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SF Bay Area: Do Any Cities Offer Affordable Rent?

Out of thirty cities in the San Francisco region, only five boast residential rents less than the California median, and they do so by the skin of their teeth. That’s the word from numbers crunchers at Zumper who delivered an August analysis of one-bedroom rental prices in the Bay Area.

According to Zumper’s SF Bay Area Metro Report, the median rental price for a single bedroom apartment in San Francisco exceeds $3400 per month. Mountain View and Redwood City follow close behind at around $3200 and $3100 respectively. If you think that living in the Bay Area is expensive, you’re right. In fact, leaseholders in San Francisco pay the highest average rents in the nation.

Experts note that due to a slight softening in the housing market, the median cost to rent a San Francisco residence is moving downward, but this decrease doesn’t exactly make “The City” affordable to anyone who takes home less than $100k per year. Fortunately, one can find relatively affordable rental homes in Napa, Santa Rosa, Livermore, Concord, and Vallejo. Of these cities, Vallejo is where you get the most bang for your rental bucks.

Vallejo, California: Surprisingly Affordable Bay Area City

Situated in Solano County at the south end of the Napa Valley, Vallejo remains far more affordable than every other city in the Bay Area. With fewer than 117,000 residents, Vallejo offers plentiful parks, vibrant night life, and lots of room for expansion.

If you’re being priced out of the San Francisco rental market, take heart. And then take a trip to Vallejo. Here you find a small town feel, an up-and-coming art district, and monthly rents that hover around $1300.

San Francisco Rents Are Down: Now is the Best Time to Move

California is a beacon of technology and social experience with an intricate history. If you are looking for a new stomping ground and have ever wondered what it would be like to live in the foggy, architecturally unique, well sought after city of San Francisco, now is the perfect time to move! Apartment housing prices are currently unprecedentedly low in this incredible city. This iconic city has been calling to younger generations for years now, causing an influx of population to this metropolitan center. With an increase in population, the city and its surrounding areas also saw constant price growth. For the first time in years, this trend has changed.

In the past year, average housing prices have dropped back down to what they were in 2015! The S.F. housing market was recently softened by 3,600 new apartment units, making this the perfect time to shop for your new home. With this new addition of available units, there is finally enough housing to support the influx of residents.

Nearby areas are also seeing rent drops, but none as drastic as San Francisco, with reported rents “more affordable than New York, L.A. and Miami“. The time to move is now, so peruse the vacancy listings at Golden Gate Properties and find your new apartment. Notice that the rent for many of these one bedroom apartments match or beat the reported current average of $3,200.

There are myriad reasons to move to California no matter your style: incredible wine, varied business opportunities, great food, and of course the great Pacific. San Francisco is at the heart of it all. If you have ever hoped of moving to the golden coast, the recent adjustment in housing prices could make your dream come true.

San Francisco’s 1 Bedroom Median Rent Price: Downwards Trends

San Francisco’s high-priced homes is as notorious as their boastful NBA Championship team: The Golden State Warriors. According to Fox Business News, the city previously went through a boom in the median prices of apartments due to the increase of tech jobs. “Economists said the weakening is being caused by a confluence of factors: slowing job growth, less demand from new buyers put off by high prices and, on the rental side, an increase in new apartment supply as developers try to cash in on a multiyear boom” (Fox Business News). With the reduction in high paying jobs, fewer people have become apt to pay for the higher priced smaller apartments, resulting in small decreases or flat-lined prices for rentals.

In Zumper’s National Rent Report for June 2017, San Francisco still remained the most expensive for those choosing to rent their homes. Although the price remains at the top, the median has yet to increase in the past year like numerous other cities across the United States. In fact, the one bedroom median price has decreased 6.1% in the past year.  The median price for one bedrooms sustained at a whopping, $3,370 according to Zumper’s report. Although this number sounds like a hefty amount to pay for a one bedroom, as reported on Forbes, San Francisco remains at number two for starting median pay ($60,400).

A slight bit of positivity is always important, right?

