Top SF Realtor POV: Bust, Doom, Boom. Repeat.

Top SF Realtor POV: Bust, Doom, Boom. Repeat.

Writings about residential real estate and all things home, by Cynthia Cummins of Kindred SF Homes.

Reading time: 3 minutes

“San Francisco, New York face 'urban doom loop’.” ~ Fox Business headline June 2023

I honestly don't know if we're doomed or not. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that San Francisco is in for a long slide before we climb back up again. Yet – here and now – I’m minting a new quotation, derived from Fletcher Knebel's famous quip that "Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics." Just substitute "real estate" for "smoking."

San Francisco's entire history has been boom and bust and boom and bust. Even its recent history. This is simply the latest in a series of busts. Will it perhaps be the longest?

Doom loop boom dupe. Say what you will about our city that knows how, it sure knows how to get people all riled up on social media. I’ve always gotten lots of doom and dumber comments from haters about how San Francisco is absolutely horrible. The comments lately have just been more pointed and more numerous. 

According to the “get-a-life” naysayers, the city has long been a cesspool of iniquity. If you believe these trolls, the streets of San Francisco have fallen to ruin, and being here is like living in Manhattan as depicted in the 1981 film "Escape from New York" -- a virtual prison where one-eyed criminals with scary names like Snake Plissken are running amok.

The current SF doom loop has a schadenfreude aspect that people simply can't resist, so it’s getting a lot of press right now. I pay more attention to the comments that come my way anecdotally, like when I post a listing on "For the Love of Old Houses.” With 4m followers, FTLOOH's exposure for my Kindred brand is consistently off the charts, and a recent property I posted got 1300 "likes" and 150+ comments in less than 48 hours. 

One SF-basher from Florida said "I wouldn't go there if you gave me that house." To which I want to snarkily reply, "Are you saying that if someone gave you a $1.7m house you wouldn't accept the gift? If only to turn around and sell it for a profit? Did you have trouble with math in school?"

Another Floridian wrote, "It's okay until someone uses your driveway as a restroom." To which someone from Missouri replied, "What a tired and unoriginal comment." To which a follower from Pennsylvania added, "Meanwhile in Florida... {sad emoji face}."

The SF basher isn't wrong per se. On much more than one occasion, we’ve had people use the tradesway at our house as a restroom – unhoused persons, drunken young adults leaving Dolores Park, toddlers in the care of their nannies or parents, tourists. Our walkway is an equal-opportunity al fresco pitstop. Do I like this? I do not! But the 1907 house is historic, architecturally significant, lovely, located in the center of an A+ neighborhood and worth +/- $2,000,000 (even though it doesn't have a garage and therefore no driveway for people to poop on).

Let’s face it: S&*t happens no matter where you live. Meanwhile in Florida...

I should explain that I truly believe I could be happy living just about anywhere. Missouri, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Iowa, Alaska. Even Florida {LOL emoji face}! Every place, with few exceptions, has its appeal.

But doom loop notwithstanding, I also believe in the intrinsic beauty and magic of the city of San Francisco. There's nowhere on Earth like it and there are many, many, many reasons for that. Economics is only one aspect of life in San Francisco, and the folks who've elected never to visit will never understand that. They’ll always be ignorant about our cool grey city of love and they’ll go to their graves preferring Kentucky, Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Jersey or Maine. (Or, heaven forbid, Texas! {LOL emoji face}!

If indeed San Francisco is doomed to become a prison, all I can say is: There are worse places to serve one's sentence. As John Steinbeck wrote, "San Francisco is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away." The key to my cuff lies somewhere in the sand at Ocean Beach, or under the municipal pier at Aquatic Park, or in the mud of the Palace of Fine Arts pond, or in the surf at Baker Beach, or in the middle of Marina Boulevard, or at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, or in the gutter along Clement Street, or in any of a thousand other magical places in the city I call home. 

Photo Credit: Denys Nevozhai

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