Top floor, luxury, view two bedroom, two bath condominium in a boutique elevator building with parking, situated in the vibrant SOMA District of San Francisco.
The SF Planning Department just released updated Q3 information regarding the new-housing development pipeline. San Francisco is in the midst of one of its biggest new-housing construction booms in history. (The same is occurring on the commercial development side, but this report won’t deal with that.) Indeed, it often seems that new projects of one kind or another are being announced on an almost daily basis, and a detailed map delineating all projects in some stage of the pipeline makes many city districts appear to have measles.
New housing construction has lagged population pressures for decades – pressures which have soared during the current economic and employment boom – and now there is a scramble to address the inadequacy of housing supply, and, for developers/investors, to reap the rewards of a high demand/low supply dynamic in one of the most affluent and expensive housing markets in the world.
Currently, there are approximately 59,000 housing units of all kinds – luxury condos, rental apartments, market rate and affordable units, and social project housing – in the relatively near-term pipeline (next 5 to 6 years). Most are in the Market Street corridor area, the Van Ness corridor just above Market Street, and in the higher-density housing districts to the southeast of Market Street (see map). If we add the mega-projects planned for Candlestick-Hunter’s Point, Treasure Island and Park Merced, which may take decades to become a reality, the number jumps to over 80,000. As a point of context, there are approximately 382,000 residential units in San Francisco currently. About 3500 new units were added in 2014.
Housing supply and affordability issues, strong feelings regarding neighborhood gentrification and tenants’ rights, and even simple NIMBYism (or in SF, NBMVism, “not blocking my view!”) make development the most contentious political issue in San Francisco. Furious battles are ongoing in the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor’s office and the Planning Department; with neighborhood associations and special interest groups; and at the ballot box. Development is not for the faint of heart or shallow of pocket: One cannot contemplate building virtually anything in the city without vehement opposition and sometimes a well-funded coalition in opposition. For developers, the equation to be penciled out includes high costs, enormous hassle-factor and extended project timelines on one side, and the potential for large financial returns on the other. In new San Francisco developments, condos often sell for $1250 per square foot and above, and 500 square foot studio apartments can rent for up to $3500 per month.
Of the units in the greater pipeline of 80,000 units, over 9000 units are designated as “affordable housing” – but about 5000 of those are in the long-term Candlestick-Hunter’s Point and Treasure Island projects. Because of the nature of the political environment, much to do with how much affordable housing will be built is in flux. Many developers are in intense negotiations with government agencies and neighborhood associations to find a workable compromise between return on investment on one hand, and unit mix and affordable housing requirements on the other. Said requirements may consist of a percentage of units in the project, building affordable units elsewhere in the city, or contributing substantial amounts to the city’s affordable housing fund in lieu of building.
New housing construction is very sensitive to major economic, political and even environmental changes (i.e. natural disasters), so simply because something is in the pipeline doesn’t mean it will be completed as planned within the timeframe contemplated. First of all, plans are constantly being changed in the normal course of things. And if a big financial or real estate market correction (or crash) occurs, as happened in late 2008, projects in process can come to a grinding halt, and new projects substantially altered, delayed or abandoned. Because the timeline in San Francisco can run 3 to 6+ years, from initial filing with Planning to construction completion, developers and their financiers make enormous financial bets on what the future will look like. Timing is everything in real estate development, and can make the difference between exceedingly large profits and bankruptcy. When the music stops – which it always does sooner or later, though the time range of opportunity can vary greatly – not everyone will find a chair to sit down in. That especially applies to those who over-leveraged their projects.
As a side note, big Chinese developers have been investing in both large residential and commercial real estate development projects in the Bay Area, and, according to reports, continue to aggressively seek additional opportunities. Though significant – constituting billions of dollars in investment – these projects do not constitute the greater part of Bay Area development.
The Planning Department’s pipeline-report webpage is here: http://sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=1691
And if it keeps snowing, you will find me here.
Below, and attached, you will find the recent condominium sales report from the Mark Company, one of the leaders in new development sales in San Francisco. They have a keen eye on all things new construction, high rise, and luxury that is popping up around town, and they are behind many of the sales offices you might be visiting. To say they know the high rise market in San Francisco would be an understatement. They are truly the front lines, so have a look.
APRIL 2014 SAN FRANCISCO CONDOMINIUM PRICES INCREASE 19 PERCENT OVER PREVIOUS YEAR
The Mark Company Trend Sheet Tracks New Construction and Resale Market Trends
San Francisco – May 19, 2014 – San Francisco condominium prices rose 19 percent in April 2014 over the previous year, according to the Condominium Pricing Index released today.
