CATEGORY ARCHIVE: Industry Stuff

April 15, 2014

Hayes Valley Development Sold, New Condos Coming In 2015

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The approved David Baker-designed development to rise on the northeast corner of Fulton and Gough has just been sold to the newly formed 7X7 Development group which plans to break ground on the Hayes Valley project this summer, adjacent to the new Don Fisher Clubhouse.

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20Gough.jpg

The 69 condos within the 388 Fulton Street development should be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2015, as will the 1,800 square foot retail space on the ground floor. And as plugged-in people might recall, this is the development which San Francisco's Planning Department had requested be redesigned in white, a request which was overruled.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

Law Would Ban Full-Time Airbnb Rentals, Require Registration

Supervisor David Chiu is slated to introduce new legislation this afternoon which would lift the outright ban on short-term rentals in San Francisco but establish a new set of rules by which airbnb hosts and others would have to adhere.

In multiunit buildings, the legislation would allow short-term rentals only in apartments where someone lives 75 percent of the year, effectively banning a unit from becoming a full-time vacation rental. It would require anyone renting out their place to pay hotel taxes, hold liability insurance and register with the city every two years.
If people fail to play by the rules and are reported to the city, the proposal would force websites to ban those renters. It also requires these "hosting platforms" to tell users of city laws and to collect and remit the city's 14 percent hotel tax.

As proposed, the new law wouldn’t apply to single-family homes and would not supersede the terms of an existing lease (i.e., illegally subletting would still be grounds for eviction).

Posted by socketadmin at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

April 11, 2014

Proposed "Housing Balance" Ordinance Could Be Out Of Whack

Introduced by Supervisor Kim and co-sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Campos and Mar, a proposed "Housing Balance" ordinance would require new developments of ten or more housing units to obtain special permission from the Planning Commission if the development would cause the overall ratio of affordable housing in Supervisorial District 6 to fall below 30 percent, as measured by the ratio of units constructed since 1993.

According to Kim, "Nothing in this legislation discourages development," but according to prominent developer Oz Erickson, chairman of the Emerald Fund, "the economics of trying to provide this ratio will eliminate the possibility of building any market rate housing."

Supervisorial District 6 includes Mid-Market, South of Market, Mission Bay, the Tenderloin and Treasure Island, and within which there are over 17,000 units of housing in the development pipeline, over a third of all the housing in the works in San Francisco.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

April 4, 2014

Ellis Act Eviction Activity In San Francisco By The Numbers

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3,610 housing units were removed from the rental market in San Francisco by way of an Ellis Act eviction from 1997 to 2013, according to a new report by Tenants Together. That's an average of 226 units Ellised a year.

In 2013, a total of 250 units in San Francisco were Ellised, roughly 11 percent above the sixteen-year average. In 2012, a total of 109 units were Ellised in San Francisco, 52 percent below average which might help explain why the year-over-year numbers have jumped.

Since 1997, 30 percent of Ellis Act activity in San Francisco has been by way of an owner having invoked the Ellis Act for more than one building. While characterized as "Serial Evictors" in the Tenants' report, keep in mind that a long-time landlord or estate with more than one building moving to exit the rental business would fall under the "serial evictor" category as well.

And over the past five years, 51 percent of the Ellis Act evictions were invoked within a year of purchasing a building, affecting a total of 297 units since 2009. Unfortunately, the Tenants' report doesn't include a comparison with respect to the average length of ownership prior to invoking the Ellis Act from 1997 to 2009.

The Speculator Loophole: Ellis Act Evictions in San Francisco [tenantstogether.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (36) | (email story)

April 2, 2014

Legislation To Legalize Unpermitted In-Law Units Adopted

Building owners with an unpermitted in-law constructed prior to January 1, 2013 will now have the option of legalizing the unit by way of the legislation adopted by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors last night. As we wrote about the legislation when it was first proposed:

Unless a significant number of the illegal units are currently being kept off the market out of respect for the law, the proposed ordinance wouldn't actually expand the effective supply of housing units in the City, but it could help the city ensure that the units are safe and habitable and allow the City to include the units in their official counts and reports of housing supply.
And while intended to help ease San Francisco's current housing crunch, an unintended consequence of the ordinance could be an effective increase in rents as illegal units which are being rented at below market rates in exchange for flying below the City's radar would no longer require a discount.

Legalized units will need to meet all Planning Code requirements for safety, will be subject to rent control, and will not be allowed to be subdivided for individual sale.

Unpermitted in-law units for which a notice of eviction was served after March 13, 2014 will need to wait at least five years before being legalized, a ten year wait if the eviction was of the no-fault variety other than for an owner move-in.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

March 17, 2014

A Near Meaningless Analysis Of Ellis Act Profiteering That's Likely To Make The News

Ellis%20Act%20Profit%20Table.gif

At the request of Supervisor Campos and based on "a random sample of 15 properties" as outlined above, San Francisco's Budget and Legislative Analyst has just completed an analysis "on the level of profit landlords have made when they sell a building after evicting tenants using the Ellis Act over the last ten years."

Based on the data collected by the Budget and Legislative Analyst, the average level of profit owners earned selling their properties after Ellis Act evictions was $1,545,949 or 116 percent. Inflation-adjusted profits ranged from -$278 to $4,785,522 for the properties reviewed. The median period between sales for these properties was 3.4 years.

The fatal flaw(s) in the analysis with respect to calculating the average profit:

This return rate does not account for any owner expenditures for improvements made to the properties.

And in addition, "the calculations of profit are not adjusted for the impact of elapsed time between the original purchase of the property and post-eviction sale."

Analysis of Profits of Ellis Act Eviction Property Sales [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

March 14, 2014

Two-Year Rent Subsidy For Evicted Tenants Closer To Reality

The language for proposed legislation which would require landlords in San Francisco who evoke the Ellis Act to pay their evicted tenants an upfront sum equal to the difference between their current rent and a comparable market rate unit over the course of two years, plus $3,510 per disabled or elderly tenant, has been drafted and is working its way through San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

While California's Ellis Act allows landlords to withdraw their properties from the rental market, for whatever reason, it does provide local governments with the power "to mitigate any adverse impacts on persons displaced by reason of the withdrawal." As such, the proposed ordinance is carefully being positioned as a means by which "to better mitigate the adverse impacts for people displace by Ellis Act evictions," rather than a means by which to discourage the legal use of the Ellis Act itself.

The relocation assistance due to tenants evicted by way of the Ellis Act in San Francisco is currently capped at $15,795 per unit plus $3,510 per disabled or elderly tenant.

A key line in the proposed legislation: any tenant who has not yet vacated their unit by the operative date of the ordinance shall be entitled to the full two-year subsidy, regardless of whether their eviction notice was served prior to the ordinance becoming operative. The operative date would be 120 days after enactment.

Originally introduced by Supervisor Campos, Supervisors Avalos, Kim and Mar have since added their names as co-sponsors.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (87) | (email story)

March 12, 2014

Determination Against New Cannabis Dispensary On Divisadero

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It's time to either thank or curse the French American International School which is under construction at 1155 Page Street, the former site of the Florence Martin Child Care Center.

Fielding an official request for determination as to whether a Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) could be established at 505 Divisadero Street, three doors down from Fell and currently home to San Franpsycho, had it not been for the school which will be within 1,000 feet of the property, San Francisco's Zoning Administrator would have likely determined that an MCD would have been permitted versus having just determined that it's not.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

March 7, 2014

Heads Up: Judge Rules Against FAA's Ban On Commercial Drone Use

A Federal Judge has ruled against the FAA with respect to their ban on the use of drones for commercial purposes, such as filming real estate from overhead, dismissing a $10,000 fine the FAA had issued to one such operator who was filming a commercial in Virginia.

The judge’s decision could open up the skies below 400 feet to farmers, photographers and entrepreneurs who have been battling the FAA over the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
NTSB Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled Thursday that the policy notices the FAA issued as a basis for the ban weren’t enforceable because they hadn’t been written as part of a formal rulemaking process.
The ruling, for now, appears to make it legal for drones to fly at the low altitude as part of a business — whether that’s delivering beer, photographing a baseball game or spraying crops.

The FAA had pledged to issue a formal rule on the commercial use of small drones by the end. In the meantime, the FAA could issue an emergency rule or appeal the judge's decision.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

March 5, 2014

The Massings For A Not So Massive SoMa Development, By Design

Rather than representing some ubermodern Sleeper-inspired design, the massings for the proposed SoMa development to rise on the corner of 9th and Howard are simply rendered to provide a sense of scale and context for the project.

With a prominent parcel that's only zoned for building up to 55 feet in height along 9th Street, the development would rise five stories on the corner, connected to a four-story building fronting Howard, separated by a mid-block pedestrian alley and onto which a retail space and residences would directly spill (click images to enlarge).

A core tenet of the City's Western SoMa Plan is to "discourage housing production that is not in scale with the existing neighborhood pattern" and restricts the vast majority of new buildings in the centrally located neighborhood to heights of under 55 feet.

As we first wrote about the proposed Western SoMa Plan back in 2012: "Considering San Francisco's struggle to meet its housing needs, and a discernible lack of density, it's a plan which seems rather short-sighted to some, perhaps even to many."

That being said, the Western SoMa Plan was subsequently approved by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and San Francisco's "housing crisis" has since picked up steam.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

March 3, 2014

A Closer Look At The Plans For A 6,000 Square Foot House

While the façade of the proposed home to be built at 65 Villa Terrace only rises two stories above the street, the home spans four levels across the downsloping lot:

As proposed, and for which a number of variances will be needed, the design includes a guest suite and media room in the basement, bedrooms on the first level, open livings areas on the second level, and a master bedroom with his and her bathrooms and closets - of which hers are almost twice as large - on the top floor (click images to enlarge).

Not including the 682 square foot garage with space for two cars, a motorcycle and bikes, the proposed home would provide nearly 5,600 square feet of space in which to live.

And once again, per the requested building permit for the project, the estimated cost of construction for the Sutro Architects designed home is "$750,000," which would be the basis for the permit fees to be collected by the city if approved.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

The Plans To Raze A Hill And Build A Modern Mansion

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Much to the chagrin of a number of neighbors and fans of the modernist movement, permits to raze the 1,700-square-foot, Henry Hill designed house at 65 Villa Terrace and construct a contemporary 6,000-square-foot home on the Clarendon Heights lot have been triaged and are making their way through Planning.

65 Villa Terrace

Having traded for $1,620,000 in 2005, the property was purchased for $1,400,000 in 2010 by Alex Fisher of Fisher Development, the nephew of Donald Fisher. Donald was a real estate developer before co-founding the Gap.

Per the application for the building permit, the estimated cost of construction for the new home is $750,000, the basis off which the permit fees will be calculated and collected by the city. And in the words of a tipster a month ago: "Neighbors have tried to stop [the project] but somehow this one seems to be moving along with planning."

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

February 28, 2014

Decision To Downsize Mission District Development Reversed

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

San Francisco’s Board of Appeals has reversed their December decision which had required the previously approved five-story project at 1050 Valencia Street to remove a full floor and three units in order to move forward with development

As we first reported last month which led to the reversal this week:

With San Francisco's Board of Supervisors having narrowly upheld the Planning Department's approval for the five-story development at 1050 Valencia Street to rise, a subsequent appeal of the project's building permits resulted in 5-0 vote by San Francisco's Board of Appeals to issue the permits, but under a couple of conditions, including that the developer only build four stories rather than five as approved.
The problem for the Board of Appeals, they might have overstepped their legal bounds.
Following their public meeting, the Board of Appeals will move behind closed doors this evening to meet with legal counsel in anticipation of having to defend against litigation. The likely action would be based on the California Housing Accountability Act which prevents local agencies from reducing the density of code-complying residential projects.

Apparently counsel was convincing and the developer's argument sound as the Board voted 4-0 to reverse their previous decision and allow 1050 Valencia to rise a full five floors, the height for which the parcel is zoned. That being said, attached to the Board's ruling was a mandate that the project be redesigned with the fifth floor setback from the street.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

February 21, 2014

Impact Of Waterfront Ballot Initiative Slated For Widespread Review

Sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, the Port of San Francisco, Planning Department, City Administrator, Controller, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Municipal Transportation Agency, and Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development will all have a chance to report on the impact of adopting the Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act with respect to the City's future housing, transportation, and open space needs.

The reports may include analysis of:

(1) Any fiscal impacts of the Initiative, should it pass, on the City at large as well as the Port specifically, including the Port’s ability to fund required capital improvements;
(2) The consistency of the measure with the City’s General Plan, including Housing Element goals for meeting the City's housing needs;
(3) Any impacts on the City’s ability to meet its housing production goals, including affordable housing and generation of impact fees for affordable housing;
(4) Whether individual affordable housing projects seeking a height increase would have to be placed on the ballot, and if so, the impact of that requirement on the cost of producing affordable housing;
(5) The effect of the Initiative on the use of land; its impact on the availability, location, and affordability of housing, and the ability of the City to meet its fair share of regional housing needs;
(6) The impact of the Initiative on the cost of and funding for infrastructure of all types, including, but not limited to, transportation, schools, parks, sewers, and open space;
(7) The impact of the Initiative on the City’s ability to attract and retain business and employment;
(8) A description of waterfront development projects currently in the planning process that could be affected by the Initiative, including a history of community planning processes and state legislation relating to those projects;
(9) A list of past projects that would have had to be placed on the ballot had the Initiative been in place at the time;
(10) The impact of the Initiative on planned waterfront development projects, including the impact of a voter approval requirement on the nature, design, and costs of such projects (including impacts on the cost of producing housing and affordable housing) and on the community planning process, and;
(11) The consistency of the measure with the City’s obligations under the Burton Act and related law;
(12) Other subjects that the Departments deem relevant to a full analysis and understanding of the Initiative.

Assuming Wiener's resolution authorizing the review is adopted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next week, the departments will be asked to produce their reports by March 7.

And per the terms of the resolution, the reports "shall include only objective, impartial information and analysis, shall not recommend changes to the Initiative, and shall not make a recommendation as to whether the voters should adopt the Initiative."

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

February 20, 2014

A Hard Lesson For CA Teachers: $44M Lost On 8 Washington Project

A public records request has uncovered that The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) invested $45 million and has lost $44 million on the failed waterfront development known as 8 Washington.

From CalSTRS' statement in response to an inquiry from SF Weekly with respect to how their millions were spent on the project which never broke ground: "Disclosure of the requested information prior to the completion of this investment is likely to cause substantial harm to CalSTRS' competitive position."

In addition to the development's defeat at the ballot box, a judge has since ruled that the State Lands Committee improperly exempted the project from additional environmental review. As such, simply lowering the height of the proposed project to meet existing height limits for the parcels won't be enough to move forward with the development.

Planning Approves 8 Washington Street Development As Proposed [SocketSite]
Voters Reject Measures B/C And Designs For 8 Washington Street [SocketSite]
The Fate Of The 8 Washington Street Site: What Happens Now? [SocketSite]
State Teachers' Pension Fund Blew $44 Million on the 8 Washington Project [SFWeekly]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

February 14, 2014

Recommendation To Crackdown On Illegal Rentals Goes Missing

As we first reported last month, in response to an executive directive from Mayor Ed Lee, a working group co-chaired by the directors of San Francisco's Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection drafted a list of recommendations to accelerate the production of new housing in San Francisco and protect the city's existing housing stock.

With the estimated number of existing dwelling units in the city currently used for short-term occupancy versus their legal use as permanent housing running as high as 5,000 units, one of the draft recommendations was to crackdown on the enforcement of illegally renting an apartment for less than 30 days in San Francisco.

As we wrote at the time:

While a crackdown on illegal short-term rentals could quickly move the needle with respect to available housing supply and affordability, it would likely put the Mayor at odds with ["sharing" sites such as] airbnb, a site that he has championed. It will be interesting to see which side he favors.

The official list of recommendations has since been put in ink and sent to the Mayor by way of DBI Director Tom Hui and Planning Director John Rahaim. Missing from the official list, the working group's recommendation to crackdown on illegal short-term rentals and the draft list has been removed from the Planning Department's website.

Executive Directive 13-01: Housing Production and Preservation [sfplanning.org]
The Recommendations For Accelerating Housing Production In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (48) | (email story)

February 13, 2014

A Day Late And $1.5 Million Short

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A report by Department of Building Inspection chief Tom Hui cites "[a failure] to follow and implement the approved plans and the sequence of construction" for leading to the collapse of 125 Crown Terrace in December.

The Twin Peaks home was being supported by three reinforcing towers at the time of the collapse, rather than nine as specified in the approved building plans. Developer Mel Murphy, the former president of the Building Inspection Commission, blames the collapse on a steel beam failure between the three supports and contends the additional six towers were to be put in place the next day, according to the Chronicle.

Murphy’s original application for the "remodeling" stated a project cost of $60,000, a figure that was first upped to $300,000 and then to $610,500 in early December following an anonymous complaint. The estimated project cost, based on which permit fees are figured, was upped to $1.57 million at the end of December.

According to Murphy's business partner, Luke O'Brien, the low-ball project cost estimates were not a premeditated attempt to cheat but rather "a mistake" that the Department of Building Inspection should have caught, and "that's always the way it's done."

Slew of permit problems cited in S.F. house collapse [SFGate]
Collapsed Home Was Being "Remodeled" By Prominent Developer [SocketSite]
Remains Of Collapsed Home Hoisted, "Remodeling" To Recommence [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

February 4, 2014

Two Year Subsidy For Evicted Tenants In San Francisco Proposed

Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation this afternoon that would require landlords in San Francisco who evoke the Ellis Act to pay evicted tenants the difference between their current rent and a comparable market rate unit, times twenty-four.

Currently, the city requires building owners to pay each tenant evicted under the Ellis Act $5,261 in relocation fees, with a cap of $15,783 per unit. Disabled or elderly tenants receive an extra $3,508. The amounts are adjusted annually for inflation, and half must be paid at the time an eviction notice is served, the other half once the tenant moves out.
Under Campos' proposal, the difference between a unit's monthly rent and a "comparable" unit would be determined by the city controller's office, multiplied by 24 months and divided among the evicted tenants. An evicted tenant would receive either the $5,261 or the difference in rent, whichever is more.

Likely to be challenged in the courts should it pass, Campos is positioning the proposed legislation as an act "to combat displacement" rather than to discourage the use of the Ellis Act which is state law.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (128) | (email story)

January 30, 2014

The Recommendations For Accelerating Housing Production In SF

Responding to an executive directive from Mayor Lee last month, a working group co-chaired by the directors of San Francisco’s Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection has drafted a list of recommendations to accelerate the production of new housing in San Francisco and protect the city's existing housing stock.

The working group’s thirty-six recommendations are a mix of short-term, mid-term, and long-term ideas and include the priority processing for projects with at least 20% on-site affordable housing; encouraging maximum permitted density for development sites; requiring property owners to justify the removal, rather than legalization, of existing illegal units in the city; lifting the 375 unit cap on the production of micro-units; and building code amendments to facilitate building up to seven stories in height.

With the estimated number of existing dwelling units in the city currently used for short-term occupancy versus their legal use as conventional, permanent housing running as high as 5,000 units thanks to "sharing" sites such as airbnb, another recommendation of the working group is to crackdown on the enforcement of illegally renting an apartment for less than 30 days in San Francisco.

While a crackdown on illegal short-term rentals could quickly move the needle with respect to available housing supply and affordability, it would likely put the Mayor at odds with airbnb, a site that he has championed. It will be interesting to see which side he favors.

The draft memo which details all of the working group's recommendations to date: Executive Directive 13-01 Recommendations.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (54) | (email story)

January 27, 2014

Remains Of Collapsed Home Hoisted, "Remodeling" To Recommence

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Having collapsed last month, what little remains of the original home at 125 Crown Terrace has been jacked, hoisted, and craned back up the hill a bit.

According to a plugged-in tipster, the remains will be surrounded by new construction and become part of the garage, a supposed city mandate to allow Mel Murphy, the well-connected local developer who once served as president of San Francisco's Building Inspection Commission and was denied a permit to demolish the original structure on the site in order to build an all-new home, to continue with his "remodeling" project.

Once "remodeled," the Twin Peaks home at 125 Crown Terrace will measure 5,139 square feet. As the then closer to 1,000-square-foot home looked a little before its collapse:

125%20Crown%20Terrace%20Before.jpg

Collapsed Home Was Being "Remodeled" By Prominent Developer [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

January 15, 2014

Mortgage Bankers Lower Forecast As Mortgage Applications Drop

"Despite an economic outlook of steady growth and a recovering job market, mortgage applications have been decreasing – likely due to a combination of rising rates and regulatory implementation, specifically the new Qualified Mortgage Rule."

As such, the Mortgage Bankers Association has lowered its forecast for mortgage originations in the US and is now expecting a 3.8 percent increase in dollar volume for purchase loans in 2014 versus 2013.

The MBA's index for purchase loans was 10 percent lower last week as compared to the same week a year before.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

January 14, 2014

A Density Carrot And TIC Stick In San Francisco

Supervisor Scott Wiener is preparing to introduce legislation which would allow developers in San Francisco to increase the density of a building in exchange for designating 20 percent of a development's units as "affordable" as opposed to the 12 percent as currently required by law.

While Wiener's legislation would not change existing height or bulk restrictions for a building, it would allow for a greater number of smaller units to be built within a development's envelope.

As Wiener prepares to propose a carrot, Supervisor Eric Mar is expected to introduce a stick in the form of legislation which would require Planning Department approval in order to establish a new tenancy-in-common (TIC). An attempt to regulate an ownership structure versus property use is tailor made for a legal fight and likely defeat.

S.F. affordable housing, TIC conversion measures planned [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

January 10, 2014

Campos Calls For Mayor To Commit To Regulating Tenant Buyouts

With San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors having unanimously approved a resolution to urge State legislators to amend state law and allow the city of San Francisco to penalize landlords for invoking the Ellis Act to evict tenants, next week Supervisor David Campos will ask Mayor Lee to publicly commit to working with him on legislation to regulate the buyout of tenants as well.

The early framework for Campos' legislation proposed to categorize buyouts as evictions, a categorization which could affect a building's ability to condo convert and restrict an owner's ability to charge market rate rents to new tenants.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

January 7, 2014

Rezoning A Landmark To Enable Development Elsewhere

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Sitting on a Mid-Market parcel which is zoned for building up to 120 feet in height, a reader worries that a zoning change in the works for 133-135 Golden Gate Avenue upon which the St. Boniface Church and Rectory sits could be a precursor to plans for razing the landmark church in order to make way for more "cookie cutter condos."

Fear not Landmark lovers nor proponents of density either, the proposed zoning change for the St. Boniface Church and Rectory site is simply intended to allow the church to sell off the development rights associated with the parcel's potential, allowing another site in the San Francisco to be developed with greater density but not any additional height, per se.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

January 3, 2014

The Mayor's Resolve To Rein In Speculative Evictions

Concerned that the Ellis Act is increasingly "being used, not by long-term owners of rental property as the law intended, but instead by new owners who purchase the building with the intent of evoking the Ellis Act purely for speculative purposes," the Mayor and Supervisors Campos, Chiu and Cohen are pushing forward with a resolution to stem the tide of speculative evictions in San Francisco.

While the resolution itself is mostly symbolic, it sets the stage for an effort to urge Bay Area legislators to amend state law and return greater control over the Ellis Act to local municipalities and it establishes a foundation for the Mayor and Supervisors to pursue local strategies to financially penalize an owner for invoking the Ellis Act by restricting the buy-outs of tenants and increasing required relocation assistance for tenants that are displaced.

A state bill to amend the Ellis Act so that only property owners who had owned a property for at least 5 years would be able to invoke the Ellis Act to evict tenants was proposed back in 2007 but died on the Senate floor.

A Rush To Restrict Ellis Act Evictions And Buyouts In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

December 27, 2013

Remodeling Permit Suspended, Emergency Stabilization Approved

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Two days after our piece about the "remodeling" in progress at 2178 Pine Street, the permit for the approved project was suspended and a notice of violation was sent.

Three days after the permit for 2178 Pine Street was suspended, 125 Crown Terrace collapsed, another approved "remodeling" which had been underway. The next day, an emergency permit to stabilize the floating façade at 2178 Pine Street was triaged, approved and issued.

The permit fees for the previously approved project on Pine Street had been based on an estimated project cost of $250,000 for the "remodel," $210,000 for shoring up the site, and $80,000 for adding a garage and new steps. The estimated cost for simply stabilizing the façade following the project's suspension was $50,000 alone.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

December 26, 2013

Rolling Out The Rolls To Move A Mansion By The End Of The Year

Rolls%20Royce%20Silver%20Cloud%20II.jpg

Positioned as "a glamorous and fun incentive" for agents to move the Herbst Manor over the next couple of weeks, a plugged-in tipster reports that a restored 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II valued at $50,000 will be included as part of the sale if you're in contract to buy the Pacific Heights mansion by December 31 and close escrow by January 15, 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

December 17, 2013

Collapsed Home Was Being "Remodeled" By Prominent Developer

125%20Crown%20Terrace%20Collapse.jpg

The Twin Peaks house at 125 Crown Terrace which partially collapsed last night and slid down the hill toward Graystone Terrace is owned by Mel Murphy, the prominent and well-connected local developer who once served as president of San Francisco's Building Inspection Commission.

Having been denied a demolition permit to raze the existing 854-square foot home on the parcel and build a new 4,019 square foot home in its place, Murphy applied for a permit to simply "remodel" the Twin Peaks house into a 5,139 square foot home instead.

The permit to "remodel" 125 Crown Terrace was approved by the City. And with the foundation for the 5,000 square foot "remodel" having been poured, it's the original 854-square foot structure for which demolition was denied that has collapsed.

125%20Crown%20Terrace.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (58) | (email story)

December 12, 2013

Transbay Block 8 Attracts Who’s Who Of Developers And Architects

Transbay Block 8 Massing (steelblue and NEORAMA via SocketSite.com)

The City of San Francisco cancelled their initial request for proposals to develop Transbay Block 8 back in 2009 when bids for the one-acre parcel fronting Folsom between First and Fremont came in well below expectations and without much buzz or interest.

Having issued a new request for proposals last month, the pre-submittal meeting for teams interested in bidding on the opportunity to build a 550-foot tower and over 700 residential units on Block 8 attracted a who’s who of developers, including, but not limited to: AGI Capital (think Transbay Block 9), Avalon Bay, Crescent Heights (NEMA), Golub (Transbay Block 6/7), Hines (Transbay Tower), Related (1601 Mariposa), Tishman Speyer (LUMINA) and Toll Brothers.

In terms of architects, representatives from Architectronica, Fougeron Architecture, Handel Architects, Heller Manus, HKS, Kennerly Architecture, SCB and SOM were in attendance amongst others.

Proposals and designs for developing Transbay Block 8 are due by February 26, 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

December 11, 2013

A Rather Extensive "Remodeling" (Of Everything But The Façade)

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While the façade of 2178 Pine Street hangs like a Hollywood set with nothing left behind, technically the potential historic resource hasn't been demolished but is rather being "remodeled," with permits to convert the first floor (which no longer exists) to habitable living space, remodel the second and third floors of the building (which no longer exist), and to add a garage below.

Last used as a four-unit building, the former Victorian was purchased for $1,663,000 this past April having originally been built around 1900 as a single-family home.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (50) | (email story)

November 14, 2013

A Rush To Restrict Ellis Act Evictions And Buyouts In San Francisco

Reacting to the recent rise in Ellis Act evictions of rent controlled tenants in San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Campos are in a race to draft proposed legislation making it more difficult to invoke the Ellis Act or even establish an outright moratorium on the evictions if possible.

