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Why This Mission Condo Couldn't Sell for Half the Price

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Even the below-market-rate price didn't fly

What happens when a choice Mission condo gets discounted by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and still sells for less than the asking price?

SocketSite noticed this seeming paradox in the case of 1587 15th Street, #403, a two-bedroom, 725-square-foot condo directly on Mission Street that went on the market last July as a BMR, priced at $447,000. That's a little more than half of what similar units sell for in the same building.

Rather than the usual lottery method, this one was on a first come, first serve basis: Whoever met the city’s minimum requirements (first-time home buyers with the right income) could make an offer.

And yet, the unit sat unsold for months. It finally found a buyer on Tuesday — for $37,000 less than the list. What’s the world coming to when even a 50-percent discounted Mission condo ends up having to knock nearly an extra 10 percent off?

Selling agent Justin Palmer explains that this not as mysterious as it first looks, if you know the arcana of BMR resales. Resale units tend to be much pricier than BMRs in brand new buildings, but the city is pretty strict about those AMI requirements. Got to make sure that affordable housing goes to those who truly can’t afford much else.

So occasionally a listing like this one ends up in a narrow no-man’s land, searching for a buyer who is just rich enough to afford it. In this case, the first family to find that happy medium ended up being able to shave a little bit extra off the price, since that was what they could afford, and the competition was decidedly muted.

Of course, this is still $130,00 more than the last time it sold, in 2007. Alas, a sign of the times.