December 30, 2009

A Quick Short(er) Sale And Key Word: Pre-Approved

2874 Bush

As we wrote last month:

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.

And while the short sale of 2874 Bush Street closed escrow on 12/22/09 with what appears to be a "confidential" sale price on the MLS (and will be considered to be $595,000 with respect to industry reports), a bit of digging and calculating reveals the actual sale price to be $550,000 (18.5% under its 2003 contract price).

Key word in the listing: pre-approved. No word on any credits for the furnace.

The Beginning Or End Of This (Or The) San Francisco Short Sale Story? [SocketSite]
Personal Effects, Check. Washer And Dryer, Check. Furnace… [SocketSite]

First Published: December 30, 2009 7:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Tipster where is your post here explaining how the $125k loss is so large that it doesn't matter the place was down "only" 18% and therefore condo's and SFR's are still basically the same market regardless of most of one group showing ~20% losses while the other group is starting to show a lot of 30+% losses?

Posted by: Rillion at December 30, 2009 10:22 AM

What do Bush, Pine, and Arguello have in common?

Posted by: anonn at December 30, 2009 10:46 AM

What do Bush, Pine, and Arguello have in common?

A change in circumstances is forcing price discovery as all three properties are marked to current market?

Posted by: SocketSite at December 30, 2009 11:03 AM

Where is the border btw "Lower Pac Heights" and Western Addition?

[Editor’s Note: According to the San Francisco Association of Realtors the border is Geary. The current street by street borders for all (follow the first link): San Francisco Real Estate Districts: Maps And Neighborhoods.]

Posted by: waiting2nest at December 30, 2009 11:13 AM

I was going to say that they are thoroughfares on the borders of pretty nice areas. So is the California street property, for that matter. But you're welcome to ignore nearby properties you routinely post on your own website showing smaller losses, if any losses at all.

[Editor’s Note: We’re not exactly sure how we ignore properties we routinely post on our own website showing smaller losses. As you note, we’re the ones who routinely post them.]

Posted by: anonn at December 30, 2009 11:14 AM

Well, why aren't the neighboring properties subject to a change in circumstances forcing "price discovery" then? Perhaps ignore was the wrong word. Choosing not to be flat with the language isn't quite ignoring. It's more like favoritism.

True or false: A property located on a thoroughfare will generally fare quite a bit worse in a down market? Ther's indeed a lesson from the four thoroughfare properties you've displayed. Buy on a thoroughfare, hold for a few years, don't do much, sell into a down market = expect a greater loss than your neighbors.

Did you see 345 El Camino Del Mar? It was exactly a block away from the California street property. And it fared just a little better.

Posted by: anonn at December 30, 2009 11:44 AM

Tipster where is your post here explaining how the $125k loss is so large that it doesn't matter the place was down "only" 18% and therefore condo's and SFR's are still basically the same market regardless of most of one group showing ~20% losses while the other group is starting to show a lot of 30+% losses?

Um, this is "only" down 18.5% from 2003 pricing. I'm fairly certain this would have been down much further from 2006-2008 pricing, which is turning out to be peak pricing. If prices went up 20-25% total from the entire period 2003-2007, then this is down 30+% too.

Or am I missing some alternative logic you wanted to use? Cuz I don't think this really proves your point very well!

Posted by: tipster at December 30, 2009 12:00 PM

1711 Broderick (a couple of blocks away and $2mm more) seems to have sold too. (it has a "sold" sign). Seems like places Lower Pac Heights are not staying on the market for ages... no idea what tha means.

Posted by: hugh at December 30, 2009 12:31 PM

Over the years, my experience with real estate professionals has not been positive. Being "self-regulated" by the NAR is a joke. I have gone to open houses that advertised views that the property clearly did not have. I have gone into condos that I had already seen and when asking the listing broker how long the property had been on the market, I was told "a few weeks (actually more than a year) and we already have a lot of interest." Lying is not illegal apparently-- and I know there are good honorable r/e brokers out there too. But many consumers have not had good experiences.

