Year of the Loft

May 2019 saw 13 lofts sold in soma alone, raising eyebrows about one of the newest crazes city-wide. Lofts have come a long way from the industrial buildout of the old meatpacking district warehouses in Manhattan, taking a turn to mainstream when the hipster and bohemian community embraced a lifestyle of exposed brick and high ceilings.

355 Bryant Street #102 sold in May, 2109 for $2,425,000

355 Bryant Street #102 sold in May, 2109 for $2,425,000

Recent political history has made loft spaces more accessible in California, particularly with Los Angeles’ implementation of the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance in 2001. This allowed the city to  maintain historic structures as well as increase housing in an already overcrowded housing market by retrofitting warehouse-style buildings into residential loft-style condominiums.

San Francisco predated LA with their own governance around Live/Work lofts being implemented in the late 80’s, but didn't see an influx of “loftominiums” until the dot com boom arrived. Live/Work opened the door to multi-use, originally intended to allow for more housing by converting strictly commercial spaces into residential use opportunity.

188 South Park #3 sold in May, 2019 for $1,700,000 after over 100 days on market. The SLI zoning (SERVICE/LIGHT INDUSTRIAL) caters for Live/Work.

188 South Park #3 sold in May, 2019 for $1,700,000 after over 100 days on market. The SLI zoning (SERVICE/LIGHT INDUSTRIAL) caters for Live/Work.

The startup world embraced the idea, with founders investing in residential live/work spaces, sleeping in the loft portion and having a cluster of open concept desk space on the landing level for co-founders and employees to use in the race for building great technology.

Kinoko’s Real Estate’s founder, Kevin Gueco, recently sold an iconic San Francisco loft in the heart of SOMA formerly owned and occupied by Sean Parker; notorious CEO of Napster, and next door the Collison Brothers; newly forged billionaires and founders of Stripe. 542 Natoma lived up to the hype, too, with bulletproof glass scaling the 18 ft rear-facing windows of the residence. Parker’s paranoia is understandable, given that the entire music industry was once gunning for him and Napster.

542 Natoma Street #2

542 Natoma Street #2

San Francisco has two main districts where the majority of lofts can be found; SOMA and Dogpatch. SOMA, being the well established neighborhood that it is, has seen countless buildings renovated into jaw-dropping loft spaces. The Clocktower, an iconic and historic building on 2nd and Bryant, is arguably the most well-known redevelopment, as well as the Oriental warehouse on the corner of Delancey Street and Brannan Street. Developers have even gone as far as building entire projects with loft style homes being the only product offered - and they’ve sold well, too. 200 Townsend, 200 Brannan, 855 Folsom and Ironworks Lofts are staples of the SOMA neighborhood and have sold well for the better part of a decade. In 2019, lofts have been selling for $903 a foot in SOMA, an incredibly appealing number when considering the district as a whole (including loft sales) is selling for $1,075 per foot this year.

The Dogpatch is on the up and coming end of the city. With the emergence of Mission Bay as one of the most expensive neighborhoods city-wide (price per square foot wise), the ground-breaking Chase Center development and the already well loved hipster culture of the Dogpatch, it’s easy to see how people are enticed by the lifestyle. Not to mention the access to southbound freeways being a stone throw away with no traffic lights. Lofts are abundant in the area, with well over 50% of relatively low number of residential housing being either regular or loft style condominiums. Lofts in Dogpatch are averaging below $956 per square foot in 2019, too, more reason for appreciation shoppers to focus on this vibrant, local favorite.


When shopping for a loft, the right broker will make or break your search efforts. Lofts are a niche in this beautiful city, and elusive loft brokers tend to have long lists of buyers interested in what they’re selling, leading to 3 out of 10 lofts selling privately without hitting the open market.

1 South Park - an exclusive, boutique loft building on 2nd Street, San Francisco, overlooking the Clock Tower Lofts.

1 South Park - an exclusive, boutique loft building on 2nd Street, San Francisco, overlooking the Clock Tower Lofts.

In order to ensure you’re in the inner circle, we’ve created a loft specific Preferred Buyers Program, giving all Preferred Buyers first access to every loft before it hits the open market. If you are serious about buying a loft in the next 6 months, signing up is a no commitment, no brainer.

Become A Preferred Loft Buyer.


Tim McMullen