« October 2009 | HOME | December 2009 »

November 30, 2009

High Atop The Hamilton (631 O’Farrell): Penthouse Listing And History

The Hamilton Historic Flyer

Built as a hotel in 1929, converted to condominiums in 1962, and better known for its studios and one-bedrooms, the 3,879 square foot penthouse (#2101) atop The Hamilton (631 O’Farrell) has hit the market asking $4,500,000.

A bit of Hamilton history with respect to how the penthouse came to be:

A wealthy heiress by the name of Marcia McDonald created her fantasy apartment and spared no expense creating this lavish penthouse. As an early buyer, she combined four proposed units on the top floor into one large full-floor unit with its own private elevator access.

631 O'Farrell #2101 Floor Plan

She also expanded the unit outward onto the east and west terraces with a number of non-Art Deco appendages, the grandest being a full-length glass barrel-vaulted solarium held up by imported Greek-style columns. This amazing room when illuminated becomes a beacon in this part of the city. She also added hundreds of thousands of dollars in elaborate finishes.

631 O'Farrell #2101 Solarium

She was not able to finish the unit in her lifetime and never lived there. When her contractor told her she would have to spend another $500,000, she shut the doors and never returned, instead she spent her time in two apartments on the 15th floor...The spectacular unit was finished after her death [four years later] largely according to her original vision and it includes a 360 degree vista of San Francisco and all of it's major landmarks.

At the other end of the building's spectrum, the 520 square foot 631 O'Farrell #906 has been asking $275,000 since October 23, down from $299,000 in August.

∙ Listing: 631 O’Farrell #2101 (3/3.5) 3,879 sqft - $4,500,000 [Sotheby’s] [MLS]
∙ Listing: 631 O’Farrell #906 (0/1) 520 sqft - $275,000 [MLS]
The Hamilton (631 O’Farrell) History [The Hamilton]
Pay For 520, But Live Like 800 (With Bonus Points For “Trendyloin”) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Comments (41)

An Emotional Bricks And Mortar Asset Allocation For The Wealthy

"Real estate investment among wealthy individuals [with more than $800,000 to invest] is set to rise to 30 percent of the average portfolio for the next few years from 28 percent now, according to [a Barclays global] survey. That excludes properties used as a principal residence. Most rich people, other than the extremely wealthy, should have no more than 10 percent of their assets in property, said [Mike Dicks, the London-based head of research at Barclays Wealth]."

"I was surprised how big a share of their wealth property represents," [said Dicks]. "It’s not what I would tell grandma. None of our data suggests that would be a good allocation."

Wealthy Investors Plan to Buy More Real Estate, Barclays Says [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Comments (36)

1844 Market Street Development Hits A Banking Speed Bump

1844 Market: Design

It was a plugged-in tipster that first noticed the movement on 1844 Market Street back in May. And while the builder had indeed broken ground on the 113 unit mixed-use project with 90 parking spaces and 5,000 square feet of retail, the FDIC’s seizure and sale of United Commercial Bank to EastWest Bank might throw a monkey wrench into the mix.

Builder Joe Cassidy…said the development’s financing is up in the air since United Commercial Bank was taken over. The Market Street project is the largest condo development to break ground in 2009, and Cassidy said United Commercial Bank was "the only game in town" when he went shopping for a loan. Cassidy said he doesn’t know if the loan will be funded by EastWest.

As the site looks today:

1844 Market 11/30/09 (www.SocketSite.com)

1844 Market Watch: Movement On 113 "Fabulous" Units And Retail [SocketSite]
Fallout from bank failures hits Bay Area builders [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Comments (7)

Not Perfectly "Apples To Apples" But A Bernal Data Point Nonetheless

78 Anderson

With a new kitchen and some other seemingly minor renovations (i.e., no pulled permits) since its purchase for $990,000 in December 2007 (the kitchen at the time below), the recent sale of 78 Anderson on 11/19/09 apparently isn’t perfectly "apples to apples."

78 Anderson Kitchen circa 2007

But with a reported contract price of $1,062,000 ($65,000 over asking) it is a data point at $699 per square foot for the 1,519 square foot four-bedroom Bernal home with views.

