August 31, 2006
Inside 2525 Webster
When we first broke the news about 2525 Webster we accidentally wrote that it would hit the market for $7.2M, when in fact, we had actually heard $7.65M from a reliable source (or as “Gregg” noted, “The realtor's bet is $7.65M”). And yet according to the MLS, it officially hit the market yesterday for $7.15M (or $7.25M according to the property’s website - thanks “eddy”).
[Note to “Annoyed”: Take a deep breath, try to enjoy the pictures for what they are (who knows, you might even pick up a design/decorating idea or two), and then join us in reading between the lines with regard to the change in pricing (we do think it’s relevant, even to the “mainstream”). And by the way, based on what we know about our readers, it’s actually closer to 98.5% (but point taken). And thanks for “plugging in.”]
Quite Literally At The Beacon
Oh, the irony. From the remarks field in the majority of The Mark Company listings for new units in The Beacon: “Come see SF's Hottest new building.” (For those who don't know, The Mark Company is the exclusive sales and marketing company for The Beacon, and some of the units in the building are suffering from serious problems of overheating.)
∙ The Mark Company: The Beacon [themarkcompany.com]
Yahoo! Real Estate Is Live
As you might have already heard, Yahoo! Real Estate is live. And while we haven’t had a chance to play around with it too much, we are wondering why Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s new Pacific Heights mansion is now located in Russian Hill. Or perhaps more importantly (especially to the Senator), why Yahoo! Real Estate lists it as still being on the market. Not exactly a great first impression.
August 30, 2006
Inside 990 Green Street #6
990 Green #6 is a stunning three-level penthouse condo in Russian Hill. It boasts 4 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, and 3+ car parking; panoramic views, a "home theater" with wet bar, and a “large walk-out patio with hot tub.” It's priced at just under seven million ($6,885,000), and we're seriously smitten (but still trying to reconcile that track lighting and design in the home theater and game room).
And if you thought the photography and website for 61 Parnassus was impressive, 990 Green takes it to a whole new level.
Got (Enough) Insurance?
...people who haven't updated their insurance policies in a few years may now be underestimating what it would cost to rebuild their homes, particularly in high-priced markets.
One of the biggest shifts by insurers in recent years has been the virtual disappearance of "guaranteed replacement cost" coverage, which promised to rebuild a home exactly the way it was, no matter the cost. Now, most standard policies provide only "extended replacement cost," which offers up to 20% or so more than the face value of the policy if extraordinary events push up rebuilding costs.
Insurance experts say many homeowners haven't grasped this shift, and may be woefully underinsured as a result.
For insurance purposes, the value of a house is based mostly on the rebuilding costs in a particular area, not on its market value. The policy isn't meant to include the value of the land underneath, which is why some homes, especially in desirable neighborhoods where land is pricey, need less insurance than the amount they would fetch in a resale.
And no, we’re not suddenly selling insurance.
∙ Surge in Home Prices Leaves Homeowners Underinsured [RealEstateJournal] [SFHomeBlog]
August 29, 2006
Francisco Palms: Website Live
The website for the Francisco Palms is live and stocked with photos, floor plans, and a downloadable flyer (pdf). The first open house for four of the seventeen TIC units in the Marina has been confirmed for 9/10/06. And it now looks like pricing will start at $900,000 (versus the previously reported $950,000).
Update: Looks like it's worth repeating what we wrote in our original post about the Francisco Palms, "We had a chance to take a sneak peek a couple weeks back and were relatively impressed by the quality and thoroughness of the renovation. (Our major quibble was the decision to configure a few of the three bedroom units with only one bathroom.) The big question, however, is how the market will respond to million dollar TICs that are priced in-line with condos, but will never have the opportunity to convert (residential buildings over six units aren't eligible). And while it’s true that the individual financing will mitigate at least one of the major drawbacks associated with TICs (i.e., shared risk of loan default or delinquency), it doesn’t adequately address another: liquidity (more on this later)."
