Market Update: Summer 2015

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A question that is brought up quite often is why San Francisco?  Why should and do people live in the city by the bay rather than other international cities? First, lets get something out in the open: Without crunching too many numbers, it’s safe to say that no matter if you’re living in New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong or San Francisco, it is going to come at a high price. City living is expensive.

But, here’s the reason why people end up choosing San Francisco: it offers the perfect balance. “In both 2012 and 2013, Bloomberg BusinessWeek dubbed San Francisco “America’s Best City,” citing “the best blend of entertainment, education, safety, clear air, and a prosperous economic base.”’[i] The city is small enough so that no one feels unimportant, but big enough so that it plays a large part on the international stage. You are able to get the city feel but are never too far from the great outdoors because of the city’s proximity to the mountains of Lake Tahoe, the vineyards of Napa Valley and the beaches of Half Moon Bay. Also, the people are one of a kind. There are so many different cultures and customs that make San Francisco unique. Each neighborhood has its own personality so there is a place for everyone. Overall, San Francisco offers a very high quality of living and if you aren’t living here, you are seriously missing out.

The Short-Term Vacation Rental Debate

As a highly popular city to visit, San Francisco is always filled with tourists no matter what time of year. With the constant flow of tourists, short-term vacation rental companies like Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey offer tourists an experience they may not have access to if they were staying at a hotel in Union Square. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is an on-going debate about whether or not short-term vacation rentals should be restricted. Proponents of the restrictions argue that these short-term vacation rentals have been known to cause an increase in noise and traffic in usually quiet neighborhoods. Additionally in a city where inventory is limited, they reduce housing stock available to those who live and work in a particular community and create unfair competition with licensed establishments.[ii]

However there are two sides to every debate and in true San Francisco-style, the opponent’s argument is equally as convincing as the proponent’s. Opponents say that short-term vacation rentals promote tourism in places other than Union Square, Fisherman’s Warf and Chinatown and the rentals generate revenue for communities such as the Mission, Noe Valley and the Richmond district. Finally, short-term vacation rentals defray costs of a vacation or second home and allow people to invest that money elsewhere. So where do you stand?

Employment Growth – Silicon Valley’s Tech Boom

A multitude of new programmers, developers and designers have made their way from Silicon Valley to the city. They’ve got ideas, they’ve got style but most of all, they’ve got money and its practically falling out of their wallets. The young millionaires and even some billionaires that have surfaced in recent years are the result of stock options, IPOs and company sales. Simply put, the city is stockpiled with new residents, each whose net-worth isn’t too shabby. The rise of new money has allowed the city to flourish: ‘Unemployment shrank to 4 percent, median income went up by 20 percent.”[iii] There is something special about the tech worker: they value what the city has to offer. They thrive as participants in the city’s uniqueness, diversity, culture and art.

High Rent Costs

While the techies are taking advantage of pouring their wealth into the city’s neighborhoods, some San Francisco natives aren’t really feeling it. The backlash of this is that long time San Francisco residents are being evicted and they are blaming the tech industry. “Since 2011, 69 percent of no-fault evictions have occurred within four blocks of a private bus shuttle stop for tech company employees.”  They cannot afford to live in the city anymore because of rising rent costs. One local questions, “whether Silicon Valley is willing to get more engaged with the community its workers are rapidly transforming by displacing the artists, immigrants and merchants who…arrived in the half a century before them.” Seems like the ball is in the tech industry’s court.

Limited Inventory and Multi-Family Buildings

In conjunction with Silicon Valley’s tech boom, rising costs are also the result of geographical constraints. Spanning a mere 49-square miles, San Francisco has expanded width-wise as much as it can. Now, the only options are to build higher buildings or remodel olds ones in order to use space more efficiently.

The city is referenced as the most expensive rental market in the country. With studios starting at $3,000 and one to two bedroom apartments ranging from $4,000-$6,000, it’s hard to argue otherwise. Rental units account for well over half of the city’s housing supply, of which a large part is under rent control.

But lucky for you, there’s a new gig in town that makes the real estate market look as promising as good Mexican food in the Mission. A more affordable way to live in the city is by purchasing a multi-family building. It can be an opportunity for an owner-occupier to have some additional income or for investors to buy buildings in order to accumulate income. And believe it or not, high rent costs in San Francisco “are pushing multifamily sales up to stratospheric new levels” so there is a little something for everyone.[iv]  Also, there is a refreshing aspect to them – inventory is not limited. There are over 20 multi-family buildings currently on the market in San Francisco.

For a more in depth market analysis, help buying or selling a home in San Francisco or Southern Marin please contact Amber Hill (415) 699-6482 or






Boho Chic Polo Style | Showcasing Stick & Ball

Stick and BallOk, we’ve been there, and we get it.. You’ve grown up in your specific equestrian discipline, but something keeps drawing you towards a new challenge, something more laid back, and the ultimate game. Polo: it’s addicting, challenging, and most of all: SUPER stylish. From the players, to the party goers, there’s never a dull moment at the matches we’ve been to. Not only do we greatly enjoy the classic preppy look, but we are adoring the modern polo boho chic style stemming from the grass roots of traditional polo. Stick & Ball, a California-based clothing company, has put aside all the pomp and circumstance of the polo lifestyle to showcase polo’s more casual chic roots. After all, “Stick and Ball” means to casually play polo,  in common equestrian terms stick and ball is like “schooling”. The guacho side of polo boils the sport down to its essence: none of that hobnobbing, stiletto-wearing business. The look—casual, bohemian, and country chic—is inspired the roughness of the South American guacho and the quiet hand of the South American artisan.

Inca symbols and hand-knit patterns reveal the multicultural flair of these designs, which have been influenced by Elizabeth Wellborn’s travels through South America.

She has played polo extensively in Peru, Argentina, and Northern California, and has observed and absorbed the polo way of life in each habitat. Her observances come together in her line of understated yet elegant garments and jewelry. Stick & Ball features a signature piece: the classic poncho. It’s a staple for every equestrian inspired fall outfit. It epitomizes country equestrian chic. Each poncho is made from hand knitted alpaca wool and is produced by a small, family run company in the Andes mountains. It’s a fit for any body type, and synching it with a woven “Pampa Belt” inspired by the Gaucho horse polo girths and traditional poncho sashes in Argentina commonly used by polo players around the world. Each piece is extremely versatile, meant to be worn wherever life takes you. Whether you wear it casually around the polo field or on the city streets, you’ll fit in with the luxurious boho look.

by  in Equestrian Fashion


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Cerro Pampa Polo Club | Oyster Cup

The Oyster Cup Polo Tournament is sponsored by Stick and Ball at Cerro Pampa Polo Club on August 16, 2014. For tickets benefitting the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, go here.

For more information on this fabulous lifestyle brand, please check out Stick & Ball.

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