Micro Condos in San Francisco

Cubix Yerba Buena is a condo building in San Francisco offering tiny condos: 250-350 square foot studios for $279,000-$330,000. The building has 98 units, a cafe on the ground floor, a roof deck with killer views of the city and the water, and a Whole Foods next door.

I used to live in a studio apartment this size. Seeing this condo layout makes me appreciate how well designed that apartment was. I had a large floor-to-ceiling closet along one wall with storage cabinets above it, another closet in the hallway about the size of the armoir shown here, and a full-sized gas stove and full-sized sink (albeit no double sink), an almost full-sized fridge (it had a functional freezer, which most mini fridges do not, even if I did have to take the frozen pizzas out of their boxes to make them fit). I didn't have a couch, but I did have room for a double bed, recliner, full-sized desk, nightstand, small TV stand and 16 inch TV. I also had a regular-sized bathtub, and there were real doors on the bathroom so I could actually have people over. The kitchen had no counter space, so I bought a narrow table from Target that was meant to be an entryway table or something and used that as counter space/a place to sit and eat. (I could have also bought a drop leaf table from Ikea to solve the counter space problem, but I didn't want to install anything onto the wall.)

I didn't find the lack of space to be a problem, but having all shared walls was. One wall faced the alley (garbage trucks, car noise, crazy people), one wall faced the courtyard (I could hear everyone coming and going--granted, I did not have double paned windows), and the other two walls were shared with neighboring units (college boys on one side, baby on the other). And yes, it was insanely expensive per square foot, but the location was worth it. This design is much more open than my apartment was, though, which makes it look more spacious. It also has a tiny dishwasher.

Personally I don't think I would spend that kind of money on a condo of this size, but I think it's nice to create the option to buy for people in high cost of living cities who want to live alone. You could go in with another person, spend twice as much and get at least twice the space, but what if you want to live alone? Of course, you'd have to make, what, at least $90k to afford this place, including the HOA fees? But think how low the utility costs would be. The HOA fees are a pretty standard $270. If you're the type of person who's never home, you could even go in on this place with someone else, buy a loft bed, and get started investing in real estate for as little as $140k . . . no small feat in San Fran.

To learn more about these new condos, read James Temple's SF Chronicle article on the subject and check out the Cubix website.

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