San Francisco's cheapest single-family home will sell for over $500,000 -- and it reveals how bad the housing crisis has become

MLSA house at 44 Wilde Avenue in San Francisco will sell for over $US520,000.

San Francisco ranks as the most unaffordable city in the United States. The median price for a one-bedroom home is around $US820,000.

By comparison, the half-million asking price of the city’s least-expensive single-family home on the market is a steal – or as Rick Smith, the real estate agent behind the listing calls it, “a joke.”

The decrepit house is a classic example of San Francisco’s housing crisis, which has accelerated in the last few years.

He has received 12 offers over $US520,000 for the home, which was awarded to one lucky bidder on Wednesday.


The home (which resembles more of a shed than a house) sits in┬áVisitacion Valley, an outer neighbourhood of San Francisco. Here’s the view from the backyard:

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In total, Smith received 23 offers, but only 12 were over $US520,000. The bidders are all house-flippers, investors, or contractors who may want to capitalise on San Francisco’s hot housing market.

“When you have a property that’s below a million [dollars in San Francisco], it’s a steal,” Smith told Business Insider. “If it’s close to $US500,000, it’s a joke.”


The inside is not as pretty.

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The former owner died in 2017. The heirs paid $US2,500 in trash removal before the home went on the market.

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None of the appliances work and the plumbing is not functional, Smith said.

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Mould speckles the ceiling.

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And for some reason, there are a bunch of mattresses in the kitchen.

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The home’s listing calls it a “developer, contractor, or flipper property,” since lenders have designated it as “inhabitable” (i.e. they won’t provide a mortgage loan until the new owner makes repairs).

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According to the listing, the house spans 1,085 square feet, though Smith said it’s actually smaller than that.

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Several prospective buyers have done their own measurements.


Smith doesn’t think that the winning bidder will bulldoze the house, since there are properties inches beside it. He predicts that they will rehab the interior and build a second story — renovations that will be subject to city code.

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In the neighbourhood, there are a few homes going for at least $US1 million. Smith said he recently sold a similarly sized house two blocks away (from the same estate) for over $US800,000. That one was in good shape.

Wikipedia CommonsA street in Visitacion Valley, San Francisco, California.

For perspective, the nation’s median home price is $US335,400 as of December 2017, according to the US Census Bureau.


The $US500,000 house, spotted by The San Francisco Chronicle, is a poster child for San Francisco’s housing crisis.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


In the past decade, the city’s housing stock has struggled to keep up with demand, causing home prices to skyrocket.

Richard Heyes/FlickrA street in San Francisco, California.

Smith, who has worked as a broker in northern California for 33 years, is not surprised that the home will close for at least $US520,000. “This is ‘affordable housing’ in San Francisco,” he said. “It’s not for the faint-of-heart or the faint-of-pocketbook.”

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