December 29, 2006
Just Quotes: Permit Hell In San Francisco
From the Chronicle:
“A full 588 days since the permits were first submitted Engelbrecht is still waiting to receive permission to demolish the water-damaged, ramshackle 1960s house that stands on the site of their dream house [in Bernal]. In mid-December they learned that after being on the verge of getting approval they were kicked back because of their failure to check a box on a form about the number of stories of the building.”
"City coffers have been hurting since the dot-com bust, and many departments have reduced staffing, which in turn makes getting permits more arduous and time-consuming."
And yes, we know there are (at least) two sides to every story.
UPDATE: A "plugged in" SocketSite reader notes that there’s more to the story (and delay) than was reported (“...it appears the final drawings did not match the site permit drawings and had to be sent back to Planning.”). This would be one of those 'other sides' to which we were referring.
A SocketSite Smackdown: Gas Versus Electric In The Kitchen
We’ll admit it. When perusing properties, an electric range in the kitchen can stop us in our tracks (and not in a good way). And while it’s not such a big deal when it’s a matter of choice (and can be changed), it gives us pause when it’s a matter of construction (and can not).
We happen to be partial to the feel, control and range of cooking with gas; but we realize that for others it's possibly a non-issue. Electric cooktops have made great strides from the bare electric coils of years past, and induction cooktops are gaining momentum based on speed, safety, and efficiency (we've never had the pleasure). And of course, there are simply those who aren’t nearly as food centric (we have a much harder time identifying with these people).
Regardless, we have to wonder, does an all electric kitchen currently have any discernable impact on resale value or days on the market for properties in San Francisco? And are there any “foodie” readers who swear by their electric/induction cooktops?
UPDATE: Based on Greg’s comments, we’ve been checking out the Thermador website (they provide a great overview of induction cooktops). And we're still looking for some agent insight with regard to the impact (if any) of an all electric kitchen in terms of resale.
High Rise Living And Neighborhood Development In San Francisco
Our recent post on the proposed Renzo Piano towers at First and Mission further fueled the discussion of nearby neighborhood development in general, and sparked some interesting comments with regard to high rise living in specific.
Or as one reader commented, it’s not simply a "mine will be taller...mine will be better located...mine offers nicer finishes" discussion of the buildings or development.
∙ They Just Keep Getting Bigger, And Bigger, And Bigger... [SocketSite]
New Homes In The New Year (1587 15th Street)
1587 15th Street (at Mission) is a collection of 24 new condominiums (one and two bedrooms) that are expected to hit the market in January (pricing “from the $500,00’s”). Floor plans available online, but other than that, not a whole lot we can report.
∙ 1587 15th Street [1587living.com]
December 26, 2006
Freeway Pollution: Conjecture Or Consideration?
A reader wonders, “[w]ould it be possible to start a topic to gather opinions from people WHO LIVE near the freeway to give their input on the pollution?” In short, yes.
December 22, 2006
It’s Not Only The Leaves That Appear To Be Falling In San Francisco
A “plugged in” tipster forwards an autumn to autumn comparison of listed (MLS) condo/coop/TIC/loft sales in San Francisco. Yes, they’re averages. Yes, seasonality is in full effect. And no, the majority of new construction isn’t included.
That being said, we do find the year-over-year drops in average sales price – down ~4% for resales – noteworthy. Or as our tipster writes, “[e]ven though those of us in SF arrogantly talk about the local market as one that doesn't see dropping values (but rather diminished appreciation), this data says otherwise.”
And it begs the question, is this “the drop” sidelined buyers have been waiting for, or is it simply the start of a longer, and larger, fall? (And yes, pun intended.)
UPDATE (12/27): The chart we originally received was incorrectly labeled “condos” as opposed to “condos, coops, TICs, and lofts,” but the data is correct (compiled by SFARMLS). We are, however, attaching an additional “mix” disclaimer.
Also, keep in mind that “sold” data only includes properties that actually closed escrow in the given month (as opposed to entering into contract). Adding pending sales to the mix (below)
is probably a more accurate reflection of the market and brings the average change closer to -0.5%. We’d attach a “timing” disclaimer, but this is starting to get ridiculous…
December 21, 2006
They Just Keep Getting Bigger, And Bigger, And Bigger...
