Category Archives: San Mateo

Bay Area Home Prices Continue to Rise

The closer a home is to tech jobs in San Francisco and Santa Clara the more likely it is to sell quickly and for over asking. The very hot—some would say overheated—core of the Bay Area homes market is San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and the heat radiates out from there, diminishing as one gets further away. This core is defined by the incredible strength of the economy, much of it supercharged by the high-tech boom.
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In February 2015, 91% of homes in San Francisco sold without a price reduction, versus 86% in San Mateo, 82% in Alameda, 76% in Marin, 75% in Contra Costa, 67% in Santa Clara, 67% in Sonoma and 65% in Napa. Throughout the Bay Area, the homes that did sell without a price reduction generally averaged sales above the asking price. Again, San Francisco led the way with an average sales price 11% over asking.
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S.F. was followed closely by San Mateo (8% over asking), Santa Clara (7% over asking) and Alameda (6% over asking). Marin, Contra Costa and Sonoma sold only 1-2% over asking, on average, and Napa actually sold at 2% under asking, on average. As one gets further north, east and south of the inner core, the markets become less overheated: It’s not that these markets are weak—in fact, some are quite hot and they’ve all been strengthening for the last 3 years
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The same dynamic played out when for the average number of days a home was on the market before a sale. San Mateo had the lowest number of days, with homes going into contract an average of 18 days after coming to market. Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco were all just days over that average. But Marin’s average was 40 days, followed by Sonoma at 54 days and Napa at 79 air max penny

Nonprofit’s San Mateo County Land Purchase Completes Coastal Trail

A nonprofit has announced the purchase of 21 acres that will complete a segment of the Coastal California Trail in San Mateo County, nonprofit officials said.
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The Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) purchased the land along Pillar Point Bluff and the land will complete a section of the Coastal California Trail that travels along the bluff. The nonprofit previously purchased other land along the bluff and this most recent purchase is between two of the previously purchased parcels.

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“This is the fulfillment of a decade-long dream to preserve Pillar Point Bluff,” POST President Walter T. Moore said in a statement. “This is a spectacular piece of the California coast and we are thrilled that people can now take an uninterrupted hike on this property and enjoy the incredible scenic beauty of this place.”
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The bluff is known for its views of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve reefs and the Pacific Ocean. The bluff provides habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog and the endangered San Francisco garter snake.

The property is made up of coastal scrubland and coastal terrace prairie and may be a site for nesting raptors.
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POST is a private, nonprofit land trust that protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 70,000 acres as permanent open space and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

Thai real estate giant pays record price for second major Bay Area project

One of Thailand’s largest real estate developers paid more per unit for a major apartment building last week than any buyer in San Mateo County ever has.
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Land and Houses paid $73 million cash, or $663,000 per unit, in an off-market deal for a recently constructed 111-unit San Mateo luxury apartment complex.

The company paid a record price-per-unit for the two-acre development called Mode by Alta, according to research by brokerages Marcus & Millichap and Cushman & Wakefield.
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The project was purchased from Wood Partners, which paid $5 million for the development site in 2012 and spent $44 million on construction, according to the research firm Real Capital Analytics.

With the purchase, Land and Houses’ total Bay Area investment hit nearly $200 million. It previously bought one major asset – the 264-unit Oakland complex called Domain in 2013, also from Wood Partners. It also bought one smaller project, a 45-unit Sunnyvale complex called Mark XII in 2012.
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Land and Houses, publicly traded on Thailand’s stock exchange, is the only Thai developer to invest in Bay Area real estate in at least the last five years, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Screenshot 2015-03-09 07.56.54
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Mode by Alta is located at 2089 Pacific Blvd. in San Mateo was completed last year. It sold last week to a Thai buyer at a record price-per-unit. ( Story and photo courtesy of SVBJ)

The company opened a U.S. office three years ago to buy completed projects that could bring in stable rental income from Bay Area technology workers. The strategy has helped offset potential risks in the Thai market, such as last year’s coup d’etat in the country, said Sith Chaisurote, managing director of Land and Houses USA, Inc.

“We wanted to diversify our portfolio because in South Asia there is emerging market risk that the U.S. market doesn’t have,” Chaisurote said. “So far we’ve just focused on the Bay Area because we think it’s the most robust market in the U.S. That doesn’t mean we won’t expand in the future.”
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Most of the company’s Thai competitors haven’t jumped into the U.S. real estate market, opting instead for European luxury retail or burgeoning markets like India or Vietnam, he said.

In Thailand, Land and Houses’ core business is residential development but it has also invested in other types of commercial real estate, Chaisurote added.

The influx of foreign capital into Bay Area real estate over the last four years has mostly come from China, with Chinese companies investing billions during that time frame, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Earlier: 6 reasons Chinese money is raining down on Bay Area real estate

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The San Mateo apartments, located at 2089 Pacific Blvd. across from the Caltrain station, includes two three-story buildings. It has a fitness room, resident lounge and “expansive amenity decks,” according to a release. The new owners have the right to convert the rental buildings to condos.

Philip Saglimbeni, vice president of investments for the brokerage Institutional Property Advisors, said Mode by Alta was the first 100-unit-plus multifamily complex to trade hands in the city of San Mateo in more than a decade.

The sale was propelled by business history, as Wood Partners, represented by Institutional Property Advisors, also sold the Domain in Oakland to Land and Houses two years ago.
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“You don’t see private owners or institutional owners really sell the multifamily product that’s on the Peninsula because its so supply-constrained, median income levels are high and the location is so strategic between San Francisco and Silicon Valley,” he said.


Chinese Continue To Snatch Up Peninsula Real Estate

“There’s no loan contingency, no inspection and no appraisal.”
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Competition among realtors is stiff. Some broker’s marketing strategy includes videos and a website in Chinese, while others include a Mercedes van to take buyers to open houses and a plane to show Chinese the splendor of the Bay Area. Local realtors are doing just about everything to get a slice of the Chinese pie.
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Realtors are even asking cities to change addresses of homes Chinese are interested in, with the number four. That’s because the number four means “death” in Chinese — a definite no sale.
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Who are these buyers and what are they buying? “It’s a combination of entrepreneurs, businessmen, developers and real estate tycoons. Many of the homes they buy remain vacant most of the year. They’re called “ghost houses.” We saw one example that is $9 million property bought by a Chinese family. They actually came and purchased the home, but their purpose was only to come here next summer,” Michi Olson, of APR said.
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A burgeoning middle class is now looking to invest their money in a safe haven, away from China’s polluted air and political and economic uncertainties. Additionally, in China you never have home ownership.

“In China, it’s a 70-year lease, so there are uncertainties. Nobody knows what’s going to happen 70 years from now right?” said one realtor.
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That’s another good reason to buy American.