October 31, 2007
The Federal Reserve Cuts Benchmark/Discount Rates By 0.25%
The known: the Federal Reserve has cut both its benchmark interest rate and discount rate by 25 basis points (a quarter percent) while signaling that further cuts are unlikely.
"Today's action, combined with the policy action taken in September, should help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets," the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement after meeting today in Washington. "After this action, the upside risks to inflation roughly balance the downside risks to growth."
The big unknown(s): will the cuts help revive our national housing market? And of course, what impact (if any) will the cuts have on mortgage rates closer to home?
∙ Fed Lowers Rate by a Quarter Point to 4.5 Percent [Bloomberg]
∙ U.S. Federal Open Market Committee Statement: Text [Bloomberg]
39-41 Ord Street Before And After (And On The Market?)
As our plugged-in tipster notes, “what a difference an architect [Phil Mathews] makes.” And as our tipster also notes, rumor has it that it’s either on or soon to be on the market (but not yet on the MLS). Anybody care to confirm (with a price) or deny (with a “that’s my house and there’s now way you’re getting your grubby little hands on it now”)?
UPDATE: For the record, we’re big fans of the renovation (and have no qualms with photochopping the sky). And once again our thanks to Sexy&Sassy for answering Lori's Halloween request:
Those Aren’t “Reductions," They’re “Flex Purchase Incentives”
Two months ago the sales office at 170 Off Third was “excited to offer a 5.625% interest rate on all remaining two-bedroom residences!” Today they are offering “a $15,000 Flex Purchase Incentive on all two- and two-plus residences sold through year end” which can be used on “a wide array of interior upgrade options, HOA credits or closing costs.”
Remember buyers/neighbors, they’re “Flex Purchase Incentives” (and not “Reductions”).
We're Ready To Become The Ropers Of Pacific Heights
We’ve had a serious crush on the exterior of the Edward Grosvenor Bolles designed apartment building (21 units) at 2360 Pacific Avenue for quite some time. And now that we’ve caught a glimpse of what’s actually inside (at least in terms of the owners unit)...we’re completely smitten (and ready to become the Ropers of Pacific Heights).
Request For Proposals For San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337
The Port of San Francisco is now calling on “experienced development teams” to respond to their official “Request for Developer Qualifications/Proposals” (RFQ/P) for the 16 acres that comprise San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337. The stated goal:
[T]o bring forth cutting edge and integrated approaches in sustainable architectural, landscaping and urban design, [and] to create a shoreline park and open space network with a mix of activities that inspires and stimulates the human spirit, and celebrate public views and the preciousness of the San Francisco Bay environment.
And while the Port’s deadline to respond to the official RFQ/P is February 14, 2008, let's consider this our unofficial request for proposals/suggestions from some of the less “experienced” (but of course no less talented) readers in our midst. And yes, drawings, renderings or animations are always appreciated (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
∙ Request For Qualifications (RFQ) on China Basin SWL 337 [SFGov]
∙ RFQ/P for a SF Port Mixed-Use Development Opportunity [SFGov]
∙ Could This Be Curtains For Cirque Du Soleil In The City? [SocketSite]
October 30, 2007
Mayor Gavin Newsom’s San Francisco State of the City Address
[Editor’s Note: And yes, up until a few minutes ago we too were linking to the 2006 address. Sorry, it's just been one of those days.]
That’s Not Looking Like The Vegas Pool Scene We Know (And Love)
The Comment: “the beacon pool scene on the weekend is supposedly right out of vegas. if you are a single guy, you should seriously consider living there.”
The Picture (above): The pool scene at the Beacon on a sunny (albeit mildly windy) Sunday afternoon.
The Question: Any actual Beacon pool goers care to set the record straight? We’ll thank you in advance for the plethora of plugged-in single guys (and gals) that have suddenly showed an interest in any one of the 24 active listings in the building.
∙ The Palms Finds More Inventory And A Resale Hits The Market [SocketSite]
From Rumor To Reality: The Royal Towers #1201 Gets Listed
It was last month that we let you in on the rumor that #1201 in The Royal Towers was quietly being shopped around for $7,000,000. And it was last week that it officially hit the market (along with some photos) for $6,750,000. And no, we don’t think we had the "whisper" price wrong (but rather that it seems to have been adjusted).
And the original developer’s unit (#1701) that we also mentioned in the building and was listed for $7,000,000? Yes, it's in contract.
