Is it true? Can it be?
Rumor (or rather, the Business Times) has it that the housing market is cooling off a little. Not in the sense that home values are decreasing, but the mere fact that the increase in prices is not as dramatic as it has been previously, which was enough to make Zillow’s chief economist call the change a “sign of the times.”
But make no mistake, the local bidding war is strategic and brutal, at least according to this report from the Wall Street Journal, in which a couple in the Haight spent more than $20,000 renovating and staging their condo (with paintings rented from local galleries, no less) and then weighed their options — price low to incite a vicious bidding war and keep buyers guessing, or price high and hope to make the unit seem even more desirable? Both strategies, inevitably, pay off.
Same story, as always, in the commercial renting world: We’ve reported on how Valencia has arguably gotten too expensive for its own good. The latest victim, Eater SF reports, is Bogaloo’s on the corner of Valencia and 22nd streets. Their space is listed as available in September, for $17,500 a month. Bogaloo’s general manager told Eater that the rent increase will, indeed, oust him.
Looking ahead through the haze of millions of dollars floating down into the city’s market from the affluent ether, there is more housing and planning drama on the horizon. Here are a couple of developments to keep an eye out for in the next few weeks.
The biggest buzz, of course, is around the 1979 Mission project that the Business Times revealed is now stuck in a lawsuit between the developer and the landlord over claims that the land owner took bids from other buyers after Maximus Real Estate, the developer, had already sunk millions into the project.
Activists declared victory, but the author of the original story that broke the news of the lawsuit isn’t buying it. He says the site is likely to be too expensive for the city to buy, and even more expensive to build, for completely affordable housing. Maximus, too, says it’s still committed to the project. This one’s not over yet.
In a bit of uplifting news, SocketSite says a protest against First Republic Bank downtown last week actually led the institution to say it would ask loan applicants looking to acquire buildings with tenants about their plans for a building, and reject those who said they plan to invoke the Ellis Act.
2000-2070 Bryant Street, the neighborhood’s other massive construction controversy, raised eyebrows at the Planning Commission when it was discovered developer Nick Podell had invoked the Permit Streamlining Act and was essentially forcing the Commission’s hand on a decision by September 30. The Commission is supposed to decide on this plan by September 10, but 48 Hills reports a twist: Apparently, the developer has opted to dramatically alter the plans for his project to add more production, development, and repair (PDR space) to the extent that the project might require a whole new environmental review. Does that qualify as an amended Hail Mary or as capitulation to public pressure?
Speaking of the Planning Commission, next week (Thursday September 3 at noon) they meet to discuss, for the third time, interim controls on market rate housing construction. Amid almost unanimous community opposition, the Commission has so far been unable to reach a consensus on actual policy but may actually do so this time around. Stay tuned…
Socketsite reports on two smaller developments, 3620 Cesar Chavez and 668 Guerrero, both of which are going to build up. 668 Guerrero, a foreclosed space, could turn into a 40-foot-high multi unit residential construction, though plans have yet to be submitted. The 3620 Cesar Chavez developer has a proposal for a 16-unit building that would be nixed if the Mission moratorium were to pass.
Oh, Remember that woman in Bernal whose rent got increased to something like $8,000 a month for a two-bedroom? SF Magazine reports that she move out in May, and has strung together a series of pet-sitting gigs to stay under a roof. But she’s also filed suit against her landlady, claiming a violation of the city’s rent ordinance for the sudden rent spike, especially since a no-fault eviction would have guaranteed her some $9,000 in relocation payments.
Meanwhile, perhaps confirming a variety of expectations about what happens to new market-rate constructions, Curbed reports 90 percent of units at the Vida complex on Mission and 22nd streets have been sold to tech workers for an average of $1,100 per square foot.
Finally, for any potential new arrivals reading this, the Village Voice has some advice on how not to be an jerky gentrifier if you are a high-income person moving into a previously low-income area: Know what came before you (locally, that may mean checking a property you’re considering moving into on the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s database), don’t avoid local businesses just because others who shop there don’t look like you, talk to your neighbors, be aware of the repercussions of your moving there, and shut up from time to time and let others who have been there longer have their say.