616%2020th%20Street%203-14.jpg
Two of the new condos in the Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects designed Dogpatch building at 616 20th Street were designated as Below Market Rate (BMR) units and will be sold for $223,988 and $264,207.
Priced to be affordable to San Francisco households earning up to 90% of the area’s median income, and available to households earning up to 100%, a single person making up to $67,950 or a couple making no more than $77,700 may qualify.
Both units are 770 square feet in size and one of the buyers will have the option of securing a deeded parking space in the building for an additional $30,000.
Applications for the 616 20th Street condos are due April 17, a lottery will be held on April 24, and the keys will be handed over on July 1. The two units share the same floor plan:


616%2020th%20Street%20BMR%20Floor%20Plan.gif
Coming Soon: Sixteen Modern Condos On 20th Street [SocketSite]
616 20th Street Below Market Rate Program [sf-moh.org]

Recent Articles

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by eddy

    Twitter interns making $7k/mo can’t even qualify for these places. Oh well. FWIW, I’m not a fan of the BMR concept. In some ways it harms qualified buyers who might take a risk on an affordable home in the outer richmond/sunset with a typical mortgage where a home might actually appreciate with the market. And the whole BMR system seems ripe for abuse. What ever happened to the woman that bought the BMR at market rates only to realize her error when trying to sell it?

  2. Posted by frog

    What they don’t show in any of the pictures is that these units have floor to ceiling windows and my office is right across the street, maybe 30 feet away. We can see everything that goes on there. I’m not trying to sound creepy, but this is not the apartment building for modest people.

  3. Posted by EH

    frog, from the pictures above it appears that it’s possible to purchase curtains and shades in a size appropriate for these windows.

  4. Posted by frog

    They have. We watched them install them.

  5. Posted by bull

    stop creeping on your neighbors, frog :)

  6. Posted by Pierre Gagner

    I don’t understand how anyone can qualify for a BMR unit in this town and still afford to buy a BMR unit in this town.

  7. Posted by lol

    ^ Easy. Say you are single, have an average desk job and have rented the same place for the past 15 years. Your low rent is probably sub-1200 which allows you to sock away 10K+/year. After a few years you have the 60K or more needed for a downpayment and your PITI will still be very reasonable. But if I had a very low rent like that I’d think twice before buying a BMR with all the strings attached.

  8. Posted by inclinejj

    lol
    Being in the finance business most people who have low rent don’t sock away money. They live over their means and max out the credit cards.

  9. Posted by lol

    inclinejj,
    What does the “being in the finance” business mean? I worked in the finance business myself a while back analyzing data on deadbeats who would live paycheck to paycheck and always be behind.
    You seem to dismiss the realities of San Francisco. In Anytown USA someone will rent a place and spend 25 to 35% of their incomes. Yes with other expenses people with lower rent will not manage to save anything. But SF has a very different ecosystem.
    There is a large number of average earners in SF who have very low rent thanks to rent control. This is not the payday loan crowd we’re talking about, but people who have stable jobs, incomes going up by 3% a year and rent going up 1%. After a few years they’re going to be more than OK.
    I have many examples around me, not only in my job. They are the prime target for these BMRs.

  10. Posted by anon

    The points made by lol and inclinejj are not inconsistent with one another.
    inclinejj is surely correct in stating that “most” rent controlled tenants (or those with low rent) save little to nothing. And lol is surely correct in stating that some rent-controlled tenants do save a fair to substantial amount.
    On the bigger point, the BMR concept is asinine. It is political blackmail for developers. But there is some number for whom buying into one of these places makes perfect sense as an alternative to renting, so for those very few it works for them. It does absolutely nothing to address the real problem of expensive housing.
    Lots of scenarios where one could qualify for a BMR and it would make sense to buy. Here is one — a biz school or law school student in their final year. Already have a good job lined up for next year but have little to no income this year. Borrow the down payment from mom and dad and buy a BMR that will have a far lower monthly nut than renting a comparable place. Sell in a few years when you move out for what you paid plus a little more. Yeah, that really helps the housing situation.

  11. Posted by redseca2

    When the BMR concept was first floated the emphasis as presented was on police and firemen, and then teachers and nurses.
    This was in response to the very real concern after the Loma Prieta quake that it isn’t a good idea for your key emergency response pesonnel to all be commuting from Rohnert Park or Bay Point. Presented that way it seemed to be a good idea.
    But my few experiences in meeting and knowing BMR buyers seems to confirm some of the comments here. The BMR owners I have met are 50+, close to retirement or now retired, leaving an often long term SF rental, with a rock steady but not high earning history, with cash from inheritance, pension buy-out or cashing in some 401K or IRA funds.

  12. Posted by anon.for.this.one

    Kinda relevant to the discussion above on saving money being a tenant (just overheard this conversation in the kitchen at our work place): 30-year rent-controlled tenant, still paying $600 for a 2-bedroom on Valencia in the Mission, was able to save up money and bought a house in his native South American country for retirement. The down-side is that their kitchen hasn’t been renovated for 30-years plus.

  13. Posted by lol

    anon, instead of MBAs or law students, how about average people? There are still quite a few of them in SF. The median family income is in the 80K range which means 1/2 of SF’s population makes do with less then 80K/Y.
    I could bet you that more than 2/3 are renters and apart from the outliers (SROs and social housing) the main reason these tenants can stay in SF is low rent and the only way they can do that is rent control.
    Now one thing that is very often overlooked in the current eviction issue (or non-issue) is the fact that there are more friendly buy-outs than Ellis evictions. An Ellis eviction is the way out after a dead-end. This means 100s of tenants every year are suddenly flush with many $10Ks sometimes even $100K+. Now that would be a good downpayment for a BMR.

