Thursday, September 22, 2011

Example of Higher Priced Property Rebound?

There have been several reports recently that the higher end of the real estate market is enjoying a recovery even while the rest of the market remains flat and is expected to remain so for the next year.

There have been several high profile sales recently in the usual neighborhoods (Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Nob Hill) but there is an unusual concentration of listings within a two block area on the north/west side of Potrero Hill -- two condos and two single family homes. 

The two single family homes include:

746 Kansas which has been completely remodeled from a seriously deteriorated state and listed for $1,675,000 or $744/sq. ft.

531 Kansas which went through a major remodel and 3rd floor addition about 10 years ago.  531 Kansas was on the market in 2009 originally listed at $1,799,000 and subsequently at $1,688,000 with no takers.  The current list price is back to $1,799,000 or $766/sq. ft.  (The photo is from the previous listing.  For some reason, the current listing agent has chosen not to include a picture of the front of the building).

The two condos are:

737 Vermont St., the lower unit in a two-unit in a 10-year old building.  This is the first resale.  It's listed at $1,195.000 or $665/sq. ft.  At today's writing, it's been on the market 13 days.

2101 18th St., the lower unit in another two-unit building that was built just three years ago, is listed for $1,299,000 or $764/sq. ft.  It's only been on the market officially for 7 days and is already in contract.  (Earlier this year for-sale signs appeared at the property for a couple of weeks but then disappeared without the listing appearing in the multiple listing service.  Whether that was just an over-eager agent jumping the gun or something else was going on I don't know.)

Here's a map showing current listings and recent sales over the past six months on Potrero hill over $1.1 million.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Number of Sales Improving

One of the best general measures of the health of our local real estate market is to look at the level of activity as shown by the actual number of resales each month.

In August, the number of sales was more than 11% better than August last year.

Data from the San Francisco MLS
For the first eight months of the year, the number of sales is up compared to the same period in both 2010 and 2009. 

Data from the San Francisco MLS

Crystal balls seem to be particularly foggy these days but this information would seem to indicate we've turned a corner with more people being willing to purchase a home in San Francisco despite the generally gloomy economic news.

Our next post will show what's been happening to listing and selling prices.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An end to exhorbitant HOA doc fees

... or at least it's a start.  Of the myriad bills the Governor must decide whether to sign or not at the end of the legislative session, he has already signed one of them that will close a loop hole that has allowed homeowners associations to jack up the cost of the mandatory disclosure documents must provide to the buyer.  These documents used to cost in the $100-$200 range.  Over the past year we've seen costs of $300-$500.

Here's a partial quote from a news release from the California Association of Realtors®:

     C.A.R. applauds Gov. Jerry Brown for signing AB 771, a bill that prevents home buyers in a common interest development (CID), such as a condominium or townhome, from being charged excess document fees. 
     Homeowner associations (HOAs) are required to provide specific documents to prospective purchasers of homes in a CID -- a form of real estate ownership in which each homeowner has an exclusive interest in a unit and a shared interest in the common area property.  In addition to the standard residential property disclosures, purchasers of a unit within a CID must receive basic information about the structure, operation and management of the HOA that operates the CID.
     Current law requires that this information come from the HOA and prohibits it from charging fees in excess of what is “reasonable,” not to exceed the actual cost of processing and producing these documents.  HOAs generally have provided the documents for approximately $75 to $250. Increasingly, HOAs have been delegating document preparations to third party vendors or contractors who, under a 2007 court decision, are exempt from this fee limitation. This delegation of responsibility by HOAs sometimes resulted in home purchasers being forced to pay additional fees, as much as $1,000, for other documents which were “bundled” with the required documents.
     Assembly Bill 771 (Betsy Butler, D-Torrance) addresses this situation by specifying that only fees for the required documents may be charged when such documents are provided, effectively prohibiting any “bundling” of fees for other documents with these fees. The bill also creates a new form detailing which documents are required, and requires the provider to disclose the fees that will be charged for the documents before they are provided. The seller of a CID must complete this form and transmit it to the prospective purchaser along with the required documents.  This will eliminate any uncertainty for the prospective purchaser as to exactly which documents are being provided and the precise fees being charged for those documents.