Lee's staff said the idea is to make Ellis Act evictions so expensive for property owners that there is little incentive to pursue them. Options include requiring additional permits or hearings or placing limits on the sale and resale of a property after an Ellis Act eviction.
Campos is drafting legislation that would make it much more difficult - and less attractive - for a landlord to remove a tenant through a buyout, in part by preventing the property owner from charging market rate in the future.
He is also working on a proposal that would substantially raise the relocation payments owners must give tenants in an Ellis Act eviction. The current payment in an Ellis Act eviction in San Francisco is about $5,200 per person.

And while landlords in San Francisco can currently offer tenants a cash buyout to vacate an apartment in order to circumvent the restrictions associated with an official eviction, Campos' proposal "would require the city to track buyouts and place them under the category of "just cause/no fault" evictions, preventing the landlord from charging market rate to new tenants."

As Evictions Triple In SF, Mayor Triples Eviction Fighting Fund [SocketSite]
S.F. politicians: Restrict Ellis Act evictions [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (85) | (email story)

Six Designs For A Zero Net Energy Building In San Francisco

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This year's Architecture at Zero competition, co-sponsored by PG&E and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco in collaboration with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, was to create a zero net energy design for a 150-unit affordable apartment building and grocery store in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

The six award winning concept designs for the site on the northwest corner of Taylor and Eddy Streets which is currently used as a surface parking lot but fully approved for development, albeit with a non-zero net energy design:

1. Living in Flux by Victor Bao (Student Entry Merit Award)
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With respect to Living in Flux, the competition jury commented that there was "a huge amount of analysis, perhaps more sophisticated and thought-through than any other student and professional entries. [The designer] was careful to treat the facades differently according to their in-depth analysis of the different facades… there is a nice presence on the ground floor that addresses the street and outdoor space for residents. We feel [the designer] thought about the architecture in a refined and simple way, with an honest presentation of the design ideas. The cross ventilation is well done, with good lighting, and PV is used very effectively and nicely expressed on the façade of the building."

2. Catalyst SF by Booth Hansen (Merit Award)
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The jury noted that Catalyst SF was "architecturally one of the most successful projects– it relates to the streetscape and breaks up the façade. There is a detailed scale of the project on the lower stories and it simplifies higher up on the building. It deals well with the unit count—one tower and 4 or 5 story massing on the side and on the back of the building to provide open space on the upper level. It is a well-articulated, interesting and believable design."

3. Prime Cut by Rutz Architects (Merit Award)
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The jury noted that Prime Cut was "the most successful and deeply thought-out plan for achieving cross ventilation and light. There is interesting access to open space for individual units with seasonal covered porches. Southern exposure for the sunlight provides daylighting for retail space. This is a very imaginative plan and studiously designed so the building doesn’t need a heating or cooling system. The inventive plan results in a civilized building."

4. NZ+ Beyond Net Zero Energy by Drew Adams, Joseph Yau and Mark Alocilja (Citation Award)
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The jury commented that the NZ+ Beyond Net Zero Energy design had a "good diagram with the main horizontal tower on the south side with open space. Each unit has access to two facades for cross ventilation. [The design] eliminated the corridor space so costs could be cut for the affordable housing project. The designers used an integrated design process to integrate energy with their design solutions. The open space angles to the southwest which provides open space on the second floor as well as daylighting for the retail space."

5. Folium by Herman Coliver Locus Architecture, EBS Consultants, and Architecural Lighting Design (Special Recognition Award)
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The jury commented that "the key aspect of [the Folium] project is how they optimized the [photovoltaic] and integrated it into the architecture of the building. The spacing allows for nice views and ventilation for the building. The PV is optimized in terms of productivity, thoughtfully completed and nicely pieced together."

6. Tetris Block by Duane B. Carter, Mike Stopka, Simon Mance, Scott Farbman and Courtney Brower (Special Recognition Award)
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With respect to Tetris Block, the jury commented that "there is nice solar gain management and use of stairwells into ventilation tower system. The use of towers broke up the mass of the building. The glass towers were not just for solar chimneys but also important elements for circulation and open stair towers that will bring the community together. The stair element is key to a successful project; stair space must be alluring for people to want to use them."

The Architecture at Zero competition supports an action plan of the California Public Utilities Commission that all new residential construction in California be Zero Net Energy (ZNE) by 2020. The goal for new commercial construction is to achieve ZNE by 2030.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

November 6, 2013

The Fate Of The 8 Washington Street Site: What Happens Now?

Proposed 8 Washinton Site

With voters in San Francisco having overturned the approved plans and increased height for the development of the 8 Washington Street site above and some bad information making the rounds, a rather plugged-in reader summarizes, and editorializes, how we got here and what happens with the proposed development now:

It’s no done deal that the developer can just build an 84' project [on the site]. The project was entitled as designed. It would have to go thru years of redesign, a new [Environmental Impact Report], [and] hearings at every commission that previously approved the prior plan.
The project was initially designed as an 84' project. After 17 months of "community planning" workshops, the community and the Planning Department convinced the developer to step the height up in the back and down in the front. The same people who put [Measure] C on the ballot opposed the 84' project and would probably put that on the ballot, this time saying it should be 40'.
Whether the developer or their financial partners (Calsters) are up for [another battle] remains to be seen. And what other developer would walk into this now? We may have another 10 or 15 years of parking lot and fenced club.

The proposed design for the project back when it was 84 feet in height, note the 28,000-square-foot public park at the northern tip of the site:

8 Washington Rendering

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (60) | (email story)

October 23, 2013

Is San Francisco Getting The Short End Of The Saitowitz Stick?

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With the Stanley Saitowitz designed "Garden Village", a 77-unit development of 18 interconnected buildings of three to five stories in height with 16 rooftop farm plots above and a fleet of four to ten shared cars for residents in a small garage below having been approved for development by Berkeley’s Zoning and Adjustment Board two weeks ago, a number of readers can’t but wonder if San Francisco has been getting the short end of the Saitowitz design stick.

Of course it's not always the architects who are to blame for bad building designs in San Francisco as the City's Planning process can be a challenge to navigate and many developers have been known to choose greater profits over great design.

Targeting students, the Garden Village development is slated to break ground at 2201 Dwight Way in Berkeley next year and be ready for occupancy and farming in 2015.

Garden%20Village%20Rendering%20Farms.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

October 18, 2013

Governor Brown Vetos Affordable Housing Bill 1229

Passed in California’s State Assembly last month, Assembly Bill (AB) 1229 was written to expressly authorize any county or city in California to include inclusionary housing requirements (a.k.a. Below Market Rate units) as a condition of approval for the development of new housing, a requirement which was successfully challenged in the case of Palmer versus the City of Los Angeles.

In 2009, in the case of Palmer v. City of Los Angeles, the Second District California Court of Appeal opined that the city’s affordable housing requirements associated with a particular specific plan (akin to an inclusionary zoning ordinance), as it applied to rental housing, conflicted with and was preempted by a state statute known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The Costa-Hawkins Act limits the permissible scope of local rent control ordinances. Among its various provisions is the right for a rental housing owner generally to set the initial rent level at the commencement of a tenancy, even if the local rent control ordinance would otherwise limit rent levels across tenancies. This provision is known as vacancy decontrol because the rent level is temporarily decontrolled after a voluntary vacancy. The act also gives rental housing owners the right to set the initial and all subsequent rental rates for a unit built after February 1, 1995. The court opined that “forcing Palmer to provide affordable housing units at regulated rents in order to obtain project approval is clearly hostile to the right afforded under the Costa-Hawkins Act to establish the initial rental rate for a dwelling or unit.”

This past Sunday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. From the Governor:

This bill would supersede the holding of Palmer v. City of Los Angeles and allow local governments to require inclusionary housing in new residential development projects.
As Mayor of Oakland, I saw how difficult it can be to attract development to low and middle income communities. Requiring developers to include below-market units in their projects can exacerbate these challenges, even while not meaningfully increasing the amount of affordable housing in a given community.
The California Supreme Court is currently considering when a city may insist on inclusionary housing in new developments. I would like the benefit of the Supreme Court's thinking before we make legislative adjustments in this area.

AB-1229 Land use: zoning regulations [ca.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

October 2, 2013

Shutdown Slowdown For Mortgage Approvals

With only 67 of the FHA’s 2,972 workers working through the current government shutdown, and fewer federal workers to verify Social Security numbers and provide Internal Revenue Service tax records, be prepared for potential delays if you're seeking to get a mortgage approved.

U.S. Government Shutdown Threatening Housing Recovery [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

August 26, 2013

Nearly Sixty Percent Over Asking And Highly Engineered

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Having been listed for $1,399,000, it shouldn't come as any surprise that sale of 367 Liberty Street sold for well "over asking" with eleven offers as the list price was at least $400,000 less than what the seller was actually seeking according to a plugged-in source.

With a reported contract price of $2,200,000, however, the "57 percent over list price" stat for the Liberty Hill home with "expansion potential" and big views might still raise an eyebrow or two.

Then again, maybe it won't as remodeled homes on The Hill have been rather hot with the home in front having sold for $3 million in 2012 as did the hidden home behind to which a million-dollar-plus remodel is in the works.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

August 19, 2013

Builders Follow Citizens' Suit, Challenge Plan For Bay Area Growth

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Earlier this month, a citizens group calling themselves "Bay Area Citizens" filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court challenging the approved Plan Bay Area which calls for up to 660,000 new housing units to be built around the Bay Area over the next thirty years, 92,480 of which would be built in San Francisco alone, double San Francisco's current pipeline of development.

The underlying concern of the Citizens: the impact on their property values.

This past Friday, the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area literally followed suit and filed a lawsuit of their own in Superior Court, charging that Plan Bay Area "illegally locks future workers out of the Bay Area housing market and relies on hundreds of thousands more commuters driving long distances from outside the region to get to work."

According to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) conducted by the agencies themselves, Plan Bay Area would result in a massive increase in the number of Bay Area workers who would commute long distances by freeway. In fact, the FEIR shows that by 2040, Plan Bay Area will result in 40,000 more individual inbound trips a day (14.6 million each year) than an alternative approach also studied in the FEIR that plans for more housing in the region.
The primary contributor, the FEIR shows, was the series of decisions by regional planners at [the Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission] to artificially reduce the total number of new housing units provided for under Plan Bay Area—which started out at 902,000 but was ratcheted down to 660,000 in the final version.

It's not exactly an altruistic challenge, however, as the Building Industry Association is angling for the adopted plan to be dismissed and a competing plan that provides for the construction of 770,000 new housing units be adopted instead.

Bay Area Plan To Support 2 Million More People Up For Vote [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

August 14, 2013

Waylaid By Two Downturns Downtown, Will There Be A Third?

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First approved for development over a decade ago with plans for an 11-story hotel and restaurant to rise on the little downtown parking lot at 72 Ellis Street, the owners of the parcel were given until 2004 to start construction on the site:

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In the wake of the dot-com collapse and decline in tourism following September 11th, the approved performance period was extended from 2004 to 2007, at which point "the collapse of the housing market and overall poor economic conditions" led the Planning Commission to extend the performance period until 2010.

Having yet to start construction much less secure permits for the project, but wishing "to preserve the opportunity to construct the project given the current state of the economy," the owners of the lot are now seeking a third three-year extension which would preserve their option to develop the lot until August 15, 2016.

"Given the age of the original entitlements and the number of previous extensions," however, San Francisco's Planning Department is recommending the Planning Commission limit the term of the requested extension to one year (to August 15, 2014).

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

August 7, 2013

Unreal Expectations For Castro Street Corner Of Condos

With approved designs for 24 condos to be built at 376 Castro Street now in hand, the owner of the gas station site is trying to sell the parcel for $12,000,000, not including the cost of construction, a whopping $500,000 per door (industry speak for potential unit).

Keep in mind that the average cost per door for entitled land deals of this size in San Francisco is currently running around $150,000. And while that's up from closer to $50,000 per door in 2010, it's still a long way from $500,000 which would be quite a record and could spell trouble for those hoping for a quick development of the corner.

That being said, according to the listing on craigslist, "financing for 12,000,000 may be available depending on down payment & credit," so there's that.

The Refined Designs For A Prime Market And Castro Street Corner [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

The Actual Appreciation For A Single-Family San Francisco Home

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Two months ago, the already remodeled and nicely kept single-family Forrest Hill home at 14 Ventura Avenue hit the market listed for $1,495,000 having been purchased for $1,680,000 in May of 2012, a year-over-year and "apples-to-apples" sale in the making.

As we noted at the time, since May of 2012 the oft-quoted "median price" for single-family homes in San Francisco has increased 36 percent while the median price in Forrest Hill’s District 4 is up nearly 32 percent, changes which are frequently misreported as representing changes in values.

Last week, the sale of 14 Ventura Avenue closed escrow with a reported contract price of $1,950,000, up 16 percent on an apples-to-apples basis since May of 2012, a little less than half the movement of the median.

And yes, having been listed for less than its 2012 purchase price, the sale was amazingly "over asking" and attracted a fair amount of attention, as the listing was designed to do.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

August 5, 2013

38 Brand New Apartments In San Francisco Renting For A Grand!

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While the going price for a new studio apartment in San Francisco is averaging over $2,300 a month, and NEMA’s model unit would rent for closer to $2,500, twenty-two of the brand new studios in the luxury building at the corner of Market and Tenth will be rented for $939 a month and sixteen one-bedrooms will be rented for $1,066.

So what’s the catch? As part of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development Below Market Rate (BMR) Rental Program, applicants for the 38 BMR units cannot make more than 55 percent of the area median income, which means a single person can make no more than $38,950 a year, a couple can make no more than $44,500.

Other restrictions for the 38 below market rate mid-market units include a credit score of at least 600; no record of a previous eviction for the applicants; and the ability to pass a federal background check. And while the maximum income for a single person is $38,950 a year, the minimum income is $28,170.

Applications are due by 5pm on August 30, 2013. Pass it along.

Average Rent For A Studio In San Francisco: Over $2,300 A Month [SocketSite]
Your First Real Peek Inside NEMA At Market And Tenth [SocketSite]
NEMA (18 10th Street) Below Market Rate Apartment Program [sf-moh.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

July 26, 2013

A Waterfront Transportation Assessment And Plan For SF

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Recognizing that "that comprehensive transportation planning should precede and inform the shaping of individual [development] projects," such as the Transbay Transit District developments which are underway, and the proposed developments upon Pier 30-32 for the Warriors, upon Seawall Lot 337 for the Giants’ Mission Rock project, and the major redevelopment of Pier 70, the early designs for which have all been drawn, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now developing a Waterfront Transportation Assessment "to identify transportation challenges and guide solutions that will accommodate anticipated growth along the San Francisco waterfront area roughly between the Presidio and Pier 80."

The first phase of the Assessment, the establishment of Transportation Strategies and Goals, includes "an inventory of development projects proposed in the area, along with local and regional transportation investments and programs." It's a great start. But it's also a little frightening to realize that it doesn’t already exist and hasn’t been informing development plans, Planning Commission decisions, and endorsements to date.

Phase one is slated to be tackled this Summer with a report by the end of September. Phase two, the Solutions phase, will follow, intended to "help shape each project’s transportation features and programs, identify meaningful, feasible mitigation measures, and establish certainty and clarity in the development and cost-sharing agreements between the City, the transportation agencies and the project sponsors."

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

July 17, 2013

Revised Project Appeal Process And Tracking System Approved

Established in 1970, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a State statue which requires local public agencies to provide analysis and disclosure of possible environmental impacts prior to the approval of building permits for a project.

Exemptions from analysis can be granted for minor projects, saving much time and money, but those exemptions can be appealed as can any findings of no environmental impact (a "negative declaration"), an appeal process which is ill-defined and costly and a favorite tool of both concerned citizens and NIMBYs alike.

Yesterday, following eight months of back and forth and the threat of a competing bill, Supervisor Wiener’s proposed legislation to revise and clarify the city’s process and procedures for appealing project exemptions and negative declarations was unanimously approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

While increasing the procedures for notifying the public as to projects in the works, including a new online system for electronically tracking project notifications and exemptions, the approved amendment will require appeals to be filed within 30 days of a project's approval.

Assuming final passage, the amendment will take effect no earlier than September 1, 2013 and not until the new online notification system is up and running. All CEQA based appeals will continue to be heard before the full Board of Supervisors.

CEQA Procedures, Appeals, and Public Notice Requirements Amendment [sfbos.org]
See Supervisor Kim Introduce Competing CEQA Legislation [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

July 16, 2013

Infamous San Francisco Permit Expediter Facing 232 Felony Counts

Jimmy Jen, the infamous San Francisco building permit "expediter" who was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of forging the signatures and stamps of two licensed engineers for nearly 100 construction projects in the city will face trial on 232 felony counts:

According to prosecutors, Jen, an engineer himself who wasn't always licensed, was often hired by the owners of single-family homes to expedite The City's permitting process. Rather than hiring a licensed engineer to review their construction projects, he allegedly impersonated unwitting engineers.
The construction projects affected were mostly residential, but also included the complete redevelopment of the Alexandria Theater in the Richmond district. Jen's ex-wife, Nancy Jen, was reportedly the largest stakeholder in the theater. Other projects included the expansion of a ground-floor unit in the Mission and the replacement of a foundation in Presidio Heights, prosecutors said.

At the time of Jen’s arrest, none of the projects for which Jen had forged a signature had been found to be problematic according to Department of Building Inspection. And once again, expect those who employed the "expediter" to feign ignorance of any possible wrongdoings.

Some Janky Jenky Dealings Within The DBI And Developer Community [SocketSite]
Engineer accused of forging building documents heads to trial [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

July 10, 2013

The Big Dollars Behind The 8 Washington Street Battle To Date

As of last month, No Wall on The Waterfront had raised $234,000 and spent $104,000 in their campaign to block the approved development of 8 Washington Street at the ballot box.

In addition, Boston Properties, owner of 4 Embarcadero Center to the west of 8 Washington Street, has spent $125,750 to block the development, second only to the individual spending of Barbara Stewart whose Bay views would be blocked by the development as well.

At the same time, Open Up the Waterfront has raised $464,990 and spent $322,000 to promote a competing ballot measure which would allow for the development of 8 Washington Street, with Pacific Waterfront Partners (the developer) having contributed $214,990, Cahill Contractors (the builder) having contributed $150,000, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (the designer) having contributed $100,000 to the campaign.

Boston Properties has spent $125,000 to kill 8 Washington [Business Times]
The Money And Motivation Behind The Anti-8 Washington Measure [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

Blooming Big Plans For San Francisco Flower Mart Site

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While the site of the two-story San Francisco Flower Mart complex is currently zoned for development up to 55 feet in height, as part of Planning’s Central Corridor Plan the parcel could be up-zoned for heights of up to 65 feet (the "Mid-Rise Alternative") or even 85 feet (the "High Rise Alternative").

That being said, with plans for a mid-rise residential development on the site having fallen through in 2005, an ambitious new plan to raze 46,000 square feet of the Flower Mart and build a pair of office buildings rising up to 160 feet at the corner of Sixth and Brannan has been drafted and quietly submitted to Planning for their reaction.

The proposed project would yield over 500,000 square feet of office space, 80,000 square feet for parking, and 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail on the 575 Sixth Street site with a nine-story building connected to an 11-story building by pedestrian bridges at the fifth and sixth levels.

The project would also include an extension of Morris Street from Bryant to Brannan via new a pedestrian walkway.

The Planning Department’s initial reaction to the project and proposed heights:

The proposed heights significantly exceed what is allowed under the current zoning. The proposed heights also significantly exceed what is envisioned in the proposed Central Corridor Plan area for this site. The basic urban form and land use principles of the draft Central Corridor Plan are for a predominant mid-rise (55-feet to 130-feet tall) district with large floor plate character combined with strategically located and widely-spaced slender towers near key transit stops, with heights tapering down to Western SoMa (i.e. toward Sixth Street). Building heights as proposed will need extensive shadow, view, skyline, and immediate context analysis to assess the appropriateness of their heights, bulk, and spacing.
The Planning Department recommends the height of the eastern most building not exceed 85 feet tall per the proposed height limits; the building wing to the west should be sculpted to step down to Sixth Street and should not exceed 65 feet in height.

The Department does, however, support the development of a publicly accessible mid-block alley connecting Brannan with Morris ("as wide as the Morris Street right-of-way") and "recommends preserving the possibility of accommodating a new alley connecting Sixth Street to Morris Street and any future alley network typical of SoMa blocks."

In order for the project to proceed as proposed, the Board of Supervisors would need to approve a Height District Reclassification for the subject parcel. As the Board approved an up-zoning for the development of 8 Washington, why not here as well?

Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (52) | (email story)

June 19, 2013

Beware The Renderings Of Giants

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San Francisco’s Planning Commission will decide whether or not to approve Chipotle Mexican Grill’s application to renovate and open in the vacant Upper Market building at 2100 Market Street on Thursday, Chipotle’s rendering for which is presented above. In the words of an observant reader: "I like how the people in the rendering are all about 50% taller than those in the actual photo."

2100%20Market%20Street%20Building.jpg

Relative to the actual heights for the poles, signs, and signal lights included in Chipotle’s rendering above, the average rendered person on the street would measure over ten feet tall, the gentleman in the crosswalk over eleven. In the words of our reader again: "The fact that this makes the rendered building look smaller is, I'm sure, just a coincidence."

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

June 11, 2013

Do Developers Need Stimulation Or Neighborhoods The Cash?

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In 2009, near the nadir of requests for new building permits in San Francisco, Mayor Newsom initiated a fee deferral program for developer in an effort to provide an economic stimulus for new construction projects, a program which was adopted on July 1, 2010.

Development impact fees are typically collected at one of two points: either at the issuance of a permit to build or at the building’s Certificate of Occupancy. The deferral program allowed developers to defer the paying of impact fees due at the time of permitting until the certificate of occupancy was issued, typically a two year delay.

Since the program was adopted, there have been 107 building applications subject to development impact fees and/or in-lieu fees. Of these 107 applications, 68 project sponsors elected to defer fees. These 68 projects were assessed over $86 million worth of fees—the vast majority of the $93 million worth of impact fees assessed during this period. So while only 63.6% of the project sponsors who were eligible to defer fees chose to do so, the project sponsors who did defer had the projects with the largest fees, resulting in deferral of 92.5% of all impact fees eligible for deferral.

In total, roughly $68 million worth of fees were deferred, which included $40 million earmarked to support the development of affordable housing in San Francisco, $7 million for improving local transit and flow, and another $7 million to mitigate the impact of new developments in SoMa and Rincon Hill.

Set to expire on July 1, 2013, this week San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to decide whether they believe "the stimulative effects of the Fee Deferral Program are still needed" or if the program should be allowed to expire and impact fees for future developments should be collected and put to use sooner rather than later.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

June 7, 2013

Will San Francisco's Condominium Lottery Legislation Be A Winner?

Having been sent back to San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee for another round of amendments, the proposed condominium conversion lottery bypass legislation is once again slated to be voted upon by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next week.

The proposed legislation would establish a bypass period during which qualifying TICs could condo convert for a fee; establish lifetime leases for tenants in converting non-owner occupied units; restrict future condominium lotteries to buildings with no more than four units; and suspend San Francisco’s annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024.

While originally co-sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, he no longer supports the newly amended legislation as proposed which includes a couple of important changes:

Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than five years as of April 15, 2013 would immediately qualify for the bypass. Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than three years as of April 15, 2014 would qualify on that date.

Buildings which did not qualify or participate in either the 2012 or 2013 lotteries would eventually be eligible to participate in the bypass assuming a formal TIC agreement was in place as of April 15, 2013 and the required number of applicant owners have continuously occupied the building for at least six years by April 15, 2019.

In other words, TIC buildings in which the owner applicants weren't in place by April 15, 2013 would never qualify for the bypass and five or six unit TIC buildings which don't qualify for the bypass would never qualify for conversion as proposed.

And yes, the proposed legislation still contains the provision that if any lawsuit is filed against the legislation (see previous paragraph for a hint as to who might quickly file), the bypass would be suspended until the lawsuit was settled or until 2024, whichever comes first.

UPDATE: Two key changes in the legislation as newly amended: 1. The program has been extended by a year (i.e., the cutoff date for being bypass eligible is now April 15, 2013 rather than April 15, 2012); and 2. The "poison pill" provision would now suspend both the bypass and the lottery until any legal challenges are settled, as previously written the lottery would have resumed.

Amended Condominium Conversion Impact Fee Legislation [sfbos.org]
TIC Owners, Occupiers, Buyers, Agents And Attorneys Take Note [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

May 29, 2013

SOMA Grand Homeowners Follow And File Suit

SOMA Grand homeowners at 1160 Mission Street have just filed suit against the building’s developer, builder and architects claiming "construction defects and building standard violations," primarily stemming from common waterproofing issues.

The defects were identified by forensic architects and consultants retained by the homeowners association through counsel, The Miller Law Firm. The same law firm has filed construction defect claims against the developers and builders of 255 Berry Street, Park Terrace (325 Berry), 888 7th Street, 88 Townsend, and Cubix (766 Harrison) as well.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

May 23, 2013

Proposed Security Deposit Legislation: New Penalties And Payments

As it stands, security deposits for unfurnished apartment rentals in California cannot exceed two months’ rent, must be returned or accounted for within three weeks of a tenant vacating, and any disputes are heard in small claims court.

Under the proposed Senate Bill 603 (SB603), landlords would be required to hold security deposits in separate insured accounts and pay interest on deposits (which the city of San Francisco already requires) at the Federal Reserve six-month CD rate (currently 0.26%).

The proposed Bill would also impose a penalty of twice any amount that's deemed to have been improperly witheld from a deposit or interest owed by a landlord. Passed in committee on May 7, SB603 is scheduled for its third reading in the Senate this afternoon.

UPDATE: To clarify a bit of confusion with respect to the required interest payments on security deposits, the proposed payment of interest at the Fed's six-month CD rate "shall not apply in any city, county, or city and county that by charter, ordinance, or regulation requires the payment to tenants of interest on security, nor does it preempt a local ordinance that requires the payment of security deposit interest."

Security deposit rules in Leno legislation [Chronicle]
Senate Bill 603: Landlord and Tenant Security Deposit Legislation [ca.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

May 7, 2013

TIC Owners, Occupiers, Buyers, Agents And Attorneys Take Note

With Supervisor Wiener dissenting against the amended legislation which he originally co-sponsored, San Francisco's full Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the proposed condominium conversion lottery bypass this afternoon.

The legislation would establish a bypass period during which qualifying TICs could condo convert for a fee; establish lifetime leases for tenants in converting non-owner occupied units; restrict future condominium lotteries to buildings with no more than four units; and suspend San Francisco’s annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024.

Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than five years as of April 15, 2013 would immediately qualify for the bypass. Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than three years as of April 15, 2014 would qualify on that date.

Buildings which did not qualify or participate in either the 2012 or 2013 lotteries would eventually be eligible to participate in the bypass assuming a formal TIC agreement was in place as of April 15, 2013 and the required number of applicant owners have continuously occupied the building for at least six years by April 15, 2018.

In other words, TIC buildings in which the owner applicants weren't in place by April 15, 2012 would never qualify for the bypass and five or six unit TIC buildings which don't qualify for the bypass would never qualify for conversion as proposed.

And yes, the proposed legislation still contains the provision that if any lawsuit is filed against the legislation (see previous paragraph), the bypass would be suspended and the annual lottery resumed until a final judgment is issued in favor of the City.

