Condos a relative bargain in SF? Think again

So buying a condo is less expensive than purchasing a single-family home, right? Not according to Paragon Real Estate Group’s recent research, which finds that there is just a 12 percent difference in median prices between condos and single-family homes, with $1.075 million the median for those homes sold between March 1 and August 31 and $950,000 the median for condos and co-ops.

This report was featured last week on the SFGate website. The article noted that Paragon had also found that tenancies in common are still a relative bargain at a median price of $805,000. That said, TIC sales are on the decline, with slightly less than 200 units sold between January 1 and August 31 – or, in terms of percentages, just 5 percent of the city’s market.

Now let’s look at condos and single-family homes, which respectively make up 46 percent of San Francisco sales at 1,864 sales and 37 percent of San Francisco sales with 1,513 sales. These sales were recorded during the same period as that of the TICs.

So what’s going on here?

Well, one major factor is the multiple newly built projects that are hitting the market at crazy per-square-foot prices. In some cases, as SFGate noted, these are more than $1,300 per square foot. These figures are bringing up values in areas such as Potrero Hill, the Inner Mission, Hayes Valley and the Market Street and Van Ness corridors. A rising tide lifts all boats, and average and median values in these neighborhoods are headed skyward.

Low single-family inventory is also at play here. There seem to be many more condo sales in the $750,000 to $1.49 million range, while condos and single-family homes are equal in the $1.5 million to the $1.99 million range. Go to the ultra-high end, though, and there are 178 single-family sales as opposed to 118 condos. (Note that this high end represents sales between $2 million and $4.99 million.) Remember that there are still condos being built, while very new single-family homes are being added to the mix.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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