Apples To Apples On Anderson (#78) Atop Bernal Heights [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Comments (17)

Hugo Hotel's Flying Furniture Update, No Word On The Graffiti

Hugo Hotel in San Francisco (www.SocketSite.com)

"As a courtesy to the Artist...[Redevelopment] Agency staff is recommending entering into a Permit to Enter with the Artist [Brian Goggin] to keep Defenestration in place until the Agency is ready to demolish the existing building and replace it with affordable housing."

Hugo Hotel display likely to get reprieve [San Francisco Examiner]
The Hugo Hotel Has A Date With A Different Kind Of Bench [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: Eminent Domain For Affordable Housing On Sixth Street? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (6)

November 25, 2009

Warm Thoughts Of A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner (2009 Edition)

173 Downey Kitchen

Our Thanksgiving time tradition has been thwarted in 2009 by a lack of gorgeous old stoves. So this year it's the (semi) recent reduction (listed for $2,565,000 on 9/17, reduced to $2,398,000 on 10/13) of a renovated "green" kitchen and we call it a day.

Here's to hoping your pantry is plentiful along with your family and friends. Safe travels if you are (traveling). And thanks for plugging in. We'll see you next week.

∙ Listing: 173 Downey (5/3.5) - $2,398,000 [173downeyst.com] [MLS]
Warm Thoughts Of A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner (2008 Edition) [SocketSite]
Conjuring Up Warm Thoughts Of A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Comments (33)

San Francisco MSA Prestige Home Index Down 15.7% Year Over Year

While September's S&P/Case-Shiller index for San Francisco showed a nominal decline for the top third of MSA properties (cost basis over $577,214) from August to September, the latest First Republic Prestige Home Index for the San Francisco MSA (the same Case-Shiller data but for properties with a cost basis of over a million) recorded a 3.8 percent drop from the second to third quarter in 2009, down 15.7 percent year over year.

As a plugged-in reader notes, the San Francisco Index is down 18.2 percent from its peak in the third quarter of 2007. Our standard footnotes with respect to the S&P/Case-Shiller index apply.

September Case-Shiller: Bottom Tiers Up But Flat At Top For SF MSA [SocketSite]
First Republic Prestige Home Index for San Francisco [firstrepublic.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Comments (4)

A Bit Of "02" Irony (And 80 Percent Sold) At One Rincon Hill

One Rincon Hill (www.SocketSite.com)

On the heels of yesterday’s height of the fire sale flames post with respect to The Infinity, we turn our attention to One Rincon Hill. So far the lowest priced two-bedroom sale we have identified on a price per square foot basis seems to be 425 1st Street #1102.

The 1,309 square foot two-bedroom sold for a reported $695,000 ($531 per square) in May. We’d be remiss not to note the "02" stack irony.

Of the 396 units of One Rincon Hill, we believe they remain at just under 80 percent sold.

UPDATE: We've pulled our reference to #4902, it's reported sales history is just a bit too odd. With respect to #1102, however, a plugged-in reader adds:

1102 was sold on opening night to an "insider". Contract price was $925,000 and he was all excited because it was such a "steal". (I was at the party.) By closing time he had moved out of town and so he bailed on the contract. I believe he lost his deposit.

If accurate, call it a discount of 24.8 percent to move it in May.

Recounting The Height Of The Infinity "Fire Sale" Flames [SocketSite]
A Return To Reality For A One Rincon Hill "02" Stack Resale (#2202) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Comments (23)

U.S. New Home Purchases Up, Median Price Falls

"Purchases of new homes in the U.S. rebounded more than anticipated in October [up 6.2 percent to an annual pace of 430,000] as buyers rushed to take advantage of a government tax credit before it expired...Home values may remain under pressure as builders are forced to compete with mounting foreclosures as unemployment climbs."

As we wrote on Monday, two things to consider: 1. the impact of home buyer tax credits that were originally slated to expire on November 20; and 2. the state of October 2008.

Sales of New Houses in U.S. Climb to Highest Level Since 2008 [Bloomberg]
One Of Thirty Underwater Properties New To The Market This Week [SocketSite]
Animating The Unemployment Wave And Wondering About Its Impact [SocketSite]
Pace Of U.S. Existing Home Purchases Up 23.5 Percent YOY [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Comments (25)

One Of Thirty Underwater Properties New To The Market This Week

501 Beale

Of 83 new listings in San Francisco over the past week, 30 (36%) are either bank owned (16) or seeking a short sale (14). One such listing is for Watermark (501 Beale) #1D.

