What’s the hold-up on housing development in the Bay Area?

Bay Area paradox: We need housing, but we don’t want to build faster.

Chronic lawsuits against new Bay Area housing developments. Loud, angry protests against pro-growth legislators and mayors. If the Bay Area has an all-season contact sport, it’s the recurring NIMBY fights against housing construction. And although almost everyone agrees housing prices are too high, few want to see faster development to tackle the problem, according to a recent Bay Area poll for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and this news organization.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

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

Tod Rudee joins top Bay Area commercial real estate brokerage NAI Northern California as Executive Vice President in San Jose

Leader in multifamily, retail, and office investment transactions recruits real estate industry veteran to lead the charge in the South Bay

SAN JOSE, CA –  March 12, 2019 –  NAI Northern California is pleased to announce that Tod Rudee has joined as Executive Vice President in San Jose to focus on leadership and expansion of commercial real estate services throughout the greater Silicon Valley area. Tod brings nearly 30 year of extensive experience in commercial real estate strategy, transaction services, and brokerage performance management in Silicon Valley. His previous background includes leading the San Jose office as Managing Director for CBRE as well as management roles with Colliers International and Premier Properties.

“Silicon Valley has been one of the top tier real estate markets in the United States for a while. As the home of big tech influencers like Apple and Facebook, the South Bay region continues to be major hub for investment. We have had great success working with a multitude of real estate investors on transactions for multifamily, retail, office, industrial, and mixed-use asset types from San Mateo to Palo Alto to downtown San Jose and Gilroy. We have have some major success stories representing corporate clients in meeting their leased space requirements, as well as representing some Silicon Valley landlords. Bringing a great leader like Tod Rudee on board is all about doubling down our efforts in Silicon Valley by building a first-class team of institutional brokerage professionals,” remarks President James Kilpatrick.

Recently on the San Francisco Business Times Book of Lists, NAI Northern California hit the top 5 and 6 spots in San Francisco and the East Bay and top 15 Bay Area wide. NAI Northern California is part of the NAI Global network, recently recognized by Lipsey as the number 4 most recognizable commercial real estate brand.

About NAI Northern California

NAI Northern California is a full service commercial real estate firm serving the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Our team delivers technology-enabled commercial real estate services that create value for our clients, industry, and communities.

NAI Northern California is a partner of NAI Global, the largest commercial real estate brokerage network with more than 400 offices worldwide and over 7,000 professionals completing in excess of $20 billion in commercial real estate transactions globally.

UC Berkeley professor blames rent control for California’s housing shortage

Kenneth Rosen hopes to sway voters against Proposition 10.

Kenneth Rosen, a UC Berkeley economist and real estate consultant, published a paper Wednesday titled The Case For Preserving Costa Hawkins, in hopes of swaying voters against Proposition 10.

Proposition 10, which will go before voters in November, would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, a state law that severely curtails rent control in California cities. For example, under Costa-Hawkins, only San Francisco apartments built before 1979 may be subject to rent control.

Passing Proposition 10 would not in and of itself create any new rent control housing, but it would allow cities to expand rent control stock for the first time in decades if they so choose.

Rosen, however, argues that turning the clock back to 1994 will stifle new housing and drain apartment stock.

 

Read more on Curbed SF

 

Get ready for a big fight over California’s property taxes in 2020

A big battle over property taxes in California is shaping up for the 2020 ballot.

Supporters of a bid to increase taxes on commercial land announced Tuesday they’ve collected more than 860,000 signatures to force a vote on the issue in two years.

“This is a defining moment for California,” Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, said in a statement. “Closing the commercial property tax loopholes is important to our state.”

Backers, including the California Federation of Teachers, the League of Women Voters and community organization California Calls held news conferences Tuesday in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Fresno, San Diego and San Bernardino to demonstrate support across the state for the idea. Of the signatures turned in to the Secretary of State’s office, 585,407 must be deemed valid for the measure to qualify for the November 2020 election.

The initiative would make dramatic changes to the tax system established four decades ago by Proposition 13, which capped how much property tax bills could increase every year. The proposed measure would boost property tax revenues from commercial and industrial properties by assessing them at their current market value. Property tax protections would remain unchanged for residential properties.

The changes could net $6 billion to $10 billion annually in new property tax revenue statewide, according to an estimate from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. The analyst’s office also warned that the measure could have significant downsides for California’s economy by causing businesses to leave or opt against relocating to the state.

Business groups are girding for the fight over the tax hike, known as “split-roll” because it assesses residential properties different from commercial and industrial properties.

“California already has the worst climate for business and job creation in the country,” Rex Hime, president of the California Business Properties Assn., said in a statement. “A split-roll property tax will just increase pressure on many businesses that are already finding it hard to make ends meet.”

 

 

 

Read more on LA Times

 

 

 

Should California’s Costa-Hawkins rent control act be repealed?

Debating the pros and cons of rent control at the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute of San Francisco held a public forum at the Google Community Space Tuesday night debating Proposition 10, the November ballot initiative that would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act and allow California cities to potentially expand their rent-control ordinances.

