I’m going to make you cry…and then I’m going to make you cry more. Here’s how: Last sold in 2007 for $995,000, 1477-1479 Guerrero just clinched this week’s top spot on the list of insane overbids coming in a meager $705,000 above the $995,000 asking price (note…same asking price as selling price in 2007) and […]

We’ve always known that seasonality plays a big role in real estate, but this MSI chart shows 1) that the lower-priced (under $2m) market has the most competitive supply and demand dynamic, and 2) how much more seasonality affects the luxury home end of the market. Homes under $2m ebb and flow by season, but […]

It’s the house that had not only a hoarder, but a mummified corpse father of said hoarder that takes top honors this week. Originally listed for $928,000, 152 4th Ave buyers jumped at this house, put it in contract for $1,029,500, and sent it to court for overbids. With the hoarding daughter hospitalized and hopefully […]

Touting some of the “best amenities, weather, and transit in the city” (I’ll let you all debate the Richmond District’s claim to that), 607-609 4th Ave just closed a mere $605,000 over list price, and earned this week’s title of Maximum Overbid. Congrats. The best part…it comes with a “low maintenance” yard. For all of […]

What an interesting Summer! We are still in the midst of a hot real estate market where homes are getting quickly snatched up, buyers are stretching to pay over asking. The recent stock market gyration and Chinese currency devaluation add some uncertainty to the economy, and later this month the Fed is going to tell […]

Located on one of the best streets in the Fairmount Heights area of Glen Park, and on the Southern edge of Noe Valley, 1793 Sanchez is on the market and you, my dear readers, get the first look inside. 1793 Sanchez Gallery [Click image for high resolution] 1793 Sanchez Features Originally built in 1887 (says […]

Procrastinating before posting this week’s Maximum Overbid, and putting together the webpage for my awesome new listing in Glen Park @1793 Sanchez, I stumbled across this video: SF Hipsters on your fixies take note…this girl will crush your skills, and darnit if all you guys didn’t just fall in love a little. Filed under: Just […]

Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Paragon’s Chief Market tracking guru, and yours truly had a few things to say on the matter. The annual cycle starts in January and February, when buyers return to the market after the near-dead holiday season but find little to choose from and start bidding up prices. By […]

Dear Readers, I believe in trying new things (unless it involves pairing a good steak dinner with water), so I’m now on Yelp (finally). –My Yelp Reviews –More Totally legitimate reviews on YelpFiled under: Testimonial

It’s a simple home that hit the market for the first time in 60 years that fetched $650,000 more than asking to earn this week’s top spot. Likely 10 times more than they paid 60 years ago. Think about that. As for the other jaw-droppers. Here you, the Top 10: Address BR/BA/Units DOM List Price […]

  • True Real Estate Porn.
    If you're going to have people in the building, at least proof it for porno mags lying on the kitchen counter.

Virgin Hotels and John Buck Co. team up for project at Old Dearborn Bank Building |

Virgin Hotels has an active pipeline of properties in gateway cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and London, locations where Virgin Hotels is pursuing hotel and office conversions, as well as ground-up development. “As a result of our anticipated development growth, it is highly likely that one or more Virgin Hotels will open before Virgin Hotel Chicago,” said Marino. “We are ready to respond to the growing number of unique real estate and repositioning opportunities generated by the current environment.”

Virgin Hotels was launched in September 2010 with plans to develop and operate gateway city hotels with 150 to 400 guest rooms, restaurants, and public spaces. The brand is designed to attract the same highly-valued business and leisure traveler whose loyalty Virgin has captured over the last 25 years.

Lest we forget, this approach was pioneers by avant-garde developer Bill Kimpton. (Note the canopy heralding the entrance to the legendary Masa's, one of the many ultra-high end eateries with which Kimpton anchored his properties). There are several claimants to "first boutique hotel," but Kimpton surely made more of the concept than almost anybody else.

