Possible Shift In San Francisco Real Estate Market? Should You Sell Your Home Now?

February 2014 San Francisco Market Report

It is far too early in the year to reach definitive conclusions regarding substantive changes in the market, but there are indications of a number of shifts. From the hurly burly on the street, the word is that the quantity of offers coming in on new listings is declining. Where a new listing might have attracted 10 or 12 offers last spring, 3 or 4 are coming in now; where 3 or 4 offers would have arrived, the seller is getting 1. And, according to Broker Metrics, for every 2 listings that offers in December and January, another listing expired or was withdrawn without selling.

The amount of competition deeply affects home price increases.

There are still a very large number of buyers looking at listings online and at open houses. But more of them appear to be first-time buyers and they are proceeding more cautiously. Some buyers are burned out on the multiple-offer bidding frenzies of last year and are reluctant to participate in them. Though the market remains hot by any reasonable standard, by some statistical measures it is cooling. This may reflect a transition or only a lull before the spring sales season begins.

Recently, the investment-property analysis firm Reis speculated that SF apartment-rent growth — which has been extraordinary by any measure, especially in a period of low inflation — will slow despite intense demand and very low vacancy rates, simply because people can’t pay any more. It’s an idea which may or may not be correct or apply to other types of housing costs. Rent rates do play a role in purchase prices as buyers often compare the net housing costs of the two options.

Median Sales Price Appreciation by Neighborhood

In San Francisco, some of the most affluent neighborhoods — such as the Pacific Heights-Marina district and the Noe, Eureka and Cole Valleys district — started their recoveries in the second half of 2011, well before virtually every place else in the city or country. When 2012 began, prices in these districts soared, while other areas played catch up. In 2013, that dynamic flipped: Appreciation rates in comparatively less expensive neighborhoods surged, while slowing in the most affluent areas.

A big part of this is simple affordability: Priced out in one neighborhood (or city), buyers focused on others, similar in ambiance but less costly. Home prices there looked so good in comparison that buyers were willing to bid them up. The huge decline of distressed sales in areas severely affected, such as in Bayview, has had an outsized effect on median sales prices there. Continuing gentrification, as in the Mission, and increasing “luxury” condo construction in less affluent areas have also played parts in this trend. It’s not as if demand plunged in the Pacific Heights-Marina district (or Noe Valley, for that matter). Quite the contrary: its 9% appreciation rate in 2013 translated into the city’s largest median price increase in dollar terms ($300,000). However, in the previous year, this district saw year over year median price appreciation of 25%.

Note that median price appreciation does not perfectly correlate to changes in home values, as it can be affected by a variety of market factors. It does give an approximate sense of market trends.
Continue reading

Five White-Hot Districts In A Red-Hot San Francisco Real Estate Market

July 2013 Special Report

Virtually every area of San Francisco and the Bay Area has been experiencing dramatic home-value appreciation in the past 12 to 18 months. Some that were hard hit by distressed property sales, which experienced the largest price declines, have surged in price but remain 20% – 30% below previous peak values reached in 2006 – 2008. As a state, California is still about 25% below its 2007 pre-crash median home price. And in San Francisco itself, many if not most neighborhoods now appear to have re-attained or moved slightly beyond previous high points.

But in this past quarter, a handful of neighborhoods and districts in the city have leapt well beyond the highest average home values achieved in the past. Interestingly, comparing these white-hot areas with one another, there are often huge differences in property type, era and style of construction, and neighborhood culture or ambiance. But all of them have been very affected by affluent – often newly affluent – high-tech professionals of one age group and level of affluence or another. Naturally, these neighborhoods are highly desired by other buyers too – often professionals in finance, bio-tech, medicine and law – but the high-tech-buyer dynamic has generally super-charged these markets in particular.

However, please note that the difference we’re talking about between these neighborhoods and the rest of the city is between white hot and red hot: Quite honestly, they’re all very hot markets right now.

The Inner Mission 

Super hot, super hip, generally young: this neighborhood has seen very dramatic changes since the early nineties as a classic process of gentrification occurred — changes which have recently accelerated. Houses here are often large, classic Victorians, while the condos are mostly modern, built within the last decade or so. This area has a large, vibrant and diverse commercial district centered around Mission and Valencia Streets, but is still close to Noe Valley and the Castro. This chart focuses on the condo market, in which values are approximately 15% above the previous peak.

Noe Valley – Eureka Valley (Castro) – Dolores Heights 

These neighborhoods are part of a district that includes Cole Valley, Ashbury Heights, Clarendon & Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle, Mission Dolores and Glen Park, all of which have seen enormous recent appreciation. Housing here is typically older, built in the first 4 decades of the last century; there are many parks for kids and pets; the streets are tree-lined and the ambiance of the neighborhoods is relaxed and family friendly. This district surged in popularity and price in the mid-late nineties, was one of the last to peak in value in 2008, and has been at the forefront of the market rebound which started early here, in 2011. Among other advantages, it has relatively easy access to highways south to Silicon Valley. The district also has a large condo market, but this chart focuses on house values.