The Mark Company Condominium Pricing Index for April was $1,115 per square foot, which is up 8 percent from March. New construction inventory was 45 percent lower than a year ago, and down 1 percent from the previous month with only 136 units now available.
‘The Condominium Pricing Index underwent by far its largest single month gain this year, building on an already strong market in San Francisco caused by low inventory and extremely strong demand,’ notes Erin Kennelly, senior director of research, The Mark Company. ‘However, a surge of new condominium projects scheduled to come online this year may indicate an easing of the city’s inventory crunch.’
The Condominium Pricing Index, part of the firm’s monthly Trend Sheet, represents the price per square foot of a new 10th floor, 1,000-square-foot condominium. It is based on recent sales data, and uses a proprietary quantitative method to measure trends in market demand. It tracks the value of a new construction condominium without the volatility of inventory changes.
The Mark Company Penthouse Pricing Index, which applies the same methodology to a new 30th floor, 2,000-square-foot condominium, was $1,915 per square foot in April, up 19 percent year over year.
The condominium price per square foot was $927 for resales, up 7 percent from March 2014 and up 19 percent year over year, according to The Mark Company Trend Sheet for San Francisco. In addition, there were 307 condominium resales in San Francisco in April, 259 active condominium listings representing less than one month of inventory, and 155 pending condominium listings.”
With what little inventory there is all across the city, versus what incredible demand remains, these numbers should come as no surprise.
As always, I’m here to help if you have any questions, or would like to buy or sell in any luxury high rise tower in San Francisco.
–The Mark Company Trend Sheet (pdf)
San Francisco New-Housing Construction Trends
Within its 47 square mile envelope, San Francisco is already
the 2nd most densely populated city in the United States,
and it’s growing denser, more affluent and more expensive.
May 2014 report with 13 custom charts
The following charts are mostly based on the San Francisco Planning Department’s excellent Housing Inventory and Pipeline reports, which can be accessed using the links at the bottom of this article. Quotes below are excerpted from these reports.
Packed with information, the data in one report section will not always agree perfectly with that in another – due to the multiple sources of data used by the Planning Department – and this is reflected in our charts as well. In the complex, lengthy process of application and review, public hearings (and, lately, ballot proposals), revisions, entitlement, permitting, construction and completion, how and when a project is counted may vary. Housing units are being built and being removed, and there are so many types: rental or sale, market rate or affordable, social-project housing or luxury condominiums.
Last but not least, this landscape is in constant flux: new projects, plan changes, and shifts in economic and political realities. Everything below is simply a good faith estimate. The basic reality is that San Francisco, after its recent 2008-2012 new-construction slump, is now experiencing a building boom. So far, however, it has not been able to keep up with population growth and rising buyer/renter demand.
New construction authorized typically will not show up as housing units completed until later years. And, of course, a developer can decide not to build after authorization if market circumstances change. The post-2008 drop in authorizations is clearly illustrated here.
“Some of the larger projects completed in 2013 include: 1190 Mission Street (355 market-rate units and 63 affordable units), Rincon Green (277 market rate units and 49 affordable units), Nema (279 market rate units and 38 affordable units).”
“Very large projects (200 units or more) filed in 2013 and are under Planning Department review include: Mission Rock (1,500 units); 150 Van Ness Avenue (429 units); 41 Tehama Street (398 units); 1066 Market (330 units); 950 Market Street (316 units); and 1301 16th Street (276 units).”
A glance at the recent past, the present and the possible future of new housing construction in the city. New projects are continually entering and moving through the pipeline, and existing plans may be changed or even abandoned.
“There are currently 857 projects in the pipeline. Of these, 74 percent are exclusively residential and 17 percent are mixed-use projects with both residential and commercial components. Only 8 percent of projects are non-residential developments. A net total of 50,400 new housing units would be added to the city’s housing stock according to current data. Around 18 percent of all projects, representing 6,000 net added housing units and 2,750,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, are under construction. Around 20 percent of projects (with another 4,200 net units and 3.8 million sq. ft. of commercial space) have received building permit approvals. As of the time of writing, some may have moved to the construction phase.”
I have word of a house, on the Great Highway at Noriega (the best sandbar on the beach right now), that is very much for sale, and very much not on MLS radar. Price hovering around $1,050,000 and $1,100,000. That is the view above, and here are the details below. As always, I am here to help get you in.
