Venerable Navarro’s Martial Arts Academy Faces Eviction on Mission Street

navarros

The beloved Navarro’s Marital Arts Academy on Mission near Cortland is being evicted, thanks to the gentrifying effects of… Christian book stores???

San Francisco Magazine reports:

For 43 years, Carlos Navarro has run a small martial arts gym in Bernal Heights whose community involvement and affordable classes have kept local lower-income youths from the temptations of drugs and guns. But decades of community goodwill have earned Navarro little credit with his new landlord, who asked him to vacate the gym by September 20 after he refused a rent hike from $1,800 to $6,500.

As the latest addition to a long line of small businesses being displaced in San Francisco, Navarro’s Martial Arts Academy had its lease terminated, despite pleas from the Navarro family and supervisor David Campos. Their request to at least extend the gym’s tenancy for a few more months was denied by the owner, Alice Tse of Innovistech Realty. Once the gym is gone, Steve’s Bookstore—a Christian bookstore based in North Carolina and owned by Olivet University, a SoMa-based for-profit university—is in line to take its place at the Mission Street storefront, near 30th Street.

IMAGE: via Google Maps

Activists Rally as Precita Eyes Studio Building on Precita Park Is Listed For Sale

precitaeyessale

Brace yourself: 348 Precita Avenue, the building on the south side of Precita Park that houses the small Precita Eyes mural studio, is for sale. Now Precita Eyes is organizing to discourage potential market-rate buyers:

Dear Friends of Precita Eyes,

Some of you may already know Precita Eyes Muralists’ studio on 348 Precita ave. is on the market for sale. We need your support to protest the sale to shake off competing bidders, BECAUSE A LOCAL HOUSING NON PROFITS ARE PLACING A BID TO BUY OUR BUILDING.

We ask you to talk about our 38 year old organization and our involvement in our community to potential bidders. Mention that the tenants above have lived there 30 plus years and they have no means to move.

Open house dates:
This Tuesday, August 25th (2:30-4pm) & Wednesday, August 26th (4-5pm)

We plan to have a FREE TODDLER ART CLASS & URBAN YOUTH ARTS during that time. It will be volunteered by our Toddler Art teacher Priya!!

Our Urban Youth Art Teacher Max will be present to create protest posters with the youth simultaneously.

IN SOLIDARITY!!!

MEDA is the Mission-based organization that has been active in the effort to block construction of new mixed-rate housing near the 16th St. BART station. In addition, MEDA also played a hands-on role in putting the Mission Housing Moratorium on the November ballot.

Prediction: This will be heated. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: In the comments, there’s some confusion about the Precita Eyes action plan. which appears to involve press outreach and an effort to “shake off competing bidders.”

If the recent sale of the Pigeon Palace property in the Mission is any guide, Prectia Eyes likely seeks to generate publicity about their organization, and the pending sale of 314 Precita, as part of an effort to discourage would-be market-rate purchasers from making offers for the building.  Eliminating other potential bidders would make MEDA’s effort to purchase 314 Precita more competitive. Precita Eyes is apparently working with MEDA to help purchase the building.

PHOTO: Precita Eyes on Facebook

What Do You Call a Home Seller Who Accepts the Highest Offer?

bernalh12015datapointsedit

A few weeks ago, in the context of an update about bonkers Bernal Heights real estate trends, Neighbor Sarah posed a question about the behavior of home sellers, and the role they play in pushing prices upward.

Neighbor Sarah asked:

There are two parties involved in any sale, and there’s no rule that says you have to sell to the highest, all-cash buyer, but it seems that even many idealists become hard-core capitalists in that moment. Idea for Bernalwood: get data from real-estate agents in the area about how often the seller chooses a buyer who is offering materially less than the highest bidder (which, mind you, would still likely be a high price by normal standards). Sales to relatives would not count.

Put another way (and in the way we often hear this question posed), if a seller accepts the highest offer, is that greed? Or, if a Bernal seller declines an offer from an existing Bernal neighbor whose bid for a home was not the highest, is that greed too? What if the existing Bernal neighbor is going through a hard time, or is an artist? Or a teacher? What is it when the seller nevertheless takes a higher offer?