Amended Condominium Conversion Impact Fee Legislation [sfbos.org]
Condo Lottery Bypass Legislation: Key Dates, Details, And Legalities [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

April 23, 2013

Planning's Push To Stimulate Construction Of 2,600 Approved Units

SF%20Development%20Stimulus%20Numbers.gif

Roughly 190 projects were authorized for development by San Francisco’s Planning Commission over the past eight years with a three year window within which to start construction or risk losing their entitlements to build. Of the 190 approved projects, only 85 have been built or are currently under construction.

Of the 105 approved projects that haven’t started construction, 15 projects have obtained permits but haven’t started contstruction while 55 projects have applied for permits but haven’t yet obtained them and 35 projects haven’t applied for permits at all.

Of the approximately 90 projects that have been approved but which have not yet obtained a permit, 50 have already exceeded their three year window in which to start construction while another 10 will exceed their windows in less than a year.

And of the approximately 50 projects that have exceeded the time frames set forth in their Authorizations, there are 35 residential projects accounting for 2,600 dwelling units and 15 significant non-residential projects (such as those adding at least 10,000 square feet or constructing major new buildings).

Recognizing that the economic crisis from which San Francisco is beginning to recover might have waylaid a share of the dormant projects while weighing the cost of attempting to enforce or extend the three year performance period under which the 90 yet to be permitted projects were approved, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has established a "one-time" economic stimulus program in an attempt to stimulate development.

Under the terms of the stimulus program, sponsors of approved projects who wish to take advantage of the program must respond to the Planning Department by June 3, 2013 and obtain a Building Permit to start construction by October 4, 2014.

The map of where all the already approved but yet to be permitted projects lie across the city of San Francisco, click the image to enlarge:

Planning Commission Resolution Number 18838: Stimulus Program [sf-planning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

April 9, 2013

See Supervisor Kim Introduce Competing CEQA Legislation

With a hearing for Supervisor Wiener's proposed California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform legislation having been delayed by at least another two weeks, Supervisor Kim is set to formally introduce her competing legislation to the Board this afternoon.

The major points of contention between the two proposed pieces of legislation: the process for notifying the public about a project; the timeline for appealing a project’s clearance to move forward; and exemptions from environmental review.

With Supervisors Chiu, Kim and Wiener comprising the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, and a majority vote neeed for either of the competing pieces of legislation to be heard by the full Board, Supervisor Chiu wields the key swing vote.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

April 4, 2013

A Rather Unbelievable New NIMBY And Anti-Green Roof Argument

535%20El%20Camino%20Del%20Mar.jpg

Constructed in 1951, the owners of the one-story ranch house at 535 El Camino Del Mar with a small second story over its garage would like to expand the space over the garage by 516 square feet, maintaining an 18 foot setback and adding a green roof.

535%20El%20Camino%20Del%20Mar%20Rendering.gif

Raising concerns which include the project’s adverse effect on a historic structure, an incompatibility with the neighborhood character and prevailing heights, and "the invasion of nonnative species caused by the green roof," five neighbors in surrounding three story homes have asked the Planning Commission to block the addition to 535 El Camino Del Mar by way of a Discretionary Review (DR).

535%20El%20Camino%20Del%20Mar%20DR%20Requestors.jpg

From the Planning Department with respect to the project and DR requestors' concerns:

The addition of a small second-story addition set back approximately 18 feet from the closest front building wall (approximately 35 feet from the front property line) is a very modest addition that remains consistent with the varied heights and architectural styles of adjacent structures, in addition to the character of buildings within the surrounding Sea Cliff neighborhood.
The concerns about the project’s adverse effect on neighboring properties light, air, privacy, and midblock open space are unfounded, since the project is located a significant distance from most of the DR Requestors’ properties (ranging from between approximately 40 feet and 135 feet). The addition is separated by a private easement (at the rear) from four of the DR Requestors’ properties. There is also no expansion to the existing building footprint; therefore, the project will not adversely affect the existing pattern of open space.
Furthermore, the addition has been sensitively designed to be an appropriate addition to a historic resource, and has been reviewed and approved by the Department’s historic preservation staff. Although the subject building was determined to be a historic resource, an impact analysis was conducted by a preservation planner and the project was determined to be consistent with the Secretary’s Standards and to not have a significant impact.
Lastly, the Department supports living roofs as a positive green building feature and encourages them wherever feasible. The addition of a green roof does not create an “exceptional or extraordinary circumstance” that would warrant changes to the project.

San Francisco’s Planning Commission will hear the arguments and vote this afternoon. As the project does not contain or create any exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, this project would not have made it to the Commission under pending DR Reform Legislation.

Another perspective on the position of the project relative to the DR requestors’ homes and their views to the ocean which might hint at their underlying concerns:

535%20El%20Camino%20Del%20Mar%20DR%20View.gif

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

April 1, 2013

A Brazen Move In Bernal Heights?

300 Coleridge

The six-unit Bernal Heights building at 300 Coleridge is on the market for $1,850,000.

With all six two-bedrooms occupied by rent controlled tenants, most of which are protected and paying low rents, the gross income for the building is estimated at $89,575 which includes $8,400 in income for the four car garage and an average apartment rent of $1,127 per month. The building's current expenses are estimated at $34,734 a year for a CAP rate of just under 3 percent at current rents.

While the current owner "will not deliver vacant, Ellis act or evict any tenants," the building is being marketed by the listing agent as "suitable for buyers willing to Ellis act and develop as TIC units or a long term future rental units."

Keep in mind that TIC conversions in buildings with five or more units must go through the state subdivision process and evicted tenants by way of the Ellis Act can file for the first right to return to their units for a period of ten years, during the first five of which they are entitled to sign a new lease at their original rents.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

March 19, 2013

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a State statue established in 1970 which requires local public agencies to provide analysis and disclosure of possible environmental impacts prior to the approval of building permits.

Exemptions from analysis can be granted for minor projects, saving much time and money, but those exemptions can be appealed as can any findings of no environmental impact (a "negative declaration"), an appeal process which is ill-defined and costly, a favorite tool of both concerned citizens and NIMBYs alike.

Having spent months writing and re-writing proposed legislation to establish a set 20 day windows for filing appeals and clarifying the process, Supervisor Wiener’s proposed legislation was approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission and seemed ready for a Board of Supervisors vote. And then Supervisor Kim introduced a competing bill.

Directly from Supervisor Wiener’s office:

On March 12, Supervisor Jane Kim introduced separate, alternative CEQA legislation. The legislation was not drafted by the City Attorney nor approved as to form by the City Attorney. The Planning Department did not participate in the legislation, did not provide feedback on it, and was not aware of the legislation before it was introduced.
While Supervisor Wiener welcomes any of his colleagues to participate in this important process, unfortunately, Supervisor Kim’s legislation is exactly the opposite of Supervisor Wiener’s legislation. Instead of creating a clearer and more predictable process, it will make the CEQA process even worse than it is today: longer, more expensive, more cumbersome, more bureaucratic, and less predictable.

A few examples from Wiener's Office with respect to the "negative changes" that would result if Supervisor Kim’s legislation is adopted:

Every project on every building 50 years or older – nearly 3/4 of San Francisco’s building stock – would no longer be eligible for a CEQA Categorical Exemption stamp (often issued over the counter in a matter of hours) for a minor change, such as changing a window, replacing a rotted out handrail, or replacing a failing roof. Instead, any and all such projects will be required to get a “Categorical Exemption Certificate,” which is a detailed report that can take 3-6 months to issue and currently costs $5,000, as opposed to several hundred dollars for a Categorical Exemption stamp.
This change would effectively mean that over the counter permits would no longer be an option for buildings 50 years or older, more than 3/4 of buildings in San Francisco.
Similarly, all projects in parks and “open space,” which is a very broad term, would require the same 3-6 month and $5,000 certificate instead of the current Categorical Exemption stamp. This would dramatically increase the time and cost associated with even small park and open space projects, like rehabilitating playground structures, adding benches, and planting trees on road medians.

In addition, under Kim's bill every negative declaration for a park, open space, or building greater than 50 years old would be required to be considered by both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission. Currently, negative declarations are only considered by the Planning Commission and only if an appeal is filed.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

SF Planning Department’s Annual Report And Performance Stats

According to the Planning Department’s Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, a total of 2,548 new housing units were permitted from July of 2011 through June of 2012 with the highest concentration in Mission Bay (click graphic to enlarge).

Over the same period of time, the number of approved building permits for new construction projects fell to 85 from 123 the year before while approved permits for alterations to existing properties increased to 6,348 from 6,207. As plugged-in people know, there are currently 43,580 units in San Francisco’s housing pipeline, nearly double the number of units that have been built in San Francisco since the year 2000.

The Planning Department’s full report, including internal performance and productivity measures, and targets for improvement:

The 43,580 New Units In San Francisco's Current Housing Pipeline [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

March 18, 2013

Nearly 60,000 Rentals In SF Are Currently Vulnerable To Collapse

On the agenda for the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, the proposed Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program for wood-frame buildings with three or more stories and five or more dwelling units constructed prior to January 1, 1978, of which there are approximately 4,300 in San Francisco and at least 2,800 of which have been deemed "vulnerable" to seismic activity. The vulnerable buildings house nearly 60,000 people and 2,000 businesses.

Buildings constructed after January 1, 1978 in San Francisco are considered to have been designed to meet a life safety standard for a magnitude 7.9 quake on a nearby segment of the San Andreas Fault or similar, an event which has a two percent chance of occurring in any 50-year period.

As it stands, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on a nearby segment of the San Andreas Fault would likely render 1,200 to 2,400 of the 2,800 vulnerable multi-unit buildings in San Francisco uninhabitable. An estimated 300 to 850 of the buildings would likely collapse.

As proposed, the Retrofit Program would roll-out over a seven year period. Opposing the Program, a number of building owners who have deemed the program "a complete travesty and unlawful control of property owners," preferring to roll the dice with their buildings' and tenants' well-being rather than "spend $100,000 on shinny new metal" to meet the life safety standard established in the 1970's.

Proposed Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program Ordinance [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (42) | (email story)

March 13, 2013

Can’t Sell As A Single-Family Home? Pitch It As A Tech Incubator!

21 Buena Vista Avenue 2013

Having cut the list price for the 8,000 square foot single-family home at 21 Buena Vista Avenue by $600,000 last month, the listing agent for the property is now taking a new tack, touting its potential as a "Tech Incubator" and headquarters which "will invigorate your staff and surely help inspire the creative juices which could add to the bottom line."

Note that 21 Buena Vista Avenue East is zoned for residential, not commercial, use. Then again, so is the 6,744 square foot house at 170 Saint Germain which Peter Thiel rented to house members of his "hero accelerator" known as The Glint.

UPDATE (3/14): The page on the listing agent's website touting the property's potential as a "Tech Incubator" has been hastily removed.

The Witches Hat (21 Buena Vista Avenue) Is Back [SocketSite]
A Glimpse Inside "The Glint" And The Story Behind "The Mansion" [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

March 11, 2013

Planning To Spend Their Surplus To Help Clear SF's Building Backlog

With a backlog 356 planning cases and 106 requested building permits awaiting review, San Francisco’s Planning Department is proposing to add ten (10) new employees to help clear the backlog over the next 2.25 years.

The positions with salaries ranging from $60,667 for a Clerk to $118,806 for a Planner would be funded by way of the Planning Department’s projected $4,300,000 surplus in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 due to increased building permit, alteration, and environmental planning fees.

San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst recommends that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approve eight (8) of the requested positions tomorrow at a cost of $2,774,224 over the next 2.25 years.

Amendment to the Annual Salary Ordinance for Planning Department [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

March 7, 2013

Planning's Proposed Mission And A Deliberately Omitted Value

As we wonder about the role and reach of Planning in San Francisco, this afternoon San Francisco’s Planning Commission will vote to endorse the Planning Department’s Mission, Vision, and Value statements intended to guide department staff in their work.

The Planning Department’s proposed Vision Statement: "Making San Francisco the world’s most livable urban place – environmentally, economically, socially and culturally." And the Department's proposed Mission:

The San Francisco Planning Department, under the direction of the Planning Commission, shapes the future of San Francisco and the region by: generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code.

Deliberately and rather ironically removed from the Planning Department’s list of guiding values at the request of the Commission: "Deliberate: We are deliberate in our process and stand by our decisions, even when others disagree."

Planning's thirteen proposed Values with which the Commission agreed:

1. Collaboration: We collaborate with the people of San Francisco.
2. Education: We educate our community about our work and we learn from our communities about their neighborhoods and their vision.
3. Respect: We treat our stakeholders with professional courtesy and respect.
4. Trust: We build trust.
5. Open Dialogue: We facilitate ongoing dialogue that is open and responsive.
6. Inclusive: We provide clear communication that is accessible to all members of our diverse population.
7. Fairness: We provide a fair, objective and equitable process.
8. Consistency: We are consistent in our application of policy.
9. Efficiency: We are efficient and timely.
10. Innovation: We are innovative in setting new planning standards, and guiding change that embraces our extraordinary setting, unique heritage, vibrant communities and the aspirations of our diverse population.
11. Employee Satisfaction: We are a great place to work – cultivating intellectual inspiration, professional satisfaction and creativity.
12. Passion: We are passionate about our work.
13. Visionary: We are visionary in our plans and practical in their implementation.

Should Our Planning Commission Dictate Which Businesses Survive? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

February 26, 2013

Should Our Planning Commission Dictate Which Businesses Survive?

As we first reported, while San Francisco’s Planning Department backs the proposal to convert the Pacific Sales building at 975 Bryant into a Orchard Supply Hardware store, noting that the project "is desirable for, and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood," would "[improve] the pedestrian experience along Bryant Street" and "meets all applicable requirements of the Planning Code," following public testimony, San Francisco’s Planning Commission adopted a motion of Intent to Disapprove the project.

Who are the NIMBYs with which the Planning Commission is siding and for whom they intend to block the compatible project? A plugged-in reader reports:

The majority of comments were from various business owners (Cole Hardware, Builder Supply, Center Hardware, etc.) who expressed their usual concerns about how formula retail will put them out of business and change the face of San Francisco forever.
The owner of Cole Hardware claimed his business went down 25% after Lowes opened on Bayshore -- (in the middle of the recession). The owner of Center claims his Saturday business is still down 20%. Of course there's no way to check their numbers and Center has so little weekend business they don't even open on Sunday.
The best comment from a commissioner: "We're trying to save ourselves from ourselves" referring to people who say they want to support locally owned businesses but drive to Home Depot anyway.

Should it be the role of San Francisco’s Planning Commission to decide and dictate which businesses in San Francisco deserve protection from their competition and their customers as well?

Orchard Supply Hardware Coming To SoMa If Approved [SocketSite]
No Valentine’s Day Love For Orchard Supply Hardware In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

February 21, 2013

Newly Proposed Height And Horizontality On Federal Street

77-85 Federal Street

A plan to demolish the two existing office buildings at 77-85 Federal Street and construct a five-story commercial building with a gym on the ground floor and an underground garage with 29 parking spaces has been floated with San Francisco’s Planning Department.

While we haven’t seen the proposed design for the building, the Planning Department has and has offered the following architectural suggestions:

To strengthen the project’s compatibility with the surrounding [South End Historic] district, the project should accentuate a tripartite organization, including strengthening the base, and vertically modulating the façades with a rhythm of solid columns, in order to emphasize the solid-to-void ratio. This rhythm should be introduced on all levels. Overall the building façade exhibits a strong horizontality. There appears to be several different approaches to the treatment of the glass. The Planning Department suggests that the glazing system be developed to be more unified and balanced with solid columnar elements.
Additionally, the module of the building where the entrance is located could be differentiated to a highlight the entry, using glazing to indicate a greater height at the entry, and/or reducing or eliminating the balcony at the third floor.

What's/Who’s To Blame For "Bad" Building Design In SF? [SocketSite]
Damn All Those Untalented Architects To Hell! Oh, Wait A Minute… [SocketSite]
Damn That Planning Department To Hell! Oh, Wait A Minute… [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

February 19, 2013

Tishman Teams With China On 201 Folsom, Plans To Start Soon

201%20Folsom%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

Tishman Speyer is teaming with China Vanke Co. to finance the development of the 201 Folsom Street project. China Vanke will contribute $175 million and have a 70 percent stake while Tishman will contribute $75 million and maintain a 30 percent share. The remainder of the $620 million project will be financed with debt.

As plugged-in people know, Tishman Speyer officially filed for their building permits to construct two towers rising 37 and 42 stories, and two 8-story plaza buildings, with a total of 655 new residential units over underground parking and street level retail on the 201 Folsom Street site this past September with plans to commence construction upon the issuance of said permits.

Having submitted revised designs in December, Planning has yet to sign off on the final plans and the permits have yet to be issued. According to another plugged-in tipster, however, Tishman has been planning to commence construction in March.

The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop [SocketSite]
201 Folsom Street Timing: Immediately (Upon Approval Of Permits) [SocketSite]
Permits Filed For Tishman's 201 Folsom Street Towers [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

February 12, 2013

An Unofficial Million Dollar Reduction Over On El Camino Del Mar

738%20El%20Camino%20Del%20Mar.jpg

As we first wrote about the designer home at 738 El Camino Del Mar Avenue last March:

"Purchased for $5,500,000 in early 2008 and then remodeled by Ken Fulk in 2009, the Spanish-Mediterranean Sea Cliff home at 738 El Camino Del Mar Avenue has just returned to the market listed for $6,995,000.

738 El Camino Del Mar Living

Tax records suggest 738 was built as a 4,308 square foot four-bedroom in 1927, but it appears to have since been remodeled as a three. And while there might not be any bridge views today, we'll be lounging by one of the three fireplaces waiting for it to clear."

Reduced to $6,500,000 after six months on the market, the listing for 738 El Camino Del Mar was withdrawn from the MLS without a reported sale in December. Today, the Sea Cliff home is back on the market "as new" having shed over 300 days on the market in terms of industry stats and now listed for $5,995,000, a sale at which would be "at asking."

738 El Camino Del Mar Bedroom

And while listed with three bedrooms last year, it's now listed with four.

∙ Listing: 738 El Camino Del Mar Avenue (4/3.5) - $5,995,000 [sfproperties.com]
¡Ay, Caramba! Nos Gusta Over On El Camino Del Mar [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

January 10, 2013

Tighter Underwriting Rules Set To Take Effect (In A Year)

Set to take effect on January 10, 2014: a new rule forcing lenders to verify borrowers' ability to repay mortgages by confirming their income and assets.

The rule, mandated by Congress in response to lax underwriting standards before the 2008 financial crisis, will also offer some legal protection for lenders who follow guidelines for so-called qualified mortgages, according to an e-mailed statement by the [U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]. The measure also insulates issuers of qualified mortgages at prime interest rates from future lawsuits.
For qualified mortgages, the borrower must have a debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent or less. Loans that do not meet that criterion but are eligible for purchase, guarantee or insurance by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or are issued by some government agencies, will be considered qualified mortgages for as long as seven years.
Qualified mortgages must also limit points and fees to 3 percent of the total loan amount, according to the bureau. Features that proved highly risky during the housing bubble, such as negative amortization, interest-only payments and terms exceeding 30 years, [will also be] prohibited for qualified mortgages.

Emphasis added.

Lender Review of Borrowers Tightened Under Mortgage Rules [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

December 24, 2012

From David Sacks With Respect To 2845 Broadway (And SocketSite)

Straight from David Sacks with respect to the sale of 2845 Broadway which we first reported having sold for $20,000,000 last month but Trulia just reported having sold for $34,500,000 with "a portion of the sale...recorded as alternative personal property for tax reasons" according to their "in-the-know" sources:

There's no "tax tomfoolery". You correctly reported the sale price of 2845 Broadway when you checked the public records. Trulia didn't bother to. It's just sloppy reporting on their part. As the publication that appears to do actual research and fact-checking, rather than just quoting unnamed sources, you should have stuck to your guns and stood by your original story.
That said, I remain a fan of your blog.

Cheers and agreed, but we've always stood by our due dilligence and story. As we wrote yesterday, "we have reviewed the public records which pegs the recorded sale price at $20,000,000...which begs the question, if the "in-the-know" sale price Truila is reporting is correct...," a question that is now moot.

More Yammerings And Apparent Tax Tomfoolery [SocketSite]
The Massive 2845 Broadway Misses The Mark And Record Books [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

December 12, 2012

The Risks (And Rewards) Of Living In A Dense Urban Environment

1856%20Pacific%20Avenue.jpg

As we first reported a few months ago, while the proposed addition of another story atop the existing four-story building at 1856 Pacific Avenue was being opposed by both the owners of 1870 Pacific (the 7-story building to the west of 1856 Pacific) and the residents of 1870 Pacific Avenue apartment number 505 (whose lot line windows would be blocked by the addition), the Planning Department was recommending San Francisco's Planning Commission reject the requested Discretionary Review and approve the project.

1856%20Pacific%20Avenue%20Rendering.jpg

The opposition’s requested Discretionary Review (DR) of the project has since been dropped and the expansion and reskinning of 1856 Pacific Avenue, which lies within an 80-foot height district, will likely soon begin.

Once again, in the words of the Planning Department with respect to the risks involved with property line windows, private views, and living in a dense urban environment:

As property line windows and private views are not protected under Planning and Building Codes, and the project is a residential use, the project is within the minimum standards of the Residential Design Guidelines to be expected when a reasonable building expansion is proposed. The proximity of the project to the adjacent building is also within the reasonable tolerances to be expected when living in a dense urban environment such as San Francisco, and particularly the RM-3 Zoning District which is zoned to allow high-density residential buildings.

And if you don't want to live in a dense urban environment such as Pacific Heights, you can always live in an area like Western SoMa.

You've Been Warned: Let There Be Less Light And Fewer Views [SocketSite]
A Short-Sighted Plan For Western SoMa? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

November 30, 2012

Great Pacific Heights "Appreciation" And Yet A Rather Poor ROI

2209 Pacific

As we first wrote about the Pacific Heights home at 2209 Pacific last year:

Purchased as a 4,960 square foot four-bedroom home for $5,150,000 in late 2005, and since remodeled to become a 5,900 square foot home with three bedrooms and seven baths, 2209 Pacific Avenue has returned to the market listed for $9,500,000 in 2011.
According to permits filed for the project and from which fees would have been billed, it was an estimated "$150,000" remodeling job, a budget that probably wouldn’t have covered the cost of the new kitchen, and perhaps not even the new theater below.
While the estimated remodeling costs per permits were "$150,000," according to the now live property website "close to $4 million dollars" in improvements have been made to the property. It's funny how that happens.

Having been reduced to $7,950,000 and then withdrawn from the MLS after eleven months on the market, 2209 Pacific Avenue was relisted as new this past July with "over $4 million" in improvements since 2005.

Yesterday, the sale of 2209 Pacific Avenue closed escrow with a reported contract price of $7,400,000, not bad "appreciation" from the $5,150,000 purchase price according to industry stats, which don't account for improvements, but not such a great return considering a total investment of over nine million.

2209 Pacific Returns Remodeled And Asking Three Million Per Bedroom [SocketSite]
Over $9 Million Invested, But You Can (Still) Have It For Under Eight [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

November 27, 2012

160 Macro-Micro-Units Ready To Rise On Mission Next Year

1321%20Mission%20Street%20Rendering%202.jpg

Measuring an average of 291 square feet, the 120 studios proposed to rise at 1312 Mission Street might have been considered to be "micro-units" by some a week ago, but they're now 30 percent larger than the soon to be legal minimum of 220 square feet.

And at 646 square feet, the building's 40 proposed suites, which will be two or three bedrooms, are almost three times the new minimum for occupancy by two.

In addition to the 160 residential units, the proposed 11-story building includes 3,359 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 2,185 square feet of basement space for parking up to 240 bicycles, and a 696 square foot garage for one car share car.

Proposed as Student Housing, which requires the building to be controlled by an accredited post-secondary Educational Institution in the form of a master lease or contractual agreement with at least a five-year term, no below market rate (BMR) units would be required. And as Student Housing, even if the units were to be shrunken to the new legal micro-unit minimum, they wouldn’t count toward the initial micro-unit cap.

Up for approval by San Francisco's Planning Commission this week, the construction of 1321 Mission Street is tentatively scheduled to begin early 2013 with occupancy planned for fall 2014, replacing the existing one-story commercial building on the corner of 9th Street which was once the Guitar Center and most recently occupied by a furniture store:

1321 Mission Street Site

Micro-Units Approved For San Francisco, But Capped For Some [SocketSite]
A Big Vote For Micro-Units In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

November 21, 2012

Micro-Units Approved For San Francisco, But Capped For Some

Supervisor Wiener's proposed legislation to reduce the minimum legal living room for a residential unit in San Francisco from 220 to 150 square feet was passed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors last night.

Under the ordinance, which only applies to newly built buildings, the total minimum area of a legal residential unit will be 220 square feet including closets and the bathroom.

And while the number of market rate micro-units allowed to be built in San Francisco has been capped at 375, the Planning Department has been tasked with preparing a detailed report on the impact of the first 325 units, after which the cap could be modified.

The numerical cap excludes units built for affordable, group, or student housing.

32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco Part Two [SocketSite]
A Proposed Cap On Smaller Residential Units In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (70) | (email story)

November 16, 2012

Accusations Of Obfuscation And Delay (And Planning's Playing Along)

As we first reported this past September with respect to the Academy of Art’s ongoing disregard for San Francisco laws, codes and ordinances:

In addition to their regularly scheduled meeting this week, San Francisco's Planning Commission will be quietly conferencing behind closed doors with legal counsel to once again discuss "whether to initiate litigation with respect to the Academy of Art University."
Having long ignored city laws, codes and ordinances with respect to the Academy's conversion of numerous San Francisco buildings to dormitory and classroom use without proper approvals or permits, last year the City considered legal action but failed to act.
According to the Office of the City Attorney, litigation is anticipated with the City as Plaintiff. Will this be the year that the City actually takes a (or the) stand?

This week, in a letter addressed to Planning Director John Rahaim, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has accused the Academy of continuing to engage "in a game of obfuscation and delay" with the city's Planning Department playing right along.

"I find it inexplicable that despite the (academy's) repeated disregard of you, your department, and the laws you are charged to enforce, you would allow the (academy) to continue to violate the law without consequence," wrote Herrera.

That being said, the anticipated litigation appears to have been delayed as well.

Academy Of Art University Back In The City's Crosshairs [SocketSite]
Academy of Art About To Learn A Hard Lesson (Or Not)? [SocketSite]
And The Artists Shall Inherit Acquire San Francisco [SocketSite]
Planning Closes Its Doors To Discuss Academy of Art Litigation [SocketSite]
Academy of Art land use violations ignored [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

October 19, 2012

It's No Slam Dunk Nor Layup For A Warriors Arena In San Francisco

With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee deeming it his legacy project, and the project sponsors lining the pockets of nearly every political, development, and public relations consultant in the city, some might consider the Warriors Arena that’s proposed to be built upon Piers 30-32 to be too big or connected to fail. But this is San Francisco, after all.

Birds helped overturn the approved development of 555 Washington. NIMBY neighbors have stalled the approved development of 8 Washington for at least another year. And an early plan to develop the very Piers upon which the Warriors Arena would be built fell apart during negotiations of the financial terms.

The draft development deal with the Warriors would cap the City’s exposure on the billion dollar project to a $120,000,000 reimbursement for Pier rehabilitation and potential public improvements with funding of the reimbursement limited to rent credits (the piers would be leased to the Warriors for $1,970,000 a year), the sale of Seawall 330 for an estimated $30,400,000, and new property tax revenue generated by the Warriors development.

