Archive for April, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities – A breakdown of Active Listings in San Francisco

Tuesday Tour and Tax Day prompted me to run a few numbers on the Active Listings in San Francisco. The total number of active real estate listings, not pending or contingent, and excluding any of the numerous new development listings that are not currently in the multiple listing service, totals 1545.

What caught my attention was the fact that close to half of all listings in San Francisco (42% to be exact) are in Districts 9 and 10 whereas only 58% of all active listings are in the entire rest of the city Districts 1-8.

On some levels the contrast is not as sharp as it initially appears, only in so much as Districts 9 and 10, which include South of Market, Potrero Hill, Bernal Heights, Mission Bay, Excelsior, Bayview, and Hunters Point take up geographically a large percentage of the actual land mass of the city and county of San Francisco, so one would expect there to be more listings.

Originally, I was looking to find, out of all the Active listings, what percentage had gone through price reductions (roughly 5%). However there was such a huge difference in the number of price reductions on a District by District basis that I ended up snooping further (District 9 had by far the most at 7% vs more or less 4% on average for the rest of the Districts in the city).
What do I make of it?

Looking for the best negotiating room in San Francisco….head South. The Northern portions of the city are still seeing multiple offers for move-in condition well priced product. If you’re a Seller and you need to sell in South of Market – price it appropriately (well that goes for all of SF really, mistakes are just going to be more forgiving in the traditional neighborhoods).


S.F. OKs plan for 6,000 housing units

From today’s SFGate,

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved two plans Tuesday that would add high-rises and thousands of residents to the upper Market Street area.

The first plan is a sweeping rezoning of the so-called Market-Octavia area, which stretches up both sides of Market Street from Ninth Street to Noe Street. The effort is nearly eight years in the making and was inspired by the demolition of the Central Freeway and its ramps extending north and west from Market Street following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The city Planning Department sought to remake the area with an emphasis on walking and public transportation by concentrating new housing close to major transit stops. The zoning allows developers to construct buildings that pack more residential units into a project, including boosting tower heights from 20 stories to 40 stories on some parcels near the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Market Street.

Officials estimate the plan could mean an additional 6,000 housing units in the Market-Octavia area. [more…]

S.F. OKs plan for 6,000 housing units [SFGate]
Progress on Octavia Boulevard housing? [SFHomeBlog]
RFPs issued for Octavia Boulevard housing parcels [SFHomeBlog]
Market-Octavia plan mired in red tape [SFHomeBlog]


Sex in the City – San Francisco Real Estate Condo Rules

This question came from the current Davis-Sterling newsletter (titled ‘Renter Headaches’), a legal update written for homeowners associations.  For some reason (I can’t think why), it caught my eye.  More importantly, it reminded me that I haven’t yet clued those of you who own, rent, or invest in California condominiums into this valuable resource yet.

QUESTION: We have an owner who has been observed engaging in sex with a female guest at the pool. Can we immediately suspend his pool privileges, or do we have to schedule a hearing prior to the suspension?

ANSWER: You cannot suspend privileges without a hearing.

There are a myriad of reasons to stay informed, and while most associations endeavor to be reasonable it is important to know both what your Associations rules are, and what is and is not legal in enforcing them.

Many people don’t realize that homeowners associations can, and sometimes do, initiate and foreclose on a property for non-payment of HOA dues. Rules an association adopts can impact not only the pets you can have, but the length of time you can sign a lease as well as if you can even lease your condo at all (some associations have a maximum of 75% owner to renter ratios). Is it legal to ban smoking in individual condominium units, not just in the common areas? It is, and the entire city of Belmont recently did so. Here in San Francisco, at the Bridgeview in South Beach (400 Beale Street), the homeowners narrowly defeated a proposal to ban smoking on private patios.

The newsletter also features some great real estate humor

To sign up for the newsletter or simply to access their previous newsletter articles, some of which are amusing, all of which are highly informative go to


Divisadero Streetscaping to begin in Spring 2009

A HUGE project is going to hit Divisadero Street next spring, with repaving happening from Castro to Sutter, and a large-scale redesign of sidewalks and medians from Waller to Geary.

The project will add width and trees to the medians, new streetlights, wider sidewalks, better bus stops, and corner ‘bulbs’ that will make for a more pedestrian-friendly experience in this now-hot neighborhood street that is full of great restaurants and shops.

See the Department of Public Works site for more details, or this Powerpoint presentation that has great mock-ups of the streetscape work to be done, and some examples of other streets that have had similar work done in recent years.

SF Department of Public Works [official site]
Divisadero Streetscape Project (PDF) [SF DPW]