February 22, 2014

Low Income Housing… Marin Style

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Barbara for a look at what’s below median income in Mill Valley.

140221-tamalpais-redfin14 Tamalpais Commons Ln
Mill Valley, CA 94941

HOA Dues: $308/mo.
0 Beds
1 Baths
400 Sq. Ft.
$821 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2010
Lot Size: 401 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 5 days
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $308/month
Style: Contemporary
Community: Mill Valley
MLS#: 21403124
Property Type: Residential, Attached, Condominium/Coop/Other
Stories: 1
County: Marin

Welcome to Tamalpais Commons, a mixed-use ‘Build It Green’ luxury home development in central Mill Valley. This affordable studio unit is available to low-income buyers who earn $64,890 or less in gross income. The studio features southeast facing windows, maple floors, a full bath, a small balcony, a stacked washer/dryer, a range, dishwasher, and oven. This is an accessible unit and all appliances meet ADA guidelines.

Here’s Barbara on this Econobox:

Thought this might be worthy of burbed – $821/sq foot affordable housing

Yes, but it’s $821 a square foot affordable housing with really shiny floors.  And don’t forget the three hundred bucks for HOA fees on top of your $1317 a month mortgage!

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 am

April 28, 2012

BMR Coming to Menlo Park?

Some cities are more compliant than others in providing BMR (Below Market Rate) housing.  Perhaps Menlo Park will be getting off the “But we don’t have any below market residents” excuse pot.

Menlo Park eyes below-market rental housing

HIP Housing proposes deal with Menlo Park

120426-willow-pierceby Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff

The city of Menlo Park has its eye on a Willow Road apartment complex that might be purchased for use as below-market-rate rental housing — something that currently doesn’t exist in Menlo Park.

The 12-unit complex, located at 1157-1161 Willow Road, comes with a price tag of around $2 million, according to a representative from HIP Housing, a nonprofit organization that specializes in finding below-market-rate housing and hopes to partner with Menlo Park on the deal.HIP currently operates 13 rental properties in San Mateo County.

120426-willow-backThe Willow Road complex would rent nine units to people earning less than 50 percent of the regional median income of $81,300, and three units to those making less than 30 percent. Rent at the complex would fall in the range of $610 to $1,016, according to a staff presentation.

A real estate listing described the property as vacant and partially renovated; it also said the complex had won a renewable energy award for upgrades such as solar panels and efficient lighting. Laundry and parking are available on site.

The apartment buildings are not currently for sale (the first is pending, the second is merely delisted).  They were built in 1958.  If you want to dig deep into the offering memorandum for the two buildings, have a look at this PDF.  And check out the pictures.  Solar panels!  Sweet!


Assuming the rental numbers are correct, that would give this complex a rent ratio of 10.26.  BUY!!!!!!!!  Then again, I’m not sure I trust these numbers.  Notice something hinky here?


While Burbed has yet to amass a huge portfolio of investment property, even we can tell the difference between a 5 and a 50% vacancy rate.  This is another great reminder of how Real Estate Professionals deserve those hefty commissions, whether commercial or residential.

Discuss this neighborhood, older apartment homes like these, BMR housing, any Open Houses you visited, or anything else you can think of. Yes, this is your weekend open thread.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

February 8, 2012

Now with more convenient schools and fascinating neighbors!

It’s always fun when a house previously featured on Burbed comes back for a second look. Sometimes it’s a flip that’s awful in a new way, sometimes it’s the same problems ensuring that the house will be bidless for a long, long time.  Today’s Mountain View mansion, courtesy of Burbed reader dollarbin, has some changes since its last appearance, but it’s not just the house that’s had things moved around.

