November 30, 2006
More Mid-Market Development And Definition
As Damion notes, the development of Argenta, Soma Grand, and Mint Plaza all fall within (or at least border) the area bound by the proposed Mid-Market Redevelopment Plan. The plan is currently pending before the Board of Supervisors, and if adopted, would most likely hasten the revitalization (or gentrification) of the neighborhood.
Now about that little indentation in the area boundary along sixth street…
∙ Argenta (1 Polk): Ground Breaking [SocketSite]
∙ It’s All About Service And Style At The Soma Grand (1160 Mission) [SocketSite]
∙ Mint Plaza (And Livable City) [SocketSite]
∙ SF Redevelopment Agency: Mid-Market Survey Area [SFGov]
∙ Mid-Market Development “Breaking” News [SocketSite]
Lundberg, ClockTower, And Cocktails…Oh My!
We’re huge fans of Architect Olle Lundberg’s design aesthetic (and happen to covet the Norwegian car ferry he inhabits near China Beach). And seeing as how we're not expecting an invitation to tour the inside of Ellison’s San Francisco pad (a Lundberg designed home), we’re jumping on the opportunity to explore a ClockTower loft that Lundberg designed along with interior decorator Linda Lee.
461 2nd Street #557 took four years to complete and features "2 tons of River Rock, $400,000 worth of fabricated glass and steel, and reclaimed Navy Turret ship mirrors on opposing sides of the windows to capture the partial water views."
You had us at the Hobart (refrigerator).
UPDATE (12/1): Okay, we’ve been and we’re fans (the storage space, built-ins, and level of detail/finish are fantastic). And yes, that sofa has got to go...
∙ Lundberg Design [2620 Third Street]
∙ New York Times Slideshow: Debris Decor [NYT]
∙ Friday Fun: Name This House [SocketSite]
∙ The ClockTower Lofts (461 2nd Street) [SocketSite]
∙ Listings: 461 2nd Street #557 (1,815 sq.ft.) - $1,195,000 [Meredith Martin]
QuickLinks: Don’t Get Bamboozled
∙ Bamboo leads green revolution [SFGate]
“Prices for bamboo flooring range from about $1.99 to $8 per square foot...[and] you get what you pay for. Bamboo can be as soft as fir or harder than maple, depending on when it is harvested. If it is harvested too early, say after three years instead of the preferable five or six, the bamboo will produce an inferior floor...[so] ask the manufacturer for data on the hardness of the wood.”
November 29, 2006
2130 24th Street #A: It’s On
Damn, our tipsters are good. Four weeks ago we wrote, “2130a should hit the market within the next few weeks at a list price of ~$1.3M.” Well, it’s now on the market for $1,295,000. And as promised, it’s just shy of 1,800 square feet (1,792 to be exact).
The Royal San Francisco: Under 20% Sold?
A peek into the windows of The Royal from a vantage point in the City Club seems to support speculation of fewer than ten closed condominium sales in the 46 unit Royal. And it's possible that those sales figures include five Below Market Rate (BMR) units.
And for those of you who have been following along at home, the owner of unit #604 remains "highly motivated," is offering to “pay 1 year hoa, parking, & gym membership,” and has reduced his/her asking price for a second time (now $769,000).
San Francisco Median Prices And Affordability Fall
According to the California Association of Realtors, the median sales price for homes in San Francisco has fallen 0.5% on a year-over-year basis (up 2.1% for the greater Bay Area).
In related news, CAR’s new and improved "First-time Buyer Housing Affordability Index" indicates that affordability in San Francisco has fallen from 21% in Q3 2005, to 17% in Q3 2006 (but up from 16% in Q2 2006).
November 28, 2006
Expectation Setting: San Francisco Appreciation
It’s not the “bubble-proof” moniker that caught our attention, but the measure of San Francisco’s long-term (1949-2006) average annual home price appreciation (4.2%).
