SF luxury condos bucking the trend

August 19, 2008 7:07:20 PM PDT
One segment that appears to be defying current housing trends is the San Francisco condo market, especially the new high-priced high-rises that are transforming the skyline in the south of Market area.

The South of Market District is quickly rivaling downtown as the high-rise center of the city.

San Francisco for decades has had high-rise office towers, but the landscape of San Francisco is changing and now people can live in high-rises touching the sky. Someone has already paid $11-million for a penthouse unit on the 60th floor of Millenium Tower with its spectacular views.

Over 20 percent of the 419 units at Millenium Tower are in contract. They range in price from $670,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $12 million for a two-story penthouse. Eighty-percent of the buyers are from the Bay Area.

"They don't seem to be affected by what's going on as far as the economy, and we're very happy for that segment of the building to be selling so well. So what we're seeing is the upper part of the building is where the majority of the sales are," says Millenium Tower sales executive Diana Nelson.

A short distance away at One Rincon Hill, about 10 percent of the buyers could not get financing due to tightening credit. However, that gave the developers a chance to raise prices.

"We continued to raise prices 15 to 20 percent, and so we weren't too adverse to getting the homes back because we do have a continual demand for them," says One Rincon Hill sales manager Ann Dykstra.

An estimated 1,681 condos are under construction in San Francisco with nearly 7,800 more already approved. Real estate analysts don't expect any problem with sales, considering high gas prices and a strong desire to walk to work.

"The people who live in those are perhaps executives and their jobs are just a few blocks away. Makes them very desirable and the construction is beautiful," says Zephyr Real Estate managing broker Ilse Cordoni.

And the views truly cost one million dollars and up.


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