Market Pulse: San Francisco, July 2019

Welcome to the first edition of NAI Northern California’s newest feature. We checked the pulse of the San Francisco commercial real estate market to discover the ups and downs of the office, industrial, retail, and multifamily markets.  Each market has four dimensions: current inventory, 12-month net absorption, under construction, and vacancy rate.

Check out our July 2019 San Francisco Market Pulse infographic. If a dimension is on the rise, the pulse goes above the baseline; if it’s on the decline or negative, the pulse will dip below the baseline.

This month the San Francisco office market’s inventory is up to 175 million sq. ft., with 12-month net absorption down at 2 million sq. ft. of office space. Approximately 6.9 million sq. ft. are under construction with an upward trend. The vacancy rate is rising, at 6.3 percent.

For more detailed updates or to find out how San Francisco’s submarkets are doing, contact one of our advisors; whether you’re interested in office, industrial, retail, or multifamily properties, we can help.

Foreign investment rising for net lease assets

Foreign investment in commercial real estate is on the rise due to the search for yield and portfolio diversification, according to the World Property Journal. Globally, investment in net lease properties (office, retail, and industrial) averaged $3 billion per year from 2011 to 2014 and is up to more than $8 billion per year from 2015 to 2019. In the United States, foreign investments for Q1 2019 represented 15.1% of net lease transactions, totaling $1.9 billion, up 6.6% compared to Q1 last year when they only represented 12.9% of the market. In 2018, foreign investors held 30.1% more net lease properties than in 2017, an $8.8 billion increase.

Most of these investors are from Canada, South Korea, and China. Canadians invested $5.55 billion, with a focus on industrial properties; South Koreans invested $3.28 billion, overwhelmingly preferring office space; and Chinese investments of $3.22 billion also focused on industrial assets.

So far this year, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Columbus, and Los Angeles have received the most foreign capital, but commercial real estate investments in high-growth secondary and tertiary markets like Phoenix, Seattle, Baltimore, and Atlanta are also becoming popular.

Source: World Property Journal

San Jose and Oakland challenge SF in private equity real estate market

California’s largest cities for real estate investment, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are now being challenged by San Jose and Oakland. California holds almost 20% of the private equity real estate (PERE) in the country and 12% of global PERE assets under management, according to a study by accounting and advisory firm EisnerAmper and Preqin. PERE properties include office buildings (high-rise, urban, suburban and garden offices); industrial properties (warehouse, research and development, flexible office/industrial space); retail properties, shopping centers (neighborhood, community, and power centers); and multifamily apartments (garden and high-rise). Less common but still an option are senior or student housing, hotels, self-storage, medical offices, single-family housing to own or rent, undeveloped land, and manufacturing space (via Investopedia). 

So how do the Bay Area cities compare?

San Francisco’s strength is in its office market, with $3.2 billion PERE deals in 2018 (a $1 billion increase over 2017) and another $1 billion already invested this year as the Bay Area’s largest tech companies continue to expand. The overall PERE total for last year was $4 billion,down from $4.8 billion in 2017; according to an article in the San Francisco Business times, “the drop-off in the quantity of large mixed-use transactions compared with recent years is at the heart of the decrease.” San Francisco is also running out of space, which limits growth.

While San Francisco is still the largest market for office transactions in the Bay Area, San Jose is leading in growth. Their office transactions in 2017 and 2018 both reached $1 billion, with a record in 2018 at $1.2 billion. In Q1 of 2019 alone, these transactions reached $500 million, putting San Jose on track to quadruple its PERE deals this year. The overall PERE total for 2018 was another record of $2.7 billion, almost 60% more than 2017 and a sharp contrast to San Francisco. 

Oakland may be emerging as a competitor, with more reasonable housing options for tenants; the tech company Square announced at the end of last year their intent to move 2,000 employees into an Oakland office. Even as a smaller city, it is on track to reach a total of $1 billion in PERE deals this year, with $560 million in Q1 2019 already; $493 million of that was just two office space deals by Starwood Capital Group. The city also has more Opportunity Zones than either of the other two cities.

