How are there over 100,000 vacant homes in the San Francisco metro area?

An estimated 100,025 homes are sitting empty in the San Francisco metro area.

Compared to other cities, San Francisco metro area’s vacancy rate is actually low at 5.6 percent. Of the 1.784 million households counted in the census region, roughly 1.684 million are occupied. LendingTree concludes a region like San Francisco – which includes Oakland, Hayward and surrounding areas is what’s considered a sellers’ market, meaning people selling their homes will easily find buyers, while future homeowners will struggle to buy. Anyone who has tried to buy a home in the city in the last decade knows this to be true.

Read more on SF Gate

Silicon Valley has the highest housing costs in the U.S.

Report says both incomes and costs soaring in the state’s tech capitol.

It’s the best of time and the worst of times in Silicon Valley, at least according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a regional think-tank that issued its annual Silicon Valley Index last week.

The 2019 index, a “comprehensive report based on indicators that measure the strength of our economy and the health of our community,” describes the Valley as materially successful but fundamentally anxious, as new wealth puts additional stress on those most vulnerable.

The report defines Silicon Valley as a broad region encompassing parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda Counties, ranging from Daly City to Union City to Gilroy to Scotts Valley.

The index includes some data from San Francisco for context but does not include the city as part of its larger regional definition. Most of the data covers 2017, with some references to 2018 as well.

 

Read more at Curbed SF 

 

 

In 2069, your food will shop for you

Industry experts place their bets on the supermarket of the future.

The trouble with predictions about the future of food is that they usually wind up being wrong. Where, for instance, is the dog-sized cow engineered to graze in my backyard? Meals today don’t come in pill form, and despite decades of anticipation, insects haven’t replaced farm animals as a meaningful source of protein. You’ll understand why I’ve approached the question of how we’ll shop for food in the year 2069 with some amount of hesitancy.

To find my footing, I called Max Elder at the Institute for the Future, a think tank based in Palo Alto, California. Elder works as a researcher in the Food Futures Lab, which companies and governments hire to do exactly the type of blue-sky thinking that conjures up an idea like that backyard cow—or, in this particular case, blenders and refrigerators that can conspire to manipulate commodity markets. Whether or not these concepts bear out, Elder tells me, he believes that engaging in such speculation is critical to shaping our world. Fail to dream about the future, and you forfeit your role in its creation.

Today, the grocery store is in a period of particularly rapid change, as more and more companies vie for their share of America’s $650 billion food retail sector. Legacy supermarket chains like Kroger and Albertsons are now up against discount rivals like Walmart and Costco, European transplants Aldi and Lidl, plus drugstores, dollar stores, and, of course Amazon, which has been steadily encroaching on food retail since its 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods. All that competition has produced a climate of innovation, as retailers try to best each other on exclusive products and services, value, technology, and convenience. The choices they make matter: Everybody eats, after all, and what we consume is determined to a large extent by what our grocery stores decide to offer.

In forecasting where the industry will go over the next few decades, Elder told me, “The idea is to push people beyond notions of what’s plausible to what’s possible. What are the values implicit in the question? What will the food system look like if we optimize for different values?” He encouraged me to think of it all not so much as predictions but imaginings. So, I decided to suspend disbelief, loosen my grip on reality, and imagine a world where T-bone steaks grow on trees (or at least in bioreactors), snacks are tailored to my microbiome, and my morning coffee arrives by drone. Saddle up, everyone! Don’t forget your decoder rings.

Read more at Medium

 

 

How low-cost chains are changing the retail game

Dollar store chains are among America’s fastest-growing retailers, but their impact on the industry is coming under increased scrutiny.

Nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance reports that dollar stores are more prevalent than Walmart and McDonalds locations combined, and they feed more people than Whole Foods stores. In some urban neighborhoods, low-income and rural areas, dollar stores might be one of the only retail options for residents.

The number of dollar stores in America has grown from 20,000 in 2011 to almost 30,000, per ILSR. With many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, it’s not surprising these small-box stores selling affordable merchandise are thriving.

The ILSR report contends that dollar stores — which lack fresh produce and meat but offer a host of frozen, processed and canned food options — aren’t a symptom of economic distress in some communities, but the cause of it, as they stifle independent grocers and other local retailers.

“To the extent that dollar stores are filling, in some ways, a need in communities, I think that is true in the short term,” Marie Donahue, one of the report’s authors, told Civil Eats. “But really our research is demonstrating…those foods aren’t as good quality as full-service grocers or independent local stores, which may be able to connect to local farmers and the larger food system.”

 

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Bay Area tops U.S. in new office space, but lags in housing starts

 The Bay Area is a hot place to build cubicles, conference rooms, and office suites. But don’t look for as many hammers pounding out new homes, condos, and apartments.

The region is expected to open 18.2 million square feet of office space in 2018 — tops in the nation and more than New York City and Dallas combined — while home, condo and apartment building has grown only modestly.

More work space, more jobs and more people chasing a limited supply of homes is expected to add more steam to the pressure cooker of the Bay Area housing market.

“It’s encouraging that so many respected employers are investing in Bay Area jobs and immigration growth” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the business-backed Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “But we all recognize that jobs need a place to go home and sleep at night.”

The region created six times as many jobs as housing units between 2010 and 2015, according to a study by the leadership group and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The increased housing pressure has forced lower-income workers out of the region at much faster rates than higher paid workers, even as jobs go unfilled.

