Resetting DOM (Days On Market), Buyers speak up! ABC News Nightline is listening

We hit the local news scene, now we’re going national. We received a call from a Nightline reporter today and they’re looking for feedback and active buyers who have THOUGHTS ON RESETTING THE DOM (Days on Market) to give an old listing new legs.

Specifically, do you think it is fair or not to have seen a property as newly listed, watch it become a “Stalefish”, then see it again on the market as “new”?

Agents, buyers, and even sellers, please share your thoughts by commenting here, or clicking on “comments” below. Nightline is listening!

Contact us if you’d like to possibly appear on Nightline tonight or tomorrow Monday or Tuesday. They’ll be interviewing around 5pm 6pm tonight in San Francisco.

Fellow bloggers, please spread the word, as we know this is a hot button.

Although not local, Manhattan Beach Confidential has a good post on this very subject.

[Update:...and this just in, Kevin Boer of 3 Oceans Real Estate just put up a nice post as well. Thanks Kevin!]

Conforming loan limit increase in jeopardy?

We just received this email from N.A.R.

“The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a stimulus package that raises the FHA and conforming loan limits to as high as $729,750 in high-cost areas.

There is speculation that the Senate version of the stimulus package DOES NOT include these increases.

Please contact Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Diane Feinstein if you’d like to help this bill get passed.

The easiest way to take action is to click here. It’s a one second process and will send the Senators an email directly. So we think.

The tone is obviously a bit alarmist, but hey, that’s how America works.

[Update: ...and approved.]

[Update: ...and clarification of some of the confusing aspects of the package.]

-Call to Action [Realtor.org]

What costs how much where, and a complete wrap-up of 2007

Hats off to Katy Dinner, or whoever it was that put this information together, and thanks for sending it our way.

katydinner.jpg

Some examples of what else you’ll find by following the link below:

A two bedroom condo in the Marina will set you back a cool $1,237,000, but in Hayes Valley it will only set you back $780,000.

A three bedroom house in Lower Pacific Heights will set you back $1,837,500, whereas a three bedroom house in the Central and Outer Sunset will only run your tab up to $810,000.

[prices are "Median Sales Price"]

Good stuff on that link. Take a look at it.

What costs how much where in San Francisco [863Katy.com]

Chop go the rates…again! (Feds cutting rates makes us queezy)

“Fed Cuts Rate by Half-Point; 2nd Reduction in 8 Days” [New York Times]

In lowering its benchmark Federal funds rate by half a point, to 3 percent, the central bank acknowledged that it is now far more worried about an economic slowdown than rising inflation, and it left open the possibility of additional rate reductions.

“Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households,” the central bank said in a statement accompanying its decision. In addition, it said, recent data indicated that the housing market is still getting worse and the job market appears to be “softening.”

What’s going on here? This roller coaster is making us queezy!

Marc Herrenbruck had this to say:

As expected the Fed lowered “rates” by .50% so how will this effect you? Banks will be reporting that Prime has now fallen to 6%! Four months ago it was at 8.25%. People with HELOC loans rejoice you have experienced a 2.25% reduction in your interest in the last 4 months or if you had a $250,000 line of credit your payments went from $1718.00 to $1250.00 a month, a savings of almost $500.00 a month! I also want to say that rates for 30 year, 15 year and 3,5,7,10/1 arms are not benefiting from this in fact rates have been going up since the Fed lowered rates by .75% last Tuesday. That is because money is moving from the bond market to the stock market which supports what the Fed is doing to fight recession, lower Fed Fund and Discount Rates to stimulate the economy.

Slump? What Slump? Real Estate Sites licking their chops

We were going to do a little post regarding this recent New York Times article (“Despite Housing Slide Real Estate Sites Sell”, and get into all kinds of details, but we thought we’d just send you that way instead. We also thought we’d clue you in to a great post on 3 Oceans Real Estate essentially regarding the same thing, but with a bit more twist and punch.

Something we’ve been wondering:

Dear Glenn,

If you’re listening, where’d you get the name Redfin?