Bernalwood turned to Neighbor Danielle Lazier and Neighbor Michael Minson, both of whom are realtors, to provide some perspective. Neighbor Danielle writes:

In my experience, it’s quite rare for the seller NOT to take the highest-priced offer. For most of our seller-clients, their home is their retirement, their nest egg, their ability to go and pursue the next chapter of their lives, and they want to make every dollar possible. Occasionally, if offers are very close in price and terms (contingencies, length of closing, etc), they may then choose the buyer whose “story” they feel more akin to, but it’s just as likely that they’ll ask us about issuing a multiple counter offer to drive the price higher. This is the nature of the sale. The seller typically wants the most money for their home.

Prices (sales and rentals) have gone up in Bernal Heights because more people want to live here than we have housing for. I don’t think the buyers want to drive up prices and pay more than they have to. They just want to live here and are trying to figure out what it’ll take to make that happen.

Neighbor Michael adds some particulars:

The largest amount I’ve seen a seller leave on the table because of goodwill was $15,000 and that was mostly because the accepted offer had better terms (the buyer was more likely to close than their competitors). A little bit had to do with the fact that both the buyer and seller were “cat people”.

IMAGE: Bernal home sales price trend, by Neighbors Danielle Lazier and Michael Minson

Infographic Reveals Bonkers First-Half 2015 Bernal Heights Microhood Real Estate Trends

Bernal2015H1microhoods

Love it or hate it, San Francisco’s red-hot real estate market is a reality, and in the spirit of looking reality square in the eye, let us now take a moment to consider the new map of Bernal Heights Microhood Sales Trends for the first half of 2015, as compiled by Bernal neighbors and realtors Michael Minson and Danielle Lazier.

Just as they did for 2014 (and once again with Bernalwood’s permission) Neighbors Michael and Danielle tracked recent home sales data according to the boundaries of the official Bernal Heights microhoods map.

The basic story here should be morbidly familiar to all of us by now: Lots of people want houses in Bernal, but there are precious few houses here to buy. The result is a home sales price chart that keeps going up and to the right at double black-diamond angles.

Here’s another infographic to digest:

BernalH12015datapoints

Finally, here are a few extra-credit observations from the Bernalwood News Team:

  • The high. $1356 average price-per-square-foot in Precitaville may be skewed by the record-setting $3.15M sale price of 3407 Folsom, aka The Helipad. Bernalwood has learned that the buyers are also current Bernal residents, and that they may also be inclined to retain the lady-shark mural. (Personally, I hope they do.)
  • Frustrated neighbors report that the Abandoned Million Dollar Party Shack on Mullen is still abandoned, with problems of vagrancy and graffiti continuing. Sad.
  • Another silly episode of Mission Dollar Listing: San Francisco aired last night, and if you want to catch up on all the fake drama about the fake sale of that real home at 535 Gates in fake-crappy Bernal Heights, we heartily recommend this boozy recap of last night’s misadventures. Preview: It seems that Andrew, the incompetent realtor trying to sell the Bernal property, may be sort of fake gay. Or, at least, hetero-curious. How awkward.

IMAGES: Courtesy of Michael Minson and Danielle Lazier

Finally!! Reality TV Show Tells America That Bernal Heights Is a “Crap Neighborhood”

craphousepunk

To those who fret that Bernal Heights has become too safe, too comfortable, too nice, too fetishized, and too bourgeois, we bring some fantastic news: According to a popular reality TV show, Bernal Heights is too ghetto!

Woo-hoooooooo!

Bravo network’s Million Dollar Listing San Francisco is a reality TV series about slick realtors hustling to sell high-value homes. It’s a Jersey Shore-style drama, only with less tawdry beach sex and more granite countertops. About a million Americans watch the show each week, and on Wednesday night’s episode, one of the more oily realtors was having a tough time selling a home in a “crap neighborhood” called Bernal Heights.

Our Bernalphile friends at CurbedSF explain what happened next:

This week’s episode of Million Dollar Listing San Francisco was the most entertaining of the series so far, but possibly only because it was so completely, utterly filled with plot lines that bear no resemblance to the real world. Unlike last week’s show, there were plenty of new houses to gawk at this time around, and the realtors themselves seemed to fade into the background a bit. The best story line of all was one in which Bernal Heights—the same Bernal named the hottest neighborhood in the whole country by Redfin last year, the Bernal where houses are snatched from the market for hundreds of thousands over asking in mere days—was made out to be a quasi-ghetto where buyers were so turned off that they didn’t even bother to show up for open houses.

