Around the World in 49 Square Miles

 

To live and play in our City by the Bay can feel like a surreal experience– an intersection where diverse peoples, foods, architecture, experience and dreams join together and overlap to create a magical whole much greater than the sum of its parts. Paul Kantner once wrote: San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.

We are fortunate to have a little bit of everything here; Living in San Francisco means we can get a taste of the world without leaving the confines of the city.

Ever wanted to visit Japan or Italy? How about Morocco? Here are 14 international hotspots within SF city limits that’ll have you breezing through 11 separate countries.

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If you do happen to catch a flight overseas this summer, you may be interested in seeing how far $1,500 per month rent goes in other parts of the world compared to San Francisco (where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in June 2015 was $3,500 per month). Spoiler Alert: Cairo is the place to be if you want a skyline view with pyramids on a budget — Sorry, Transamerica!

 

Meredith Martin is a Broker Associate at Paragon Real Estate Group and can be reached at Meredith@OpeningDoors.me

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1,000 Things to do in San Francisco this Summer

 

Guests are coming, the kids are out of school, or you just want to do something different than usual. Summer has arrived in one of the most beautiful and multi-dimensional places on earth, and here is a wide variety of ideas for making the most of it.


Food & Drink

Top 100 Restaurants
Zagat’s Best
Outdoor Dining & Drinking
Best Meal Delivery
Best Breakfast
Best Brunch
Best Burritos
Best Sandwiches
Best Pizza
Best Hamburgers
Best Dim Sum
Best Bars
Beer Drinking
Coffee Drinking
More Coffee
Best Desserts!

Out & About

Things to Do
To Do with Kids
To Do in Oakland
To Do in Marin
In Napa & Sonoma

City Biking

Mountain Biking
City Walks
Best Views
Hiking Trails
Running Clubs

LGBT – To Do
Sunday Streets
City Parks
Dog Parks
Farmers’ Markets
Sports Teams
Sports Calendar

Arts & Culture

Arts & Entertainment
More Arts Events
Nightclubs
Music
Museums
Ballet
Opera
Symphony
Theater

 

Meredith Martin is a Broker Associate at Paragon Real Estate Group and can be reached at Meredith@OpeningDoors.me

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To Buy or to Rent: That is the Question

I was recently introduced to an international all-cash home buyer who had come to San Francisco for one week on a mission to find housing for his two young adult children. Initially looking at rentals in the Infinity, Ritz Carlton and AVA Nob Hill in addition to some properties on Nob Hill and Russian Hill, it wasn’t long before I was asked the question: Does it make more sense to buy a place?

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Unless you are fortunate to live in a rent controlled building, you may have noticed your monthly rent rise dramatically in recent years. Since July 2014, the annual growth rate of rents has in fact outpaced that of home prices in San Francisco. Checking in at $3,500 per month, the median rent for a one-bedroom has been the highest in the country for four months following a 13.5% rise last year (and up as much as 29.2% in Noe Valley). For many renters, what they pay out every month could easily be a mortgage payment on a comparable place– the monthly Principal + Interest on a $1,000,000 home is $3819.32, assuming 20% down and a 30-year mortgage fixed at 4%. Now consider that nearly half the properties for sale right now are listed for under $1,000,000.

Plugging in local San Francisco data (June 2015 sales figures) to the New York Times’ Rent vs. Buy calculator reveals some compelling numbers. Buying a condominium at June 2015’s $1,100,000 median sale price or a single-family home at the $1,301,000 median is a better financial decision even if you could rent for free!

 

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The assumptions I made in the above calculations are as follows:

  • Purchase price: $1,100,000 for condos, $1,301,000 for single-family homes
  • Length of time in home: 5 years
  • Mortgage Rate: 4%
  • Down payment: 20%
  • Length of Mortgage: 30 years
  • Home price growth rate: 14.3% for condos, 19.4% for single-family homes (12-month y-o-y average, the NYT calculator maxes out at 15%)
  • Rent growth rate: 13.5% (median one-bedroom increase in 2014)
  • Investment rate of return: 7% (approx. long-term average annual ROI of stocks)
  • Inflation Rate: 2%
  • Property tax rate: 1.19%
  • Marginal tax rate: 28%
  • Taxes filed on a Joint Return
  • Costs of buying a home: 3% (approx. closing costs)
  • Costs of selling a home: 8% (approx. closing costs + marketing + customary 5% commission to brokers)
  • Maintenance/renovation: 1%
  • Homeowner’s insurance: 0.1% (approx. $50-$100+ per month depending on property type)
  • Monthly utilities: $100
  • Monthly common fees: $600 for condos, $0 for single-family homes
  • Common fees deduction: 0%
  • Security Deposit: 1 month
  • Broker’s fee: 0%
  • Renter’s Insurance: 0.1%

Not a stranger to the costs involved in carrying a property (and the long-term wealth-building benefit of homeownership), my client weighed the trade-offs of buying in San Francisco vs. renting at a maximum $10,000 per month. And… drum roll, please… he found that buying was the better option for him!