Purchased for $725,000 in January 2007 but then bought back by the bank this past August, the 831 square foot one-bedroom with parking was listed for $495,000 yesterday.

And according to public records, 501 Beale #1D was refinanced in July of 2007 with a variable rate loan for $780,000. Is it yet another "anomalous" data point to be?

∙ Listing: 501 Beale #1D (1/1) 831 sqft - $495,000 [MLS]
A Higher Watermark Than Some Expected…Only 23% Under '06 Price [SocketSite]
A Pair Of Bank-Owned Penthouses Atop The Watermark (501 Beale) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Comments (23)

November 24, 2009

Mission Walk (330/335 Berry) Phase 2 Inventory/Application Scoop

Mission Walk Walk (www.SocketSite.com)

Mission Walk will begin accepting applications for 66 below market rate (BMR) condos at 11AM on December 5, 2009. Despite an oversubscribed lottery last year, seven (7) three-bedrooms and fifty-nine (59) two-bedrooms remain available.

This time around, "applications will be processed on a first completed-first served basis."

UPDATE (11/25): With respect to an interior shot, the best we can do at the moment:

Mission Walk Living

UPDATE (11/25): A plugged-in reader reports: "I'm in contract at Mission Walk as well as a CPA and current renter and have to share my thoughts..."

Mission Walk: Overview and Applications [homebricks.com]
Mission Walk (330/335 Berry) Prepares To Strut [SocketSite]
Mission Walk (330/335 Berry) Lottery Redux: Second Round Soon! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Comments (61)

Animating The Unemployment Wave And Wondering About Its Impact

As the pace of existing home purchases in U.S. picks up and the latest Case-Shiller Index twenty-city composite ticks up, a plugged-in tipster points us in the direction of a rather sobering animation of the rising unemployment wave spreading across our country.



The questions: what’s really driving any real estate "rebound," is it sustainable, and what happens if it's not? Are we currently scooping up fish left floundering on the ocean floor by receding seas unaware of a wave that's soon to return?

Pace Of U.S. Existing Home Purchases Up 23.5 Percent YOY [SocketSite]
September Case-Shiller: Bottom Tiers Up But Flat At Top For SF MSA [SocketSite]
The Decline: The Geography of a Recession [americanobserver.net]
U.S. Unemployment At 10.2 Percent, Five Tenths Above San Francisco [SocketSite]
San Francisco County Unemployment Up To 9.9 Percent In October [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Comments (39)

Recounting The Height Of The Infinity "Fire Sale" Flames

A plugged-in reader reports:

Lowest price sold 2/2 at Tower II is $535,000 for 1,187 sf. Mid 2009. All 1/1 are now gone and it is unlikely to find any 2/2 left at under 700k - at least not from the developer - in Tower II. Lowest 1/1 sold, I believe was below 400,000.

Assume that's without parking (or not). Don't necessarily assume it's the same sub $600,000 sale we plugged you into back in June.

UPDATE: Make that $510,000 for a two-bedroom (338 Spear #6J) and $350,000 for the lowest know one-bedroom (338 Spear #9G). And on a dollar per square foot basis, the lowest we know about for a two-bedroom was $466 per square foot for the 1,147 square foot 338 Spear Street #4E (closed in July 2009).

Do we hear under $535,000 or $466 per square for a two?

Infinity Tower I Sold Out, Tower II At 70 Percent, 85 Percent Overall [SocketSite]
Confidentially Speaking About The Infinity [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Comments (11)

September Case-Shiller: Bottom Tiers Up But Flat At Top For SF MSA

S&P/Case-Shiller Index Change: September 2009 (www.SocketSite.com)

According to the September 2009 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA gained 1.3% from August ’09 to September '09, down 7.8% year-over-year and down 38.6% from a peak in May 2006, but up from a 46.1% fall from peak as recorded in March 2009.

For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), home values gained 0.4% from August to September but remain down 29.9% from a peak in June 2006 (down 8.5% year-over-year).

San Francisco and Washington DC have reported six consecutive months of positive returns. Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego and the two Composites were close behind with five consecutive months of positive returns. In addition to the two Composites, nine of the MSAs reported positive monthly returns for September and four of those -- Chicago, Detroit Minneapolis and San Francisco -- were greater than +1.0%.
Las Vegas remains the most depressed market. Prices have declined for 37 consecutive months, with a peak-to-trough reading of -55.4%. While Detroit has seen some positive movement in recent months, the market is still at only 73% of its 2000 value. This compares to regions such as Los Angeles, New York and Washington, which have maintained values of 70-80% above their 2000 averages, in spite of the market downturn.