The Bernal plot line kicks off when Andrew gets a listing at 535 Gates Street. It’s a classic Bernal flip, and developer Anders Kang has spent $500,000 renovating the property. He wants $2 million, but Andrew talks him down to listing for $1.8 million. “This is not Pacific Heights,” he explains. “This is Bernal Heights, meaning this is going to be a challenge.” Is he living in the 1990s or something? His only challenge should be how to fit prospective buyers into the place for an open house.

Andrew sets up several private showings, only to be blown off by nearly all of the buyers. “Hey Andrew, couldn’t find a buyer for Bernal Heights,” one agent texts. “Let me know if you have something in Noe Valley.” We concede that there are some less-than-ideal things about the property’s location. It sits on the south side of Bernal, which is less sought after than the north side. Neighbors have chickens and curtains for windows, and an adjacent house is covered in peeling paint. “We’ve got a great house in a crap neighborhood,” Andrew explains to a colleague. “What have you seen there?” she asks. “A couple of drug deals?” he answers flippantly. Enough already! This is Bernal! And the house is two blocks from the heart of Cortland Avenue and about a five-minute walk to Holly Park.

There’s a whole bit where Andrew realizes that maybe there are some local tech shuttle stops but cannot find any. Then, the segment wraps up with Justin appearing at Andrew’s open house to say that he couldn’t bring any of his tech buyers over because the listing is on the wrong side of Bernal. By this point, we were laughing so hard at the depiction of Bernal as a wasteland that we didn’t even catch whatever the drama between Andrew and Justin was.

Ohmigod!! Right??

And it gets even better: Some people on Twitter confirm that it sucks here!

Others say Bernal is just rough around the edges:

Some believe the fundamentals don’t make any sense:

While other are just plain cynical:

Still, all in all, this might well be the best thing to happen to Bernal’s street cred since that Bigfoot sighting in 2012.

It’s official: We’re rough. We’re edgy. We’re out of the way. Techies think we are squalid. This week, a million Americans learned that respectable, high-achieving people want nothing whatsoever to do with Bernal Heights. Which, of course, can only mean…

WE ARE FUCKING COOL AGAIN!

bernalsuccesskid2

PHOTO: Top, 535 Gates via SFMLS

Bernal Drag Queen Home Listing May Be World’s Funniest Real Estate Video

52Mirabel3

The latest data from the real estate data people tells us that San Francisco’s median home sale price is now $1.16 milliion, while the median home sale price increase in Bernal Heights has skyrocketed by a gasp-worthy 97% between 2011 and today. Oh my.

It’s kind of absurd, which makes the new property listing video for 52 Mirabel an apt document for our times. 52 Mirabel is listed by Bernal neighbors and realtors Danielle Lazier and Michael Minson, and it has an asking price of $1,998,000. Neighbors Danielle and Michael went all-in on the “local culture” angle by creating a super-fun video for the home that stars the fabulous Mercedez Munro and Katya Smirnoff-Skyy as your glamorous tour guides:

52Mirabel1

Like much great comedy, the listing for 52 Mirabel holds up well to repeated listening, with lots of highly memorable, highly quotable lines. Take, for example, this description of the amenities:

On the lower level we have two large bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bathroom!

Or Jack and Jack. Or Jill and Jill. Who are we to judge?

If there is a such a thing as a Real Estate Video Hall of Fame, this one seems like a shoe-in.

But darling, who are we to judge?

BONUS! Here is the blooper reel.

Housing Shortage Becomes Fodder for Twee Bernal Birdhouse Humor

birdhouseforrent

There comes a point in every Bay Area economic boom where housing is scarce and rents are through the roof when some jokester comments about renting out the garage, or the doghouse, or a tent in the yard for an absurd amount of money. (Although, turns out, the tent in the yard is real.)

Citizens of Bernalwood, we have reached that moment. Neighbor Robert shared this photo of a birdhouse he spotted on Precita.

For Rent!! LOLZ!! But wait… it’s a trend!

Neighbor Valerie spotted two more birdhouses on offer around Coleridge:

But here’s the thing: Market forces tell us that $3000 a month is actually a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a birdhouse, because Neighbor Robert also spotted a very innnnnnnnnteresting property listing in The Mission.

It’s an entire studio apartment, and it could be yours for just $2500:

2015-07-04 17.24.25

What a bargain!

