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August 28, 2008

To Comp Or Not To Comp, The Question Of More Than The Day

Purchased for $789,000 in 2006, unit #421 at The Palms (555 4th Street) hit the market four months ago with a list price of $868,000. Unable to find a buyer, the asking price on the two-bedroom condo was eventually reduced to $750,000 “subject to lender’s approval.”

Last week the sale of 555 4th Street #421 closed escrow with a reported contract price or $700,000. Well let you do the math (and decide whether or not it’s a “real” comp).

The Palms (555 4th St.): Secondary Market Slowdown And Short Sale [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Comments (76)

St. Regis Penthouse Asking $70M: Is San Francisco All Growns Up?

St. Regis Penthouse: View

Purchased for roughly $30,000,000 as a raw shell in 2005, local real estate developer Victor MacFarlane's penthouse atop the St. Regis has been three years in the making. And while it isn't yet finished (around 85% from what we've been told), the very roughly 20,000 square feet are now back on the market for $70,000,000. Is San Francisco all growns up?

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Comments (84)

August 27, 2008

Summertime, And The Living Is Easy (At Least At SocketSite HQ)

The market has slowed (even more) and people are traveling, so it's once again time for SocketSite “summer hours” (or rather “end of summer” hours). Don’t be surprised by sparse coverage and a slower response time (to tips and inquiries) over the next week.

And for those of you who can't survive without a bigger fix, consider this an opportunity to search and explore the archives. You might be surprised at what you find. And as always, learn.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Comments (11)

Argenta (1 Polk) Update: Now Coming First Quarter 2009

Argenta (1 Polk): 8/11/08 (www.SocketSite.com)

The word on the street is that pace of construction for Argenta (1 Polk) has slowed slightly and the sales office now isn’t planning on opening until the first quarter of 2009 (Jan/Feb). Also noted, a "walk score" of 97 out of 100 for the location ("walkers' paradise").

Argenta (1 Polk): Ground Breaking [SocketSite]
Argenta Rises While Buildings For Crescent Heights Are Razed [SocketSite]
Argenta (1 Polk) Update: The Scaffolding Starts To Get Stripped [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Comments (14)

Surviving The Bad (And Other Peoples’ Foreclosures) In San Francisco

First and foremost, the proper perspective from a plugged-in reader in San Francisco:

Life is about enjoying the good, but it’s also about surviving the bad. I'm sure there will be things I don’t want to hear, but my skin is pretty thick and gotten thicker going through all of this.

And now for the background and request:

I am an avid reader/watcher of the site and it has certainly become something that gives me a bit of a pulse on what’s going on in the City and not just real estate values. In any case I built my home in the Bayview in 2005, completed in 2006 at which time and upon completion I received an appraisal of $810,000 (via the bank).
In January 2008, facing a divorce the house was again re-appraised at $860,000. Despite some additional work done on the house I too was shocked to see a higher appraised value as I expected lower and really knew it to be lower based on market conditions but was still happy to see that higher number and one that clearly gave me the equity to refinance. Well now truly facing the realities of divorce and trying to re-finance as part of adjusting to one income I recently had another appraisal (bank appointed) and it came back to say that the appraised value was $600,000...
$600,000 for a 2,800 sq ft. 3br/2.5ba!! 1.5 yrs old, quality finishes, etc etc. This appraisal has completely thrown me into a tailspin as it jeopardizes my ability to even re-finance, and in looking at the report every property used as a comp was a either a foreclosure or a bank owned property sale and all of which bear no real comparable quality to my home, yet this is what I am up against.
I know that townhomes have been up for sale over at Candlestick Cove and in having wandered around to take a look I know that they are truly the closest "real" comparable to my home with regard to finish even though my home on average has 700-800 more sq. ft. The problem I am discovering in trying to dispute the appraisal is that because sales of the Candlestick Cove townhomes are not being listed on MLS and being sold through the developer that there seems to be no easily attainable record of the units sold or of the final prices of those units. Can you please tell me if there is a way I can find out what units have sold for? Sites like Zillow, Property Shark and Trulia have not been helpful in the least and utterly useless (especially considering 1.5 years after completion my property still doesn’t even appear on Zillow). I have spoken to the Candlestick Cove office on the phone and been told that they will not hand out that information, even though I am not looking for owners names, and simply seek just property sizes and final sale prices.
I don’t want to lose my house, one I spent time designing, seeing through the horrible permit process and 10 months of construction and one I expect to be in for quite a while, but given this horrible appraisal it may be all I can do but to sell it and eat my losses, while handing over a steal to the next owner. Thank you very much for any help or guidance you might be able to give.