Sincerely,

theFrontSteps

Look past the furniture and focus on the sale (1700 Jones #4)

Being real estate professionals, it is our duty to look past the clutter and furniture and find the value in each property. We had a little trouble getting past the ottoman, sofa, chairs, and dining room wall coverings of 1700 Jones #4, but apparently the buyers saw something we didn’t.

1700jones.jpg

This is a 2 bed, 2 bath condo in Russian Hill, which came to market at $1,395,000 on January 10th. By January 17th, it was already in contract, open houses and Broker Tours canceled, and recently closed escrow on January 29th for $1,500,000 ($105,000 or 7.5% over asking). Forget pricing, forget overbidding, forget the cooling market, forget all that. Think about how quickly this home came and went…seven days on the market, during the worst market San Francisco has seen in over five years.

Merely an anecdote indeed, but significant nonetheless.

Maybe it was the white kitchen with pink lights that sealed the deal. Continue reading

Ask Us: “Massive construction at 766 Harrison”

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

I work on Harrison between 3rd and 4th. For the past year+, there’s been massive construction at 766 Harrison. What’s the building going to be? And will it have an affect on the homeless/mentally ill/substance abusers who camp outside of the substance abuse/mental clinic next door?

766harrison.jpg

As you can see, the brokers have this very nice property information page for you that tells us, “Construction is currently underway of 98 stylish studio units which will be available in June 2008.”

Here is another more detailed pdf regarding the retail and office space.

766harrisonfp.jpg

And as far as what they plan on doing with the building beyond what you’re reading on marketing materials, their “goal is to bring in a food related cafe service to the property in an effort to provide a pleasant atmosphere in which both tenants and neighbors may have a place to gather.” There are also a few small office spaces available for lease, and the studios being built above are all going to be rentals .

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us again.

-766 Harrison [The Baumeister Collective Properties]

-Retail Space pdf [Ritchie Commercial]

[Image sources: TBCP website and Ritchie Commercial pdf]

Stats & Numbers: Condo Sales 12/06-12/07

From Garrett:

District Map (PDF)

Condominiums  
   
District 1 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 17 6
Median Selling Price 809,000 862,500
Average DOM 44 49
     
District 2 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 1 0
Median Selling Price 107,328  
Average DOM 39  
     
District 3 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 2 1
Median Selling Price 612,500 514,000
Average DOM 21 44
     
District 4 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 7 2
Median Selling Price 550,000 570,000
Average DOM 77 62
     
District 5 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 37 23
Median Selling Price 767,500 850,000
Average DOM 58 48
     
District 6 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 18 10
Median Selling Price 797,500 767,500
Average DOM 43 44
     
District 7 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 20 16
Median Selling Price 1,212,500 1,115,500
Average DOM 48 59
     
District 8 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 26 27
Median Selling Price 700,000 700,000
Average DOM 64 60
     
District 9 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 47 39
Median Selling Price 766,000 640,000
Average DOM 49 54
     
District 10 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 11 1
Median Selling Price 470,000 540,000
Average DOM 75 103
     

Data Provided by SFAR

Walkabout: Palm Springs “Daring and Unspoiled”

We were just going to pull a few choice excerpts from this “Daring and Unspoiled” $1,095,000 listing in Palm Springs, but we just had to post it all:

palmsprings.jpg

“Smashing, Splendid, Brave, Daring and Unspoiled describes this masterpiece of seventies decor – Plus Offered Turnkey Furnished! Visually stunning custom velvet walls with vibrant colors of reds, pinks, fuschias and oranges.A unique and wholly functional residence in impeccable condition set up for full time living but with all the enchantment, allure and fantasy of a Moroccan palace. Bedrooms are canopied, swagged, with gold vein mirrored walls, ceiling to floor drapes creating an exotic and opulent atmosphere. The furnishings are custom in matching materials and colors,the pool is gorgeous, the grounds are impeccable, and the piece de resistence, a Pink Princess telephone in the master bedroom! Functional nostalgia makes this property a fantastic fantasy residence or a savvy investment. Perfect for photo shoots, theme parties, fund-raisers and film locations to mention a few potential uses.”

