See You on the Flipside!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

We here at JacksonFuller want to thank everyone for a wonderful year, and let you know that while we will be around and working over the holidays, we will be focused on some special projects and back-end site stuff… so this will be our last post until 2013.

We will return in January, chock full of 2012 statistics and lots more fresh real estate data, news, and information. If we can be of service before then, don’t hesitate to give us a call or email – otherwise we will see you on the flip side!

Food Poverty

Yesterday, on the JacksonFuller FaceBook page I posted a picture of a car full of groceries that Britton and I had picked up during a slow Tuesday tour for donation to the SF Food Bank. It would be awesome to think that a car full of groceries could solve the food poverty that exists in San Francisco, but sadly that isn’t the case.

A Drop in the Bucket of San Francisco Hunger

A Drop in the Bucket of San Francisco Hunger

San Francisco has a reputation for affluence (and for homeless people passed out on the corner near Union Square) so the following statistic may surprise you:

  • One in four residents of San Francisco and Marin county is unable to afford all of the food they need.

I don’t know about you, but I find that to be a profoundly sad and mind-boggling statistic. Here are some other facts about the SF Food Bank – this year they will distribute roughly 45 million pounds of food, which is enough for more than 100,000 meals per day. And of the roughly 225,000 people served each year by the food bank, only 17% of those are homeless individuals. Who are the rest?

Seniors, children, and poor people.

America is an incredibly wealthy nation, and San Francisco is a tremendously affluent region. But even with all the wealth, there are still children and elderly that will go hungry tonight. Part of this is driven by the fact that the cost of living in the Bay Area is so much higher than the rest of the country. For example, to qualify for food stamps, an applicant must make less than 130% of the federal poverty level. As of now (Dec 2012), that translates into a yearly income of $24,817 for a family of three. Divide that by 12 and the monthly income is $2,068. Could you live in San Francisco (with two others, as a family of three) on $2,068? And guess what – if that’s your income and you qualify for food stamps (CalFresh), guess how much monthly you’ll be getting? $14. How many meals could you make with $14 in a month?

Please take a moment and consider making a donation to the SF Food Bank.

And to end this on a slightly more positive note – here’s a great article about the efforts taken by the SF Food Bank to ensure that they can provide healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.


News from the Neighborhood Blogs

What’s up in San Francisco? It depends on who you ask… after being away recently, I realized how bad SF Gate’s city coverage is. If I want to keep up with the interesting news, I’ve got to turn to the blogosphere… so here are a few of the more interesting (to Matt, at least) news items of note:

That’s the news, happy Tuesday!

Ingleside Market Stats

What’s up with homes in the Ingleside neighborhood?

As you can see from the above chart, we’ve once again got a data set that doesn’t really tell us much on a year over year basis. Why? Because in November of 2011 there was one home that closed escrow, which means we have an incredibly small data set, so making useful comparison is a bit challenging. We can infer that the median size of homes sold in November 2012 was smaller than the one home that closed in November of 2011, but whether or not that is useful comes down to the specifics of that one home that sold in the Ingleside in November of 2011. Was the 2011 sale an outlier? A “typical” Ingleside home, or a sale of some sort (REO, short sale, tenant-occupied, exceptionally large or small for the neighborhood) that makes it a really bad point of comparison.

Has the median sales price on a price per square foot basis really jumped by over $200/square foot in just one year? According to the statistics, yes. But given our small 2011 data set, that’s a representation that I wouldn’t be comfortable making.

So, just like the Castro/Eureka Valley market stats that I picked apart earlier in the week, I would again say that the only relevant or useful number in this chart is the actual number of sales. So we can safely conclude that sales are up in the Ingleside neighborhood. What the chart doesn’t answer is why sales are up… have more sellers decided to sell? Have we cleared through REO/short sale inventory that was depressing the market and taking a long period of time to sell and returned to equity sales that go more quickly? Have homes that were previously tenant occupied been vacated and are being sold because of market improvements? They are all good questions…

If you’d like the specific house details of what sold in November of 2011 or 2012, just get in touch via an email or comment and I’m happy to share that information.

We Heart Copyblogger

I usually don’t dedicate blog posts to vendors we use, but Copyblogger is an exception. Copyblogger is run by a great guy named Brian Clark out of Boulder, CO and he makes a bunch of tools that make ‘content marketing’ a lot easier.

The framework we use for running this site – a theme known as AgentPress 2.0 – comes from Copyblogger, and we also use some of their other tools (although, to be fair, probably not as well as we could).