PHOTOS: Robert Weiner

 

 

Median Price of a Bernal Home Jumps 57% Since 2013

5-15_bernal_Median_House-Prices_by-Neighborhood

According to the latest market report from Paragon Real Estate, the median price of a home in Bernal Heights now stands at $1.4 million. Our friends at CurbedSF wrote up the summary:

Although neighborhoods like Bayview, Bernal Heights, and Glen Park are considered to be among the more affordable in the city, they have all seen tremendous appreciation over the past two years. Back in April 2013, the median price for a Bayview house was just $447,000. It grew by 7.4 percent to hit $480,000 in 2014 and then soared 31.2 percent to its current $630,000. Bernal, of course, has been widely talked about as a hot neighborhood, and its prices reflect that reputation. In April 2013, you could get a median Bernal home for just $880,000. That number grew by 31.2 percent to $1.154 million in 2014 and has now grown another 19.6 percent to hit $1.38 million this year. Glen Park has seen similar trends, growing from $1.205 million in 2013 to $1.835 million now.

Bayview-Bernal-2013-2015

What’s the cause of the this dizzying price appreciation? Even a high school student can explain it to you: Mr. Supply and Mr. Demand aren’t moving in parallel, and they haven’t moved in parallel for a long time. There are a whole lot of people who want a place to live in San Francisco, but there are very few places available for them to buy. Curbed looks at the issue citywide:

As always, low inventory is part of the issue in San Francisco. New listings this spring barely topped 600 per month, compared with about 700 per month last year and 800 two years ago. And while 3,454 new-construction housing units were completed in 2014, the most in the past 20 years according to Paragon’s tally of Planning Department figures, it still isn’t enough in a city where the economy is booming and new residents are flooding into town.

Bernal seems to have had a particularly low number of listings of late. According to this March 2015 summary by realtor and neighbor Danielle Lazier, there were just 9 properties listed for sale in Bernal in March, which represented a 53% decrease from the year before. And when houses do come on the market in Bernal, they tend to sell with neck-straining quickness. Neighbor Danielle’s data says that in March, Bernal homes sold after an average of just 15 days on the market, or 50% faster than a year before.

mar15sfhinventory-2

CHARTS: Paragon Real Estate and SFHotlist

David Campos Introduces Proposal to Make Mission Housing Even More Expensive, Homeowners and Landlords Even More Wealthy

camposnimby

As you probably know, Bernal neighbor David Campos represents District 9 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Yesterday, he introduced a proposed ordinance that would deliver a windfall to Mission District homeowners and provide new incentives for Mission District landlords to evict existing tenants.

Supervisor Campos calls his proposal a “Temporary Moratorium on Market Rate Development,” and he says it is intended to halt displacement and maintain diversity in the Mission. In reality, it will almost certainly do the opposite. The San Francisco Business Times broke the story about the Campos proposal:

Voters will be asked in November whether to halt market-rate housing construction in the Mission District if neighborhood activists have their way, the Business Times has learned.

Edwin Lindo of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club said Monday that a coalition of affordable housing and progressive groups soon will submit a potential ballot measure to the city attorney that would delay market-rate housing projects in the Mission for up to 18 months.

They would then attempt to collect the roughly 9,400 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot.

A draft of the ballot measure, obtained through a public records request by a neighborhood activist, showed that the moratorium would apply to projects larger than 20 units. The moratorium would apply to the entire neighborhood, not just the 24th Street area on the south side of the neighborhood considered a Latino cultural district, as had been previously floated by Supervisor David Campos.

“Our goal is not to stop all development. Our goal is to stop incredibly large development that focus exclusively on market-rate housing,” Lindo said. “We need a pause to ensure that if developers are going to build in our city they’re going to figure out a way to build affordable housing, even if that could be cutting into their 15 to 20 percent profit margins.”

Many economists, urban policy groups like SPUR, and policymakers like Mayor Ed Lee and Scott Wiener have all said this kind of strategy will exacerbate the neighborhood’s problems. With a shriveling pool public dollars available to build affordable housing, the city has looked toward more market-rate development to pay for housing for low-income residents through inclusionary laws and fees.

