle grazing. Now it’s one of the city’s most expensive residential enclaves.
In May, the three-bedroom, six-bath house at 2567 Union St., which was built in 1906, sold for $19.8 million — nearly seven times the $2.9 million it last sold for in 2013. The two-story home spans roughly 7,000 square feet.
490 Avila St. | $19.75 million
The next highest sale was 490 Avila St., in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood, adjacent Cow Hollow by the waterfront, which sold this fall for $19.75 million.
The seven-bedroom, eight-and-a-half-bath home, which was built in 1938, last sold in 1994 for $3.6 million. It comprises more than 4600 square feet across three stories and is said to be the largest single-family home lot in the Marina.
2590 Green St. | $19.5 million
The next home on the list spent only two to three weeks on the market.
2590 Green St., in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, sold in April for $19.5 million — a fair bit less than the $22.4 million listing price. The three-story, 8,600-square-foot home, built in 1920 and renovated in 2006, has five bedrooms and six-and-a-half baths, as well as a bar and wine room, theater and a seven-car garage.
The house last sold in February 1991 for $2.3 million.
2780 Broadway St. | $17.7 million
2780 Broadway St., which sold in June for $17.7 million, takes us back to Billionaire’s Row. The property spent about three months on the market and also fetched less than the original $20.0 million asking price.
The four-bedroom, six-bath property , which was designed in 1962 by the Bay area architect William Wurster, was listed for sale in 2020 for an even higher price — $22.5 million — but the listing was removed later in the year before being listed again in March 2021.
2780 Broadway last sold in 2015 for $17.1 million.
150 Glenbrook Ave. | $17.5 million
The next high-ticket sale took place atop Mount Sutro, one of the city’s tallest hills. 150 Glenbrook Ave., which sold for $17.5 million, is said to be the city’s highest private residence.
The 7400-square-foot modernist house commands a panoramic view of the city and has 1400 square feet of outdoor deck space.
The home, which last sold in 2012 for $2.6 million, was listed for $22.0 million in August 2020. The price was lowered in $20.0 million in December before selling in February 2021.
2820 Scott St. | $17.4 million
2820 Scott St. in Cow Hollow, at 16,000 square feet, is the largest property on this list. It is also perhaps the least modern, with baroque details that give its interior a classical flair. The seven-bedroom, eight-bath home, which was built in 1904, has 8 fireplaces and a roof deck with full kitchen.
The property was listed in February for $21.0 million and sold for $17.4 million less than a month later.
2500 Steiner St., Unit 6 | $15.5 million
Unit 6 at 2500 Steiner St. — a co-op building in Pacific Heights that a prominent fixture of San Francisco’s skyline — is the only non-single-family home on this list.
It took less than a month for the seller to find a buyer willing to pay the $15.5 million asking price for the 3,500-square-foot unit. At $4,428, it was the highest price per square foot ever paid for a co-op
2500 Steiner Street’s twelve full-floor units have long served as residences for the city’s political elite. They do not change hands often, but when they do they fetch a handsome price.