San Francisco’s Condo Industry Remains Robust

by Catherine McHugh | Mansion Global

Despite a fourth-quarter dip in sales, new developments continue to rise across the city

San Francisco's real estate market unsurprisingly took a bit of hit in the fourth quarter of last year.

The city was rocked by a stock market whose major indices posted their worst yearly performances since the financial crisis, devastating wildfires north of the city that affected air quality, and uncertainty about Prop 10, a defeated ballot initiative that would have allowed local governments to adopt rent control on any type of rental housing.

However, due to strong growth in the earlier months of 2018, condominium values remained strong for the year. Sales volumes were up 6.5% to 2,685 closings in 2018, with an average $1,252 price per square foot, a 6.6% increase over 2017, according to a report from Compass Real Estate.

Selma Hepp, a chief economist at Compass, said the market looks to bounce back, albeit at a measured pace.

“We are seeing a pickup in prices for new construction, which has a lot to do with higher-end sales in some of the buildings,” she said. “I think construction will pick up again—there are a significant number of projects in the pipeline, but I think they will be coming on at a very slow pace. 2020 and 2021 may have more projects coming online than in 2019.”

Here is a look at a few of San Francisco's newest luxury condo developments this spring, one of which includes a penthouse priced at $41 million. If sold for its asking price, it could become San Francisco's most expensive home.

The Avery, 488 Folsom St., East Cut

Located in the East Cut neighborhood (the new official moniker for the area more commonly known as Rincon Hill, South Beach or South of Market), The Avery is a striking 56-story sculpted glass tower with 118 condominium residences (beginning on the 33rd floor) that offer panoramic views.

Pritzker Prize-awarded Rem Koolhaas’s Office of Metropolitan Architecture, created the bold exterior, and internationally acclaimed Clodagh Design has instilled a nature-inspired design for the interiors and amenities.

The Avery’s full-floor, 8,482-square-foot penthouse was recently released for $41 million. The 56th floor penthouse will sit at an elevation of over 600 feet and its 1,580-square foot private rooftop deck provides panoramic, 360-degree views of San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge and the city’s skyline.

Tenants may move in beginning this spring.

Number of units: 118

Price range: From the high $1 millions for one-bedrooms, the high $2 millions for two-bedrooms and the high $3 millions for three-bedrooms. The full-floor penthouse is priced at $41 million.

Developer/architect/designer: Related California/Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)/ Clodagh Design

Apartment sizes: One-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and a four-bedroom penthouse

Amenities: Gourmet kitchens with custom oak cabinetry and Michelangelo marble countertops, as well as spa-inspired baths with polished chrome Dornbracht fixtures are included. As Clodagh Design is known for its eco-conscious aesthetic, residents will benefit from a blend of natural light from the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows with crystalline textures that aim to create restorative spaces throughout the building.


2177 Third, 2177 Third St., Dogpatch

This seven-story condominium complex, is taking shape in the heart of San Francisco’s Central Waterfront District neighborhood known as Dogpatch. It’s home to some of the city’s oldest houses—this area wasn’t affected by the 1906 earthquake—but condo developments are not yet prolific.

The complex is adjacent to the Third Street Light Rail and offers convenient access to the I-280. It’s directly in front of the city’s upcoming Crane Cove Park and just blocks away from the New Chase Center.

Architect Woods Bagot has surrounded the private roof terrace with two landscaped green roof elements. An internal, private landscaped courtyard seeks to embrace the aesthetic of the local dockyards while adding privacy to the adjacent units and creating a gathering space for the community.

Sales begin in the summer and the building is expected to be completed this fall.

Number of units: 106

Price range: Pricing starts in the $800,000s

Developer/architect: Align Real Estate/Woods Bagot

Apartment sizes: Studios and one- and two-bedrooms, ranging from approximately 501 square feet to approximately 1,483 square feet

Amenities: The building features an appointed lobby, a functional training gym, a rooftop deck with barbecue grills, a landscaped courtyard and vertical gardens, as well as an owner’s lounge and co-working area.


The Crescent, 875 California St., Nob Hill

Perched at the intersection of the historic Powell and California cable car lines is Crescent, a boutique, 44-unit building. Mindful of Nob Hill’s iconic status as home to San Francisco’s genteel founders, developer Grosvenor’s latest project is a classically inspired building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects in conjunction with local San Francisco experts BDE Architecture to fit in with neighboring nearby luxury residential buildings and landmarks including the Fairmont Hotel, Masonic Auditorium, Grace Cathedral.

Constructed on the site of a former parking lot and a former parking garage, the building is a departure from traditional high-rises, featuring only seven floors of intimate residences and an underground garage.

Sales start in the spring and the building plans to open its doors to the first residents this fall. 

Number of units: 44

Price range: Not yet available

Developer/architect: Grosvenor Americas/Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Apartment sizes: One-, two- and three-bedroom condominium residences and penthouses

Amenities: The residences will have private landscaped gardens and terraces and access to the garage, which will be equipped with a state-of-the-art automated parking system.