The run up in commercial development is led by major office openings in the South Bay, according to a survey from real estate data company Yardi Matrix. The big projects in 2018 include the official, complete opening of the 2.9 million square foot Apple Park in Cupertino, Park Tower at Transbay and The Exchange on 16th in San Francisco totaling 1.5 million square feet, and Facebook’s MPK 21, a half-million-square-foot campus designed by Frank Gehry in Menlo Park.

Other major developments underway include the Voyager property developed by Nvidia in Santa Clara, Microsoft and Google projects in Mountain View, the Stoneridge Mall Road project in Pleasanton, and Moffett Towers in Sunnyvale, according to Yardi Matrix.

The real estate data firm estimates that commercial openings in Santa Clara County are up 6.5 percent over the same period last year. The San Francisco and Oakland metro has seen three times as much commercial space open up this year compared to last year.

 

 

Read more on The Mercury News

 

 

Crane Watch update: More than 22,000 residential units have flooded into San Jose’s development pipeline

More than 22,000 new residential units have been proposed in the city of San Jose — the largest city in the housing-starved Bay Area — according to city records and Business Journal reporting over the past year.

Those number have been gathered over the past year and a half and detailed in the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch map, which is a compilation of every large development project that has arrived at the San Jose city hall.

When the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch map launched in 2017, it detailed 30 of the biggest projects in San Jose. But a little more than a year later, the number of projects we’re tracking has ballooned to 107 proposals. These include developments that are anywhere in the city’s development pipeline, from an early vision submitted to the city for feedback all the way to a recently completed structure.

Crane Watch shows industrial, office, residential, hotel, health care, education, retail and mixed-use proposals, and active projects that are 90,000 square feet in size or larger throughout the city of San Jose.

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

 

Apartment rentals make up a larger share of new housing units in the U.S. than they have in decades

New preferences, low affordability of new homes drive greater demand for apartment rentals.

Apartment rentals have been luring residents away from other kinds of housing since the housing crash—and that is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.

“Apartments should continue to play a role in the total housing market that goes beyond the historical norm,” says Greg Willett, chief economist for Real Page Inc., a property management software and services provider based in Richardson, Texas.

In the years after the Great Recession, millions of people lost homes to foreclosure and had to move, often into apartments. The extra demand for units was not expected to last more than a few years. However, today—more than a decade after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—the percentage of American households that own their own home is still near its low point. New households are still much more likely to chose to live in rental housing than in the years before the crash.

 

 

Read more on National Real Estate Investor

 

 

 

The 10 top emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019

The Urban Land Institute’s annual look at the year ahead focuses on technology and transformation at an uncertain moment.

It’s complicated. In the course of compiling its annual Emerging Trends report, the Urban Land Institute found that the only certainty in its outlook for 2019 was uncertainty. Expert analysis points to a more complex, multi-layered series of overlapping trends, with unpredictable results, as opposed to a few strong narratives.

Will technology offer more opportunity and enhance competition and efficiency, or help consolidate the industry and drive out smaller players? How will shifts in demographics and shopping patterns challenge current investment practices? Will the U.S. ever get a grip on its housing affordability issues?

The report, a joint project of ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers researchers unveiled during its fall meeting in Boston this afternoon, considered the responses of more than 750 real estate professionals in creating an high-level overview of the trends it believes will impact the real estate world. While the report expects an overall economic slowdown next year, emerging trends and markets in flux that could provide new opportunities.

 

 

Read more on Curbed

 

 

 

Making heads or tails of the U.S. multifamily sector

If you were to focus solely on the slowing pace of rent gains, burgeoning supply and the rise in interest rates, you might assume that the real estate market isn’t in a strong place right now.

But despite all of the above, the multifamily market is in a healthy position. Demand is being driven by encouraging demographic shifts and a strong economy. Despite moderating elements, because the economy is healthy, the apartment market is similarly healthy, even if the boom from earlier in this economic cycle has tapered off.

GDP growth came in at 2.3% for the year in 2017, and a whopping 4.2% in Q2 2018. Consumers are buying confidently provided that tax cuts will improve yearly income even despite stagnant wage growth. Our multifamily clients are anticipating that U.S. rent growth should maintain its current pace, largely thanks to cities in the South and West, where supply hasn’t outpaced demand.

According to the Spring 2018 Yardi Matrix U. S. Multifamily Outlook report, given the state of supply and demand in most metro areas and the steady economy, rents are projected to increase by 2.9% nationwide this year, with heavy concentration in late-stage southern and western U.S. markets. However, concerns about affordability are keeping prices from rising at an exceptionally fast rate, and new supply is also helping to keep those costs level. As for the supply, completions are expected to maintain the same steady pace they have over the past few years. Absorption rates are anticipated to remain strong for the remainder of the year, and 290,000 additional units are expected to finish construction by 2018, resulting in a 2.2% increase of stock. Another big factor that’s supporting the real estate market is the steady flow of capital pouring into the industry.

 

 

Read more on Forbes

 

 

 

San Francisco landlords warm to the power of pop-ups

As San Francisco rents continue to soar, retailers have become hesitant about committing long-term to brick-and-mortar space. One solution: popping in temporarily.

Landlords once scoffed at the deals shorter than the typical 10-year term. But as tenants become increasingly wary of San Francisco’s rising rents and shifting retail climate, many are realizing the benefits of shorter leases may outweigh the drawbacks.

The Bay Area has been a landing pad for tenants looking to test the market, but hesitant to commit to long-term deals.

Union Square in particular has been home to temporary deals with online luxury consignor the RealReal, the Kylie Jenner cosmetics pop-up and the Museum of Ice Cream, which recently decided to make its temporary installation a permanent San Francisco fixture.

 

 

 

Full article on San Francisco Business Times