More Real-Estate Insanity: Owner Asking $800,000 For Burned-Out San Francisco Home

A ‘fixer upper’ is a charitable term for what this is.

In a story that exposes just how obscenely overvalued San Francisco’s housing market has become, Business Insider reports that one motivated real estate agent in San Francisco is seeking a buyer for a home in the tony Bernal Heights neighborhood that was completely gutted in a fire last year, and needs to be demolished and completely rebuilt – a project that would likely run into the millions of dollars.

The asking price? A not-unreasonable $800,000. And that’s a bargain, according to real estate agent Jim Laufenberger, who is seeking a buyer for the home at 121 Grant Street, because in all likelihood, the paucity of new housing stock in the city means it will likely sell for more – not less – than the ask.

121 Grant Street, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom house in the desirable Bernal Heights neighborhood, hit the market in late October. The home was "completely gutted" in a fire in 2016, and the new owners will need to demolish what's left, according to realtor Jim Laufenberg.


"I suspect it will sell for more than what I'm asking," Laufenberg told Business Insider, adding that the seller listed the property below market value to incite interest in the first few weeks.


The price tag attached to the 1,700-square-foot lot shows the extent of the housing bubble in San Francisco, where tech workers create demand faster than the city can build new housing.

While rebuilding the home would be a massive hassle, Laufenberger suggested that 121 Grant Street's location just north of Cortland Street — a main drag populated by small markets, cafes, restaurants, and nail salons — would make it worth the effort.

Bernal Heights, like the rest of San Francisco, has seen housing prices soar to unprecedented heights driven by demand from well-compensated tech employees.

As we’ve reported previously, the lack of affordable housing is affecting the local economy in profound ways. Data from California’s Employment Development Department show the Bay Area lost nearly 5,000 jobs in September – its worst month for employment since 2010, and the second straight month that jobs disappeared from a region that was formerly an engine of labor market growth.

"It's the location, it's the land, it's the opportunity to build," Laufenberg said.

As Axios noted, jobs are disappearing not for want of work, but because employers are finding it hard to fill positions due to limited housing and sky-high prices. Housing prices in the city are so out of whack, that a couple earning nearly $140,000 a year (more than double the median income for American families) qualifies for affordable housing.

“The economy in the Bay Area has pushed up against the physical limits of a lack of housing and a lack of places for workers to live,” Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific, told the San Jose Mercury News.

Workers who can't find or afford housing close to their offices are pushed out of the area, and many of them don't want to bother with long commutes. "Housing is the chain on the dog that is chasing a squirrel," economist Christopher Thornberg told the Merc. "Once that chain runs out, it yanks the dog back."

Elon Musk, who recently laid off some 700 employees at Tesla’s Fremont factory in hopes of replacing them with cheaper contract labor, won’t be happy to hear this.   


Troll Magnet Tue, 10/24/2017 - 22:47 Permalink

Do fags come with the property? They can glamorize the hell out of it and flip it for $5 million to some corrupt Chicom who’s looking to launder his money.

cheka 813kml Wed, 10/25/2017 - 00:49 Permalink

indeed.  few people realize that it's all about the dirt.  bricks and sticks no importaas mexico migrates to commiefornia, expect the dirt to climb.....until critical mass is reached.  then it will be a question of if fbny fcks all of us to prop the hellhole upwhy house burn?  i heard a rumor that a tube of lube exploded onto a stack of antifa/blm/la raza moped stickers

In reply to by 813kml

Blue Vervain tmosley Wed, 10/25/2017 - 15:21 Permalink

Quoted from the article - the house will need to be " completely rebuilt – a project that would likely run into the millions of dollars."Since when did rebuild costs for what is basically a single-storey shed come to millions of dollars? If build costs were that high all properties would be worth tens of millions.Is the author factoring in the long-awaited hyperinflation? Aaaahhhhh!

In reply to by tmosley

Iskiab ironmace Wed, 10/25/2017 - 05:53 Permalink

Real estate in cities is about buying the land, there just happens to be a house on top of it.

It’s probably a good investment, with interest rates going nowhere in the foreseeable future if it’s a good location it’s a good buy. The condition of the house is irrelevant if you’re planning on tearing it down.

In reply to by ironmace

Eahudimac Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:02 Permalink

And for an extra $200,000, they'll let that vintage san francisco pick-up truck go along with the house. But hurry because at these prices, it'll be gone tomorrow. Jerry Garcia once took a piss on the rear driver's side tire.

pigpen Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:22 Permalink

Make SF affordable again and destroy the digital adtech frauds of Google and Facebook.Use brave browser on any device and operating system and run your social media apps including YouTube out of brave browser. Blocks all advertising, tracking and malware by DEFAULT.Render digital advertising model useless, no ads served, watched and tracked.I can assure you SF real estate is much lower with Facebook and Google valued at 1/10 current price.Make this a political movement and revalue your attention. You should get $ watching advertising yet the digital advertising monopolies don't share that $ with you.Get your friends and family to immediately switch to brave browser. We can control these companies and make SF more affordable.Cheers,Pigpen

Silver Savior Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:33 Permalink

I can't stand real estate agents and it annoys me as fuck when they have a shit property and try to smooth it over by saying something stupid like it's by a bus stop or some shit.  I hate them!!!!!!!!!!

herkomilchen Wed, 10/25/2017 - 00:12 Permalink

What's funny is it's totally unnecessary. First, zoning laws prohibit developers from creating tons more supply of housing by building taller buildings.Second, and even worse, 10 miles south of that house there are hundreds of square miles of unused land adding no value to anyone.  A land area twice the size of San Francisco.  Land forced to remain fallow by government as "Open Space Preserve."To government, preserving open space for random squirrels and birds is more important than people.  And having that land not in the middle of nowhere mind you but immediately inside one of the most populated urban areas in the country.I can only imagine the painful and costly personal sacrifices millions of people in the Bay Area make in their health care, education, and quality of life daily to afford housing prices grossly inflated by government whim artificially constraining supply.

Consuelo Wed, 10/25/2017 - 00:52 Permalink

  'Tech employee'... I wonder what the title 'tech employee' actually designates today with regard to the type of 'tech' the Bay Area produces for export and domestic consumption.Would it be something like writing a program which enables me to send you an instant pic of the $50 steak dinner I had tonight - and the steaming brown coil sitting proudly inside the porcelain throne a few hours later...?That sort of talent must be worth at least $250k/year...  

Disgruntled Goat Wed, 10/25/2017 - 02:28 Permalink

"The Founding of San Francisco"Hey, see all these really steep hills and mountains next to the water? Lets build a city there, that way we get to walk up and down these steep slopes all the time.