The Fiscal Feasibility and Conceptual Framework for the Piers 30-32 project:

Assuming a term sheet for the deal can be agreed upon, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission approves the use, the Piers are successfully rezoned for development over 40 feet, and any legal challenges are overcome in a timely manner, San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors will have a new Arena by 2017.

Yes, it can be done. But make no mistake, the development of a Warriors Arena upon the Piers in San Francisco is no slam dunk nor layup.

The Plans For A Legacy San Francisco Warriors Arena Upon The Piers [SocketSite]
The Design For The Warriors San Francisco Arena On Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]
555 Washington's EIR Certification Reversed [SocketSite]
8 Washington Approval Upheld But Now On Hold Until 2013 Election [SocketSite]
Piers 30-32 Dropped From AC34 Development Plan, Lawsuit Filed [SocketSite]
Plans For Seawall 330 Remain As Murky As The Rendering [SocketSite]
Timeline And Key Milestones For Building The Warriors Arena In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

October 12, 2012

A Proposed Cap On Smaller Residential Units In San Francisco

Last month, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors elected to postpone until November their vote on the proposed ordinance sponsored by Supervisor Wiener which would reduce to the minimum legal living room for a residential unit in San Francisco from 220 to 150 square feet, requiring the total area of the unit to be no less than 220 square feet.

The proposed amendment would help clear the way for buildings such as the proposed 11-story high-rise at 1321 Mission with 200 micro-apartments designed for students to rise.

Market rate developers, buyers and renters take note, however, Supervisor Wiener has just introduced another proposed ordinance "to put a cap on the number of Efficiency Dwelling Units, as defined in the Building Code, that can be constructed with reduced square footage unless the units are group housing, affordable housing, or student housing."

A Big Vote For Micro-Units In San Francisco [SocketSite]
32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco As Proposed [SocketSite]
32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco Part Two [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 9, 2012

Coming Up Short (In More Ways Than One): The Crib Crib Closes

As we first reported in July:

Listed as a one-bedroom for $765,000 when The Hales Warehouse first hit the market in 2007, 410 Jessie #603 was purchased for $749,700 that July.
Having been unsuccessfully listed for $815,000 in 2009 and $799,000 in 2010, the 1,130 square foot condo is back on the market and listed as a short sale for $699,000 in 2012.
While newly listed as a "two bedroom," however, there appears to be a bit of childlike listing license in play with respect to this San Francisco crib.

The resale of 410 Jessie #603 closed escrow on Friday with a reported contract price of $675,000, ten percent ($74,700) under its 2007 sale price. The old floor plan for #603 to which a wall has been added to create "the crib room":

410 Jessie #603 Floor Plan

SF Cribs: Coming Up Short (In More Ways Than One) [SocketSite] 
New Listings For New Developments On The MLS [SocketSite]
Mint Lofts: 410 + 418 Jessie Street, San Francisco [SocketSite]
SF Cribs: Coming Up Short (In More Ways Than One) [SocketSite] 

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

October 1, 2012

How To Lose Up To $1,000 A Day (Or Your Lease) Using Airbnb

Supervisor Chiu’s proposed amendment to San Francisco’s Administrative Code Chapter 41A which allows for civil penalties of up to $1,000 a day for renting, or re-renting, an apartment in San Francisco for less than 30 days is back in front of San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon.

Once again, Supervisor Chiu’s proposed amendment would extend the existing, but for the most part overlooked, restrictions against renting an apartment in San Francisco for less than a 30 day occupancy to tenants or guests of corporate entities that rent such apartments and allow for civil actions for violating said restrictions to be brought by certain non-profit entities, not just the City or a resident in the building, as an "interested party."

To be clear, the proposed ordinance specifies that even where a business entity has a long term lease for an apartment, if the business entity leases or permits the use of said apartment by an employee or guest for a stay of less than 30 days, such activity will be deemed illegal under Chapter 41A and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per day plus attorney’s fees.

And yes, if the prevailing interested party in any civil action brought for renting an aparment in San Francisco for less than 30 days is a permanent resident in the building or a non-profit organization, then the interested party shall retain the entire monetary award.

Speaking of violations, potential hit lists, and airbnb, a plugged-in reader reports:

My brother had an airbnb exec renting an apartment from him in the early days of the site. His apt had a non sublets clause. She put the place on the site, rented out the two bedrooms practically every other night, and was making more than she was paying in rent until we kicked her out. Only found out cause other people in the building started asking us why there were new strange men coming out of her apartment every night. Needless to say there were various theories circulating....

There are currently 2,518 apartments in San Francisco listed as short term rentals on airbnb alone.

Airbnb: A Potential Civil And Criminal Penalty Hit List? [SocketSite]
Airbnb: A Hit List For San Francisco Landlords Too [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (49) | (email story)

September 24, 2012

A Big Vote For Micro-Units In San Francisco

1321%20Mission%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

As we first reported this past March:

Per San Francisco Building Code Section 1208.4, the smallest legal dwelling unit in San Francisco must have living room of at least 220 square feet (20.4 m2) in addition to a separate closet and bathroom.
As proposed and sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, Section 1208.4 would be re-written to reduce to the minimum legal living room in San Francisco from 220 to 150 square feet while restricting residency of said units to no more than two persons.

As we added this past July:

While the amendment would still reduce the minimum legal living room in San Francisco to 150 square feet, a clause has since been added requiring the total area of the unit to be no less than 220 square feet "measured from the inside perimeter of the exterior walls of the unit and shall include closets, bathrooms, kitchen, living and sleeping areas."
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the amendment tomorrow.

Continued by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors three times since without a vote, the amended amendment is once again scheduled to be reviewed, and possibly adopted, by the Board this week.

Keeping a close eye on the vote, Panoramic Interests which has proposed to build an 11-story high-rise at 1321 Mission at the corner of 9th Street, the old Guitar Center building, with 200 micro-apartments designed for students and averaging 260 square feet:

Click the floor plans above to enlarge.

32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco As Proposed [SocketSite]
Amended Definition of Efficiency Unit Amendment [sfbos.org]
32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco Part Two [SocketSite]
1321 Mission Design [dwellwellgroup.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

September 17, 2012

City Bonds Slated To Finance 2175 Market Street Development

2175 Market Street Rendering

According to the City and County of San Francisco Residential Mortgage Revenue Bond Law, the City of San Francisco is empowered to issue and sell mortgage bonds "to finance the development of multi-family housing including units for lower income households and very low income households."

With 15 percent of the proposed 88 apartments to be built at 2175 Market Street earmarked to be affordable, as is required for development per San Francisco's Planning Code, this week San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is slated to approve the issuance of up to $31,000,000 in tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds to help finance Forest City's mostly market rate project.

From 76 Station To 88 Apartments At 2175 Market Street As Proposed [SocketSite]
A Negative Yet Positive Step Forward For 2175 Market Street Project [SocketSite]
Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds Resolution: 2175 Market Street [sfbos.org]
Raising The Threshold For Requiring Below Market Rate (BMR) Units [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

Academy Of Art University Back In The City's Crosshairs

In addition to their regularly scheduled meeting this week, San Francisco's Planning Commission will be quietly conferencing behind closed doors with legal counsel to once again discuss "whether to initiate litigation with respect to the Academy of Art University."

Having long ignored city laws, codes and ordinances with respect to the Academy's conversion of numerous San Francisco buildings to dormitory and classroom use without proper approvals or permits, last year the City considered legal action but failed to act.

According to the Office of the City Attorney, litigation is anticipated with the City as Plaintiff. Will this be the year that the City actually takes a (or the) stand?

Academy of Art About To Learn A Hard Lesson (Or Not)? [SocketSite]
And The Artists Shall Inherit Acquire San Francisco [SocketSite]
Planning Closes Its Doors To Discuss Academy of Art Litigation [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

September 14, 2012

Airbnb: A Hit List For San Francisco Landlords Too

As we first noted in April, according to San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A, it is "unlawful for any owner to offer an apartment unit for rent for tourist or transient use," defined as "occupancy for less than a 30-day term of tenancy."

From a renting reader yesterday who had used airbnb to sublet her apartment for transient use: "I've just got [an] eviction notice from my landlord citing Chapter41A!"

Airbnb: A Potential Civil And Criminal Penalty Hit List? [SocketSite]
Clarifying, And Perhaps Even Enforcing, Existing Rental Laws In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

September 11, 2012

More Than Five Stories Behind The Delayed Development Of 180 Jones

180 Jones Street Site

The parking lot at the corner of Jones and Turk (aka 180 Jones Street) was purchased in 2004. In 2005, the owner filed for permits to build a 5-story building at 180 Jones Street, a building height which the Planning Department deemed to be too short for the site.

In 2008, the owner re-filed for permission to build an 8-story, market-rate building with 37 residential units over 2,700 square feet of retail and 8 below-grade parking spaces which the Planning Commission approved in 2009.

180%20Jones%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

In the words of the owner who is now seeking a three-year extension from the Planning Commission to commence construction on the building or lose his entitlements to build:

For the past 3 years, I have worked with a number of realtors to find a buyer to take over the project without any success. Nevertheless, I consider myself blessed because I heard of another small time developer who filed for bankruptcy because he was forced to change his project just like in my case.
[The Planning Commission’s] granting on the extension of this entitlement will allow me the extra time needed to find a financially capable buyer who can take over the project. Thank you for your consideration.

The Planning Department recommends the Planning Commission grant the developer’s request "given the present economic downturn," considering "the proposed design will be compatible with the architectural character and scale of the Uptown‐Tenderloin National Register Historic District," and recognizing the project "is desirable for, and compatible with, the surrounding neighborhood."

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

August 27, 2012

The Tale Of Armistead Maupin's "37 Percent Over Asking" Sale

27 Belmont Avenue (www.SocketSite.com)

Last month we first reported Armistead Maupin's 1,606 square foot home was about to hit the market at 27 Belmont Avenue. As we noted at the time, the property had been priced by Bernie "Fifty Offer" Katzmann at $1,198,000, under $750 per square foot for the Parnassus Heights property with views.

As a plugged-in reader noted soon thereafter:

Around this neighborhood the lore is that nice houses go for $1000/square foot. This one counts as nice -- not only views, but green outlooks in multiple directions. Plus, the house has gotten a lot of love from somebody with taste. So yeah, there are comps for a 1.6M price.

The sale of 27 Belmont closed escrow last week with a reported contract price of $1,640,000 ($1,021 per square foot). Yes, that’s 37 percent "over asking" yet more or less right at market having simply been priced well below.

Keep an eye out for the press release and postcards, perhaps even an article in the paper!

Armistead Maupin's Storied San Francisco Home Hitting The Market [SocketSite]
Have You Heard The One About The House With Over 50 Offers? [SocketSite]
It's Not This Mid-Century Modern Noe Valley Home That Was Flawed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

August 17, 2012

99,750 Reasons Your Agent Might Now Be Bullish On One Rincon Hill

If your agent has suddenly become bullish on One Rincon Hill unit #2904, a plugged-in tipster notes there might be more than one reason why:

One Rincon Hill #2904 Sales Office Email

According to an email sent to agents yesterday, the One Rincon Hill sales office is now offering a 5 percent commission to the "buyer’s agent" who sells the 1,947 square foot three-bedroom unit. Now priced at $1,995,000, to quote the email titled "Five Percent + This Home= One Huge Payday!": Sell this home and earn $99,750 in one deal!

The same sized unit one floor above, 425 1st Street #3004, resold for $1,700,000 in March 2011 having originally sold for $2,019,000 in September 2008, down 15.8 percent.

As plugged-in people know and knew, back in 2009 the One Rincon Hill sales office was offering 20 percent discounts on unsold units and a 4 percent commission to agents.

Non-Secret At One Rincon Hill: "Over 20% Off" And 4% Commissions [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

August 6, 2012

The Permit Fee Schedule For Building (Or Blocking) In San Francisco

Wondering how expensive the permits might be to demo, rebuild or remodel a property in San Francisco? Or perhaps how high (or rather low) the financial barriers are to appeal Planning's approval of a project or file a dreaded Discretionary Review (DR) in an attempt to protect a view or extract a settlement in the name of preservation? Here's the full fee schedule which will be 2.23% more expensive and effective as of August 31, 2012.

Schedule of San Francisco Planning Department Application Fees [sf-planning.org]
Sue Hestor Seeks To Stop Transit Center Tower Development Short [SocketSite]
A $225,000 America's Cup Settlement That's For The Birds [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

July 30, 2012

Raising The Threshold For Requiring Below Market Rate (BMR) Units

On the agenda for San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, a proposed Planning Code amendment changing the threshold for new developments that must adhere to San Francisco’s Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program (i.e. provide BMR’s) from any project of five (5) or more units back to projects with at least ten (10) units as the Program established in 2002 but was changed in 2006.

Threshold for Application of Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

July 25, 2012

Full Disclosure Or Poisoning The Well?

The two-unit building at 446-448 Missouri Street is on the market in Potrero and asking $1,199,000 for the whole shebang. According to the listing, however, while "both units enjoy classic details," it's only the upper unit that "enjoy[s] panoramic City views!"

Unfortunately, while the lower two-bedroom unit is vacant, the upper two-bedroom is currently tenant occupied at a rent of $2,119 per month. And as a plugged-in tipster captures, the tenants have recently made their intentions clear.

446-448 Missouri Street Sign

∙ Listing: 446-448 Missouri (2/1 + 2/1) sqft - $1,199,000 [zephyrsf.com]
Rent Control In San Francisco: The Real Rules [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (149) | (email story)

July 19, 2012

Affordable Housing Headwinds And TNDC's New Tack In San Francisco

168-186 Eddy Rendering

From Don Falk, Executive Director at Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), with respect to the challenges of financing affordable housing development in San Francisco and the development of 168-186 Eddy Street at the corner of Taylor:

In a short time, we have seen dramatic changes in the world of affordable housing financing. The elimination of Redevelopment Agencies stripped $50 million of annual subsidy from San Francisco, and combined with State budget problems and long-term Federal deficit reduction, nonprofits’ ability to develop affordable housing faces more constraints now than any other time in the past 30 years. At the same time, the main sources of income for our senior and disabled residents—social security and disability—have been reduced multiple times.
Against this backdrop, San Francisco has become the most expensive rental market in the nation. While the economy is improving, this has not trickled down to affordable housing financing. The private real estate market cannot build for low income people profitably, so for San Francisco to remain a city for all – families and workers, not just the privileged – we cannot look to market rate developers to fulfill the need.
As a result of shrinking public resources, TNDC is thinking differently about how to finance affordable housing, and we are working on mixed-income developments at four different sites. Having shopped the site at the corner of Eddy and Taylor to multiple market-rate developers as potential joint venture partners, however, we know that new construction market-rate housing is not yet financially feasible there…though it’s a lot closer than it was a year ago, and we think we will ultimately succeed. Sites South of Market are significantly more viable than in the Tenderloin from a market-rate development standpoint.
"Affordable housing" is typically defined as rents of 30% of the area median income for people earning no more than 60% of the area median income, adjusted for household size. In real-life terms, that means maximums of about $42,000 for an individual and $62,000 for a 4-person household.

Also noted by Mr. Falk, "TNDC has never opened a pot club in the ground floor of an SRO; perhaps someone is getting us mixed up with another organization" (as was intimated by another).

Fresh Groceries In The Tenderloin Stymied By Poor Fiscal Conditions [SocketSite]
California Supreme Court Rules Against Redevelopment Agencies [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

July 11, 2012

SF Cribs: Coming Up Short (In More Ways Than One)

Listed as a one-bedroom for $765,000 when The Hales Warehouse first hit the market in 2007, 410 Jessie #603 was purchased for $749,700 that July.

Having been unsuccessfully listed for $815,000 in 2009 and $799,000 in 2010, the 1,130 square foot condo is back on the market and listed as a short sale for $699,000 in 2012.

While newly listed as a "two bedroom," however, there appears to be a bit of childlike listing license in play with respect to this San Francisco crib.

Editor’s Note: The floor plan for #603 by way of a plugged-in reader:

410 Jessie #603 Floor Plan

∙ Listing: 410 Jessie #603 (2/1) 1,107 sqft - $699,000 [Redfin]
New Listings For New Developments On The MLS [SocketSite]
Mint Lofts: 410 + 418 Jessie Street, San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

July 9, 2012

32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco Part Two

As we first reported this past March:

Per San Francisco Building Code Section 1208.4, the smallest legal dwelling unit in San Francisco must have living room of at least 220 square feet (20.4 m2) in addition to a separate closet and bathroom.
As proposed and sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, Section 1208.4 would be re-written to reduce to the minimum legal living room in San Francisco from 220 to 150 square feet while restricting residency of said units to no more than two persons.

While the amendment would still reduce the minimum legal living room in San Francisco to 150 square feet, a clause has since been added requiring the total area of the unit to be no less than 220 square feet "measured from the inside perimeter of the exterior walls of the unit and shall include closets, bathrooms, kitchen, living and sleeping areas."

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the amendment tomorrow.

32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco As Proposed [SocketSite]
Amended Definition of Efficiency Unit Amendment [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

June 28, 2012

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt And An Eviction

With respect to whether or not a potential crackdown on illegal short-term rentals as facilitated by services such as Airbnb is simply FUD ("fear, uncertainty, and doubt") or waiting in the wings, a plugged-in reader reports:

There has been a case won by [CitiApartments in San Francisco] to oust a long-term tenant, on the implicit basis that the city of SF was an implicit 'interested party'. Got an eviction based on 'use of premises for illegal purposes' with only evidence of [an Airbnb listing and feedback].

As we first reported, Supervisor Chiu is working on legislation which would make it easier to institute proceedings for injunctive and monetary relief against anyone renting an apartment, or room therein, for less than a 30-day term of tenancy in San Francisco.

Airbnb: A Potential Civil And Criminal Penalty Hit List? [SocketSite]
Clarifying, And Perhaps Even Enforcing, Existing Rental Laws In SF [SocketSite]
CitiApartments Is No More! Well, Sort Of… [SocketSite]
Airbnb Hit List Take Two (Months Later) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

June 22, 2012

Maher Muhawieh's "Winning" Ways (And Federal Prison Sentence)

From the Grand Jury Indictment that a plugged-in reader delivered back in 2010:

Beginning at a time unknown to the Grand Jury, but no later than January 2006, and continuing through at least March 2009, MAHER TALAL MUHAWIEH knowingly and intentionally devised a material scheme and artifice to defraud lenders, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises and omissions.
To execute and in furtherance of the scheme, MUHAWIEH solicited and caused others to solicit at least $25 million from at least 80 prospective lenders based upon (a) promises and representations that the lenders’ funds would be used to purchase and to renovate specific properties in San Francisco, California, that would then be sold at a profit, and (b) promises and representations that MUHAWIEH would thereby achieve regular and high rates of return for the lenders with limited risk.
In truth, MUHAWIEH did not intend to use the lenders’ funds in the manner that he promised and represented to the lenders, and instead misappropriated and converted those funds to his own benefit and the benefit of others without the knowledge and authorization of the lenders. In fact, and contrary to his promises and representations to lenders, MUHAWIEH instead used the lenders’ funds to pay interest on loans from other lenders, for personal expenses and to invest in retail businesses located in San Francisco, California.

Having pleaded guilty to wire fraud this past October, and in custody since September 2010, Maher Muhawieh has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison.

United States Of America Versus Maher Talal Muhawieh [SocketSite]
Two More Muhawieh Comps Of Yore Head For The Courthouse Steps [SocketSite]
S.F. developer sentenced to 6 1/2 years for fraud [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

June 21, 2012

Will Wells Profit On This Condo's Foreclosure?

1945 Washington Street

Purchased for $610,000 in 2004, the two-bedroom Pacific Heights condo #409 at 1945 Washington Street was refinanced in 2007 with a first mortgage for $615,000.

Having fallen $13,274 behind on payments, seven months ago a notice of default was issued for the aforementioned first. And last month, the 924 square foot property was taken back by the bank with no bidders at $615,000 in cash on the courthouse steps.

The property is now listed on the MLS and asking $739,900 versus the $644,138 owed to Wells Fargo at the time of foreclosure, including penalties and principal.

∙ Listing: 1945 Washington #409 (2/2) 924 sqft - $739,900 [Redfin]
A Foreclosed Upon Noe Home Sells For Over...What Wells Was Owed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

June 11, 2012

Airbnb Hit List Take Two (Months Later)

As we first reported two months ago:

…Supervisor Chiu's proposed amendment to Chapter 41 of San Francisco’s Administrative Code wouldn’t make it unlawful to rent an apartment, or room therein, for less than a 30-day term of tenancy in San Francisco, for that practice is already against the law and subject to both Civil and Criminal penalties.
The proposed amendment would, however, open the doors for any non-profit "which has the preservation or improvement of housing as a stated purpose in its articles of incorporation or bylaws" to institute proceedings for injunctive and monetary relief against anyone violating Chapter 41, something the City of San Francisco has the right to do as well but hasn't pursued.
Speaking of which, yesterday San Francisco’s Treasurer upheld a clarification of San Francisco’s existing hotel tax law which requires anyone who rents out a house, condominium or apartment for transient use within San Francisco to collect and remit a 14 percent occupancy tax to the City, a responsibility that would fall on any website, such as Airbnb, that acted as the merchant or broker.

As we also first reported, there were 1,938 rooms, homes or apartments in San Francisco listed on airbnb at the time. And now, the Chronicle has taken note as well.

Clarifying, And Perhaps Even Enforcing, Existing Rental Laws In SF [SocketSite]
Airbnb: A Potential Civil And Criminal Penalty Hit List? [SocketSite]
Transient Occupancy Tax: Multiple Party Transactions/Private Residences [sftreasurer]
Short-term rentals disrupting SF housing market [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

June 7, 2012

Taking A Pricing Cue From The Industry (But Not An Agent)

440 Teresita (www.SocketSite.com)

Purchased for $900,000 in 2005, the Miraloma Park home at 440 Teresita Boulevard was put on the market in 2009 listed for $1,200,000 but failed to attract a buyer.

Taking a pricing cue from the industry, but not an agent, it’s a plugged-in tipster that notes the three bedroom and 2,458 square foot home has just hit the market for sale by owner (FSBO) with a "list" price of $700,000 ($285 per square foot).

Will the owners manage to orchestrate a "shocking" bidding war as well as a Realtor? As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

∙ Listing: 440 Teresita (3/2) 2,458 sqft - $700,000 [homesbyowner.com]
Real Estate Linkbait Listbait™ [SocketSite]
Have You Heard The One About The House With Over 50 Offers? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

June 6, 2012

Real Estate Linkbait Listbait™

2207 17th Avenue

Purchased for $980,000 or $445 per listed square foot in 2006 as a four-bedroom single-family home in need of work, 2207 17th Avenue has since been remodeled, expanded, and re-listed as a five-bedroom home for $999,000 or $373 per square foot.

2207 17th Avenue Floorplan

Forget linkbait, it’s time to officially add listbait (and perhaps Gatebait) to our lexicon.

∙ Listing: 2207 17th Avenue (5/2.5) 2,680 sqft - $999,000 [monicaslist.com]
It's Not This Mid-Century Modern Noe Valley Home That Was Flawed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

May 11, 2012

Bonus Points For Number Of Offers In Addition To Price

1430 Diamond

Listed for $2,195,000 in 2008 and $1,895,000 in 2010, the single-family Noe Valley home at 1430 Diamond has returned to the market in 2012 listed for $1,795,000.

In general, the smaller the home the higher the price per square foot, and at 2,900 square feet, 1430 Diamond is well above the neighborhood average. That being said, having been listed at $619 per square foot in an area when the average home is currently trading at closer to $900 per square, a reader can’t help but wonder if this is another example of pricing well below market to generate traffic (while "wasting a lot of people’s time and attention" and "breaking many hearts").

With the observer effect now in play, if you think you know Noe, now’s the time to tell.

∙ Listing: 1430 Diamond (4/4) 2,900 sqft - $1,795,000 [1430diamond.com]
Have You Heard The One About The House With Over 50 Offers? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (46) | (email story)

May 8, 2012

Have You Heard The One About The House With Over 50 Offers?

3928 20th Street

From a plugged-in reader yesterday:

One of my buddies who works at [Facebook] told me today that he bid on a place on 20th Street that went for 65% over asking and had 52 offers. That must mean that there are 51 more people out there looking in the neighborhood. Anyone know which place he was talking about?

That would be 3928 20th Street, the sale of which has been mentioned before.

There are a couple of interesting similarities between the sale of 3928 20th Street which generated over fifty (50) offers and the sale of 4379 Cesar Chavez which generated over twenty (20).

Both properties were listed at roughly $600 per square foot in neighborhoods where the average sale price has been running over $800 per square. Both homes were well suited for expansion. And both properties just so happened to be priced by the same agent.

It Would Have Been 50 Percent Over Had They Priced At A Million... [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 3928 20th Street (3/1) 1,416 sqft - $849,000 [Redfin]
It's Not This Mid-Century Modern Noe Valley Home That Was Flawed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (79) | (email story)

May 1, 2012

Offers On The Illegally Gutted House At 33 Fountain Overflow

As we reported at the end of March after which a number of plugged-in readers chimed in:

Having sold for $675,000 a year ago, and with a permit to simply remodel the kitchen and bathrooms in-kind pulled since, the single-family home at 33 Fountain was gutted instead.
And while there might be plans to expand and double to size of the home, and it’s listed on the MLS [for $999,900] with the four bedrooms and baths that don’t yet exist, keep in mind said plans and pictured new framing haven’t been submitted to Planning, much less approved.

A few hours later, an anonymous complaint was filed with the Department of Building Inspection ("Beyond Scope of work. Entire building gutted."). And yesterday, the sale of 33 Fountain closed escrow with a reported contract price of $1,355,000.

Buyer (And DBI) Beware [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

April 25, 2012

Will Wells Profit From This Noe Valley Foreclosure?

1164%20Church%20Foreclosure.jpg

With a 2008 era mortgage for $910,000 long past due, last year Wells Fargo foreclosed upon the Noe Valley home of Kathryn Galves at 1164 Church Street. From "Occupy the Auctions" which unsuccessfully lobbied to keep Ms. Galves in the home:

Kathryn Galves purchased her lovely home at 1164 Church Street in 1972 and the home increased in value considerably over the years. She is a military widow who banked on the increased value of her property to invest in an out-of-state property with a Section 8 (affordable public housing) tenant. The investment did not go well and she lost more to book sales customers who didn’t pay for their orders.
Kathryn lives on a fixed annuity income and her live-in sister earns a meager living as a caretaker. When her financial situation went sour, Kathryn filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but Wells Fargo Bank successfully challenged the bankruptcy, then foreclosed on her home and it went to foreclosure auction. No one bid for the property at auction [at which the opening bid was $1,081,123], so it became “bank-owned”, that is, owned by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has filed for the San Francisco Sheriff to evict Kathryn, her sister, and their dog from her home of 40 years.
Kathryn has found a long-term neighbor who is willing to purchase her home and let her, her sister, and their dog remain in the home. Despite many requests by Kathryn and the prospective buyer, Wells Fargo has refused to come to the bargaining table regarding selling the home.

Ms. Galves ended up accepting $7,500 to voluntarily leave the property prior to eviction by the Sheriff and not sue Wells Fargo, she has since vacated the property.

Yesterday, 1164 Church Street hit the MLS listed for $849,000 and touting "Great price, won't last!" with "offers due 5/1 by noon." And yes, priced at $494 per square foot, we’d be willing to bet the sale will be "over asking!" (and perhaps even more than was owed).

