This corner of Van Ness offers a portrait of extremes: 100 Van Ness is huge, gleaming, and freshly minted, while its eventual neighbor next door is still a mere crater populated by steam shovels. Once finished it will be the site of 419 new homes. Clark Construction estimated “substantial completion” in February, but it doesn’t look like they’re anywhere close to making that mark.
Pretty much every article from respected economic sources is painting a rosy picture for the results of 2016 as well as the outlook for 2017, with a few caveats.
2016 saw unemployment fall in 271 of 387 urban markets while payroll jobs expanded in 303. Real GDP was revised upwards for 2016 by the Federal Reserve Bank in December to 1.9% and is projected at 2.2% for 2017.
However, it is difficult to predict how significantly some recent changes in economic and monetary policy and actions at the federal level will impact the economy in general and real estate specifically. The first change is the rapid rise in long term interest rates, which are up 0.5% since early November. The second is the dramatic appreciation in the value of the dollar in the same time frame, up 2.5% against the Canadian Dollar, 7.2% against the Euro, and 15.7% against the Yen.
How might these affect the real estate market in San Francisco and the Bay Area? Well, rising interest rates affect a lot more than just home mortgages. They dampen business investment and feed inflation. Rising inflation can have a damaging effect on the economy because it can become part of vicious cycle of rising interest rates fueling inflation which drives higher interest rates, and so on. We have been in that paradigm before and it can take a terrible toll on both the economy and real estate values. As interest rates rise, property values fall (as I discussed in our November report).
Right now, our economy is being driven mainly by strong consumer spending. And while there has been a lot of talk about big infrastructure spending by the new administration, any positive impact on the economy from that will be felt in 2018 and beyond. So, if consumer confidence weakens from concern over rising inflation, or if purchasing power erodes because of it, the economy will suffer.
The charts on the following pages graphically depict this message: San Francisco remains a strong sellers market, with incredibly low inventory of both homes and condos. Median sales prices ended the year up 8.2% for single family homes and down 7.7% for condo/lofts. At $1,300,000 and $1,011,000, respectively, both are below their peaks earlier in the year (October $1,402,500 homes; June $1,162,500 condo/lofts). However, given the incredibly low inventory, it is likely that prices will strengthen as the Spring selling season starts.
Furthermore, 2016 research from MGIC Connects shows single women representing the second-largest home-buying group, right behind married couples. This is even more impressive when you consider wage inequality, which is still a country-wide issue. In 2015, women made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men working a comparable job-a gender wage gap of a shocking 20 percent.
So, women are kicking butt in the housing market. But who are these ladies? According to NAR’s 2015 Profile of Buyers and Sellers report, the median age of the single female buyer is 32 years old, and their median income is $49,000. But it’s not just 30-something ladies purchasing their homes solo, but baby boomers, divorced and out on their own, or downsizing from a family home they no longer need.
What’s in store for the future of female-owned housing? When you consider the consistent rise in the educated woman (meaning higher-paying jobs and more opportunities), well, things are looking pretty peachy.
Source: By Zoe Eisenberg, RISMedia read more →
Once upon a time, the neighborhoods west of Van Ness were full of Italianate Victorians with boxy frames but classy facades.
Then 1906 came along, and most of those Gold Rush and post Gold Rush-era homes went the way of so much rubble and kindling. Another sacrifice to the gods of tectonic upheaval.
But the prize home at 467 Oak, aka the Russell Warren House, endured; in fact, it has lasted through almost everything the city can throw at it since its original construction in 1875. (Or so; dating the place more precisely is tricky business.)
That makes it legitimately one of the oldest intact homes in San Francisco. Its latest challenge: Finding a buyer for the $1.95 million it listed for today.
Actually, the historic Oak Street home is a duplex, and if you’re a bit shy of a bit shy of $2 million, each individual unit is up for $979,000. The entire building last sold in 2004 for just over $1.1 million.
Russell Warren is the name of a noted New England architect most famous for his Greek revival homes in his native Rhode Island and surrounding states.
But, according to the paperwork filed in 1983, when the Russell Warren house made it onto the National Registry of Historic Places, we’re not talking about the same Russell Warren here.
Turns out an architect with the exact same name was working on the West Coast at the exact same time, responsible for three dozen San Francisco homes, mostly in this style
In fact, this was Warren’s own home at time. The ‘83 assessment called it “one of the best examples in scale and detail” of its style, and “recalling the glory of modified Renaissance and Mannerist Italian palaces.”
A more contemporary assessment—via the upstairs unit’s Airbnb ad for $125/night—notes its trendy Hayes Valley location and the old school charm of its chandeliers, crown moldings, and marble fireplace.
