Alexander Clark Real Estate

‘The Front Steps’: What Is the Most Expensive Richmond Home of All Time?

This is not as straightforward of a question as it seems.

For one thing, it depends on what source we’re relying on: The standard (and easiest) authority on home-selling is the go-to MLS, which records most home sales in San Francisco in a handy, searchable database.

Of course, many homes sell “off the books” in much more quiet, private trades; sometimes realtors go back and add these to MLS after the fact, but many others leave their mark only on the public record, and often demand that you already know about them in order to locate the relevant records.

With nearly two centuries of history to consider, how do we measure the value of homes long past? It’s one thing to quote how much George Turner Marsh’s original 1876 “Richmond House” near what would today be Clement and 12th cost him to build at the time, but how to determine what it’s really worth to us today?

And then of course there’s always room to dispute where the Richmond actually begins and ends in the first place. The latter point is actually very relevant to today’s question, because by at least one standard the most expensive home in the history of the neighborhood was actually a Lake Street (or West Clay Park, depending on how you want to count it) listing, 151 24th Avenue, which sold off MLS in 2021 for $8.65 million.

What was its secret? Well, with five bedrooms and nearly 5,500 square feet, it was pretty huge. And the address lies so close to Sea Cliff that many might not know the difference–certainly it looks the part of a Sea Cliff home. The property dates to 1904 and maintains a lot of what realtors like to call “period detail.”

What’s really interesting though is the contrast between this home and the runner-up–or what would be the most expensive Richmond home if you define the Richmond’s boundaries a bit more tightly.

If you’re a regular The Front Steps reader, you actually already know what home this is, because we already reported on it weeks ago:  659 48th Avenue, which closed in November for a cool $5 million even.

Not only was that the most expensive Richmond home of 2021, as we said, but it was also the first time a home in the Outer Richmond–or the Inner Richmond, for that matter–ever recorded any MLS closing of $5 million or above. Who knew?

This is fascinating, because while the Richmond is a hot real estate market–as we’ve recorded here time and time again–it still retains some marks of its more modest roots as the “outside lands.”

This is a place where people will pay millions of dollars to live–but sometimes not QUITE as often as other San Francisco neighborhoods. We still sit in a unique medium place sometimes–and that is actually itself part of the appeal.

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