  14. Posted by the wolf

    any family making less than $80K is being irresponsible by living in SF. IF we made that much, I would not be able to give my kids the kind of upbringing that I can now. There are much cheaper areas.
    Now if you are single and making $80K, thats a different story because you can rent a room.
    I dont know why people think of SF in isolation. THe policies should be for the bay area and there are plenty of relatively affordable places. no one has the GOD given right to stay in SF if they cant afford it.
    BART and SamTrans are very usable options to commute

  15. Posted by the wolf

    of course, there can be exceptions for retirees or disabled who can no longer work. no one ablebodies between 18-50 should be subsidized.

  16. Posted by lol

    ^ Agreed 100% ^
    Means testing would be a first good step for any kind of subsidy

  17. Posted by redseca2

    “of course, there can be exceptions for retirees or disabled who can no longer work. no one ablebodies between 18-50 should be subsidized”
    This thinking ignores the main reason that BMR’s were created in the first pllace, to keep essential personnel living in San Francisco. It wasn’t supposed to be a give away so that Mimes, tatoo artists and tarot card readers could live here.
    It was intended so that a stable base of SF police and firemen lived in the City. So that they were not on the wrong side of a shut down bridge or BART tunnel when the next earthquake hits. So that they could follow their instincts and check their own homes and then get back to work instead of watching a City increasingly composed of only the top and bottom 5% fall apart on CNN.

  18. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    the wolf wrote:

    any family making less than $80K is being irresponsible by living in SF…There are much cheaper areas…I don’t know why people think of SF in isolation. The policies should be for the bay area and there are plenty of relatively affordable places. no one has the GOD given right to stay in SF if they cant afford it.

    Since a sizeable percentage of families in S.F. have an income of less than $80k per year, that opinion just isn’t reasonable.
    I know and associate with several families that live in the east bay and commute in, and in all of them, the wage earner or earners who commute into S.F. have their commuting costs subsidized by their employer. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of families who make less than $80k per year and still live in The City proper do so because they have the kind of job where their employer can’t subsidize their employees commuting costs. The rich in this city who enjoy all the amenities are able to do so precisely because of the fact that S.F. hasn’t yet turned into an adult exclusive disneyland for the rich.
    For those families a BMR condo is a godsend, even if you have to put up with the sheer intentional ugliness of Stanley Saitowitz’ design sense. Someone who can buy a condo here by definition CAN afford it, since the requirements for financing a BMR unit are more stringent than for a market rate unit.
    I also think that folks like the wolf vastly underestimate the costs and negative utility associated with commuting, especially from places in the (presumably, outer) bay area where “there are plenty of relatively affordable places”.

  19. Posted by Jill

    I’m with the Wolf. Will never understand why people live beyond their means and never understood why we subsidize healthy people to do so

  20. Posted by Futurist

    I agree with Wolf, and I’ve been saying similar things for a long time here.
    If you can’t really afford to live here actually in SF, then there are many more affordable places to live, raise a family and still work in SF.
    Among the many renters I know in rent control apartments, most are living very well, new cars, Euro vacations, eating out a lot, credit card debt.
    While living in a dump.

  21. Posted by condoshopper

    I don’t get why if BMR was conceived so essential personnel could afford to live in the city, then why is the selection process not exclusive to them. Is it a good bet that they will win the random lottery over thousands of other applicants?

  22. Posted by anon

    Brahma makes good points (he generally does).
    Like any well-off city, SF clearly needs lots of teachers, police, janitors, waiters, etc. to do all the work that needs to be done for which the pay is fairly low. One option is to say screw ‘em, let ‘em live far away where it’s cheap and commute. I think that is terrible for a number of reasons. The “first responder” issue in the even of an earthquake or the like is an obvious one. But on a human level it is simply wrong to make it impossible at least some sizable numbers of those who work for us to live relatively close to where we need them to work.
    My problem with the BMR program is it is a charade that politicians can pretend is something more. It is a tiny number of units, and those are arm-twisted out of private developers as blackmail – not to benefit the public at large but just to a few “lottery” winners. I have the same problem with rent control – private landlords subsidize individual tenants, with the rest of the public receiving nothing.
    No easy answer. One thought is that SF can build and manage a few tens of thousands of new public housing units. These would be available to lease on a need-based basis to those who actually work here (i.e. this is not “poor” housing). They can be financed not only by tenant rents but by taxpayers and by surcharges on those who want to develop market-rate housing. I don’t mind making developers pay to benefit the the public. Other areas force developers to build roads, sewers, and parks if they want to develop housing. A big problem with this approach is that SF govt has proven to be bloated, inefficient, and incompetent, so I’m not sure they could make this work. But this policy of trying to address this issue by forcing a single private entity providing a huge subsidy to a single private individual is asinine.

  23. Posted by Futurist

    Public housing?
    Really? Where would the money come from?
    Our city can barely manage to run a public transit system. They are a complete failure with regard to our decrepit public housing. Think corruption, greed, incompetence by those who run the program. Year after year. Director after director.
    The group you mentioned actually living in “public housing”.
    Not a chance. Ever.

  24. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Oh good, two units. That’ll solve the so-called affordability crisis. BMR is clearly working.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *