Lembis Unloading Properties, Buyers Quickly Snatching Them Up

Had you been reading theFrontSteps for a while, you’d already have known the Lembis were hinting at unloading some property, but we don’t even scratch the surface of the kind of excellent real estate information that is available in the San Francisco Business Times. (As always, we HIGHLY suggest a subscription should you want to be plugged in to San Francisco new development and big time real estate news.) The latest issue is no exception.

We’d like to bring your attention to the recent article, “Lembi’s buying binge turns to selling spree”, “the latest indication that the city’s largest owner of apartment buildings is under pressure to unload properties to reduce short-term debt.”

As always, we tend to focus on the positive, rather than the negative (unlike some), and would like to point out a few things:

The Lembi Group, which controls 300 buildings and 8,000 units through subsidiaries Skyline Realty and CitiApartments, had put all but one of the 19 buildings up for sale early in the year. It recently sold 72-unit Nob Hill Tower to the Prado Group and Felson Cos. for $37.2 million. The company also sold 1850 Clay St. for $7.9 million and 1801 Pacific St. for $4.2 million.

Seth Siegel and Zach Siegel, senior directors at Cushman & Wakefield, have the listing.

Seth Siegel said 210 parties have completed confidentiality agreements, about twice the number expected. He said “nothing like this has ever sold before.”

This has been the strongest response we have ever had to any single offering,” he said. The time it takes to accumulate a portfolio of buildings like this is enormous. Here you have an opportunity to immediately make a foothold in one of the best residential markets in the world.”

Those interested include real estate investment trusts, large multi-family owners and institutions. Fifteen percent of prospective buyers are foreign, Siegel said.

“We’ve heard from people in Dubai, London, Switzerland, Germany and Amsterdam,” said Siegel.

Last year, San Francisco was the top metro area for apartment rental growth, according to Marcus & Millichap, and rental rates are projected to grow another 7 percent in 2008. Siegel said the weakness in the condo market has bolstered the demand for apartments.

Just goes to show, one man’s loss, is another man’s gain, and all of the focus on the downturn of one market, could mean the uptick of another. As we’ve said before, the savvy buyers are licking their chops in this “down” market looking for some solid long term investments in San Francisco residential real estate.

[Since we know it's coming, here is your counterpoint: Bosa Development suspends Mission Bay condo Project. And here is a counter to that: Shorenstein to start Oakland office tower...and so you see, we could go back and forth, or we could bury our heads in the sand.]

-Lembi’s buying binge turns to selling spree [San Francisco Business Times]

Penthouse views at Pre-Foreclosure pricing! (1254 Washington)

Perhaps the marketing remarks say it all:

“Amazing opportunity. Pre-foreclosure sale of a European style Nob Hill penthouse with spectacular views of the city & bay. This is a 6 room Edwardian flat in need of some serious TLC, but is a one of a kind unit and must be sold now!

Is that pre-foreclosure pricing or not? And how ’bout that “needs serious TLC, but is one of a kind…”?

1254Washington.com [Woodruff-Miller]

Tis the season of giving…from sfnewsletter

We stole the sfnewsletter code for their last “cocktail” issue, because they apparently kill old issues each week. Since we just linked to it and now learn it won’t be there, we pasted it here. Make sense? Happy Holidays.

MARKET UPDATE

Charts, Data, Trends

In a nutshell, our market has definitely been hit by all the doom and gloom. Not nearly to the extent you’re reading in the papers, but there is a lot of hesitation for a lot of people. On the other hand, there are some that have been on the sidelines for so long, they’ve found now the perfect time to get in the mix. A+ properties are still selling quickly, the south end of town (district 10) has been hit hardest by the foreclosures, and the gazillionaires really don’t care what the rest of the country thinks…they’re snatching up multi-million dollar trophy homes like they’re candy canes. The new developments are still selling very well, and general interest in San Francisco as a place to live and own property is still healthy. We’re anxious to see what 2008 will bring, more cold wind, or a sea of change? We’ll let you know.