Films that come to mind?

[Update: Others are comparing it to this lovely San Francisco home.]

-1240 Manzanita Ave, Palm Springs [Coldwell Banker]

Attention Shoppers: Discount on districts 1-10 in San Francisco

If this new law should pass (raising the conforming loan limit to around $725,000), you can expect a bit of a buying spree in San Francisco, for three main reasons (among many others):

1) Buyers are out there (in droves), and this is just what they needed to get them motivated again.

2) If this is a “limited time offer” as the powers that be are suggesting, many buyers will want to get it while the getting is good, and word on the street right now is that this “proposal” would be good for only one year.

3) San Francisco is, and always will be (barring a major disaster), a solid long term investment. Any short term dips (2-3 years) will be surpassed by long term gains (10-25 years). Ask some folks that bought their homes in Pacific Heights 25 years ago if they’re happy with their “investment”.

This is all, of course, assuming our our nation avoids a major recession (we believe we’re already in a little one), and our market sees an increase in sellers listing their homes (and accepting offers) at reasonable prices.

Flame away. Just don’t tell the foreigners, and don’t hate us for not conforming to all the same bull shit and rhetoric you hear on a daily basis on all the “other” real estate blogs (Curbed not included), because we’re not buying and it’s not because we’re in this for commission.

-“Foreigners get a piece of the real estate pie”[sfgate]

Developers still betting on SF

As much as the media likes to scare the life out of us thinking the world has ended and real estate will never again be a good investment, you need only look to the big boys to settle your nerves. As J.K. Dineen reports today in the San Francisco Business Times (the best source for all “big” development news)

The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. has acquired one of the most grungy, crime-ridden corners in the Tenderloin and plans to build a $78 million low-income housing development for families with a 15,000-square-foot ground-floor grocery store.

The 13-story, 130-unit building will be designed by David Baker + Partners, who designed TNDC’s highly regarded 67-unit Curran House at 145 Taylor St.

Eddy & Taylor Family Housing will be comprised of 130 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. At least 20 percent of the apartments will be reserved for formerly homeless households. The building will include play areas for kids and community gathering venues.

Perhaps of greater interest to Tenderloin residents is the prospect of a grocery store on the site.

Nearly one-third of Tenderloin residents surveyed reported that it was difficult for them to get to a grocery store, and more than half obtain food from soup kitchens or food pantries.

This is just one of many articles cranked out by the San Francisco Business Times that rarely get mentioned in “mainstream” media. Why? Because they suggest things are moving forward rather than back.

-Developer takes on one of S.F.’s toughest corners [San Francisco Business Times, J.K. Dineen]

-New Development Resource [San Francisco Business Times]

Chelsea Park coming, this time with pricing

As we reported not too long ago, Chelsea Park, a new development located in Mission Dolores at 3620 19th Street and 29 Oakwood is coming soon…as in this weekend. We’re happy to tell you, we have a tiny bit more information for you.

bloomsbury.jpg

[Bloomsbury floor plan pictured. Image courtesy of chelseaparksf.com]

Of the 39 units coming to market, they’re only releasing 7 this weekend, all of which we’re told are in the Bloomsbury building located on Oakwood Street. The units are priced from $729,000 for a large one bedroom, up to $1,269,000 for a large 3 bedroom. (We’re confirming that there is a 3br in the Bloomsbury, as it is not listed on their floor plan on their website.) A “nice sized” 2 bedroom starts at $899,000.

Beyond that, 5 of the total 39 units will be offered at BMR.