The purpose of the NAR is to try to limit data, sell on anecdote, defend its commission fiefdom, spend millions lobbying in congress, and fight discount brokers. I thus find it ironic that r/e people will complain about the selection of actual data points-- real apples to apples data. Socketsite is great-- it's an open forum discussion and people can get the real story-- good or bad-- on properties and the market. Is it biased in its selection of stories? To a certain extent, it doesn't matter because they are real data points and the forum is open for people data points.

I wonder what this exact same economy/real estate market would have been like twenty years ago pre-internet and pre-sites like this one. Certainly the market would have been way less transparent. Twenty years ago, I'd probably have a broker who would tell me anecdotes about bidding wars coming back and how I had to move quickly and how nothing in sf is going down in price and that they aren't making more land it is a one-way market here. (I actually have been "guaranteed" that I would double my money on a condo in five years (that was probably 2006).

Biased selection or not, it's an open forum. From a consumer standpoint, I'm happy to have more information.

Posted by: datapoints at December 30, 2009 1:00 PM

Yeah well they are all on thouroughfares, and that point was not raised previously. So know that.

Posted by: anonn at December 30, 2009 1:48 PM

I presume you are calling out Pine/Bush as "thoroughfares" as they are one way with, I think, synchronized lights. But Sutter/Post are also pretty busy streets, especially near Japantown. And California/Geary are most definitely thoroughfares (and bus routes too). And if you consider just north of California as part of "lower", Sacramento is a bus route until Fillmore and you've got the hospital there as well. Plus a bunch of the north/south streets are busy too, including Webster, Fillmore and Divis, with the latter two bus routes. Given that lower Pac. Heights runs further east/west than it does north/south, you're essentially categorizing a clear majority of the area as though it's something inferior to the area as a whole.

Posted by: Amen Corner at December 30, 2009 2:25 PM

datapoints has a good point -- NAR and local real estate associations are only trying to maintain their 6%. They have no interest in transparency. That's why, even on SS, we hear the "previous buyer overpaid," "this is on a thoroughfare," etc.

If people have apples that the editor isn't showing, by all means let's discuss them. But we all know that rarely happens, because usually the alleged apples aren't apples.

Posted by: Anon E. Mouse at December 30, 2009 2:26 PM

Given that lower Pac. Heights runs further east/west than it does north/south, you're essentially categorizing a clear majority of the area as though it's something inferior to the area as a whole

Yes, I and everyone else who ever evaluates real estate prices in the area think along those lines. You can compare Sacramento street prices versus Bush and Pine street prices and come to the same conclusion if you like. Or you can cast doubt without looking into it. I don't really care.

Posted by: anonn at December 30, 2009 2:30 PM

@ Mouse: An apple that interested me is 1825 Castro, b/c it is in my immediate hood. Last month it sold ($2.2m) for about 10% above its 2004 post-renovation price ($2m). Meanwhile, another apple close by in the 600 block of 27th was pulled from the MLS recently because, in my view, it is priced too high (about 30%) above its 2003 price.

Posted by: sanfrantim at December 30, 2009 2:37 PM

Oh, now putting a fine point on the effects of selling a house in a down market on a busy street after only holding a few years, or mentioning that folks who wildly overbid and are selling after only a few years, versus those who made a sensible offer and lost out, buying smarter with long term plans elsewhere ... these are wide ranging realtor conspiracies? LOL. I thought these criticisms were only getting levelled by non-participants at the reasoned opinions of participants. I didn't realize that Lawrence Yun was sending microwave transmissions realtors' brainstems. It's very telling who was and who was not ever involved in even looking at anything.

Posted by: anonn at December 30, 2009 2:48 PM

There has been a lot of squawking of late that SS is cherry picking its apples (sorry to mix metaphors).

is there a way to add in more user suggestion in a more transparent way? For instance, have a place where people could list the apples they see around town? and this section would be viewable by all.

then we could all see if SS is cherry picking and by how much.

