Alexander Clark Real Estate

‘The Front Steps’: Everything Changed Around This Condo

We’ve got another Richmond makeover to consider–always a popular attraction around these parts.

The original conceit of these before-and-after comparisons was to consider which version of the home readers prefer–the one that used to exist, or the one we’ve got now?

To be honest though, public opinion has been quite lopsided in favor of the redos. So in this case, we’re looking at the past listing as something of a time capsule.

This time around the listing is 772 8th Avenue #1, a two bed, two bath, 1,150 square foot condo now up for $1.15 million, red oak flooring and all. See the shots below for reference.

In the past 12 months, 18 other condos of pretty much this same size have sold in the Richmond: The median asking price among those was $1.17 million, and the median sale price significantly lower at about $1.35 million.

Meaning that, by accident or by design, this new listing is pretty much the exact median average Richmond condo home of its size right now; for the curious, the price of such a condo citywide is $1.28 million, up from a $1.19 million asking (a relatively small difference, but still enough to reflect that Richmond premium we’re always talking about).

Now let’s turn around and look back to the last time this condo sold, in the far-off epoch of 2004. Right away, the listing itself looks totally bizarre by modern standards, with only a handful of small, strangely lit images and just a few sentences describing the property. Check it out below.

We shouldn’t necessarily make a lot of this: There were plenty of lush, showy home listings in those days too, and even today not everyone has the resources or the inclination to go for broke on every house.

It is a reminder though that this was a pre-Zillow period when making your listing presentable for Google searches wasn’t yet the norm (almost nobody used Google in those days either) and digital photography was expensive, imperfect, and sometimes awkward.

Back then, this list price was $529,000 and the condo ended up selling for $580,000–less than a year removed from its previous sale of a half million even.

And as for the rest of the neighborhood? In the 12 months prior to that sale (a period that, again, includes another sale of this same unit), the median list for condo like this ran about $564,000, and the sale was around $591,000.

So while it was a little bit further off the mark that time, this unit was still pretty much an exactly average Richmond condo for its time–and has remained so consistently for going on 20 years now. The recent renovation bumped its usable floor space up a bit and thus nudged it from the lower end of average into the exact median.

We bring this up for two reasons: One, it perhaps casts certain arguments about how we don’t really build many new homes in the western neighborhoods in particular relief.

And two, we can observe that in the course of a generation, almost everything changed about the city and about the ways we use technology and present housing to the public–but the homes themselves remain pretty much the same standbys year after year.

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