MAXIMUM OVERBID OF THE WEEK

You thought these were dead? So did we…to an extent. But they still exist and this one quite frankly blew our mind.

4924 17th St, a beautifully remodeled 3 bed, 3.5 bath home was asking $3,600,000 and sold for $3,900,000 on 12/10/07. The marketing remarks say it all, and give us an indication of what may have happened, “Attention Pacific Heights Buyers this is the home you have been waiting for.” Don’t get us wrong, 17th Street is a great area, but the traffic is through the roof and this was a significant sale for Parnassus/Ashbury Heights. We’ll take a gin and tonic thanks, and on to the next discussion…365 Richland a nice 4 bed, 2 bath Craftsman in Bernal Heights…asking $899,000 and selling for $955,000.

STOP! Look closer. This property was originally listed at $999,000 and didn’t sell. They dropped the price to $899,000 and look where it ended up…$955,000. This is what you need to know about our market…it’s still ticking along, and once the price gets to that “competitive” range, you can expect multiple offers and often an above asking sales price. The most important thing in this market is pricing, and we used to say staging, but apparently pink is no bother to some. ;-) Whiskey sour will do just fine.

CALLING B.S. ON YOUR HOOD!

You’ve been there before, as have we, and it goes something like this, “You don’t live in SOMA, you’re in South Beach!” Or, “I live in Russian Hill.” “No you don’t, you live on Nob Hill.” Print this out, take it to the party, throw some darts at it, and bet some egg nog on your knowledge.

Available at ORK Posters, found via Curbed SF.

STALEFISH TANK

Readers love it, Realtors hate it…our monthly list of Stalefish. What’s a Stalefish you ask? It’s simply a property that has been on the market 100+ days. Deals, deals, deals!

But what’s a Stalefish Tank without pointing out some big fish? We’ve already told you about 300 Sea Cliff.

But there are so many more Stalefish to note…we’ll take four shots of tequila please, and move on…Are you fortunate enough to have your inlaws joining you for the holidays (ahem!)? Well, when you’re walking off all that holiday gluttony, you might take them on a nice walk up to Coit Tower. When they pause to catch their breath, and take in the breathtaking views from 115 Telegraph Hill Blvd, you’ll sound so in the know when you point out that this lot could be theirs for a mere $4,000,000.

Earn extra points when you inform them it’s quite stale at somewhere around 900 days on market, and has only seen one price reduction from $4.5M in the life of the listing. Something tells us there are either some skeletons hiding in that closet, or a seller that really doesn’t care to sell. We’ll need to chase those tequila shots with four Coronas, lime and salt please.

COMPARISON SHOPPING

There is a lot of talk these days about a jolly white bearded man who lives in the North Pole, and so we thought we’d try to find you a home next to him that you can discuss over a tasty mojito. Well… we couldn’t find anything that said, “Be neighbors with Santa”, but we did find a home that, once there, tells you where to go: 3563 Go Thatta Way, North Pole, AK. We kid you not. It exists and it’s for sale for $119,900.

Since we’re on the subject of the northernmost points, we thought we’d add that upon hours of searching for the perfect North Pole home to run in this week’s sfnewsletter, we also learned that Barrow, Alaska is about as desolate as they get, and way further north than North Pole, AK. However, we’ll still take an overpriced home in San Francisco over anything in either of those towns any day. But…it’s still fun to look, and it makes an Irish Coffee that much more appealing.

SKIP ACROSS THE POND

This one just came to us from Marin (Belvedere to be exact), so we’re hastily throwing it up, but stuck pondering the possibilities of back flips we could perform into that pool. Apparently, this home is now in contract for the asking price of $65M after three years on the market. Stocking stuffer perhaps?

-Mining Magnate sets $65M Sale [Wall Street Journal]

Ask Us: “Who’s the Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco?”

