US Neighborhoods with the Best Property ROI

The San Francisco Business Times released this report yesterday after crunching some Zillow numbers, showing the 20 neighborhoods in the US that have delivered the best return on real estate investment in the past 10 years. 

Many of the most lucrative markets lie north of San Jose…right in our wheelhouse. 

Now granted, this list looks at residential real estate. But we’ve all heard that rumor about a rising tide lifting other boats. As the Bay Area and Northern California has grown, it has ALL grown.

Let’s walk through this logically. People want to live in the dynamic City of San Francisco, or near their jackpot job in Silicon Valley. But they don’t want to spend what it costs to live there. So they fan out into the perimeter, raising demand in Richmond, Stockton, Merced.

Well guess what? It’s not just home-buyers in that scenario. It’s renters of multifamily units too. And now those people want shopping centers and auto repair shops and chiropractic offices. 

So if you’re looking for an ideal spot for a commercial investment, you might look at where the people are. Here’s where demand has grown the most.

Want to think about buying or selling in these areas? Consult with one of our advisors. 

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

Could anti-price gouging laws slow rising rents in California?

California lawmakers are exploring new ways to limit skyrocketing rents.

Crooning in the shower is not Chad Regeczi’s thing.

That’s why when he learned last year his monthly rent would go up $300 so the new owners of his La Mesa apartment in San Diego County could upgrade his bathroom with a sound system, he was bemused.

“300 bucks!” he said. “I mean an iPod costs less than that. Everybody has got a phone now. Who needs a Bluetooth speaker in a bathroom apartment? It’s just weird.”

Regeczi, a VA employee, said the 30 percent rent increase didn’t match the condition of his apartment. But he felt powerless to challenge his landlords on the hike.

“Who’s gonna tell them no?” he asked. “There are no rules to how much your rent can go up.”

That may change. Talk is underway about putting a law on the books that would bar California landlords from raising rent beyond a certain percentage.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in November the rule would mimic limits on what businesses can charge during natural disasters.

“When there’s a fire, you pass an anti-rent gouging ordinance,” Schaaf said. “The state has a fire. It’s called the housing crisis.”

Rents are surging in some California cities where there is no rent control by double, even triple digits, according to mayors and tenants rights advocates.

And more than half of the state’s renters pay more than a third of their income on housing, according to the California Budget & Policy Center. And a third of renters spend more than half of their paycheck on a place to live. The real estate firm Zillow reported last month that communities where people pay more than a third of their salary on rent, see a faster rise in homelessness.

 

Read more on East Bay Times

 

 

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

 

 

Bay Area residents want more housing, but …

There are a few things locals aren’t willing to sacrifice to get more housing

Fed up with soaring prices that are increasingly putting home ownership, or even a decent rental, out of reach, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly say they want more housing built, according to a new poll. But it better not make their commutes worse.

Residents said they support everything from new single family homes to housing for the homeless in their communities, tossing aside NIMBY concerns that sometimes throw a wrench in building plans. But there were limits to their enthusiasm. Respondents balked at building anything that would cut into the Bay Area’s cherished open spaces or funnel more people onto crowded local freeways and public transit, making their treks to work longer.

Read more from The Mercury News

Next three years seen as largely favorable across Bay Area CRE market 

CRE professionals have a relatively positive outlook for Bay Area real estate for the next three years.

The recent Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast California Commercial Real Estate survey showed renewed optimism across multiple markets over that time frame, due in part to increased investor activity in the last half of 2017, the tax overhaul and a strong stock market. The biannual survey projects a three-year outlook for California’s commercial real estate markets.

Read more from Bisnow

Northern California cities remain prime locales for CRE investors

Investment activity in the Bay Area and Northern California remained strong in 2017.

San Francisco was reported as having one of the strongest office markets in the country, according to Avison Young’s 2018 North America and Europe Forecast. Industrial remains in high demand with low vacancies in Oakland and the East Bay. Investment activity remained strong throughout the Bay Area and capital markets continue to seek out additional opportunities in 2018.

Read more from Bisnow

 

California’s Cannabis Conundrum: Legalization Will Lead To Fewer Dispensaries, Not More

With legalization of recreational marijuana just around the corner in California, the state is about to embark on what could be a $5B industry and a boon for tax revenue. But state regulations have created high barriers to entry and many cities and counties have banned cannabis outright.

Legalization in California will not translate to an immediate influx of cannabis dispensaries. In fact, many dispensaries now in business will no longer be able to continue operations past Jan. 1. States like Colorado created a more open market with fewer regulations when it legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, leading to an explosion of cannabis businesses. California requires dispensaries to be at least 600 feet from schools, to close at 10 p.m. and to have 24-hour surveillance, among other regulations. Jurisdictions also have the right to be more restrictive.

Read more from Bisnow

How California’s State And Local Governments Are Addressing The Affordable Housing Crisis

With the highest cost of housing in the nation, California’s affordable housing crisis is threatening the economic vitality of the state.

The majority of renters, more than 3 million, pay more than 30% of their gross monthly income for housing, and one-third of renters, about 1.5 million, pay more than 50% of their income for a place to live, according to a California Department of Housing and Community Development report.

Read more from Bisnow