∙ Business 2.0: Bubble-proof markets [CNNMoney]
Existing Home Prices Fall Nationally (And In The West)
While it's the local housing market that you really need to "plug in" to, it's worth keeping an eye on the broader market trends as well.
The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that [U.S.] existing home sales edged up 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.24 million last month. It was the first increase after seven consecutive monthly declines.
However, the median price for a home sold dropped to $221,000 in October, a decline of 3.5 percent from a year ago. That was the biggest year-over-year price decline on record.
It marked the third straight month that median prices have fallen compared with the same period a year ago, the longest stretch of such declines on record. The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.
David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors, said he expected home prices to continue falling for the rest of the year as sellers, accustomed to the booming market conditions of previous years, reluctantly cut their prices.
"Many buyers remain on the sidelines," Lereah said. "After a period of price adjustment, we'll see more confidence in the market and a lift to home sales should be apparent in the first quarter of 2007."
It's also worth noting that U.S. housing inventory is up 34.4% as compared to October 2005 which puts “months of available supply” at 7.4 (up 51% year over year).
And we have to wonder, will falling home prices actually buoy buyer confidence? While a downward price trend might aid in affordability, we can’t imagine it will inspire too much near-term confidence in terms of housing as an “investment.”
∙ Existing Home Sales Rise, Prices Fall [SFGate]
∙ Existing Home Sales Rise in October, Market Stabilizing [realtor.org]
Heritage On Fillmore: VIP Grand Opening (12/5/06)
It's about two quarters later than expected, but Heritage on Fillmore is opening its sales office doors next Tuesday (12/5/06) with a VIP Grand Opening featuring cocktails, sushi by Yoshi’s, and of course, live jazz.
If you're seriously interested in the development, we suggest you weasel your way onto the VIP list. And if you’re already on the list and plan on attending, we suggest you remember to report back. You know we'd do the same for you.
∙ The Heritage On Fillmore (1300 Fillmore) [SocketSite]
∙ Heritage On Fillmore And 170 Off Third: BMR Updates [SocketSite]
Argenta (1 Polk): Ground Breaking
As far as we know they're still not building any more land. But they are continuing to build thousands of new condos where none stood before.
Speaking of which, it looks like the Anka Group has broken ground on the 17 story Argenta at 1 Polk (corner of Fell/Market). Once a parking lot, the new development should add 180+ condominiums to the mid-market neighborhood (and is located two blocks from Hayes Valley).
And then there's the Union 76 gas station at the corner of Buchanan and Market. According to J.K. Dineen, Arquitectonica has been hired to transform that lot into an eight-story, 115-unit unit condominium building.
∙ Mid-Market Development “Breaking” News [SocketSite]
November 27, 2006
Another Contender For Tallest Residential Building In San Francisco
Last week, J.K. Dineen broke the news of a proposed 60-story condominium tower to be built atop the southwest corner of San Francisco’s landmark Sheraton Palace Hotel.
The proposed 269-unit skyscraper would emerge out of the back left corner of the Palace's 92,000-square-foot lot, at Jessie and Annie alleys, replacing a 1989 addition to the hotel that would be demolished.
The addition would soar 669 feet. One Rincon Hill, now under construction, will be 641 feet, and the Millennium tower at First and Mission streets, is slated to rise 645 feet. [The proposed City House in LA still weighs in at 751 feet.]
The plan is for 41 one-bedroom units, 63 two-bedroom units, 111 two-bedroom "plus" units, and 51 three bedroom units. There would be three 8,000-square-foot penthouses on floors 58, 59, and 60. The eighth floor roof of the current Palace would be redesigned with a pool, spa and yoga space.
Skidmore Owens Merrill (SOM) is the “design architect on the project, with preservation architects Page & Turnbull handling the historic aspects.” (Under the current proposal, the hotel’s garden court and 518 rooms would remain untouched.)
Renderings of the proposed tower do exist, but so far we’ve had no luck tracking them down. Anybody? [email email@example.com] Anonymity (or credit should you so desire) guaranteed.
