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From a $47.5M Manse to a Tent Rental, the Top Stories of 2015

As 2016 approaches, it's time to take a look back at the most-read stories of 2015. From record-breaking sales to mind-blowing rents, our readers were interested in the big numbers.

10. Exclusive: Locksley Hall in Belvedere Sells for $47.5M, Shatters All Records
In 10th place, we have the sale of Locksley Hall, a grand estate on Belvedere that went for a jaw-dropping (and record-blowing) $47.5 million. That price topped the most expensive sale in San Francisco by $12 million and bested the highest price for a Belvedere home by about $22 million. While that's inarguably a lot of money, it was less than the home's original asking price of $65 million that made it the most expensive home for sale in all of California for a time.

9. Steph Curry Wins a $3.2M Mansion in Walnut Creek
Counting down from there, we have a look inside Steph Curry's new Walnut Creek digs landing in ninth place on the list. Given that the mansion measures 8,000 square feet, has five bedrooms, four fireplaces, a billiards room, and a 2,300-bottle wine cellar, we'd say Curry is winning on the home court. Oh, and let's not forget a patio and outdoor kitchen with a killer view.


Photo via Scot Cox

8. Where to See 4th of July Fireworks in San Francisco, Mapped

Catching a glimpse of fireworks in the summer fog of San Francisco can be tricky, which perhaps explains why our map of where to find the best sparklers landed in the eighth place on this list. Not only did we include choice viewing sites in San Francisco proper, we had the best places in Marin County and the East Bay.

7. Total Disaster Lists for $799K, Sells for $1.21M in Outer Sunset

Total disaster is not a term we use lightly. So, when we used it in a headline earlier this year, the photos backed up the claim. We described the house as looking like it had been "...ripped apart, with carpeting torn off the stairs, drawers and appliances pulled out of the kitchen, and a boarded-over hole in one door." Of course, even homes like that can fetch $1 million+ price in this town. We found out later it went to a family (not a flipper) who is remodeling the house.

6. San Francisco's Most Expensive Home Makes It Official, Lists for $39M on the MLS

Early in the year, the large mansion at 2701 Broadway went on the MLS for $39 million, making it (at the time) "the unrivaled most expensive home for sale in the city." The house is perched on one of the highest points in Pacific Heights, which makes for stunning views of the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the bay. Later, the home ended up selling for $31 million.

5. The Median Rent for an SF Two-Bedroom Hits $5,000/Month

Talk about prices that make your heart flutter: In October, we ran news of San Francisco's rental market achieving new heights. At that time, Zumper was reporting that the median price for a single-bedroom apartment was $3,620 and that two-bedroom units had hit a median high of $5,000/month. Numbers like this have made SF the most expensive place to rent in the U.S. However, prices in SF have recently decreased, while Oakland's rents are up.

4. Renting Laws Your Landlord Probably Doesn't Want You to Know

Given stories like the previous entry, it's no wonder that our article about renters' rights landed in the fourth place on this list. We contacted our friends at the San Francisco Tenants Union, who helped us identify rights that many renters might not realize they have. From how to spot an illegal unit to how to wrest a deposit from a landlord who doesn't want to let it go, this article has it covered.

3. Inside 2250 Vallejo, SF's Most Expensive House On the Market

When this house went on the market in November, we got an exclusive tour of it. The 9,052-square-foot mansion is remarkable, which explains its $28 million asking price. Neal Ward (the co-listing agent with Malin Giddings) tells us that if this classic-on-the-outside, modern-on-the-inside home should sell for the ticket price, that would make it SF's most expensive modern home. Currently, the home is the most expensive on the local market.

2. Longtime Rent-Control Tenant Shocked to Discover $6,700 Rent Hike Is Totally Legal

Deb Follingstad has become something of prime example for the current state of the city's rental market. Earlier this spring, she received a notice that her rent would jump from $2,145 to $8,900. Our story about the situation, which is full of more twists and turns than the crooked part of Lombard Street, has interested readers and put the article about its legality as the second most-read article of the year. Currently, her case against her Bernal Heights landlord is headed for court, so it won't be the last you hear of it.

1. Backyard Tent Renting for $899/Month Sums Up Everything That's Wrong with the Bay Area

Which brings us to our most-read story of 2015, a tale that outside of this rental market, would be hard to believe. This summer, we reported on a Mountain View man who listed a tent in his parents' backyard on Airbnb for $20/night. The nine-by-seven-foot "dwelling" came with "amenities" such as a sleeping bag, a pillow, Wi-Fi, and one shower per day. No word if it actually rented, but at the time, the owner said he received "a handful" of potential takers.