House Passes Stimulus Bill, Senate What Next?

We pulled this directly from a C.A.R newsletter:

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Economic Recovery Package, by a 244 to 188 vote. Amid all the negative economic news we’re hearing on a daily basis, this is good news, as the bill contains a number of issues critical to REALTORS® and the industry, including extending all 2008 Metropolitan Statistical Areas’ (MSAs’) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits through the end of this year.

The extension prevents an MSA’s 2008 loan limit from being reduced in 2009 for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. Language in the bill also specifies that if an MSA’s loan limit is set to change, it can increase, but is prohibited from declining.

The proposed legislation also will eliminate an existing payback requirement on the first-time home buyer tax credit for qualified buyers who purchase a home between Dec. 31, 2008, and July 1.

Congress included these provisions as a direct result of the grassroots efforts put forward by REALTORS®, and the advocacy efforts of both NAR and C.A.R. Congress elected not to include numerous housing provisions beyond those previously mentioned. It looks like Congress will begin to address other housing issues next week when the Financial Services Committee meets.

The legislation also contained a laundry list of appropriations for various affordable housing programs, neighborhood stabilization programs, and other housing and/or real estate-related issues, including:

Public Housing Capital Fund
Native American Housing Block Grant
Home Investment Partnership Program
Self-help & assisted homeownership
Elimination of lead paint in homes
Repairing leaking underground storage tanks
Low-income home energy assistance
Rural Housing Insurance Fund
In addition to tax credits for individuals and married couples, other provisions in the bill include funds for increasing access to high-speed and broadband Internet; highways and roads; railroads; alternative energy incentives; unemployment insurance; Medicaid insurance; health care technology upgrades; childcare; education; and low-income and affordable housing programs.

The Senate now is working on its version of the stimulus legislation, and is expected to vote on it next week. Congress would like to get a bill to the President’s desk by President’s Day, Feb. 16.

So what next? More importantly, what kind of impact will this have for San Francisco? Here’s your chance to go on record and compare the power of your crystal ball to that of other readers.

“LaidOffCamp” Taps theFrontSteps For Locations

If you’re a techie, you may have seen the recent article (“Unemployed Techies Hope To help Themselves At LaidOffCamp”) on TechCrunch regarding one particularly ambitious techie that was recently laid off and had an idea…throw a party, or like they say “an ad-hoc gathering of unemployed and self-employed people (including entrepreneurs and startups) who want to share knowledge and interact with each other.” That’s a party, let’s be honest. [Update: Okay, so maybe it's really not.]

laidoffcamptc1

We’re all about sharing, we’re all about interacting, and we’re certainly all about partying, so it is no surprise they contacted us to help secure a location. ;-) (Thanks to Kevin Boer for pointing them our way.)

Now we’re asking for a little help from our readers. Do you know of a location (hipper the better) that once housed an aspiring dot com, or business, that has recently failed? If so, either share in the comments below, or contact us, and let’s see if we can’t help put this party together.

Details:
-Tuesday March 3rd, Location TBD
-LaidOffCamp Website (Wiki)
-TechCrunch Article on LaidOffCamp
-Preferred Beverage

“This Is The One”, 565 Clipper Gets Into Contract

Right on the heels of our recent post a la Sophie, “A walk up the hill”, we learn that one of the little nugs she reported on went into contract as of yesterday, 565 Clipper being that little 4 bed, 3.5 bath, $2,149,000 single family nug (originally listed 10/08 for $2,599,000):

565clipper
The deets, with a little RealSpeak for good measure:

Breathtaking, recently rebuilt home w/ hi ceilings & dramatic dark walnut floors. Enormous living room w/ FP & city vus. Top shelf kit w/ 6-burner Viking & CesarStone + huge bfast bar. Dramatic DR is surrounded by windows & adjacent outdoor living space. 3BD/2BA upper level includes a luxurious master suite w/ FP & vu deck + an add’l south facing deck adjacent to 3rd BD overlooking the garden.Ground level has huge family/media room w/ wet bar + 4th BD, full BA & 2 car sxs gar. This is the one!

565clipperkit

It “is the one” for someone, and is a good comparable for 469 Clipper (future version), which just so happens to still be available.

So what gives? Bad market, busy street, nothing but doom on the horizon, yet somebody pulled the trigger on a $2+Million property on Clipper? Let’s hope it closes.

Stay tuned for reports of multiple offers on multiple properties. No kidding.