Then it would be easy. Example: if users put in 50 properties that sell for a huge gain and 50 properties that sold for huge loss- but then SS only highlights 30 properties 20 of which show big losses and 10 which show minimal gains.

I think it's the editor's right to put whatever s/he wants to put on his/her site. at the same time I am most interested in transparency of the SF market. Many probably think me an uber-bear... but I have no problem going long and going long in a big way... if the data looks right.

for instance, many of you will recall that I forecast a long arduous downturn for SF RE, and also a recession, before they happened. I also forecast end recession in 2H 2009 during the peak of doom and gloom (early 2009). and went long certain stocks accordingly. (I'm out of the market now though) so I'm not wed to a particular ideology)

I would be more than happy to have good data showing that SF RE is turning around more than other areas and for more reasons than government stimulus. (SF isn't special... most major US metros are doing relatively well right now). the more data the better IMO.

Posted by: ex SF-er at December 30, 2009 2:49 PM

Appreciate the apple. Looks like the buyer got a good price, and that 2004 renovation looks more tasteful than some of the ones we see here.

But it's also a real price drop, even though a nominal increase. $2.025M in 2004 should have sold for $2.319M this year. Inflation is officially about 14.5% since then (http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/)

Posted by: anon at December 30, 2009 2:51 PM

That's why, even on SS, we hear the "previous buyer overpaid," "this is on a thoroughfare," etc.

That must be why every house I've seen has a realtor spouting "we have multiple officers, some all-cash" or "it's a great time to buy!" Many of them try to supplement the facts with ridiculous justifications.

Posted by: anon at December 30, 2009 2:56 PM

"Cuz I don't think this really proves your point very well!"

My only point was you hadn't shown up to post the same mocking comments towards annon yet and I was wondering if it was because this place didn't have a 450k loss or a 30+% loss. But then I see you can give it a theoretical 30+% loss based on what it might have gone for during "peak". So now my only question is what took you so long. Sleep in this morning?

Posted by: Rillion at December 30, 2009 4:05 PM

My only point was you hadn't shown up to post the same mocking comments towards annon yet and I was wondering if it was because this place didn't have a 450k loss or a 30+% loss. But then I see you can give it a theoretical 30+% loss based on what it might have gone for during "peak".

Your "point" seems rather convoluted and tortured. Nevertheless, achieving a 30% drop from
peak (say, 2007) would require only 4% annual appreciation from 2003 to 2007 - just a little higher than inflation. That hardly seems like a stretch during the greatest real estate bubble in modern US history.

Posted by: anonm at December 31, 2009 12:51 PM

Speaking of short sales, here's an interesting article about bank's committing fraud as second lienholders during a short sale. And our good friends the realtors are occasionally the ones taking flack for pushing back on these clearly illegal payments -- kudos to the realtors who have done so!:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Big-Banks-Accused-of-Short-cnbc-281601046.html?x=0

Posted by: sfrenegade at January 15, 2010 12:19 PM

^^ linky no worky

Posted by: formerly%whatever at January 15, 2010 2:45 PM

Strange, it works fine for me.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Big-Banks-Accused-of-Short-cnbc-281601046.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=5&asset=&ccode=

I got the above link (which appears to be the same) using a Google search for the title of the story, which is "Big Banks Accused of Short Sale Fraud."

Posted by: sfrenegade at January 15, 2010 3:12 PM

Strange. Worked with Chrome, but not with Firefox.(???) Thanks.

Posted by: formerly%whatever at January 15, 2010 3:18 PM

Odd, I'm using Firefox myself. I have a tendency to trim the garbage from Yahoo's URLs, but sometimes that disables the link. But glad you were able to see the article.

Posted by: sfrenegade at January 15, 2010 3:28 PM

Here's the follow-up to the Big Bank Short Sale Fraud article I posted earlier:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/34937452

Big Bank second lienholders are still asking for undisclosed cash payments in violation of the law.

Posted by: sfrenegade at January 20, 2010 9:57 AM

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