Tuesday, January 31, 2006

From SF Association of Realtors: Supervisors Approve Daly’s Conversion Legislation, but...

The following news update comes from the San Francisco Association of Realtors.

Supervisors Approve Daly’s Conversion Legislation, but...

The Board of Supervisors has approved legislation proposed by Supervisor Chris Daly amending Subdivision Code Section 1332 to require Planning Commission hearings to address General Plan consistency for all condominium conversion applications subject to the condominium conversion lottery. Mayor Gavin Newsom has indicated that he plans to veto the proposed legislation. Since four supervisors (the number required to sustain a mayoral veto) have indicated that they will support the mayor’s veto, the proposed legislation would seem to be doomed.

Earlier, Supervisor Daly had proposed a moratorium on all condominium conversions but the proposal failed to gain much political traction. His most recent proposal is widely regarded as an attempt to accomplish indirectly what he was unable to accomplish directly. Support for that point of view is provided by the following two General Plan “priority policies” that the Planning Commission could always use to reject conversion applications:

  • That existing housing and neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods; and

  • That the City’s supply of affordable housing be preserved and enhanced.

The Association opposed Supervisor Daly’s latest condominium conversion proposal and requested Mayor Newsom to veto the legislation for the following reasons:

  • There is no evidence that the current process is not working; and

  • The Planning Commission will be forced to disapprove all condominium conversion applications because of the city’s priority policies, resulting in a de facto moratorium.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Two Great Online Sites for Finding Homes in San Francisco

The problem homebuyers have with using the San Francisco MLS is that it its search format is cumbersome. Additionally, unless the MLS is accessed via a realty website that requires logging on, the searches aren't saved. And what's a District anyway? And why doesn't it match my neighborhood's political District? Overall, the MLS isn't very intuitive nor very user-friendly.

There are two great websites out there now that can take away the frustration and facilitate your coordination of a Sunday open house tours (of course, so can your Realtor). Basically, these websites sort every piece of data stored on the Multiple Listing Service and offer a simple search format. Unless you prefer the ritual of getting up Sunday morning to get a cup of coffee at the local cafe while combing the Sunday classifieds, you may want to take advantage of these sites:

Sundaydash.com is a simple search site that will map out all of the upcoming publicized open houses. The properties matching your criteria are listed in a color-coded menu that matches the location colors in the map. By clicking either on the map or the detail menu, an information box will pop-up and provide the address of the property and a photo if available. By clicking on the "more info" link, you can see further details about the property.

Trulia Real Estate Search is a categorized list of current properties. Property details are clumped into neighborhoods, price ranges, number of bedrooms, and so on. This is ideal for someone who is deadset on a location, square footage, or a particular price point, because it eliminates having to scroll through what you don't want to find what you do want.

Have more questions regarding San Francisco real estate? Contact me today for honest, experienced answers.
Amy Blakeley, Realtor
(415)296-2173 Direct

Nationwide Foreclosures Increased in 2005

From Realtor© Online Magazine:

National Foreclosures Up in 2005(January 24, 2006) --
The U.S. residential foreclosure inventory saw gains in each quarter of 2005, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.
Between the first three months and the last three, the number of new foreclosures ramped up 25 percent—with a total of 846,982 homes entering some stage of the process last year. However, RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio stresses that, although seemingly high, the number of properties entering foreclosure actually represents fewer than 1 percent of all American households.

The report identifies Florida as the state with the highest foreclosure rate. Its 121,843 reported foreclosures accounted for more than 14 percent of the nationwide total for 2005, according to RealtyTrac. Florida was followed in foreclosure activity, respectively, by Colorado, Utah, and Texas. Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the 10 highest in the country included Indiana and Ohio. Among the states reporting the highest number of new foreclosures, meanwhile, were California, Illinois, New York, and Michigan.

"Over the past few years, we've seen historically low mortgage rates, consistently escalating home prices, and steady, strong employment," Saccacio notes. "This has translated into relatively low levels of foreclosure properties, particularly bank-owned properties. With interest rates rising and an apparent slowing of property valuations in most markets, we'll be watching closely to see if there's a material effect on the number of foreclosures in 2006."
Source: Inman News Features (01/23/06)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mayor Newsom Vetoes Disclosure Bill

Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed one of the two bills that would impact the real estate market this past Friday. The bill, which would force sellers to advise of evictions of tenants with protected status, was approved by the Board of Supervisors last week. Read the SF Chronicle article here.

Word is in the air that Mayor Newsom will aslo veto the second bill, a bill which proposes all TIC conversions be approved by the Planning Commission, a lenghty process currently focused on properties with 5 or more units.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

SF TIC Conversion In Danger

If you own a TIC in San Francisco, it's time for you to get vocal with your Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Chris Daly has proposed two bills that will dramatically increase the difficulty of condo conversion for all TIC owners, even those who currently can bypass the Condominium Lottery.

This Chronicle article outlines the two Condo bills, which have both received initial approval from the Board of Supervisors. One bill would subject all TIC owners who want to convert to condominiums to a review and approval of the Planning Commission. Currently only buildings with five or more units must undergo this process. The second bill, designed to slow the conversion of multi-unit rental housing into TICs, would make property sellers disclose information about prior tenant evictions.

Granted, this is the type of scenario we Realtors try to explain to TIC buyers when talking about the larger degree of risk than other types of property ownership. If these bills pass, people who have purchased TICs with a certain expectation of how long it will take to convert to a condominium may see a dramatic change. How the outcome of these bills will impact the TIC and condominium markets remains to be seen.

Regardless, TIC owners who do not want want to see dramatic (negative) change in the conversion process, would best protect themselves by becoming incredibly vocal with their respective District Supervisors. Below is a contact list for District Supervisors.

District 1 Jake McGoldrick 554-7410 jake.mcgoldrick@sfgov.org
District 2 Michela Alioto-Pier 554-7752 michela.alioto-pier@sfgov.org
District 3 Aaron Peskin 554-7450 aaron.peskin@sfgov.org
District 4 Fiona Ma 554-7460 fiona.ma@sfgov.org
District 5 Ross Mirkarimi 554-7630 ross.mirkarimi@sfgov.org
District 6 Chris Daly 554-7970 chris.daly@sfgov.org
District 7 Sean Elsbernd 554-6516 sean.elsbernd@sfgov.org
District 8 Bevan Dufty 554-6968 bevan.dufty@sfgov.org
District 9 Tom Ammiano 554-5144 tom.ammiano@sfgov.org
District 10 Sophie Maxwell 554-7670 sophie.maxwell@sfgov.org
District 11 Gerardo Sandoval 554-6975 gerardo.sandoval@sfgov.org

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

THE BUZZ, 2005 THE WHISPERS, 2006 - SF Chronicle

This article from Jan 1 San Francisco Chronicle nicely sums up the 2005 real estate market, but doesn't really venture to predict what 2006 will look like.

Over the last quarter of 2005, there was an obvious shift in Buyer attitude. Fewer houses received multiple offers, and it was clear that with the slow increase in interest rates and the mad race for housing over the past few years, buyers stopped jumping to own just anything, but were truly searching for value. Sellers, on the other hand, were slow to accept and acquiesce to the cooling of the market, which led to some properties remaining on the market for a record number of days.

In 2006 we can continue to see Buyers holding back as inventory remains stagnant. Once the current inventory of properties begins to wane and the Spring housing market begins renewed, activity will most likely become more robust.

Have more questions regarding San Francisco real estate? Contact me today for honest, experienced answers.
Amy Blakeley, Realtor
(415)296-2173 Direct