Let’s hear it. And as always, add value or go home.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:40 AM | Comments (31)

Living La Vida Loca Casa Verde (Loca)

La Casa Verde: Courtyard (Image Source: lacasaverde.com)

A notice of default might have been filed, but it’s another tipster that notes “La Casa Verde” continues to advertise: “Perfect for corporate meetings, luncheons, cocktail parties, film and photo shoots, receptions, spa parties and much more!” Be careful with those deposits.

Also noted, design credits according to the Sunset “Idea House” site:

Architect: John Lum Architecture
Builder: Meridian Builders and Developers
Interior Design: John Lum Architecture
Landscape Architect: Arterra LLP
Green Mechanical Design: Meridian Builders & Developers, Inc., and Sustainable Spaces
Charity Partner: One Brick

And design credits according to “La Casa Verde”:

Architect: Meridian & Whirliegig Inc.
Builder: Meridian Builders and Developers
Interior Design: Meridian Builders & Developers Inc.
Landscape Architect: Meridian Builders & Developers Inc.
Green Mechanical Design: Meridian Builders & Developers, Inc.
Charity Partner: One Brick

No word on whether or not Meridian has plans to become the charity partner as well...

La Casa Verde, San Francisco [lacasaverdesf.com]
It's Not That Easy Being Green For “La Casa Verde” (3027-3029 25th) [SocketSite]
2007 San Francisco Idea House [sunset.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Comments (62)

August 26, 2008

899 North Point Rising: A Reader Asks, We Answer, You Embellish

899 North Point (www.SocketSite.com)

A reader asks: "Does anyone know what they are building on the corner of Larkin and North Point? Are they condos or rentals? Used to be a gas station or automotive repair shop."

We answer: As far as we know, it’s officially three lots with a total of eight condos rising, one two-unit building (2998 Larkin) and two three-unit buildings (889 and 899 North Point).

You embellish (if you’ve got the full scoop).

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Comments (15)

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

S&P/Case-Shiller Index Change: June 2008 (www.SocketSite.com)

According to the June 2008 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (pdf), single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA fell 1.8% from May ’08 to June ’08 and are down 23.7% year-over-year (a new record low).

For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), year-over-year price growth is down 17.0% (having fallen only 0.6% from May).

S&P/Case-Shiller Index San Francisco Price Tiers: June 2008 (www.SocketSite.com)

Prices fell across all three price tiers for the San Francisco MSA with the upper tier falling 1.4% from May to June and erasing the 0.9% gain from April to May.

The bottom third (under $446,755 at the time of acquisition) fell 2.8% from May to June (down 39.6% YOY); the middle third fell 0.6% from May to June (down 25.8% YOY); and the top third (over $706,704 at the time of acquisition) fell 1.4% from May to June (down 10.2% YOY).

And according to the Index, home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA have returned to June 2002 levels, the middle third to December 2003 levels, and the top third continues to hold at March 2005 levels.

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).

National Trend of Home Price Declines Continued [S&P]
May S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Declines (But Rate Slows) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:10 AM | Comments (153)

From The People Person Who Brought You Green Tea In The Park

121 Edgehill Way: Living

However subtle, we’re suckers for Japanese influenced design elements. And wooded lots, mid-century modern, and a little bit of history too: “This Contemporary unique mid-century home was designed by the architect of the Japanese Tea House in [Golden Gate] Park.”

∙ Listing: 121 Edgehill Way (4/2.5) - $1,295,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Comments (8)

It's Like A Little Slice Of Upscale Sacramento Right Here At Home

166 Yerba Buena: Sign

Last month 166 Yerba Buena Avenue (a.k.a. "Solaria") appeared in the Chronicle’s “sold” list with a reported price of a $1,980,000 (7/1/08). From the MLS via a tipster today:

Spectacular Solaria Mansion inspired by 18th century French chateau architecture - final phase of construction unfinished - major price reduction, subject to trustee and lender approval. Short sale.

Asking $2,995,000. Don’t ask us, but we shall ask out tipsters. And with the overgrown sign, it's like a little slice of upscale Sacramento right here at home.

∙ Listing: 166 Yerba Buena Avenue - $2,995,000 [MLS]
Solaria Sells For About As Much As The Rendered Bugatti In Its Garage [SocketSite]
The SocketSite Scoop On “Solaria” (166 Yerba Buena Ave) [SocketSite]
It’s Not Always Fun And Games At The Top (166-68 Yerba Buena) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2008

Heritage Fillmore: And Then There Were Five (And Up To $230K Off)

Heritage on Fillmore: Final Five

From the Heritage on Fillmore sales office in June by way of a plugged-in reader:

