Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Real Estate Crash: How's Your City Doing?

A provocative infographic tracks peak to trough home value fluctuation in 21 markets across the U.S. from 2000 to 2009.

Regarding the San Francisco chart, one comment queries, "I'd love to know what area falls into the San Francisco bucket. Everything from the city down to San Jose is pretty solid...maybe -5% tops."

This seems to be true in my neighborhood, at least for the moment. A 1000 square foot Victorian era cottage with no parking and a washer/dryer that required walking outside and around the house to access was on the market for one week and sold for an $875,000 asking price. That's $875 a square foot. This astounded everyone in my building, given the state of the economy.

One caveat to keep in mind. The co-author of the article is Henry Blodget, the controversial equity research analyst who achieved fame during the dot com boom and is now barred from working in the securities industry. He has parlayed his insights and infamy into consulting work, and is the Co-Founder and and Editor in Chief of the blog Silicon Alley Insider.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Does the Tenants Union Own the Board of Supervisors?

It is incomprehensible to me how the Board of Supervisors could pass the so called "Renters Economic Relief Package." I agree that the government should have regulations in place ensuring that landlords maintain buildings in order to maintain a basic standard for tenant health and safety. But that's it. Where do these people get off telling property owners that they need to accept sub-tenants and hardship cases who cannot afford rent? If you can't afford to live in the City why don't you... move to Sacramento? Who says anyone has the right to live in any particular place? You live where you can afford to live. Hopefully Newsom will veto this nonsense.

For those who are not aware, according to the Tenants Union website this package of amendments to the city’s rent control law consists of three parts:
•Suspend any rent increases which will cause a tenant’s rent to exceed 33% of their income if the tenant is unemployed, has had wages cut or is living on a fixed income and has not received a cost of living increase. This provision expands the law’s existing provision which enables the Rent Board to suspend rent increases based on “tenant hardship” by expanding when a tenant can apply for hardship and defining hardship as any rent increase which would cause a tenant’s rent to exceed 33% of their gross income.
•Expand the rights of tenants to add roommates to help pay the rent. This provision will let tenants bring in roommates so that the rent will be more affordable. The number of roommates would be limited by San Francisco Housing Code provisions which establish occupancy limits based on the size and number of bedrooms in an apartment. Currently landlords are able to limit the number of tenants to levels below what the law allows.
•Limit the amount of “banked” rent increases which can be imposed in any one year. Current law allows landlords, to “bank” annual rent increases and impose them all at once at a later date, often resulting in rent increases of 20% or more. This provision will limit these banked rent increases to no more than 8% in any one year.

West American Mortgage Response

I queried West American Mortgage about the 5.875% percent fractional loan rate they have advertised for 735 Geary. The TIC loans available through West American at that rate are only for this one specific building as the owner is the backer for the financing.