(Although someone did away with the lower flat’s marble hearth in the ‘40s. But since one generation’s practicality is another’s retro charm, the brick one they built in its place doesn’t look so bad either.)
And if potential buyers are looking for one additional plum, the listing notes that city law allows unique leeway for condo conversion of two-unit buildings.
Of course, the historic status of the old place would make that job order a bit harder to fill. But where there’s a will, there’s often a plausible route to entitlements.
A look at San Francisco’s skyline these days provokes an inevitable question: Are we really using all of those cranes? The answer, of course, is not only yes, it’s a resounding, “Yes, and,” as smaller but no less ambitious new buildings and are coming together below skyline level too.
This is just a sample of works in progress concentrated around Market Street. There is, of course, many projects happening elsewhere; however, we would require more than one map to get to everything. Here now are the biggest things happening in San Francisco’s wild construction scene.
1 150 Van Ness
2 Trinity Place
The images of the swirling Venus statue at Trinity Place Apartments plastered outside are quite a smart bit of showmanship for the enormous and still in-progress Arquitectonica building. The installed statue is actually public art, but won’t be open to the public until construction on the surrounding buildings finishes. When all is said and done, Trinity will yield 2,000 units, but this is only the third of four buildings they’re working on right now.
3 99 Rausch
The enormous barricade of scaffolding facing Langton Street right now is actually pretty impressive in its own right, although if you want a closer look at what the finished facade of this future 112-unit, one-two punch of a building pair will look like, just peek around the corner.
4 L Seven
To get a good sense on how 350 Eighth Street is coming along, you have to remember how enormous an undertaking it actually is: 3.5 acres, eight buildings, and 410 homes, arranged in a kind of block-wide O. That’s about as hefty as a SoMa deal gets these days. Much of it sits waiting behind tarps, but it’s not clear yet whether they’ll hit their old end-of-2016 completion goal.
5 Market Street Place
The long-promised retail extravaganza on Market, boasting 375,000 square feet, has risen slowly but surely behind the plywood barriers, with gleaming glass storefronts seemingly ready to welcome their first initiates. But the advertised “Fall 2016” open dating is clearly going to have to be revised, as there’s only a few weeks left.
6 Bill Sorro Community
If all of the market-rate housing along Market has you worried about rising housing costs, Mercy Housing has a drop of mercy in the form of this soon-to-be nine story affordable development along Howard. The central crane casts quite an imposing shadow over the nearby alleys and businesses right now.
7 923 Folsom
This 120-unit building makes for something of a mystery right now, mostly shrouded on the outside. Once the wrappings eventually come away, the SCB renderings suggest a face radically different from the older SoMa classic-style buildings around it.
8 Central Subway
This year saw station work begun in earnest, with walls erected in the eventual Union Square station on Stockton and demolition clearing the path in Chinatown. But it’s still a long way to 2019.
9 Mexican Museum
After a decade of waiting, the Mexican Museum will soon have a new home (assuming you understand “soon” to mean 2019). But of course, the really big news here is that Millennium Partners finally caved (if you’ll pardon the term) and agreed to dig its foundation to bedrock.
10 Moscone Center
Swamped with conventions every year, Moscone Center is spending $4 million to beef itself up to over 770,000 square feet of space. You can check on its progress with the site’s live cam if you’re curious (although we notice that it’s sometimes not actually live at all).
11 350 Bush Street
350 Bush was a giant hole in the ground on the edge of Chinatown for decades, after political jockeying torpedoed real estate giant Shorenstein’s original plans there. Every subsequent time someone else was about ready to break ground on it, the economy would tank, until the present, 19-story, Heller Manus-designed building (which saves much of the historic but rundown Mining Exchange building) finally made good in 2014. Most of the building facade is in place, but the upper levels remain bare and the interior of the Exchange remains a hot construction zone.
12 Transbay Block 9
And we break right through into the middle of the South Beach/Transbay hub, where the city will add more housing within a few blocks than it did for many previous years altogether. This in-process SOM designed building alone will yield over 500 units, and at 40 stories it’s one of the least ambitious of the bunch.
13 Transbay Block 8
The final design for this 55 story housing high-rise is not quite so dramatic as its original OMA look of a skyscraper “cut to pieces and reassembled.” Not that you can tell from its present state of gradual assembly, of course
14 Transbay Terminal
If you haven’t checked lately, note that the adorable mini-Bay Bridge ramp that will soon ferry buses to the actual bridge (and sail right over traffic below) is in the midst of installation, and as petitely charming as promised.
15 181 Fremont
You’d probably expect us to close with Salesforce Tower, but as the glass skin crawls further up its tilted frame, we find we’re more and more partial to the sleek and cutting look of this 70-tower office/luxe residential high rise. Salesforce might get all of the ink, but this one will steal the most hearts. Stunning.