Blast From the Past – San Francisco Real Estate Prices from 1999

Mention the year “1999” and it doesn’t seem that long ago. I mean – we waited a long time for it – some waited for 1999 to come since Prince’s party anthem came out in 1982.
But 1999 doesn’t conjure up images of fashion faux pas that won’t ever be seen again, cars don’t look that different and aside from crazy rumors of Y2K computer glitches causing chaos and confusion across the world – life isn’t THAT different.
The biggest difference is that Bill was still president and weren’t even sure that George W. had a chance in hell of becoming the Republican presidential nominee, let alone the president. (I would have been happy to take an 8 year nap had I known then what I know now – oops! I’ve promised myself I’d stay away from political opinion in my blog – that just sorta slipped out.)
Anyhow, to put it in perspective, 1999 was only 8 years ago. But San Francisco real estate prices seem to be generations away!
When I was on vacation in Clear Lake, I was balling up some old newspapers for kindling, and ran across the SF real estate section of the S.F. Sunday Examiner & Chronicle from September 26, 1999. I laughed at some of the prices – and thought I’d share a few of the listings that I found, along with what the property would likely be listed for today. Today’s price will be based on average sale prices for similar homes in the areas – thought it’s a REALLY rough guideline, because without seeing a place in person, a REALTOR just can’t judge a property’s value. Each property is very unique and only an in-depth evaluation could really give an accurate assessment.
Now, there’s too many 199 properties to list all of them – so I figured I’d just share a few with you so you could get a little taste. Feel free to comment or ask questions if these numbers spark any feedback!
Single Family Homes
Noe Valley
Custom blt 4+BR/4.5BA oversize lot, 3 fireplcs, social rm, game rm, atrium, Japanese style grdn & more.
Today’s price: $2,100,000
Ashbury Heights
Sensational! 3+BR/1.5BA, huge eat in kitchn, frml LR & DR, decks, balconies & yrd, 1pkng plus legal 1BR Apt.
Today’s price: $1,600,000
Bernal Heights
Lovely cozy 2BR, quiet street, hw flrs, liv rm, rm & ba down, terraced garden, 1 pkng, w/d & storage.
Today’s price: $725,000
Detached 2BR/2BA + sunroom, new kitch & mstr bath, refinished hw flrs, period details, multi-car gar.
Today’s price: $899,000
2BR/1BA Lvng. Rm. w/Fplc., Dining Rm., Eat-in Kitchen, Gar., Yard, By G. Gate Park!
Today’s price: $749,000
Sharp 2BR/2BA bungalow, stylish remod. kitchen & baths + frplc, yard, 1 pkng.
Today’s price: $675,000
Russian Hill
3BR/2BA/2Car Pkg. Large, Open, Bright.
Today’s price: $1,250,000 and that’s without any views!
Pacific Heights
Totally remodeled, 1BR/1BA, 1pkg. Private garden, hrdwd floors. Great!
Today’s price: $725,000
South Beach
“The Portside”. 1BR/1BA, pkng, pool.
Today’s price: $675,000
Inner Mission
Spacious lower unit in 2 unit bldg. 2BR/2BA + master suite, liv rm, dining area, laundry rm, 1pkg.
Today’s price: $725,000
So, while these examples are by no means intended to be a prediction as to what will happen in San Francisco real estate in the next 8 years, it just might be food for thought. I know people that were looking to buy in 1999 that could afford to buy a home, but decided against it because “prices were just too high!” But now that they’ve almost doubled (and in some neighborhoods, more than doubled) in the last 8 years, those same would-be buyers are now kicking themselves because they’re still renters and not homeowners.
My suggestion – if you’re serious about buying a home, don’t count on returns like the ones listed above on your investment. But you can count on a home purchase in San Francisco being a safe and sound real estate investment (especially if you plan on living there several years), and a sense of pride in owning your very own roof that’s over your very own head.