Alexander Clark Real Estate

‘The Front Steps’: How Long Have You Been In the Richmond?

Realtors love presenting a property that hasn’t sold or even been listed in years, decades–generations, if possible.

Here, for example, is a Richmond home that’s stayed in the same family for more than 50 years, up for sale now for the very first time. Way back then, this house cost less than $45,000.

Properties that have stayed in the same hands for a long time provoke a natural curiosity, they make it easier to generate fear of missing out, and in a city like San Francisco, they reflect well on a lot, a block, an entire neighborhood–after all, things must be pretty comfy here if some folks seem to never want to cash out and leave.

So how long do people stay in the Richmond? As usual, we can’t say with anything like total precision: The best numbers, furnished by the US Census, are always estimates, and are necessarily always at least a few years out of date. In this case, we’re using the five-year aggregate figures from 2019.

But if we do trust those numbers, they tell us a story about some very longtime Richmond residents: Citywide, the median move-in year for a homeowner across San Francisco was 1995–actually quite a long pedigree in its own right. But for the Inner Richmond, it goes all the way back to 1982.

For the Outer Richmond, it’s even longer: The median outer neighborhood homeowner moved into their current place in 1979, back before a lot of first-time homeowners these days were even born.

But of course, the majority of Richmond residents are renters, and renters tend to have shorter tenures in any one spot. So what about them?

Well, it’s much the same on that front: In all of SF, the median move-in year for renters was 2005, but for the Inner Richmond it was 1995, and for the Outer Richmond, 1993.

Medians of course lying in the middle of a field, this means there are indeed lots of Richmond homes that have had the same owners for 40, 50, even 60 years or more–and even lots of rental stock housing the same tenants since the ’80s or ’70s or who knows how long?

Now there is one catch, and it comes in the form of a final statistic: Citywide, San Franciscans told census takers they were living in the same place as last year 87 percent of the time.

For the Inner Richmond, that figure was lower–85 percent. But for the more populous Outer Richmond, it was a bit higher: 89 percent.

Taken together, those numbers aren’t a huge difference. But that’s the point: In this one rubric, the Richmond very closely resembles the rest of the city–despite having much longer tenures on average by any other measure.

How about you? How long have you been in the Richmond? What induces you to stay–or might entice you to leave?

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