$70 Million Grand Hyatt San Francisco Renovation Targets Corporate Travel With Extensive Meeting Facilities Upgrades to the Luxury Union Square Hotel

Grand Hyatt San Francisco's multi-phased $70 million renovation continues with the completion of extensive $14 million upgrades to its meetings facilities, putting the property forth as the city's most flexible, tech-forward choice for group meetings, events and corporate travel, with more than 27,000 total square feet of renovated space. The re-envisioned meeting and conference facilities at the luxury San Francisco hotel include an expansive new Grand Foyer boasting 5,700 square-feet of flexible meeting space, as well as a refresh of the hotel's Theatre Level meeting rooms and Conference Theater, all reflecting a sense of place through custom local artwork and other design flourishes.

"Groups represent 30 percent of our business, and these upgrades will help us increase the amount of events we host on an annual basis," said David Nadelman, general manager, Grand Hyatt San Francisco.

I'm actually surprised that conventions are only 30% of the GH's business. I would have expected more. That said, conventions/tourism remain SF's largest moneymaker and, frankly, cash cow.

California Diminished by 1978 Tax Revolt Shows U.S. in Decline - Businessweek

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- California voters approved Proposition 13 to rein in property taxes that had doubled in 10 years. More than three decades later, that rebellion has mortgaged the state’s future, saddling it with the nation’s highest debt and lowest credit rating.

The measure led to reductions that dropped per-student school spending from seventh to 29th nationally, prompted cities to pursue sprawling retail development to compensate for lost revenue, and pushed the state into budget gridlock, including a $705 million revenue shortfall announced Oct. 10, by requiring two-thirds approval for any tax increase.

“Proposition 13 set up an unfair and dysfunctional two- tiered system of property taxes,” said Kevin Starr, a history professor at the University of Southern California and the author of a series of books on the state. “It choked off a source of revenue, and the lack of that revenue has brought California to the edge.”

The political big spenders absolutely hate Prop 13, because it cut off their unlimited access to the piggy bank of private property taxation.

The truth is, our spending on essentials like education, public safety, and other bottom-line items is not being constricted by Prop 13. It is being choked off by the propensity of governments at both the local and state levels to spend money on tens of thousands of pet projects and pet constituencies, rather than paying for services that voters feel are the most basic. We're not broke because our state "salary" (taxes) is too low, it's because we spend way too much on non-essential fripperies.

Group takes over San Francisco buildings to fight for homeless |

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Another protest in San Francisco took place Monday evening to call attention to the homeless. Organizers say vacant properties should be opened-up to provide a place to stay for those without one.

On Geary Street between Polk and Van Ness, a handful of protesters took over a building. These people are big advocates of squatting, which they say can solve the homeless problem in San Francisco.

Let's be clear. Squatting is theft. These demonstrators want to acquire for their own purposes properties owned by other people without paying for the privilege.

That some "progressive" supporters approve of this doesn't make it any less a crime, or any more admirable.

SF real estate developer convicted in Ponzi scheme - BusinessWeek

A San Francisco real estate developer accused of defrauding investors of $25 million in a Ponzi scheme has pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Maher Talal Muhawieh entered the plea on Wednesday. He will face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 7.

Prosecutors say Muhawieh persuaded dozens of people to lend him money by promising high returns from the purchase, renovation and resale of residential properties.

Is the deal too good to be true? then it's probably too good to be true.

RPT-Steve Jobs put real estate in trust in 2009-records | Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and his wife placed at least three properties into trusts in 2009, which legal experts say is a sign the secretive Apple chief may have been ensuring that his assets aren't disclosed upon his death.

The ownership transfers occurred while Jobs was on a medical leave from Apple, public records show.

Trusts are a very good way to protect your inheritors. I use them. If you have significant assets you'd like to shelter as much as possible from the rapacious hands of the tax collector, as well as speed their transfer to your heirs after your death, trusts are definitely a good way to go.

25 Belgrave

Only $2.65 million for this view! (Okay, you get a few added benefits, as well...)

Like this....

Okay, cue the heavy breathing.

Feds threaten marijuana dispensary landlords |

SACRAMENTO, CA - The federal government is warning landlords who rent to marijuana dispensaries that they risk losing their property.

Despite California law allowing the sale and use of medicinal marijuana, the federal government still considers it a crime.

