Archive for March, 2010

Is Mid-Market Priming for a New Beginning?


Last October things were better for David Addington. Last October the Atlanta-bred real estate developer had legislation snowballing through San Francisco; a proposition that would, he hoped, turn this neighborhood around. If all had gone according to plan, Proposition D would have allowed for lighted signage and general advertising, the kind explicitly banned throughout the city, along a troubled three-block stretch of Market Street. If all had gone according to plan, Addington says Proposition D would have earned Mid-Market an estimated $100 million for neighborhood improvement projects and community betterment.

But as we know it didn’t go accordingly, and became another example of a failed development plan that has been shot down by politics, local property owners, and activist.

For decades redevelopment efforts have failed Mid-Market Street, time and time again. Plagued with the cities most embarrassing social and criminal problems, it has many questioning what exactly is it going to take in order to restore order and life in the area?

Currently on the table is a new promise from Mayor Newsom’s office, to partner with local property and business owners to facilitate change in the form of $11.5 million in federal grant moneys. If so, it would be a new beginning of adding more space for the arts and will create that idyllic central city artery that was envisioned more than 150 years ago.

Check out the full article by SFAppeal.

What Will It Take To Save Mid-Market [SFAppeal]


555 Washington St. Project Continues to Move Forward

Developers of the project, 555 Washington St. won the first round of approvals, over a conterversial 430-foot condominium tower on the same block as San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid.

The city’s Planning Commission narrowly approved the environmental study for the controversial project at 555 Washington St. by a 4-3 vote, but not before commissioners clashed repeatedly, including over how much the tower would shadow parks, whether it would kill nearby redwood trees, even whether a “reduction of interior house plants” could stop birds from slamming into the proposed building’s glass facade.

Aegon USA, which owns the Transamerica Pyramid and the entire block bounded by Clay and Washington and Sansome and Montgomery streets, wants to demolish a nine-story office building at 545 Sansome St. and a single-story building nearby to make way for an ecofriendly 248-unit condo tower and underground parking garage.

They also had a dustup over delaying a vote on land use approvals because there wasn’t proper public notification on one of the items. They were postponed until April 15.

Full article here

Controversial Condo Project Moves Forward [SFGATE]


Top 5 Housing Markets Ripe for Recovery — SF Rated #1

I can’t vouch for the math, nor do I necessarily fully agree – but I like the kudos nonetheless.

The Today Show rated San Francisco as the #1 housing market ripe for recovery. Barbara Corcoran, their RE expert, did a superb job  showing  which cities she felt were the top 5 city home markets which were stabilizing and poised for recovery. She used the following as her criteria for evaluation:

  • affordability
  • low rate of foreclosures
  • appreciation (per NAR)
  • strong job mkt & low unemployment

Top 5

#5 – Charleston, West Virginia

#4 – Memphis, TN (prices went up 21% due to jobs — & Fed-X now there)

#3 – Phoenix, AZ (was 1st city to drop in price — median price is $144K now, so affordable for many)

#2 – Pittsburg, PA (up 5% in last year alone — they’ve invited in various industries, much like we have here in SF, and so it sustains them and attracts jobs and workers — and city really cleaned up too)

#1 – San Francisco, CA — THE #1 PICK in the U.S.!!!! (attractive internationally too — she said we were hit hard early in the downturn — it’s the most popular city to migrate to).

5 Housing Markets Ripe for Recovery [Today Show]


Not as Many SF Real Estate Deals Falling Through

Patrick Carlise, from Paragon Real Estate Group, prepared a rough analysis of the SF real estate deal fall-through rate, by comparing the # of properties going under contract to the # closing sale. He tracked the UC/Solds data with a 1 month gap (factoring in an average 30-day escrow period), comparing, for example, the number of homes that went under contract from February through July, with the number of homes that closed sale in March through August. Not a perfect analysis, but still useful.

As you can see in the chart below, Patrick claims that before the financial markets meltdown of 9/08, the deal fall-through rate was very low: Only about 2% or 1 in 50 deals falling through. Everybody got a loan, appraisals never a problem, little buyer uncertainty.

Jumping forward 12 months, after the meltdown, but at the beginning of the spring recovery, the fall-through rate more than tripled — extremely difficult financing environment, manifold appraisal difficulties, buyer remorse cancellations, and the beginning of short-sales in the city (which, though a relatively small percentage of overall sales still have a very high fall-through rate): 6.7% as a percentage of deals, about 1 in 15 deals falling through, says Patrick.

Then most recently, the fall-through rate drops by a third to about 4.4%, 1 in 23 deals, (still more than twice the percentage in 2008) because though financing is still difficult, it’s not quite as impossible as before (and we’re more prepared for it) and the buyer remorse cancellations have fallen. On the other hand, the number of short sales is increasing, though supposedly they’re getting easier to close than in the past.


SF Deal Fall Through Rates [Patrick Carlisle-Paragon Real Estate Group]


Significant Uptick in February’s Market Activity

SF Home Listings Accepting Offers

February’s Statistics Indicate a Strengthening Market.

Considering February is a short month (with 2 national holidays), market demand was comparable to the highest levels we’ve seen in the past 18 months. February’s number was 50% higher than January, 80% higher than one year ago (during the market’s dark days), and 12% above February 2008.

For more February statistics check out my March Newsletter.