The Brighter Side Of The Beacon
I know that The Beacon had a couple of problems, but most had been fixed (the roof was repaired months ago and has been fine). The ownership held a meeting with the homeowners last week and vowed to fix any other problems and *apologized* (when did an owner ever do that) for the third party who did the warranty work. They also extended the warranty for *every* homeowner (even if their warranty had already expired) as a show of good faith.
Earlier this year, the owners of The Beacon (not the developer, that was Catellus who sold the building) committed over $400,000 to redo the courtyard from the old Catellus design. Right before work was supposed to get started, they got sued. Last week they said that they would continue with the project despite the lawsuit because they didn't want to penalize the majority of residents for the action of a few.
I hope they don't think that these few people speak for the majority of residents because they are a pretty good group of people who a very fair and reasonable. Not every building's perfect, but at least The Beacon has a group that is committed to fix things without lawyers or years of court dates.
And while this obviously doesn’t address some of the larger design issues (e.g., ventilation and overheating), it does paint a much different picture of the building’s management and state of (dis)repair.
∙ The Beacon Twenty-Two (And Their Dirty Laundry) [SocketSite]
More “Pseudo-Omniscient Pretense” (And 255 Berry)
We can’t help but notice that since our last update on 255 Berry (which caused a commenter to accuse us of “pseudo-omniscient pretence” and “dramatiz[ing] a most benign situation”), the following has transpired:
∙ Unit #307 was withdrawn
∙ Unit #309 was reduced $50,000 (now listed at $1,100,000)
∙ Unit #317 was withdrawn but has been relisted at $1,249,000 (reduction of $76,000)
∙ Unit #321 was reduced $14,500 to $875,000 and sold for $865,000
∙ Unit #408 was listed for $749,000
∙ Unit #513 was withdrawn but has been relisted at $739,000 (total reduction of $110,000)
At its new price, unit #317 (which is very much "waterfront" and advertising “$120k [in] upgrades”) is now listed at $787/sq.ft. Waterfront unit #113 sold for $837/sq.ft. three months ago. Damn it, there we go again...
∙ A Troublesome Trend? [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 255 Berry #309 (2/2) - $1,100,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 255 Berry #317 (2/2.5) - $1,249,000 [McGuire]
∙ Listing: 255 Berry #408 (1/1) - $749,000 [Coldwell Banker]
∙ Listing: 255 Berry #513 (2/2) - $739,000 [Pacific Union]
August 28, 2006
A Class Action Suit At The Metropolitan?
According to a tipster, the lawyer who filed the class action suit on behalf of homeowners at the Beacon has also filed a similar class action suit on behalf of homeowners at the Metropolitan (333-355 First). From the tipster, “I heard he pitched Metropolitan homeowners at 6:00 and one of the owners drove him over to the Beacon at 8:00 to meet with their homeowners, then hit both buildings with lawsuits on Friday.”
Can anyone confirm this tip or provide us with a copy of the filing? Keep in mind that if the filing can be confirmed, the homeowners in the Metropolitan will face the same challenges as the homeowners in the Beacon with regard to refinancing or reselling their condominiums.
In related news, the word on the street is that the fee agreement in the Beacon class action suit calls for the attorney to keep
somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of any “gross recovery” (but that he will lower his fees to 33% if at least half of the homeowners join as plaintiffs).
UPDATE: It's official, Superior Court Case Number CGC-06-455064 ("BEN BEDI VS. FOLSOM/FIRST, LLC") was filed on August 11, 2006. (Download filing (pdf) at Box.net) Kudos to our "plugged in" readers, commenters, and tipsters.
Eye-On-Eichlers Home Tour (Marin)
The Eye-On-Eichlers Home Tour featuring over twenty Eichler homes in San Rafael's Lucas Valley and Terra Linda neighborhoods, and “celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Eichler homes in Marin,” will take place on September 16th from 11am to 4pm. Tickets are either $30 for access to five houses, or $40 for access to all homes on the tour. And once again, all proceeds go to support the Hospice of Marin.
