May 31, 2006
Noe Valley Bunny House For Sale
That’s right, the infamous (at least to some) Noe Valley Bunny House is for sale (although not yet listed on the MLS). Having often admired the bunny trim from the outside, we’re looking forward to getting our first peek inside this weekend (June 4). [Editor’s note: this is most definitely not to be confused with the BunnyRanch in Nevada]
∙ Listing: 121 Hoffman Street - $799,000 [BJ Droubi]
The Italian Riviera By The Bay
Four blocks from Jack London Square in Oakland, the 100-unit Aqua Via (125 Second Street) seems to be upping the amenity ante for luxury rental properties with its private 29’ Back Cove water taxi (at the beck and call of residents) and a lighted bocce ball court. If you invite us over for a game, and send the water taxi to pick us up, we'll bring the Chianti.
∙ Aqua Via [aquavialiving.com]
May 30, 2006
The Art Of The Listing
Don’t get us wrong, we’re intrigued by 355 Bryant #102 (then again, perhaps it’s just the art), but we have to admit that we're still struggling a bit with the description: “The kitchen and two sumptuous bathrooms are in total harmony with the bedroom areas with no sense of compartmental afterthought. Indeed, this magnificent space defies the conventional description of “loft” and translates that edgy, urban lifestyle into an art form.” Right.
No Pop (But No Appreciation?)
While it’s an "old” speech (February ’06), it’s still a good one.
Christopher Thornburg, senior economist at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, offers his perspective on whether the recent cooling trend in residential real estate indicates an imminent bubble burst or just a lull in California's otherwise booming housing market in this edition of the Economics Roundtable at the University of California, San Diego.
Our favorite quote and topic: “People don’t think about fundamentals, they think about trends” (minute 37:08). A couple of other key segments in the 58 minute speech: California real estate (21:11); The bubble (30:15); When is it going to end? (45:15); What does this mean to you? (49:37); The punch line (51:48). (A tip of our hat to the Bubble Meter for the link)
Families Are Fleeing
While babies are booming in San Francisco, “school enrollment is slipping, and the city's school-age population is sliding.” Why? Families are fleeing the city in search of larger abodes, yards, and “affordable” housing. Go figure.
We’ve Added “Fantastic” To The List
Update: A day after we noted the "FANTASTIC" $625,000 reduction, Hill & Co. dropped the price by another $500,000 (now listed at $4,500,000). And as Curbed SF points out, 65 Saint Germain is now listed at $2,250,000 below its original list price of $6,750,000.
∙ Add “Dramatic” To The Guide [SocketSite]
∙ A SocketSite Guide To Price Reductions [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 65 Saint Germain (5/5.5) - $5,000,000 [Hill & Co.] [MLS]
∙ Price Choppers! Where are they Now? [Curbed SF]
Posted by socketadmin at 8:40 AM
May 26, 2006
Victorian By Definition
A reader almost reaches the end of his rope while pursuing the listing for 39 Chattanooga (“a historic Victorian fixer”) and writes, “Whatever is Victorian about this…BOX…escapes me !!” We feel your pain.
As it turns out, however, the house was built in 1900 (according to Zillow) and anything built during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) is considered Victorian. Ah, the subtle
loopholes nuances of classifying architectural styles.
And did we mention that Zillow also estimates that 39 Chattanooga is worth $998,117? Either this is one heck of a bargain, or Zillow is off by about $250K (33%). We’ll let you decide.
MAJOR UPDATE: Thanks to the great comment from "bats" we now know that 39 Chattanooga just might date back to the 1860’s, could possibly be the oldest house in Noe Valley, and at the very least is “a very old building.” (Damn you Zillow, you're 0-2 on this one!) Oh, and thanks to Henry for reminding us about that post-earthquake firestorm and pretty much ensuring that we don't sleep soundly for the next couple of weeks...
SFLuxe Catches The Quote
"You need to have $800 million to see it," says David Barrett . . . "And at least once a week, we get a prospective buyer who has that." ("It" being the $65M house atop Pacific Heights.)
We’re guessing there just might be a bit of hyperbole in that boast. And that someone with a mere half-billion in the bank will somehow find their way inside the marble manse.
Rincon Towers Going Condo
Not so much a rumor as a confirmation – it appears that the Rincon Towers apartment building at 88 Howard has finally been sold (but to Beacon Capital out of Boston and not Crescent Heights out of Miami) and is going condo. And although the 320 unit building is not very highly rated, the majority of the low marks appear to have been as a result of the soon-to-be-past management.
A Classic Case Of Tower Envy?
All of a sudden the Rincon Hill towers (400/350 feet) just don’t seem quite so tall (or towering). “A 1,000-foot tower, as well as two 800-foot towers, were proposed Thursday for the area around the Transbay Terminal, as The City moves forward with the rebuilding of the aging bus station at First and Mission streets and the development of the surrounding neighborhood.” At one thousand feet, that’s 147 feet taller than the Transamerica Pyramid (853 feet) and 221 feet taller than the Bank of America building (779 feet).