∙ Palace uprising: 60-story condo tower [bizjournal]
∙ The Tallest Residential Tower West Of
The Mississippi Los Angeles! [SocketSite]
368 Elm Street Condos: First Release Pricing And Scoop
Eight months ago we plugged our readers in to the “inside scoop” on 368 Elm Street in Hayes Valley (“28 units in total with 2 bedroom units averaging ~1200 sq.ft. and offering 2 car parking”). This weekend, the sales office opened its doors, and lo and behold, 28 condominiums with two-bedrooms averaging 1,201 square feet and offering two car parking.
Features include: bamboo flooring and gas fireplaces in all living/dining rooms; Jenn-Air appliances and marble counters in the kitchen; and marble flooring, glass sinks, and walk-in multi-head showers in the master bathrooms.
As far as pricing and availability, Vanguard appears to be testing the waters with a first release of the six first floor units priced from $515,000 (studio) to $769,000 (1,249 sq.ft. two-bedroom).
∙ 368 Elm #101 (2/2) - $769,000
∙ 368 Elm #102 (1/1) - $549,000
∙ 368 Elm #103 (2/2) - $769,000
∙ 368 Elm #104 (0/1) - $515,000
∙ 368 Elm #105 (2/2) - $749,000
∙ 368 Elm #106 (2/2) - $749,000
∙ New Developments: 368 Elm Street [SocketSite]
∙ SocketSite Inside Scoop: Vanguard Turk Street Development [SocketSite]
“The Epitome Of Gracious Green Living” (Oakland)
Okay, so it might be across the bay (Oakland Hills), but we’ve always had a thing for the integration of garage doors and living space. And we can’t help but feature a property that’s (self) described as “the epitome of gracious green living.” (Designed by Sallie Lang of Bliss Building and developed by Green Lane Development.)
∙ Listing: 7257 Skyline, Oakland Hills (3/5) – $2,600,000 [residentphotography]
An Inman Instant Equity Reality Check
Based on the price point it’s definitely not San Francisco, but Jack Guttentag’s advice for a reader over at Inman News is worth repeating nonetheless. And yes, the emphasis is ours.
"I have been offered a tremendous deal -- a house that appraises at $364,000 that I can buy for $294,000, with 100 percent financing, and the builder will pay all my closing costs ... I can afford the payment for only six months, and it will take all my savings, but the broker says that I will be able to do a cash-out refinance in six months based on the appraisal and net about $60,000, which will cover the payment for another two years. ..."
You need a reality check. If the builder could sell the unit for $364,000, he would not be offering it to you for $294,000. Appraisals done for builders usually produce the numbers the builders want. That this particular builder, in addition to offering the "bargain" price, is also willing to pay your settlement costs, is a reflection not of his generosity but of his desperation to sell the house.
Further, the probability that you will be able to do a cash-out refinance in six months is vanishingly small. Lenders won't do a cash-out refinance in excess of your equity in the house. Since the true value of your house when you close is no more than $294,000, and your mortgages add to the same amount, you will have no equity. Payments of principal over the first six months will amount to about $1,000. The other $59,000 of equity you are looking for would require price appreciation of 20 percent over six months. That conceivably could happen in a go-go market, but the go-go markets are all gone.
Now about all those local listings that advertise “Instant Equity!”...
November 25, 2006
Not The Best “Investment” For Agassi In Tiburon
Almost six years ago, Andre Agassi made headlines with the purchase of a $23,000,000 estate in Tiburon. Two years later, the estate was back on the market for $24,500,000. And recently, the price was reduced to $21,000,000.
Today, the property is in contract for $20,000,000. Not the best investment for Agassi, and in terms of “comps,” perhaps not the best outcome for the neighbors...
November 22, 2006
Inside (and Outside) 234 Valley
We’re setting the Thanksgiving table (and kicking off a long weekend) with a bit of eye candy. Think of it as our little gift to you. Speaking of which, we couldn’t help but notice that 990 Green #6 was just reduced $385,000 (5.6%). Don't forget to invite us to the housewarming.