Our thanks to Barry over at EichlerForSale.com for the great tip.
Inside 767 Bryant
We had a chance to walk through a couple of the condos in 767 Bryant this weekend. And while we found the sales team to be quite friendly, the soundproofing from street noise to be surprisingly good, and a number of the units to be quite spacious (and bright), we’re struggling to rationalize the “value” of these condos.
Irrespective of the location, the quality of the finishes in the units we toured are not competitive with other million dollar (plus) condos on the market. The bathrooms are a far cry from “luxury,” the kitchens didn't strike us as being particularly “chic,” and in the tri-level units, the scale of the lower levels seemed off.
For the most part these units are large and functional. But at these price points, we’re wondering if buyers won’t demand more.
∙ 767 Bryant: The
Apartments Condominiums [SocketSite]
August 25, 2006
A Much Bigger 12%
After a “three-year total renovation,” and then 6 months on the market, the price on 2266 Vallejo has been reduced $1,775,000 (12%). Perhaps a 12% reduction is the new black across all price points...
767 Bryant: The
767 Bryant is a 20 unit building on Bryant near 6th which was apparently converted from apartment use to condominiums. The first “phase” of eight units hit the market this week with units ranging in size from about 900 to 3,500 sq.ft., and prices ranging from $676,920 to $1,850,000. The full “Phase I” rundown:
∙ 767 Bryant #409 (1/2) - $676,920
∙ 767 Bryant #410 (1/2) - $856,000
∙ 767 Bryant #207 (2/3) - $933,000
∙ 767 Bryant #202 (2/3) - $1,092,000
∙ 767 Bryant #403 (1/2) - $1,100,000
∙ 767 Bryant #210 (2/3) - $1,200,000
∙ 767 Bryant #201 (2/3) - $1,013,500
∙ 767 Bryant #203 (2/3) - $1,850,000
The Grand Opening celebration for 767 Bryant was originally advertised for August 11 & 12 (we have no idea if it ever happened), but up until yesterday, the 767 Bryant website was advertising a “Grand Opening” event for this evening (the link has since been removed).
According to Damion, tonight’s event is still a go. And we’ll reserve judgment on the building until we’ve had a chance to do a walk-through.
Two Hours We’ll Never See Again
Okay, so it’s probably best not to mention just how long it took us to figure out that it’s a seven week (?) calendar sketched out on that damn wall in the listing for 188 South Park #5. (Or that it was only after we figured it out that we bothered to read the caption from another photo of the room “…slate-painted wall for your calendar, grocery list or physics equations…”)
And while Dornbracht fixtures, double shower heads, and rain spas sound nice, we’re still not finding the showers nearly as sexy as those in #7.
August 24, 2006
Price Reductions At 188 King
If you’ve been “plugged in” to SocketSite over the past couple of months this shouldn’t come as any big surprise (if not, well...): As of today, 188 King Street has officially dropped the prices on at least four units by $100,000 (or up to 12%) and removed a number of their listings from the MLS (only seven of what we estimate to be 30+ available units are currently listed). The recent reductions include:
∙ 188 King Street #201: Reduced from $825,000 to $725,000 (12.1%)
∙ 188 King Street #203: Reduced from $925,000 to $895,000 (3.2%)
∙ 188 King Street #301: Reduced from $825,000 to $725,000 (12.1%)
∙ 188 King Street #306: Reduced from $895,000 to $795,000 (11.2%)
∙ 188 King Street #404: Reduced from $925,000 to $825,000 (10.8%)
We're guessing this isn't exactly what they (or the buyers in "Phase I") had in mind for "Phase II" pricing.
UPDATE (8/25): Units #208 ($850,000) and #504 ($950,000) were just listed on the MLS. Deductive reasoning would suggest that the original target price for #504 was at least $1,025,000 (the original list price for #506).