South Beach & Yerba Buena 

After the Embarcadero freeway came down in 1991 and then AT&T Park built in 2000, this area changed from a place for B-class offices and car stereo installations to the home of some of the most dramatic and expensive condo and loft buildings in the country. More condos are now sold here than anyplace else in the city and high-floor units with staggering views often sell for millions of dollars – one sold for $28 million. It’s popular with a number of demographics – high-tech and bio-tech workers working in offices nearby in SoMa and Mission Bay, financial district professionals, and empty-nesters who want to enjoy city life and have all the amenities, but without the responsibility of maintaining a house. Affluent foreign buyers are also a significant segment. Its neighborhood ambiance is very urban. This chart is for condos below the price of $1,800,000, but the dynamic for ultra-luxury condos is also white hot, with an average dollar per square foot value of over $1200.

Bernal Heights 

Like Noe Valley and Glen Park, Bernal Heights was originally a blue-collar neighborhood filled with Victorian houses. Noe Valley soared in value first, becoming wildly popular, and now people who want a similar family-friendly neighborhood ambiance, but at a more affordable cost, have increasingly turned to Bernal Heights. It also has easy access to highways south to the peninsula.

 

Hayes Valley-North of Panhandle (NoPa)-Alamo Square

This condo market is made up of two totally different types: Edwardian flats that have been turned into condos and brand new, ultra-modern condo developments. The Hayes Valley commercial district is very hot and hip, similar to, but still different from the Mission’s Valencia Street. Buyers who are priced out of the nearby Cole Valley-Haight Ashbury condo market often look here for a similar neighborhood ambiance at lower cost. Hayes Valley is also close to the Civic Center cultural cluster of museum, opera, symphony, ballet and other performing arts, which appeals to another buyer demographic as well.

To put all of these charts into one simple suggestion: It’s a great time to sell your property in San Francisco, and our market desperately needs the inventory!

If you have questions or would like information regarding a neighborhood not listed above, please contact us.

San Francisco Real Estate Data, Focus On The Volume On Your Block, Not The Median In Your City

“After hitting a two year low in January, the median price for single-family re-sale homes rose 18.6% in March from February. Year-over-year, the median price was off for the seventh month in a row, falling 3.1%.

After falling to their lowest level since January 2009 in February, home sales bounced back last month, which is normal for this time of year, and rose 75% from February. The 203 home sales last month were 7.7% lower than last March.”

Single Family Stats:

Condominium Stats:

One can argue the merits of medians, averages, days on market and generally just about anything in this data, and one can certainly spin it however they like. Read any number of Realtor blogs/sites and the market is gravy. Read any number of market bashing blogs and it’s all still doom and gloom. Because of this market spin that makes my head spin, I like to focus on one thing…sales volume…more specifically sales volume by district, even nano-district.

We’re coming off of a historical market thrashing. Naturally, prices are going all over the map. So what I really want to know is, if there is sales activity where my client either needs to buy or sell property. If property is moving, that is a good thing. If they’re getting stale, that is bad.

For San Francisco single family homes, we can see year over year (YoY) sales volume is down 7.7%, but up 75% compared to the month prior. Pick District 7 North (roughly Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Marina, Cow Hollow) and you’ll see that not only is volume up YoY (8.3%), but also up 225% on the month, whereas District 1 (roughly Richmond, Sea Cliff, Lake, Lone Mountain) is down 25% YoY, but up 50% on the month. (The fact home values in the Richmond are grouped with Sea Cliff is an entirely different nano breakdown that could further skew the numbers…ever seen a $15,000,000 home sell in the Richmond? Anyway….) In any given neighborhood, it is good that volume is up on the month (but also expected given the season), but bad that it is down on the year, because last year was a brutal year, so how could it go anywhere but up? That makes me cautiously optimistic.

For Condos we see YoY sales volume is down 7.2%, but up 28.8% on the month. That is a much more modest gain as compared to single families, and another indication that single family homes are still, and likely always will be, in more demand in San Francisco (because there are so few of them.) But look at District 5 Central (Noe Valley, Haight, Cole Valley, Glen Park…all together? Seriously?) volume is up 2.6% from last year, and 81.8% from the month prior.

The verdict? The San Francisco real estate market is both showing signs of strength, but also still many signs of weakness. You need to really take a close look at the data being presented in any articles you read (as opposed to just reading the headline and story), and you really need to figure out what the market is doing in your neighborhood, and specifically, on your block. Sales volume is (to me) most important, because it is your indication of whether properties are selling, or not. Average and median prices got pummeled, so don’t lose sleep over them. If you have to move and sell now, focus on pricing, get the highest and best price you can, and don’t stress over whether the seller 20 blocks away got more, because it could just be a result of the weather.

