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Under $700K Club: Sunset fixers vs Candlestick condos

A tale of two sides of a city

Although San Francisco home prices are flatter than they’ve been in years, the market still resembles a Monopoly board where every square is Boardwalk or Park Place. So we’re inducting even more members into our Under $700K Club, those hallowed ranks of San Francisco homes that even those of us unable to raise $700,001 might still be able to put a bid on.

As always, buying on a budget (and yes, we do live in a world where $700K counts as a budget if you’re bay adjacent) means making choices.

For example, we have two new San Francisco listings that both came out asking for the exact same price today, ($649,000), both with two bedrooms, and both offering about 850 square feet or so. But that’s where the similarities end, so which does the discerning buyer of sort-of budget properties lean toward?

Option number one is 501 Crescent Way #5310, a two bed, two bath condo near Candlestick Point, which last sold in 2006 (when the building was just finished) for $573,500. On paper, there’s nothing wrong with the condo at all: It’s altogether pleasant, it’s still more or less new, and the view of the bay is tough to beat. Bayview may not yet be the hub of San Francisco, but conventional wisdom holds that it's only a matter of time.

The Crescent Way place does seem to lack imagination, though. The house at 1779 46th Avenue, on the other hand, is a single family home that would offer a new buyer a lot more freedom to make it their own for the exact same price. Although it’s technically a bit smaller and lacks a second bathroom, the appeal of being a SFR is hard to ignore, and some people will tell you that the Sunset is coming into its own soon too.

The problem is, the old house on 46th dates to 1941 and is clearly a fixer-upper. Some people don’t mind that, of course; some even prefer it. Others may look at a ready-to-go condo as a safer investment. But it’s your less-than $700K: If the decision were in your hands, where might you put it?