August 31, 2007
Add Another (Proposed) Tower To The Transbay Mix (181 Fremont)
Another tower, this one a mere 900 feet, has been proposed for the area surrounding San Francisco’s new Transbay Terminal and Tower. And according to J.K. Dineen, the “razor-thin skyscraper” at 181 Fremont “would include 500,000 square feet of office space beneath about 140 residential condominiums.”
The Fremont Street parcel is one of several sites where the city is considering allowing tall towers as a source of tax revenue to help bankroll the $3.4 billion Transbay Terminal and Tower. Under the plan, developers around the transit center and tower -- likely to soar 1,300 feet or more -- could build well above current 300- to 500-foot zoning restrictions in exchange for pumping millions of dollars in additional taxes to help pay for building new infrastructure in the Transbay District as well as the terminal programing itself.
Designed by HellerManus, the proposed tower on Fremont “would have a glass curtain wall and exterior structural system…would seek a gold stamp of approval from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design… [and] include a highly efficient sawtooth glazing system that allows daylighting but reduces unwanted heating.”
And yes, as is now de rigeur, the “developer is also looking into solar power [and] wind turbines…”
∙ Another tower added to Transbay [Business Times]
∙ San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Design Proposals: Highlights [SocketSite]
∙ The SocketSite Scoop: San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Designs [SocketSite]
Read Our Lips: President Bush Announces FHA Secure
Three weeks ago we pointed out President Bush’s careful choice of words when he spoke out against federal bailouts for struggling homeowners ("If you mean direct grants to homeowners, the answer would be `No, I don't support that.'"). This morning, the President spoke again.
President George W. Bush today pledged to help people who've fallen behind in their mortgages keep their homes and to tighten safeguards against predatory lending, while rejecting a bailout for ``speculators.''
``I plan to help homeowners, the government's got a role to play,'' Bush said in a statement at the White House. But, he said, ``it's not the government's job to bail out speculators, or those who made the decision to buy a home they knew they could never afford.''
Bush said he will let the Federal Housing Administration, which insures mortgages for low- and middle-income borrowers, guarantee loans for delinquent borrowers, allowing them to avoid foreclosure and refinance at more favorable rates.
Bush said that ``in the coming days'' the FHA will begin a new program called FHA Secure that will permit homeowners who have a good credit rating but can't afford their current payments to refinance into FHA-insured mortgages.
According to Bloomberg, "The president gave no estimate on the cost of his proposals. He said he also will support proposals in Congress to provide tax relief for homeowners who refinance." Is it a token act, or simply act one of an even larger production?
∙ Housing And Credit Concerns Abound (Here And Abroad) [SocketSite]
∙ Bush Pledges FHA Help for Subprime Borrowers [Bloomberg]
August 30, 2007
A Traditional Bedroom In A Not So Traditional Condo (273 Shipley #B)
There’s no doubt 273 Shipley #B is compact (835 square feet), yet it offers a traditional bedroom plus loft over three levels; a wall of south facing (albeit shaded) windows and skylights; a gas range, wood burning fireplace, and washer/dryer in the unit (plus parking outside); and a list price of $585,000.
Oh, and lest we forget, “a lovely yard with a New Zealand Christmas tree!” (We're assuming that's a good thing.)
∙ Listing: 273 Shipley #B (2/1) - $585,000 [MLS]
OFHEO: U.S. House Prices Don't Fall (But Do In CA And The SF MSA)
The good news: according to the OFHEO, home prices in the United States increased 3.19% year over year in the second quarter of 2007 (many had predicted a historic drop).
The not so good news: OFHEO reported home prices dropped 1.38% year over year in California (only Michigan and Nevada recorded higher declines) and .86% in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City MSAD (versus a 1.32% year over year gain in Q1).
U.S. home prices increased only slightly in the second quarter of 2007 according to the OFHEO House Price Index (HPI). The HPI, which is based on data from sales and refinance transactions, was 0.1 percent higher in the second quarter than in the first quarter of 2007. This is below the revised growth rate of 0.6 percent for the previous quarter and the lowest since the fourth quarter of 1994. Prices in the second quarter of 2007 were 3.2 percent higher than they were in the same quarter of 2006, the lowest annual price change since the 1996-97 period.
“House prices were basically flat in the second quarter despite tightening credit policies, rising foreclosure rates, and weakening buyer sentiment,” said [OFHEO Director] Lockhart. “Significant price declines appear localized in areas with weak economies or where price increases were particularly dramatic during the housing boom.”
That being said, do keep in mind that "[t]he data in this release only include price information through June. To the extent that recent mortgage market instability may have affected housing demand and prices, those effects would be evident in OFHEO’s next HPI release." (Yes, we'll keep you plugged-in.)
And once again, the HPI is based on data from repeat single-family home sales, or refinancings, that involve conforming mortgages (under $417,000). Data from transactions involving either condominiums or non-conforming loans (two major components in the San Francisco market) are excluded from the Index.
