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January 31, 2008

Barriers Going Up, Building Coming Down, 165 Condos Coming Soon

645 Howard (www.SocketSite.com)

The barriers are going up, the building is coming down, and the word on the street is that J.K. Dineen at the Business Times has the scoop on the 165 condominiums that will soon rise at the corner of Hawthorne (One Hawthorne) and Howard (645 Howard).

Posted by socketadmin at 1:49 PM | Comments (24)

Senate Advances Stimulus Plan Without Any Loan Limit Adjustments

As a plugged-in reader notes, while the House has approved a “Stimulus Plan” which includes the much ballyhooed increase in conforming loan limits for California, the Senate is advancing a package which does not. Game(smanship) on.

And yes, we still owe you our thoughts on the whole shebang.

UPDATE: And as another reader notes below, "Republicans are filibustering it and 60 votes are needed for it to pass. According to the NY Times, Sen. Schumer says they will pass the house version if they can't get 60 votes for the Senate version."

House Approves Economic Stimulus Plan [New York Times]
Conforming Loan Limits: A Placeholder For Discussion And Analysis [SocketSite]
Senate Democrats Short of Votes for Stimulus Bill [New York Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:20 AM | Comments (26)

Your Agent Might See Value, But Be Sure To Ask For Whom

Park Terrace: Agent Bonus

It’s no longer only the townhomes at Park Terrace which will garner brokers an increased sales commission (which might speak to the strength of sales since our last update). And it’s a good reminder to ask, is your agent working for you or selling for the developer?

Arterra's New Buyer's Incentive And Park Terrace’s Broker's Bonus [SocketSite 9/07]
Park Terrace (325 Berry) Sales Update: Now 70% Sold? [SocketSite 11/07]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Comments (54)

JustQuotes: Not Only Did The Port Get Punked, But Perhaps Prodded

“San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin made a series of harassing telephone calls to officials at the Port of San Francisco and threatened to eliminate their jobs and cut funding to the agency because staff members disagreed with him over building-height limits on the city's waterfront, the port director said in a letter obtained by The Chronicle.”

“The dispute between Peskin, who represents North Beach, and port officials involved parcels of land along the Embarcadero on the city's northeastern waterfront. A bill sponsored by state Sen. Carole Migden at the request of Newsom's office would have allowed the financially struggling port to build lucrative developments on those lots.

But Peskin and many of his Telegraph Hill constituents, whose homes look down on the Embarcadero, wanted to make sure the Migden legislation would ensure that any buildings erected on the port property would meet local height restrictions and would be no taller than 40 feet. But port officials objected to that.

The bill ultimately became law, but the lots in dispute were cut out of the final version, meaning the fight over building requirements for the parcels is bound to resurface.”

President of S.F. supes accused of harassing calls, threats [SFGate]
San Francisco Seawall Lot Rezoning Public Forum (5/14/07) [SocketSite]
Did The Port Get Punked? (San Francisco Seawall Lot Redevelopment) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:50 AM | Comments (4)

Redfin Rolls Out A Few New Features Including Listing Data Downloads

Redfin Screen Shot: Download Search Results

A few new features were rolled out on Redfin early this morning. The one that almost had us at hello: the ability to download basic listing data for up to 500 properties at a time.

As far as we're concerned it’s a step in the right direction (in terms of freeing the data and enabling custom analyses). And if/when they add a few additional fields to the download (such as sales, pricing, and permit histories), we’ll readily drop our “almost.”

A Safari into Freakish Depth [Redfin Blog]

Full Disclosure: Redfin is a sponsor of SocketSite but provided no compensation for this post.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 AM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2008

JustQuotes: The Federal Reserve Cuts Rates Yet Again (0.5%)

"The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by half a point to 3 percent, the second cut in nine days, and indicated its willingness to do so again to prevent a U.S. recession.

'Downside risks to growth remain,' the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement after meeting today in Washington. In a reference to the volatility of the past five months, the Fed added that 'financial markets remain under considerable stress and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households.'

The dollar tumbled and two-year Treasury notes rose after the decision as traders anticipated another reduction at the Fed's March meeting, if not before. The cumulative reduction in rates since Jan. 22 is the fastest easing of monetary policy since 1990. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed 0.5 percent lower and is down 7.7 percent this year."

Fed Cuts Interest Rate to 3% as U.S. Growth Falters [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:22 PM | Comments (14)

The 98 “Sophisticated/Stylish” Studio Apartments Of 766 Harrison

766 Harrison: Rendering

The ninety-eight (98) “sophisticated” (also referred to as “stylish”) studio apartments that compose 766 Harrison are expected to hit the rental market in five months along with 4,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space (and hope for a cafe tenant).

766 Harrison: Rooftop Patio Rendering

Lots of glass, rooftop patios, and some "stylish" features (concrete countertops and floors, radiant heat, and stainless steel this and that). And as Curbed discovered, interior renderings and an overview are available online.