With San Francisco as the “benchmark,” San Jose as the “growth leader,” and Oakland as the “up and comer” (according to the SF Business Times), all three cities are going strong.

Source: SF Business Times

 

NAI Northern California sale of 888 Vermont Street featured by Multi-Housing News

NAI Northern California’s sale of the Vermont Apartments in Oakland was featured by Multi-Housing News in a recent article, “Oakland Community Trades in All-Cash Sale.” The article covered how the Mitchell Warren Team of Vice President Tim Warren, Senior Vice President Kent Mitchell, Investment Analyst Alex Lin, and Investment Advisor Randell Silva both represented the seller and found a buyer for the 44-unit community in a $14 million all-cash sale.

Located at 888 Vermont Street in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood, the Vermont Apartments features a mix of 2-bedroom, 1-bedroom, and studio units plus two penthouses. The community’s amenities include four laundry rooms, a pool, view balconies, and a 43-space parking garage.

The San Francisco office pipeline is overflowing

The SF office pipeline is overflowing. The city only has enough cap space to approve about 2.1 million square feet of office space, but over 8.1 million square feet are currently proposed. So what happens to the developers who want to add that extra 6 million?

The Planning Commission can only approve 950,000 square feet of office development per year, with any unused approvals rolling over into the next year. When there’s not enough cap space to go around, the commissioners get to develop their own policies to decide which projects will go forward and which will have to wait until next year. One such policy approves projects in phases, so a given project might be able to start work on half of its square footage this year and resubmit the second half for approval next year; the idea is that this helps projects get started moving forward more quickly. However, it also means that they take longer to complete. From The San Francisco Business Times: “Doing so means ‘uncertainty, and it means a longer approval process,’ said Ryan Patterson, a partner at Zacks, Freedman & Patterson. ‘Time is money. So longer approval processes mean more expense. And that means even higher office rents.’”

Some developers have been able to carve out exemptions by getting voters to approve them; the Shipyard project in Hunter’s Point got its 5 million square feet of office space approved this way. The current system doesn’t seem likely to go away, though, leaving commissioners with a lot of power and developers with a lot of waiting.

Source: San Francisco Business Times

NAI Northern California Presents: $14 Million Sale of Trophy 44-Unit Project in Oakland, CA

Leader in multifamily, retail, and office investment transactions closes major deal in the heart of Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood

OAKLAND, CA –  June 27, 2019 –  NAI Northern California is pleased to announce the sale of Vermont Apartments, a 44-unit property constructed in 1968. Tim WarrenKent MitchellRandell Silva, and Alex Lin represented the Seller in the transaction, and were able to generate an all-cash offer over the list price during pre-marketing. In addition, after securing a buyer, they were able to find a replacement property for their client to satisfy 1031 exchange requirement.

Vermont Apartments was situated on a 19,700 SF lot and consisted of two (2) 2 bedroom/2bathroom penthouse units, nine (9) 2 bedroom/1 bathroom units, twenty-eight (28) 1 bedroom/1 bathroom units, and five (5) studio units. The project also sat above 43 garage spaces, offering a nearly 1-to-1 parking ration, and offered four (4) on-site laundry rooms, a beautiful pool, and balconies with sweeping views. Over the years, it was very well maintained and provided the new owners with the potential of significant upside upon unit turnover.

It was centrally located, with easy access to the 19th Street BART station and several city bus lines, just blocks away from Trader Joe’s, the Oakland-Grand Lake Farmer’s Market, various cafes, and Lake Merritt, providing tenants convenient access to all daily amenities. Furthermore, many of Oakland’s best restaurants and nighttime attractions were also within walking distance, including the Grand Lake Theatre and shopping opportunities such as Gap, Urban Indigo, and others.

 

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.

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.

How to take advantage of “Opportunity Zones”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created new rules for “opportunity zones,” underdeveloped neighborhoods, sheltering your investments from federal taxes with minimal limits and employment requirements. You only have a few more months to maximize the benefits of this program: so how does it work?