∙ OFHEO: U.S. House Prices Slow (pdf) [OFHEO]
∙ OFHEO First Quarter Report: 0.35% Appreciation For SF MSAD [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: Qualifying Is Great, Funding Is Even Better
“U.S. commercial paper outstanding fell for a third week, dropping 3.1 percent as more investors refuse to buy debt secured by mortgage assets.”
“Commercial paper outstanding has fallen by $244.1 billion in the past three weeks as more than 20 companies and funds including Cheyne Finance and Thornburg Mortgage Co. fail to find buyers for new paper after losses on some mortgage-related securities scared investors into safer investments. An $18 billion auction yesterday for two-year U.S. government debt drew the most demand since 1992.” (Commercial Paper Falls for Third Week as Mortgage Losses Mount)
"Thornburg Mortgage Inc., the jumbo- mortgage specialist that was forced to stop making new loans, sold $500 million of convertible preferred stock to help alleviate a shortage of cash." (Thornburg Mortgage Sells $500 Million of Preferred Stock)
August 29, 2007
San Francisco Household Incomes Up In 2006
According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau survey, household incomes in San Francisco are indeed up. In 2006 the median household income in San Francisco was $65,497 (up 13.9% over 2005) with an average of $92,477 (up 10.9% over 2005). And in 2006, 9.2% of San Francisco households made over $200,000 (the rough minimum required to qualify for a $600,000 mortgage based upon conventional standards).
They’re Back In The Saddle Again (And With More Frequency)
It’s really nothing new. Properties fall out of escrow (and are reduced) all the time. We does appear to be new, however, is the relative frequency with which it is occurring.
∙ 1674 Hayes (3/2) - $825,000 (“Back on market - no fault of property”)
∙ 2676 21st Street (2/1) - $699,000 (“No fault of property the offer fell through”)
∙ 547 35th Avenue (3/1) - $888,800 (“Back on market !!!”)
∙ 674 Campbell Avenue (3/2) - $688,000 (“Back on market - no fault [of] sellers”)
∙ 247 Sagamore (5/2) - $699,000 (“Back on market. No fault on sellers”)
∙ 22 Chicago Way (2/1) - $689,000 (“3 failed 100% financing. Price reduced”)
Yes, it’s definitely hitting the lower end of the market the hardest. (Or is that first?) And no, the six listings above aren’t intended to be MECE. (Well, at least not CE.) Regardless, and once again, we do have to wonder: is it another blip, bump, or more in the making?
A SocketSite Save The Date/Time: September 18, 2007 at 6PM
Don’t ask too many questions (details next week), but you might want to pencil it in.
Posted by socketadmin at 9:05 AM
August 28, 2007
Apples To Oranges Within The Same
District Block Building Condo
Two weeks ago $196,000 (16.4%) was shaved off the asking price of 2040 Franklin #1207. And as best we can tell, the grand views (and “Euro Style” remodel) remain available.
On the surface, a sale at the reduced list price of $999,000 would appear to represent annual appreciation of 10.4% a year ($230,500 over its purchase price of $768,500 in January 2005). Of course that wouldn’t account for any of the time, energy, or expense invested by the sellers in a “sparing no expense” remodel of the condo (think Sub-Zero, Miele, built-ins, and marble).
A remodeling budget of $100,000 would cut that "appreciation" in half. An even larger budget and…well, you get the idea. And yes, we'll keep you posted.
∙ Listing: 2040 Franklin #1207 (1/2) - $999,000 [MLS]
June S&P/Case-Shiller Index: San Francisco MSA Mimics U.S. Decline
According to the May 2007 S&P/Case-Shiller index (pdf), single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA slipped 4.0% year-over-year and fell 0.7% from May '07 to June '07. For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), year-over-year price growth is down 4.1% (down 0.5% from May).
The standard SocketSite footnote: The S&P/Case-Shiller index only tracks single-family homes (not condominiums which represent half the transactions in San Francisco), is imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus actual market appreciation (although they try their best), and includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the “San Francisco” index (i.e., the greater MSA).
∙ U.S. National Home Price Index Posts a Record Annual Decline (pdf) [Standard & Poor’s]
∙ May S&P/Case-Shiller Index: San Francisco MSA Continues Decline [SocketSite]
That’s A Lot Of Lot Value (646 Balboa)
A reader notices that 646 Balboa (“I've looked at this house sit neglected and run down for the past 2 1/2 years that I've lived in the Inner Richmond”) has “finally” hit the market. According to the listing it’s in major disrepair and uninhabitable. And they’re asking $700 per square foot (for what’s currently standing).
The listing notes the potential to remodel or “build your dream house.” And although the “[b]uyer should investigate allowable uses/restrictions with City Planning Department,” the listing also touts that the lot is zoned “RM-1 (good for up to three units).”