I’ve always said “San Francisco” data is way too generic for all of our little nano-markets, so if you have any questions about my thoughts on your ‘hood, you know where to find me.

Today, I’ll be golfing (or maybe surfing).

-San Francisco Real Estate Market Trends [ReReports.com]
-Why The Fuss About Noe Valley [theFrontSteps]
-What’s the Real Estate Forecast For Bernal Heights [theFrontSteps]
-Tour De San Francisco: Clarendon Heights [theFrontSteps]
-Factoring Weather When Buying A Home In San Francisco Is Anything But Easy [theFrontSteps]

Spring Break!

Hello all,

My children are on Spring Break this week, and although I thought I’d have time to post, I really don’t. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime, I am still answering emails and phone calls should you have any questions about San Francisco real estate, or should you need to write an offer or list your home.

If you’re looking for something to browse while I’m away, you can always check out PocketListings.net.

What Makes A Room A Bedroom?

What is it exactly that makes that room a bedroom? The question has come across my email enough, and actually I think I even posted on it at some point. Well, it’s resurfaced and maybe time to hash it out, as the opinions on what makes a room a bedroom are anything but concrete.

The initial question:

A few months ago an email was circulated as to what defines a bedroom. There were several responses, but if I remember correctly a bedroom does not have to have a closet to be a bedroom…

And the varying replies from various real estate agents:

-My understanding is it technically must have a window – ideally with a means of egress
-My understanding is two methods of egress. A door, and another door or a window or some way to get out in the case of an emergency. No closet necessary.
-Operable window, that a person can fit through AND the minimum size is 70 square feet, where the minimum for one of the dimensions is 7 feet.
-I believe that HUD requires a closet in order to count it as a bedroom for financing purposes. A lender could probably clarify that.
-I’d suggest using the International Uniform Building code that refers to a specific size of window based on square footage of BR. It needs to have a door and a window and the window has to be the right proportion. Read More.
-The Building Code requires an operable egress window with minimum size requirements as [the other agent] indicated. In addition the window needs to be sized for light and air requirements. If I remember correctly it is 10% of the floor area. A closet is not a requirement to satisfy the building code, but it may be a HUD requirement for financing, as [another agent] mentioned.

Perhaps the most accurate answer?

1. The first bedroom must be at least 120 square feet.
2. If your first bedroom is at least 120 square feet, you get to call your second bedroom a bedroom if it’s at least 70 square feet with 7’ on a side.
3. Required natural light and air: 8% of floor area of natural light, and 4% of floor area of air (operable window). A traditional double-hung window can cover both bases, because when it is open, it provides half the air as natural light.
4. Minimum clear headroom of 7’-6”
5. You need two means of egress. One may be a window. If the second is the window, fire department requires minimum area for personnel access of width 20”, minimum height 24” with net clear opening minimum of 5.7 square feet.
6. A closet is required.

And the first comment from that thread:

What you’ve written here is not entirely correct – I believe you may be conflating Realtor’s rules-of-thumb with actual Code requirements.

1) Sort of. Any habitable room (Living Rm, Dining Rm, etc) can be larger than 120 SF (2007 CBC SEC 1208.3)
2) Correct. Minimum Habitable room size (includes bedrooms) is 70 SF, 7′ minimum width (2007 CBC SEC 1208.3 & 1208.1)
3) These are correct window areas for required natural light (8% floor area) and ventilation (4% floor area), but neither is required if sufficient artificial light and mechanical ventilation are supplied (2007 CBC 1203.4.1 & 1205.3).
4) Correct – Minimum ceiling height for Habitable rooms is 7′-6″, however it is 7′-0″ for bathrooms, storage, kitchen, laundry (2007 CBC 1208.2).
5) Sort of. Only one exit (Means of Egress) is required, the other is an Emergency Escape & Rescue requirement. This is not a Fire Department requirement, it is a California Building Code requirement (SEC 1026.1)
6) Wrong. No closet is required by any State or Local code (Building, Housing, Health or otherwise).

So there you have it…the jury is clearly still out on this one. My advice, get used to living in closets if you’re living in San Francisco.

Ask Us: My Property’s Value Decreased, How Can I Lower My Property Taxes?

I’ve been asked (variations of) this question countless times:

I am pretty sure the value of my home has reduced however the property taxes have not reduced. Can you help me with this process and if so what is your typical fee for this service. My home is in San Francisco.

My reply:

Hello,

Thank you for your email and contacting me. I have touched on this subject before on theFrontSteps.com. A quick search in the search bar on top right for “Property Taxes” will get you these results: CLICK HERE

Why don’t you start by looking through that information and then letting me know what else I can do.