[Update: Closed escrow for $2,090,000.]

Stats & Numbers: San Francisco Single Family, Condo, 2-4 Unit, January ’08 vs. January ’09

The numbers speak for themselves. Thanks to “SFAR Advantage Online” for the goods:

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NUMBER OF UNITS is the equivalent of number of sales/transactions. For condominiums, each unit is treated as a sale. For 2- to 4-unit buildings, the “building” is treated as a sale.

NUMBER SOLD is the number of properties in the market segment that closed escrow during the month.

NUMBER FOR SALE is the number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month.

MEDIAN PRICE (SOLD) reflects the “middle” price point of a group of properties that have successfully closed escrow on a monthly basis, i.e. half sold for more and half sold for less than the median price. Tracking the movement of median prices over time provides a good indicator of the direction market forces are moving.

If the percentage change is positive between the two periods then there is upward pressure on prices in that market segment. If the percentage change is negative between the two periods then there is downward pressure on prices in that market segment.

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET (DOM) reflects how long it has been taking (on average) to draw an offer on a reasonably priced property exposed to the market. The AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET is defined as: The average number of days it took all of the properties that went under contract during the period to accept a first position offer.

MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY (MSI) is a measure of how long it would take, in months, to sell the existing inventory at the current sales rate for the specific neighborhood and property type. The MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY is defined as: The number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month, less the number of properties that have been withdrawn or expired, divided by the number of properties that have gone under contract during the month.

* * * * *

Data provided by Terradatum. For additional information about market statistics and/or additional information about Terradatum’s products and services, please call Terradatum at 1-888-212-4793 Ext. 2 or send e-mail to info@terradatum.com.

-San Francisco Single Family Residence Inventory, Median, DOM, Listings Jan. ’08 v Jan. ’09 [SFAR, pdf]
-San Francisco Condominium Inventory, Median, DOM, Listings Jan. ’08 v Jan. ’09 [SFAR, pdf]
-San Francisco 2-4 Unit Inventory, Median, DOM, Listings Jan. ’08 v Jan. ’09 [SFAR, pdf]

Reader Reports: A Walk Up The Hill (Clipper)

We love our readers and we love when they report back to the mother ship. This from “Sophie” who decided to take a walk up the hill (slightly edited for flow, and links added to properties mentioned).

“Restless kids, so-so weather: A great day for a walk uphill!

532B Clipper – TIC – $499,999
This is a great unit in need of work: a simple knock down of all the crap (read “added american closets”) and it’s a great unit. tad bit high price (no parking, problematic deck etc) – but still something to look at.

490-492 clipper – RH2 – $1,300,000 (and 3.5% commission to selling agent), inlaw WITH tenant.
Tiny owner unit, but smart and practical. Work with NO permit! (duh! check the stair railing!) With no parking, the price is a bit high.

682 clipper – SHF – $1,475,000
floor plan is very odd. I dont like at all the top floor (master suite above living), but the lower floor 3 bedrooms are ok, with a great additional lowest level (storage, mudroom, position of laundry etc). I HATE the windows, like you pee in the face of the clipper street drivers. All the windows and window coverings and drapes need a rework/updates (soundproofing, light, sun, heat, views etc). However, a MUCH better deal and a sweeter property than 565 Clipper.

481 clipper – RH2 – $1,800,000
I guess I still hate everything about that one as much as before. However, I find not acceptable to keep that property on the market in the current condition of next door house. Many people walking with us were scared by the construction, and it would have needed a lot of courage to dare going in (I would have, but the wind started to pick up, and I didnt want to scare the kids). Property should either be off market for the 2 months to come, OR not have an open house – and be flagged as such in MLS. For once a property could have some legitimate excuse for having a larger DOM – use it (although this property is a recurring stalefish anyway.)

469 clipper – empty lot. $939,000 [Editor's Note: Careful what you say Sophie...;-) ]
The proposed plan being totally ugly, I have to say that the lot is large, garage access is easy because no parking spot in front and above the house.
Alex – nice talking to Mike. Nice guy. (I still think it’s a tiny bit high. price drop should have been to $899,000 to spark some new interest).
Marketing-wise – I would be scared by buying a lemon – ie: the previous owner bought the lot, spend the money in architect – then DROPPED the plan to build its dream house? WHY? neighbors? If the plan is not approved, then it’s not only worth zero, but it has some negative value as being a “doomed” project. Marketing as a empty lot with no string attached should be considered at this point. OR I’d have someone draw 4-5 projective plans for that lot to show the richness and variety of options. If facade is protected by historic crap, state that in marketing, if not, market as empty lot with 2 garage access. Continue reading

Comment Du Jour: “Why Wait?”