This just in: Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limit raised

According to “anon8mizer”:

CNBC just reported that the [conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] limit has been raised from $417K to $625K…

And from “Dave”:

This proposal (reported on Reuters) has serious legs in Congress. On top of the Fed lowering the boom this week to the tune of 75 basis points, SF may have it’s conforming loan limit increased to $700k. That would mean that someone purchasing an $875K home could put 20% down and get a rate (today) that’s below 6% on a 30 year fixed. That’s somewhere between 1 and 2 percentage points lower than just six months ago. From an affordability perspective, one full percentage point drop on the loan above would translate into a payment that’s lower by about $450/month.

This is (finally) some reasonable bullish news for the Bay Area real estate market… You will see a refinance boomlet in the coming three months (hopefully some foolish ARM-holders will lock into something more responsible) and you could see buyers inch back into the market. Recession or not, this spring is going to be an interesting ride.

We couldn’t agree with you more.

Some quotes from the report:

The loan limit U.S. mortgage funders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can finance will be raised to $625,000 from the current $417,000…

…several sources said the final plan might be narrowly tailored to raise the loan level for some high-cost metro areas as high as $700,000. [that would be us]

[Update: Important to note that the proposal is to raise the loan limit "temporarily", and although agreed upon, it is not yet written into law.]

-US package may up GSE loan cap to $625,000-sources [Reuters]

Walkabout: Nowhere but everywhere at the same time

The weather is so dodgy outside, and sometimes we just get plain tired of talking real estate (not that you should), so what better to do than go wandering?

commonpond.jpg

[image source: sellmodern.com]

-Amazing green roof art school in Singapore [Inhabitat]

-Wine selling and storytelling [Springwise]

-You gotta be f’in kidding me! [Deacon Brews]

-Mid-Century Modern in Chicago [Mid-Century Modern Interiors (dailypundit)]

-Dot-com bellwether’s lease heralds comeback in SoMa [San Francisco Business Times]

-Common Pond Modern in Georgia for $240,000 [sellmodern.com]

-Whoever sent us that great link to Mexico Real Estate, please resend. It vaporized.

-Dad will make it all better [perezhilton.com]

-Pete Sampras’ Home Court up for grabs [RealEstalker]

-Hoffbrau House Catastrophe [via growabrain]

With that, we leave you to sook in the rain (yes, we LOVE that video).

Ask us: “When should I refinance, or purchase?” ABC7 News is listening!

Where readers ask and we try to answer. This one we’re actually doing for ABC7 News. David Louie is running a story tonight at 6pm, and was hoping we could help him and their viewers out. So….readers, and real estate peeps, don’t disappoint! ;-)

Given the fact that interest rates took another dip recently, and the stock market has rallied, when does it make sense for homeowners to refinance (assuming their loan will soon adjust), and interested buyers to finally purchase? We were wondering what the difference in some of your readers’ payments would be (up or down) should they refinance today, and if they watch rates religiously, hoping to time their decision perfectly.

Let’s see if we can get a good discussion going here.

The most recent mortgage rates:

6.0% for a 15 year Jumbo (loan amount >$417,000)

6.5% for a 30 year Jumbo

5.625% for a 5/1 Jumbo

5.875% for a 7/1 Jumbo

These numbers are from New Source Financial, and here’s a mortgage calculator to help you get started.

As we’ve said before, theFrontSteps is getting noticed, and Realtors and Mortgage Brokers involved with this site are seeing the benefits. Tim Wood is thanking us for referring him to David Louie and ABC7 News. No worries Tim, it’s our pleasure.

Readers…we turn the floor over to you.

-Interest rate cuts can save money [ABC7 News.com]

“I love the sfnewsletter!”

As some of you know, the editor here is also the editor at sfnewsletter, which is fast becoming THE newsletter for San Francisco real estate professionals to keep in front of their sphere of influence.

Not only will your sphere thank you for all the great market knowledge sfnewsletter provides, but they’ll also be able to see all the comps for San Francisco sortable by property type and neighborhood. Properties that just hit the market within the past 7 days, and properties that SOLD within the past month.

sfnsold.jpg

Also included every week, a list of foreclosures, and tons more data from Altos Research.

The testimonials are a mile long, and the benefits to Realtors run deep.