Thank you to all who participated in our Heritage on Fillmore survey. The feedback we received was very informative. You spoke, and we listened. Price was your biggest concern, so we are answering this concern with some amazing pricing specials on our remaining 7 homes!
> 1104, 1 Bed/1 Bath, -$42,000, Now $695,000
> Penthouse 1-E, 1 Bed/1 Bath, -$40,000, Now $690,000
> 604, 2 Bed/2 Bath, -$46,000, Now $765,000
> 1003, 2 Bed/2 Bath, -$50,000, Now $825,000
> 1102, 2 Bed/2 Bath, -$40,000, Now $975,000
> Penthouse 2-C, 2 Bed/2 Bath, -$65,000, Now $905,000
> Penthouse 2-A, 2 Bed+/2 Bath, -$100,000, Now $1,125,000
To further increase the value of these homes, they've been upgraded to include hardwood flooring, designer carpeting, stainless steel appliances, large capacity washer & dryer, refrigerator, indoor exclusive use parking and much more!

It's two months later, and while two have sold, it's even more amazing pricing on the last five:

> 1104, Reduced another $45,000 and SOLD
> Penthouse 1-E, Reduced another $40,000, Now $650,000
> 604, SOLD
> 1003, Still asking $825,000
> 1102, Reduced another $25,000, Now $950,000
> Penthouse 2-C, Reduced another $15,000, Now $890,000
> Penthouse 2-A, Reduced another $130,000, Now $995,000

And yes, that's now a total of $230,000 off (plus upgrades) for Penthouse 2-A.

Heritage On Fillmore Update: 90% Sold, Reductions And Incentives [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Comments (36)

Pace Of U.S. Existing Home Sales Up (MOM) But Still Off (YOY)

The pace of U.S. previously owned homes rose 3.1% in July to an annual rate of 5 million homes as the median price fell $16,200 (7%) on a year-over-year basis, but remains 13% below the pace of 2007.

The increase in sales wasn't enough to keep up with the surge in properties coming into the market as foreclosures mount. There were a record 4.67 million unsold houses and condos on the market in July, representing 11.2 month's supply at the current sales pace, matching the highest ever. The [National Association of Realtors] has said a five to six months' supply is consistent with a stable market.
The jump in inventory was driven by an increase in the supply of condos as projects started one or two years ago came on the market, the Realtors group said.
U.S. Economy: Existing Home Sales Increased 3.1 Percent in July [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Comments (6)

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again (In Glen Park): 461 Chenery

461 Chenery

It’s a plugged-in tipster with a good memory that notes another price cut for the bank owned 461 Chenery in Glen Park. The property was first noted by a SocketSite reader in May soon after it was bought back by the bank on 5/12/08 for $601,343 and subsequently listed on 5/19/08 for $669,900.

After a month on the market the list price was reduced to $629,900, after another month to $599,900, and after another month (five days ago) to $539,900. As best we can tell, the pre-bank owner had purchased the property for $485,000 in January of 2003 (and had pre-spent a bit of that “appreciation”).

From our tipster (and prior to anyone wrongly screaming “schadenfreude!”):

Interesting to see what it goes for given that it is very much walking distance to BART.
Huge fan of the site and bought a house in the Glen Park area 13 months ago. Jealous of this listing price for sure but let’s see where the sale price comes in because it is still well above 2 bedroom rent for cash flow.

Oh, and the current Zillow “Zestimate”: $776,500 (with a “low” of $628,965).

∙ Listing: 461 Chenery (2/1) - $539,900 [MLS]
March S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Declines, Top Tier Flat [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Comments (98)

August 22, 2008

If $550,000 Were A Rounding Error, Would $2,000,000 Be As Well?

2151 Green and empty lot (www.SocketSite.com)

Purchased for $9,500,000 last fall (including the lot next door), initially seeking $11,500,000 (according to its website) and then officially listed for $10,950,000 last month (with the later two prices not including the lot next door), the list price for 2151 Green Street has been reduced $2,000,000. Now asking $8,950,000.

The lot next door? It's no longer listed for $24,500,000 fully developed, but as a plugged-in reader notes, now asking $5,900,000 as an entitled lot.

∙ Listing: 2151 Green Street (6/5) - $8,950,000 [2151green.com] [MLS]
∙ Listing: 2157 Green Street (entitled lot) - $5,900,000 [MLS]
But Hey, $550,000 Is Simply A Rounding Error To A Proper Industrialist [SocketSite]
The Scoop On 2157 Green Street (Could You See The Foreshadowing?) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Comments (31)

It’s Friday, So Insert Cheeky Comment Here (943 Church Street #B)

943 Church Street #B: Living

Floor to ceiling windows especially with views? Yes please.

943 Church Street #B: Bedroom

And in the bedroom too? Double yes (and insert cheeky comment here).