I got an email from them this morning with some new freebies that they are making available at no charge. The first is a PDF that you can download for free titled “The Death of Traditional Real Estate Marketing” and while I’ve downloaded it, I have yet to read it. So I can’t review it yet, but I have a hunch it is good stuff, and if you’ll give me a few weeks you can check back for the book report.

The second is a .mp3 podcast/audio interview that you can download titled “Brian Clark is Returning to Real Estate.” I’m listening to it as I write this blog post, and so far it is all good information, although nothing yet that I’d describe as an incredibly-awesome-holy-cow-I-wish-I-knew-that-five-years-ago nugget of information.

So while I usually write with San Francisco buyers, seller, and investors in mind, this post is dedicated to all my fellow real estate professionals that are looking for good resources for their internet plans. There are a ton of companies and people out there that will promise the world, but in my experience Brian Clark and the folks at CopyBlogger are hard to beat. So go out there and download their resources. It will take a lot of consistent hard-work to actually see the strategies he suggests pay off, but my experience has been that he has a solid grasp of the fundamentals and conveys them in a pretty straightforward way. Game on!


Castro Market Stats

I need a new cliche. I’ve blogged in the past about the different types of averages. And I’ve also blogged about apples and oranges and whether or not price per square feet is a meaningful metric in San Francisco real estate. And I had planned to sit down today and write a quick market update about the Castro neighborhood. But something happened on the way to finishing that blog post… which is mainly that the numbers were so skewed I wanted to take a moment and talk about that instead.

As you can see from the chart above (click for a larger image if you are having a hard time reading it), I’ve plotted out the November 2011 and November 2012 sales for district 5k in San Francisco, formally known as Eureka Valley/Castro. Why Eureka Valley? Read why Eureka Valley… I’ve charted out both median and average sizes, list prices, sales prices, and days on market (DOM). I’ve done this both in absolute amounts, and also calculated the corresponding price per square foot calculations in the columns for median list price, average list price, median sales price, and average sales price.

About the only useful comparison we can use this data for (IMHO) is in comparing the number of sales. And no surprise, we’ve had tight inventory all year so sales are down from 22 to 14. However, the average and median square footages that sold in November of 2011 are substantially different from those that sold in 2012. Which means that the data really isn’t useful to tell us anything about the neighborhood market in general. These market stats are also for all residential property types (single family homes, condos, TICs, and 2-4 unit buildings), so a skew in the mix of property types could also easily skew the data in one direction or the other, presenting a false conclusion for the other market types.

Since the numbers are relatively low (22 and 14, respectively), I’ve actually pulled the reports that show the individual properties that make up these two data points in time. However, it is a violation of rules to present that much sold data on the internet without having a client relationship, so I can’t just post the reports (odd, I know… but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax). However, if you are interested in them, feel free to email or leave a comment and I can share that information with you.

Hayes Valley’s Newest Container Building

If you are a long time reader, you are no doubt aware that we are big fans of Hayes Valley and Patricia’s Green. What was once unhospitiable urban terrain, home to freeway off-ramps is now a bustling and vibrant urban destination. The folks at Proxy are behind the temporary installation/conversion of shipping containers on empty lots in the neighborhood that are awaiting development.

Newest container building in Hayes Valley

The shipping containers are currently home to a Beer Garden, Smitten (awesome!) and a Ritual Coffee location. Work has been taking place over the last several weeks on a new shipping container business, located at roughly 489 Hayes. What sets this shipping container apart from the other businesses, though, is that this shipping container is actually 3 containers that have been welded together vertically. Shipping container skyscrapers, be still a hipsters heart!

I have no idea what business will be the lucky recipient of this really cool space, but it has been fun to watch the work progress on the job site over the past couple of weeks. The proxy site doesn’t list any “coming-soon” businesses, but the project contact for the building site is also listed on the proxy website, so I’m sure that they have had a hand in this Hayes Valley project. Looking at the space, it seems (duh) incredibly vertical, so I’m not sure if the plan is for office space, the layout and flow don’t seem particularly hospitable to a retail site, but perhaps the developers have some evil-genius plan up their sleeves?

Do you have any tips about what is happening at this Hayes Valley construction site? If so, please leave a comment below or get in touch via email/twitter/phone/smoke-signals. We’d love to hear what the planned use for this vertical shipping container turned skyscraper shall be.


The Value of Parking

Not to sound like a completely left-wing lunatic San Francisco liberal, but this morning I was listening to NPR and… there was a story about the value of parking spots and if Hong Kong real estate has entered a bubble phase based on selling prices for parking spots.

