Where SF’s Least Expensive Homes Sold

Previously, we explored which San Francisco neighborhoods bounced back highest and hardest this year with a look at the highest median sale prices for single-family homes last spring, the period when SF was emerging from the pandemic and getting an idea what the new lay of the land is.

But not everyone is seeking the highest of highs, so here we now have the neighborhoods with the lowest median prices during the same period, once again picked out of Compass real estate analyst Patrick Carlisle’s Q2 analysis of San Francisco.

Once again, you should consider these figures in comparison with the California Association of Realtor’s median home price estimates for May (the most recent figures available from CAR), which pegged the median single-family sale price for the state at just less than $820K, and $1.34 million for the Bay Area at large.

Bayview ($1.12 million, 40 sales): One one level, it’s assuring that Bayview rounded out the bottom of the list this quarter: San Francisco’s sprawling southeastern flank has for generations held its ground as a redoubt for households who otherwise might not be able to afford San Francisco living at all. In 2019, the Planning Department reported that Bayview is one of the rare SF neighborhoods where homeowners outnumber renters, a testament to the relative attainability of homes here for decades. On the other hand, that history makes the seven-figure median price tag presented in these numbers somewhat disconcerting–although of course, it has been this way for sometime.

Photo by Pi.1415926535

Oceanview ($1.15 million, 11 sales): Ah, San Francisco: So fickle to have a neighborhood called Oceanview which actually furnishes only very rare views of the ocean. Once upon a time this oft-overlooked locale was called Lakeview, but since Lake Geneva no longer exists we had to switch to the next most prominent nearby body of water, and the rest is history. Opportunities seemingly have not dried up here, but notice the relatively shallow pool of sales, which can skew the numbers a bit. That’s not to say this isn’t really a handy place to find a deal–just that statistics being what they are, it’s easier for outliers to throw things off a bit when there’s only a handful of examples.

Photo by Tim Adams

Excelsior ($1.28 million, 30 sales): Alongside Bayview, Excelsior long held the reputation as the other southern-lying SF neighborhood where those priced out of the rest of the city might yet find a foothold–indeed, it was only five or six years ago that some Excelsior realtors and homeowners alike were wondering whether the housing boom would pass them by entirely. Well, it’s caught up now: While homes here still average markedly below those in similar residential neighborhoods, the days of an average house going for less than $1 million in Excelsior are a thing of the past, and by extension so in the rest of the city as well. Some homes do still sell for cheaper here, of course–an average is just an average, after all.

Portola ($1.3 million, 19 sales): Remember when we mentioned that Bayview was a rare SF neighborhood where more people own than rent? There, the margin is still pretty narrow–52-48 back in 2016. By comparison, Portola is a neighborhood where 65 percent of homes were owner-occupied during the same period. Only the Outer Mission, West of Twin Peaks, and Sea Cliff sported higher homeownership rates in those Planning Department profiles. As you can no doubt guess, homeownership is a bit of a moving target as statistics go: In places like Sea Cliff, most homeowner happen to be outlandishly wealthy, whereas Portola owners benefit from historically generally affordable housing stock.

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