More on condos in San Francisco

Let’s continue our discussion on condominiums in San Francisco. Specifically, how are they helping to change the face of the city, and why are they becoming so prevalent? One of the major reasons, as we discussed in the last blog post, is that for years after the recession, it was far easier to obtain financing for apartments than condos. That’s according to the San Francisco Business Times, which quotes Oyster Development head Dean Givas as saying: “Over the last few years, apartment financing has been more accessible, so that’s why you’re seeing more starts for rentals.”

As the economy recovered, Givas moved into condo development. However, he started with smaller developments such as the 98-unit Marlow project at 1788 Clay Street. Oyster is now looking to go bigger. Recently it has gotten approvals for a project at 1634 and 1690 Pine Street – 261 residential units in two 13-story towers with 4,000 square feet of commercial space. Givas said he wants to break ground by October and kick off sales by Spring 2015, but still needs to get construction financing.

“Based on timing, the hope was that we would be developing it later in the cycle and that banks would be back to lending for condos and that was case,” he told the Business Times. “There’s more lenders than there were a year ago and more than there were two years ago.”

According to The Mark Co.’s pricing index for penthouse units, the average San Francisco penthouse in April (a 30th floor, 2,000-square-foot unit) was priced at $1,915 per square foot. In terms of resales, the average price of a San Francisco condo hit $927 per square foot in April; that figure is based on approximately 307 units changing owners.

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