Mountain View, CA 94041


SQ. FT.: 1,565
$/SQ. FT.: $567
LOT SIZE: 4,414 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Traditional
VIEW: Neighborhood
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81150934
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 48 days

Curb Appeal-Perfect 10. Own this 2.5 yr old Single Family Home for the price of MV townhomes and Condos. Warm & BEATIFULLY designed. Very energy efft/extra insulation w/ E. Eff appls. Showroom finish 2car garage. Gated access for added security/privacy n kids to play. Walking dist. to Downtown restrnts/shops/farmrs mrkt/CalTrans & Parks. Xcllnt APIs for schools. Nice fenced back yard w/ patio. NO HOA Dues.

And here’s a reminder of how the house looked in its previous incarnation:  (warning, 180 comment thread)


120207-chiquita-facadeHere’s what dollarbin has to say about why you should take another look at 290 Chiquita:

One of burbed’s most talked about houses is back on the market, baby!

What’s more, unlike 2009, it now sports lucky 8’s in the price tag.

120207-chiquita-garagePlus, unlike 2009, the assigned elementary school will be Castro, rather than having to schlep your kids across El Camino into the fancy side of town to attend Bubb with all of those obnoxious rich kids.

Also, thanks to Habitat for Humanity, you’ll have new neighbor families enjoying “eight ownership homes for ‘very low- and low-income families’ ” at 300 Chiquita Ave.”

120207-chiquita-google-signYou may object that the “Xcllnt APIs for schools” was not intended to be a factual statement, and there will be BMR housing next door.  The crime rate might be higher than you’re comfortable with.  You may not be too excited about the sex offender who lives around the corner on Villa Street.  And two different Redfin agents complained about how small the bedrooms are.

None of this matters in the least.  The agent presents picture #21 to refute all Negative Nellie natterings.

Start your overbidding!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

September 13, 2011

Socialism in San Fran: “Cheap” housing for poor six figure income earners

Today’s featured listing is courtesy of Burbed reader Lars, so thanks very much!  Comments here can get a little raucous, so maybe it’s time for a my-political/economic-system-can-beat-up-your-political/economic-system rantfest.  Yes, this is a Below Market Rate listing.


1800 Washington St #314, San Francisco, CA 94109


SQ. FT.: 476
$/SQ. FT.: $590
PROPERTY TYPE: Junior, Condominium, Studio
STYLE: Modern/High Tech
VIEW: City Lights
COMMUNITY: Pacific Heights
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 382137
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 179 days

Luxury below market rate unit. Must be 1st time homebuyer & income eligible. Maximum income level for 1 person:$104,400; Two People:$119,250;Three People:$134,200.Offers submitted with: Application, loan preapproval, homebuyer education certificate/proof of class registration, and SF Purchase Contract. Please contact Realtor for application & more info. Unit avail. thru the SF Mayor’s Office of Housing & subject to resale controls, monitoring & other restrictions. See sfgov. org/moh for info. Fair Housing Opportunity. Offers are on a first come/first serve basis.

imageHere’s what Lars has to say about this property:

Not sure if this is good material for your blog, but I found this a bit absurd:

You can qualify to buy this 476sqft "below market rate" shoe box for only $281,000 if you are a first-time home buyer making less than $104,400 per year. Good thing that SF is taking care of the poor. Socialists! I wonder if the deal includes food stamps for the Whole Foods nearby?

I want to know why San Francisco property for poor people gets 23 photos.  Most of the crapboxes we dig up in Redwood City and East Palo Alto only have one exterior shot taken from the agent’s about-to-be-repossessed-Mercedes.  If you look at the listings we feature in East San Jose you get a second blurrycam of the kitchen where light from the window overwhelms the tired cabinetry and 1963 appliances.  (Maybe that’s imagenot a bug, but a feature.)

This listing isn’t like that place on Russian Hill with 82 photos, but it’s 28% of the way there!  So what if half the shots are building exteriors and common space, while another third are neighborhood eateries?  The typical Mountain View close-to-Google-and-nothing-else-to-recommend-it 3/2 has 9 pictures if you’re lucky!