I find your newsletter the best source of what’s really happening with the real estate market. You present a picture of the market that is based on real data without the alarmist tone that the media takes.-reader

If you are a real estate agent or mortgage broker in San Francisco, you should be sending sfnewsletter to your clients, especially since the market has cooled and it is imperative you keep in front of them while the market runs its course.-Broker at a local firm.

I met Michelle at a Sunday open house I was holding for another agent. I was giving out CMA reports for active and sold listings in the neighborhood and talking about how my sfnewsletter gives people access to these reports. She signed up and 5 or 6 months later I got an email from her to say she and a friend were in the market for a two unit building and they needed an agent, was I interested in meeting to discuss? We met and discussed and about 3 or 4 months after that, they were moving in to their building!-Eddie O’ Sullivan (Hill & Co.)

You customize it, sfnewsletter sends it, you benefit. It’s a no brainer, really. sfnewsletter also encourages agents from all offices to share information that is published on sfnewsletter, thus painting THE most accurate account of market activity in San Francisco.

Agents please visit sfnewsletter.com to learn more and sign up.

To be added to the distribution of the sfnewsletter, please tell your Realtor/Mortgage broker to send it to you. If you are not working with a Realtor already, you can get Alex’s sfnewsletter by following this link.

Receiving sfnewsletter will ensure you know more than your neighbors about the market, but not as much as us. ;-)

If you are a Realtor and would like to know what your colleagues who use sfnewsletter are saying, send an email to sfnewsletter@gmail.com.

Things getting ugly between developers and tenant activists?

From “AMinSF”:

1298treat.jpgTwo weekends ago I visited an open house tic unit at 1298 Treat Street in the Mission. It’s a very contentious situation. The developer is trying to Ellis Act several elderly tenants, and some family members and tenant groups were peacefully protesting outside the open house.

I drove by the building this morning on my way to a meeting, and I saw that the building was scorched! It certainly looked suspiciously like arson, and the report [here] suggests the same.

I think that this is an unfortunate situation that we sometimes have in SF. On one hand the developer wants to maximize his property’s value by converting to tic’s. But on the other hand, evicting seniors in their 80′s or 90′s is morally reprehensible. I’m totally for property rights, as I own several buildings in the city, and am actively involved in their development, but i must say that I had sympathy for the tenants in this situation, and spent time talking to them and the tenant activists who were there that day.

I just don’t know what led to this case of possible arson. I highly doubt any of the people I met that day were involved. Could it be some silent angry activist, who wants to use destruction as a way to get back at ‘the system?’ I remember a similar case last year on 23rd street, between Treat and Folsom (across the park), where there was some violence. These immature and illegal acts certainly do not help the people adversely affected by the evictions. It is so asinine to act as a spoiler with these types of destruction. And it certainly fans the flame (no pun intended) of animosity between property owners/developers and tenants.

It’s too bad this city cannot collectively get it’s act together and find ways to mitigate the housing problems that we have. What’s next, drive by shootings at open houses? [We hope not!]

-Arson suspected in San Francisco Fire [KTVU]

-1298 Treat Street [sfnewsletter listing detail page]

N.A.R. Housing Forecast

NAR Issues Housing Forecast: “Stable Existing-Home Sales Expected in Early 2008, then Gradual Rise”

Over the next few months, existing-home sales are expected to hold fairly steady as indicated by pending sales activity, then rise later in the year and continue to improve in 2009, according to the latest forecast by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is a pull and tug exerting itself on the market. “On the one hand, we have a pent-up demand from the four million jobs added to our economy over the past two years of sales decline,” he said. “On the other, consumers continue to wait for additional signs of market stabilization. There are more people with financial capacity now than in 2005, but many are trying to market-time their purchase. As a result, the exact timing and the strength of a home sales recovery is a bit uncertain. A meaningful recovery in existing-home sales could occur as early as this spring, or it may be further delayed toward late 2008.” Continue reading

Flat Fee Brokerages

Join the thread here. It’s getting good. We have the owner of CondoDomain chiming in, and what appears to be someone at Territory Real Estate adding their two cents as well. Both of those outfits offer flat fee services for buyers in their area (Boston). San Francisco should take note.