[Nominees have been submitted, GO VOTE by following this link.]

Where readers ask, and we try to answer (something tells us this could be the beginning of something fun).

underwear3

After seeing your latest post on the Nob Hill Gazette thing [The Art of the Deal or the Art of Photoshop?], I got to wondering. Since it appears so many Realtors are very concerned with looks, and there are some very good looking agents (I’m looking at the ladies, and my agent’s looks definitely made it easier to work with her), I have to wonder…who’s the sexiest Realtor in San Francisco?-AJB

Well that’s a damn good question and one we certainly hope to answer, but first, we must thank you for sending us your question, as well as nominee, which we removed to avoid a flood of votes for that one person (she is hot, that is for sure).

We can’t do this one alone. We’ll need a little help from our blogging brethren, readers, and colleagues. Word will have to travel. So…..start talking, and send us your nominees (strictly in confidence) for your pick as to who is the hottest/sexiest Realtor in San Francisco. Male, female, gay, straight, it doesn’t matter. This is San Francisco after all.

We’ll post the nominees to our site for you to vote. It will be kind of like high school all over again.

Don’t be shy, and let’s have a little fun!

-Submit your pick for hottest/sexiest Realtor in SF by clicking here

- or email: thefrontsteps@gmail.com

p.s. Yes, you can nominate yourself. It’s anonymous.

Stump the Stammtisch: UMB (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) take two

The same reader kindly asks again:

Thanks for posting my question and the answers regarding unreinforced masonry buildings.

It is much appreciated, but I am still looking for the answer to my second question: How can I find out how a building fared in the 1989 earthquake, including but not limited to whether it was tagged by the city?

Since several people asked why I wanted to know, my reason for asking is that I would like to buy a condo at The Lambourne, 725 Pine Street in Nob Hill. It’s a small old hotel that Joie de Vivre owned for years and recently converted into condos. The price is attractive, but the selling agent, Vanguard, is downright hostile. They won’t release a disclosure package until you are in contract to buy a unit (I have never heard of such a thing), and then you only have five days to review and approve of the disclosures. It makes me wonder what they are hiding and the first thing that comes to mind, given the age of the building, is structural issues.

When I asked if it was URM, the Vanguard rep said, “I don’t know.” Then he said, “If it was, the city wouldn’t let us sell the units.” Not exactly a definitive answer. I would think if you were selling condos you would know some basic facts about the building, such as the condidtion of the foundation. A reinforced foundation, or one that had passed an engineer’s inspection, could be a major selling point.

Are there records available regarding 1989 earthquake damage?

I just don’t feel like I can trust the sellers to give me accurate information. Given their attitude, I wouldn’t even consider buying in this building, but there is little if anything else in this price range on the market ($350 K).

Thanks again for your help.

Our pleasure, but I’ll go ahead and make it clear it was the readers that helped you out. And for that, we thank them.

The Lambourne (725 Pine, Nob Hill): Model residences now open

Located at 725 Pine, in the “heart of Nob Hill”, The Lambourne will be “22 studios and one bedroom pied-a-terre urban residences” with “European design elements by Charles DeLisle of Your Space Interiors”, hardwood floors, “petite” Scavolini kitchens with stainless steel appliances, priced from the $300′s to $500′s. Bathrooms sound nice too, with “Carrera marble accents”, and European Style washer/dryer by Asko.  Some units will have outdoor terraces, and zero units will have deeded parking.

lambourne.jpg

Although we haven’t had a chance to go check out anything about The Lambourne ourselves, we can tell you the model residences are now available to view, upon appointment only, so maybe one of our readers can enlighten us? If not, we promise we’ll get in there as soon as we can.

Keeping all political ramblings aside, have you ever noticed how most home furnishings and appliances that are designed to conserve space, yet maximize utility, and at the same time wow us with design aesthetics come from Europe?  Just a thought.

-The Lambourne

-New Developments [theFrontSteps]