∙ Listing: 943 Church Street #B (3/3) - $2,395,000 [943churchpenthouse.com] [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 AM | Comments (85)

A Plugged-In Reader Reports: Timing For Esprit Park (900 Minnesota)

"The developers have...sent out letters to buyers at [Esprit Park] saying delivery on the majority of the south court units will be 6 to 8 weeks from now. Original delivery was intended to be July though so who knows. North court won't be until December probably but could be 09."

900 Minnesota: Now And Then [SocketSite]
Homes On Esprit Park (900 Minnesota) Sales Update: 25% In Contract [SocketSite]
2225-2255 Third Street: What Was (And Hopefully Is) In The Works [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:15 AM | Comments (2)

The "Best Deal" In SoMa Nine Months Ago, A "Motivated Seller" Today

246 2nd Street

About nine months ago 246 2nd Street #1306 hit the market with a list price of $939,000, quickly shaved $20,000 off the asking, and added the following line to the property description: "Now Best Deal in SOMA: GO!" As far as we know, nobody went.

Last week 246 2nd Street #1306 returned to the MLS with a list price of $859,000. The new line: "Motivated seller: priced to sell."

Now about those bank owned comps that "don't really matter"...

∙ Listing: 246 2nd Street #1306 (2/2) 1,101 sqft - $859,000 [MLS]
Something Tells Us That “By Far” Wasn’t By Accident [SocketSite]
It's A Good Thing Those Bank Owned Comps Don't Matter, Right? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Comments (73)

August 21, 2008

San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf Public Ream Realm Plan

Aquatic Park Concept

From the Chronicle with regard to the city's plan to "reinvigorate the streets and public spaces of Fisherman’s Wharf" and related public spaces including Aquatic Park:

The main drag of Fisherman's Wharf would become more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists and less auto-friendly as part of a $10 million city plan to improve the world-famous tourist attraction.
The preliminary proposal focuses on Jefferson Street, the one-way road that runs from Powell Street to Aquatic Park. Plans call for removing on-street parking and taking away one of two traffic lanes, using the space instead for bicycle lanes and widened sidewalks with benches. Artists' renderings of two sections of the revamped street were made public Wednesday.

And an unfortunate typo (we hope) from the project website:

Fisherman's Wharf Public 'Ream' Plan

UPDATE: Above typo quickly fixed (and thanks for plugging in).

S.F. plans a new look for the old wharf [SFGate]
Fisherman's Wharf Public Realm Plan [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Comments (40)

Priced To Sell! Did We Mention Priced To Sell? (250 Clara Street #13)

250 Clara Street #13

Perhaps it’s not a perfect apple (“may be larger than tax record shows due to remodel by owner”), but 250 Clara Street #13, a District 9 loft, was just listed for $588,000. Top floor, lots of light, and apparently “pure energy.”

Purchased for $550,000 in December of 2004 and now advertising “priced to sell” (twice).

∙ Listing: 250 Clara Street #13 (1/1.5) - $588,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 AM | Comments (46)

We Should All Be So Lucky To Have A Plugged-In Friend Like Stu

A plugged-in "Stu" seeks some ideas for a friend:

I have a friend who's…in this scenario: ~150K combined income, 5% down on a 700K peninsula condo bought in late 2005. Interest only on a 5% first mortgage and 3% second (company sponsored, 5/1) mortgage. The monthly cost of owning was probably about equal to renting with the low rates. I think they might have had some trouble refinancing in a few years, but I bet they would have been able to make it work out. Recently, however, my friend decided to change careers, move out of state, and take a substantial (combined 1/2 current salary) paycut. Perhaps a poor financial decision but apparently there's more to life than money.
So after 4 months on the market they've had one offer that fell through due to financing. Now they have a solid offer at 10% below what they paid and the buyers want a fast close. My friend is planning on taking the deal and liquidating the entirety of both of their 401K's (between 100-150K I estimate from what I've been told) to make up the loan balance and pay the sales commission. This should get them free and clear with a few thousand dollars in the bank to start their new life.
What other options are available to them? I hate to see them use 401k money to get out of this jam, because of the taxes and 10% penalty, not to mention the time value (present stock market conditions notwithstanding...) of that money. Being in your late 20s / early 30s with no retirement savings isn't the end of the world I guess. They have no other substantial assets besides the condo (i.e. cars are leased). The best I could think of was to somehow wait until 2009 to liquidate the 401K to lessen the tax hit in their new (3% ) state and presumably lower fed tax bracket. That and to talk to a financial professional.
Any ideas would be appreciated.

It’s not a “friend” as far as we know (not that we'd care). We’ve moved a couple of early responses to get things started. And please try to add value (or back away from the keyboard).

UPDATE (8/22): Stu responds (and thanks).

San Francisco Affordability: Is C.A.R.'s New Reality Already Old? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 AM | Comments (107)


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