∙ Listing: 1164 Church Street (2/2) 1,722 sqft - $849,900 [Pacific Union]
Stop the Eviction of Kathryn Galves, Her Sister, and Their Dog [occupytheauctions.org]
It's Not This Mid-Century Modern Noe Valley Home That Was Flawed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

April 11, 2012

Bank of America's Short Sales Get Shorter Come Saturday

On Saturday, Bank of America will implement a new workflow for processing short sales. While the time from offer to acceptance (or not) currently averages well over a month for short sale listings, the new process is expected to yield a decision in under three weeks.

Bank of America Refines the Short Sale Process [bankofamerica.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

February 16, 2012

Foreclosure Flaws Uncovered In San Francisco

From the New York Times with respect to the results of an audit commissioned by San Francisco assessor-recorder Phil Ting that reviewed roughly 400 foreclosures that occurred in San Francisco from 2009 to 2011:

About 84 percent of the files contained what appear to be clear violations of law, it said, and fully two-thirds had at least four violations or irregularities.
The report, which was compiled by Aequitas Compliance Solutions, a mortgage regulatory compliance firm, did not identify specific banks involved in the irregularities. But among the legal violations uncovered in the analysis were cases where the loan servicer did not provide borrowers with a notice of default before beginning the eviction process; 8 percent of the audited foreclosures had that basic defect.
In a significant number of cases — 85 percent — documents recording the transfer of a defaulted property to a new trustee were not filed properly or on time, the report found. And in 45 percent of the foreclosures, properties were sold at auction to entities improperly claiming to be the beneficiary of the deeds of trust. In other words, the report said, “a ‘stranger’ to the deed of trust,” gained ownership of the property; as a result, the sale may be invalid, it said.
In 6 percent of cases, the same deed of trust to a property was assigned to two or more different entities, raising questions about which of them actually had the right to foreclose. Many of the foreclosures that were scrutinized showed gaps in the chain of title, the report said, indicating that written transfers from the original owner to the entity currently claiming to own the deed of trust have disappeared.

A big question: could the flaws result in clouds on title for the foreclosed upon homes?

Audit Uncovers Extensive Flaws in Foreclosures [New York Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

January 24, 2012

The LAPD Tells Realtors To Buzz Off

A plugged-in tipster forwards an alert from the California Association of Realtors warning its members not to hire or fly unmanned aircraft to capture aerial photographs for the marketing of high-end properties.

[A] Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) investigation has…revealed that aerial photos where unmanned aircraft were observed have appeared on certain real estate sales websites. According to FilmL.A., the LAPD Air Division has issued [a] warning as it intends to prosecute violators in the near future.
Under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s current policy, no one can operate an unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System without specific authority. Operators who wish to fly an unmanned aircraft for civil use must obtain an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate, which will not be issued to an unmanned aircraft used for compensation or hire. Although the FAA allows hobbyists to fly model airplanes for recreational purposes under specific guidelines, that authority does not extend to operators flying unmanned aircraft for business purposes.

In the words of our industry tipster, "I don’t know if any 'drones' have buzzed the SF skyline to shoot films yet, but…agents up here have talked about trying it."

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

December 21, 2011

It Would Have Been 50 Percent Over Had They Priced At A Million...

4378 Cesar Chavez: Living

Listed for $1,100,000 last month, the 1,810 square foot Albert Lanier designed home at 4378 Cesar Chavez quickly went into contract. As a plugged-in reader soon reported, "The sign in the Herth window says…22 offers received," and as another reader soon followed:

That's lame. Those guys missed the price point and they were the first to admit it during showings.
They wasted a lot of people's time. Yet there they are, touting how badly they gauged the market. Great.

The sale of 4378 Cesar Chavez closed escrow yesterday with a reported contract price of $1,540,000. And yes, that’s 40 percent "over asking" which could have been 50 percent over had they listed it for a million.

Channeling Mid-Century Modern Flair At 4378 Cesar Chavez [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

December 6, 2011

Your Right To Request An Accounting Or Refund Of Rental Fees

As a plugged-in reader correctly surmised yesterday, and another correctly handles, it’s against the law for a landlord or broker to keep an application fee for an apartment in San Francisco without using said fee to run a credit check and actually process the application.

In other words, if you’re one of the anecdotal 249 applicants who paid a $40 application fee but failed to secure that $3,500 loft in the Mission, or any other applicant who paid an application fee but failed to land the apartment, you have the right to demand a copy of your credit check and an accounting for how the remainder of your application fee dollars were spent, and if they weren’t, the right to demand a refund.

As an aside, if you receive a copy of your requested credit check and realize it was run after the apartment was already rented, let us know.

An Uptick In Application Fees And Frustrations In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

November 8, 2011

A Rather Quick Close For 393 Cumberland

393 Cumberland

The sale of the Ogrydziak/Prillinger redesigned house at 393 Cumberland closed escrow yesterday with a reported contract price of $2,027,475 ($1,198 per square foot). And yes, closing escrow after an official "seven days on the market" might suggest the property was in contract prior to being listed on the MLS for $2,095,000.

Inside The "Modernist-Inspired" House Atop The Cumberland Steps [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

October 12, 2011

Listing License (And An "Updated" Kitchen In Question)

53 Manzanita Kitchen

Speaking of listing license, from a reader with respect to the listing for 53 Manzanita which notes an "Updated kitchen":

It drives me insane when realtors say "updated kitchen" when that update occurred 40+ years ago. I would bet that the original cabinets are still intact as are most of the appliances. That isn't "updated" in my book. There oughta be a law...

As far as we know there aren't any laws when it comes to listings, and perhaps nary a rule.

As we noted back in 2006 after we first exposed the practice of relisting to "refresh" an unsold property and its official days on the market (DOM):

The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics provides that "Realtors shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public," though Lucien Salvant, a spokesman for NAR, said that MLSs are not considered advertising vehicles."

And as we wrote at the time, taking the position that "MLSs [and by extension their listings] are not considered advertising vehicles" is an utterly asinine argument.

Our assessment of NAR's aforementioned position hasn't changed.

Mad Men On Manzanita [SocketSite]
Sorry NAR, But No [SocketSite]
You Can Relist, But You Can’t Hide [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (39) | (email story)

September 2, 2011

Feds Set To Seek Billions From Big Banks

"The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks [including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs], accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation."

U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages [New York Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (54) | (email story)

August 23, 2011

The Unreported Sale Price For 33 Prosper

33 Prosper 2011

As we wrote in January:

Purchased by Mr. Muhawieh for $920,000 in 2007, as plugged-in people know, a 33 Prospect in progress was taken back by the bank and resold for $770,000 this past April.
Having since been redesigned and rebuilt as "a modern showcase for urban living," the now 2,770 square foot home is back on the market and asking $2,350,000.
Wood, stone, and a few odd modern showcase angles abound.

Officially "withdrawn" from the MLS in May when last listed for $2,149,000, it’s a plugged-in reader that notes the sale of 33 Prosper closed escrow the next month with a recorded but unreported contract price of $2,040,000.

Once again, it’s a violation of MLS member rules to fail to report the sale and selling price of a recently listed property, even if said listing has been withdrawn from the MLS (within three months of a sale we believe).

UPDATE: Within a few hours of our post, the July sale price for 33 Prosper was reported on the MLS. Cheers.

A Rebuilt 33 Prosper Returns As A "Modern Showcase" [SocketSite]
Two More Muhawieh Comps Of Yore Head For The Courthouse Steps [SocketSite]
A Not So Prosperous At (And Under) Asking Sale For 33 Prosper [SocketSite]
An Ironic Address For Another Ex-Muhawieh Property (33 Prosper) [SocketSite]
The Unreported Sale Price For The Penthouse Atop One South Park [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

August 9, 2011

To Short Sale Or Foreclose, That Is The Question Of The Day

The proposed short sale of 2040 Broadway #301 has been in contract since June 1 but still hasn’t closed escrow per the MLS. Purchased for $1,850,000 in 2004, the 2,052 square foot view condo has since been refinanced with $2,320,000 in debt which has been in default for over two years.

Speaking of which, the Pacific Heights condo is also scheduled to hit the courthouse steps on Thursday with $2,585,553 owed on a $2,000,000 note.

∙ Listing: 2040 Broadway #301 (3/3.5) 2,052 sqft - $2,100,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

May 11, 2011

Super Conforming Limits In San Francisco Set To Expire September 30

From the New York Times with respect to "super conforming" loan limits, part of an economic stimulus bill first passed in 2008:

For the last three years, federal agencies have backed new mortgages as large as $729,750 in desirable neighborhoods in high-cost states like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Without the government covering the risk of default, many lenders would have refused to make the loans. With the economy in free fall, Congress broadened its traditionally generous support of housing to a substantial degree.
But now Democrats and Republicans agree that the taxpayer should no longer be responsible for homes valued well above the national average, and are about to turn a top slice of the housing market into a testing ground for whether the private mortgage market can once again go it alone. The result, analysts say, will be higher-cost loans and fewer potential buyers for more expensive homes.

Without a third extension, "super conforming" loan limits up to $729,750 in San Francisco will expire at the end of September. And while President Obama signed the extension last year, it's unlikely he would do so again even if Congress were to pass a bill.

A Federal Housing Administration spokeswoman declined to comment but pointed to the Obama administration’s position paper on reforming the housing market. "Larger loans for more expensive homes will once again be funded only through the private market," it declares.

Federal Retreat on Bigger Loans Rattles Housing [New York Times]
If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]
Another Year For Super Conforming Limits (Assuming Obama Signs) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (39) | (email story)

Apples To Apples (And Sour Statistics) For 333 Oak Park Drive

333 Oak Park Drive

As we wrote in March:

Purchased for $775,000 a year ago (April 2010), the single-family Forest Knolls home at 333 Oak Park Drive has returned to the market listed for $875,000.
In the words of a couple of readers wondering about its return, "from what we can gather, there is little more than a lick of paint (internally) and an amazing collection of contemporary art which is, sadly, not included in the sale."
As best we can tell, no permits for major work have been issued since its April purchase, nor have the street level third bedroom and bath which were built without permits according to its listing last year been legalized.
And while we might debate the amazing call with respect to the collection of art, unless we missed a permit, we are calling this an apple to be.

The resale of 333 Oak Park Drive closed escrow on Friday with a reported contract price of $800,000, up 3 percent year-over-year. On the same day the $800,000 sale was recorded the list price for the property was reduced to $800,000 on the MLS as well.

So in terms of MLS based market statistics and industry reports, it’s another "at asking" sale versus 3 percent under the price at which it was listed when the property went into escrow ($829,000) or 9 percent under the price at which it was originally listed in March.

Apples To Apples (And A Little Art Later) 333 Oak Park Drive Returns [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

May 6, 2011

Well, It Really Wasn’t The Seller Who Came Up Short On 12 Auburn...

As we wrote in January:

So there's no deeded parking and Nob Hill, but it is a rather cute little two-bedroom at 12 Auburn that’s just returned to the market after a one-month hiatus, only it's now listed as a short sale for "$699,000" having been purchased for $700,000 in May 2005.
The property had been listed for as much as $898,000 just four months ago prior to three prices reductions and then being withdrawn from the MLS at the end of December.

The sale of 12 Auburn closed escrow today with a reported contract price of $678,400, three percent ($21,600) under its 2005 price. Don’t feel too sorry for the seller, however, as the property was refinanced in 2007 with a first mortgage for $712,500 and a second for $142,000, a total of $854,500 in debt for which the property would have had to appraise.

And yes, the short-seller, who was also the agent, was in default with JPMorgan Chase at the time of the sale.

12 Auburn Comes Up Short On Nob Hill [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

May 5, 2011

Hopefully You Didn’t Step In It At Park Terrace (325 Berry) Before

As we wrote in January 2008 when the sales office at Park Terrace launched a "step-up commission program" targeting buyers’ agents:

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?

A few months before in August 2007, 325 Berry #301 sold for $1,181,000. The two-bedroom Park Terrace unit just returned to the market listed for $899,000, a sale at which would represent a 24 percent ($282,000) drop in value for the 1,259 square foot condo with "water views!" over the past three and one-half years.

Unfortunately we haven’t heard of any "step-down" loss or commission programs for those who are now trying to sell.

∙ Listing: 325 Berry #301 (2/2) 1,259 sqft - $899,000 [MLS]
Your Agent Might See Value, But Be Sure To Ask For Whom [SocketSite]
Arterra's New Buyer's Incentive And Park Terrace’s Broker's Bonus [SocketSite]
Park Terrace (325 Berry) Sales Update: Now 70% Sold? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

May 3, 2011

Department Of Justice Files FHA Fraud Suit Against Deutsche Bank

As a plugged-in reader notes, the United States has filed a civil mortgage fraud lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and its wholly owned subsidiary MortgageIT for falsely certifying loans were eligible for FHA guarantees without conducting the required due diligence.

Between 1999 and 2009, MORTGAGEIT was an approved direct endorsement lender, and endorsed more than 39,000 mortgages for FHA insurance, totaling more than $5 billion in underlying principal obligations. These mortgages were highly marketable for resale to investors because they were insured by the full faith and credit of the United States. MORTGAGEIT and DEUTSCHE BANK, which acquired MORTGAGEIT in January 2007, made substantial profits through the resale of these endorsed FHA-insured mortgages.
According to the Complaint, MORTGAGEIT repeatedly made false certifications to HUD to obtain approval of mortgages that MORTGAGEIT underwriters wrongfully endorsed for FHA insurance. These mortgages were not eligible for FHA insurance under HUD rules. Notwithstanding the mortgages' ineligibility, underwriters at MORTGAGEIT endorsed the mortgages by falsely certifying that they had conducted the due diligence required by HUD rules when, in fact, they had not. By endorsing ineligible mortgages and falsely certifying compliance with HUD rules, MORTGAGEIT wrongfully obtained approval of these ineligible mortgages for FHA insurance, thereby putting millions of FHA dollars at risk.

To date, FHA has paid insurance claims on more than 3,100 mortgages, totaling $386 million, for mortgages endorsed by MortgageIT.

As plugged-in people know, at the begining of 2008 FHA insured mortgages accounted for less than 0.5 percent of all Bay Area home sales, jumping to 20 percent by the end of that year. This March, the percentage was 22.4.

DOJ Sues Deutsche Bank for Reckless Lending Practices [justice.gov]
FHA To Tighten Its Belt, But With Its Fly Wide Open? [SocketSite]
San Francisco Recorded Sales Activity Down 1.0% In March [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

April 30, 2011

The Now Public Details For The Painful Situation We Posted Last Week

While we didn't disclose the details last week, the recent buyer of a unit above an S&M enthusiast has decided to go public, perhaps as the reality of our reader's words of wisdom with respect to litigation has set in. The first third of the buyer's detailed public plea:

When I closed the deal last Friday for [removed by editor] in Glen Park, my new condo in a 2-unit building, I had no idea my downstairs co-owner was a self-described "sex enthusiast" who engages in loud S&M "leather sex" on a regular basis. I learned this not from the seller or his agent, but via an email from the co-owner himself, which I received last Sunday night, after close.
The mere fact of the co-owner's sexual preference doesn't bother me in the least. But the possibility of it coming to the attention of my 10 year old son, whose bedroom was to be directly over the downstairs bedroom, enrages me.
By what measure does this not require disclosure? All parties to the sale knew I had a young boy who would be living with me. And I had expressed to my agent directly my concern over the possibility of an S&M dungeon in the common garage area, as that would be an inappropriate feature in a child's environment.
Neither the seller or his agent told me about the use and type of noise coming from the lower unit, though the co-owner writes that this was a topic of conversation several times between the seller and him.
The level of noise transmitted between the units has been an ongoing issue. In fact, renovation of the seller's unit was undertaken as recently as this year to help abate the noise: new sound proof padding and carpeting were added.
Despite the possibility that my 10 year old would be negatively affected by this noise type and unit use, this fact was kept from me during a full 6 weeks while I decided whether to purchase the condo.
I implored both realty companies to rescind the sale. They both said get a lawyer, we can't help.

While we tried to keep the details private, and encouraged others to do so as well, we can't put the genie back in the bottle for the buyer's now very public plea.

A Painful Situation For A Plugged-In Reader (And Plea For Help) [SocketSite]
No disclosure + no due diligence = New mortgage but no new home [Redfin]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (65) | (email story)

April 22, 2011

55 Laguna Back In Play

55 Laguna: Map

While a joint venture between Barker Pacific Group, Luzzatto Co. and Lion Real Estate Group has acquired A.F. Evans $300 million affordable housing portfolio, according to the San Francisco Business Times, Atlanta-based Wood Partners is in negotiations to acquire and revive A.F. Evans Board approved development at 55 Laguna Street.

Barker Pacific bites into A.F. Evans’ portfolio [Business Times]
Wood Partners eyes housing prize: 55 Laguna St. [Business Times]
Local Housing Developer AF Evans Files For Bankruptcy Protection [SocketSite]
55 Laguna: The Plugged-In (And A.F. Evans) Development Update [SocketSite]
55 Laguna: Approved On Appeal And In Front Of San Francisco’s BOS [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

April 21, 2011

353 San Jose: Poised For Redevelopment (And Planning’s Purview)

353 San Jose

The proposed demolition of the small single-family home at 353 San Jose and development of a three story, four-unit multifamily dwelling in its place is poised to be formally approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission this afternoon.

353 San Jose Rendering

Originally heard by the Commission in December, and with a design that was actually approved in March, a vote on the proposed project was twice continued to allow the Project Sponsor an opportunity to "alter the design of the Proposed Project in accordance with the direction given by the Planning Commission."

Three points of the Commission’s direction which probably wouldn’t have caught many by surprise: 1. The design must be more responsive to the surrounding context; 2. The Proposed Project should provide additional setback or notching to reduce mass; and 3. The Proposed Project should not exceed three stories in scale.

Two points of direction which might have made sense but perhaps seemed beyond the Commission’s purview: 1. The internal circulation should be reconsidered to eliminate inefficiencies; and 2. The units should be redesigned to meet the needs of a family with elderly members, with respect to physical accessibility.

Regardless, the developer addressed all five.

353 San Jose Mandatory Discretionary Review [sfplanning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

Another Listing On Lyon

1407 Lyon

With 33 of its 71 listing photos featuring neighborhood establishments within a one mile radius, it might be a new record. And it might explain such classic listing photo captions as: "Another deli" and "Another picture of the Sundance Theatres."

∙ Listing: 1407 Lyon Street (4/4) 2,887 sqft - $1,795,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

April 14, 2011

An Amazing Down To The Studs "$75,000" Renovation At 55 Rico Way

55 Rico Way

The down-to-the-studs remodel in 2004 included a horizontal addition, so we’re assuming the single-family Marina home at 55 Rico Way is living larger than the 1,846 finished square feet per public records (the listing doesn’t specify beyond "greatly expanded").

55 Rico Way Kitchen

Per the permit, the estimated cost for the down to the studs renovation and expansion of the home was $75,000, the figure off of which permit fees would have been figured.

We’d be willing to bet the cost of renovating the kitchen alone ran close to $75,000, and yet some wonder why minimum permit fees have had to be raised for all.

∙ Listing: 55 Rico Way (3/3) - $2,200,000 [55rico.com] [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (45) | (email story)

March 24, 2011

It’s A Gas, Gas, Gas In Hayes Valley

It’s not yet listed and its website is still coming soon, but we have the inside scoop on the music video that's been produced to showcase 457 Oak Street #1.

Purchased for $425,000 in October 2008, the one-bedroom TIC is returning to the market asking $429,000 with a new gas line run to the kitchen and to which a gas range with convection oven is now attached.

Consider the market (and background music) bar officially raised.

∙ Coming Soon: 457 Oak Street #1 (1/1) - $429,000 (TIC) [457oakstreet1.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

March 9, 2011

Just "52 Days On The Market" (And $789 Per Square) For 41 Castle

41 Castle Living

As a plugged-in reader notes, the sale of 41 Castle closed escrow yesterday with a reported contract price of $2,500,000 ($789 per square foot). The 3,170 square foot recently rebuilt Telegraph Hill house had been listed for $3,950,000 in June 2007.

Last asking $2,750,000 having been reduced and relisted anew four times, three times in the past year alone, it’s officially 9 percent under asking and just 52 days on the market according to industry statistics.

A Castle Perch From Which To Ponder San Francisco (And DOM Stats) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | (email story)

March 4, 2011

Price Per Square Foot Out Of Whack? Reduce Remove It…

716 Sanchez

A plugged-in tipster moving to San Francisco and searching for a house reports:

On February 28, 716 Sanchez Street hit the market with a list of $2.45M for the 2100 sqft house. That comes to a whopping $1187/sqft which is way out of whack with both comps and listing in the neighborhood.
When I checked back on March 2, the listing had been "updated". The only change was that the number of square feet was removed! I suppose that's one way to make the place look more reasonably priced.

The fully renovated 716 Sanchez had first been listed for sale in 2008 asking $2,650,000 ($1,262 per square foot) having been purchased for $1,175,000 in 2003 as a much less modern 1,250 square foot home.

∙ Listing: 716 Sanchez (3/2) 2,100 sqft - $2,450,000 [716sanchez.com] [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (76) | (email story)

December 27, 2010

Riddle Us This...

Often misunderstood if not misrepresented as a sign of a bullish market, we harp on touts of "over asking" all the time. And when we do, we’re often met with a minor chorus chant of "you’re the only ones that care."

So riddle us this, when 2939 and 2921 Vallejo sold for a combined $9,500,000, having been listed for $8,500,000 and $2,250,000 respectively, and the MLS was updated to report the combined sale price on the listing for 2939 while the listing for 2921 Vallejo was simply withdrawn, why wasn’t the list price on the listing for 2939 Vallejo updated to accurately reflect the combined transaction as well?

Keep in mind that industry statistics and newsletters with respect to the market, as well as agent league tables, are based on the data which is self-reported on the MLS.

Over Asking! (But Four Percent Less Than Seven Months Ago) [SocketSite]
Over Under Asking For 2939 Vallejo (Plus The Lot Next Door) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

December 23, 2010

Over Under Asking For 2939 Vallejo (Plus The Lot Next Door)

2939 Vallejo

A reader comments that Curbed has reported (with exclamation points!) that 2939 Vallejo "sold for $1,00,000 (sic) above asking. $9,500,000 clams!" Unfortunately, it didn’t.

While the sale price was $9,500,000, and 2939 Vallejo was listed for $8,500,000, the sale included the lot next door (2921 Vallejo) which was listed separately for $2,250,000. In other words, it was actually $1,250,000 (12%) under asking for the two.

But hey, why bother to be right when reporting real estate. And yes, MLS based statistics, reports, and industry newsletters will reflect "over asking!" for the sale as well.

You See, It's Not Pacific Heights Prices That Are Falling... [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 2939 Vallejo (4/5.5)/2921 Vallejo (lot) - $8,500,000/$2,250,000 [sfproperties]
2939 Vallejo Gets $1M Above Asking Price [Curbed]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

December 20, 2010

2041 Sacramento Cuts Again But Gains Three Exclamation Points!!!

2041 Sacramento Facade

While the foreclosure of 2041 Sacramento was inexplicably reported as a "sale at $1,950,000" on the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS in October, as plugged-in people know it wasn’t.

And while the property returned to the market a few days later asking $1,695,000, in November its list price was reduced to $1,577,700. And as a plugged-in reader notes, on Friday it was reduced to $1,499,000 ("DRASTIC REDUCTION for quick sale!!!…Won't last!").

Purchased for $2,286,500 in June 2007, a sale at asking would represent a 34 percent ($787,500) drop in value over the past three and one-half years for the "beautiful house-like top floor 2-level 3BR/3BA condo in prime location across from Lafayette Park."

∙ Listing: 2041 Sacramento (3/3) 2,503 sqft - $1,499,000 [MLS]
At Least The MLS Is Accurate In Terms Of The Reduction... [SocketSite]
While The MLS Reports A "Sale," Public Records Report A Foreclosure [SocketSite]
A Year Later An Apple Falls In Pacific Heights (2041 Sacaramento) [SocketSite]
An Apples To Apples (And Rather Prime) Update For 2041 Sacramento [SocketSite]
North To South (And Apples To Apples) From Atop 2041 Sacramento [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

December 10, 2010

Did They Say November December? Make It January.

Pier 70 Project Area

With three days to go before the December 13 deadline, which was extended to December ten days before the original November 18 deadline, the deadline for developers to declare their intentions to compete for the development rights to San Francisco’s Pier 70 was just extended once again.

The new new dealine is now noon on Monday, January 10, 2011. Interns, you should now feel free to enjoy those holiday parties this weekend.

Pier 70 Deadline Extended (Prior To Any Punking) [SocketSite]
Now Calling All Developers For San Francisco’s Pier 70 [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: Bad Market, Then Back To Big Projects Like Pier 70 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

October 19, 2010

While The MLS Reports A "Sale," Public Records Report A Foreclosure

2041 Sacramento Facade

While a sale of 2041 Sacramento was reported on the MLS October 4 with a contract price of "$1,950,000," it would now appear the Pacific Heights condo overlooking Lafayette Park and Cathedral Hill was actually foreclosed upon with $1,880,877 owed.

Yesterday, the property returned to the market and MLS listed at $1,695,000.

And once again, the top-floor condo was purchased for $2,286,500 in June 2007, had been listed for $2,095,000 a little over a year ago (reduced to $1,999,000), and was relisted as a short sale for "$1,695,000" this past January.

∙ Listing: 2041 Sacramento (3/3) 2,503 sqft - $1,695,000 [MLS]
A Year Later An Apple Falls In Pacific Heights (2041 Sacaramento) [SocketSite]
An Apples To Apples (And Rather Prime) Update For 2041 Sacramento [SocketSite]
North To South (And Apples To Apples) From Atop 2041 Sacramento [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

October 18, 2010

Bank Of America To Resume Judicial Foreclosures Next Week

While Bank of America has announced that it will resume foreclosures next week in the 23 states which require judicial proceedings, foreclosures in the 27 non-judicial states (which includes California) remain in a holding patern and under review.

Bank Of America Extends Foreclosure Sale Moratorium To All States [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

October 12, 2010

35 Lloyd Redux: It's Getting Hot Out There In Here...

37-39 Llyod Rendering

Having been continued from the meeting on September 16, the proposed four-story development at 35 Lloyd is back in front of San Francisco’s Planning Commission this Thursday.

Once again, the Planning Department recommends approval of the plans for the undeveloped lot, the neighbors oppose, and the majority of supporters all work for Vanguard Properties (although none self-identified as such).

A bit of background from a plugged-in reader:

The lot has always been the garden for 45 Lloyd. The original owner, Max Wisenhutter, split the lot around 1900 (according to Sanborn Maps). He kept one lot and gave the other to his daughter. The daughter sold both lots in the 60s to Herb Donaldson.
Herb passed away in December 2008, and his estate sold the house and garden separately to cover estate taxes. They took the first offer they got, which is why it went so cheap. Most neighbors didn't even know the garden was a separate lot until it sold.

The lot sold for $635,000 in October of last year.

UPDATE: Added as an addendum to the Planning Commission packet for 35 Lloyd, the project sponsors have noted that of the 18 letters of opposition received for the project, the authors of 12 letters live in houses as tall as the proposed project. Images of said houses were included for good measure.

35 Lloyd Opponents' Houses

The project sponsors also cite "inaccuracies and inconsistencies" in the opponents renderings of the proposed project.

