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Why are so many mansions in this wealthy San Francisco enclave up for sale?

An image captures a bird’s eye view of Presidio Terrace. | Source: Courtesy Sotheby's

One-of-a-kind mansions are going up for sale at a steady clip in one of San Francisco’s poshest neighborhoods: Presidio Terrace. 

The affluent enclave—one of San Francisco’s few gated communities—has counted among its residents the likes of Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi and Joseph Alioto. The 40 homes nestled along the neighborhood’s oval-shaped avenue rarely go up for sale, but now you can get your hands on three—for a total of around $40 million. 

Renowned École des Beaux-Arts-trained architect George Applegarth—of Spreckels Mansion and Legion of Honor fame—designed the multilevel, four-bedroom home at 5 Presidio Terrace, steps from the neighborhood’s namesake park. Sotheby’s recently listed the property for $7.9 million. 

The residence includes leaded- and stained-glass windows, ornate woodwork, a koi pond, wood-burning fireplaces and plenty of leafy and city views from the sprawling upstairs bedrooms. 

The home at 18 Presidio Terrace sits among cultivated landscaping. | Source: Courtesy Sotheby's

Further down the street, at 18 Presidio Terrace, Sotheby’s has another property listed for $14.95 million: a seven-bedroom manse with multiple suites and au pair quarters. The home was formerly owned by the art collector and businesswoman Pamela Joyner. The home’s three levels are connected by an elevator, and the grounds include a sprawling lawn, rose gardens and yet another koi pond.  

The home library at 18 Presidio Terrace includes dark wood and built-ins. | Source: Courtesy Sotheby's

But the priciest of the Terrace listings is a four-story Edwardian at 23 Presidio Terrace, listed for a cool $17.9 million. Bay Area architect Julius Krafft designed the home, which includes a library, sauna and steam shower—and your own personal putting green. 

The availability of three stately residences in such an exclusive neighborhood could speak to some tectonic shifts in San Francisco’s real estate market. 

“The inventory of homes over $10 million has been high the last year,” said luxury broker Joel Goodrich. “We had a big correction in the middle of last year.” 

Across San Francisco, unique homes are popping up for sale in the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods—Ansel Adams’s historic home perched on the edge of Sea Cliff is another example. 

Ansel Adams owned a secluded chalet in the Seacliff neighborhood, which he helped redesign in 1929. | Source: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty

Yet Goodrich does not see the trend as alarming, but rather the bottoming out of a normal economic cycle in the boom-and-bust city of San Francisco. 

“People are predicting a big boom in the second half of this decade,” Goodrich said, noting that the expansion of AI companies and businesses lured by office spaces at basement prices are already beginning to impact the market. 

While Goodrich had 28 homes on the market and two sales of $10 million-plus homes in the first quarter of this year, he now has 17 on the market and eight in contract or sold, demonstrating a shifting tide, he said. 

The property at 18 Presidio Terrace includes a sprawling bedroom with views. | Source: Courtesy Sotheby's

Luxury broker Jeff Marples sees a more random pattern at work. 

“It’s an odd thing, I’ve seen it time and again, when suddenly a bunch of homes in the same area [go on the market],” Marples said. “People have their own timing.” 

The plaques on either side of the iron gates to Presidio Terrace discourage snooping: "Not a Through Street" and "No Dogs Allowed" reads one; "Private Street, Authorized Parking Only" reads the other. Yet with these three new listings, perhaps now you have a chance to have a sneak peek into the exclusive world of Presidio Terrace.

Julie Zigoris can be reached at