∙ Listing: 1750 Taylor Street #1201 (3/3.5) - $6,750,000 [Nina Hatvany] [MLS]
∙ The SocketSite Scoop On Two In The Royal Towers (1750 Taylor) [SocketSite]
August S&P/Case-Shiller HPI: San Francisco MSA Falls (But Less)
According to the August 2007 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (pdf), single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA slipped 4.2% year-over-year and fell 0.2% from July '07 to August '07. For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), year-over-year price growth is down 4.9% (down 0.7% from May).
The standard SocketSite S&P/Case-Shiller footnote: The HPI 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).
October 29, 2007
Homes On Esprit Park (888 Minnesota) Sales Update: 9% In Contract
After three weeks on the market, and according to a press release forwarded by a plugged-in tipster, 12 of the 142 condos (or ~9%) that comprise Homes on Esprit Park are currently under contract. Also according to the press release, the average price per square foot of the 12 condos is "approximately $802,” and the most expensive condo currently under contract is a 1,670 square foot two bedroom/two and one half bath unit at $1.329M.
Not indicated in the press release, however, is how many of the twelve (12) condos in contract are friends and family/developer sales. (And we wouldn't be surprised if that number is more than one.)
SocketSite's San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory Update: 10/29
San Francisco’s inventory of Active single-family, condo, and TIC listings fell 1.2% over the past two weeks (as would be expected). At the same time, and for the first time in at least five months, the number of active listings in San Francisco is nominally higher (1.1%) versus the same time last year (as might not be expected).
An Albert Farr Design Breaks Free (610 El Camino Del Mar)
So you missed out on the fifteen million dollar (asking) 120 Sea Cliff, and twenty-two million dollars for the Captain’s House is just a tad bit more than you were hoping to spend. Well, if you're dead set on living on the bluff that put the 'cliff' in Sea Cliff, there's good news. For the first time since being commissioned and built (circa 1929), 610 El Camino Del Mar is now on the open market and asking a mere $6,200,000.
And while we couldn’t find any interior photos online (other than of the pool), we will note that it does appear to be open this coming weekend. And we’ll also note that the architect was Albert Farr who designed numerous notable homes in San Francisco as well as Jack London’s ill fated 15,000 square foot Wolf House in Sonoma County (which burned to the ground prior to completion and was never rebuilt).
∙ Listing: 610 El Camino Del Mar (4/5) - $6,200,000 [MLS]
∙ Big House, Big Views, Big Dreams, And Big News…It’s In Contract [SocketSite]
∙ 300 Sea Cliff: $3,900,000 Reduction (After An $8,000,000 Renovation) [SocketSite]
∙ Jack London’s Wolf House [jacklondons.net]
Sir Norman Foster’s New York Tower Comes To San Francisco
Not content with a mere Photoshop mashup, Kim Chalmers of Screampoint heeds our call for mashups of the Chronicle's current abode and their favorite Sir Norman Foster design with a 3D animation of San Francisco with Foster’s New York tower added to the mix at Mission and 5th. And we have to admit, we’re kind of crushing on the result.
∙ We’re Only Surprised Nobody Has Gone With The Gherkin [SocketSite]
∙ Note To Hearst: Any Chance You’ve Still Got His Number Handy? [SocketSite]
Night’s Week's Gathering: A Reader Driven Wrap Up (We Hope)
Considering the standing room only crowd, one might
expect appreciate a few more comments (and discussion) from those who were able to attend. So let's try this again…
Our end of the day thanks to everyone who was able to join us last
night week. We hope you found the discussion around SoMa’s emerging midtown interesting. And at the very least, we hope you had a good time.
Special thanks to our panelists for enduring the heat of the stage (both literally and figuratively):
Chip Conley, CEO and President, Joie de Vivre Hospitality
John Dunham, Developer and Future Resident, 55 Sheridan
Jim Haas, Coordinator of the Mayor's Civic Center Stakeholders Group
Daniel Hurtado, Executive Director, Central Market Community Benefit District
Sarah Karlinsky, Policy Director, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research
Eric Tao, Vice President, AGI Capital
Max Young, Proprietor, Mr. Smiths Bar and Lounge
And if you were able to attend, perhaps you'd be so kind as to comment with your thoughts/takeaways for those who were not. And if you "were not," perhaps we’ll catch you the next time. Regardless, and as always, thank you for plugging in.
October 26, 2007
JustQuotes: From Mission Bay To Chinatown In Mere Minutes/Years
“One of San Francisco's most ambitious subway projects finally has funding in place, thanks to budget cutting and an unexpected windfall from the state. The Central Subway project, which will create a new Muni line linking South of Market to Chinatown, has lined up $1.3 billion, officials said this week.”
