The Castro is one of the most wonderfully unique and culturally significant neighborhoods in San Francisco. Ironically, from a real estate perspective, the Castro is not a formally defined neighborhood.
The center of gravity in the Castro is the commercial and retail area that runs along Castro Street from 19th up to Market and then along Market to Sanchez.
Loosely speaking, the Castro is comprised of these formally defined residential areas:
- Eureka Valley
- Mission Dolores
- Duboce Triangle
- Corona Heights
This website aggregates the home sales data from these four small areas in order to increase the sample size (amount) of data. This improves the quality and value of the statistical analysis that helps us understand market conditions at any given moment in time.
The Castro is the epicenter of the LGBTQ community and is an affluent, upscale neighborhood. The residential housing stock is made up primarily of condos and multi-unit buildings, the vast majority of which are structures with four units or less. Roughly 35% of residential unit sales over the last year were for single family homes.
The Castro is fairly close to the geographical center of San Francisco and has an underground subway stop located at the corner of Castro & Market and another one at Market & Church. This gets people downtown in under 15 minutes, even during rush hour.
From a weather perspective, the Castro sits in the lee of several hills that effectively block ocean fog most of the time. These hills including Twin Peaks, Diamond Heights, Mount Sutro and Mount Parnassus. Frequently the Castro will be sunny and ten degrees warmer when the western neighborhoods are deep in the heavy cold fog that comes and goes throughout the summer months.
If you click on the Terrain View of the map, you will see the various hills and slopes that come into play, including Liberty Hill. These also provide some homes with fantastic views that do nothing to reduce property values.
The Castro has many supply and demand dynamics in common with Noe Valley, which is an architecturally similar neighborhood directly to the south. The history and evolution of these two areas is discussed in a little more detail below, while the demographics and practical economics of buying in these two areas is discussed in more depth on the neighborhood description page of the Noe Valley website.
Like Noe Valley, the Castro was not destroyed by the earthquake and subsequent fire in 1906. As a result, there is a healthy stock of mostly renovated Victorian and Edwardian homes. These are mixed in with other new, mid- and late-century properties, some of which are condos and some single family homes.
Finally, there is also a significant number of 2-4 unit properties that started out as rental apartments. These are often purchased by residential ownership groups who hold title as Tenants in Common (TICs). This is a form of fractional ownership with specific occupancy rights and is popular in many of the higher density northern and eastern neighborhoods of San Francisco.
TICs exist as a means to essentially thwart the city council’s unwillingness to allow the rental housing stock to be converted into condos. TICs are significantly less costly to purchase than condos but they come with a more complex financing and ownership profile.