New homes command the most cash in SF

San Franciscans love their vintage homes, but it’s the new stuff that takes top dollar. New construction also often means more expensive as most developers are still seeking to squeeze as many units as possible into their building envelope.

So what does this do? Well, for one, it makes the average two-bedroom in a new high-rise often much smaller than a two-bedroom in an older Edwardian or Victorian building. We’re seeing some developers bucking that trend as they realize the price per square foot can increase dramatically for particularly large homes in buildings such as the Millennium or smaller boutique projects such as 650 2nd Street, where condos that span half an entire floor can command upwards of $1500 per square foot.

The accompanying chart is a reworking of one we at Paragon did last spring. One thing of note is that all things being equal (which they rarely are), the smaller the unit, the more extravagant the dollar per square foot. Over the past century, average unit sizes have seen a steady decline. However, other issues are also at play, including construction quality and appeal and the location where a certain era’s type of buildings were mostly constructed.

We’ve also created a new chart that illustrates the general decline in new housing that has been added to the city’s supply over the past 40 years. There was a surge during the first decade of the 2000s and then a precipitous drop from 2008 to 2012. And where are we right now? In the beginning stages of yet another surge. Stay tuned.

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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