Pricey Prospects for New Condos in SF Pipeline

thecentury
It’s been quite a year for developers of new construction condos and houses in San Francisco. After an economic downturn during which very few new projects were built in the city, construction lurched ahead again—particularly along the Market Street corridor, in Hayes Valley, the Mission and many other popular neighborhoods.

And oh, what a reception these new developments received! Projects such as 300 Ivy in Hayes Valley and ICON in the Castro sold out in record time, and at record prices. Buyers seemed very willing to pay a premium of $1,000-$1200/sq foot for new and shiny, particularly in transit- and retail-friendly communities. And 3500 19th Street at Valencia took advantage of the tech-buying boom and Mission mania by largely selling out all of its 17 condos with sales prices in the $1.3M-$2.3M range.

There are 1800 new construction units on tap for 2014, with more than 50,000 new units in the pipeline for the next six or more years. But if you’re a buyer who’s thinking about holding out until a unit in a particular building becomes available, be aware that prices will only go up from here. For example, currently being built is 35 Dolores, the former car repair warehouse across the street from the recently built rental building with Whole Foods as its anchor. 35 Dolores will likely finish construction in the summer, but will start selling in April. A majority of the units will be two bedrooms, and pricing for premium units will be $1500/sq foot.

Another very high-end project is 1645 Pacific, which is focusing on its handcrafted construction style that mimics an old-world, north-end-of-town architectural style. Final pricing hasn’t been released, but $1200/sq foot+ would seem to be the minimum starting point. The ultra luxury Park 181 at 181 Fremont will be asking $6M-$8M per unit, and Lumina (a.k.a. Infinity 3 and 4 at 201 Folsom) expects a $1B sellout by the time buyers finish snapping up all 651 units.

Not everything will be as stratospheric in price, though. But you can expect buildings like Fifteen Fifteen in the Mission, Onyx in Potrero, and Millwheel in Dogpatch to be in that $1,000/sq foot range. I believe upcoming Hayes Valley projects such as 400 Grove and 450 Hayes to be in the $1100+/sq foot range, based on 300 Ivy’s sales.

So if you’ve got you’re heart set on shiny and new, be prepared to pay a premium. If you want more space for the money, set your sights on the resale market. And if you have any questions on what’s in the works for new condos in any part of the city, please get in touch. Keeping track of all these cranes is a part-time job, and I can get you the scoop on whatever interests you.

5 Things To Know About Negotiating New Development Contracts

marlow
San Francisco is experiencing a construction boom these days, with new developments going up in neighborhoods on a rolling basis—with many more to follow in the next five years.

There are two ways to handle contract negotiations if you’ve decided to buy a newly built—or not-quite-finished—condo. You can go directly to the sales office, or work with a local Realtor. Some buyers feel that they can handle things on their own, while others appreciate the guidance of a seasoned professional who’s negotiated contracts on other developments in the past.

Regardless of how you approach your purchase, here are five things to know before you sit down with the sales office to negotiate your contract:
1. We’re in a seller’s market, and developers are not discounting their list prices. Most developments are selling out quickly, and at prices that the developer wants. There will likely be another buyer breathing down your neck as soon as you decide which unit you’d like to buy. Of course, you may be able to negotiate a lower price on a less desirable unit that ends up sitting on the market longer.

2. Most of the contingencies are passive. The San Francisco Realtor Association (SFAR) purchase agreement allows for contingency timeframes that require the buyer to remove the contingency on a certain date. That’s usually not the case for the new-construction condo contracts. If the sales office doesn’t hear from you by the time the particular contingency deadline arrives, the escrow marches on and you technically do not have that contingency to fall back on anymore. I provide an escrow timetable to all my clients so everyone is aware of all deadlines, and no one risks losing a deposit.

3. Make sure the parking details in the paperwork match up with what you see in the garage. Will you own your parking space, or is it leased or assigned? Does your space show up on the condo map? Is there a separate HOA just for parking?

4. You should have a final walkthrough prior to closing. The SFAR contract provides for a walkthrough on the property within five days of closing. You’re able to ensure that what you’re buying is in acceptable condition. New home contracts sometimes omit that walkthrough, which can be particularly problematic if you’ve been promised that certain items will be installed by close of escrow. It’s a good idea to insist on a walkthrough.

5. You may be able to negotiate concessions. If the price is firm, has the developer been throwing in any appliances or upgrades? Typical concessions are refrigerators or upgrades on finishes if a unit hasn’t yet been completed. If you’ve decided to work directly with the sales office, they will not usually be forthcoming about concessions because they’re representing the seller and are trying to get him or her the best deal possible. On the other hand, a well-connected Realtor (like me) can confer with colleagues who have sold units in the building to see what you may be able to request and likely achieve.

Sales offices always require that your agent register with you upon your first visit to the building. So if you would prefer the benefit of working with a Realtor and want to see condos in a particular building, make sure to schedule a time to go to the office together.

There are probably another 20 items I could add to the list above, and I’d be happy to provide my guidance if you’re interested in one of the many new developments that are selling now or will be releasing units soon. Give me a shout at 415.823.4656 or ebermingham@zephyrsf.com if you’d like to talk.