Condo prices in San Francisco fall as drugs and crime surge

Luxury condo prices in the heart of downtown San Francisco have plummeted as drug abuse and crime have spiraled out control — and as many techies continue to work remotely.

Data analyzed by Compass shows the Golden Gate city — once pegged as the hottest real estate market globally — has since fallen fast.

The median sale price of a two-bedroom condo, for example, has fallen 16.5% since 2021, while sale prices in surrounding areas have slipped only 7%, according to the market report.

“I knew that market segment had weakened, but I didn’t realize the degree to which things had changed,” Patrick Carlisle, the chief market analyst for Compass, noted. “It was a bit shocking.”

“San Francisco went from being the hottest office market in the world to just about the weakest,” Carlisle added.

Since December of last year, the condo median sales price dropped from $1.47 million to $1.23 million in the greater downtown and South of Market district.

San Francisco condo prices are declining due crime, low vacancy rates and homelessness.
San Francisco condo prices are declining due crime, low vacancy rates and homelessness.

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Compass doesn’t beat around the bush in this report, citing “a triple whammy of economic, demographic and quality-of-life issues.”

The report highlighted that high-rise housing intended to accommodate hundreds of thousands of workers who inundated the city each morning. But with people now working from home, demand for it has dwindled.

Since the massive exodus of workers, the rapid decline in housing prices has since been attributed to the area’s high crime rate and growing homeless population, which Carlisle explains has affected the “quality of life ambiance” that the city once offered.

With little apparent consequence, Tenderloin Center drug use — much like lost library books — could occur with ease.
A woman walks past men passed out on the sidewalk in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco.

“High tech workers were the ones who were most likely to say, ‘well if I can work from any place, I’ll move some place where housing costs 90 percent less.”‘

The report also comes months after it was revealed that San Francisco’s ultra-luxurious Four Seasons Residences sold just 13 of its 146 units in the two years since its opening.

Prospective buyers, who included Steph and Ayesha Curry, have snubbed the high-rise, where condos are priced up to $49 million.

San Francisco occupancy is just at 39% as of late September — one of the lowest in the nation. Comparatively, New York City reported a 46% occupancy — and Los Angeles, which had 45% occupancy around the same time.

Carlisle explained that for the downtown condo market to make any sort of comeback, offices would need to start filling up again.

In 2020, San Francisco was in the top three cities with the highest property crime, according to data from the SF Chronicle. More than 4,400 incidents of property crime per 100,000 residents were reported.

In July 2022, the Chronicle asked 1,653 San Francisco residents which problem in the city needed to be addressed most urgently. Crime and public safety were the second most common answers after homelessness.

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