A certified letter from the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco alerts landlords that they could not only lose their property, but also any rent paid by the dispensary operator.

"The dispensary is operating in violation of federal law," the letter states. "Property involved in such operations, including real property, is subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States."

Well, this will certainly send a shudder or two through the hearts of a handful of City landlords.

Protection for Nosedive in Property Values | PropertyCasualty360

To address this reality, Home Value Insurance Co. is offering a new type of homeowners’ coverage, one intended to safeguard families against a decline in property value. The San Francisco, Calif.-based business announced this week that Ohioans will be the first parties eligible for such a policy. For several years, various financial companies have provided similar coverage for which a homeowner would pay a one-time fee.

Home Value’s pricing model differs in that homeowners pay a monthly premium, which is based on the home’s value and its current location. In the event the policyholder sells the home for less than he or she initially paid, a claim could be filed to recoup a portion of the loss.

“A typical Ohio homeowner would pay $35 to $45 a month,” the company reported to The Columbus Dispatch. “A person’s home value will be determined by how it tracked over time against the Case-Shiller index or by the sale price, whichever yields the least for the homeowner.”

I have the oddest feeling that those who needs this most won't be able to qualify. That's how these "insurance" programs usually work.

Unwanted Dogs Stress San Francisco Pound -

A group called San Francisco Aid for Animals also began raising a fund last spring that the 100 members of the city's Veterinary Medicine Association can tap to help needy owners. Given the high cost of San Francisco real estate for vet clinics, a simple procedure like a teeth cleaning for a dog can cost $600.

Yeah. My dog's last cleaning was $400. While people burble on about the joys of high property valuations, they forget that they raise the price of just about everything for just about everybody.

So enjoy that half-million dollar studio condo, knowing that for you to be able to get that kind of price, several innocent dogs had to die.

Hells Angels accused of mortgage fraud

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Bay Area mortgage broker has been charged with conspiring to arrange more than $10 million in fraudulent home loans for clients who included two leaders of the Hells Angels, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

A newly unsealed federal grand jury indictment accuses the motorcycle club leaders, the mortgage broker and five other defendants of taking part in a scheme to defraud banks by falsifying loan applications for real estate in San Francisco and several North Bay communities in 2006 and 2007.

Years ago, as the Japanese real estate bubble was crashing, I heard rumors of bankers being executed by Yakuza gangsters for trying to call their loans. Let me tell you, I wouldn't be in any hurry to foreclose on a Hell's Angel, if I were a banker.

Behind the Apparent Commercial Real Estate Recovery: A Look at Chicago’s Middle Market |

While these improvements are grabbing headlines, a different story is unfolding in the middle market of the commercial real estate industry, defined as:

Class B and C properties, many of which are older properties with functional obsolescence or deferred capital expenditures
Properties in secondary and tertiary markets, such as the outlying suburbs of the Chicago metro area and the collar counties, where recent commercial development was dependent upon new home developments that are now either stalled or in foreclosure
Properties under $10 million in size, representing a major segment of the overall CRE landscape
Properties leased to local, non-credit tenants, such as unanchored shopping centers and industrial properties.

There are a number of factors weighing down the recovery of the CRE middle market.

An interesting discussion of the weird nature of the commercial real estate recovery.

Business & Technology | Best Buy now a fixture in virtual neighborhood | Seattle Times Newspaper

Best Buy may be building fewer big-box stores in malls and shopping centers nationwide. But when it comes to the virtual world, the consumer-electronics giant is looking to grab some digital real estate.
Eventually, mnore and more retailers will follow the "Amazon model" and migrate ever-increasing portions of their marketing and sales online, especially as last mile problems move closer to solutions. This will have long term effects on commercial retail real estate - although there will be tradeoffs. We'll see fewer and fewer large footprint retail outlets, but more and more huge inventory and distribution centers. The overall effect, though, will be a net decrease in jobs and properties.

