Archive for November, 2015

Huge West Oakland condo project breaks ground

November 24, 2015


862 Regal Road – Exquisite Berkeley Hills Home

November 13, 2015

862 Regal Road is a truly unique modern home resulting from two years of extensive and custom renovations and additions.

862 Regal Road was originally built in 1930 in the style of a Spanish Hacienda. It featured thick red tiles, arched doorways & windows, narrow winding staircases and later a swimming pool. While the quality of craftsmanship and materials were superb (the 2×4’s used for framing were actually 2” x 4” – much thicker than today’s lumber), the foundation had started to deteriorate, the rooms were small and subsequent additions had further compartmentalized the home.

In 2013, it was purchased with the intent of converting it into a modern showcase home. Christopher Haas of Haas Architecture (recipient of the 2014 Emerging Architect of the Year award by California Home & Design and former project manager of SF’s MH de Young Museum with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron) was hired to oversee architectural design.

When the plans were approved, Berkeley said it was the largest residential renovation project they had approved in 2013. The house was lifted and a massive mat-slab foundation was formed and poured. The exterior stucco was removed, walls were opened and removed, hallways relocated, floors were leveled – all while salvaging more than half of the original framing. Tons of steel were installed allowing living areas to be open and corner window systems to be installed.

862 Regal was designed to entertain using environmentally friendly and energy saving products. The design maximizes the views which span from Mt. Tamalpais to the Golden Gate Bridge to the iconic San Francisco skyline.

862 Regal is located in Berkeley’s North Cragmont neighborhood named after the various rock outcroppings that originally littered the area. Its neighbor to the west is Cragmont Elementary School which was built in the early 2000’s. It was designed by ELS Architecture and Urban Design and was the recipient of numerous AIA awards. Not only is it aesthetically interesting, but the open fields and playgrounds help preserve the open views.

862 Regal is located 1.7 miles from the charming tree-lined dining on Euclid Avenue and the North Gate entrance to UC Berkeley. North Berkeley BART is 2 miles away and San Francisco is 14 miles away. The AC Transit transbay H line picks up at The Circle at the end of Marin Avenue.006_Courtyard-2 007_Courtyard-3 008_Living Room 009_Living-Dining 011_Living Room-3 019_Deck-3 020_Kitchen 030_Master-3 032_Master-4 036_Master Bath-2 039_Ensuite Bath 049_Wine Cellar-3 050_Wine Cellar-4

The Impact on Property Values of Litigation by a Home Owner’s Association

November 13, 2015

How does litigation impact property values when a condominium HOA files a lawsuit and has “pending litigation”?  Here is a look using Oakland’s The Estuary community as an example of the devastating impacts

As you may know, when a home owner’s association is in litigation, financing from conventional lenders is not possible.  Limiting sales to those people who can pay cash or are willing to pay hard money fees and interest rates is devastating to property values within a community.

In 2006, when Signature Properties began listing their last remaining units on the MLS, there were 5 sales recorded.  These sales had an average sales price of $705,480 or $407/square foot (this is the more important metric given the small sample size).

From 2013-2015, The Estuary had only two sales recorded in the MLS.  These sales had an average sales price of $387,500 or $252/square foot.  The $252/square foot represents a decrease in value of 38%.

Let’s compare this to what’s going on in Jack London Square.

In 2006, condos built after 2000 sold for an average of $550,769 or $474/square foot.

In 2015 (through 11/10/2015), these same condos (excluding The Bond and The Ellington which sell for a premium) sold for an average of $606,681 or $609/square foot.  The $609/square foot represents an increase in value of 29%.

I understand that this isn’t an apples to apples comparison, but this should demonstrate that urban condo prices in Oakland have appreciated over the past decade unless impacted by litigation.

If we assume a modest 14% appreciation at The Estuary from 2006-2015 (less than half of the appreciation of Jack London Square), current sales would average $464/square foot – a premium of 84% over the current average of $252/square foot.  Applying these averages to a 1,500 square foot property, the difference $696,000 versus $378,000, a difference of $318,000!

What is the greatest upside of a settlement/victory on a per unit basis after legal fees? It is unlikely to be anything close to $318,000.  This doesn’t take into account the money depleted from the HOA’s operating and reserve accounts on legal fees which will likely result in assessments.

When litigation by an HOA is finally terminated or resolved, property values don’t soar up to market value.  It takes years for values to gradually climb their way up with each sale and appraisal.

It is best to mediate or move on….

Andy Read