When you sell a property, you can immediately reinvest that gain, tax-deferred, into an Opportunity Zone by depositing it into a qualified Opportunity Zone fund (either one you create or a traditional one). Then you have two choices; buy a property in one of the zones, or invest in a business in the zone. We’ll focus on the property option.

You have 31 months to purchase your new property, whether it’s multifamily, retail, industrial, or office space. Eventually, you need to invest the same amount of money as the property’s structures (not land!) currently are worth; if the current building is worth $100,000, you need to spend $100,000 remodeling, rebuilding, or otherwise upgrading the building. This means if you buy a property with a structure worth very little, you don’t have to do much to get the tax benefits.

Speaking of benefits, not only is the tax on your original gains deferred until 2026, but if you hold it for seven years, 15 percent of that gain will completely avoid federal capital gains taxes. (You only get 10 percent if you hold it for five years.) And if you hold it for ten years and your new investment appreciates? None of that appreciation is taxable under federal capital gains taxes. This is an opportunity indeed!

There are 102 opportunity zones designated around the Bay Area, including in Oakland, Concord, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, and even San Francisco; visit the SF Business Times’ site for maps and stats about the zones, or contact one of our advisors to find a property that matches your investment goals.

Sources: BizJournals.com, Tax Policy Center

Read our June 25, 2019 newsletter

NAI Northern California Presents: $18 Million Sale of 24 Unit Project in Mill Valley, CA

Leader in multifamily, retail, and office investment transactions closes major deal on fully-leased apartment complex in Marin County
MILL VALLEY, CA –  June 13, 2019 –  NAI Northern California is pleased to announce the sale of Central Valley Homes Apartments, a 24-unit project constructed in 1988 and offered for the first time in 2019. Joby Tapia represented the Seller in the transaction, and said that despite “some tremendously difficult challenges,” they were able to successfully close the transaction at the $18,000,000 asking rate with multiple offers and ongoing construction during escrow.

Among the obstacles he encountered was a water intrusion event, which added substantial complexity to the deal, as well as having to organize multiple bids and contracts with several vendors and maintain insurance compliance throughout the process. The effort was well-rewarded, though, as the Seller wrote affectionately of Mr. Tapia’s “excellent service to Central Valley Homes, not just for the sale … but also for [his] advice and expertise on countless property management issues.”

Central Valley Homes Apartments consisted of 24 three-bedroom units with individual APNs and significant upside on the rents, as well as potential condo exit. One-third of the units were highly refurbished and attracted rents approaching $3.00/SF, while the remaining units offered investors the opportunity to continue a value-add strategy that allowed for $1,000+ rental increases per un-renovated unit.

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.

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 Joby Tapia

Joby is an accomplished Multifamily Executive with over 20 years experience managing commercial and multi-family assets, including market rate and rent-controlled properties, for both private and institutional owners throughout Northern California. With his strategic, creative and entrepreneurial skill set, he was able to generate millions of dollars in excess value by implementing budget-appropriate measures to generate the best possible market rents while maintaining a strong focus on the ROI of renovation/turnover dollars.  Leveraging his operational and market expertise with his detail-oriented and analytical approach, he has successfully closed numerous difficult deals, generating maximum benefits to his clients.

Tech booms, but small retail struggles in Silicon Valley

While Silicon Valley’s tech sector is thriving, cranking out IPOs and flooding the region with high-paying jobs, its retail industry is struggling to keep its boutiques and tiny mom and pop shops open.

The number of retail businesses — particularly small retail businesses — has dropped significantly in the Bay Area between 2007 and 2017, according to data from the state Economic Development Department. Experts blame a host of factors, including high rents, increased competition from online vendors, a rising minimum wage and increased health care costs.

The average rent per square foot for retail space in San Jose increased nearly 9 percent between 2015 and 2017. It also rose 9 percent in Oakland, and in San Francisco, it inched up almost 5 percent. Even incremental rent hikes can cause trouble for small businesses, which often operate on a thin profit margin.

At the same time, Bay Area home prices and rents have become so expensive that many local retail workers can no longer afford to live near their jobs, forcing them to commute long hours or quit.

Read the full article on The Mercury News

Read our June 11, 2019 newsletter