On a month-over-month basis San Francisco MSA single-family home prices rose for the bottom two price tiers for the fourth time since May 2006, but fell nominally at the top.

S&P/Case-Shiller Index San Francisco Price Tiers: September 2009 (www.SocketSite.com)

The bottom third (under $309,497 at the time of acquisition) gained 2.3% from August to September (down 15.9% YOY); the middle third gained 1.1% from August to September (down 7.8% YOY); and the top third (over $577,214 at the time of acquisition) fell 0.1% from August to September (down 11.5% YOY).

According to the Index, single-family home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA are back to June 2000 levels having fallen 59% from a peak in August 2006, the middle third is hovering around May 2002 levels having fallen 38% from a peak in May 2006, and the top third is almost back to March 2004 levels having fallen 24% from a peak in August 2007.

Condo values in the San Francisco MSA rose 0.8% from August ’09 to September '09, down 12.2% on a year-over-year basis and down 27.3% from an October 2005 high.

S&P/Case-Shiller Condo Price Changes: September 2009 (www.SocketSite.com)

Our standard SocketSite S&P/Case-Shiller footnote: The S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices include San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the "San Francisco" index (i.e., greater MSA) and are imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus appreciation (although they try their best).

Home Prices Show Sustained Improvement through Third Quarter of 2009 [S&P]
August S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Continues MOM Uptick [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Comments (43)

November 23, 2009

Infinity Tower I Sold Out, Tower II At 70 Percent, 85 Percent Overall

Infinity Tower One (www.SocketSite.com)

From the sales office at The Infinity:

The Infinity San Francisco, a 650-unit luxury condominium development by Tishman Speyer, announced today that its 237-unit Tower I is 100 percent closed out. The Tower I close out caps off an extraordinarily successful year in which The Infinity recorded 292 net sales – nearly 45 percent of its total 650 units of inventory. The development’s 285-unit Tower II is nearly 70 percent closed just nine months after opening in February 2009. The entire development is now more than 85 percent closed.

UPDATE: Parsing the language, we estimate the treetops to be roughly 90 percent sold and “Phase One” (Tower I and the Treetops) at 97 percent closed overall. We’ll also call it roughly 40 net new Phase One sales and roughly 165 net new Tower II sales over the past eight months.

Keep in mind significant sales office discounting (over 30% for some) has been in play but has also eased up over the past couple of months.

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader believes that all the treetop units have all closed. If so, call it closer to 50 net new Phase One sales (and a Phase One closeout) over the past eight months. And either way, call it just under a hundred to go.

UPDATE: Another plugged-in reader adds: "As of two weeks ago, there were 47 available units at the Infinity...so that translates to something like 552 closed, 51 under contract, 47 available."

Infinity Tower Two Sales Update: 50 Contracts Total Since January 1 [SocketSite]
Infinity Sales Update: New Contracts Up But Driven By Discounts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Comments (75)

The Credits Roll On The 2009 Sale Of Marquee Lofts #708 (And #605)

151 Alice B. Toklas Place #708

Marquee Lofts (151 Alice B. Toklas Place) #708 first changed hands on 9/30/04 for $607,500; sold on 10/05/06 for $865,000 (having been upgraded); and was bought back by Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending for $708,933 on 1/9/08 (having been downgraded).

Sold kitchen-less as a foreclosure sale for $580,000 in June of 2008, a fully remodeled (new kitchen, bathroom, lighting and other improvements) returned to the market this past July asking $739,000 and was later reduced to $699,000. The re-sale of the 1,229 square foot loft closed escrow on 11/10/09 with a reported contract price of $682,850 ($556 per square foot).

We would be surprised if the recent remodeling budget ran under $50,000. We wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up over $75,000. And hopefully nobody took spencer up on his "I bet $1,000,000,000,000 that this closes under $700K" wager in July.

As a related building aside, the foreclosure sale of Marquee Lofts #605 closed escrow on 10/15 with a recorded contract price of $579,000. The 1,204 square foot unit had been purchased in August 2005 for $755,000 (August 2003 for $515,000). No word on any improvements (or kitchen hijackings) in-between.