What’s a Parking Spot Worth?

Recently, a developer sold off parking spots in a suburban Hong Kong apartment complex for up to $167,000 per spot. The NPR story also reports that a parking spot in a high-end neighborhood sold for HK$ 3,000,000 which – at current exhcange rates – comes out to roughly $387,000.

All of which makes parking in San Francisco look downright cheap!

I usually counsel buyers and sellers to value an independent, 1 car parking spot at about $50,000. The value can vary a bit based on neighborhood, the specifics of the parking spot, and the building it is located in, but my experience has been that 50k is, as a rule of thumb, pretty reasonable. A valet parking license in the Millennium, for example, sells for $35,000 while developers have sold parking in some smaller new construction buildings this year for as little as $20,000.

The increase in the value of Hong Kong parking spots are the side effect of recent regulations that are trying to put a lid on the already hot Hong Kong real estate market. However, because the recent laws didn’t affect the transfer of parking spots, investors and others have poured money into the market.

Is $167,000 worth it for a parking spot? $125,000? $50,000? What value do you place on having a parking spot? What do you think of the current value of San Francisco residential parking? Too expensive? Underpriced? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you’re feeling shy, feel free to drop me an email or a tweet!

Duboce Park Mini-Makeover

From the fine folks at Friends of Duboce Park comes a reminder about an upcoming community meeting that will provide an overview of changes proposed to the park’s entrance at the corner of Steiner and Duboce. As you can see from the rendering below, the changes will “bump-in” to the corner of the park, providing seating and community/neighborhood information. The meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, November 28 from  7–8 pm in the Harvey Milk Photo Center Exhibition Room.

Proposed corner of Duboce Park. Image source: Friends of Duboce Park

From an email sent out by the group:

Friends of Duboce Park (FDP) is holding the second of three community meetings tomorrow night to present and get feedback on the design for improvements to the Steiner Street and Duboce Avenue corner of Duboce Park to make it a more welcoming and attractive gateway to the park. The corner is currently a dark, damp, and uninviting spot. We want your feedback. The community meeting tomorrow will be at the Harvey Milk Photo Center Exhibition Room from 7-8 p.m.

Working with a group of local landscape architects, FDP has come up with a plan to create a more inviting gateway into Duboce Park. As the picture above shows, a low, semi-circular wall creates more seating, a common request from park users. The design of the low seating wall echoes the wall around the Scott Street Labyrinth, with angled cutouts on top of the wall to deter skateboarding. Low shrubs and plants behind the wall keep the direct line of sight into the park and deter people from hopping over the seating wall to enter the park.

Additional lighting to match existing park lighting fixtures will improve safety at the corner. The addition of the way finder signs will point to and offer distances to nearby key facilities and neighborhoods, for example, Harvey Milk Center for the Arts, Harvey Milk Photography Center, the Lower Haight and Castro neighborhoods, CPMC, Buena Vista Park, Dolores Park, etc. The way finder signs also coordinate in style with existing park fixtures…

Noe Valley Market Stats

It wouldn’t be a holiday party without being asked at least once, “How’s the Market?” And since I won’t see all of you this holiday season, I wanted to take some time to break out how the market is doing in various San Francisco neighborhoods. Today we’ll take a quick look at real estate market stats for Noe Valley, San Francisco MLS sub-district 5C. Noe Valley had – unsurprisingly – another strong month with the “leading” MSI (months supply of inventory) indicator down 18% year over year while the “trailing” MSI is down 58%. See below for definitions of both the leading and trailing months supply of inventory calculations.

Regardless of how you calculate it, inventory in Noe Valley – and across San Francisco – is incredibly low. The MSI for Noe Valley (leading) peaked last December at about 3.6 months supply of inventory, compared to this past October which ended the month with about 1.6 months supply of inventory. MSI in Noe Valley hit a low of 1.0 in February of this year, which buyers experienced as writing multiple offers and sellers experienced as receiving multiple offers! As we head into the quiet time of the year for San Francisco real estate, expect to see a slight easing (increase) in MSI.

The “leading indicator” method of calculating MSI divides the number of properties currently for sale by the number of properties that went under contract.

The “trailing indicator” method divides the number of properties currently for sale by the number of properties that sold (closed escrow).

Data obtained from the SFARMLS is deemed reliable but not warranted. Your mileage may vary. If you have specific questions about a neighborhood or your property, don’t hesitate to get in contact or leave a comment below.