Archive for the ‘bubble blogging’ Category

Gold Rush Real Estate: Then & Now

Portsmouth Square, 1851

Portsmouth Square, 1851

 

When writer Bayard Taylor arrived in San Francisco by ship in the summer of 1849 and began chronicling the Gold Rush economy in his dispatches for the New-York Daily Tribune, he feared nobody would believe him. The imbalance of supply and demand for basic essentials — food, tools, clothing, equipment — was riding high, driving prices to astronomical levels–

 

“There were reports of canteens charging a dollar for a slice of bread or two if it was buttered, the equivalent of $56. A dozen eggs might cost you $90 at today’s prices; a pick axe would be the equivalent of $1,500; a pound of coffee $1,200 and a pair of boots as much as $3,000…”Smithsonian

 

In today’s economy — booming not with gold but with technology — even San Francisco locals are in disbelief to learn the premiums being paid for another commodity in short supply: real estate. In sharp contrast with current times, mid-19th century SF was a largely rural setting with abundant raw land awaiting the development of businesses, homes and infrastructure. Now, there’s practically nowhere to build up — and when it comes to homes prices here in one of America’s richest cities, the sky is the limit.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at some Gold Rush era properties that have hit the market in recent years and their inflation adjusted prices. They’ll have you wishing you could travel back in time!

 

1032 Broadway Street, Nob Hill

Year Built: 1853

2015 List Price: $12,000,000

Inflation Adjusted 1853 Price: $434,813.47

1032 broadway

 

 

1948 Sutter Street, Lower Pacific Heights

Year Built: 1858

2006 Sales Price: $2,405,000

Inflation Adjusted 1858 Price: $115,151.52

1948 sutter

 

 

816 Grove Street, Alamo Square

Year Built: 1850

2004 Sales Price: $1,650,000

Inflation Adjusted 1850 Price: $75,370.45

816 grove

 

 

10 Napier Lane, Telegraph Hill

Year Built: 1855

2012 Sales Price: $810,000

Inflation Adjusted 1855 Price: $32,849.01

10 napier

 

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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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Million Dollar Affordable Housing. Only in San Francisco.

 

No San Francisco neighborhood has so squarely positioned itself at the epicenter of opposition to rising housing costs than the Mission District. Of course, housing un-affordability is but one of many rapid changes in the neighborhood, and seeking legislative action is but one response (sidebar: remember when protestors were blocking tech shuttles?) — and median home prices have soared 76% citywide since 2011! For now, let’s take a focused look at some of the real estate sales dynamics in the Mission.

August 2007, at the peak pre-recession height of local real estate, a TIC at 901 Guerrero Street (below) sold for $955,000. The 3-bed and 1.5-bath Edwardian was purchased for 12.5% more that its list price and in 26 days on the market.

 

326274

 

Earlier this year, in February 2015, I represented the buyer of 901 Guerrero Street sold for $1,650,000. This time, the property returned favorable to the market with a fresh coat of paint, a successful condo-conversion on the record, and convenient proximity to “every tech bus.” The winning bid (of course there were competing offers!) after only eight days on the market came in at 18% over asking. The San Francisco Chronicle even wrote about it.

 

429044

 

Given that 901 Guerrero did have a significant value-adding improvement between 2007 and 2015, consider still that its 2015 price is nearly 75% higher than at the previous peak. It’s not uncommon for properties to be improved from one sale to the next, and it makes sense that those properties will sell for higher prices, all else equal. Couple that with record-low inventory and cash investors, and now not even techies (let alone teachers) can compete as homebuyers. Since 901 Guerrero Street sold, I’ve seen comparable properties in the neighborhood sell for even higher. What’s a city like San Francisco with its economy supercharged by the high-tech boom to do?

There appears to be a “try everything” approach in the works for the Mission.

First, a ballot initiative calling for an 18-month moratorium on new market-rate residential developments in the Mission has been approved for the November 2015 ballot. If passed, the effect of the moratorium on neighborhood home prices can be debated. Because the overwhelming majority of housing in the Mission is market-rate which is favored by homebuyers, constraining supply could drive prices of existing homes higher. Alternately, negative attitudes toward an influx of affordable housing could lead residents to leave for other neighborhoods and influence homebuyers to buy elsewhere, ultimately hurting market-rate resale values.

Second, the city is feeling pressure to build more affordable housing units right now. Such developments, like 490 South Van Ness at 16th Street, are permanently reserved for low-income, median-income and moderate-income residents. Below Market Rate housing is purchased for a fraction of market value– not a single unit has sold in the Mission since March 2014 (and a 2-bedroom BMR condo in the Inner Mission is listed right now for just under $450,000). Plus, projects like these can take a year or more to construct once ground is broken, meanwhile the price of affordable housing continues to rise with $15 minimum wage.

Lastly, flood the market with new housing units of all kinds to help meet demand and stabilize prices as quickly as possible. There are 26 residential developments planned for the Mission and a few have begun construction (see the entire pipeline of residential projects in San Francisco here). Still, the pace of new units coming to the market pales in comparison to the city’s growth of employed residents (yes, people can afford to relocate to San Francisco even with housing costs as they are). Some sites available in the Mission could be bought by the city for affordable housing, and the proposed moratorium would give it enough time to organize and fund the investment.

 

A 2015 Yale School of Management survey of recent home buyers found that a quarter of San Francisco respondents has the extravagant expectation for annual home price increases of 10% or more annually for the next 10 years. Although more likely be closer to 5%, it could happen. In 20+ years working locally in real estate, I’ve learned to never underestimate the voracity of the San Francisco market. I’m of the opinion San Francisco median price trends are headed the direction of Tokyo, Sydney and London toward $3,000 per square foot. Before we get there, though, we may find ourselves asking sooner rather than later: When does an affordable housing unit cost a million dollars?

 

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

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Battle of the Blogs Part Deux: Nightline ABC tonight

So even though they cut my section – editor’s prerogative – we are fully endorsing checking out Nightline on ABC tonight as they are interviewing a certain housing bubble blogger vs Ken Rosen, a professor and chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at the University of California at Berkeley, who said Killelea’s math is wrong. “The advice not to buy a house is very bad advice.”

Should be interesting.

Watch the story tonight on “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. EDT (I would’ve given you a longer ‘head’s up’ but I just fielded the call from the producer today at 3pm (and found out that my segment had been cut AND that it was airing tonight)… if you miss it – don’t worry here’s the link…

‘Bubble Blogger’ Takes on Housing Market

Of course we think it’s a pity they don’t have someone airing who is actually interacting with real live buyers; because despite what some may imply my buyers were neither born yesterday – nor are susceptible to being ‘talked’ into a huge investment just because I am enthusiastic about living in San Francisco.

Still, I was a little irritated as I sprung for a big hair/makeup session for nothing, (AND I’ve forewent my beloved Colbert Report, who recently hijacked Maureen Dowd’s Column at the New York Times in the piece A Mock Columnist, Amok – laugh outloud funny if you haven’t read it) to watch Nightline.

The good news is I got reacquainted with ABC who, to be perfectly honest, (which I usually am to the point of being blunt), I left for dead. I have to say I’ve learned a few things these past 10 days that I did not already know and they have proven to my critical eye to be great at reporting both sides fairly. I wonder if Patrick will agree…

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