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Townhomes Advertise "Low $1,000,000s" Pricing

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Now and then, you forget what living in San Francisco in 2016 means. And then something like this comes along to remind you.

Curbed reported a long time ago that Summit 800 — the 182-unit housing complex just south of San Francisco State University — aims its leases exclusively at the literal million-dollar listing crowd. Prices have wobbled a bit since opening, but stuck mostly to the same seven-figure strata.

And that’s the housing market for you, right? A million or more is the average for a new home in most neighborhoods these days. It may be unforgiving, but we all know what it’s about. Over the weekend, San Francisco Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez spotted a billboard advertising Summit homes starting at "the low $1,000,000s."

Yikes.

Now, it's true that a seven-figure price tag can be lower or higher. But much like a volcanic eruption can be hotter or cooler without ever becoming cold, we feel compelled to point out that a volcano is still a volcano, and a million dollars is still a million dollars, nothing "low" about it.

Reactions ran the gamut, but were mostly in line with what you'd expect:

We tried to get an expert's opinion on this, but all of the experts said they'd come down with a terrible headache and were going home to price houses in Fresno.

That's what the Summit crowd calls "walking around money."

Gently cushioned by many millions of dollars, apparently.

Sorry Gloria, the robot butler is busy gold-plating the Rolls Royce. It's hard to find good help.

Incidentally, large amounts of cash are handy for absorbing atmospheric humidity.

Well, a penny saved...

We called Summit 800 to allow them to respond to public incredulity. After a brief, confused exchange, they hung up. But about half an hour later, sales agent Shoreh Mirhadi called us back. He sees nothing funny about the price of Summit 800 homes. And he said so, in those exact words.

"We're at the tail end of our stock, and the lowest price we offer right now is $1.089 million," says Mirhadi. "That's a low million. We have them, and people buy them."

As for the "low" phrasing on the ad, Mirhadi points out that's the language that's always been used when advertising home prices. "We can't put every price on the sign."

So, is it tone-deaf advertising, or just a sign of the times? Depends on your point of view. Still, it's enough to make a person wonder.

Don't we all?