For a district that covers so much ground, the Inner Mission has a dearth of available for-sale real estate. While it’s true that this may in part be due to a region-wide housing inventory shortage, this neighborhood’s situation is nothing new. The situation in the Inner Mission is this: it’s a long-time neighborhood of renters, full of multi-unit housing. The Inner Mission has within its borders a smattering of single-family homes, but it’s not unusual to find only one or two for sale at any time.
Why are there so many hot restaurants and bars in the Inner Mission? Because it’s very popular with young San Franciscans; why is it so popular with young San Franciscans? Because there is so much happening in the Inner Mission! It’s a “chicken vs. egg” situation; one hand feeds the other.
This is not to say that there are zero options for homebuyers in the Inner Mission. Besides the odd single-family home, interested parties will find a handful of Tenants-in-Common units, condominiums and lofts for sale there, a combination of rehabbed and non-rehabbed vintage properties (many dating back to the 19th-century) and recently built condos generally ranging in size from studio to three bedrooms. What’s missing of late are the bargains that drew pioneering buyers to the Mission in the past.
A recent check of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) revealed this: the least expensive for-sale property in the Inner Mission is a one-bedroom unit at VIDA, a new condo building at 2558 Mission, next to the old Mission Theater. It lists for $579,000, well below the neighborhood condominium median of $749,000. The same MLS perusal shows four condo and TIC units listed for more than $1 million, along with three more at $995,000 and above. This is what happens when a neighborhood becomes popular.
And popular the Inner Mission is, because of its vibrant nightlife and its central location, three BART stops from the Financial District, close to SOMA and a short drive from the nearest Highway 101 on-ramp. As a result, a district once known for real estate in a state of disrepair is now white hot among ambitious, would-be rehabbers, restoring properties either for themselves or for their would-be tenants.
Along with the Western Addition, the Inner Mission boasts San Francisco’s largest concentration of Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Until recently, these beautifully -detailed, spacious living spaces lived lives of slow decline and deferred maintenance, housing longtime owners or generations of short-term renters. With the district’s gain in popularity, buyers are targeting the Inner Mission’s aged housing inventory, snapping up condos, TICs, multi-unit buildings and single-family homes on Bartlett, Capp, Shotwell, Treat and other Mission streets.
Developers found the Inner Mission during the first dot-com explosion, adding low- and mid-rise condominium and apartment complexes to the neighborhood. Expansion continues with recent construction at 1501 15th (known as Fifteen Fifteen, for-sale condominiums under construction), 2258 Mission (known as VIDA, for-sale condominiums under construction), 1600 15th (known as Vara, apartments for rent), 3500 19th Street (new condominiums, sold out) and 299 Valencia (new condominiums, sold out) finding buyers and renters almost immediately.
As for those rental properties, a recent study by Trulia.com named San Francisco the fourth-most expensive city for rentals. A two-bedroom apartment in the city requires 51 percent of the average local wage, a figure trailing only Miami, New York and Los Angeles. As of this writing, two-bedroom apartments and houses in the Inner Mission fetch between $3,500 and $5,000, one-bedroom units between $2,000 and $3,000.
The Inner Mission has taken its place among San Francisco’s most popular neighborhoods, especially with young professionals. Its home prices reflect this, but that doesn’t mean it’s become completely devoid of bargains. Those with the time and resources can still find gems hidden both in its quiet side streets and its bustling main thoroughfares. Either way, those who choose to live in the Inner Mission find no shortage of vibrancy, architectural diversity and local color.