San Francisco’s condo market rebounds near 10-year average

Prices, resales and new construction escrows approach historic norms, report finds

San Francisco Condo Market Rebounds Near 10-Year Average

A photo illustration of Polaris founder Paul Zeger (Getty, Polaris, Google Maps)

Sometimes “average” can mean “improvement.” After several years of price declines and trade volume well below historic norms, the San Francisco condo market is almost back to its 10-year average on new construction escrows, resales and prices, according to a recent Polaris report. 

The median price for an existing condominium in San Francisco for the three months ending March 31 was $1.15 million, up slightly from the year before and just under the 10-year average price of $1.17 million. There were 229 pending condo resales, just off the decade average of 234, and 43 new construction units in escrow, just two less than the 10-year average for new construction. 

The price per square foot was still down about 4 percent in District 9, which covers neighborhoods like SoMa, South Beach, Rincon Hill and Mission Bay, the markets with the most new construction by far. But the number of sales was up 20 percent in the district, compared to one year prior. 

Agents have said that the market is moving again as prices on new construction and resales seem more in line with buyer expectations and affordability needs amid rising interest rates, though smaller condo projects and resales outside of San Francisco’s Downtown continue to command a premium.

Compass data pegs Downtown units at a median price of just under $1 million, while units outside Downtown are about $300,000 higher. Condos in Presidio Heights, the Marina and Cow Hollow all went for more than $1,200 per square foot, compared with $1,000 per square foot for Mission Bay, $800 for Civic Center and about $780 for SoMa.

Resale inventory is up slightly but new construction supply is down more than 16 percent from last year, according to Polaris, as the construction pipeline begins to dry up. Only 89 new condo units finished construction in the city in all of 2023, the lowest since the fallout of the financial crisis in 2011. Just under 240 units are currently under construction in District 9, even though nearly 3,300 have been approved. 

Projects to watch

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Prado Group’s 2238 Market Street project appears to have sold out recently, with all 42 units now sold or under contract, according to Polaris. The Duboce Triangle/Castro project started sales in May 2022 and sold an average of nearly two units per month at asking prices ranging from $775,000 for a 625-square-foot studio to just under $2 million for its smallest two-bedroom with 1,050 square feet.

Of the 23 projects currently selling in the city, Avery Bays-developed Fulton 555 Street in Hayes Valley looks the closest to selling out next, with 124 of its 139 units sold. After years of waiting, a Trader Joe’s finally opened in the building this month. It has been a long haul on the sales front as well, with the nearly block-long low-rise project first coming to market in the summer of 2015. Prices range from about $700,000 for a 500-square-foot one-bedroom to $1.3 million for a two-bedroom double that size.

Maison Pacific in Nob Hill currently has the most sales momentum in the market, with an average monthly absorption rate of 3.4 units. Ten units in the JS Sullivan development are in contract, according to the report. Prices range from about $850,000 for a 700-square-foot one-bedroom to $1.7 million for a two-bedroom with just under 1,200 square feet. 

Serif in Mid-Market is also picking up steam, with eight units in contract and an average of just over two closes per month. But developer L37 still has two-thirds of the flatiron-style building’s 242 units available.

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For resales, The Pacific just off Fillmore Street at 2121 Webster Street in Lower Pacific Heights has brought in by far the highest price per square foot in the last 12 months. The nine units that resold in the building averaged about $2,700 per square foot. Only a few new construction projects in the city can match the 2016 adaptive reuse of a former dental school developed by Trumark Urban. 

Jay Paul Company’s 181 Fremont Street has topped $2,800 for the average price per square foot for its two-bedroom units, according to Polaris, and its average three-bedroom goes for $3,200 per square foot. Related has seen sales as high at $2,100 per square foot at The Avery and recently cut the price on its two penthouses to $2,800 and $2,400 per square foot.