I do not necessarily “help” beyond providing advice. You will have to go down the road on your own, but I am happy to help where I can, and as you can see I’ve been asked this question a few times.

My fee is asking you to tell your friends both about me and theFrontSteps.com, and remembering to give me the first opportunity to represent you, and your friends/family, in any real estate purchases in and around San Francisco.

Keep me posted and good luck!

-More questions answered [theFrontSteps]

Winner: The Best Coffee (House) In San Francisco, And The Rest

Congratulations to Philz Coffee! You have been voted Best Coffee (House) in San Francisco by the people of the internets. The competition was linked to around the world, and we have to say Philz not only got tons of nods during the first round of nominations, but they also swept the voting when thousands more hit the polls.

It’s all good stuff and we can’t wait to get a cup. We appreciate everyone’s participation and the countless links that sent people this way.

The Rankings:

1. Philz Coffee
2. Bernie’s
3. Blue Bottle Coffee
4. Four Barrel Coffee
5. Martha Bros Coffee
6. Contraband (Coffee Bar)
7. Ritual Coffee Roasters
8. Farley’s Coffee
9. Java Beach
10. Sightglass Coffee
11. Peet’s Coffee & Tea
12. Caffe Roma
13. the Beanery
14. Intelligentsia Bar (In Specialty’s)
15. Caffee Trieste
16. Stumptown (Ma’velous)
17. Henry’s House of Coffee
18. Simple Pleasures
19. Barefoot Coffee (Epicenter Cafe)
20. Café La Taza
21. Starbucks (Really?)
22. Caffe Puccini
23. Trouble Coffee (De La Paz)
24. Velo Rouge Cafe
25. Caffe Greco
26. Verve Coffee Roasters
27. De La Paz Coffee (Trouble)
28. Hearth Coffee Roasters (Brown Owl Cafe)
29. Graffeo
30. Bello Coffee and Tea
31. Quetzal Coffee
32. Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee
33. Coffee to the People
34. Piccino Cafe
35. 7-11 (Humoring you)
36. Progressive Grounds
37. Showplace Caffe
38. Castro Coffee House
39. La Boulange
40. Matching Half
41. Wicked Grounds
42. Farm:Table
43. Blue Danube
44. Cafe Reina
45. Toy Boat
46. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
47. The Summit SF
48. Curbside Coffee
49. Rancho Parnassus (Thanksgiving Coffee)
50. Tully’s
51. Capricorn Coffees
52. Cavalli Cafe
53. Equator Coffees & Teas
54. Muddy’s Coffee House
55. The Coffee Roastery
56. Cup of Blues
57. Cafe Encore
58. Ecco Caffe
59. Stella Pastry & Cafe
60. Coffee Roaster
61. Manning’s
62. Dash Cafe
63. Javalencia Cafe
64. Cafe La Stazione
65. The Grove

We’ll just go ahead and stop there. There were another 25-30 one vote coffee (houses) that came in, but we gotta stop somewhere. Thank you everyone!

Mission District “Is Our Backyard”-Says Potrero Hill

[Image Source]

Every so often older posts get comments that are so good, I just can’t pass up posting them right front and center on the home page. This one came in on an old post we did about La Mission District and just how cool it is.

Sorry Mission District, according to this Potrero Hill reader you’re nothing more than their “backyard”.

Potrero Hill is SF’s best neighborhood TO LIVE IN for these reasons:

1) VIEWS – don’t have one? Step outside, you get one every time you head towards any of the other neighborhoods or just to get a cup of Farley’s coffee. Can’t do that? Watch a commercial or movie, it’s likely it includes a scene shot from here.

2) PARKING – every one of the other neighborhoods has you looking and wishing you could drink and drive while looking.

3) SUNSHINE – if we don’t have it, neither do you. If we do, you probably don’t.

4) PROXIMITY – 280, 101, 80 and trains and the #10 make getting up and down the peninsula or to the East Bay, or to the beach or along the Embarcadero or FiDi or the ballpark a snap. Bernal, Bayview, Glen Park, Mission, Noe, Castro, Soma – are all neighbors, in fact La Mission is our backyard. Every thing else is really minutes ‘cept for the Golden Gate Bridge or Golden Gate Park which really is meant for a lovely drive anyway.

5) COMMUNITY – it’s tight and effective and gets more and more inclusive vs. many of the other conformist, hands-off-the-merchandise ‘hoods. This means childless hipsters, muralist breeders, biogeneticists, game designers, street soldiers, old-timers, turistas, baristas and anything with paws come together for the Good Life. And it’s small enough that everyone knows your name, “my friend”.

Touché!