A High-Rise Condo Project Signals a Change at City Hall -

Last year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted, 10 to 1, to quash a condominium project planned for 555 Washington Street, in the shadow of the Transamerica Pyramid. The vote stunned the developers, who were backed by former Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. and Rose Pak, the Chinatown power broker.

Now, eight months after Mr. Brown and Ms. Pak engineered the appointment of Edwin M. Lee as interim mayor, another controversial condo project — 8 Washington Street — is moving quickly through the planning department, according to city officials.

As with most major urban areas, in San Francisco, real estate and politics are inextricably entwined. The primary reason for this, of course, is the huge amount of tax revenues The City draws from real estate in all its forms and functions.

Foreclosure crisis hits city budget hard, groups say | City Insider | an blog

Each foreclosure costs the city of San Francisco an average of $19,229 in increased safety inspections, police and fire calls, trash removal and maintenance, according to a new report from two nonprofits.
Malia Cohen

Cohen to Wall Street: "Bad banks!"

All told, the city has probably spent a total of $73.4 million on the homes that have gone under water and been foreclosed by banks, according to the report by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the California Reinvestment Coalition.

On top of that, they said, the city has lost$42 million in tax revenue as San Francisco homes have lost roughly $7 billion in their value since the real estate bubble burst.

The city’s politicians, as you might expect, didn’t hesitate to jump up and down on bad man Wall Street, who they said was responsible for fueling real estate speculation and then forcing residents out of their homes.

“Wall Streets actions wiped out the life savings and home equity of many families,” said Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting. “We need to ensure Wall Street’s predatory financial practices stop and San Francisco families get the assistance they deserve.”

The city’s Bayview District has been particularly hard hit by foreclosures, said Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the neighborhood and whose condo was foreclosed last year. The value of homes in the Bayview have dropped 30 to 50 percent since 2007, the report said. More than 300 homes have been foreclosed in the neighborhood.

Yep. That's my neighborhood, and the damage has been horrible. My own home is down two thirds from its peak in early 2006, and I am deep underwater.

This is a common problem in my neighborhood - nor are home values helped by concentrating "affordable housing" and public housing in this area.

The two-unit, two-story over garage building at 1042-1044 Jackson Street was purchased for $1.16 million in May of 2014 with a protected tenant in one of the units. Soon thereafter, plans to add two stories and a third unit to the building were drafted and proposed. While the parcel is generally zoned for development up […]

With a slightly refined design and 49 units, down from 52 as originally proposed, the plans for a five-story building to rise on the northwest corner of 23rd and Valencia in the Mission could be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission this afternoon. The former gas station on the 1198 Valencia Street site was shuttered […]

Proposed legislation which would allow developers in San Francisco to build up to three stories higher than currently zoned, depending upon the percentage of ‘affordable’ units included on-site, has been introduced to the Board of Supervisors by the Mayor and Supervisor Katy Tang. In addition to enacting the State’s existing Density Bonus Law, which allows […]

Having eked out a 0.5 percent gain in July, the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index slipped 1.4 percent in August and year-over-year gains are on the decline. The index, for which 100 denotes an average level of activity, now measures 109.4. And while the index remains 6.1 percent higher on a year-over-year […]

Opponents of the Golden State Warriors’ proposed Mission Bay arena are calling on the City and team to evaluate an alternative site near Pier 80. In the eyes of Mission Bay Alliance, the 21-acre site bounded by Cesar Chavez, Islais Creek Channel, and Highway 280 is “far superior” and “in the best interests of the […]

Having ticked up 0.6 percent in July, and gained 59 percent since January 2010, the Case-Shiller Index for single-family home values within the San Francisco Metropolitan Area is within 1.2 percent of its 2006 peak and 10.4 percent higher versus the same time last year. That being said, while the index for the bottom third […]

Demolition for the medical office building which will rise up to nine stories across the street from CPMC’s Cathedral Hill Hospital is well underway and the seven parcels should be cleared for construction by the middle of October. The 250,000 square foot building, which will be connected to the hospital by a tunnel under Van Ness […]

With an uptick in single-family home sales last week, the overall inventory of residential properties for sale in San Francisco (675) slipped 2 percent from the week before but remains 8 percent higher versus the same time last year. The inventory of listed condos on the market in San Francisco (401) is running 19 percent […]