Every so often, we pull comments we think you should know about, because as we always say, this site is nothing without the reader interaction. So today, we take from “brokerism” and his recent comment from our recent post “The Appraisal Conundrum“. Hats off to ya “brokerism”. Enjoy your home:

Well, we had our reasons for jumping in now. My wife wants to change jobs for example, and she has a really strong bonus history with her current firm which we can use to qualify for the loan. This may not be the case if she changes jobs.

We are taking advantage of the (temporary) higher conforming loan limit for 2 unit buildings ($800k). The limit for SFHs (625k?) is also temporary.
Home prices are starting to come down significantly and quickly in SF itself so it will be harder to pass the appraisal in six months to a year as compared to now.

So, the first two reasons [for buying now] are personal, but the third applies to everyone. Why wait and wait and wait and risk (in our case) missing out on a rate decrease from 6.5% to 4.875?

Thanks for doing your part and thanks for reading and commenting on theFrontSteps. Cocktails at your house or ours? We make a killer margarita.

SF: A City with Room to Grow-up Healthy?

biosources 

 
The Where Blog, dedicated to intelligent discourse on urban life, recently posed the following question:

How do people stay sane in crowded cities?

Quoting E.M. Cioran,

Whenever I happen to be in a city of any size, I marvel that riots do not break out every day: massacres, unspeakable carnage, a doomsday chaos. How can so many human beings coexist in a space so confined without destroying each other, without hating each other to death?

We might ask such a question in Tokyo, or New Dehli; in the US, maybe New York. But San Francisco, despite being relatively short on open space for building and (as boon to past real estate transactions) higher in demand than in supply for housing, is not really that crowded. Sure, we’ve all made the dismal, never again mistake of trying to get on the I-80 at rush hour, or the MUNI on the day the Giants are playing (enough orange clothing and pre-game beer consumption to last a lifetime). We’ve been jostled in Union Square during the holidays, or crammed against the rails of the Wharf at the height of tourist season. But those are just poor choices, not evidence of an over-populated city. In fact, there’s a lot of space to live here.

Many of our residential enclaves include rows and rows of homes that have backyards, if not also front yards and side yards. Unlike NY City, we don’t have to go out to Brooklyn to find a family style neighborhood: in our 7 X 7, we have plenty.

Add to that roof decks, public parks, and the beach — it’s a unique metropolis indeed.

But scientists do warn that city life can be hard on the brain.  From the Boston Globe:

Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it’s long been recognized that city life is exhausting — that’s why Picasso left Paris — this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.

So… do San Francisco brains need more quiet space to function?

But isn’t living without culture, diversity, art, conflict, and intellectual stimulation in general, more obstructive than the chaos of urban life?
——
Pic: Biosources.com

You Changed Your DOM But Were Never BOM, 4148 23rd St Returns

You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and you just know you’ve seen them before, but you just can’t figure out where? Well, fortunately for us folks in the biz of real estate, we have this little feature called “property history” that is becoming all too necessary to check religiously. As it turns out, we have seen 4148 23rd St (4 bed, 2.5 bath, Renovated Noe Valley Edwardian) before.

414823rdfront

We saw her first in 1998 when she sold for $435,000. Then we saw her again (with a face-lift) in April of 2008 for $1,799,000 when she was on the market for 140 days and pulled off the market in August. She resurfaced (very briefly) in December of 2008 with the same look, only different price ($1,599,000 or 11% less than before) and a fresh new DOM (days on market) of zero. Come to think of it, we never did see her BOM (back on market).

414823rdbath

Now we see her again in January 2009 with the same price, but new DOM, and still no BOM. This can only mean she never did find a suitor. So why the new DOM? It’s a trick we agents play, and the public is on to us.

We knew we saw her before, and it almost slipped passed us. Now we’re left to wonder what she’ll look like when we see her again…SOLD, BOM, or with yet another new DOM?

-4148 23rd St, $1,599,000 [listing detail page by sfnewsletter]
-Resetting DOM, Buyers Speak Up, ABC News Nightline Is Listening [theFrontSteps]