“City planners won't start digging the subway tunnels for three years at the earliest. The project is now in its environmental review phase. The environmental impact report was published last week, and the city is hosting community meetings on Oct. 30, Nov. 8 and Nov. 13 to discuss it.
Transit planners are considering three different routes for the subway. Each extends 1.7 miles, but they vary slightly in their alignment between the existing station at Fourth and King streets and the terminus near Stockton and Clay streets.”
We’re Only Surprised Nobody Has Gone With The Gherkin
Yesterday we asked, “might a reader or two with mad photoshopping skills (and in need of a little afternoon break) care to brighten our day with an interpretive mashup of the Chronicle's current abode and their favorite Foster design?”
And while it was Andy that responded with the literal, and perhaps not too surprisingly tipster with the ironic (and yes, we're guessing you can figure out which is which), we’re honestly surprised nobody has gone with the gherkin.
Then again, it’s Friday and perhaps a few others will heed the call...
UPDATE: And now thanks to Sexy&Sassy, we're proud to present...the "Cherkin":
A Plugged-In Reader And Hayes (55 Page) Buyer Reports: 60% “Sold”
A plugged-in reader with a deposit at The Hayes (55 Page) takes a hard had tour and reports 60% of the 128 condos “sold” (i.e., in contract with a deposit):
I did a hard hat walkthrough at 55 Page this week, as I have a deposit down on a unit at The Hayes. The complex is 60% sold. I was very impressed. It is going to be a stunning building, and they are not scrimping on the materials or the quality (and that's not from marketing - I talked to several of the guys actually working on the building.) They have maximized light and view potential everywhere they could. I met several of the people who will be living in the building, and we all agreed we felt very much we had bought the right place at the right time. Not only will it be a really nice place to live, but I do not doubt it will be a good investment over the next 10-15 years.
At sixty percent sold, that’s around 40 net new contracts over the past seven months (and another 50 or so to go).
The Palms Finds More Inventory And A Resale Hits The Market
It was two months ago that the sales office at the Palms (555 4th Street) was advertising “Only 8 Left!” And while none of those eight condos are currently listed with their sales team, it appears that five others now are:
∙ 555 4th Street #525 (1/1) 693 sqft - $595,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #622 (2/2) 888 sqft - $789,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #711 (1/1) 693 sqft - $699,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #723 (2/2) 990 sqft - $949,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #920 (1/1) 671 sqft - $631,000 (1 car parking)
And then there’s #401. It’s a 938 square foot two-bedroom two-bath unit with parking that’s listed for $850,000. And as far as we know, it’s one of the first resales at the Palms to hit the market. And while we can’t find any record of its original sales price (tipsters?), we’ll still be watching it closely (and have a feeling that we’re not going to be alone).
UPDATE: A plugged-in reader comes through: "i live at the palms. before we moved there, i tracked the sales from the weekly sfgate real estate sales. according to my notes, #401 was reported there as sold in oct-06 for $779,000."
∙ Listing: 555 4th Street #401 (2/2) 938 sqft - $850,000 [MLS]
∙ Apparently Only Eight Condos Left At The Palms (555 4th Street) [SocketSite]
October 25, 2007
Don’t Panic (Unless Perhaps You’re A Mortgage Broker)
Yes, Bank of America is exiting the wholesale mortgage business. No, that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop lending.
The nation's second-largest bank will stop offering home mortgages through brokers at the end of the year to focus on direct-to-consumer lending through its banking centers and loan officers. The move also eliminates the jobs in the bank's consumer real estate unit.
Think tighter lending standards and a renewed focus on underwriting, as well as cost savings and an ability to leverage their existing retail channel.
Note To Hearst: Any Chance You’ve Still Got His Number Handy?
While Hearst might be shopping their block (quite literally) of real estate in San Francisco, a reader notes that the corporation took a different approach to maximizing the value of their headquarters in New York. And a Norman Foster designed tower now rises above the original six-story Hearst Magazine Building at 57th and 8th.
And so we ask: might a reader or two with mad photoshopping skills (and in need of a little afternoon break) care to brighten our day with an interpretive mashup of the Chronicle's current abode and their favorite Foster design?
∙ A Huge (Potential) Development For The Mid-Market/SoMa 'Hood [SocketSite]
∙ Hearst Magazine Building [Wired New York]