If you are thinking of moving to San Francisco, or wanting to look into your options as a current resident, Curbed San Francisco should be your go-to guide for all things Bay Area real estate. Here you can relish yourself in articles, neighborhoods, and what the market realistically looks like as of late.

Although paying anywhere between $2,000-$4,000 for a ‘decent’ one bedroom still make be a hard pill to swallow, we can always take comfort in knowing that the numbers haven’t been going upwards and the quality of your humble abode’s is transitioning out of just the glitzy neighborhoods into the rest of the city’s reign.

Gold Rush Era Ships Below San Francisco Streets

The city of San Francisco is filled with rich history and historical treasures. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz, there are an abundance of sights to see and stories to be told.

But perhaps the most interesting is the story of what’s beneath this iconic, bustling metropolis. A new map, expected to be published this fall, is revealing dozens of 19th century ships just below the surface.

The Gold Rush

The first flakes of gold appeared in San Francisco in 1848. Shortly thereafter, the Gold Rush began. Thousands flocked to this small city to earn their piece of the golden pie. The fastest route for many was by sea and ships sailed in by the hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or more.

Many of these ships were abandoned when sailors caught the gold-craze and were deliberately sunk by merchants so they could claim water lots which were plots of land under a body of water. These lots would then be filled with sand, creating a new shoreline filled with these ghost ships.

The Arkansas

In the Financial District is a bar called The Old Ship Saloon. This building lies directly over the remains of a ship called the Arkansas. Originally opened in 1851, the bar was created inside the hull of the ship. To enter, patrons would walk up a plank into the entrance cut into the side. The ship soon became landlocked and eventually buried by infilling at the bay. By 1859, all traces of the above-ground portion were removed.

The Niantic

The Niantic underwent many facelifts during her short life. She ran aground near what is now the intersection of Clay and Montgomery Streets. The ship was then converted into a building used as a warehouse, hotel and a store. In 1851, a fire tore the ship down to the waterline. The area was then buried under landfill and the Niantic Hotel was built. In 1872, the hotel burned down as well and the Niantic Building was erected in her place. That building was then destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and another complex was built.

The Rome

Perhaps the best use of the ships from the Gold Rush is The Rome. In 1994, crews extending the Muni Metro tunnel discovered the ship lay directly in the tunnel they were digging. Archeologists analyzed the ship and determined it would be impossible to move any substantial portions of it. So the workers continued on. When travelers move through the tunnel, rounding the curve into Embarcadero Station, they are actually travelling right through a Gold Rush-era ship.

The next time you’re walking through The Embarcadero or the Financial District, take a moment to consider that while you are standing in the 21st century, pieces of the 19th century may be just below your feet.

How Much Do You Need to Earn to Afford to Rent a 2 Bedroom in San Francisco?

The cost to rent a two bedroom apartment varies wildly across the country. Large, metropolitan cities in desirable areas typically have the highest rental costs. The wage you need to earn to rent a two bedroom apartment is higher than you might think, especially in pricey San Francisco. According to Rent Jungle, the average price to rent a two bedroom apartment in San Francisco currently averages around $4,571.

Conventional wisdom dictates that you should spend no more than 30% of your gross salary on rent. As Bloomberg reports, the 30% rule can be difficult, if not impossible, to follow in the most competitive housing markets. For example, to spend no more than 30% of your gross income on the $4,571 two bedroom, San Francisco apartment mentioned above, you’d need to earn over $182,000 per year.

The San Francisco minimum wage increased to $14.00 on July 1, 2017. Assuming a standard 40 hour work week, a worker making minimum wage in San Francisco would earn just $29,120, far below the amount needed to rent a two bedroom apartment in the city. For comparison purposes, San Francisco has one of the highest minimum wages in the country. The current federal minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour.

Even for those making a better wage, the average household income in San Francisco is $104,879, spending no more than the recommended 30% of income on housing still represents a significant challenge.

For those who want to live and work in San Francisco, compromises must often be made in order to afford it. Many choose a longer commute into the city and live just outside San Francisco, where rents are slightly more affordable. Living with roommates and working more than one job are also alternatives to be able to rent a two bedroom apartment in everybody’s favorite city, San Francisco.

