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Where can you buy a house in San Francisco for under $1 million?

No points for just guessing “Not many places”

A night photo of the Bayview and the bay beyond it.
Facing Bayview.
Photo by Jeremy Borkat

With the price of a San Francisco house hovering somewhere between the $1.4 million to $1.5 million range, homebuyers shopping for an abode in the city’s strictly six-figure set might be sweating it this summer.

Paragon Real Estate Group released some figures earlier this week compiling MLS sales over the last 12 months to answer the burning question: Where can folks still buy a house for less than seven figures in Sam Francisco?

According to Paragon analyst Patrick Carlisle, only about 20 percent of homes sold in the city since July 2016 fell under the one-million mark. That’s 593 public sales altogether.

No neighborhood in the city managed to sell even 100 homes at this price since last summer, although here are the ones that came closest:

  • Visitacion Valley: 89
  • Ingleside: 83
  • Excelsior: 82
  • Crocker Amazon: 71
  • Bayview: 70
  • Outer Sunset: 42
  • Mission Terrace: 25

Some 33 percent of houses sold between $1 million and $1.49 million during the same period, with the Sunset yielding the largest number of public sales in that category with 239.

Bernal Heights leads the list of neighborhoods selling the most homes between $1.5 million and $1.99 million with 85, and Noe Valley topped the rankings for homes selling between $2 million and $2.99 million with 126.

The view from Bernal Hill.
Jeremy Borkat

And it probably goes without saying that the Pac Heights/Marina area leads the charge (the massive credit charge, that is) on homes $3 million and up with 77, although Noe Valley was a very close second at 75.

It’s important to note that more than 10 percent of homes sold the last year fell into this bracket.

Last week, the California Association of Realtors said that the average Bay Area home buyer should be making $179,390/year in order to really afford an average regional house with a 20 percent down payment.

Paragon breaks that figure down much more specifically, recommending $290,600/year for buyers in San Francisco and $294,500/year for those on the peninsula, down to as little as $82,600/year in Solano County (taxes notwithstanding).

In Santa Clara County it’s $237,000/year, in Alameda County it’s $176,400/year, and in Contra Costa County, $131,300/year.

To put all of those numbers into perspective, the recommendation for the median California city (if there is any such thing) is $111,000/year.

Solano is the only Bay Area region to come in below that average. And yet the Solano salary is enough to buy a home in 20 major U.S. cities according to the mortgage site HSH, including Miami, Portland, Chicago, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, and nearly enough for one in Washington DC as well.

The view from Bayview Park.
Daniel Ramirez