-San Francisco’s Coolest Neighborhood…La Mission, Hands Down [theFrontSteps]

“Fastest Sales-Cycle For New Home Development In San Francisco”

Generally, we shy away from posting media blitzes on our site as they usually are simply a way for us to publish a sales pitch, but this time given the state of the housing market across the nation, and here in San Francisco, we thought this PR push worthy of a mention at the very least.

Union by Palisades, a new residential condominium and loft development at 2125 – 2101 Bryant Street, “has concluded the fastest sales-cycle for new home development in San Francisco this year, and at an average price that exceeded many luxury high rise properties. Between January and September of 2010, Union closed transactions on all 76 homes…”

That’s pretty impressive, and great to hear buyers are out there, loans are funding, and deals are closing.

-Union by Palisades [website]

San Francisco Giants Win World Series: Bedlam Ensues, Brian Wilson Calls In…

Last night the San Francisco Giants clinched the World Series Title and they did it with authority, routing the Texas Rangers four games to one, in the best of seven series. What made it all the more sweet was continually seeing George W. lean over to his wife and ask her just exactly what was going on. You know she said the same thing to him as she did during his entire presidency, “Honey, we’re getting our asses kicked.” That was sweet. But what about San Francisco?

As expected, the city erupted. Fans and non-fans came out on the streets to partake in the celebration, which (did you have any doubt) quickly escalated into borderline rioting. There were reports of cars being set on fire, overturned, and vandalized. Multiple neighborhoods in the city saw streets blocked and “block parties” erupt. Valencia Street in the Mission was shut down, Chestnut Street in the Marina blocked, 9th & Irving in the Inner Sunset stopped, Market Street downtown packed, King and 2nd/3rd Streets in SOMA/Southbeach flooded, and those are just the areas we saw pictures of on our Facebook page.

As soon as the game was over sirens were blaring on firetrucks and police cars, “bombs” (read: very large fireworks of the M-80 variety) were going off, fireworks shot into the sky, and countless numbers of people driving and honking, and hanging out their windows and sunroofs were waving flags and screaming, “GIANTS!” as they raced through the San Francisco streets in celebration. Surely, many people are waking up today and wondering what hit them, and many more are wondering what is all the fuss…”they’re not ‘World’ Champs after all.”

Phew! It was awesome, it is awesome, but it’s that time. Put your Halloween costumes away (you had an extra day to wear it, you expect two?), go check out the parade tomorrow, high five everyone you know, kiss a stranger, show your support, bask in the glory, but for chrissakes….put your head back on straight will ya! You gotta work, and Brian Wilson called…he wants his f*cking beard back!

GO GIANTS!!!!!!

A Worse Punishment for Sisyphus: Policing Noise in a Metropolis

Hello out there, theFrontStep Readers! You may (or just as likely, may not) know my name from my blogs for Redfin. I’ve kindly been invited to write also for theFrontSteps, so here I am, on the steps, with my first blog.

So here’s the setting: last night, 2:00am, sultry night, people walking up from the bars, falling down, giggling. That noise doesn’t bother me much. I’d have to be a hypocrite if I tried to pretend I’ve never, after closing time, made too much noise under someone’s window as I staggered home. But another noise does bother me: some a-hole flooring his car and slamming on the breaks as he reaches the stop sign in front of my house. Then, from fully stationary, he floods the car again, tyring to go from zero to sixty instantaneously. Then he screeches off, circles the block, and comes back to do it again.

But we all live in a city. We can’t really expect quiet, can we? We can hope for it, and maybe in some areas, get it most of the time. But in the end, we’re sharing with a lot of people, some of them loud and possibly crazy. That’s why this new law aiming to curb SF noise interests me. Continue reading

This property caught many of us off-guard

2448 Folsom 2448 Folsom went on the market on August 1st. It got an offer within 11 days, went pending a week later, and sold on 9/22 for $1.509M. That was 34K above its asking price of $1.475M.

This is Folsom street between 20th and 21st. Those of us familiar with the area were very surprised by this to say the least. The reasons for that are many, not the least of which is the fact that this is the very center of the Mission. With all that has happened, wouldn’t you think such a result unlikely?

MLS LINK here.

Taking Over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Some Clarification

If you’ve been wondering what all of this Government takeover of Fannie and Freddie means, you’re hardly alone, so we just went ahead and copied what we just read to give you some different perspectives of what is being said in the real estate world. We take zero credit for this, it all came from the San Francisco Association of Realtors Advantage Online:

[Update: And we just discovered more info on Trulia].

“NAR: What the Government Takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Means to Housing Industry

In short-term, home sales should improve as mortgage rates fall Continue reading

San Francisco’s “coolest” neighborhood: La Mission…hands down!