The SF Chronicle adds the measure “would implement a 45-day moratorium on planning approvals, demolitions and building permits for multifamily residential developments in a 1½-square-mile area. It could be extended for up to two years under state law.”

moratoriuarea

You don’t have to be an economist, or an urban policy wonk, or or a government policymaker to envision why this proposal from Supervisor Campos and progressive allies will put lots and lots of money in the pockets of existing Mission District property-owners. All you have to do is take a moment to consider this graph:

SF.HousingGap

The housing gap graph (which comes from this video) shows that San Francisco’s population has been growing steadily for several decades, but our supply of housing has failed to keep pace. The housing deficit has grown more extreme with each passing year, which has made housing more expensive for San Franciscans at all income levels, across the board. This effect is called supply and demand, and supply and demand is sort of like the law of gravity, in that even if you don’t much like it, you still can’t realistically hope escape it.

The local economy is booming and San Francisco’s population is growing rapidly, so the only real way to make housing more affordable for everyone is to increase the overall supply. That’s a slow and imperfect process, to be sure, but if your goal is to reduce displacement, stabilize prices, and create opportunities for all San Franciscans across the board, there’s really no viable alternative. Building more affordable housing is something we absolutely must do, but increasing the overall housing supply and increasing the amount of affordable housing is not an either/or proposition. Indeed, by law market-rate housing development actually provides substantial funding for the creation of more affordable housing.

Supervisor Campos’s moratorium offer no proposals to provide additional funding for affordable housing, nor does it propose a way to offset the affordable housing funds that will be lost by blocking the construction of market rate housing. And he has had nothing to say about accelerating construction of affordable housing projects that are already on the table, like the proposed building at Cesar Chavez and Shotwell that your Bernalwood editor is eager to look out upon.

Supervisor Campos and his NIMBY allies say the goal is to reduce evictions and displacement, but that doesn’t hold much water either. Their opposition to new housing development has been fierce — even when absolutely no one would be displaced by the construction, and even when projects contain a substantial number of affordable housing units. In March, for example, activists shouted down a proposal to build 291 units of market-rate housing with an additional 41 units reserved for middle-class buyers on the squalid site next to the 16th Street BART station that is today occupied by a chain drug store and a Burger King. Last month, many of the same activists disrupted a proposal to build 115 units of market-rate housing on the site of a semi-abandoned warehouse at 2675 Folsom near 23rd Street.

There is one surefire way to make housing in The Mission even more expensive: In a transit-rich location with two BART stations, several arterial MUNI lines, and excellent freeway access, where demand for housing already vastly exceeds supply, blocking the creation of new housing will only make existing housing even more precious. And that is what Supervisor Campos proposes to do.

So if the moratorium makes no logical sense and is unlikely to do much to address the housing affordability crisis, what purpose does it hope to serve? On the 48 Hills site, Bernal neighbor Tim Redmond described the scene yesterday as Campos announced his plan:

The existing zoning, under the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, “has failed the Mission,” [Campos] said, pointing out that 8,000 Latino residents have been lost in the past decade. The population of the Mission was 52 percent Latino a decade ago; now it’s down to 40 percent.

That tribal logic may be the most candid explanation Campos has yet provided. The proposed moratorium mirrors Calle24’s effort to create a legally-protected Latino enclave along 24th Street, but it seeks to extend privileged incumbent status to an area that includes almost all of the Mission District. Progressive power brokers may have a weak understanding of housing economics, but they sure know how to rewrite the rules to protect their turf.

It may be true that San Francisco can’t really build its way out of the current housing crisis. But it’s definitely true that we can’t not-build our way out of it either. As San Francisco adds thousands of new residents each year, every delay and every postponed project means housing gets even more expensive as competition intensifies for whatever housing already exists.

That’s a miserable state of affairs longtime renters, new residents, and would-be home-buyers alike. But if you already own property in the Mission (or North Bernal, for that matter), the moratorium proposed by David Campos and progressive activists will have you laughing all the way to the bank.

PHOTO: David Campos, via 48 Hills

Dispute Unsettled, but Bocana Neighbor Departs Home After Huge Rent Increase

bocanarental3

abc7rentincrease

Yesterday was a sad moving day for Neighbor Deb Follingstad, who had to leave her home at 355 Bocana after receiving a now-infamous 315% rent increase notice from the landlord, Neighbor Nadia Llama.

ABC7 updated the story last Friday:

Follingstad’s home is understandably a mess since the May 5 deadline to move is just days away. She says leaving her home of 10 years hurts. She explained to 7 On Your Side, “It’s so painful and I’ve had to uproot my life in a month.”

