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Word on the street is that apartment prices may have hit a ceiling after years of rapid increases. As of mid-February, very few deals had gone to escrow and not much was coming to market.
The only major apartment deal that sold in January in the North Bay in was Trailhead Apartments at Tam Junction in Mill Valley. The 41-unit property sold for $14.7MM. There were other sales, but they were almost entirely duplexes. I will post with more market news soon.
In other news, SF Bay politicians were pushing for the state legislature to pass laws to implement what is called the CASA Compact. It has some good provisions to pressure local governments into permitting more housing construction. However, it also calls for governments to regulate the eviction process and worse, for localities throughout the region to adopt a 5% per year cap on rent increases. Stand by for updates…
By Andre F. Shashaty
The narrow defeat of rent control at the polls in Santa Rosa on June 6 must not be seen as the end of a battle about housing, but the beginning of a dialogue about priorities and political power in the North Bay. If we don't address the fundamental reasons for the crisis that lead to the demand for rent control, today's problems will look like child's play in a few short years.
As the publisher of NorthBay biz, Norm Rosinski, pointed out in a column earlier this year [Publisher's Forum, April 2017], the only solution to the housing crisis is to build more housing. Rent control advocates said that increasing supply made sense as a long term goal, but immediate relief should be imposed by regulation. Apartment owners said that increasing the supply was the only real solution and that rent control was counterproductive.
Let's focus on the good news: Both sides agree on the need for more housing.....Read More
By Andre F. Shashaty
When citizens of the Sonoma County city of Santa Rosa go to the polls for a special election June 6, they will help decide the fate of the Bay Area’s poorly-housed, rent-burdened and homeless population for years to come.
The referendum on the city council’s decision last fall to impose rent control caps a political season in which a number of cities enacted new rent controls, and legislation was introduced in Sacramento to allow localities even more power to “manage” the housing market.
The decision of Santa Rosa voters will reverberate throughout the Bay Area and potentially the entire state. It will go a long way to decide which path our governments take to address our housing affordability crisis in coming years: Regulate rents for a limited and shrinking supply of older rental housing, or make a new political commitment to increase the supply of affordable housing, including low-rent apartments and homes for first-time buyers.
Rent control is a simplistic and politically expedient response to out of control housing costs. It lets politicians pretend that greedy landlords are the main problem. They do make excellent bad guys, but they are a very small part of the problem compared to the legions of affluent voters and the many special interest groups that have driven up the cost of housing construction to astronomical levels.
The rarely reported truth is that despite politicians’ pretense of concern, creating affordable housing doesn’t rank very highly on the Bay Area’s list of priorities, falling behind generating municipal revenue, environmental protection, preservation of views, parking, traffic flow, union jobs (and political support), green building, and many other things.
In a region that is largely built-out with generally low-density construction, a small vanguard of builders, elected officials, and community planners are pushing a new paradigm of high-density development near transit. It’s a promising new beginning but it faces massive resistance before it can produce significant volumes of housing.
To keep moving in the right direction, the resurgent demand for rent control must be viewed as a “teachable moment,” not a viable policy path to be followed.
Instead of regulating a dwindling supply of housing in a way that benefits a minority of those in need, we must confront the interest groups who have a vested interest in keeping production low and housing expensive.
Our politicians must stop pandering to the people who fear affordable housing in any quantity and stop excluding lower-income citizens from having a say in land use and zoning decisions.
The only path to a brighter housing outlook starts with the voters in Santa Rosa doing what voters in San Mateo and Burlingame did last November: rejecting rent control
The next and much more important step is for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint a blue-ribbon panel of nonpolitical experts to review the complex web of policies and politics that keeps pushing costs higher every year, and to use it to make local officials confront tough policy choices that could actually help the rent-burdened, poor and homeless in the long run.
Andre F. Shashaty has written about housing policy for 35 years and has been quoted in and published by The New York Times and many other publications and web sites. He is author of the book, Rebuilding a Dream: America’s new urban crisis, the housing cost explosion and how we can reinvent the American dream for all. He owns an apartment complex in Rohnert Park and is a licensed real estate broker in California focusing on affordable housing.
Rent control is the hot topic in northern California as the voters of Santa Rosa prepare to vote in June on whether to impose a 3 percent per year cap on rent increases. Read Andre Shashaty’s op/ed piece on why rent control is not just a bad idea, but a very hypocritical and short-sighted move by city officials, and why there is still hope for smarter policies to prevail in the Bay Area.
Prices for apartments in San Francisco’s North Bay are so hot that even rent control has not resulted in any significant degree of cooling. The city of Santa Rosa continues to see older apartments sell quickly for asking prices over $200,000 a door despite the city council’s decision to enact a 3 percent annual cap on rents. Brokers say that most of the demand comes from people who are concerned about the expiration of their deadlines to identify a property to exchange into after having already initiated a tax-deferred Sec. 1031 exchange. In parts of Marin and Sonoma County, sellers are getting offers of well over $300,000 per apartment.
Land continues to be available for developers willing to brave the local land use approval process. We are tracking several good opportunities for land that is located within close proximity to a station that’s been built to serve the new SMART train service.
Andre Shashaty, REALTOR®
1010 B St. Suite 200
San Rafael, CA 94901
Real estate broker, Calif. Bur. of Real Estate.
Broker license #02000715