5M Project to Create 241 Affordable Units in SOMA Neighborhood

The 5M Project is an ambitious undertaking that seeks to address several challenges faced by San Francisco residents. It is taking place in the South of Market (or SoMa) neighborhood. The project is creating 241 new affordable housing units in SoMa. It is also adding new public open space and attempting to tackle the area’s notorious traffic problems.

New Affordable Housing Units

Lack of affordable housing ranks as perhaps the biggest problem San Franciscans face in the 2010s. The city has become even more unaffordable than famously high-priced enclaves such as New York City and Los Angeles. The median San Francisco home price in 2016 stood at $1.1 million. Only 11 percent of the city’s residents can afford to pay for an average-priced home, compared to 30 percent for California and 58 percent for the entire country.

While 241 new affordable units isn’t a panacea for the hundreds of thousands of city residents who want to buy a home but can’t afford one, it’s a start. These units will be available to individuals making up to $35,700 per year and families of four making up to $50,950.

What’s more, since no residents currently live at the site of the 5M Project, it won’t displace anyone.

New Public Open Space

Like most population-dense urban areas, San Francisco struggles to balance the need for office, commercial, and residential space with open, green areas for the public to enjoy. The 5M Project is making room for both. It is adding over 50,000 square feet of public open space to an area, District 6, that desperately needs it. The project is also committed to having a minimal effect on nearby parks and green spaces. For instance, the new construction will increase the shadow cast on nearby Boeddeker Park by less than 0.005 percent.

Managing Traffic

San Francisco’s downtown streets are famously clogged with traffic. The 5M Project is doing its part to alleviate the problem. It is adding nearly 500 bicycle parking stalls along with showers and lockers to encourage people to commute by bike rather than by car. The project is also situated with easy access to BART and the Muni Metro. As the sidewalk on 5th Street will be more than doubled in width, area residents can commute by foot safely and comfortably.

Plans in Motion for Golden State Warriors New Arena in Mission Bay

The Mission Bay area revitalization has generated anticipation from the residents of the San Fransisco Bay area. Another exciting aspect of this project is The Golden State Warriors NBA franchise’s planned move from Piers 30-32 in Oakland to a new arena in Mission Bay.

NBA fans, especially those from the San Fransisco area, are thrilled that the move will bring the team home to San Fransisco for the first time in 40 years. In recent years, the franchise has experienced increased fan support along with winning records and superstar players like Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. But bringing the team’s home games home is just one small piece of the overall puzzle. The new state-of-the-art arena will provide a venue for conventions, concerts, family entertainment, and other sporting events.

Economic Boom

Another significant benefit to the community is the economic boost it will provide during the extensive re-development of the Mission Bay area. The arena’s construction will add to the number of available jobs in the area, but it will also help expedite the other Mission Bay projects like waterfront parks and housing by creating revenue and providing customers to other businesses in the project area.

Community Oversight

Civic-minded community members may have questions about oversight on the arena construction or about the Mission Bay project in general. The Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee will be meeting with other business and community groups to provide analysis, oversight, and feedback from the public. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development continues to lead these efforts on behalf of the city by partnering with all other stakeholders in the development process. There are separate efforts aimed at renovating the Piers 30-32 location that is being vacated by the Warriors franchise. Some question the traffic, parking, and environmental concerns associated with the project. There is still evaluation by the  San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency being conducted to oversee the effects of all the major development in the area.

The burning question for many is: when? When will the new arena be completed, and when will Mission Bay area partner businesses and housing be opening? The good news is that many medical facilities and research and development companies already have offices open or under construction employing thousands, and thousands of housing units of all price points have opened and will continue to open in 2017. And for the San Francisco basketball fans, the new arena is currently scheduled to open in 2019.

Progress on the CPMC Hospital on Geary and Van Ness

Construction continues at a steady pace on the upcoming California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus at Geary and Van Ness in San Francisco.

According to a recent project update, the focus has shifted from the upward and outward on the hospital campus to the inside of the buildings. Finish tradesmen are hard at work on the interiors, installing sheet rock, casework, and millwork. Installation of the casework and millwork is expected to go into the fall, with flooring and other finishes going in afterward.