A move out sale Follingstad held attracted a steady stream of people. Until she finds a place to live, she plans to couch surf and house sit. Beyond that, her future is murky.

“I don’t know anymore. I can’t afford to live here. A lot of my friends can’t afford to live here and it’s pretty heartbreaking the way the city’s changing,” Follingstad said.

The home is registered as a single family home and the landlord believes it’s not covered by rent control laws.

Tenants rights attorney Joe Tobener calls this eviction by rent increase. He said, “It’s an easy way for landlords to try to get tenants out, to increase the rent.”

Tobener plans to file a lawsuit on Follingstad’s behalf. He is charging landlord Nadia Llama with wrongful eviction.

PHOTO: Top, Telstar Logistics. Below, Neighbor Deb Follingstad via ABC7

Two Homes Tell a Brain-Melting Story About Bernal Heights Real Estate

twohousessale

Our real estate-obsessed friends at the CurbedSF blog posted two stories this week that provide a snapshot portrait of the current (OMFG) state of the Bernal residential home market.

Coming just after this week’s (OMFG) update on the state of the Bernal residential rental market, the basic story in the residential home sales market is probably easy to anticipate. But let’s go through the motions anyway, if only in the spirit of science and inquiry.

Snapshot One is a remodeled shoebox on Peralta just south of Cortland that was just flipped for a staggering $400K (?!?!?!) above its asking price and doubled in value over the course of a year. Here’s a split view of the home before and after the remodel:

peraltaflip

CurbedSF says:

The little house at 853 Peralta Street sits a mere stone’s throw away from the 101 freeway. It isn’t at the heart of trendy Bernal Heights, but that didn’t stop flippers from fixing up the once-simple house and selling it for $1.75 million. That price is more than double what the flippers paid last April, when they bought the home for $830,000. At that time, the home had the original fixtures from its 1977 construction, including a kitchen squished into one corner, a brick fireplace in another, and a red plank back deck. The house was given a makeover that left it with an open plan, a new kitchen, and a freshly landscaped backyard.

CurbedSF has a cool slider widget-thingy that lets you view lots of before/after shots of this house, so click through to play along.

Snapshot Two is a funny little house on Prospect near Coso:

22prospect.a

CurbedSF sayeth:

There’s something off-kilter about the little blue cottage at 22 Prospect Avenue, on the north slope of Bernal Heights. And it’s not just the wide-set windows, whose lower-than-usual placement gives the facade a somewhat downcast expression. Inside, the two-bed, one-bath home reveals itself to be an oddball cross between a woodsy cabin and some sort of loft. The rafters are exposed, and more than a few walls look as though knotty wood panels (or possibly laminate?) have been rigged up below the ceiling. There’s a pair of stainless-steel sinks in the bathroom, and one bedroom has a weirdly institutional vibe, with streaky carpet tile and a ceiling that wouldn’t look out of place in an office or classroom.

The home—which clocks in at 1,314 square feet, per property records—is listed for $789K, a modest $600 per square for what the brokerbabble acknowledges is a fixer.

What our friends at CurbedSF were really trying to say (though perhaps they didn’t know it) is that this Bernal Heights house is a classic Bernal Heights-style home — only it now comes with a price tag inflated by several years limited housing inventory. Here’s an interior view:

22prospectinterior

Anyone care to guess what the sale price for 22 Prospect will be? And what it will look like 18 months from now?

Rents in Bernal Heights Up 24% Since Last Year

BernalMedianRent2015

San Francisco’s population is growing rapidly, but we haven’t built nearly enough new housing to keep pace with our City’s growing popularity. The result is predictable to anyone with a basic grasp of supply and demand: Renting a place to live in San Francisco has become nose-bleedingly expensive.

But what about Bernal Heights? For insight on our hyperlocal rental market, the data geeks at Zillow offered to crunch some numbers for us. Bottom line: The rent is too damn high! Median rents in Bernal are even higher than in San Francisco overall, having climbed by 24% in the last year alone. Oof. Zillow’s Tali Wee sent us this summary:

Renting in Bernal Heights is more expensive than the median rent in the San Francisco metro. Currently, the median rent price per month in Bernal Heights is $4,326. For comparison, San Francisco rents are still steep at $3,088, but significantly less than Bernal Heights.