∙ Listing: 646 Balboa (3/1) - $1,295,000 [MLS]
August 27, 2007
An Early Peek Inside “La Casa Verde” (a.k.a. The Future Idea House)
A reader notes that one “Chicken John” will be holding a political fundraiser this evening at “La Casa Verde.” And if the location (corner of 25th and Alabama) and design (a showcase for green tech) sound strangely familiar, well…they should (at least if you're plugged-in).
[Editor’s Note: This should not be construed as any type of political endorsement. But comments are encouraged (about the house, not Chicken John) should you attend.]
∙ Sunset’s 2007 San Francisco Idea House: 3027 25th Street [SocketSite]
∙ La Casa Verde, the showcase house for green tech [voteforchicken.com]
QuickLinks: U.S. Home Sales/Median Sales Price Down, Inventories Up
∙ U.S. Economy: Home Sales Drop, Inventories Increase [Bloomberg]
∙ Glut of homes hits 16-year high [CNNMoney]
A Greener View In The Works For Some At BLŪ (And Others)
TMG Partners has engaged Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) to bring a completely new skin (likely glass and stone), public plaza (at third and Folsom), and green overhaul (targeting LEED silver) to the ex-AT&T compound at 680 Folsom. And while it might not seem like a typical SocketSite story, think of it in terms of the (positive) impact on BLŪ and others residences right down the block (or in the neighborhood).
∙ TMG to rehab SoMa buildings as offices [SF Business Times]
∙ 631 Folsom: Recently Christened “SF BLŪ” (And Down To 108 Units) [SocketSite]
The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery) Gets A New Sales Team?
According to a trusted plugged-in tipster, The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery) has switched sales teams (out with Pacific Marketing Associates, in with The Mark Company) two months after their grand opening and first release of condos. If so, it’s likely some insight into the pace of sales (and perhaps the market). If not, well…we’ll just cross that bridge should we come to it.
∙ The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery): Almost Selling (For Real) [SocketSite]
∙ The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery): Pricing And Reservations [SocketSite]
Where Would It Appraise Today? (And What’s That Really Mean?)
It was over two months ago that 350 Broderick #209 was “Appraised at $717,000” and identified as a “Rare opportunity [that] won't last.” And it was yesterday (after 66 days on the market) that the list price for this Broderick Place resale was reduced from $689,000 to $675,000.
August 24, 2007
The Infinity: The “Official” Dates And Update (8/24/07)
The “official” range of dates for The Infinity’s first close of escrow: Q1 2008; the first release of inventory in the second tower: Q3 2008 (although some swear they've been quoted as early as March); and the completion date for the whole shebang: Q2 2009.
The "official" numbers we haven't received: sales to date on tower one and the mid-rises. And while we've heard some rumblings of around seventy (70) percent reserved (which actually seems a bit low), we're really looking for some hard numbers (or at least percentages). So if you're plugged-in and have the inside scoop, it's time to cough it up. And yes, you know we’d do the same for you.
∙ The Infinity: Pent-up Demand (For Discussion) [SocketSite]
∙ Same Location, Building And Amenities (Just Without The Views) [SocketSite]
Making Lemonade (Incentives) Over At Citrino (566 South Van Ness)
It was earlier this month that a tipster first noted a few price reductions for condos at Citrino (566 South Van Ness). And three weeks later, it appears that incentives (“Credit for HOA dues, buy-down the interest rate and/or Seller to pay transfer tax”) are now sweetening the deal as well. And while we don't have an official update on sales, as another tipster notes: of the nine units that are currently listed on the MLS (up to 77 DOM), only one is in contract.
∙ Reductions (And A New Release) At Citrino (566 South Van Ness) [SocketSite]
∙ Citrino (566 South Van Ness): Website Update And A Few Prices [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: New Home Sales - A Real Recovery Or A Red Herring?
"U.S. stocks rose after new home sales [up 2.8 percent to an annual pace of 870,000] and durable goods orders topped economists' forecasts [820,000] in July, spurring speculation the economy can weather losses in credit markets."
``We don't see a recession in the cards,'' said Hayes Miller, who helps manage $38 billion as portfolio manager of global equities at Baring Asset Management Inc. in Boston. ``There's still going to be enough corporate spending, there's still going to be enough investment, there's still going to be enough government spending.'' (U.S. Stocks Gain as Home Sales, Durable Goods Top Forecasts)
On the other hand, ``Call me a skeptic here, but I'm going to need to see a couple more months before I believe this is something that's really happening'' in new home sales, said Carl Riccadonna, an economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York. ``Lending standards have gotten tighter and so this should weigh on the housing numbers near-term. Maybe it wasn't showing up in July, but for August and September it will.'' (U.S. Economy: Durable Goods Orders, Sales of New Homes Increase)
August 23, 2007
JustQuotes: Why Listen To This Guy About The Housing Market?
“Countrywide Financial Corp. Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said Thursday the housing market is showing no signs of improvement and could lead the U.S. into a recession.” (Countrywide CEO: economic outlook grim)