Progress can also be seen at the medical office building, where concrete pours for the foundations and garage is complete. The medical office building will rise from there, with structural steel work expected to go from now until August.

Work will continue on the parking levels, as crews will be installing concrete curbs and topping the slabs. That process is expected to finish in June. Masonry work is also starting at the parking levels.

Overall, the timeline for this project remains the same. Construction on the hospital portion of the project will be completed in the second half of 2018, with the MOB coming online shortly after that. The entire campus will be open in 2019.

California Pacific Medical Center/Sutter Health is the owner of this project. The architect who designed the Van Ness Campus is SmithGroup JJR. HerreroBOLDT (a joint partnership of Herrero Builders and The BOLDT Company) is the general contractor. The hospital portion of the project is expected to be LEED certified when it is complete, while the medical office building will likely be LEED – Silver certified.

250 New Homes Planned on CPMC Hospital Site in Presidio Heights, San Francisco

The new California Pacific Medical Center campus on Geary and Van Ness is still two years from opening, but TMG Partners recently submitted preliminary project assessment plans to the city of San Francisco for redevelopment of the California campus in Presidio Heights once it is vacated in 2019.

CPMC selected TMG Partners in 2015 to develop the site at 3700 California Street. TMG has spent the intervening time collecting community feedback and working with neighborhood associations and the city to create a plan that fits in seamlessly. They’ve been working closely with Robert A.M. Stern Architects on the design work.

The 3700 California project, according to the project’s website, will be entirely residential. There are no plans, at this time, for commercial components. TMG is hoping to orient the redevelopment towards family housing. 80% of the approximately 250 housing units planned are being designed with two or more bedrooms. Twenty-six units are single family occupancy, while the rest will be apartments. Open spaces and other amenities are planned, as well as below ground parking with enough spaces for two vehicles per housing unit. Building heights are anticipated to range between three and seven stories. Placement of buildings on site are as close to current building heights as possible, for minimal disturbance of the skyline to those already living in the area.

While most of the hospital buildings will be torn down once CPMC has vacated the property, TMG Partners is planning to save two of the buildings on the site. The Marshall Hale building will be converted into residential units. Plans for the residential building at 401 Cherry call for a renovation, but to leave current residents in place.

Overall, CPMC is happy with the plans put forward by TMG Partners.

“TMG has been an ideal development partner,” Jenifer Turnbull, their vice president of facility development said in a press release issued shortly after the plans were submitted. “They have closely and carefully worked with the local community to develop a well-supported project of which CPMC/Sutter Health is proud.”

Proposed New Development in San Francisco’s Mission District Set to House Nonprofits

Earlier this year, commercial developer Chris Foley of Common Ground Urban Development proposed a project that would give ten local nonprofit organizations permanent homes right in the Mission District.

The proposed development would be a five-story, 200,000 square foot commercial building at 1850 Bryant St, where an unused building currently sits. Foley plans to divide the building into ten commercial units specifically for nonprofit use, and sell them for about 40% below market value. They would basically be “affordable housing for social service nonprofits,” says Foley.

The financing for these affordable nonprofit housing units comes partially from the federal New Markets Tax credits. Owning building space is a huge hurdle for area nonprofits, 38% of whom have moved at least once in the past seven years. Foley recognized the importance of stability for nonprofits when he advised United Playaz, a nonprofit dedicated to helping area teens in crisis and who eventually raised $1.4 million to buy their building.

The Bryant St project already has seven tenants ready to move into the new building when it is completed. Although they don’t want to be named publicly until plans are finalized, potential nonprofits could include such services as addictions treatment and counseling, job and housing placement, and education for adults. The building will also include space for the arts, and will feature a 14,000 square-foot rooftop garden.

According to Curbed SF, Foley will put in his bid for the project with the Planning Commission on June 1. After demolition of the old building, construction could begin as early as late June.

The project is estimated to cost around $120 million, with individual 10,000 square-foot units selling for a little less than $6 million.

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