These local prices increased 2.1 percent since last month alone and a whopping 23.6 percent in the last year. If you’re a renter in Bernal Heights, you’ve likely experienced major hikes in your rent throughout the past few years. If you’re looking for a rental in Bernal Heights, anticipate prices to remain expensive throughout the year.

Also in Bernal Heights, home values appreciated 13.8 percent since last year. If renters are planning to buy, it’s becoming more and more difficult to save a down payment because rents are so expensive. Plus, purchasing a home becomes out of reach as values appreciate and prices rise; the median home value in Bernal Heights is $1,127,500. These values are forecasted to grow another 5.1 percent throughout 2015.

Right now, renters pay about $3.25 per square foot, about three times the national rate ($1.10). Across the country, renters are applying an average of 30 percent of their monthly incomes on rent, and an astronomical 44 percent in San Francisco.

Renters thinking about buying in Bernal Heights can breakeven on the upfront costs in approximately 1.3 years. Zillow’s breakeven horizon shows the length of time it would take for the costs of renting to exceed the total costs of buying the same property. So, renters who adore the Bernal Heights community and who plan to stay longer than 1.3 years are financially better off buying then renting – especially as home values appreciate, which increases returns on their investments.

Ellis Eviction Halted on Ellsworth, But Cesar Chavez Residents Remain on Notice

261Ellsworth

According to the the San Francisco Rent Board, the number of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco declined by almost 50% last year. However, the number of for-cause evictions rose by 7%.

Here’s the data from the Rent Board’s 2015 Annual Eviction Report (PDF):

2014evictions

The report also provides this citywide summary:

During the period from March 1,2014 through February 28, 2015, a total of 2,120 eviction notices were filed with the Department. This figure includes 145 notices given due to failure to pay rent, which are not required to be filed with the Department. The number of notices filed with the Department this year represents a 7% increase from last year’s total filings of 1,977. The largest percentage increase was in eviction notices for illegal use of a rental unit, which increased from 42 to 91 notices. Owner/relative move-in eviction notices increased from 273 to 343 notices. Breach of rental agreement notices increased from 607 to 738 notices. Unapproved subtenant eviction notices increased from 17 to 20 notices, and nuisance eviction notices increased from 349 to 401 notices.

Closer to home, Beyond Chron tells the story of some Bernal Heights neighbors on Ellsworth (near Cortland) who were able to successfully resist an attempted Ellis Act eviction :

New owners of 261-261A Ellsworth Street purchased the property in February 6, 2015. Ten days later they served the long-term tenants, including 82 year old Alberto Lopez, with Ellis Act notices of termination.

On March 31, 2015, the Tenants’ attorney, Raquel Fox of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic,  provided formal notice of entitlement to an extension of the notice period based on Alberto Lopez and his wife’s senior ages. On April 19, 2015, the  Landlords’ lawyer told Fox that the new landlords were rescinding the Ellis Act. The communication included a copy of the Request for Rescission of Ellis Act Notices. On April 20, 2015, the Tenants executed the Declaration of Tenants Continued Occupancy.

The quickness of the Lopez victory means it will not join the ranks of other high-profile Ellis Act evictions. But it sends another message that Mayor Lee’s tripling of Ellis eviction defense funding has had a huge impact. These tenant legal victories show that Ellis cases are not a slam dunk, and help slow the current rising tide of such actions.

On Bernal’s north side, Mission Local reports on a large-scale Ellis eviction effort targeting residents of the 12-unit building at 3301 Cesar Chavez (at South Van Ness).

At 3301 Cesar Chavez, tenants in the 12-unit building near South Van Ness received Ellis Act eviction notices in February. “I’ve lived through six different owners of this building,” said Doña Margarita, a senior who has rented in the building for 52 years. “Because of my age, I can’t just live anywhere.”

Beyond Chron reports that the building at 3301 Cesar Chavez is owned by Robert Imhoff, a property-owner with a rather long history of eviction attempts.

Hovering over all of this is the fact that San Francisco added more than 11,000 new residents in 2014 alone, as the City’s population has soared to new all-time highs. San Francisco’s unemployment rate stands at a 15 year low, but we’ve been running a chronic housing deficit since the 1990s. Oh, and San Francisco rents are currently the highest in the nation.

How can we reduce evictions and improve affordability in the long term? More housing please!

PHOTO: 261 Ellsworth via Google Maps.