Ask an Expert, New Development Condo or Pacific Heights (Sally Rosenman)

“I’m thinking of buying either a condo in one of these new high-rise buildings like Infinity, One Rincon, or Soma Grand, but I love Pacific Heights. Where do you think I would get the best appreciation?”-Jacki

As answered by Sally Rosenman of Hill & Co. Real Estate,

Dear Jacki,
Thanks for asking about the difference in value between South Beach (and one would have to include Mission Bay) and Pacific Heights.  This is really like comparing apples and oranges.  Pacific Heights is an “old” neighborhood with eclectic styles in homes and walking distance (depending) to Lafayette, Alta Plaza or Julius Kahn Parks and the various stores & restaurants on Union, Chestnut and Fillmore Streets.
South Beach & Mission Bay are a hot “new” style of neighborhood -a more edgy, less of a true neighborhood feel to them and most of the buildings are mid- to high-rises with not a whole lot of difference between their facades.  But there are a lot of differences, in my opinion, between the finishes and the care in which the various buildings are built. Many high-rise units have views of Downtown SF, the Bay or The Channel southward. More and more of the Developers are putting in berms and green areas between their buildings giving the areas a bit of a park-like feel. Starbucks, Safeway, Whole Foods, Border’s Books, Acme Chophouse, MoMo’s, Azie  plus the AT&T Ballpark, The Metreon, Embarcadero, Ferry Building and more coming in to the area are helping to give it a more “neighborhood” feel but not like  that of Pacific Heights.  Also there is easy access to the Bay Bridge and Highway 101 for commutes to jobs outside the City. 
In the past 6 months, 71 condos (not TICs) have sold in Pacific Heights ranging from the smallest studio to the largest multi-level flat, with or without parking from $398,000 to $9,000,000 for 2320 Broadway.  5 sold at the asking price, 33 sold under asking and 32 sold over.  5 sold at an unpublished price.
In the past 6 months, in Mission Bay, using the same parameters, 19 condos sold. 1 condo sold over asking, 10 at asking and 8 under the asking price.  Most were resales with perhaps a few new sales at 260 King (and I am not sure because I do not follow that complex.)  All of the new Developments like 235 Berry and the Arterra in the 300 block do not show up as Developers try to sell them without using the MLS.
In the past 6 months, in South Beach, 99 units sold as resales, 68 under asking, 19 over, 10 at asking and 2 with non-published prices.  Again, this does not include The Infinity or One Rincon or The Watermark, etc. It is hard to say exactly what with all the new construction because their sale prices are not published in the MLS. Many Developers are offering rebates of some kind to help spur sales. Is there a glut of units in these areas?  Hard to say b because the area appeals to many people who not only love new construction but like the various amenities and proximity to various areas I mentioned.
As you can see, both areas are showing an uneven market in sales. I believe there will always be buyers for both areas because of the two different lifestyles.  It remains to be seen how South Beach and Mission Bay fare over the next ten years. I suspect it will always be an area of choice for many people.  Frankly. both areas will rise and fall with the real estate cycle.  I would pick the area that you like the best and go with that.  I do not think you can make a mistake with either one.

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