∙ 188 King Street: Sales Update [SocketSite]
What A Difference A Week Makes
Another unit in the Beacon hit the market yesterday (25 units currently Active). Not too surprisingly, 260 King #553 is advertising “A motivated seller and a unit priced to sell.” And no mention of the square footage in the listing…
Cashing Out At 200 Townsend?
Five units in 200 Townsend hit the market on Tuesday (two of which are already pending). All the same broker, all the same agent, all the same pictures, and most making reference to their “first time on the market!” Perhaps the developer (or an investor) has decided it’s not such a bad time to take some money off the table? Regardless, a fair number of choices if you’ve had your heart set on living in the 51 unit building.
∙ Listing: 200 Townsend #1 (1/2) - $679,000 [Pacific Union]
∙ Listing: 200 Townsend #6 (1/2) - $825,000 [Pacific Union]
∙ Listing: 200 Townsend #10 (1/2) - $759,000 [Pacific Union]
∙ Listing: 200 Townsend #13 (1/2) - $635,000 [Pacific Union]
∙ Listing: 200 Townsend #17 (2/3) - $899,000 [Pacific Union]
Premium Rents In The Presidio
From a “plugged in” tipster:
Remember when bidding wars were to buy a place? Now they're taking place over rentals in the Presidio.
Two or three years ago, the Presidio couldn't give these places away, with units sitting empty for months. But in the last few months, the park has been inundated by wealthy homeowners trying to cash out and move. And the park has not forgotten its "mandate" to make money. It is holding formal auctions for its more desirable properties, demanding among other things that prospective renters not only prove their financial wherewithal, but also propose such details as precise rent escalations. Rumor around here is that one place went for $3,000 over asking (yes that's over asking) and that someone offered to spend over $100k of their own change to renovate an officer's home.
Case in point, 1304-B Kobbe Avenue a “5-bedroom, 2.5-bath home…built in 1902 as officers’ housing” in Kobbe Terrace, and currently available for a “Minimum Monthly Rental Rate” of $10,800 (“stainless steel appliances” included). If you’re interested, the home will be open this Friday (8/25) from 2:00 to 4:00. (And don’t forget to include a “Rent escalation factor” in your proposal.)
August 23, 2006
Presentation To The NAR Leadership Summit
A tipster forwards the link to David Lereah’s Real Estate Reality Check presentation given at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Leadership Summit last week. Very little of the data is San Francisco specific, but as our tipster notes, “definitely an interesting look at the national market.”
A couple of not so positive slide titles that caught our attention: “Condo – Significant Price Depreciation in West and South,” “Mortgage Obligation to Income – Worrisome in the West,” “Prices Do Decline,” and “Correction Necessary.” And according to the “What Will Happen?” slide, “Prices [are] expected to fall for remainder of year,” (although “[p]rice fall will be limited due to pent-up demand at lower prices”) and “[s]ome local markets are fragile and vulnerable to rate rise” (that would be us).
The five-day-old presentation forecasts national existing home price growth of 4.3% in 2006 and 3.8% in 2007 (down from 12.4% in 2005), and existing home sales of 6.6 million in 2006 (which was lowered to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.33 million just this morning).
∙ Real Estate Reality Check: NAR Leadership Summit (8/06) - pdf [realtor.org]
∙ Fresh Data Shows Cooling Housing Market [SFGate]
Square Feet Subterfuge
Okay, so we’ve had a chance to review (i.e., read) the legal filing related to the Beacon class action suit, and here’s our take on the whole “misrepresentation of unit size” issue: it’s subterfuge.
Or more accurately, it’s simply an attempt to claim “fraudulent inducement” in order to void the provisions in the plaintiffs’ purchase contracts which require arbitration (rather than lawsuits) and waives their rights to a jury trial (which the current filing demands).
Keep in mind that we’re not attorneys, we haven’t consulted any attorneys, and we’re simply speculating. That being said, perhaps there’s a properly trained legal professional who cares to comment? (Just go easy on us…)