This is so much better!  Example: Midnight snacking is easy, as the kitchen is just three steps away from your sleeping area!

imageHowever, the Whole Foods is three whole blocks away (but not too far to merit its own photo)!  That shouldn’t matter too much, as almost everything else will be passing right under your window.  Never mind a place on a busy street; this is a place on the corner of a fracking Federal Highway, and this unit is only on the third floor.


Hope you like the horn section, and I don’t mean from the SF Symphony 12 blocks south, nor do I mean marching bands parading down Van Ness. This is more of a spontaneous jam, as in vehicle horns from traffic on a six-lane thoroughfare.

imageAnd watch out for those resale controls, as this ten year old unit has already changed ownership three times.  But you get to go to the Mayor’s Office to apply!  Now that’s class!

And don’t fret about those strict income limits.  Grab yourself a couple of jobless roommates (they’re everywhere!) and you might just slip in under the $134,200 max.  That’s at least 148 square feet a person, lots of elbow room for SF housing!

So why deal with arbitrary rent hikes in a tight market?  Buy this place and deal with arbitrary HOA fee hikes instead! That extra $545 a month isn’t going to kill your budget, as long as one of your roommates can find a cash job off the books.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

August 6, 2011

Take on the world. Then come home to your tandem garage.

Anyone check out Fusion Sunnyvale?  Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer found some of the marketing copy a little over the top:


Your life is a frenzy of color, flashing lights and movement. Facebook. Twitter. Email. Blogging. Texting. Meetings. Deadlines. Commuting.

Every day you take on the world. So, you deserve to come home to a beautiful place where you can recharge and relax, entertain and regroup. You want a neighborhood that is alive and vibrant with a fitness room to workout, places to mingle and space to hang out with your friends. You deserve soothing gardens to wander, a putting green to play and walking paths for your dog. It’s your time to do what you want, when you want, in your own community.

Introducing Fusion at Sunnyvale, a townhome community filled with everyday things that fuse your life. The homes have style and all the features you desire at a price you can afford. At the hub of the neighborhood, there is a fitness center, theater, Wi-Fi bar and fire pit. Everything that you need at the end of a long day.
So take on the world, then come home. To Fusion.

imageAs Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer correctly notes, you can’t spell FUSION without F-U.

So let’s take a good look at this complex that’s such a wonderful place to call home, they show a chair instead of the “Spanish-Eclectic and contemporary architecture by KTGY architects.”

You have to click all the way down to BLOG to find out what the place looks like!  And the name of the blog?  “Short Fuse.”  How clever!  They already worked out that the properties would be selling shortly through their preferred lenders!  (More coming shortly after the break!)


Comments (40) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

August 10, 2010

It’s Search Engine Tuesday!

Recently someone found this site by searching Google for “low income housing mountain view ca.”  How trashy!  If you’re going to search Mountain View for low-income housing, then use a low-income search engine, preferentially one that isn’t located in Mountain View.

Here’s just one result the lucky looker found!  Affordable housing’ bad for quality of life – Mountain View.  That sounds like a NIMBY worldview, absolutely perfect for a Real Bay Area (RBA) city like Mountain View!  It’s much better quality of life to spend half your income on rent, or even better, 2/3 of it on buying a house!

It turns out that there are enough results for “affordable housing” and “mountain view” on burbed that this is a starred site for that search term!

Well.  We had better do something about that.  Everyone knows there is no affordable housing in the RBA.  If it were affordable, anyone could move in.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

March 23, 2009

Bryant Place, Mountain View, Affordable Housing Concerns

Wow… there’s so much going on in this article, and the comments in the article that I’m not even going to provide any commentary – just lots of clips:

Mountain View Voice : Neighbors concerned over affordable housing development
With the help of a team of eight mediators, the city took extra care Thursday night to listen to the concerns of 19 neighbors of a proposed affordable housing development at Evelyn and Franklin streets.