Who (Or What) Will Get To See The Light Of Day On Lloyd? [SocketSite]
The Vanguards Of Development For 35 Lloyd [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

September 15, 2010

The Vanguards Of Development For 35 Lloyd

35 Lloyd Lot

A plugged-in reader’s comment with respect to the proposed development of the lot at 35 Lloyd couldn’t help but catch our eye. Of the 15 letters received by the Planning Department in support of the project, 10 were by way of agents of Vanguard Properties, including the brokerage’s president. Not one of the ten felt compelled, however, to note their affiliation with Vanguard.

As our reader also noted, the buyers and proposed developers of the lot at 35 Lloyd previously developed 943 Church, a project for which Vanguard provided both sell-side and buy-side representation for the developed property.

Who (Or What) Will Get To See The Light Of Day On Lloyd? [SocketSite]
35 Lloyd Street (aka 37‐39 Lloyd Street) Discretionary Review [sf-planning.org]
Another Friday, Another New Price: 943 Church Street One And Two [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

August 27, 2010

A Castle Perch From Which To Ponder San Francisco (And DOM Stats)

41%20Castle%20Deck.jpg

Having been rebuilt in 1999, the single-family home at 41 Castle returned to the market listed for $3,950,000 in June 2007. Relisted that September, its list price was subsequently reduced to $3,695,000 before being withdrawn from the market two months later.

41 Castle reappeared on the MLS this past January asking $3,350,000. In April its list price was reduced to $2,995,000. And in June it was reduced to $2,750,000 before being withdrawn from the MLS in July.

Today, 41 Castle was listed anew for the fourth time. Once again asking $2,750,000, but now staged. And of course, it’s "one day" on the market according to industry DOM stats.

∙ Listings: 41 Castle (4/4.5) 3,170 sqft - $2,750,000 [ninahatvany.com] [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

August 18, 2010

Currently Asking 17% Less Than Its Last Mortgage In Pacific Heights

2543 Vallejo (www.SocketSite.com)

2543 Vallejo has been on our readers’ radar for just about a year. Purchased in January 2000 with a $1,395,000 variable rate loan, the Pacific Heights property was refinanced in February 2003 with a $1,680,000 variable rate loan, and then again in April 2007 with a $2,900,000 variable rate loan.

A month later a $500,000 line of credit was extended on the house as well.

In April of 2009 a notice of trustee sale (NOTS) was filed with $3,149,895 owned on the mortgage, and this past March the property was taken back by the bank with $3,224,168 due on the mortgage at the time.

Listed on the open market for $2,652,000 this past April, the single-family home has been on the market asking $2,395,000 since the beginning of June.

UPDATE: After we posted this morning, the list price for 2543 Vallejo was reduced from $2,395,000 to $2,349,900 after two months without a change.

∙ Listing: 2543 Vallejo (3/3.5) 2,788 sqft - $2,395,000 [MLS]
An Appreciation (Just Not "Appreciation" Per Se) For 2668 Vallejo [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (51) | (email story)

August 5, 2010

Some Janky Jenky Dealings Within The DBI And Developer Community

A few excerpts from the Chronicle's report:

An unlicensed civil engineer and notorious San Francisco permit "expediter" [named Jimmy Jen] faces more than 200 felony charges for allegedly creating bogus documentation for about 100 construction projects in the city, prosecutors said Wednesday.
A former plan checker for the city of San Francisco, Jen was well known in construction circles for his ability to push permits through building inspectors and for his close friendship with the agency's former deputy director, Jim Hutchinson, who left the post in 2005.
Jen [use a forged surveyor's stamp on] maps of 26 properties from 1990-95, prosecutors said. Then, from 2000-07, he used Wu's engineering stamp on 60 residential projects.
Jen is also being accused of claiming that licensed engineer Tai-Ming Chen had done work on 10 projects, notably the pending proposed renovation and other work on the landmark 1923 Alexandria movie theater.

So far, "no project mentioned by prosecutors has been found to be problematic" according to Department of Building Inspection spokesman Bill Strawn. Expect those who employed the "expediter" to feign ignorance of any possible wrongdoings.

Permit 'expediter' Jen jailed on fraud charges [SFGate]
Alexandria Theater Plans A Few Weeks From First Public Screening [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (57) | (email story)

July 23, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Mission Bay (And Expanding South Beach)

District 9h come August 10, 2010

As plugged-in people match the summary prose with the actual new map above, the absorption of most of Mission Bay’s ground zero into South Beach, with a carve out for the below market rate (BMR) Crescent Cove development, becomes more acute. As the Realtor defined BYB (before "Yerba Buena") district boundaries are currently defined below.

District 9h today

Feel free to add to the citywide new boundary observations. To make things even easier, direct links to San Francisco’s current street by street district map and the soon to be new.

San Francisco’s New Neighborhoods And Boundaries Come August 10 [SocketSite]
San Francisco Association Of Realtors New Neighborhood Map [SocketSite]
An Overview Of Mission Bay [SocketSite]
Mission Bay Gets A Little More Growns Up Each And Every Day [SocketSite]
SocketSite Reader’s Report: Living In North Mission Bay (For Real) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

July 21, 2010

Pacific Union Acquires South Beach Real Estate

As the share of San Francisco sales South of Market picks up, and buyers who traditionally would have only looked north of Market migrate south, so does Pacific Union with the acquisition of South Beach Real Estate and South Beach 4 Rent.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

June 25, 2010

Rest In Peace Walter Shorenstein

"Walter Shorenstein, San Francisco's pre-eminent real estate developer whose financial largesse made him a power broker in Democratic national politics for decades, has died."

Street-smart developer shaped S.F. skyline [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

April 19, 2010

Tamalpais Bank Falls (Thanks To The Lembis?)

On Friday the California Department of Financial Institutions shut down Tamalpais Bank and named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as Receiver. As a plugged-in tipster notes (and correctly predicted): "Collateral damage from the Lembi implosion."

And apparently Union Bank has acquired the banks assets.

Flipping A Few Lembi Properties Through Foreclosure [SocketSite]
The Story (And Faces) Behind The Rise And Fall Of The Lembis [SocketSite]
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial's Union Bank Buys Failed US Lender [Wall Street Journal]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

February 10, 2010

Just Cause Eviction Rights Extension II: Now Just For Foreclosures

Just Cause Round 2 Legislation Summary

The Board of Supervisors postponed a vote on Supervisor Avalos’ amended "just cause" eviction protection legislation yesterday as the Mayoral veto of the original supervisor approved legislation survived.

The amended legislation now intends to extend just cause eviction rights only to non-rent controlled residential rental buildings which have been foreclosed upon, because then nobody gets penalized except the big bad banks.

And hey, what are they going to do, raise their rates to offset the added risk?

Amended Just Cause Eviction Protection Amendment [sfbos.org]
Just Cause Or Rather Not: Mayor Newsom Vetoes Legislation [SocketSite]
Just Cause Eviction Extension Approved, But With Four Key No Votes [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

January 25, 2010

Just Cause Or Rather Not: Mayor Newsom Vetoes Legislation

As expected, Mayor Newsom has vetoed Supervisor Avalos’ legislation extending "just cause" eviction rights to non-rent controlled units which was approved by the Board of Supervisors by a 7-4 vote in December and affirmed 7-3 in January.

Eight votes would be required to override the veto.

Just Cause Eviction Extension Approved, But With Four Key No Votes [SocketSite]
Carrot, Stick, And Cell Legislation In The Works For San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

January 21, 2010

A Sensational Modernistic Neo-Classical Six Days On The Market

1089 Chestnut

Listed for $9,250,000 in June 2007 but then withdrawn that November. Listed In May 2008 but then withdrawn that November. Listed for $7,980,000 in February 2009 but then withdrawn three weeks ago.

1089 Chestnut Kitchen

Listed for $7,980,000 once again a week ago, it’s now six official days on the market (and all MLS based stats and market reports) for 1089 Chestnut in 2010. The "sensational modernistic Neo-Classical" reference lives on.

∙ Listing: 1089 Chestnut (7/7) - $7,980,000 [MLS]
Sometimes It’s Simply The Description (1089 Chestnut) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

January 19, 2010

FHA Waives Prohibition To Aid Quick Foreclosure Flips

Starting February first, the current prohibition on providing FHA backed loans for properties that have been owned by the seller for less than 90 days will be waived for a year.

To protect FHA borrowers against predatory practices of "flipping" where properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers, this waiver is limited to those sales meeting the following general conditions:
∙ All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
∙ In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller's acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.
∙ The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.

The full language of the Waiver of Requirements is available online.

HUD Takes Action to Speed Resale of Foreclosed Properties to New Owners [HUD]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

January 15, 2010

Development Carrots Have Developers Atwitter (But Still Not Funded)

201 Folsom Rendering

The Mayor’s proposed carrots in the form of deferred impact and reduced affordable housing fees has caught the attention of the developer community as Tishman Speyer estimates the cuts could shave two years off the start date for 201 Folsom (for which they currently have three years to start).

Also noted, Bosa Development is "scrambling to obtain financing for a July construction start for the next 170 units of [Radiance Phase II]." And there’s the rub. Regardless of developer optimism, it all comes down to the financial markets opening back up (which are being driven more by fundamentals than exuberance these days).

Carrot, Stick, And Cell Legislation In The Works For San Francisco [SocketSite]
Fee break targets housing [San Francisco Business Times]
201 Folsom: Three More Years To Contemplate And Start Construction [SocketSite]
Radiance At Mission Bay Phase II Update: Officially "Suspended" [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

December 18, 2009

More Along The Lines Of A Figurative San Francisco "Tsunami"

"[Moody’s Investors Service] now expects losses of 3.8 percent on loans underlying 2005 prime-jumbo bonds, with estimates of 8 percent for 2006 securitizations, 10.9 percent for 2007 debt and 12.3 percent for 2008 securities."

"Since March, serious delinquencies among the pools, as a percentage of original balances, have risen to 3.2 percent from 2.1 percent for 2005 bonds, 6 percent from 3.8 percent for 2006 securities, 7.6 percent from 4.8 percent for 2007 debt, and 7.8 percent from 4.6 percent for the 2008 group, Moody’s said."

Moody’s Reviews $143 Billion of Jumbo-Mortgage Bonds [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

December 10, 2009

An End To Confidential MLS Sales* (*Unless You're Willing To Pay)

A plugged-in reader reports (and we hadn’t):

Just an FYI (and you may have already covered this), the [San Francisco Association of Realtors] is scheduled to prohibit confidential sale prices in the MLS starting January 1st, 2010 - or face a $1000 fine. For our clients in this range, if they absolutely demand the confidentiality, we will likely just take the $1K hit.
However, I think in the majority of cases, it's not the necessarily the clients really pushing for confidentiality, but the agent. Particularly here on the North Side, there's a tremendous amount of self important bullshit, where agents will utilize any tool possible to make their client base seem "exclusive". So in those cases, I [think] most agents would rather simply post the actual price, forget the whole idea of being exclusive, and save themselves the $1000.

No word on any new fines for simply withdrawing a listing from the MLS prior to close to avoid disclosing a sale price, a favorite trick of the new development crowd (and others).

UPDATE: Another plugged-in reader adds:

My husband and I just closed on a 2-unit. We got it for a very good price since we had no financial contingencies and offered a quick close. In fact, we wanted the price published to serve as a lower comp.
The sellers and selling agent, however, asked that it be kept confidential. They claim they're worried about the reaction from other buyers whose offers were higher and rejected in favor or our lower, quick-to-close offer.

Well done and thanks for plugging in. Now about those housewarming invitations...

And After 47 Months 62 Days On The Market... [SocketSite]
3577 Pacific Recap: Withdrawn From MLS (But Sold Two Days Prior) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

Rewarding Forgiving Their Riskiest Borrowers

"Wells Fargo has forgiven an average of $46,000 in principal, or 15 percent, for the 43,500 option-ARM loans it has modified this year through September, said Franklin Codel, chief financial officer at the bank’s home-lending unit. The San Francisco-based lender has cut as much as 30 percent off the loan principal in a few “rare exceptions,” with the ceiling typically capped at 20 percent, Codel said."

Wells Fargo Cuts as Much as 30 Percent in Principal From Loans [Bloomberg]
It's The Principal Of The Underwater Mortgage Matter [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (84) | (email story)

December 8, 2009

From Thirty To Fifty And Fifty To Thirty For FHA Condo Loans In 2010

While nearly unheard of just a few years ago, FHA backed loans in the Bay Area have become more common (along with associated defaults).

A couple of condo related FHA rule changes that went into effect yesterday: up to 50 percent of a building’s units can now be purchased with FHA-backed loans, the rule returns to 30 percent at the end of the year; and at least 30 percent of units in a new development need to be pre-sold before it will become eligible for FHA-backed loans, the rule returns to 50 percent at the end of the year.

Also, buildings in which more than 10 percent of units are owned by a single investor or 15 percent of units are more than a month behind on their HOA’s will not qualify.

US (But Not DA) Prime And FHA Mortgage Defaults Climbing [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

December 7, 2009

Just BeCause Eviction Vote Scheduled For Tomorrow

Assuming a recomendation by San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, tomorrow the Board of Supervisors will vote on Supervisor Avalos’ proposed legislation to extend "just cause" eviction rights to all rental units rather than just those (for the most part) built before June 1979 and restricted by rent control.

Despite some disinformation making the rounds, the amendments would not effectively render post-'79 rental units in San Francisco "rent controlled."

And as best we can tell, committee amendments to the proposed legislation address the hot buttons of owner move-in evictions and the ability of developers to remove renters from units that were only intended to be rented for a limited time before being sold:

...by amending Section 37.9 to provide that limitations on [the number of] owner move-in evictions do not apply to these newly protected units; [and] by amending Section 37.9 to add a 16th just cause for eviction, to provide for eviction from a condominium unit with separable title that was rented by the developer for a limited time period prior to sale of the unit, where the developer has given specified advance notice to the renters...

UPDATE: With respect to that 16th just cause and units which were rented prior to the effective date of the new legislation, developers would have 90 days to provide retroactive "advance notice" of their intent to eventually sell.

UPDATE (12/8): From the San Francisco Examiner:

On Monday, the Land Use & Economic Development Committee voted to send the legislation to the full board for a vote Tuesday.
"If what came out of committee today reaches the mayor's desk, he will veto it," said Joe Arellano, Newsom’s spokesman.

The Mayor will need four supervisor votes to sustain any veto.

San Francisco Land Use and Economic Development Committee Agenda 12/7/09 [SFBOS]
Just Cause Protection Coming For Non-Rent Controlled Rentals? [SocketSite]
Rent Control In San Francisco: The Real Rules [SocketSite]
Just Cause Eviction Protection For Residential Tenants Proposed Legislation [SFBOS]
Newsom: I will veto tenant eviction legislation [San Francisco Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

December 4, 2009

The Story (And Faces) Behind The Rise And Fall Of The Lembis

The Lembis via San Francisco Magazine

San Francisco Magazine digs deep to tell the story of the Lembis.

Their business plan was simple: Exploit the difference between artificially low, rent-controlled rents and the sky’s-the-limit, market-rate rents they could charge when the old tenants were out and new ones took their place.
This has been the motive behind many a buyout and eviction, legal or illegal, in San Francisco and in every other city with rent control.
For the Lembis, however, it was also a strategy that made their holdings more attractive to all that practically free short-term money—hundreds of millions of dollars—flowing in from around the globe.

The full story. And our quick three link chronology.

War of values [San Francisco Magazine]
Cash Flows Catch Up To The Lembi Group [SocketSite]
The Chronicle Reports "Dozens," A Plugged-In Source Says Over 100 [SocketSite]
CitiApartments Is No More! Well, Sort Of… [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (70) | (email story)

December 3, 2009

It's The Principal Of The Underwater Mortgage Matter

"We’re looking now at whether we should provide some further loss sharing for principal write downs," [FDIC Chairman Sheila] Bair said. "Now you’re in a situation where even the good mortgages are going bad because people are losing their jobs. So you have other factors now driving mortgage distress."

FDIC’s Bair Weighs Mortgage Principal Cuts to Fight Foreclosure [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

November 30, 2009

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 | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

November 16, 2009

Affordable Housing Requirements For Rental Development Challenged

A developer’s recent legal challenge of the affordable housing requirements imposed by the City of Los Angeles in order to gain approval for a new market rate residential rental development "raises the question about whether the affordability requirements for new market rate rental developments in San Francisco and other jurisdictions are valid."

From the most recent Gladstone & Associates newsletter by way of a plugged-in tipster:

A California Court of Appeal recently upheld a challenge brought by a developer to the affordable housing requirements of the City of Los Angeles. (Palmer/Sixth Street Properties v. City of Los Angeles, 175 Cal.App. 4th 1396). The developer sought approval for a 350-unit residential development. The City approved the project on the condition that the developer comply with the affordable housing requirements in the Los Angeles Central City West Specific Plan. The Specific Plan required applicants for multiple-family residential or mixed use projects to either set aside at least 15% of the dwelling units for low income families or pay in lieu fees.
The developer sued the City on the basis that the affordable housing requirements in the Specific Plan violate the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Civil Code Section 1954.50 et. seq.). The Costa-Hawkins Act provides that residential landlords have the right to determine rents for new or vacated units. Established in 1995, the Act is known as having created “vacancy decontrol".
The Court ruled the affordability requirements as applied to rental housing are invalid because they conflict with and are preempted by the Costa-Hawkins Act. The Court concluded that the Los Angeles law did not allow the developer to set the rent at the outset of the tenancy and thus conflicted with the Act...
The Court rejected the City’s argument that the in-lieu fee alternative does not violate the Act and thus is still applicable. The Court stated the in-lieu fee alternative is “inextricably intertwined” with the affordability requirement for the rent and thus also is invalid.
However, the Court recognized that the Costa-Hawkins Act does not apply to projects that have received incentives such as density bonuses or government funding.
The Court’s decision raises the question about whether the affordability requirements for new market rate rental developments in San Francisco and other jurisdictions are valid. (The Court’s decision is limited to rental units and does not apply to for-sale units). It should also be noted the Court invalidated requirements that were established in a “specific plan,” which vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another. It can be expected that cities such as San Francisco will argue that their specific plans establishing affordability requirements are distinguishable from Los Angeles’ Specific Plan. However, we do not feel that a court would find them distinguishable. We believe the Los Angeles inclusionary requirements are very similar to those of San Francisco. San Francisco may take the position that since it has done a “nexus study” to support its affordable housing requirement, it should not be affected by the Palmer decision. However, we do not feel this is an important distinguishable fact.
It seems that unless the State amends the Costa-Hawkins Act, developers of new rental housing should consider starting to revise their pro formas to create a rental development without an affordable component. This may make the difference between a project that pencils out and one that does not.

Gladstone & Associates [gladstoneassociates.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

November 9, 2009

Speaking Of Million Dollar Foreclosures (And "Shadow Inventory")

773 Rhode Island

Purchased for $1,212,000 with ten percent down and two variable rate loans in November of 2005, 773 Rhode Island returned to the market in March of 2007 seeking $1,395,000. It was taken back by the bank in September of 2008.

It's now fourteen months later and the Potrero Hill view property has finally made it back onto the MLS as official inventory asking $909,900 (25% under its 2005 sale).

∙ Listing: 773 Rhode Island (3/2) - $909,900 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

November 5, 2009

Fannie Mae As The Largest Lender Landlord In All The Land?

Having taken back 57,000 properties through foreclosure in the first half of 2009, "bringing its total real-estate owned inventory to 63,000 properties valued at $6 billion," Fannie Mae is rolling out a "Deed for Lease Program" in the hopes of generating some cash from the non-performing assets and mitigating the near-term impact of so-called "shadow inventory" on the market.

The Deed for Lease Program, which Fannie plans to roll out on Thursday, will offer borrowers who fail to complete or don't qualify for a loan modification or other workout to deed their property to the lender in exchange for a lease. Borrowers-turned-tenants will be able to sign leases of up to 12 months and will pay market rents, which in most cases are lower than the cost of mortgage payments.
Borrowers who haven't missed any mortgage payments aren't eligible for the program, and the borrower's mortgage servicer would have to show that a borrower isn't eligible for a loan modification before the homeowner could apply for the Deed for Lease program.

Of course collecting rents from those who have already lost their homes to foreclosure might be a challenge. And while the tipster that first pointed out the story notes, "Good news for RE investors like me, that's fo' shore!", we’d argue it's the opposite.

Fannie Mae to Rent Foreclosed Homes Back to Borrowers [WSJ]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

November 3, 2009

Just Cause Protection Coming For Non-Rent Controlled Rentals?

A vote on a Supervisor Avalos’ legislation that would extend "just cause" eviction rights to all rental units rather than just those (for the most part) built before June 1979 and restricted by rent control was postponed by "at least a week" by the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

The committee continued the legislation, noting more time was needed to add more information about the need for the proposal and for the consideration of possible amendments.

Topic No. 201: Overview of Just Cause Evictions [SFGov]
Rent Control In San Francisco: The Real Rules [SocketSite]
Eviction protection proposal postponed [San Francisco Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

October 30, 2009

First Refreshed, Now Reduced For One Rincon Hill #806

425 1st Street #806

Speaking of refreshed listings, withdrawn from the MLS in July after almost 120 days on the market at $945,000, the resale listing for One Rincon Hill (425 1st Street) #806 returned to the MLS two weeks ago asking $908,000.

Yesterday the list price was reduced to $899,000 for an official "15 days on the market" and a "$9,000" reduction from its "original" list. The resale of One Rincon Hill #1306 closed escrow in June with a reported contract price of $930,000 (tax records suggest an initial purchase from the developer at just over $975,000 in 2006).

If the sale of 425 1st Street #806 closed escrow tomorrow at its reduced ask, all MLS based aggregate statistics and market reports published by the San Francisco Association of Realtors, or Redfin, or Altos Research, or the likes of The RE Report would reflect a total of "16 days on the market" and a sale at "100% of list price" for this data point.

∙ Listing: 425 1st Street #806 (2/2) - $899,000 [MLS]
An 06 Comp (In More Ways Than One) At One Rincon Hill [SocketSite]
Quantifying The Impact Of Not Allowing Realtors To Reset DOM [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (72) | (email story)

October 29, 2009

Lembi's Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

"According to the Clark County, Nev., district attorney's office, there is a warrant out for Walter Lembi, managing director of the financially troubled Lembi Group, for allegedly passing $298,500 worth of bad checks earlier this year at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas."

UPDATE: "Under [a] deal, Lembi has agreed to pay the full amount, plus fees, for a total of $328,450, in a payment plan beginning Friday..."

Real estate leader's name on bad-check warrant [SFGate]
Lembi's markers met [SFGate]
The Chronicle Reports "Dozens," A Plugged-In Source Says Over 100 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

October 28, 2009

Quantifying The Impact Of Not Allowing Realtors To Reset DOM

It’s not a San Francisco based study, and we haven’t had a chance to review the research, but a plugged-in tipster directs us to a report on the impact of eliminating the ability to reset "days on the market" for a property’s listing.

In April 2006, the real estate listing service in Massachusetts adopted a new policy that prohibits home sellers from resetting their property’s “days on market” to zero through relisting. We study the effect of this new policy on single-family home sales along the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border, using homes in Rhode Island, which did not change its policy, as the control group.
We find that the policy change leads to a relative sale price reduction of around $11,000 for affected homes in Massachusetts. Homes caught in the middle of the policy change are the hardest hit; the sudden release of the cumulative days on market information lowers the average sale price by $21,500. Sellers respond to the new policy by reducing the listing price to shorten their property’s days on market.

A percentage rather than absolute impact might have be more meaningful. And while the San Francisco Association of Realtors does not prohibit the relisting practice, it is supposed to enforce a one month waiting period between relistings (unless the broker has changed).

As we originally wrote in 2006 when the National Association of Realtors responded to an inquiry into the practice:

We begrudgingly accept the practice, but to justify it by taking the position that "MLSs [and by extension their listings] are not considered advertising vehicles?" Sorry folks, but that’s an utterly asinine argument. And it’s disappointing to say the least.
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, consider any marketing materials, websites, or press releases that reference an MLS derived statistic such as average days on the market (DOM), or selling price to list price ratio (SP/LP). If any of the underlying data has been "refreshed," do these statistics really "present a true picture" and representation of the market?

Now back to 2011 Golden Gate Avenue and its official 370 37 days on the market and $595,000 under $1,000 over asking sale.

Days on Market and Home Sales (pdf) [netinst.org]
Sorry NAR, But No [SocketSite]
From Flippy To Floppy And A Cliché For 2011 Golden Gate Avenue [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (47) | (email story)

October 27, 2009

Overlooking Architecture (And Upgrades) At The Montgomery (#502)

74 New Montgomery #502

According to our plugged-in inside source, The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery) #502 offers great light and is surprisingly quiet ("thick walls and double-pane windows really keep the noise out").

Also noted, "the owners put a lot of money into it - subzero fridge (not a builder option) and custom cabinetry in living room, master bedroom and 2nd bedroom" so it’s not an apples to apples to comparison.

That being said, purchased for a recorded $1,242,500 in June 2008, asking $945,000 today (24% under its un-upgraded value in 2008). It's been on the market for 188 days with an original list price of $1,050,000.

Regardless, we're digging the old school city vistas and architecture.

∙ Listing: 74 New Montgomery #502 (2/2) 1,010 sqft - $945,000 [MLS]
74 New Montgomery: Soon To Be Sold Out Assuming Contracts Close [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (66) | (email story)

October 22, 2009

CitiApartments Is No More! Well, Sort Of…

A plugged-in tipster reports:

Just finishing up escrow on our first condo purchase and trying to get out of…CitiApartments. This morning called them and a receptionist answered “First Apartments how can I assist you?”
First Apartments? I asked her, is this still CitiApartments? She said, “We have changed our name”
Their website is gone too. Also, due to the PGE bills not being paid in our building, they have shut off all common area electricity.

There's nothing like a little rebranding to make all your problems go away.

JustQuotes: Citi Draws Deposit Ire (And Lawsuits) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

October 13, 2009

The Seven Samurai Deadly Sins New Mortgage Laws

Governor Schwarzenegger has approved seven new mortgage related laws. As a plugged-in reader summarizes:

The gist: Negative-amortization loans are banned...residential loan originators must now be licensed...it is now a felony to commit fraud on a mortgage loan application...appraisal management firms must register with the State.

Keep in mind that claiming a condo as "primary residence" in order to secure a better mortgage rate but then actually renting it out as an investment property constitutes fraud.

Schwarzenegger signs seven mortgage laws [LA Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

October 7, 2009

RandomRumors: All About San Francisco…Except Soma?

As a tipster notes, "[w]ord is Zephyr is closing their Soma branch" which is at least partially true. According to our sources Zephyr's Soma lease is up at the end of the year, but they’re looking for another space. How actively and whether or not they find one...only time (or perhaps an inside tipster) will tell.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

August 18, 2009

Scoop: Examiner’s Move To Corner Weekend Open House Readership

You probably won’t read about it in the Chronicle, but the scoop according to a plugged-in source is that the San Francisco Examiner is a week away from announcing the free publication of weekend open house ads through a deal with the San Francisco Association of Realtor’s new sfopenhomes.com site.

Look for a test run and official announcement next week (or perhaps now a bit earlier). And expect a quick response from the Chronicle which counts on its weekend real estate section and related advertising for a significant share of its revenue.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

August 12, 2009

50 UN Plaza: The British Aren’t Coming! The British Aren’t Coming!

50 United Nations Plaza

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has backpedaled on their original decision to award a $121 million stimulus-funded contract to renovate San Francisco’s 50 United Nations Plaza to British firm Foster + Partners.

Instead, the San Francisco office of HKS Architects will be overseeing the project and doling out the dollars.

Photovoltaic panels, an ultra-efficient mechanical system, energy efficiency initiatives and environmentally friendly materials are planned to be installed in an effort to achieve LEED Gold certification for the finished building from the U.S. Green Building Council.