3 Story SFR taken to the studs and beyond in 2008
2BR 2.5 BA + Office
3 car tandem parking
LOTS of storage
Dog wash station
Hot/Cold water hookups for outdoor shower in the backyard
Ipe flooring throughout
Open layout with 8′ wide sliding birch pocket doors separating living/dining/kitchen
8’x15′ Blomberg window in living room
Custom cabinetry throughout
Spark brand fireplace in living room with flat screen TV mounted above
Half bath on living level
Huge dining room
6 burner Wolf Stove with a grill and 2 ovens
Island with prep sink
2 person office with built in Wenge desk and cabinetry
Baths all feature custom bamboo cabinets, modern Italian tile and Italian fixtures
Rear bedroom with attached bath has shower over tub
Master bathroom has walk-in 2 person shower with seat
Soaking tub with river rock surround
Separate room for toilet and bidet
Master bedroom has his/hers closets + walk-in closet for shoes (most closets in the house have storage by california closets)
Also has Spark brand fireplace with flat screen TV mounted above, cathedral ceiling, built in Wenge headboard with nightstands, plus built-in bed (plus a platform for a dog bed)
Expansive deck overlooking the surf
Ocean views from living and sleeping levels
From what I know, this is a home built for entertaining, hanging out, and enjoying all that Ocean Beach has to offer.
Contact me to go take a look. Principals Only.
Inner-Sunset, home to much good food, a few good bars, a few bad bars, the prohibitively expensive Andronico’s, and UCSF, will soon be home to new condos. On my block alone (9th Ave., past Moraga St.) there are two sites going up or planned to go up. One is adjacent to my deck, where I once saw the Bay, and now see the back of someone’s bedroom to be. I have no idea if this very tall building will be apartments for rent or condos for sale, but it will have several units, a garage, and a penthouse. On the other side of the street, where a long defunt Moraga Market has been little more than place to try out graffiti tags and dump unwanted sofas, construction is also in the works. The lot has sold, a hearing has taken place. All that’s left is to break ground.
Finally, quite done are the condos on 7th Ave., near Irving St. The photo above is from before the facades were placed. Now they are gorgeous Art Deco looking things with burnished copper and huge windows. The agent, Gary Small of Zephyr, tells me that the units are luxury one and two bedroom condos with underground parking, and that the two free-standing cottages that stood in a lot behind the building that sits on the street have been revamped. Some lucky millionare can thus own a little house all his or her own!
It’s the most action the Inner-Sunset has seen since a bunch of drunks from the Mucky Duck tried to scale a MUNI train. Sadly for we middle income buyers, the luxury condo lable means these new homes, exciting though they are, will not be ours.
Oh well. Drinking at the Mucky Duck is always an alternative.
Hullabaloo, hullabaloo, hullabaloo. That appears to be what everybody loves these days (especially when it seems to highlight more economic hardship for anybody…we’d think it easier to claw out of a recession if we shifted our focus elsewhere), and so it is no surprise the city (we’ll call it more the real estate obsessed readers) were up in arms over Robert Selna’s Chronicle Article stating (among other things):
The developer of the new condominium tower that dominates San Francisco’s southern skyline has told The Chronicle that he does not plan to pay the $5 million in fees that were central to obtaining city approval to build the high-rise.
Apparently the Chronicle didn’t get it exactly right…shocker!
From the developer of One Rincon Hill himself:
An open letter to the leaders of the city of San Francisco, Rincon Hill residents, our project partners, and the media:
While it is unfortunate that my discussion with the San Francisco Chronicle was taken out of context and thus reflected inaccuracies, it does provide me with an opportunity to share what has been and continues to be our commitment to both the project and the City. As such, I share the following.
Not only is One Rincon Hill more than 70% sold*, but sales once again are brisk; in fact, sales traffic has been above the pre-crash level (60-100 tours) every week in 2009. We are pleased to report that we have almost fully paid our construction lender and contractors, have no liens against the building and appreciate the unwavering support of our partners. We have not received any funds from the City in any aspect of the development of this project.
We have every intention to complete Tower II, but, as I said publicly months ago, we are waiting for the economy, and the residential real estate market in particular, to turn on the upswing. There is no rush to proceed at this time.
