121 Gates Street on the day of the fire in July, 2016. Photo via @SFFFLocal798
Remember the sad tale of 121 Gates Street, the small house that was gutted by fire back in July, 2016? The house was never rebuilt after the fire, but the property was recently put up for sale, with the ruined, 1746 sq. ft. structure remaining more or less unchanged since firefighters left the scene — and an asking price of $799,000.
At a time when the median price of a California home stands at $550,000, the idea of asking almost $800K for a fire-gutted house in Bernal Heights has attracted a predictable flurry of attention since the listing surfaced on Reddit over the weekend. The photos included in the listing capture the devastation of the fire:
Unsurprisingly, the media latched on to the listing for 121 Gates as a bellwether indication of San Francisco’s utterly bonkers, scarcity-fueled housing market.
Curbed SF, a housing news site, looked at the listing for 121 Gates and concluded:
It doesn’t appear to matter what condition a San Francisco house is in these days. So long as the property rests squarely within the city boundaries, the potential value of the mere dirt under the foundations will drive buyer interest.
Indeed, despite the fire, the dirt under that foundation is very well situated.
To start, 121 Gates is located in Bernal Heights, which has a very fixed and highly coveted supply of single-family homes, which currently sell for a median price of about $1.5 million. Also, 121 Gates is a block from Cortland Ave., and the property has a swell view of the waterfront to the east. On top of all that, 121 Gates comes with RH-1 zoning and an existing residential structure, which means the
renovation rebuild of the house will allow the new owners to bypass the expensive morass of San Francisco’s permitting process for new construction.
For all those reasons, the realtor for the property told Business Insider, a national news site, that the teardown, fire-gutted house at 121 Gates may actually be under-priced:
The home was “completely gutted” in a fire in 2016, and the new owners will need to demolish what’s left, according to realtor Jim Laufenberg.
“I suspect it will sell for more than what I’m asking,” Laufenberg told Business Insider, adding that the seller listed the property below market value to incite interest in the first few weeks.