If you want to be flat out, straight, f**king cool, then live in (or at least go to) the Mission. We have been in every nook and cranny of this city and checked out just about every type of property you can imagine, seen every type of living quarters, seen just about every type of person and their living environments, and experienced all the areas this city can throw out. The Mission district in San Francisco is by far the absolute downright coolest, most hip, happening place in the city, and a recent trip around the Mission reminded us just how cool it is. Forget Union St. forget Fillmore or Hayes Valley, forget Union Square, forget the Embarcadero, (which are all really cool) forget it all….the Mission is the sh*t. It just has that vibe.

missiond

Not sure where it is? Walk outside your door, ask the first person you see, “How do I get to the Mission District,” make your way there, and experience everything else along the way. If you still can’t find it, use this map and look for where district 9c (Inner Mission) meets 5m (Mission Dolores), and you’ll be close.

Since this is a San Francisco real estate blog you’re probably wondering what the market is like there, so here are the comps for the past year. Enjoy and go check it out.

[Update: Since we're getting a fair bit of link traffic coming in for this post, you should all know we've had a few Battle Royales in the past and this one is quickly becoming one itself, so we've tagged it to go along with the others.]

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]

Update: Transbay Terminal

We’ll get a nice photo for you when we have time, but for now, we wanted to point you to RinconHillSF.org for the dirt on the Transbay Terminal.

ttt.jpg

Some quotes:

Construction set to begin in November 2008

Open for business in August 2009 for Phase 1, close the existing Transbay Terminal (note that Golden Gate Transit and SamTrans will still use the Mission Street semi-circle driveway off Mission)

Phase 2 completion in October 2009 will move Golden Gate Transit and SamTrans over to the temporary terminal area following the removal of the eastern Transbay Terminal ramp from the Beale/Howard corner of the site

New Transbay Transit Center building is scheduled for completion and the temporary terminal is scheduled to be closed in January 2014

The Redevelopment Agency will develop mixed use retail/housing (most likely affordable, BMR rentals from what I’ve heard) on the Temporary Transbay Terminal land along with a park (yeah!!! We must make sure the park comes to fruition by staying engaged in this process as a neighborhood!). The mixed use development will tentatively happen along Howard Street and along Folsom Street with the park in the middle of the two strips of buildings.

-Transbay Terminal [theFrontSteps]

-Temporary Transbay Terminal Meeting Notes [Rinconhillsf.org]

Luxury High Rise Condo/Hotel Developers, Realtors and Marketing Peeps Take Note

There is a new company in town you should be very interested in, particularly if you are catering to a high profile buyer. The company is DRIV, and the mission is simple:

Take your automotive fantasies, render them in metal and leather, and hand you the keys to a stable [read: large choice] of exquisitely prepared high performance luxury cars to enjoy at your leisure. From the inimitable refinement of an Aston Martin to the visceral driving experience of a Lamborghini; from the unrivaled heritage of a Porsche to the rarefied status of a Ferrari…

DRIV relieves you of the burdens of outright ownership.

driv.jpg

And we say it is a phenomenal concept for luxury high rise living, and a great concept in general. Why wouldn’t a new development jump all over this? Parking is limited, many owners are only in town once or twice a year, and it could very well be something that puts a buyer over the top when deciding between two buildings. Why bother buying a new Porsche for your new pad, when a company like this can get you there cheaper and easier?

Bets on how long before One Rincon, Millenium, Infinity, St. Regis, or any of the others wise up to this idea?

Our bet: too long.

[Update: Trumped already. {Removed per request} has already purchased 20 memberships from this very club. (More on the Trump thing later.)]

-Millennium Tower, Going Up [theFrontSteps]

-DRIV [website]

p.s. For the record, we know the idea of a “luxury car club” is hardly new, but San Francisco has yet to adopt this in new developments. Sydney, Vancouver, and other cities have. Please, correct us if we are wrong. And no, City Car Share, free Vespas, and ZipCar don’t count.

Trinity Plaza to begin excavating! Yeah!

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. If you want to be totally up to date on what’s going on in big development news, you should subscribe to The San Francisco Business Times. Nobody has their finger on the pulse like them, particularly J.K. Dineen. (Some of our readers can certainly second this emotion.) With that said, Mr. Dineen again breaks the news that this guy (Angelo Sangiacomo pictured below) has a big ass shovel and he’s about to start digging.

Najib Joe Hakim SF Business Times

“After a six-year entitlement battle, the Mid-Market apartment owner is gearing up to break ground on phase one of what will eventually be a 1,900-apartment complex on a windswept stretch of Market Street…

SFGate via Arquitectonica

Trinity has hired Cannon Construction to build the massive San Francisco project, which was designed by the Miami-based Arquitectonica, the firm behind Tishman Speyer’s Infinity complex on Rincon Hill.