Since you’ve all been wondering what’s going to shake up this industry, or better yet, how to shake up this industry, get on in there and add your two cents.

-Boston goes flat fee (for some) [the post originating the discussion on theFrontSteps]

Housing Outlook: Bleak

How’s that for a headline? Get your attention? Good. We’re just doing it like all the others. Now check out this video from IntoTheBox.tv (for real estate obsessed people like us):

If comparing San Francisco to New York City is any indication of things to come for us, then this report is scary, especially the fewer number of bonuses, and first time buyers getting scared by all the headlines, which we already knew. The bit on “Subprime” beating out “Facebook” for the “word of the year” is just plain nutty!

-IntoTheBox.tv [website for the NYC real estate obsessed]

Off Market and On Broadway (2342 Broadway being shopped around $6M)

Going to see a lot more of these. From our reader that would prefer to remain completely anonymous:

There is a dog with views at 2342 Broadway being shopped at just under $6m–it’s legit. Being marketed at $5.99M. Needs lots of work. Overpriced (in my opinion) considering the amount of work it needs, but it’s got premier Pacific Heights views. It will probably hit MLS in a few weeks once sellers realize that no one is biting at $6M. It will sell for 5 something.

2342broadway.jpg

Thanks for the scoop! Sorry we can’t deliver on the photo…yet. Given that it is 10:15pm, it’s dark out, both Google and Windows Maps are failing us with the exact location, we can’t run out and just snap a photo. But y’all could git er done for us. Send to thefrontsteps@gmail.com.

2342broadwaystreetshot.jpg

That photo big enough for you? ;-) Making up for what we lacked in the first photo.

Ask Us: Selling a home off the market

Where readers ask, and we try to answer.

Why do agents shop houses off-MLS or before they hit the market?-E.S.

I shop places off the market simply because my clients say, “If you find me a buyer, I’ll sell it, but I’m not listing it on MLS, not doing open houses, and not doing signs.” I’ve sold a few BIG listings off the market, and truth be told, they’re sweet. Commissions are more negotiable on these as well.

Some other agents shop it off market to gauge a price, like that 1188 Green post on TFS the other day. It may never hit MLS (I haven’t checked), because they’re getting a ton of interest. So every agent has their own reasons for doing off market deals, but for me it generally comes down to my clients not wanting to deal with “selling” and they don’t need to move. It’s kind of like the Zillow “make me move” thing.

The bottom line is if the seller is happy, the buyer is happy, why not make the deal. But the clients need to be counseled that there is no true “market price” when a home is sold this way. You can comp it and appraise it all you want, but the truth is, multiple offers are still a possibility on almost every listing (if priced right.) Some buyers can end up spending way too much, and some sellers can end up getting way too little.

As you’ve probably seen, I have a couple pocket listings in the Marketplace, on this very site, and I expect we’re going to see a lot more pocket listings in the coming months as sellers hesitate to “list” their homes.

That’s my take, any other agents care to elaborate?

All you agents might want to consider getting your properties in the Marketplace. The page gets a ton of traffic. (Of course it’s not free, don’t be silly, but it’s pretty cheap considering the exposure, and I’ll even let you advertise yourself there.)

Sunset Beach? Isn’t that in Hawaii?

We have nothing against any agents (colleagues) in this city, and especially those at Hill & Co. (we heart Hill), but should there be a comma between Sunset and Beach on this Sunset Beach Victorian Cottage at 1545 47th Ave.?

sunsetbeach
Forgive our ignorance, but isn’t Sunset Beach in Hawaii, and the Sunset in San Francisco?

surfsunset
Regardless, interesting place. Not what you’d expect in San Francisco with the front porch and all. Maybe the new buyers can subsidize the cost of their mortgage with a streaming surf cam…if, in fact, they are on the beach.

-Sunset Beach, SF [Hill & Co. listing]