UPDATE: It’s still very much eye candy, but apparently we should have subtitled this one, “See What $2,685,000 Will Buy.”
Mint Lofts: 410 + 418 Jessie Street, San Francisco
Constructed in 1926, and originally designed by architects James and Merritt Reid (think Fairmont Hotel and the Spreckels Temple of Music), 410 Jessie Street once served as offices and warehouses for the Hale Brother's Department Stores. The top six floors (5-10) of 410 Jessie were previously converted into leased live/work spaces but are currently undergoing a complete remodel before hitting the market. And floors 2-4 are in the process of being converted into more traditional condominium floor plans. When complete, the 52 condominiums will range in size from 460 to 2,390 square feet and will feature 11’ ceilings and “[i]ndustrial sized, double hung operable windows” (and yes, forced air heating/cooling).
The second Mint Loft building, 418 Jessie Street originally housed one of the Hale Brother's stores, and more recently served as a San Francisco firehouse. The nine floors of 418 Jessie are in the process of being converted into "25 luxury residences available for lease and sale" and will range in size from 600 to 3,500 square feet (and feature 10’ 6” ceilings). Both buildings will share a rooftop garden, grill, and fitness center; and include the increasingly obligatory "on-site concierge" (and perhaps less common "24-hour courtesy patrol").
Additional details on pricing, availability, and occupancy as soon as we have them (or sooner should a "plugged in" reader share the inside scoop).
UPDATE: A model unit in 410 Jessie is expected to be open by mid-December with closings and occupancy in both buildings targeted (i.e., best case scenario) for as early as February 2007. We should have rough pricing sometime next week.
Cube House: A Modern Victorian (And Inspiration)
“The house now has an open-to-the-sky, two-story atrium surrounded by open-plan rooms, and the design echoes the interior gardens of 1950s Eichler homes, which in turn were inspired by Japanese- and Mediterranean-style courtyard houses.”
“Despite its modern additions and bright interior, it is still literally and figuratively sheathed in tradition, with a refurbished facade and detailing that match the other historic buildings on the block.”
“For a bit more than $750,000, the Alexanders have all that space [3,600 square feet] and new wood everywhere: anigre in the bedrooms, mahogany in the library, cherry cabinets in the kitchen and stained Douglas fir French doors.”
It’s brought to you by architect John Maniscalco (and the Alexanders).
November 21, 2006
Mint Plaza (And Livable City)
If all goes as proposed, the “290-by 54-foot-wide portion of Jessie Street extending between 5th Street and Mint Street” (off Mission) will be transformed into Mint Plaza – an automobile free pedestrian plaza lined by cafés, restaurants, and bars. Oh, and lofts (more on this tomorrow).
According to Livable City, the “schematic design for the plaza was developed based on two community workshops...[and] was presented at the Civic Design review committee of the San Francisco Arts Commission on July 17 and the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board on July 19.” And it's consistent with with Livable City's Livable Downtown Initiative which aims to create a downtown "neighborhood that feels like home" by focusing on "livable streets, managing parking and traffic, improving public transit, and balancing jobs with housing."
∙ Mint Plaza [San Francisco]
∙ Mint Lofts: 410 + 418 Jessie Street, San Francisco [SocketSite]
∙ Livable City [livablecity.org]
∙ The Livable Downtown Initiative [livablecity.org]
∙ It’s All About Service And Style At The Soma Grand (1160 Mission) [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: Slowing Luxury Home Market Gains
“In the San Francisco Bay Area, luxury homes continued the recent pattern of small quarterly gains. Increases have ranged between 0.3% and 1.8% over the past five quarters. Values have risen modestly for eight quarters.”
“Despite the slight increase from the second quarter, market conditions varied widely in the region. In San Francisco, prices and sales appear to be falling. “I see price reductions, and homes selling below the asking price,” said Naomi Glass of Coldwell Banker in San Francisco. “Few things are moving. People are hesitant because they see an uncertain market.”
Did we mention that we've been keeping an eye on the upper end of the market?