The complex was approved on April 10, after years of negotiations between Trinity developer Angelo Sangiacomo, rent control advocates, current Trinity tenants, and District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly.

The first phase of construction, some 440 units on the Mission Street side of the property, includes 360 “replacement” studios to house the rent-control tenants now living in the Trinity rental complex. The remaining 80 units will feature one-bedrooms: 68 market-rate and 12 below-market rate. The address of the first building will be 1188 Mission St.

… shoring and excavation will begin shortly and take the project into 2008 when the “pile and foundation program” will start. Trinity officials estimate that it will take two years to finish the first phase and move existing tenants over.

In all, the project will include four phases. After 1188 Mission St. is completed, the next building will be 545 units on Market Street, which will include 21,000 square feet of retail space and a large public plaza allowing pedestrians to pass through from Mission to Market Street.

The final building phase will add 915 units and include a building along Eighth Street and another west of the 1188 Mission St. structure.”

How is all this Bay Area development going to impact our housing market? With so much gloom in the headlines, you’d have to think these guys are nuts. We beg to differ.

-Massive Excavation to Begin at Trinity Plaza [San Francisco Business Times, J.K. Dineen]

-Arquitectonica

-Tishman Speyer

-Trinity Deal Hits a Snag [sfgate...source of building photo]

San Francisco Gentrification: Two Compelling Articles

If you haven’t already noticed, we real appreciate our readers and will publish most, if not all, of your contributions. This time AMITinSF sends us his/her thoughts:

The first article, is a totally regressive neo-socialist diatribe (predictably, from the sf bay guardian) on, get this, how Google’s shuttle bus is bad for the Mission district!

SF Bay Guardian Article

The second article, from the sf weekly blogs, is a roundabout response, from leading urban historian Joel Kotkin, who has interesting insights.

SF Weekly Article

I think these two articles make for an interesting juxtaposition on how SF is changing. Clearly the writer for the guardian article is bitter, and in my opinion, hypocritical. He claims to have moved to SF 8 years ago, excuse me? That’s like 1999, the height of the dot com boom!?! Also, the endless whiners from some circles of SF’s loony-left need to understand that ‘cool, hip’ artists that came to the mission in the early 90′s were merely a precursor for gentrification.

These artists are partly responsible for displacing working class Latin Americans, who previously displaced Irish families, who… it’s so counterproductive to blame different ethnic and demographic groups for how you don’t like the changes. Get over it! No place stays the same; no one is entitled with permanence to live forever in the mission or anywhere else for that matter. But, will they ever learn?

p.s. Be sure to read the comments at the end of the sfbg article- they rightly ream this guy a new a$$hole. But of course, sfbg will not have the balls to reprint any of these critical responses in the next ‘pulp’ issue.

God, am i the only one who reads the crap-guardian during lunch breaks to get my weekly laughs (as god only knows, sfbg takes its preposterous self so seriously.)

Very interesting take on the matter, and thanks for sending it in.

If you’ve got something to share, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Your opinions, contributions, tips, secrets, and lies are valuable and appreciated.

Sunset Idea House a.k.a. 1303 Alabama

by Tiffany Elston:

sunset In the spirit of keeping tabs on San Francisco’s green housing inventory, it seems only logical to draw attention to a green 2 unit TIC in the Mission: 1303 Alabama. The main unit is being retained by the owners. The second unit is a 1,200 SqFt home. The project is the result of a collaboration between Sunset Magazine and Meridian Builders and Developers Inc. and was designed to “take the magazine’s Idea House Program into a dense urban area for the first time, and demonstrate how to maximize construction on a compact site.” Interesting.

I got to preview the 2 bedroom 2.5 bath two Sundays ago during the Build It Green San Francisco Home Tour.

In terms of green building features, the house gets a high score: solar PV, recycled glass tiles, reclaimed wood floors, double insulated windows, dual flush toilets, rooftop garden, and the first residential windmill in the city (On a 1-year variance to see how the birdies fair with spinning blades.)

The unit is on the market for $1,089,000.

How long will it be before someone swoops in on this green baby? Wagers, anyone?

[Editor's notes: It'd be fun to see what "A" and "M" think it will sell for. I know "A" is reading, but what about "M". And WTF is up with the MLS photos of this place! You'd think better quality would be demanded of the agent.]

-Info on the Sunset Idea House

-1303 Alabama [MLS]

Investor Alley

by Greg Angilly

In every market there are properties that can be obtained for below market value – many that have a strong upside. Here are two we’ve been watching for a few weeks. Our sense is these are available at or below asking and are both strong investment opportunities.