Arguing in favor of Proposition 10 and potential rent-control expansion was Amy Schur, the director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

John Eudy, co-chair of the “no” campaign Californians for Responsible Housing (and also a vice president at Essex Property Trust) argued against repeal.

David Garcia, a policy director at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center For Housing Innovation, appeared as a third-way party; however, since Garcia appeared to nominally oppose Costa-Hawkins repeal, he often functioned as a second anti-Proposition 10 voice.

All three parties agreed that the state’s goal should be more housing production. They also agreed that Costa-Hawkins as it exists now is ineffectual at protecting renters and that the status quo won’t do in the future.

 

 

Read more on Curbed SF

 

 

WeWork takes last vacancy in San Mateo development near Caltrain

The lease marks the co-working company’s first foray into San Mateo and the mid-Peninsula and comes on the heels of plans to open a second location in downtown San Jose.

WeWork is filling in the gaps of its footprint between San Francisco and San Jose, this week announcing it will take over the last of the remaining vacancy at a San Mateo office development recently completed by developer Hines.

The coworking company plans to move into about 96,000 square feet on four floors at 400 Concar Drive, one of two buildings in Hines’ 400/450 Concar creative office complex steps away from the Hayward Park Caltrain Station.

The 305,000-square-foot development has stood 70 percent leased since it was completed in early 2017. The lone tenant in the complex has been software maker Medallia, which in 2016 signed a lease for all 210-115-square-feet at 450 Concar. Now, the veritable co-working giant WeWork has staked a claim to an entire building in the complex, where it will offer 1,650 desks when it opens its doors in December.

“WeWork members all over the Bay Area have been asking for a location in San Mateo,” Elton Kwok, general manager at WeWork, said in a statement to the Business Journal on Wednesday. “We’re thrilled to finally be able to service theMid-Peninsula area with our very first San Mateo location, and to meet the demand in this booming community.”

The news of the lease comes weeks after New York-based WeWork also announced it would open a second location in downtown San Jose, meant to meet overflowing demand from its existing downtown location at 75 E. Santa Clara St. Amazon.com’s secretive Lab126 division leases some of the co-working company’s 75,000 square feet in Santa Clara Street building, and entrepreneurs and small companies have maxed out the rest of the space in the building.

 

 

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

Wiener scales back bill that would allow taller housing near public transit

State Sen. Scott Wiener scales back a controversial housing proposal.

The proposed bill would strip local governments of their ability to block construction of taller and denser apartment and condominium buildings near public transit stops, and conceded the bill might not make it through the Legislature this year.

The San Francisco Democrat introduced amendments to his SB827 late Monday that would lower the maximum height of buildings that could go up as a result of the bill to five stories from eight. Also, the bill would take effect in 2021 instead of 2019.

Wiener made the amendments ahead of the bill’s first hearing April 17 in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. If passed, the bill will then head to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

“The bill is not guaranteed to survive either committee,” Wiener said Tuesday. “It’s a hard bill. Hopefully, we pass through these committees and live to fight another day, but if not, then we will try again next year. It’s very common in the Legislature that for hard bills, sometimes you have to try multiple times.”

The measure would override local height limits on proposed four- and five-story apartment and condo buildings in residential areas if they are within a half mile of major transit hubs, such as a BART or Caltrain station. It also would limit cities’ ability to block denser buildings within a quarter-mile of highly used bus and light-rail stops, but amendments eliminated new height requirements.

Read more from San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

Scott Wiener’s controversial housing bill gained a big supporter in BART

The fight over SB 827, a proposed law from California State Sen. Scott Wiener to upzone development sites near transit centers, has supporters and detractors lining up in due course.

If approved by the legislature, the law would limit local control over density, parking spaces and heights for housing projects within a certain distance to transit stops. Proponents of the law pitch a symbiosis between housing development and transit options, with the proximity of the two mitigating traffic congestion.

Recently, the effort to pass the law added the region’s most heavily trafficked public transportation system as a proponent: Bay Area Rapid Transit. Earlier this month the BART Board narrowly voted 5-4 to support the measure.

In many cases, building on transit agency sites takes decades, with negotiations with multiple government agencies, substantial community input, difficulties with financing and expensive parking requirements all playing a role.

BART has shown a willingness to support transit oriented development before, approving a policy in 2016 that encourages 20,000 homes to be built on its land by 2040.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Smart tech becoming key to attracting renters

Tenants want more tech in their apartments and multifamily landlords and developers are putting in the technology to meet that demand.

While building-wide WiFi, electric chargers and rooftop decks remain popular among tenants, smart building technology is becoming the new “it” amenity.

From package delivery lockers to smart locks, landlords are turning to tech-enabled amenities to woo tenants who are willing to pay more for these features.

In a Schlage and Wakefield Research survey of 1,000 U.S. multifamily renters, 86% of millennials are willing to pay one-fifth more for a smart apartment. Gen Y renters are 61% more likely to rent a unit because of electronic access such as keyless entry, and 55% are willing to pay more in rent for a unit with a smart lock.

Smart lock systems, such as Latch, Kwikset, August Home, Schlage and Yale Locks & Hardware, are being installed in existing and new units throughout the country.

Read more from Bisnow