It has been nearly three years since the plans for an 18-story building with over 300 apartments, a new multi-screen cinema, and multiple restaurant and retail spaces to rise at 2211 Harold Way in Downtown Berkeley were first proposed. And in a special meeting this Wednesday, September 30, the development could be approved by Berkeley’s Zoning […]

Of the 40 known properties now operated by the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, 75 percent appear to be operating illegally without necessary permits or approvals. And according to a Planning Department report slated to be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week, the following nine buildings, which include over 330 rooms […]

If you’ve ever wondered what’s hidden in building behind the “Be the Change You Want To See In the World” mural at 25th and Bryant in the Mission, here’s your chance to peek inside. And it’s worth a look. Divided into four units, three residential and one commercial, the main residence stretches across the top […]

Five months ago, the two-unit Mission District building with an unwarranted in-law at 867-869 South Van Ness was purchased for $1.625 million. At the time of the sale, the in-law and lower unit were vacant while the upper unit was occupied by a protected tenant, an elderly couple in their late 60s if a plugged-in […]

Purchased for $700,000 in 2012, or roughly $1,150 per square foot, the one-bedroom One Rincon Hill condo #4404 was listed as a rental for $3,800 in mid-2014 and actually rented for $3,750 per month, which included valet parking along with the unobstructed views. With monthly HOA dues of $724 (circa 2012) and taxes of $9,331 […]

The four-bedroom Noe Valley home at 4148 23rd Street underwent a down-to-the-studs remodeling circa 2008 and was listed for $1.799 million that April. Withdrawn from the market in 2009, at which point the asking price had been reduced to $1.538 million, the home was relisted for $2.498 million last month, at which point a foreclosure […]

Listed for $2.895 million in July, the asking price for the remodeled Edwardian at 4334 19th Street was reduced to $2.3 in August. And yesterday, the sale of the four-bedroom home closed escrow with a reported contract price of $2.7 million – officially $400K “over asking” (or $195K under original list). The seller had purchased […]

My wife likes to remind me that I always seem to think that the stock market is heading down.  Though I don’t generally think of myself as a half empty kind of guy, there may be some truth to the … Continue reading

Hard on the heels of my last post that covered sky-rocketing home prices and rents comes yesterday’s front-page New York Times article on how San Francisco is at the epicenter of the new social networking/media boom. “This time, Twitter, Zynga, Yelp … Continue reading

The San Francisco Association of Realtors, of which I am a member, just came out with its Market_Focus_Report for May_2012 (click to open).  If you’re a seller or landlord, the news is great:  home prices and rents are up, up, up. … Continue reading

San Francisco's Luxury Home Market Doing Very Well, Thank You Continue reading

In my opinion, most real estate brokerage companies’ and their agents’ websites/blogs don’t provide a lot of useful market information.  And that’s being polite.  There are some exceptions, however, and one is Paragon Real Estate Group. They regularly post newsletters … Continue reading

    Where do you think the market went in 2011?  Come on.  Take a guess.  If you believe my own SF Association of Realtors “stronger affordability conditions, a lower cost of owning versus renting, and declining foreclosures, continue to … Continue reading

While single family home prices for San Francisco as a whole can’t seem to recover beyond being around 18% down from their all-time highs, Noe Valley home prices have come roaring back since the start of the year. The three … Continue reading

In  Ratatouille, Anton Ego, the long-nosed and terminally jaded restaurant critic, sits down to his meal at Gusteau’s and, rather than ordering anything off the menu, says to his waiter:  “Surprise me.”  When Ego takes his first bite of the … Continue reading

Listed at $885,000 in November 2008,  this little Noe Valley fixer at 4209 24th Street sold for $896,000 in 31 days. Two and half years later, the owners finally got their demolition permit.  It only took a few hours for … Continue reading

Before curb appeal; before “walk-score” and commute; and way before closet space and water pressure, there’s the school.  For people with kids in tow or on the way, the primary determinant of where they want to live, right after what … Continue reading