J.K. Dineen at the San Francisco Business Times has the scoop on a proposed “1,200-foot tower at First and Mission streets, part of a quartet of astoundingly ambitious buildings being designed by superstar architect Renzo Piano."
The proposed building, which would dwarf any existing buildings on the West Coast, would be part of a 2.9 million-square-foot development that would include 600 condominiums, 470 hotel rooms, and more than 520,000 square feet of office space, according to an application filed Dec. 21 with the city.
The 1,200-foot proposed skyscraper, which would be the third tallest building in the United States, would lag only Chicago's Sears Tower, which is 1,450 feet, and New York's Empire State Building at 1,250 feet. San Francisco's tallest current building is the Transamerica Pyramid, which is 853 feet tall.
∙ Massive new project being proposed for San Francisco [bizjournals]
∙ Millennium Tower San Francisco (301 Mission): Interest List [SocketSite]
∙ The Tallest Residential Tower West Of
The Mississippi Los Angeles! [SocketSite]
∙ We're Thinking Gehry (No, Not Geary) [SocketSite]
Ask And Ye Shall Receive?
From the listing for 221 Danvers: “Property is still on the market. Sellers are motivated and would like to receive an offer.” We’re guessing there might be some wiggle room on the price. And damn it, we're still fixated on that cottage out back.
December 20, 2006
Did You Say No Heat?
Well, the list price on 1374 Fulton has been reduced twice again (now $1,599,000 or $296,000 (15.6%) off the original list). And as a couple of readers note, it's probably not the paint job that’s making this one a tough sell. Especially this week. (Somebody cue the Snow Miser…)
∙ Don’t Blame Us If The Theme Song Gets Stuck In Your Head [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 1374 Fulton Street (6/2) - $1,599,000 [BJ Droubi]
December 19, 2006
Just Quotes: Bayview-Hunters Point Redevelopment
“Opponents of a move to place 1,400 acres in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point area under the city Redevelopment Agency have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to revive a push for a referendum on the issue.” (Suit filed to revive vote on Bayview redevelopment plans)
A New New Policy Change For The MLS
According to a tipster, another New Year policy change is in the works for the San Francisco MLS: "Effective January 1st, the waiting period to relist a property as "new" after withdrawal will be extended from the current 14 days to 30 days." We have no doubt many will disagree, but we think it's a positive change.
What’s Up With The Watermark "G"s?
A reader wonders, “What's the scoop on [Watermark] unit 15g? Tax records show that it was sold by Watermark for $830,000. It's a 1295 sq ft corner unit. 12g sold for $975,000; 17g sold for $1,650,000; 20g sold for $1,400,000. Now 15g just entered into contract for $969,000 as a resale. Why was there a fire sale at Watermark when this unit [first] entered into contract at around the same time as the other "g" units?”
Something definitely seems screwy, but unfortunately we don't have the inside scoop (this time). Readers? And while you’re at it, perhaps someone can answer our follow-up question: how’d the buyer of 17g wind up paying $250,000 more than the buyer of 20g? (And yes, the floor plans for all four of the units look identical.)
UPDATE: Okay, we should have caught this earlier, but the letters (A-U) used to designate floor plan types are not directly correlated with the actual unit addresses on each floor. In other words, while unit 15G is actually a “D” type floor plan, it looks like units 17G and 20G are actually “N” type floor plans. And to answer our own question, only two units in the entire building offer wraparound patios, and the “N” plan on the 17th floor is one of them. It’s turning out to be one of those
∙ Watermark Update: 85% Sold [SocketSite]
December 18, 2006
Millennium Tower San Francisco (301 Mission): Interest List
“In addition to the 60-story tower, there is a shorter, 125 foot (38 m) 11-story tower on the north end of the complex with more condos and residential amenities. In between the two towers, there will be a two-story glass atrium at about 43 ft. (13 m) tall. In total, the project will have
437 units, some of which (~120) will be extended-stay hotel units and the others residential units.” (wikipedia)
Expect the condo/rental mix to change depending upon market conditions at the time of completion (2008/2009). And yes, this is the residential building that will rise four feet higher than One Rincon Hill.
