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The costliest dwelling gross sales in San Francisco in 2022

2022 was a very different real estate year from 2021. Last year, homes in San Francisco sold within 16 days on average — and 72.9% of those homes sold above list price. In 2022, that madness ended as factors like rising interest rates and a downturn in the tech market handed power back to the homebuyer in the second half of the year.

The most expensive home sales in San Francisco in 2022 are a testament to this power shift. Despite boasting deals in the tens of millions, these home sales, which are listed on the multiple listing service, don’t represent the full-on luxury home binge of 2021.

The top three winners of 2022 show what San Francisco real estate agent Alexander Clark, founder of theFrontSteps, calls a “general convulsion” in the SF metro. “What is striking is the change in the dynamics of the market starting in June this year,” he said. “That’s when interest rates really started to rise and buyers became more and more adamant.”

Real estate agent Herman Chan of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty said the game has changed completely. Based on data from the end of the year, “Sellers and listing agents can no longer play the ‘price it low, watch it go’ strategy. That only works when the market is hot and buyers are harried [the fear of missing out]. The offers have consequently evolved into the ‘transparent pricing’ strategy where the price tag is what the seller would accept.”

Of the three top sellers in the market, only one saw the humiliation of an offer listed below. It seems that the angry overbidding that characterized 2021 may be gone in 2022.

1. 999 Green St., #3201 and #3202

Two adjacent penthouse units at 999 Green St. sold for $29 million, making the sale the most expensive in San Francisco this year.

Screenshot via Google Maps

For once, the most expensive sale of the year was not a single-family house, but two adjoining penthouse condominiums. Coined as the “crown jewel” of the San Francisco skyline, these Summit Tower units were once combined as the residence of former Secretary of State (and betrayed Theranos investor) George Shultz, who lived there with his wife Charlotte.

The property was listed as two penthouse units, a North Penthouse (#3201) for $17 million and a South Penthouse (#3202) for $12 million. Together, the units offer more than 10,000 square feet of panoramic sky views. Someone bought them both for cash, presumably to live in together like the Shultz family did. The $29 million transaction made headlines as San Francisco’s highest-priced condo sale of 2022 and is, in fact, the highest-priced sale on the market this year.

However, it is noteworthy that this sale is not an outbid transaction. The demand totaled $29 million, and that’s exactly what was paid.

2. 2006 Washington Street, No. 2

Unit #2 at 2006 Washington St. in San Francisco sold for $19 million.

Unit #2 at 2006 Washington St. in San Francisco sold for $19 million.

Screenshot via Google Maps

The second highest public sale in San Francisco this year was not a short one: 2006 Washington St., #2, a co-op that was listed for $30 million in January, received a big price cut to $19 million in September and November sold for that price.

A luxurious four-bedroom unit with six patios, 12-foot ceilings, and two parking spaces, the home is housed in one of Pacific Heights’ most iconic trophy buildings, a 1920’s tower designed by Conrad Alfred Meussdorffer.

This match between list price and retail price is new for this city, at least in relation to the last two years. In 2021, it wasn’t uncommon for up to 73% of the homes in a given San Francisco neighborhood to be sold via inquiry. By the end of the year, data showed that more than 70% of homes sold in 2021 sold above their list price in this city.

3. 2950 Pacific Ave.

2950 Pacific Ave.  in San Francisco sold below retail prices but was still the city's third-highest sale in 2022.

2950 Pacific Ave. in San Francisco sold below retail prices but was still the city’s third-highest sale in 2022.

Screenshot via Google Maps

This is the only home on the market to make the top sales list but also sold below demand. The mansion has two addresses because it is in the middle of an ongoing remodeling – the front door was slated to be moved to 2895 Broadway. Inside the historic Gold Coast property are eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. Plans for the remodeling, a project designed by Snohetta (SFMOMA) and Troon Pacific (whose work on LEED-certified new builds in the city’s most expensive neighborhoods can be seen), were part of the overall package for this deal. The buyer received an existing 12,000 square foot mansion with permits and approved architectural plans to allow for expansion up to 20,000 square feet.

Originally valued at $29.5 million, it was later delisted and resurfaced a few months later with a retail price of $20 million. This listing eventually sold for $17 million.

What’s coming in 2023?

With 2022 set to be so very different from 2021 due to rate hikes and a tech downturn, experts expect 2023 to start in a similar way. “I suspect it will be more of the same as we get to a place of balance. I suspect unrealistic sellers may finally realize that the market has shifted beneath their feet, they will adjust their prices (down) and buyers will rush,” Clark said.

But history shows that San Francisco never stays down for long, and a crystal ball might be needed to gauge when that balance might shift back to the sellers. “Buyers are still hanging around trying to time the bottom, and then, as almost always happens in SF, a lot of them will miss it,” Clark said.

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