∙ 766 Harrison: Overview, Interior Renderings, Commercial [tbcproperties.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:14 PM | Comments (27)

Listed San Francisco Condo Sales Breakdown: December 2007

The December '07 breakdown for listed condominium sales in San Francisco has been published by the San Francisco Association of Realtors (and posted by the SFCAHomes Blog).

As reported, listed condo sales volume in San Francisco was down 32.8% on a year-over-year basis with the biggest losses in District 5 (down 14 sales or 37.8%), District 1 (down 11 sales or 64.7%) and District 10 (down 10 sales or 90.9%).

And if you’re a proponent of Median Sales Price as a measure of anything other than what people are buying (which we’re really not), it might be interesting to note that while District 5 was up 10.7% year-over-year on 23 sales, District 9 was down 16.4% on 39 sales and District 7 was down 4.7% on 16.

December 2007 Condo Market Wrap (pdf) [SFCAHomes Blog]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:28 AM | Comments (8)

JustQuotes: The Other Side Of The SoMa Grand Coin (So To Speak)

King is right in many respects, but as Ali G may say, also dis-respect'ng; ultimately, what one builds is driven, unfortunately by Wall Street and the financiers....trust me, we would die to build a Gehry/Meier/Starck designed gorgeous iconic building in SF with views that still sells for about $500k - $700k. If there is another way to do it, please let us know.”

JustQuotes: From The Mouth Of Reader Morgan (And John King) [SocketSite]
Introducing "Keeping It Real... Estate" [agicapital.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 AM | Comments (10)

We Have A Motivated Seller! (But Still Seeking A Motivated Buyer!)

65 Caselli Ave

While the sinks in this single-family home on Caselli Avenue (65) weren’t all that warmly received two months ago (at least in terms of practicality), the overall house, location and price reduction ($295,001 or 12.9%) were. Or as “movingback” commented at the time, “this is a great house - should sell now that the price has been adjusted.”

And while it hasn’t yet sold, the price has been reduced another $300,999 ($200,999 three weeks ago and then by $100,000 yesterday). And yes, the seller remains "motivated!"

∙ Listing: 65 Caselli Avenue (3/4) - $1,699,000 [MLS]
And Sometimes It’s Simply The Sinks (65 Caselli Avenue) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Comments (23)

January 29, 2008

November S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Continues Decline

S&P/Case-Shiller Index Change: November 2007 (www.SocketSite.com)

According to the November 2007 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (pdf), single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA fell 3.2% from October '07 to November ’07 and are down 8.6% year-over-year. For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), year-over-year price growth is down 8.4% (having fallen 2.2% from October).

Miami remains the weakest market, reporting a double-digit annual decline of 15.1%. San Diego followed with -13.4%, Las Vegas with -13.2% and Detroit with –13.0%. Seven of the metro areas are now posting double digit declines in their annual growth rates. Charlotte, Portland and Seattle are the only three MSAs still experiencing positive annual growth rates.

Prices fell across all three price tiers for the San Francisco MSA with the rate of decline leveling off for the lower two-thirds of homes but accelerating at the top.

S&P/Case-Shiller Index Price Tiers: November 2007 (www.SocketSite.com)

The bottom third (under $586,277 at the time of acquisition) fell 5.3% from September to October (down 21.3% YOY); the middle third fell 2.5% from September to October (down 8.5% YOY); and the top third (over $834,425 at the time of acquisition) fell 3.1% from September to October (down 1.6% YOY).

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).

Record Declines in Home Prices Continue in November (pdf) [Standard&Poor's]
October S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA And Price Tiers Fall [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:14 AM | Comments (70)

JustQuotes: From The Mouth Of Reader Morgan (And John King)

As a plugged-in reader writes:

People who think SocketSite readers are "too critical" of this building [SoMa Grand] should check out this scathing attack.

An excerpt from said attack by John King:

Everything is careful and cost-effective; the interior is sleek and smart. But like too many residential containers in the Bay Area and beyond, nothing about Soma Grand engages the scene around it. It's a wet blanket at billboard scale.

And the line we almost missed (but a reader most certainly did not):

I'd gladly swap a lean version of Soma Grand for some of the towers in Rincon Hill or Mission Bay.

SoMa tower: Grand it ain't [SFGate]
Comment: SoMa Grand: A Reader’s Unofficial Sales Update And Insight [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (36)

A Remodeled Hit In The 1980's Era 101 Lombard Street Development

101 Lombard: Aerial

The individual condos can be hit or miss, but we do find the 1980’s development (101 Lombard) to be underrated in terms of location, views, and setting (not to mention that it’s currently undergoing some major capital improvements).

101 Lombard #405W: Living

And while we haven’t seen its views, and perhaps it’s simply all the wood and styling of the living room, we’re leaning towards “hit” for #405W.

UPDATE (4/2): 101 Lombard #405W closed escrow on 4/1/08 with a reported contract price of $1,190,000 (3.2% under asking).