Since 2006, the City Council has proposed building as many as 51 affordable family homes on a city-owned Caltrain overflow parking lot. Currently the proposal calls for a project of up to four stories.

The development is aimed at people who earn less than 60 percent of the area’s median income ($64,000 a year for a family of four). After several council meetings, ROEM Corporation has been selected to design, develop and manage the site, which will be leased from the city.

“My concern is you are building a ghetto right here,” said one resident, who added that — despite the police station located across Franklin Street — neighbors already must put up with the Pacific Euro hotel nearby, which was described as “essentially a halfway house.”

Concerns about the project came almost exclusively from the residents of Bryant Place, a 41-unit condo complex next door, who said the city did not notify them that the lot was one of three city-owned lots considered for the development in 2006. Though the selection of the site was reported in the Voice in 2006, neighbors say they had not heard about the project until last year.

“I feel like I overpaid because of it,” said one neighbor who bought after 2006 and didn’t know about the plans.

Posted by Peter, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Thanks to the Voice for reporting this back in 2006. You continue to be a great asset to the City. However, had our Realtor did as good a job as the Voice did, (although I take some responsibility) I would not have overbid for my condo at 108 Bryant just over a year ago-I would have under bid had we known what was scheduled to go into the Evelyn/Franklin lot.

Posted by Robert, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I would like the City to prioritize public servants for consideration (police, fire-fighters, teachers) for first consideration for affordable-income housing within the City.

Posted by Citizen, a resident of another community, 52 minutes ago

There aren’t going to be any public safety employees in these developments. Have you checked the salary schedule for Mountain View employees?

Firefighter: 82,203.16 – 99,926.84 annually

Police Officer: 84,348.42 – 124,428.0 annually

These are the entry level public safety positions. I think they’re going to be fine on housing.

Teachers are another story.

Comments (33) -- Posted by: burbed @ 10:36 am

June 16, 2008

What is low income, moderate income in Silicon Valley (aka the Real Bay Area)

Palo Alto Online Palo Alto Weekly: Who Palo Alto’s 2,860 homes are planned for (June 11, 2008)
Who Palo Alto’s 2,860 homes are planned for

690 homes: very low income (less than $53,050)

543 homes: low income ($53,050 and $84,900)

641 homes: moderate income ($84,900 and $126,600)

986 homes: above moderate income (more than $126,600)

* Income for a family of four

Honestly, if you don’t make at least $84,900 for a family of four, you really shouldn’t be allowed to live here. There should be some sort of income police that checks your W2’s and 1099’s, and has the power to forcibly relocate you to Vallejo or Gilroy if you don’t meet that criteria.

Don’t take it personally. It’s all about protecting community.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:44 am

February 10, 2007

What's Below Market Rate (BMR)income limit in San Francisco?

MLS SFAR Reports (513)
Junior One BD Below Market Rate subject to income verification by the Mayor’s Office of Housing. This unit is to be sold to a household not earning more than: One Person – $95,775. Two Persons – $109,425. Three Persons – 123,150. Buyer’s must be 1st time homebuyers or have lived in their current home for over 3 years. Deadline for submission is Feb. 15 at 4pm. Lottery will be held on Feb. 16.

Therefore, prices will never drop below $600,000.

If you don’t make more than $95,775 – San Francisco doesn’t need you.

In fact, the Bay Area doesn’t need you.

We only need people like Shannon Hermes – a millionaire receptionist.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am

September 3, 2006

Santa Barbara OKs Housing Aid for Folks Making Up to $160,000

Santa Barbara OKs Housing Aid for Folks Making Up to $160,000 a Year – Los Angeles Times
Santa Barbara OKs Housing Aid for Folks Making Up to $160,000 a Year
In a city where the median home price is over $1 million, a planned condo project’s units will be priced below market from $495,000 to $595,000. Teachers, nurses, police are among the expected buyers.

Wow. Will Palo Alto follow suit?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 9:45 am