As we originally wrote, hell hath no fury as architects scorned.

50 UN Plaza Update: Hell Hath No Fury As Architects Scorned [SocketSite]
UN Plaza Building design work to begin [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

August 6, 2009

There's Nothing Like A Good Fannie

"The Obama administration is considering an overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would strip the mortgage finance giants of hundreds of billions of dollars in troubled loans and create a new structure to support the home-loan market, government officials said."

White House mulls major Fannie-Freddie shakeup [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

August 4, 2009

9% Of HAMP Eligible Delinquent Loans Modified, 91% To Go

Out of an estimated 2,705,302 sixty plus day delinquent loans currently eligible for modification under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), offers for 406,542 trial modifications have been extended (15%) and 235,247 modifications have been started (9%) over the past five months.

Making Home Affordable Program Report: August 4, 2009 [treas.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

July 31, 2009

JustQuotes: Citi Draws Deposit Ire (And Lawsuits)

"Rental security deposits held by [CitiApartments and associated companies] were funneled into an array of bank accounts and plundered, potentially affecting thousands of tenants, according to lawsuits."

Lawsuit alleges CitiApartments drained tenant deposit accounts [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

July 21, 2009

In The Words Of A Plugged-In Reader: It’s About Time

"The U.S. title-insurance industry faces increasing pressure from regulators to justify the fees charged to consumers for ensuring they have clear ownership of their homes."

Title-Insurer Fees Draw Scrutiny [Wall Street Journal Online]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

July 20, 2009

Pacific Union Sold To Morgan Lane Marin Principals

From a plugged-in tipster, Pacific Union Real Estate is being acquired by the principals of Morgan Lane Marin. The sale is expected to close in August and the Pacific Union brand will remain, but Mark McLaughlin of Morgan Lane will replace Avram Goldman as CEO.

With respect to the "Are any offices going to close?" question: "We are currently evaluating all options."

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

July 17, 2009

Best-Case Scenario For 55 Laguna: A Ground Breaking Mid-2011

55 Laguna: Map

According to the San Francisco Business Times, A.F. Evans is in talks with Related California to partner on the on the development 55 Laguna.

Related California President William Witte said they are looking at the numbers and would make a decision in the early fall. He said they are drawn to the San Francisco property’s access to public transit, its views, and the fact that the property is large enough to develop a distinctive housing enclave. At the same time, he said “it’s a tough financing market” and under the best-case scenario the housing development would probably not break ground until mid-2011.

Related California, A.F. Evans in talks [San Francisco Business Times]
Local Housing Developer AF Evans Files For Bankruptcy Protection [SocketSite]
Openhouse Perspective On AF Evans And 55 Laguna: Minimal Impact? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

July 14, 2009

When Arms Length Appraisals Are "Too Far" Away

"Major real estate groups are pushing for a moratorium on new appraisal standards that they say are scuttling sales, hampering refinancings and depressing prices at a time when the sector desperately needs a boost."

Bill would suspend new home appraisal standards [SFGate]
Loan Officers Forced To Play The Field Rather Than Pick Their Horse [SocketSite]
Fannie And Freddie Forced Aim To Help Fix Appraisal Fraud [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (42) | (email story)

July 10, 2009

Note to Short Sellers (And Their Agents): Read The Fine Print

From the San Francisco Business Times:

The rising tide of “short sales” by troubled home owners facing foreclosure is prompting lenders to become more aggressive in their attempts to pursue former homeowners for their loan losses in a short sale. In a short sale, a house is sold, with a lender’s approval, for an amount that won’t pay off the mortgages on the property.
Often, the troubled home owner assumes the loss will be eaten by the lender. But Bank of America and Chase have quietly added language in their short-sale agreements that require the borrower to sign a promissory notefor the shortfall.
A spokesman for the American Bankers Association said this week that he wasn’t aware of the practice, suggesting how little attention has been paid so far to collection of these notes from troubled borrowers.
BofA says its intention is to protect investors holding the mortgages.

Damn those greedy lenders.

Sellers owe balances after short sales [San Francisco Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (55) | (email story)

July 8, 2009

PMI’s Market Risk Index Report: 1st Quarter 2009

PMI Risk Chart: 1st Quarter 2009

According to the latest PMI Market Risk Index, the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City MSAD ended the first quarter of 2009 with a 66.2% likelihood of house price declines over the next two years, up from 31.6% in the fourth quarter of 2008, up from 30.2% in the fourth quarter of 2007, and up from 39.5% at the beginning of 2005.

The likelihood of decline for a few other nearby areas: Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville (99.9%), Oakland-Fremont-Hayward (96.4%), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (78.4%).

Keep in mind that the PMI Market Risk Index is tied to the OFHEO house price index which "excludes jumbo loans and the large portion of subprime and Alt-A loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t participate in."

· Economic and Real Estate Trends: 2nd Quarter 2009 [PMI Group]
PMI’s Market Risk Index And Real Estate Trends Report: Spring 2008 [SocketSite]
Economic And Real Estate Trends: Spring 2005 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

July 2, 2009

San Francisco Developers Land $96 Million In Infill Grants

In the last round of California Proposition 1C infill infrastructure grants voters approved in 2006, "San Francisco developers won seven state grants worth $96 million" versus one grant for $5 million the last time around. From J.K. Dineen:

The biggest Bay Area recipient was the John Stewart Co., which received the maximum $30 million to help bankroll the ambitious 750-unit mixed-income housing development called Hunters View, a project that includes the rebuilding of a 267-unit dilapidated public housing complex. The money will pay for everything from grading to utilities to a new street grid. Work will start early next year on the $300 million development, which will be built in phases.
The Emerald Fund, which is raising money to build 308 units of rental housing in Rincon Hill, received $11 million, much of which will go toward a park the developer agreed to build. The developer did not receive another $11 million transit-oriented development Prop 1C grant it had applied for, but Emerald Fund President Oz Erickson said he is hopeful that money will come through after a 90 day evaluation period. Erickson said that they have a strong case for the public benefits 333 Harrison will provide.

The Martin Building Company also received a grant for the development of 179 units at 2235 Third Street while Avant Housing's bid for $5.7 million to kick-start development of 194 units at 1880 Mission Street was turned down.

Urban housing firms grab $150M in grants [Business Times]
JustQuotes: A New Vision For A Hunters Point Neighborhood [SocketSite]
A Plugged-In Reader's 12 Notes On The "PC" Approved 333 Harrison [SocketSite]
2225-2255 Third Street: What Was (And Hopefully Is) In The Works [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

July 1, 2009

Park Terrace Developer (Opus West) To File For Bankruptcy

Opus Center Sierra Point

Opus East and West (which developed Park Terrace at 325 Berry in Mission Bay) will file for federal bankruptcy protection, with Opus East expected to go the chapter 7 route while Opus West is expected to reorganize under chapter 11.

Opus West has been active in the Bay Area, developing 75 acres of the 120-acre Sierra Point office campus in Brisbane in the late 1990s. In 2007, Opus West announced plans to build more office space in Brisbane — a 448,000-square-foot, $225 million office complex at 3000 Marina Blvd. — but the economy soured and the developer never went forward with the project.

Opus North and Northeast are expected to continue as-is. No word on how the Opus West filing will impact (if at all) any future Park Terrace claims.

Opus East, West to file for bankruptcy [Business Times]
Opus Center Sierra Point (Brisbane) [opuscentersierrapoint.com]
New Developments: Park Terrace (325 Berry) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (46) | (email story)

June 25, 2009

Delaying Development Fees In An Attempt To Un-Delay Development

From the San Francisco Examiner with respect to various development fees:

Because of the dismal [San Francisco] economy...city officials are drafting new legislation that could allow developer fees to be paid after construction finishes instead of before it starts, according to Michael Cohen, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s chief economic strategist.

No update on the fees of One Rincon Hill.

City development fees may rise [San Francisco Examiner]
Michael Kriozere (ORH) Responds: We're Planning To Pay, Damn It! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

June 23, 2009

It Goes To Zero (The New Eleven)

Zeta Communities 'Zero-Energy Home' (Image Source: The Chronicle)

It’s not yet San Francisco real estate news per se, but ZETA Communities is based in the city. From the Chronicle:

Zeta Communities, which is headquartered in South of Market and owns a manufacturing plant in San Leandro, is close to completing its first "zero energy" townhome in Oakland and is working with a developer on a proposed 30-unit studio apartment building in Berkeley.
The firm plans to build segments of housing units indoors and ship them to development sites for assembly.
Energy-saving features include extra-thick windows, dense insulation, efficient appliances and a monitoring system that manages temperature and ventilation and tracks electricity use. Warmth in the house is used to heat incoming air, and recovered hot wastewater helps warm shower and sink water. Solar panels generate new energy.

Zero, it's the new eleven.

Startup's prefab homes aim for zero energy bills [SFGate]
ZETA Communities [zetacommunities.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

June 12, 2009

From At Risk To Lost For Another 24 Lembi Properties

The 23 Lembi properties at risk of being lost in March have officially been deeded back to their lender (a CIM Group fund) along with one more.

Lembis At Risk Of Losing Another 23 Apartment Buildings [SocketSite]
CIM Group snaps up 24 Lembi buildings [San Francisco Business Times]

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

June 8, 2009

A Few More Numbers For The Most Recent Lembi Twelve

Some additional numbers on the twelve properties the Lembis put on the market in May:

Lembi hopes to generate $43 million in revenue from the disposition, which equates to approximately $185,000 per unit, approximately 50% of replacement cost and a significant discount to what it paid to acquire the properties.
The buildings may sell as a group or individually. Most were constructed in the first quarter of the 21st century and a few were built in the 1960s. The per-unit prices range from $320,000 to $100,000. Most of the projected cap rates on the buildings are in the 5% range and are based on scheduled income and a 3% vacancy factor. Much of the interest so far has been local buyers each looking to purchase one or two properties, according to local sources.
The sales will be watched closely by the market because only one other comparable property has sold in San Francisco this year, according to Real Capital Analytics. The property was Empire, a 40-unit, four-story property built in 1907 at 1040 Leavenworth Street. The property sold for $5.8 million or $145,000 per unit; the pro forma cap rate was 4.7%. All of the Lembi properties are said to be of higher quality.

According to MPF Research, San Francisco rents dropped 5.2% in the first quarter of 2009.

Lembi Group Puts 12 Apartment Assets up for Sale [CityFeet]
Lembis Look To Cut Another Twelve Loose As Rental Market Drops [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (65) | (email story)

June 5, 2009

If You're Looking To Renovate Or Rewire In San Francisco...

"Unemployment in San Francisco’s building trades sector is over 20 percent, with about 50 percent of unionized electricians out of work, according to San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council President Mike Theriault.

With 16,000 members, that means that more than 3,200 building trades workers are currently without a job. Unemployment among laborers and carpenters is running at more than 20 percent, while iron workers have the lowest jobless rate -- about 10 percent."

Unemployment is over 20% for S.F. building sector [San Francisco Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

May 29, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name (But Not Necessarily A Neighborhood)

Chronicle Graphic: New Neighborhood Names

From the Chronicle with regard to San Francisco’s neighborhood naming:

Stepping into the fray, the San Francisco Association of Realtors is coming out with a new neighborhood map this summer - replacing stale names with hip ones, adding enclaves and changing boundaries to try to answer one of San Francisco's most complicated questions: So, where do you live?

No word on who granted the Realtors exclusive naming rights.

Familiar S.F. neighborhoods gain new names [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

May 15, 2009

The Montgomery Surpasses Itself (Now Offering 5% Commissions)

The Montgomery: 5% Broker Commissions

Last month the sales office at The Montgomery extended their "unsurpassed offer" of 4.5% broker commissions through May 31.

And while it’s not yet the thirty-first, the sales office is now offering buyer’s agents 5% commissions on "select homes placed in contract between 5/15/09 to 6/30/09." Also noted, "new May 2009 pricing on several floor plans, starting from the low $300,000s."

74 New Montgomery: Half Sold (And Still Buying Some Agent Love) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

April 22, 2009

Loan Officers Forced To Play The Field Rather Than Pick Their Horse

A long awaited "appraisal overhaul" for agency backed mortgages goes into effect May first. Some color from Julian Hebron at RPM Mortgage:

As of May 1, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has mandated that loan officers can’t select or pay appraisers. The Home Value Code of Conduct (HVCC), as it’s called, is intended to remove conflicts of interest some feel are inherent in the loan officer/appraiser relationship.
In the coming months, industry-wide HVCC implementation means appraisals and perhaps escrow periods may take longer. Instead of the current practice of a loan officer ordering directly from appraiser, the basic HVCC model is that a bank has a stable of appraisers, a loan officer submits an appraisal order, and any appraiser in the stable will be randomly assigned to the order. Banks can choose their own appraisers and set standards for things like experience level and turn-times, but FHFA (using Fannie & Freddie) has to approve each bank’s entire appraisal process.
Banks will either have internal appraisal divisions or be contracted with appraisal management companies.

No word on how our local banks’ stables currently stack up.

Fannie And Freddie Forced Aim To Help Fix Appraisal Fraud [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

April 6, 2009

Mortgage Rates Are Down But Are The "Bad Ways" Picking Back Up?

From a plugged-in reader refinancing a home up in Portland:

We just signed on our refinance (4.625% for 1 point) and we were talking to a woman who worked at the title company and she said things are going right back to the old (bad) ways. People taking mortgages that over extend them financially, brokers pushing through anything they can. She said it is going straight back to how things were before and she wasn't happy about it.

Is it an "only in Oregon" or anomalous report?

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

March 27, 2009

Lembis At Risk Of Losing Another 23 Apartment Buildings

After deeding 51 buildings back to the bank in lieu of foreclosure in January, the Lembis are at risk of losing another 23 of their remaining 250-ish apartment buildings in San Francisco. From J.K. Dineen:

[A CIM Group] affiliate bought $121 million of distressed Lembi debt from Column Financial on Dec. 19 of last year. The affiliate alleges in a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court March 4 that the Lembi subsidiary Trophy Properties [which owns 23 properties] has been in default on payments since Feb. 10 on two loans, one for $116.1 million and one for $5.2 million. Interest accrued and outstanding from Jan. 9 to March 2 amounted to $1.8 million, and interest on the unpaid balance is accruing at a rate of $50,600 a day, according to court documents. That amounts to about $18.4 million a year — more than double the approximate $8 million the 23 properties generate in rents, according to rent roll information on the buildings included in court documents filed with the complaint.

The 23 properties at risk: 3475 16th Street, 3000 24th Street, 360 32nd Avenue, 427 34th Avenue, 9 August Alley, 2101 Bay, 1650 California, 650 Church, 1345 Clement, 43 Cole, 347 Eddy, 1745 Franklin, 345 Green, 305 Hyde, 1456 Jones, 2235 Laguna, 1516 Larkin, 2117 Market, 2135 Market, 230 Oak, 1070 Post, 840 Van Ness, 956 Valencia.

CIM Group goes for Lembi buildings [Business Times]
Cash Flows Catch Up To The Lembi Group [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (97) | (email story)

March 18, 2009

A Tighter Fannie...For Condo Mortgages

"[Fannie Mae] stopped guaranteeing mortgages in condo buildings where fewer than 70% of the units have been sold, up from 51%. In addition, the company won't back loans for sales in buildings where 15% of current owners are delinquent on association fees or where more than 10% of units are owned by a single-entity."

Fannie Tightens Its Conditions for Backing Condo Mortgages [WSJ]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

March 5, 2009

Local Housing Developer AF Evans Files For Bankruptcy Protection

In what's likely not to be good news for the development of 55 Laguna (at the very least with regard to timing), Oakland based developer AF Evans has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection citing "plummeting house prices and the credit crunch."

AF Evans Co. files Chapter 11 [San Francisco Business Times]
55 Laguna: The Plugged-In (And AF Evans) Development Update [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

November 12, 2008

The Market Might Not Like It, But We Do: Paulson Changes Rescue Plan

"U.S. Secretary Henry Paulson plans to use the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue program to help relieve pressures on consumer credit, scrapping an effort to buy devalued mortgage assets....Buying 'illiquid' mortgage-related assets -- the reason the Troubled Asset Relief Program was established a month ago -- is no longer being considered, he said."

Paulson Shifts Focus of Rescue to Consumer Lending [Bloomberg]
$700 Billion Bailout Bill Round Two: One Down, One To Go [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

November 11, 2008

Fannie, Freddie and Citigroup To Join The Payment Cutting Parade

"Mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Citigroup Inc. plan to cut home-loan payments for hundreds of thousands of borrowers facing foreclosures, following similar moves by the nation's biggest banks.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will reduce principal or interest rates on some loans and extend the terms of others, people briefed on the matter said. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which seized control of Fannie and Freddie in September, scheduled a press conference at 2 p.m. in Washington to announce the plan."

Citi, Fannie, Freddie to Halt Some Foreclosures [Bloomberg]
JustQuotes: Proposing To Change The Terms To Protect The Principal [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

November 6, 2008

It’s Official: McGuire Real Estate Acquires Urban Bay Properties

Yesterday's scoop via a plugged-in Charlie Moore (CEO of McGuire):

I wanted to personally give you the official word that McGuire and Urban Bay are merging. The companies have been in discussion for well over a year, and both felt there were strong benefits to joining forces: McGuire has strong traditions and is well-established in north of Market neighborhoods, while the Urban Bay brings more of a "hip" brand to the South of Market neighborhoods. What's more, McGuire has offices in Burlingame and Mill Valley, and Urban Bay has a presence in Oakland's Jack London Square.

And via an “Insider”:

For now UBP will retain current branding but will change color schemes to match the new McGuire coloring. Tom Brown becomes COO of McGuire. No news on closing of the McGuire Davis Street office or the UPB Bluxome street office.

Cheers. And as always, thank you for plugging in.

RandomRumors: McGuire Real Estate/Urban Bay Properties In Talks [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 14, 2008

RandomRumors: McGuire Real Estate/Urban Bay Properties In Talks

The Rumor: McGuire Real Estate has purchased Urban Bay Properties.

The Reality: They are in talks but a deal has yet to be done (although it's currently looking more likely than not).

The Reason: A chance for the very well capitalized McGuire to add a bit of “youth” and South of Market presence to their brand.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

While Seasonality Is In Effect, That's Not What This Is About

As we wrote two weeks ago:

…based on our calculations, the number of new contracts written for listed [San Francisco] properties in the fourth week of September was down roughly 25% as compared to the year prior (which was down roughly 17% as compared to the year prior to that), and is running roughly 22% lower on a year-over-year basis with respect to the last two weeks of the month.

As we wrote yesterday morning:

…based on our calculations, and setting the stage for tomorrow’s “on topic” post, new contract volume last week dropped 45% from the week prior and was off by 31% on a year-over-year basis.

And as Redfin wrote yesterday afternoon (about the markets in which they play):

…the past few weeks have seen a major reversal. As the stock market wiped out prospective down-payments, tours and offers dropped 30%. Transactions that were done came undone. October will still be pretty good, then we’re headed for a big dip.

Keep in mind it's the same story in brokerages and sales offices throughout town – the transaction downturn not the layoffs (as far as we know) – they just haven't had any reason to let it be publicly known.

SocketSite's San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory Update: 9/29/08 [SocketSite]
SocketSite's San Francisco Listed Housing Update: 10/13/08 [SocketSite]
Sequoia’s Take On The New New (And Quite Local) Economy [SocketSite]
A Very Tough Day [Redfin]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

October 7, 2008

Bank Of America's Loan Abuse Settlement By The Numbers

The potential extent of Bank of America’s “loan abuse” settlement by the numbers for select Californians:

∙ $3.4 billion: reduced interest payments and principal
∙ $33.6 million: waiver of late fees
∙ $27.9 million: assistance for seriously delinquent/already foreclosed upon borrowers
∙ $25.6 million: waiver of prepayment penalties
∙ $25.2 million: payments to those who will eventually lose their homes to foreclosure

Those who are most likely to qualify now? Those who were least qualified (subprime) and engaged in the most risky behaviors (pay-option ARMs) then.

BofA OKs foreclosure relief for Californians [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

October 6, 2008

Did Somebody Say Alt-A? (Yes) And Crackup As In Like A Clown? (No)

"The Federal Housing Administration has grown so large that by the end of the year it will guarantee mortgages for three in 10 U.S. borrowers, many of whom have bad credit or loans that required no verification of income."

"FHA has completely replaced subprime and Alt-A," said [David] Olson, former director of market research at Freddie Mac, the second-biggest mortgage buyer, who now runs Wholesale Access Mortgage Research & Consulting Inc. in Columbia, Maryland. "I hope it's not setting them up for another crackup. There have been so many crackups."

FHA Takes on Subprime, Alt-A Loans Shunned by Private Lenders [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

September 30, 2008

What To Do When Incentives Don’t Work? (Lower Prices Perhaps?)

From Bloomberg:

“The [homebuilder] industry will ask lawmakers to pass a $15,000 tax credit for all homebuyers, replacing a smaller incentive enacted earlier this year that they contend failed to stimulate demand.”

From the chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders:

“Our members are really hurting…The [$7,500] tax credit passed in July seems to have failed to have sparked interest. We are hearing from high volume and small volume builders that it has had no impact.”

And from the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington:

“Let the house prices settle, then worry about stimulating the market…I have very little sympathy for these builders. If they weren't able to figure out what was going on during the bubble, don't go crying to the government.”

`Hurting' Builders Seek New Tax Credit to Help Market [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

September 15, 2008

Well, At Least Rates On Treasuries Are Falling…

It’s going to be a rough morning (and then some), so let’s just get this out of the way…Lehman is going bankrupt (think mortgages) while Merrill avoids a similar fate by getting acquired, the equities market is bracing for a wild ride (not in a good way), and option ARMs are rearing their ugly head over at Washington Mutual (and beyond).

As many as 45 percent of borrowers with payment-option adjustable-rate mortgages issued from 2004 to 2007 and bundled into securities may default, according to Fitch Ratings analysts Roelof Slump and Stefan Hilts. Washington Mutual held $52.9 billion of the mortgages, also called option ARMs or negative amortization loans, on its books in the second quarter, with defaults doubling to $3.2 billion from the end of 2007, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Two other relevant option ARM factoids: “About 83 percent of the option ARMs issued from 2004 to 2007 were underwritten without full documentation of borrowers' incomes,” and “Washington Mutual issued half its option ARMs in California.”

No word on the exact Option ARM breakdown (so to speak) in the Bay Area.

Lehman Files for Biggest Bankruptcy as Suitors Balk [Bloomberg]
Bank of America to Acquire Merrill as Crisis Deepens [Bloomberg]
U.S. Stock Futures Drop, Pointing to Steepest Slump Since 2002 [Bloomberg]
Washington Mutual Hobbled By Increasing Defaults on Option ARMs [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

September 8, 2008

It’s The End Of The GSE’s As You Know Them (Do You Feel Fine?)

The Federal government has officially seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and once again, no plugged-in person should have been caught by surprise. The question now, how will this move impact on the local market?

While near-term liquidity in the mortgage markets should increase as the implicit goes explicit, we expect to see a continued tightening of lending standards for conforming loans (which will continue to reduce the pool of potential buyers). Over the long-term (and beginning in 2010), both entities will be reducing their own investment portfolios (which could have the opposite effect on liquidity). And in terms of rates, we’ll wait and see.

One thing is for certain, that $25 billion Congressional Budget Office estimate for rescuing the two GSE's is now even more likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

August 4, 2008

Chase/U.S. Bank Crack Down On Jumbos, Sterling Bumps TIC Rates

Citing a “dramatic reduction in Jumbo volume levels,” “lack of Capital Markets appetite for Jumbo products,” and “worse than expected delinquency performance on these loans,” Chase is suspending “Non-Agency Fixed and ARM (Amortizing and Interest-Only) Product offerings within [their] Wholesale Lending Business.

At the same time, U.S. Bank is moving to a minimum of 20% down for interest only jumbo purchases and a “minimum of $250,000 of assets/reserves seasoned for a minimum of 60 days” for those refinancing an interest only jumbo loan with a loan to value of greater than 80%.

And from a plugged-in reader:

The TIC lending market just tightened this week. The low cost TIC lender in this market, Sterling, just raised all TIC rates by [50bps] this week and increased financial requirements for borrowers...[Editor’s Note: While our reader typed 500bps (5%), we’re assuming 50bps (0.5%) is what was meant.]

A few more buyers just got kicked out of the housing pool. Now about all those Econ101 and supply and demand lectures…

Chase Suspends Non-Conforming Mortgages [SocketSite]
Twelve New Tenancies In Common At Twenty-Two Hundred Beach [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (57) | (email story)

July 30, 2008

A Less Than Smooth Closing Of Their Own: Financial Title Shuts Down

Financial Title: 'Smooth Closings' Irony

According to a plugged-in tipster, Financial Title received a cease and desist order courtesy of the Insurance Commissioner a few hours ago. And while escrows were to be transferred to other title companies for closing, apparently some files have been confiscated which is making it difficult for some parties (like our tipster's client) to locate their funds.

UPDATE: Following in the footsteps of sister company Alliance Title, Financial Title which was the largest real-estate title agent in Silicon Valley and has four offices in San Francisco has officially closed its doors.

Sources who have spoken to Financial Title employees said the title company began closing its doors in Santa Clara County Tuesday night. Those sources said all employees have lost their jobs, and Financial's underwriter, First American Title Co., has been collecting open escrow files at the closed offices.

No update on the Insurance Commissioner angle, the "confiscation" (versus collecting) of files, or the irony of misplaced escrowed funds. Tipsters?

Tag Line Irony From Alliance Title: “Closing The California Dream” [SocketSite]
Financial Title company shuts down [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

July 28, 2008

JustQuotes: Industry Layoffs – Low In Numbers, High In Significance

“From mixed-use developers like A.F. Evans to home-builders like Lennar to investment management firms like MacFarlane Partners, real estate firms active in the Bay Area have been cutting middle and upper management this year. It's not a lot of jobs -- the three companies together laid off less than 50 employees -- but for lean-and-mean developers and real estate services firms, it's significant. And in addition to scattered layoffs, companies like Cushman & Wakefield have implemented hiring freezes.”

Dramatic hiring plunge a sign of industry's woes [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

July 14, 2008

The Federal Government Breaks Out Their (Big Enough?) Buckets

First IndyMac, and now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it’s been a mad week of bailing and pre-bailing backstopping for the Federal government. And what normally would have been an insignificant $3 billion auction of securities by Freddie Mac this morning, instead becomes an oversized test of confidence for the financial markets.

UPDATE: The debt market responds favorably to the Fed's implicit explicit backing. Goldman and Rogers (and ex SF-er), not so much.

IndyMac Seized by U.S. Regulators Amid Cash Crunch [Bloomberg]
Paulson Puts Treasury's Weight Behind Fannie, Freddie [Bloomberg]
Alt-A Powerhouse IndyMac Takes A Step Closer To IndyDependance [SocketSite]
When We Wrote Watch Your Fannie, We Really Weren’t Kidding [SocketSite]
Freddie Mac Gets Higher-Than-Average Demand for Bills [Bloomberg]
Fannie Plan a `Disaster' to Rogers; Goldman Says Sell [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (47) | (email story)

July 8, 2008

Alt-A Powerhouse IndyMac Takes A Step Closer To IndyDependance

As another plugged-in reader noted yesterday, IndyMac – second only to Countrywide in terms of indypendent U.S. mortgage lenders last year – has effectively stopped originating new home loans citing a “continued downward trend in home prices” (think losses and need to raise additional capital) and a lack of “stability and uncertainty” in the mortgage markets (think inability to raise said capital).