∙ Listing: 101 Lombard #405W (2/2) - $1,229,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:34 AM | Comments (18)

If You Can’t Beat Them…Give Them A Post Of Their Own

If you’re looking for first-hand reader impressions and insight with regard to San Francisco’s Chelsea Park, head on over here: Chelsea Park (Phase I): On The MLS And Opening Tomorrow (1/27). If you’re looking for (or to join) the statistical debate that ensued, you’ve found it.

Chelsea Park (Phase I): On The MLS And Opening Tomorrow (1/27) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Comments (14)

January 28, 2008

Update: Complete Inventory Index And Stimulus Package Follow-Up

Our apologies to all those who plugged in today looking for either our Q1 2008 Complete Inventory Index (Cii) or our follow up discussion regarding the proposed stimulus package and increase in conforming loan limits. While our thoughts on the stimulus package will posted tomorrow Wednesday, the publishing of our Inventory Index has been delayed a week and will be posted next Monday (2/4/08). Again, our apologies and thank you for plugging in.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:39 PM

The Greenwich (1501 Greenwich): Website Live And Floor Plans Return

1501 Greenwich  #604: Floor Plan

Four months ago we provided the scoop on the transformation (as in complete razing and rebuild) of 2655 Van Ness from a 27,000 square foot office building into twenty-nine (29) new condominiums with a more upscale 1501 Greenwich address. And a few weeks later a plugged-in (and quite resourceful) reader found the floor plans which were then taken offline within 20 minuets of our alerting the readers.

And thanks to a plugged-in tipster, we now know that the website is back online complete with floor plans (including square footage), very rough pricing (one-bedrooms from the high $500,00s; two-bedrooms from the high $900,000s; and three-bedrooms from the high $1,600,000s), and a brand new moniker and mouthful of a tag line: “The Greenwich – Where Russian Hill Meets Cow Hollow, Sophisticated Living Meets The Urban Lifestyle.”

1501 Greenwich: Twenty-Nine New Condominiums Coming Soon [SocketSite]
1501 Greenwich: A Plugged-In Reader Finds The Floor Plans [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:23 AM | Comments (14)

It’s Not Our Style (Or Scale) But A Few Might Find Them (Or It) Sexy

2705 Larkin: Stairs

While we happen to favor more of a Lundberg staircase aesthetic, there’s a few that might find these quite sexy. And sorry folks, but unless a plugged-in reader helps us out, we can't credit the architect(s) responsible for the work.

And while it might simply be the photography, we can’t help but wonder if fewer floors (there are six) and a bit more ceiling height might have been within the realm of possibilities when “transforming” this property back in 2004 (and how it might have benefited the scale and proportions of the rooms).

∙ Listing: 2705 Larkin (4/6) - $9,500,000 [MLS]
Inside Lundberg’s Modern Manse On Jackson [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:57 AM | Comments (7)

Recap: What’s The Scoop On Foreign Investment In San Francisco?

Four months ago we asked the readers, “What’s The Scoop On Foreign Investment In San Francisco?” And perhaps Malin Giddings' quote in yesterday’s Chronicle summarizes our readers’ comments best:

"I know that there are a lot of sellers who want that to be true, and I know that the Europeans are definitely buying in New York," said Malin Giddings, who specializes in upscale San Francisco real estate for TRI Coldwell Banker. "But we see very few foreigners buying [here]."

What’s The Scoop On Foreign Investment In San Francisco? [SocketSite]
Foreigners get a piece of the real estate pie [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:35 AM | Comments (18)

An Investor/Contractor (And Perhaps Attorney) “Special” In Bernal

638 Banks: Map

638 Banks in Bernal Heights changed hands in September of 2005 for $780,000 and then again August of 2006 for $658,744 (likely a sale to the bank). And after a month on the market at $549,000, the list price has been reduced $100,000 (now asking $449,000).

Do keep in mind that according to the listing it’s an “investor/contractor special” and there’s a “non permitted garage conversion.” And while not mentioned in listing (at least to the public), there’s a protected tenant as well. Now about those "comps" back in 2005...

∙ Listing: 638 Banks (2/1) - $449,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:10 AM | Comments (14)

JustQuotes: U.S. New Home Sales Follow In The Footsteps Of Old

“Purchases of new homes in the U.S. fell to a 12-year low in December [and fell 26% on a year-over-year basis], capping the biggest annual decline on record.

Sales decreased 4.7 percent to an annual pace of 604,000, the fewest since February 1995, from a 634,000 rate the prior month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median price last month dropped 10 percent from December 2006, the biggest 12-month decline in 37 years.

The report may reinforce concern that falling home values and stricter lending rules will lead to more foreclosures and hurt consumer spending. Federal Reserve policy makers, meeting later this week, will probably cut interest rates again to try to ward off recession, economists said.”

Sales of New Houses in U.S. Fall More Than Forecast [Bloomberg]
U.S. Existing Home Sales Decline More Than Forecast In December [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:47 AM | Comments (2)


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