San Francisco condominium median price growth, 2005 to present:

San Francisco single-family home median price growth, 2005 to present:

 

Meredith Martin is a Broker Associate at Paragon Real Estate Group and can be reached at Meredith@OpeningDoors.me

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Quantifying the ROI of San Francisco Real Estate

 

Just how much have San Francisco home values increased since the market recovery began? Try 76 percent!

 

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Clocking in at $1,160,000 and up half a million dollars since 2011, the growth of the city’s median combined home & condo price is nothing short of dramatic — and it’s not even the highest percentage appreciation in the Bay Area. Solano, Alameda and Contra Costa counties measure up with growth over 80%, and Oakland takes the cake at 133%. Checkout how median home and condo prices have increased across San Francisco neighborhoods:

 

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Year to date, there’s been a 144% increase in the number of single-family homes sold in San Francisco for $5,000,000 and above (44 units compared to 18 YTD in 2014). Consumer confidence is riding high and there’s a new breed of luxury homebuyer that favors comfort over opulence, as evidenced by neighborhoods like The Mission, Glen Park and Bernal Heights leading in appreciation.

The number of condo resales in the $2,000,000+ range is also up significantly YTD compared to last year. A total 107 units have sold so far in 2015 representing a 78% increase. Keep in mind that this number would be larger if sales at new luxury developments like LUMINA, 72 Townsend, Amero and Rockwell were counted. As it stands, Russian Hill holds its place as the most coveted neighborhood for condo buyers:

 
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CNN Money recently launched this interactive calculator below allowing homeowners to compare the appreciation of their property to the returns of stocks, bonds and the average US home. Click here to plug in your numbers and see the results.

 

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With so much hype in the media about the unaffordability of San Francisco real estate as the prices reach new record highs month after month, there’s a surprising truth: the annual cost of a mortgaged median price house is actually lower now than at the last peak in 2007. You can thank historically low mortgage interest rates for that!

 

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Meredith Martin is a Broker Associate at Paragon Real Estate Group and can be reached at Meredith@OpeningDoors.me

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Pacific Heights New Construction

Pacific Heights may not be the first San Francisco neighborhood that comes to mind when you think of new condominium developments. Of the 8,028 new housing units filed with the city’s Planning Department in 2014, only a small fraction are slated for the tony enclave of grand mansions and architectural masterpieces. So when new inventory hits the market here, you can bet it’s going to sell quick!

Since the release of its first phase of luxury residences just two months ago, the brand new Rockwell in Pacific Heights at the intersection of Pine and Franklin streets has sold more than 100 of its combined 260 condominiums in two adjacent towers. Currently, Rockwell’s West Tower is about 75% sold, prompting sales to begin in the East Tower ahead of schedule. While the simple principle of supply and demand undoubtedly plays a large part in this impressive sales record, the appeal of the development’s amenities to today’s homebuyer isn’t to be discounted. From the Grand Solarium lobby to the Owner’s Club entertaining space to the screening room to the fitness center to the indoor-outdoor Sky Lounge and Terrace, Rockwell is proof that Pacific Heights can be just as modern and sexy as South of Market, South Beach and Mission Bay.

San Francisco Business Times

In recent months, the price of new construction in San Francisco’s southern neighborhoods has pushed as high as $2,000 per square foot, making that at Rockwell appear a relative bargain. With one-bedroom residences starting in the mid-$700,000s and two-bedrooms (which all include on-site parking) from around $1,200,000, the place is commanding approximately $1,200 per square foot — right on par with current resale values of similar condominiums in the neighborhood:

Before the first move-ins take place at Rockwell, another new condominium development will begin selling. 2121 Webster, also known at The Pacific, is planned to include a mix of 76 one- to four-bedroom residences, penthouses and townhouses plus world-class amenities. Please contact me for more information and stay tuned for the latest buzz.

Meredith Martin is a Broker Associate at Paragon Real Estate Group and can be reached at Meredith@OpeningDoors.me

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