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Is Bay Area housing still a sizzling hot housing market?

Even cool, Bay Area housing market is still hot.

The San Jose housing market has cooled more than any other in the country — and it’s still the hottest in the nation, according to a recent Zillow survey. The bidding wars and quick cash sales have abated, and home sellers are cutting prices more often and waiting longer to close deals than a year ago. But middle-income families still struggle to afford the median-priced home of $1.2 million in the San Jose metro area. A typical family needs to put about $600,000 down to fit that mortgage comfortably in their budget.

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

What are the Golden State Warriors’ latest plans for Downtown Oakland?

Warriors won’t practice in Oakland next season but will leave downtown facility in hands of youth programs.

The Golden State Warriors announced Monday they won’t stick around to practice in their downtown Oakland basketball facility next season as they make their move to the under-construction Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood a complete one. But that doesn’t mean the Warriors are totally abandoning the city that’s been their physical home — if not their namesake — for almost half a century.

Read more on East Bay Times

Transit-oriented development changing how Oakland grows

When it comes to the future of Oakland, a good amount of the development that will change the city has one thing in common: the transit station nearby. 

Bay Area Rapid Transit has committed to an ambitious plan to build mixed-use transit-oriented developments around its stations throughout the Bay Area, and a number of those projects will be in Oakland.

Already, the transit authority has started to transform land around MacArthur Station in the northern part of the city as well as Fruitvale Station to the southeast. Construction is underway on Coliseum Transit Village from UrbanCore Development and Oakland Economic Development Corp.

Future plans call for continued development on those sites and projects to go up around downtown BART stations.

BART’s transit-oriented development policy states that the agency will only move forward with future developments in cities that have adopted station area plans, and Oakland has been at the forefront, BART’s Sean Brooks said. Brooks, the department manager of real estate and property development for BART, will speak about TODs at Bisnow’s The Evolution of Downtown Oakland March 13.

Projects already underway have required upzoning, and the city also has been progressive about parking requirements, Brooks said.

“The city has kind of bent over backwards to help and advance some of these projects,” he said.

Case in point: the planned development for West Oakland, which got through the planning commission in record time, he said. The project was helped along in no small part because of the affordable housing it is bringing to the city.

 

Read more at Bisnow Oakland

 

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 

 

 

Santa Clara approves agrihood, city’s largest affordable housing project in pipeline

Santa Clara has approved its largest affordable housing project in the pipeline — an “agrihood” that will combine urban living with farm life. 

The city approved the project, a public-private partnership between the city and developer The Core Cos., last week. Called Agrihood, the mixed-income property will have 361 apartments, with 181 of those below market rate, 160 of which will be for low-income seniors. A 1.7-acre urban farm and community retail and open space will complete the neighborhood.

The city had the site earmarked for senior housing for more than a decade.

“This project was borne out of a dire need to bring affordable housing through a truly creative, community-driven process. The Core Companies has kept this mission and urgency at the center of its work and dialogue with the city and community stakeholders,” The Core Cos. Senior Development Manger Vince Cantore said in a statement. “Santa Clara’s seniors have already waited more than a decade for housing at this site. An available below-market home for a senior can be the differentiator between a comfortable, safe environment in which to spend one’s golden years, or an extended period of financial stress and uncertainty.”

 

Read more at Bisnow Silicon Valley

 

Housing proposed above S.F. firehouse

The city is preparing to sell off its fire station in Jackson Square to a residential developer, but it won’t be at a fire-sale price.

Fire Station No. 13 at 530 Sansome St. is zoned for a 200-foot tower and is expected to fetch upward of $20 million. Proceeds from the sale will pay for a new firehouse on the same location, topped with luxury housing.

Whatever money is left after construction will be used to develop affordable housing at 772 Pacific Ave., a city-owned property that is home to the New Asia restaurant in nearby Chinatown. The $10 million in affordable housing fees the firehouse project is expected to generate will also be spent on the 80-unit Pacific Avenue development, which will also include a new dim sum banquet hall on the lower levels.

On Wednesday, the brokerage firm Colliers International will begin soliciting offers from builders interested in acquiring and developing the roughly 9,000-square-foot property in Jackson Square, one of San Francisco’s most historic and sought-after neighborhoods. About 100 family-sized units would be built above a new 22,000-square-foot fire station, a mix of uses that has been successfully combined in projects in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Wilmington, Del.

The firehouse would have to be temporarily relocated while the new building is constructed. The fire station is 45 years old.

Read more at San Francisco Chronicle

Stanford sues Santa Clara County over housing law

University claims it’s been unfairly targeted by ‘inclusionary housing’ ordinance.

Stanford University on Wednesday filed two lawsuits against Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, charging county officials of unfairly and illegally targeting the university with a recently adopted law that aims to promote more affordable housing on campus.