∙ Millennium Tower San Francisco [Official website]
∙ Five Years Late (And One “N” Short) [SocketSite]
∙ Millennium Tower (301 Mission Street) [wikipedia]
∙ One Rincon Hill: Rain, Rain Go Away [SocketSite]
Not For The Faint Of Heart (Or Wallet)
The “Italianate Victorian Fixer” at 1232 Treat is not for the faint of heart (or wallet). Seriously. We’re talking about a single family house that's been carved up into five units with two additional units over the carriage house out back (think commercial financing), two protected tenants and two vacancies, and quite a bit of deferred maintenance.
At the same time, we’re talking about an interesting pedigree (built in 1885 by John McCarthy, the masonry contractor who built the Palace Hotel and Mills Building), some beautiful original detailing, and intriguing “bones.”
UPDATE (1/16): The asking price has been reduced to $1,099,000, and as the agent notes, “[t]he property is squarely located *across* the street from Garfield Square Park.” (And a new “soccer field, children's playground and…security cameras installed by the City.”)
∙ Listing: 1232 Treat (7 units) - $1,199,000 [1232treat.net] [Property Statement (pdf)]
Just Ignore The Word “Bust”
“Bust” or not, we think Fortune’s “6 strategies” are generally sound advice:
1. Lower your expectations
2. Drive a hard bargain
3. Consider renting
4. Step away from the exotic mortgage
5. Shop for a rate drop
6. Keep an eye on your equity
∙ 6 strategies to survive the real estate bust [CNNMoney]
We’re Losing Faith (And Not Necessarily In The Market)
We asked the obvious two months ago when Economy.com predicted 3.6% home price gains for San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin over the next two years despite analysis that suggested “prices in the three counties were…7.5 percent higher than Economy.com predicted they should be based on historical comparisons.”
This week, Fortune “asked Moody's Economy.com and Fiserv Lending Solutions to crunch the numbers for the top 100 markets in the United States.” Their forecast for home prices in San Francisco-San Mateo? Down 0.2% in 2007 and up 1% in 2008. That’s still no “crash,” but that is an effective two year swing of -6.5% as compared to the Economy.com prediction of just two months ago. We’re losing faith (and not necessarily in the market).
Put Your Actions Where Your Fingers Are
A short post sparked a great discussion about the un-realized potential of both Geary and Lombard streets, and triggered the following comment with regard to the direction of growth and development of San Francisco:
"I read a lot of talk, but see no action. If we want change, shouldn't we start right here, right now? Who are the influencers in the city that control the issues that readers of this site feel are important?”
We like the way you think. And while we don’t have an answer for you with regard to influencers, we’ll open it up to the readers. And let us know what else we can do to help.
∙ Just Quotes: San Francisco Population Growth [SocketSite]
December 15, 2006
English Country In The City (San Francisco)
We like unique (and not only modern). Built in 1894 and designed by renowned architect Ernest Coxhead, 2940 Jackson boasts “beautiful carved wood details, lovely leaded windows, high peaked roof and dormers [that] boldly separates itself from the ubiquitous Victoriana of the city.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with “Victoriana.”)
And if the history, description, and pictures aren’t enough to catch your attention, perhaps the $200,000 (6.9%) price reduction will.
Just Quotes: San Francisco Population Growth
“Planners and demographers said Thursday it may be time for the Bay Area to bite the bullet and plan for density....San Francisco should see about 161,000 new residents by 2035...” (Population expected to swell by 2 million)
Neighbors In South Mission Bay (555 Mission Rock Street?)
From a “plugged in” tipster:
In the comments to the Radiance project, someone mentioned that it will be the only project there for a while.
That's actually not true. There's a 9-story building by Urban Housing Group under construction right now…
We assume this to be 555 Mission Rock Street (just north of Radiance and previously a parking lot for AT&T Park). If so, it’s designed by SB Architects and will consist of 192 apartments when completed in early 2009. If not, somebody set us straight.