3479 Sacramento St – List Price – $1,075,000

gregsac.jpg

2 bed / 1.25 bath + bonus room down. Parking and outdoor space and on the market for 90 days. Good location – slightly busier than the typical Presidio Heights location – but surrounded by boutique shops and cafés. Well under the average price per sqft in Presidio Ht’s. I imagine there is a willingness to negotiate the price if other terms of the offer are strong. The unit doesn’t show well at all. It’s dark and could use some upgrades. That said, nothing needs to be done so you can owner occupy while you renovate. New kitchen and bath / upgrade lighting / repaint the façade / research the inclusion of bonus room via interior stairs. With basic upgrades this unit should sell for $1.15+ – if you can include the downstairs rooms you are looking at $1.35+.

2080 3rd St # 8 – List Price – $649,000

greg3.jpg

Property has seen several price reductions from original price of $689,000.  Top floor unit with walk out deck with expansive views in smaller building. If purchased for 635K the loft becomes a great investment. Can serve as a nice rental / income property – approximate rental rate is $2500/ month. There are several new projects going in on 3rd St which will bring additional owners and businesses. The Mission Bay campus continues to grow and several new businesses have recently opened along the 3rd St corridor. This area will continue to mature and a deeded top floor deck with views will be a commodity people are willing to pay money to obtain.

I will be tracking these properties for our readers, and I am open for any discussions regarding the two, and/or my opinion on their investment value.

-2080 3rd St # 8 – List Price – $649,000 [mls]

-3479 Sacramento St – List Price – $1,075,000 [mls]

280 Square feet for $245,000 (54B Woodward, a reader reports)

56bwoodward.jpg This is kindly brought to us by a reader with [our comments] thrown in.

“Check this out.

56B Woodward, which is on the boundary between western SoMa and the Mission is all of about 280 square feet and they want $245k. The studio apt looks to me like a cruise ship cabin, being on the bottom floor, with views looking up to street level through the smallish front window. The floors are faux wood overlay (there’s a name for this that begins with a p, but I can’t think of it [we gotcha...Parquet...pergo]). Otherwise, it is an entirely unremarkable redo [would have to agree with you here]. It has been reduced once since being listed in January [originally $279,000].

I know this is San Francisco, but to me this property is absurdly priced with no parking and no extra storage [both are leased nearby, but where to put your shoes is the real question], and being a mere 7 feet wide and roughly 35 feet long. That’s over $800 a square foot. I would love to meet the chump [we're rolling with this word, but prefer a kinder approach] who finally buys this place and interview him. The first question would be what he does for a living, and the second question would be whether he ever thought at his salary/career level he would be living in a closet.

D.W.”

We’d have to agree this is quite the place. Of course, if this doesn’t work for you, you could buy any of the other 6 TICs in the building…scratch that, 56 just went into contract and 54A is pending. So apparently this new price is creating some interest.

-56B Woodward [mls]

-6 TICs on Woodward [mls]

Stats & Numbers

Thanks to “Boom”, who commented on one of our posts, and provided us with this link to the latest Bay Area Home Sale Activity for April 2007, which we copied below to show you just how San Francisco stacked up to the same month last year.
countypercentages.jpg

Our problem with relying on zip code data for median prices and market trends in San Francisco is the fact that the zip code doesn’t necessarily jive with the neighborhood and common type of property being purchased in those areas.  Examples: 94115 is Pacific Heights, but it also includes Lower Pacific Heights and the Western Addition; 94110 is the Mission, but also Bernal Heights; 94121 is Central and Outer Richmond, but also Sea Cliff.  See where we’re going with this?  

Regardless, here are some cool “real time” graphs you might find interesting as well. (Graphs are only for Single Family Residences.)

Innner Richmond, Laurel/Presidio Heights

Central/Outer Richmond, Sea Cliff

Marina/Cow Hollow

Parkside

Pacific Heights, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition

Mission, Bernal Heights,

Noe Valley, Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle

Mission Bay/Potrero Hill/SOMA, South Beach

South Beach, SOMA, Financial District

If you’d like your zip charted, contact us.

-Your chance at fame…or missed fortune [sfn BLOG]
-More Stats & Numbers [sfn BLOG]
[image sources: Data Quick; and Altos Research]

Ask an Expert (Mary Laughlin Fenton), Investment Property in Mission Bay?

“Can I ask what your opinion is about buying an investment property
down at the mission bay area now? You know, the ones like on King or
Berry street. Do you think those prices are coming down and do you
think they will come down? I saw on your last “sold” list, they were
all under asking. I would think of an investment property for 5-10
years down the line.”
D.C.-San Francisco
_________________

As answered by Mary Fenton, of Sotheby’s International Realty www.marylaughlinfenton.com

If you want to buy and hold, I think that is a great area as it is going
to be the hub of great scientific activity. The area attracts young and
older buyers who are downsizing and moving into the city, and commuters
who want to be close to the freeways. Mission Bay should be a great
thriving area within the next 5-10 years.

Mary