Champions of the proposal cite both the financial (an additional $250 million in revenue to help subsidize the $3.35 billion Transbay Terminal project) and the aesthetic (“The City’s flat undulating skyline would be significantly enhanced by a higher crown to emphasize its core, at the heart of The City’s activity”) impact on the city. (Opponents have yet to rally.)
Which really only leaves one question: will we be getting more comments from pissed off San Franciscans about that “significantly enhanced” line or from indignant New Yorkers who can’t believe “City” was capitalized?
∙ Spoiler Alert: One Rincon Hill Video [SocketSite]
∙ City eyes raising tallest building on the West Coast [Examiner]
∙ S.F. planners have high hopes for new center of downtown [SFGate]
May 25, 2006
C.A.R. Reports For April ‘06
According to the California Association of Realtors, the median price of a single-family detached home in the San Francisco Bay area is up 2.9% year-over-year while the pace of sales is down 20.2%. No real surprises when compared to the DataQuick report.
∙ Median price of a home in California at $562,380 in April [C.A.R.]
∙ SF Year-Over-Year Appreciation Now At 3.6% [SocketSite]
Build It Green
Build It Green is a “professional non-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote healthy, energy and resource-efficient buildings in California.” The organization offers workshops, green home tours (next tour on June 4th), and general information about green building.
From Bull To Bear?
You could actually hear the collective nodding of heads when Christopher Mayer, an economics professor at Columbia University, referred to San Francisco as a “superstar” city and argued that “land shortages and rising populations would translate into ever-rising prices.” Well, now Mr. Mayer is changing his tune.
Yes, we’re still
the a superstar city, but Mr. Mayer is conceding that “prices in the most expensive markets could drop 15 percent in the next year” (that’s us). He’s obviously never been in San Francisco on a day like today.
∙ Can you still get rich in real estate? [CNNMoney]
May 24, 2006
Speaking Of The Need To Differentiate
There are now 495,000 licensed real estate agents in the state of California (up 14% last year, and up 57% from five years ago). That equates to almost one agent for every 52 adults in the state. Yet another reason to diversify and differentiate…
∙ Real Estate Licensee Numbers Hit Record Levels and Continue to Rise [BusinessWire]
∙ Ooh La La! La Maison [SocketSite]
Ooh La La! La Maison
What do you get when you combine an East Bay real estate agent (Suzanah Juras), a “secluded hilltop villa in the East Bay”, and an “environment where men can be men ... while being tastefully entertained, titillated, and doted upon by our beautiful Maison Girls?'' According to Matier and Ross, that would be Femme de Maison.
And although billed as an exclusive Bay Area gentleman’s social club where members are “welcome to join [the Maison Girls] while they dance, swim, and relax in the hot tub,” and includes "racy burlesque shows and tastefully sexy strip tease acts,'' Suzanah, the
Madame President and CEO of Femme de Maison, is quick to note that it's “not a sex club.”
We did notice, however, that the Maison website specifically notes that “If you should develop a relationship with a Hostess outside of a Femme de Maison event, that is strictly a personal matter and Femme de Maison shall not be held liable for any issues which may result from such a relationship.” (Such as your wife/girlfriend kicking your ass to the curb?)
Talk about differentiating yourself as an agent in a slowing market…
New Developments: 601 King Street
601 King Street is a “mixed-use development of retail space and 224 dwelling units” (market rate and affordable housing) that is being developed by A.F. Evans Company and architected by david baker + partners. The design incorporates a half-acre of public open space and a portion of the Mission Creek trail/bikeway [Editor’s note: cool].
Thanks to the Potrero Hill neighborhood blog for bringing our attention to a project by Donald Booth (and sponsored by his employer, Adobe) to document the construction of 601 King Street through a weekly series of Flash movies. (Free hint to developers (i.e., marketing departments): this is infinitely more compelling than simply having a webcam trained on your construction site.)
∙ The deconstruction of 601 King St. [Potrero Hill]
∙ New Developments: 601 King Street [SocketSite]
∙ The Movies (construction of 601 King Street) [dbooth.net]
∙ QuickLinks: Technology Gone Awry [SocketSite]
May 23, 2006
Inside The Average Luxury Home
If the price of an average luxury home in San Francisco is now $2,920,000, then 2931 Pierce (listed for $2,950,000) just happens to be the most average luxury home currently on the market. (We're leaving that open for interpretation.) And interestingly enough, the "Seller is extremely motivated!"
Ah, To Be Average
According to First Republic Bank, the price of an average luxury home in San Francisco is now $2.92 million (up $231,456 from just one year ago). And according to David Papale of Ritchie Hallanan, while there’s a there’s a cooling on the high end (above $5.0 million), there’s still a shortage of inventory on the “low end” ($1.5 million to $2.5 million).
∙ Luxury home values hit record in S.F. [bizjournals]