In specific response to the reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle that “he does not plan to pay the $5 million in fees that were central to obtaining city approval to build the high-rise,” this is not my plan. In fact, to date we have paid more than $16.6 million in fees:
Affordable housing in lieu fee (offsite) $11,026,146 (Dec. 2005)
S.F. public school fee $858,448 (Feb. 2006)
Rincon Hill Community Improvement fee $3,162,889 (Sept. 2006)
SOMA Stabilization Fund fee $1,268,306 (Dec. 2005 and Sept. 2006)
The sole remaining fee to be paid is the balance of the SOMA Stabilization Fee of $13.75 x 393,884 square feet or $5,415,905. This payment is not yet due. The payment becomes due when we obtain a final Certificate of Occupancy (which has not yet occurred); or, alternatively, we can post a letter of credit at that time to delay the payment by 6 months. In other words, we are not in default nor do we intend to be. Furthermore, the developer will not receive any distributions from the project before the SOMA Stabilization Fund fee is paid.
In my typical candor, I shared with the Chronicle the realities of today’s economy on our project – no different from what most every project is the country is experiencing. As we are in the most egregiously difficult financial environment of our times, I am realistically concerned with the burden of this fee. This was the intent of my discussion with the Chronicle, and I am disappointed it was not more clear. That said, we plan to pay the fees when due and proceed onto Tower II of this project which will provide a very singular living experience in a world class city.
Thank you for this opportunity to update our project and our vision.
Urban West Associates
–City fees for One Rincon unlikely to be paid [SFGate/SF Chronicle]
[Editor’s Note: No, the tower is not tilted…it’s trick photography. ;-) ]
Some time ago, I noted the construction in West Portal and asked around the Front Steps for the scoop. Those folks on the steps always know a lot, and more importantly, they like to argue. We had ideas that the construction would yield five- no, six- no, seven- no, eight homes. They were to be made of the cheapest- no, the most luxuriant materials. They were to be a blessing to- no, a curse, on San Francisco housing.
Realtor Kevin Gueco writes a very sunny review for the coming soon Mosiaica 601 condo project (pictured above) in his SFNewDevelopments blog. There’s definitely some room for pleasant surprise in the announced price (pleasant to me, anyway, since I selfishly find all condos I cannot afford to be unpleasant):
“Mosaica 601 announced last week that it plans to start pricing of its 3 bedroom / 2 bath condos in the low $600s! This is an incredible value considering each home is around 1400 square feet.”
Of course, putting aside Gueco’s near-by restaurant list, the area (where Mission meets Potrero) is a little rough, but the price still seems all right to me. Perhaps the developers see the price cuts so many other condo developers have had to make recently, and are starting lower to begin with?
Also coming soon (but not as soon) are a more mysterious set of housing units. Just off West Portal and 16th Ave., in front of Arden Wood, you can see the pushed-up dirt, huge bulldozers, and thin wood skeletons that signal housing to come, and their sectioning looks multi-unit. Thus I suspect these are the long awaited condos that were subject of news and speculation in 2006. In fact, that’s still the only information I can find on this construction: 2 years old, via SFHomeBlog and J.K. Dineen. Someone has to have a more updated scoop here. Anyone?
Meanwhile, still a pipe-dream (ha ha! Really, Haight Street, how many pipe stores can one street support?), but with the supervisorial green light is the Whole Foods/condo complex, slated to replace long-dead Cala Foods at the corner of Stanyan and Haight. The Chronicle outlines the plan here:
“The large, four-story project, which also includes some 60 high-end, market-rate housing units, was expected to be controversial, but the commission voted 6-0 to approve the conditional use permit – a result supporters think had a lot to do with their organized turnout.”
Right, agreed: Haight could use a face-lift and perhaps a gentle reminder that THE 60’S ARE OVER. Also, I like Whole Foods, but I’m saving for one of those condos, so I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s (with a new one also coming soon!). I’m curious what “market rate” will be when those units go up, since so many new developments are struggling to sell out units already. The Frontstep’s own banker/blogger, aptly known as “The Banker,” says: “We are overbuilt. . .and it is next to near impossible to get financing!”
What do you say?
Construction photo via SFNewDevelopments
I’ve heard from multiple sources that SF real estate is, for the most part, immune to the havoc wreaked on other parts of the US. But sales at our most recent condo complexes show that happy-smile-don’t-worry line of rhetoric is about as reliable as the clown’s was in Poltergeist (Happy Halloween!).
|T-907 Penthouse studio w/built in Murphy bed & views||$419,000|
|T-602 1-br, Quiet courtyard location||$449,000|