Keep in mind that IndyMac is the largest “Alt-A” – not subprime – lender in the land.

Indymac Issues Stakeholder Letter [The IMB Report]
JustQuotes: You Had Better Watch Your Fannie (As Well As Freddie) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

June 25, 2008

California Sues Countrywide (And Who Do You Think Might Pay?)

As Countrywide’s shareholder’s approved Bank of America’s takeover offer, California and Illinois filed suit against the mortgage lender for “luring borrowers into risky loans they couldn't afford.”

Countrywide and Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozilo were named in the suits, filed today, claiming the lender's tactics led thousands of borrowers to lose their homes when they couldn't make their payments. Countrywide used deceptive practices, including low ``teaser'' rates, to entice borrowers into adjustable-rate loans without adequately informing them that the payments would balloon in later months, according to the suits.

The suit seeks “restitution for borrowers, civil penalties of as much as $2,500 per violation and a court order halting the practices.” Mortgage surcharge anyone?

UPDATE: From a plugged-in litigator: "I litigate cases under this statute all the time. It will be resolved with a promise to stop doing all these things and a payment to the state of several million dollars. The alleged "victims" (those who took out CW loans) won't get a dime and there will be no "mortgage surcharge." Basically, B of A shareholders will take an insignificant hit and that will be the end of it."

Countrywide Sued by California, Illinois, Over Mortgage Loans [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

June 24, 2008

JustQuotes: The Big (As In Jumbo) Difference Between Can And Are

"Three months after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won the freedom to step up home-loan purchases, the government-chartered mortgage-finance companies are doing what critics in the Federal Reserve and Congress had predicted.

Instead of using powers granted by Congress to buy jumbo loans for the first time, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are purchasing their own mortgage-backed securities, helping reduce losses, company filings show. The large loans, above $417,000, made up almost a third of the U.S. market last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Since the rule change took effect in March, Fannie Mae has packaged $24 million of jumbo loans into securities, while Freddie Mac added $220 million, according to the Inside Mortgage Finance newsletter. In April, the companies spent more than $32.4 billion to buy their own instruments, regulatory filings show."

Fannie, Freddie Fail to Relieve Housing by Shunning Jumbo Loans [Bloomberg]
If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]
If The Plugged-In Readers Are Right, Jumbo-Conformings Are Here [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

June 20, 2008

Operation Malicious Mortgage: Now In The Bay Area (But Yet To Act)

While "Operation Malicious Mortgage" has nabbed over 400 individuals over the past three months, none of the mortgage-fraud related arrests have occured in the Bay Area. Then again, it has only been a month since the U.S. attorney's office established their Bay Area mortgage fraud task force.

From Joseph Russoniello, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California: "We have dozens of matters under investigation" [ranging from individual instances of fraud to broader schemes involving brokers, appraisers and lenders].

2 former Bear Stearns execs indicted, arrested [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

June 18, 2008

The SocketSite Scoop: Wells Fargo To Offer Fractional TIC Financing?

Despite what some might sell, TICs financed with fractional (or “individual”) loans are not substantively the same as condominiums. While fractional financing does mitigate a large portion of the commingled financial risk associated with a TIC purchase, it doesn’t address our larger concern of liquidity in terms of access to equity (no HELOCs here) or major lenders when it comes time to liquidate (not everyone wants – or will qualify – to borrow from a boutique bank).

That being said, and while we haven’t yet confirmed it, according to a trusted plugged-in tipster Wells Fargo is about to roll out fractional TIC financing.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

June 16, 2008

Homebuilder Confidence Falls: From The Fringes To San Francisco?

A plugged-in reader reports (and posits):

I was on a conference call today with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) CEO Jerry Howard and Chief Economist David Seiders where they were presenting the June Housing Market Index (HMI).
It was pretty bad. They were basically pleading with all news organizations and others to put pressure on the federal government to bail out the housing meltdown.
Jerry even went so far as to say that it is effecting senior citizens and it is just not right that they are losing their equity.
The NAHB reported that the index is at an all time record low of 18. Down from 19 in May. (a rating of 50 is neutral, greater than 50 means a majority of positive responses. less than 50 means a majority of negative)
David did say that he expects further declines since the current index does not reflect the recent rise in interest rates.
I really wish I could describe in words the sense of desperation that came from the call.
It seems easy to look at particular neighborhoods and say that a major downturn is not coming but I would have to agree with those whom have studied bubble and mass movement mentality. The drastic movement starts at the fringes and moves in over time.
Stockton -> Contra Costa -> Specific Districts in SF -> Top of Russian Hill
If we look back in 5 years I will be very surprised if those prime districts have not followed suit.

Homebuilder Confidence Index Unexpectedly Fell to 18 [Bloomberg]
SocketSite's San Francisco Listed Housing Inventory Update: 6/16/08 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

June 12, 2008

Thornburg Reports “Modestly Increasing Delinquencies” And A Loss

Thornburg Mortgage reports “modestly increasing delinquencies” and a loss of $3.31 billion in the first quarter (“because of writedowns on securities linked to real estate”). It's interesting to note as Thornburg specializes in jumbo adjustable rate mortgages for those with great credit (and assets). You know, fellow San Franciscans.

Thornburg Reports Loss of $3.31 Billion on Writedowns [Bloomberg]
Premier Lender Thornburg Mortgage Headed Towards Bankruptcy? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

May 27, 2008

Appraisal Agreement: Violating Federal Law Or Industry Interests?

"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's agreement to restrict banks from using in-house appraisal companies may violate federal law, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan said in a letter to the companies' supervisor."

"The agreement and new appraisal code 'violate or conflict with federal law in fundamental respects' and should be withdrawn, Dugan said in a letter to Ofheo Director James Lockhart. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, has 'substantial concerns about the unintended adverse consequences' on U.S. banks, he said.

The OCC is joining mortgage and appraisal industry groups and the Office of Thrift Supervision in criticizing the deal, which was intended by Cuomo and Ofheo to improve accuracy in home valuations by separating them from the lenders making the loans.”

Fannie, Freddie Appraisal Agreement May Violate Law [Bloomberg]
Fannie And Freddie Forced Aim To Help Fix Appraisal Fraud [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

May 21, 2008

Keller Williams HQ For Sale (1500 Franklin), Franchise To Follow Suit?

1500 Franklin: For Sale

The for sale signs have been hung on 1500 Franklin, home to Keller Williams Realty in San Francisco. And if our tipster is correct, the franchise (in San Francisco) is soon to follow suit (if it hasn’t already).

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

May 16, 2008

Fannie To Drop Blanket Policy, Roll Out Tighter Underwriting Algorithm

As of June 1, Fannie Mae will drop its blanket "bigger down payment in declining market policy" as it rolls out a new algorithm to better screen loans at the individual level.

Under the new policy, borrowers approved by Fannie Mae's automated underwriting program will be able to borrow up to 97 percent of the value of their homes, the company said. Other loans will be accepted with loan-to-value ratios of up to 95 percent, the company said.

UPDATE: Bloomberg "Updates" and adds the bit we were looking for (and a plugged-in reader already found):

Borrowers will still need to find mortgage insurers that will accept the loans...[as the] companies are required by law to have borrowers who want to put less than 20 percent down obtain private mortgage insurance from companies such as MGIC Investment Corp. and PMI Group Inc., which have been tightening policies.

Fannie Mae to Drop Down Payment Rules in Worst Areas [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

May 14, 2008

Freddie Mac Changes Accounting, Reports Lower Than Expected Loss

Freddie Mac, the second-largest U.S. mortgage finance company behind Fannie Mae, announced that it will raise $5.5 billion in capital following a lower than expected first-quarter loss of $151 million. Keep in mind, however, that “accounting and policy changes” seem to have contributed more than the market to Freddie Mac’s "strong performance."

In the fourth quarter, Freddie posted a net loss of $2.5 billion, including $1.3 billion in losses on credit guarantees. Because of an accounting change, Freddie didn't record any such losses or gains in the first quarter.
Losses related to trading securities and derivatives fell to $58 million in the first quarter from $2.1 billion in fourth, largely due to a change in how the company accounts for the value of those assets. Similarly, expenses linked to credit guarantees fell to $258 million from $2.1 billion.
In addition, Freddie spent far less money buying delinquent loans out of pools it had guaranteed -- $51 million, compared with $736 million in the fourth quarter -- as a result of a decision in December to let delinquent mortgages sit in pools longer before buying them up.

UPDATE: From a plugged-in reader: "It is interesting that nowhere in the mainstream press (other than on Bloomberg terminals) was it reported that Freddie moved its $120 billion portfolio of asset backed securities into Level 3 assets to avoid having to mark them to market."

Freddie Mac to Raise $5.5 Billion [Wall Street Journal]
Fannie Mae To Market: It’s Not Getting Better, But Rather Worse [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

May 9, 2008

JustQuotes: The HBANC Comes To San Francisco For An Urban Assault

“The [Home Builders Association of Northern California] has opened an office at 660 Mission St., an "urban division" that will push legislation and policies that help foster the sort of dense, urban, infill housing that is being built in San Francisco and downtown Oakland, according to HBANC President and CEO Joseph Perkins.”

“The office will be staffed with members of HBANC's government affairs group, which battles "growth controls, frivolous and abusive lawsuits, excessive environmental regulations and runaway fees," according to the group. Those forces "are significantly impairing housing production in the Bay Area and making homes less affordable."”

“Perkins said his group would offer support to local groups like the Urban Land Institute and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, both of which push density along transit corridors. HBANC doesn't advocate for individual developments.”

Builders will seek urban home deals [San Francisco Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

May 6, 2008

Fannie Mae To Market: It’s Not Getting Better, But Rather Worse

Fannie Mae lost $2.19 billion in the first-quarter, about four times that of average analyst expectations. And the largest U.S. mortgage company will now raise $6 billion in order to continue to fund operations.

The "severe weakness" in the housing market was worse than expected in the quarter and will continue this year, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Mudd said in a statement….Fannie Mae said home price declines this year are exceeding its estimates and attributed the larger share of its credit losses to certain types of loans in California, Florida, Michigan and Ohio. The government-chartered company, which sold $7 billion of preferred stock in December, may need as much as $15 billion to cope with the delinquencies and foreclosures, analysts said.

And while Fannie Mae’s portfolio (and collateral) continues to deteriorate, the OFHEO has said “it will lower requirements for surplus capital to 15 percent from 20 percent once the money is raised, enabling Fannie Mae to buy more mortgages. The limit may be reduced to 10 percent by September if Fannie Mae continues to retain excess capital….”

Fannie Mae to Raise $6 Billion in Capital After Loss [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

April 18, 2008

We’ve Heard Local Contractors Are Getting More Responsive Too

"Nibbi Brothers' Larry Nibbi said he has seen a flood of résumés from construction workers who were previously employed by home-builders like KB Homes and Centex. The sudden jump in the availability of workers -- and subcontractors looking for jobs -- has knocked down construction costs about 5 percent to 7 percent in some areas, Nibbi said."

"An abundance of available workers has knocked down prices for mechanical, electrical, heating, plumbing and dry wall work. Painting has remained about the same and roofing and asphalt have gone up because of the increased cost of oil."

Nibbi says housing bubble loosens labor pool [San Francisco Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

March 19, 2008

JQ: Capital Requirements Follow The Asset Caps For Fannie/Freddie

"Regulators for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cut the companies' surplus capital requirement in an effort to expand their combined $1.5 trillion in mortgage investments and revive the U.S. home-loan market.

The requirement was lowered to 20 percent from 30 percent, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said in a news release today. The government-chartered companies, the largest sources of money for home loans, also agreed to raise a 'significant' amount of new capital, Ofheo said."

Fannie, Freddie Surplus Capital Requirement Is Eased [Bloomberg]
JustQuotes: What The OFHEO Are They Thinking? (Asset Caps) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

March 17, 2008

Now Accepting Jumbo-Conforming Loans Submissions At Countrywide

From a broker update passed along by a plugged-in tipster:

Countrywide, America's Wholesale Lender will begin accepting loan submissions under the temporary "jumbo conforming" loan limit increases of the Economic Stimulus Package on Monday, March 17, 2008.

Yes, that’s today.

UPDATE: From Julian Hebron at RPM Mortgage: "Major lenders like Chase, Wells, WAMU, and Countrywide have announced pricing on super conforming 30yr fixed loans above $417k this morning, and so far rates are very close to jumbo loans. The higher pricing is probably to keep pipelines from getting jammed up in case FNMA runs into trouble purchasing these loans. FNMA guidelines for super conforming are tight, similar or tighter in some cases than existing jumbo guidelines, and far tighter than FNMA guidelines for conforming loans up to $417k."

If The Plugged-In Readers Are Right, Jumbo-Conformings Are Here [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

March 13, 2008

JustQuotes: Mortgage Bankers Report On Mortgage Fraud (It’s Up)

MARI Fraud Index

“Rising real estate values over the past few years threatened to price new homebuyers out of the market and led some to attempt purchases before they were creditworthy. The higher valuations also led some individual real estate investors to speculate and stretch the truth on applications for multiple properties, especially in active markets, such as Florida and Nevada.

They were aided in this tactic by industry professionals who hoped that any future loan problems would be covered by a profitable sale of the collateral. Credit standards were loosened. More importantly for fraud, documentation requirements were also reduced.

There has been a long history of fraud and sour consequences associated with low/reduced/no documentation loans. As an example, loan servicing staffs are discovering a substantial percentage of prime and non-conforming delinquencies are for loans where the applicants stated their intent to occupy, but were in fact, rental properties at the outset.”

Tenth Periodic Mortgage Fraud Case Report to the MBA (pdf) [mari-inc.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

March 5, 2008

JustQuotes: Talk About Terrible Timing (And Why He's A Former)

"Merrill Lynch & Co. will eliminate 650 jobs and record a $60 million charge as it stops making new home loans through First Franklin Financial, the subprime lender that former Chief Executive Officer Stan O'Neal bought in 2006.

Most of the job cuts at San Jose, California-based First Franklin will take place this month, Merrill spokesman Bill Halldin said. About 80 employees will remain at the unit to handle activities related to First Franklin's past loans, he said. Merrill announced the cuts and the charge in a statement today."

Merrill Exits Subprime Lending, Cuts 650 Jobs at First Franklin [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

March 3, 2008

Premier Lender Thornburg Mortgage Headed Towards Bankruptcy?

Thornburg Mortgage, one of the premier jumbo ARM and Alt-A mortgage lenders, has at least one analyst raising the specter of bankruptcy as the lender failed to meet its latest round of margin calls (to the tune of $270 million).

Thornburg said in a regulatory filing it is facing margin calls because the value of the alt-A mortgage-backed securities has plummeted between 10% and 15% since the end of January. The margin calls come amid "a sudden adverse change in mortgage market conditions in general" that began on Feb. 14, Thornburg said in the filing.

Thornburg doesn’t do subprime and is well known throughout the Bay Area for its single-minded focus on wealthy creditworthy borrowers.

Thornburg Hasn't Met $270 Million in New Margin Calls [Bloomberg]
JustQuotes: Signs Of Some (Prime) Liquidity In The Mortgage Market [SocketSite]
Mortgage woes force Thornburg to pay $300M [CNNMoney]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

February 19, 2008

Savings From Increased Conforming Loan Limits Get Shaved

Remember that little comment we made a few weeks ago regarding increased prepayment risk associated with increasing conforming loan limits? From the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) on Friday:

Higher balance loans which are now temporarily eligible for Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and GSE guarantee programs under H.R. 5140, the Stimulus Package, will not be eligible for inclusion in TBA-eligible pools. They are instead expected to be securitized under unique pool codes for trading on a “specified pool” basis or inclusion in Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) transactions.

Thank increased prepayment risk for the unique pooling. And why does the pooling matter?

Jumbo mortgages now eligible for purchase by the nation's largest home loan finance companies [under the Stimulus Package] will be locked out of the market where trading helps lower rates to consumers...
Including jumbo loans in TBA pools would have had the unintended effect of raising rates on traditional conforming loans since investors assume they will receive the larger loans when they take delivery of the bonds, according to Freddie Mac. In TBA, the loans must be deemed fungible, so investors buy without knowing attributes.

In other words, hello "super conforming tier" and goodbye "conforming" mortgage rates for loans between $417,000 and $729,750 in San Francisco.

Conforming Loan Limits: A Placeholder For Discussion And Analysis [SocketSite]
SIFMA to Update MBS TBA Good Delivery Guidelines [SIFMA]
Jumbo loans to be isolated from mortgage TBA: SIFMA [Reuters]
If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

January 11, 2008

QuickLinks: SocketSite’s Countdown To Countrywide’s Sale Today

JustQuotes: Is The Subprime Sickness Spreading? [SocketSite 7/07]
Quicklinks: Countrywide “Materially Tightens" Underwriting Standards [SocketSite 8/07]
From Rumor To Reality: Up To 12,000 Layoffs At Countrywide [SocketSite 9/07]
Countrywide Secures Another $12 Billion As Application Volume Falls [SocketSite 9/07]
What A Difference A Year Makes For Countrywide Financial Corp [SocketSite 10/07]
Bank of America to Acquire Countrywide for $4 Billion [Bloomberg Today]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

January 3, 2008

First American Title Co. Closing Castro Branch (565 Castro Street)

According to a plugged-in tipster, First American Title Co. is closing their branch at 565 Castro Street. The unofficial reason: “market conditions.”

Posted by socketadmin at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

December 21, 2007

Pacific Union Closes Their South Beach/SoMa Office (38 Bryant)

As a number of reader’s have either asked or emailed, Pacific Union has in fact closed down their South Beach/SoMa office.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

December 14, 2007

JustQuotes: Washington Mutual Cuts On Continuing Credit Crunch

"This week Washington Mutual, the Bay Area's fourth-largest bank, said it will slash 2,600 jobs nationwide and close mortgage offices as it goes to Wall Street, hat in hand, seeking a $2.9 billion capital infusion. Even some of WaMu's top performing mortgage lenders were shown the door as the company anticipates the volume of mortgage originations will plunge 40 percent next year.” (Credit crunch forces layoffs at Bay Area banks)

Posted by socketadmin at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

December 12, 2007

Tag Line Irony From Alliance Title: “Closing The California Dream”

Alliance Title

A reader notes that Alliance Title seems to have suddenly closed its doors in San Francisco and wonders what’s going on. And while we can’t confirm a why, we can confirm a what: it appears as though Alliance Title is shuttering their Escrow Services in San Francisco and San Mateo but continuing to operate their Default Services (in both cities).

Perhaps it's simply a coincidence (considering the state of the market). Or perhaps it's a canary (considering the state of the market). Regardless, we do have to note the irony (considering the “Closing the California Dream” tag line).

Posted by socketadmin at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (81) | (email story)

November 13, 2007

What A Difference A Year Makes For Countrywide Financial Corp

October 2007 versus October 2006 results for Countrywide Financial Corporation:

∙ Purchase loan fundings: down 47%
∙ ARM fundings: down 81%
∙ Subprime fundings: down 99%
∙ Daily loan application activity: down 34%
∙ Delinquencies: Up to 5.94% of unpaid principal balance (versus 3.97%)
∙ Pending foreclosures: Up to 1.28% (versus 0.58%)

And no, we don't have a breakdown for California, the Bay Area, or San Francisco. Tipsters?

Countrywide Reports October 2007 Operational Results [countrywide.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 25, 2007

Don’t Panic (Unless Perhaps You’re A Mortgage Broker)

Yes, Bank of America is exiting the wholesale mortgage business. No, that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop lending.

The nation's second-largest bank will stop offering home mortgages through brokers at the end of the year to focus on direct-to-consumer lending through its banking centers and loan officers. The move also eliminates the jobs in the bank's consumer real estate unit.

Think tighter lending standards and a renewed focus on underwriting, as well as cost savings and an ability to leverage their existing retail channel.

BofA to Exit Mortgage Wholesale Business [AP]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

September 26, 2007

RandomRumors And Readers Report: Countrywide Cuts Commence

From a plugged-in tipster: "I talked to my friend who was just let go [at Countrywide]. Seems they're going to go into the direction right now of letting those people go who started after June 11th, 2007. He said company wide so we shall see how it unfolds. Weird to begin letting people go on a Weds as well." And yes, unconfirmed (for now).

From Rumor To Reality: Up To 12,000 Layoffs At Countrywide [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

September 13, 2007

Countrywide Secures Another $12 Billion As Application Volume Falls

Countrywide has secured an additional $12 billion in “borrowing capacity through new or existing credit facilities” (good news for those waiting to fund), but also reports that year-over-year application volume was off 12% - and down 19% in terms of dollar value - at the end of August (not great news as a measure of potential "demand").

From Rumor To Reality: Up To 12,000 Layoffs At Countrywide [SocketSite]
Countrywide Shares Gain as $12 Billion Borrowing Limit Arranged [Bloomberg]
What Happens When It’s Time To Fund? We’ll Have To Wait And See [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

September 7, 2007

From Rumor To Reality: Up To 12,000 Layoffs At Countrywide

It was two days ago that “ex SF-er” commented: “Rumor alert: Countrywide may be laying off 6,000 to 10,000 employees.”

And it was but less than two hours ago that Countrywide announced possible workforce cuts of between 10,000 and 12,000 people over the next three months. The culprit, a sharp drop in expected demand: “New mortgages probably will drop 25 percent in 2008 from this year's levels, the Calabasas, California-based company said in a statement today.”

And no, perhaps not entirely unexpected.

What Happens When It’s Time To Fund? We’ll Have To Wait And See [SocketSite]
Countrywide May Cut Staff by 12,000 as Demand Wanes [Bloomberg]
U.S. Economy: Employment Unexpectedly Drops in August [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

August 30, 2007

JustQuotes: Qualifying Is Great, Funding Is Even Better

“U.S. commercial paper outstanding fell for a third week, dropping 3.1 percent as more investors refuse to buy debt secured by mortgage assets.”

“Commercial paper outstanding has fallen by $244.1 billion in the past three weeks as more than 20 companies and funds including Cheyne Finance and Thornburg Mortgage Co. fail to find buyers for new paper after losses on some mortgage-related securities scared investors into safer investments. An $18 billion auction yesterday for two-year U.S. government debt drew the most demand since 1992.” (Commercial Paper Falls for Third Week as Mortgage Losses Mount)

"Thornburg Mortgage Inc., the jumbo- mortgage specialist that was forced to stop making new loans, sold $500 million of convertible preferred stock to help alleviate a shortage of cash." (Thornburg Mortgage Sells $500 Million of Preferred Stock)

Posted by socketadmin at 8:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

August 27, 2007

The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery) Gets A New Sales Team?

The Montgomery

According to a trusted plugged-in tipster, The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery) has switched sales teams (out with Pacific Marketing Associates, in with The Mark Company) two months after their grand opening and first release of condos. If so, it’s likely some insight into the pace of sales (and perhaps the market). If not, well…we’ll just cross that bridge should we come to it.

The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery): Almost Selling (For Real) [SocketSite]
The Montgomery (74 New Montgomery): Pricing And Reservations [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

August 22, 2007

JustQuotes: Is This A Blip, A Bump, Or More In The Mortgage Market?

FBR Research said on Wednesday that $150 billion to $250 billion of permanent capital is needed to normalize pricing in the depressed market for mortgage-backed securities.

However, in a note to clients, the research arm of securities firm Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co Inc said the process would take up to a year and will be painful for mortgage investors and originators. FBR Research said the new capital is needed to compensate for the massive "deleveraging" underway among companies that hold mortgages.

More than $20 billion worth of mortgage bonds not backed by mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac [Editor’s Note: think Jumbo] have been offered for sale in the past few days.

Mortgage investors increasingly question the underlying value of mortgage-backed securities given that orginators' lax lending standards which led to a jump in defaults. Also, many economists expect weak home prices to drop further."

Mortgage mkt needs up to $250 bln of capital [Reuters]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

August 20, 2007

JustQuotes: Upping The Underwriting Ante (And Industry Layoffs)

“Capital One Financial Corp., a credit card and banking company, slashed its earnings forecast on Monday and said it plans to eliminate 1,900 jobs, following its decision to stop arranging mortgages through brokers....The credit card and banking company said it expects to continue to make home loans in its bank branches, where it has more control of the underwriting process.”

"The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal e-mail sent Friday to employees of Countrywide's Full Spectrum Lending unit, said the company has laid off workers in that division, which handles home loans rated between prime and subprime [i.e., Alt-A]."

Capital One closes GreenPoint mortgage unit [CNNMoney]
Countrywide said to start layoffs [CNNMoney]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

August 8, 2007

From No Real Story To A Bit Of Understated Irony (4128 24th)

4128 24th Street

After almost a month on the market the list price on 4128 24th Street has been reduced $500,000 (14.3%). Yes, this was the former home of Droubi Real Estate. Yes, it’s a Droubi Team listing. And yes, we’re biting our tongues.

∙ Listing: 4128 24th Street (4/2) - $2,995,000 [droubiteam]
The Droubi Noe Valley Victorian (4128 24th): Coming Soon [SocketSite]
As Promised: From Coming Soon To On The Market (4128 24th Street) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (36) | (email story)

July 13, 2007

As Promised: From Coming Soon To On The Market (4128 24th Street)

Inside 4128 24th Street

No real story other than the symbolic end of an era. (And no, not as in Victorian.)

∙ Listing: 4128 24th Street (4/2) - $3,495,000 [droubiteam]
The Droubi Noe Valley Victorian (4128 24th): Coming Soon [SocketSite]
Local Brokerage Consolidation: Droubi Acquired By Coldwell Banker [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

July 6, 2007

The Droubi Noe Valley Victorian (4128 24th): Coming Soon

4128 24th Street

As a few plugged-in readers pointed out when we first noted the Coldwell Banker acquisition of Droubi Real Estate, the elegant Noe Valley Victorian (4128 24th Street) that served as home to the Droubi team (in one permutation or another) over the past 25 years is "coming soon." List Price: $3,495,000. And yes, it’s a Droubi Team listing.

∙ Listing: 4128 24th Street (4/2) - $3,495,000 [droubiteam]
Local Brokerage Consolidation: Droubi Acquired By Coldwell Banker [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

June 5, 2007

BJ Droubi Droubi Real Estate Droubi Team

Droubi Team

As an industry tipster notes, after a few weeks of simply redirecting folks to the Coldwell Banker website, the Droubi brand (and website) is back (albeit with a few fewer agents): “Working together as the Droubi Team out of their private office on 24th Street, BJ and Lamisse Droubi, together with David Pennebaker, will continue the family tradition of serving our community's real estate needs with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.”

Local Brokerage Consolidation: Droubi Acquired By Coldwell Banker [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

May 14, 2007

Local Brokerage Consolidation: Droubi Acquired By Coldwell Banker

Last month Alain Pinel Realtors acquired San Francisco Brokerage Ritchie Hallanan Real Estate. And according to a seriously "plugged-in" tipster, Droubi (formerly BJ Droubi) was just acquired by Coldwell Banker (although we haven't been able to confirm).

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

February 1, 2007

Industry Stuff

A reader notices that a senior agent has moved his whole team from Urban Bay to Vanguard.

“You don't cover much industry stuff...but I haven't seen a large group of agents leave one office for their direct competitor like this in a while. Unless Vanguard is merging with Urban Bay, but I haven't seen anything about that. Have you heard anything?”

We haven’t. And while this is a bit beyond our normal purview, we’re happy to ask the readers (some of whom just might have a vested interest).

UPDATE: No merger, just a move. And we’re closing the comments.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | (email story)