San Francisco Home Painted to Look Like Famous Artwork Sells for Half-Million Over Asking

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

by Amy Graff | SFGATE

Did this house in the Sunset sell for way over asking because of its fun paint job or the location?

2140 Great Highway

Do you know this house? If you've driven San Francisco's Great Highway you might know it. The exterior paint job was inspired by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The home at 2140 Great Highway is listed for $1.495 million.

The fog might keep San Francisco's Sunset district cool, but the real estate market in this beachy neighborhood is hot.

In the second half of last year, the Sunset, which fronts Ocean Beach and extends eastward, saw more homes sell for over asking price than any other area in the city, according to Compass Real Estate data.

The trend is continuing as a two-bedroom, one-bathroom on the Great Highway a block from the beach sold in March for $550,000 over the asking price. It was listed for $1.495 million and went for $2.05 million.

The home at 2140 Great Highway in the Outer Sunset is actually famed as it's painted in the style of the 20th-century Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.

"The seller has kept it that way for the last 20 years," said Todd Wiley, who co-listed the property with his wife Kim. "He really likes art. He had some pretty unique art on the interior of the property."

But while the home's geometric paint job is fun and Instagram-worthy, it's unlikely that's what sent the price climbing. With this home, it's all about the location in the sought-after Sunset.

Real estate market analyst Patrick Carlisle of Compass says the Sunset has been discovered, especially by young people looking to buy a first home and start a family.

"In the last four years, it consistently has been among the strongest markets in the city or the strongest market," Carlisle says. "It's comparatively affordable. It's close to highways with easy access to the Peninsula. It seems a lot of younger high teach buyers are moving in and changing the demographics of the area. They want a place where they can have a yard and a place where they can roll the baby carriage."

These eager buyers have driven up prices. The neighborhood has seen the median house sales price go from $347,000 in 1998 to $1.45 million in 2018. That's an appreciation of 318 percent across 20 years.

In the second and third quarters of last year, 18 percent of homes sold for over asking, the highest percent in the city, according to a report from Compass.

Todd, who sold the Mondrian house, has lived in the sunset himself since 1989, and understands the appeal of the area for families with its wide-open spaces and proximity to perks of city living.

"You're in the city, but you're not," he said. "We have parks, we have open space, you can park your cars, and you can be in the Mission in 15 minutes. We have some of the best public schools."

While some might argue traffic and unreliable public transportation can make the trek from the Sunset to the city center cumbersome at times, there's no arguing the Sunset has some of the city's top-performing schools. All the schools in the neighborhood, whether elementary or high school, receive a 9 or 10 on the widely used GreatSchool scale, taking into consideration everything from test scores to parent involvement.

With the influx of new people, the neighborhood now also supports many new businesses, adding flavor and character to the neighborhood, from coffee hot spot Java Beach to Outerlands restaurant, serving cast-iron grilled cheese on homemade bread.

"There's so much going on out here," Todd says.