I'm late to the discussion, but was unable to reply when you first posed the question. I have lived on or near Potrero Hill for eight years and agree with what my three colleagues have written. However, I'd like to expand on what I think is the core of your question: Is Potrero Hill a good area to buy?
I think Potrero Hill has some excellent advantages. First, there is a thriving, if small, local neighborhood community on the hill. Both 18th and 20th Streets offer charming breakfast, lunch and dinner destinations. You also have small grocers, a wine shop, book sellers and shop keepers of other varieties. Second, some of my favorite downtown views are located on the north face of the hill. Near 20th Street you might even get East Bay views.
Though public transportation might be difficult to the Financial District, there are options. For folks who commute to the south bay or peninsula, Caltrain stops on the south side of the hill or you have excellent and easy access to both 101 and 280.
With the expectation of thousands of high-paying medical and research jobs coming to neighboring Mission Bay AND the relatively sterile style of development growing into the area, I think Potrero Hill stands to benefit tremendously.
One issue you'll have is that there isn't much available right now! Good luck to you!
McGuire Urban Bay
Potrero Hill offers some great alternatives to the more traditional "condo" neighborhoods in San Francisco. You can't beat the Whole Foods Market on Rhode Island and 18th Street has some of the best restaurants in the city!
The condo market in Potrero Hill has definitely softened and you will do well with a smart buy.
A few things to consider...
Renting the second bedroom will depend on the tenant. Potrero Hill doesn't offer the best commute to and from the Financial District which may preclude a potential roommate. Safety is always a concern however that is really a neighborhood by neighborhood consideration. (This is a great opportunity to put your agent to work!)
I think you will do well with appreciation in this area and you may also wish to consider Dogpatch. We have a few projects that have worked out very well for our clients and I am happy to pass along the information.
It can be difficult to convey all of this information on a post and I am happy to provide you with some statistical data that may also help you.
Paragon Real Estate Group
In a word, yes, Potrero Hill is a good area in which to buy. The North slope has always done better than the South slope in appreciation for various reasons. With regard to safety, please go to http://www.sfgov.org and click on the police website. You can also access it from my website link below under Resources/Links. The police keep a record of crime in every neighborhood. Only you can decide the safety of any neighborhood!
Be careful about rentals. The Mayor's website also has a link to the Rent Board. Check out the laws regarding renters. I do not deal in rentals but I would make sure I had a clause in my lease about showing the property (if you decide to sell.) What would happen to your renter should you sell? Check that out as well.
Lastly, regarding life-styles. I would check out all the neighborhoods in the City and see which ones work best for you. Then make your own decisions.
I tell all my condo clients that it is better to choose a condo that has an intrinisic value. A view or some other difference that sets it apart because there is new construction going on and when it is time to sell and you have a cookie cutter condo the market will be tough because new cookie cutter will sell first before old cookie cutter.