Change Of Heart, Cash Crunch, Or A Condo Sitter Gone Crazy? [SocketSite]
From Foreshadowing To Foreclosure For A Marquee Loft Off Van Ness [SocketSite]
A Remodeled Marquee Lofts #708 Returns…With A Kitchen! [SocketSite]
Have We Seen This Marquee Lofts (#708) Movie Before? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Comments (4)

San Francisco’s 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Kicks Off

San Francisco TIC Sales And Lottery Applicants 2001-2008 (Image Source: plancsf.org)

Ticket sales for the 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery kicked off this morning and will run through 4:45 PM on Friday, January 22, 2010. The drawing for the rights to convert 200 units from TICs to condominiums in 2010 is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, 2010. Around 2,000 tickets are expected to be sold (2,030 in 2008).

Full details with respect to eligibility and process as well as applications for first-time and returning applicants are available online.

2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Details [SFGov]
∙ 2010 Conversion Lottery Applications: First Time | Returning [SFGov]
Demand for Affordable Housing Continues Strong [plancsf.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Comments (35)

Pace Of U.S. Existing Home Purchases Up 23.5 Percent YOY

The pace of existing U.S. homes purchases hit a 6.1 million annual rate in October, up from a 5.54 million pace in September and up 23.5 percent on a year-over year basis as the median price fell 7.1 percent as compared to October 2008.

Two things to consider: 1. the impact of home buyer tax credits that were originally slated to expire on November 20; and 2. the state of October 2008.

U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise 10%, More Than Forecast [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Comments (20)

The 1645 Pacific Project: Latest Designs (And Neighbors’ Concerns)

1645 Pacific: Now (www.SocketSite.com)

The latest designs for the 1645 Pacific Avenue project we first introduced you to 21 months ago are now online. As proposed, 1645 Pacific (currently two stories and 30 feet) and 1661 Pacific (currently one story and 18 feet) would be replaced by a six-story, 65-foot-tall (excluding 9-16 foot mechanical penthouses), and 64,170 square foot mixed-use building.

1645 Pacific: Existing and as Proposed

There would be 48 dwelling units (approximately 46,570 sq.ft.) and 3,410 sq.ft. of ground-floor retail space. The dwelling units would consist of 26 studios and seven one-bedroom, 12 two-bedroom, and three three-bedroom units. The basement would contain 24 bicycle parking spaces and 49 vehicle parking spaces, of which 39 would be mechanical lift spaces, nine would be independently accessible spaces…and one would be an independently accessible car-share space.
Open space (a combination of common and private open space) for the dwelling units would be provided through a common rear yard (2,600 sq.ft.), roof deck (1,400 sq.ft.), and private decks (2,450 sq.ft.). The project sponsor would comply with the requirements of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance for below market rate (BMR) units ordinance by paying an in lieu fee.
Project construction would take about approximately 20 months, and occupancy is anticipated in late 2011. The estimated construction cost is $18,150,000. The project sponsor and developer is 1645 Pacific Avenue, LLC and the project architect is BDE Architecture.

1645 Pacific Proposed Design

An alternate "preservation" proposal to address historical concerns (a "potential auto row historic district") would demolish 1645 Pacific but restore 1661 Pacific, an alternative which would yield ten fewer future homes.

Other non-historic concerns raised by neighbors that are addressed in the project's Environmental Impact Report: density, scale, height, design, visual and neighborhood character, rear yard size, traffic, noise, wind, light, shadows, and impact on property values, quality of life and (their) views.

Now And (The Future) Then: 50 Condos Coming Soon At 1645 Pacific [SocketSite]
1645 Pacific Project: Environmental Impact Report (EIR) [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 AM | Comments (25)

November 20, 2009

The Beginning Or End Of This (Or The) San Francisco Short Sale Story?

2874 Bush

Listed as a short sale for $595,000, the Lower Pacific Heights single-family (but zoned RH2) home at 2874 Bush Street sold for $675,000 in June of 2003.

According to a plugged-in source a short sale has already been approved (although at exactly what price was unknown), and while most definitely a fixer (if not a gut and build), it could possibly be perfectly habitable with a bit of elbow grease.

Also noted, the walls seemed to be decorated with listings and other information about numerous other properties. And the grant deed from the buyer in 2003 to another party in September 2008 and then back to the 2003 buyer in January 2009 remains unexplained.

∙ Listing: 2874 Bush (2/1) - $595,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Comments (15)

Next Page »