As a wise man once said, it ain’t over till it’s over, and with many weeks left in 2021 it could still yet turn out that we’re a bit premature with this end-of-year ranking.
A last-minute sale could nab any one of these top spots before 2022 rolls around; but unless fate conspires against us that way, what we have right here are indeed the biggest home sales of the year in San Francisco.
Some are old favorites, while others haven’t shown to the public in years; some are true antiques, and some are decidedly contemporary.
The thing they all have in common was sufficient appeal to climb the summits of the most unpredictable housing market in the world.
So just what does $40 million or so dollars get you in this town these days? We’ve got it all right here.
#1: 2920 Broadway Street, $43.5 million
Life is full of surprises: We thought we knew what the most expensive home sold in SF was (see below), but it turns out that the true record holder is not only the priciest home this year but likely the priciest in the history of SF, with 2920 Broadway breaking for $43.5 million. Since this listing didn’t go through MLS, the sale initially flew under the radar: The sale happened in April, but news about it didn’t break until months later.
The last time this seven-bed Pac Heights classic traded hands was in 2018 for $39 million, which at the time was also a record. There are several SF homes for sale currently asking more than this, but only a new year will tell whether the record stands.
It turns out 2021 peaked relatively early, with this big sale closing back in April as well. This historic six bed, seven bath Presidio Heights property only took 20 days on the market to seal the deal, and the final receipt was just a hair beneath the original $25 million asking price. If you want to feel really old, consider that the last time this address sold was in 2003, for just $3.7 million–about $5.56 million after inflation.
Even lifelong San Franciscans might rack their brains trying to figure out where 490 Avila Street is off the top of their head: Avila is only a few blocks long, stretching from Chestnut to just north of Beach Street, and then it turns 45 degrees for a brief one-block stretch that terminates immediately across the street from Marina Green–and that is where you find our third-place seller for the year, on possibly the most Marina-defining lot of the entire Marina. This seven bed, nine bath house dates to the ’30s.
It would have been sincerely shocking if even the second-most expensive Pac Heights property of 2021 fell any lower than this on the overall rankings, and indeed here we are; this five bed, eight bath setup would have landed even higher if anybody had gone in for its original asking price of $22.4 million, but this three-week sale turned out to be an underbid, which as we’ve learned is actually fairly normal for homes in the $10 million-plus price range.
High atop Mount Sutro, 150 Glenbrook is San Francisco’s highest residence above sea level–or at least, that’s what the ad that netted this fifth-place sale (a nearly $2.5 million underbid) claims, with the realtors doing the measurements themselves. The highest point in San Francisco is actually Mt. Davidson, but naturally nobody can build a home up there. In any case, the six bed, eight bath designer home at 150 Glenbrook can boast the best views of the year; the circa 1981 setup sold last in 2012 for $2.63 million and briefly listed in 2020 asking $22 million.
Yes, the difference between fifth and sixth place came down to a relatively scant $50,000. This beautiful butter-yellow Italianate mansion was for a time the most expensive property in the city, and was listed and delisted so many times since first seeking a buyer in 2008 that seeing it appear on the market yet again early in 2021 was sort of like running into an old flame. In fact, 2820 Scott Street was seeking a buyer so long and on so many different occasions that sometimes new listings would RAISE the price from previous, unsuccessful bids just to keep up with inflation. It was nice to see the old place finally find a buyer back in March, hopefully one who will show it the love its seven bed, 9.5 bath, 1904 pedigree deserves.
This five bed, six bath Pac Heights house dates to 1903 and comes to us by way of Oakland-born architect Edgar Mathews, the child of a Gold Rush-era carpenter turned architect. Mathews loved designing big, tall Pac Heights homes, with boxy profiles, shingled roofs, and “Elizabethan” aesthetics–and wouldn’t you know it, the tall drink of water at 2523 Pacific Avenue is the spitting images of his signature style. And it’s netted a big, tall price this year to boot, up from a $14.3 million asking price.
For a look at what might have been (and still could be), check out our rundown of the most expensive UNSOLD houses in the city.
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