The university is contesting the new “inclusionary housing” law, which the board approved on Sept. 25 and which requires the university to designate 16 percent of all new housing units as below-market-rate housing. The two lawsuits, filed in state and federal courts, allege that the county’s law violates the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. and California constitutions, which prohibit government entities from treating one individual differently from others in similar circumstances.

The university also indicated that it plans to sue the county over a separate law that the board had also passed on Sept. 25, one that significantly raised the “housing impact fees” that Stanford has to pay for every square foot of new development. Under the law, the fee is slated to go up from $36.22 to $68.50 per square foot.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Stanford takes issues with both policies, though the new suit only pertains to the “inclusionary housing” law (Stanford has a later deadline for challenging the ordinance on impact fees). It argues that the county is illegally forcing Stanford to bear the burden of solving what the county itself had determined to be a regional problem: A severe shortage of affordable housing.

By targeting Stanford with its new affordable-housing requirement, the county is violating the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from denying “any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” the university alleges in a complaint.

“The County ordinance impermissibly singles out Stanford University,” Geoffrey L. Robinson, of the firm Perkins Coie LLP, wrote on behalf of Stanford in the federal lawsuit. “Through its ordinance, the County has intentionally imposed affordable housing requirements exclusively on housing development constructed by Stanford.”

Read more on Palo Alto Online

 

San Jose moves toward ordinance limiting Section 8 discrimination

Landlords in San Jose would no longer be able to advertise that they don’t take rental vouchers.

San Jose took a step toward making it harder for landlords to turn away would-be tenants who use vouchers to help pay the rent.

This week, the San Jose City Council directed the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance aimed at giving renters with subsidies, commonly known as Section 8 vouchers, a fair chance on the private rental market. The so-called source of income ordinance would not force landlords to take the vouchers, but it would ban them from judging potential tenants who use subsidies differently from those who don’t and from explicitly advertising “No Section 8” on apartment listings.

If everything goes according to plan, the council will vote on the ordinance in the spring.

While a number of landlords blasted the proposal, saying it would force property owners to navigate convoluted regulations and paperwork, the city’s Housing Department said an ordinance is necessary to make sure families are able to find affordable housing.

Right now, there’s no law that prevents landlords from turning away voucher holders, and a city survey found most do, leaving low-income families scrambling to find homes in one of the nation’s tightest housing markets. Several national studies suggest that when cities and states have such ordinances in place, the percentage of landlords turning away voucher holders goes down and more people with vouchers are able to find places to rent.

“Voucher discrimination is happening in San Jose,” said Jacky Morales-Ferrand, the city’s housing director.

Several landlords told horror stories about Section 8 voucher holders who left rental units in bad shape. But tenants and tenant advocates countered that there’s no evidence voucher users are any better or worse than people who don’t use subsidies.

“We can’t judge the actions of a few and put it on the majority of the people,” said Robert Aguirre, who has used vouchers. “Not all Section 8 holders destroy property or disrespect the people around them.”

“We see clients all the time who are not able to rent housing, have to move away from San Jose, have to live in cars. … it’s absolutely heartbreaking to see that and this ordinance would help,” said Nadia Aziz, an attorney with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley.

 

 

Read more on East Bay Times

 

 

Trump is getting involved in Opportunity Zones, and experts think that’s a good thing

Opportunity zones have become the darling of real estate investors since their adoption last year, but the still-under-the-radar program is poised to receive a lot more attention, and possibly scrutiny after it was promoted in the Oval Office last week.

President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order to push more federal resources into the Opportunity Zone program is a step in the right direction and could bolster the little-known tax incentive program and the distressed communities that benefit from investments, experts said.

“I think investors in the marketplace are going to be excited that there are going to be a number of new federal benefits aligned to these zones,” Develop founder Steve Glickman said.

Glickman is a former Obama administration official and one of the original architects of the Opportunity Zone program, which was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“Frankly, these zones need a lot more than private capital,” Glickman said. “They need infrastructure investment, they need to deal with crime, workforce training, and other strategies and dollars. Opportunity zones were always meant to stimulate that kind of holistic activity not just on a federal level, but on a state and local level.”

Erik Marks, a Seattle-based commercial real estate attorney and founder of Opportunity-Funds.com, a website that tracks opportunity zone funds and designated areas, said the executive order still does not address the current shortcomings and problems that are present from people trying to do opportunity zone deals now.

“I think the regulation may be useful, but this is not a problem-solving regulation,” Marks said. “I don’t know what his strategy is, but I think when there are opportunity zone successes, he has a clear opportunity to put himself and his Cabinet at the locations for the photo opportunity. I don’t mean to say that in a derogatory sense … This is to make sure [everyone knows] he’s still part of it.”

For the past year, the at-first unheralded Opportunity Zone program, passed last year as part of Trump’s $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has flown under the mainstream radar.

The program’s goal is to generate economic development in the form of the redevelopment or the development of market-rate housing, affordable housing, new offices, retail buildings and businesses in these communities.

 

 

Read more on Bisnow