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San Francisco Professional Workers Looking For Work-Life Balance

What are employees looking for in their work culture and environment in San Francisco, and, indeed, the entire Bay Area and across the country?  The stereotype is lots of free food (healthy as an option), a coffee bar, a game room with ping pong tables or foosball, maybe a gym.  And that used to be an attractor to top tier talent. Well, according to a survey by Linkedin Corp. those perks are now seen as a bit immature.  Linkedin’s research determined that a work/life balance is what is very magnetic to potential workers sizing up a company—tech or otherwise. And, as well, a sense of belonging to the community. And the overall culture and impact of the company.

Tech companies nowadays face a shortage of workers to fill all the job openings. Good talent is harder to acquire and to retain. Perks are not important anymore. And even pay is taking somewhat of a back seat to the overall work culture and work/life balance as to how people are choosing companies to work for. Some companies are even dumping businesses to please new workers, such as Google’s move to not renew its contract for artificial intelligence with the U.S. Defense Department.

Slowing Rent Growth in San Francisco – Why?

The rate of rent growth in San Francisco has been dropping pretty significantly since 2015. And that is a puzzle, considering the super expensive buying environment in SF. Over the past three years the rent growth in the city was lower or equal to the national average. SF ranks #9 in the top 25 most populous cities in the U.S. with a year-over-year rent growth currently at 1.5%. Back in 2015 we were #1 among the top 25 cities for the growth of rental units.

What’s happened? According to Apartment List research it looks like rising new rental inventory in the city is partly contributing to this trend. Too many rentals chasing too few renters. Building out multi family rental housing has dramatically increased over the past few years with current spending pegged at $61 billion, which is four times what was spent on building new rental units in 2010. And, that red hot buying market in San Francisco is also driven by individuals, couples and families shifting to buying a home, rather than renting one. The home ownership rate has been increasing for the first time since the housing bubble burst in 2007. And the San Francisco population is declining—each year going down since year 2000.

Please click on these two links to see the full reports:

Eat Your Way Through All The New Restaurants – SoMa and Mission Bay.

The numbers are a bit surprising, but for a foodie town like San Francisco, maybe not. Despite all the high costs and pretty daunting permitting processes to jump through new restaurants and cafes crop up all around us in the city all the time. Over 85 new restaurants, bars and cafes have opened in the city over the past six months. And ten of those have been in the cultural growth hot house of SoMa and Mission Bay with its big high tech employers bringing in loads of hungry diners with palates wanting to explore. Mission Bay is moving from dining backwater to a kind of new wave heartland.

So, now you can go on a food quest and eat or drink at all the new 10 establishments if you like. Or check out one or two that have special appeals to your taste buds. Bizjournals.com has put together a slide show featuring the 10, which include organic chicken fast food, Korean, Greek, Mediterranean, Pacific Northwest and other savory cuisines.

Click here to see the slide show of newly opened restaurants and cafes.

Win the Ugliest Dog Contest Up in Petaluma This Saturday

Hey you with the ugliest dog in San Francisco, and you know who you are. Your dog is toothless or hairless or has a shockingly scrunched up face that you love to death, or hanging skin and a corkscrew tail. Or all the above. Here’s your chance to shine. Now, SF does not have its own ugliest dog beauty contest, but there is the world famous World’s Ugliest Dog Contest just 20 minutes north in Petaluma. And it’s this Saturday, so get your pooch all spruced up, or not. Bring him or her as they are – the uglier the better.

The venue is the Sonoma/Marin County fair, and the Ugliest Dog contest will be held at 6pm on Saturday, June 23rd. If you watch this yearly, lovable contest you’ll know that there are some really ugly dogs that take the trophy home. Many winners are the hairless, shrimpy, crooked-teeth dog kind. But last year’s winner was Martha, a 125-pound Neopolitan Mastiff with shockingly droopy skin. Oh, so cute. The crowd loved her, and so did the judges. So, she won $1,500 and the trophy and worldwide fame as this contest is doggedly covered by all the major news media outlets.

Record Fast Time For Sales of Homes in San Francisco

Fast times are here in San Francisco – if you’re selling your house. In fact, across the entire Bay Area the sale of a home is so fast from listing to closing that our SF Bay Area holds the fastest list-to-sale times nationally. You can practically use a stop watch to time these sales.

Actually, in San Francisco, as of April, the median time for closings is 36 days, while nationally the median time is 64 days. This fast pace has been going down every year since 2010, with the time period for SF sales being reduced by 43 percent since 2010.

Miriam Westberg, a Redfin agent in San Francisco, says, “The last three deals I did all have been 14 days or less in terms of closing. One single-family home closed in seven days from the time the offer was accepted. It was a cash offer. Cash is king in terms of speed.”

One of the factors in the quick turnarounds is the low house inventory, which drives competition, higher prices and the rush to close. Another factor says housing economist Felipe Chacon is that the process of housing shopping itself is changing, with more people shopping initially online.

The Most Expensive Construction Projects in SF Now

San Francisco’s pretty skyline—even with fog moistly rolling in—is being remolded as we speak, so to speak. There are cranes all over the place, and a few big-ticket projects have come online, like the now tallest building in SF—the 61-story Salesforce Tower officially opening last month. There’s the new mega-hub, 5-story mass transit center, and the Park Tower on 250 Howard Street with its footprint of 750,000 square feet, and its price tag of $690 million.

Bizjournals.com has put together a nice little slide show on the most expensive construction projects being built in SF now. See link below.

Now, Park Tower is not nearly the most expensive. That honor belongs to the Oceanwide Center at 88 First St. It has a King Kong footprint of 1.35 million square feet of office space, residential units and a hotel. The price: a mere $1.6 billion.

Other notables are the new Terminal 1 Center at the San Francisco Airport, with a cost of $1.2 billion paying for 860,288 square feet.

Check out the slides and project descriptions here.

Pacific Heights Dream House Goes for $1.6 Million Over Asking

Now there’s a cosmic coincidence. A Pacific Heights home was asking $8 million, and just sold for $9.6 million, $1.6 million or 20 percent over asking. That number $1.6 million is also the average price for a home in San Francisco. So, the bidding war went to the trenches among six parties and the lucky winner got the prize by shelling out enough extra money to buy another really nice pied-a-terre condo in one of the city’s other desirable neighborhoods.

What makes this house worth $9.6 million? Well…the Pacific Heights address certainly counts, plus the five beds, six baths, a wine cellar and very commodious closets.

Patrick Carlisle, the chief marketing analyst at Paragon Real Estate, talked about the 20% over asking: “Actually in SF, the average house sells for 13 percent over asking.” According to Carlisle, over 80 percent of San Francisco houses and condos sell over the asking price. He thinks the reason there are so many over-the-top bids is that realtors purposely underprice their listings, with a bidding war in mind to drive up the final price to its max.

San Francisco’s Toilet Kiosks to Get Jetson-like Makeover

Say “ciao” to the old SF green JC Decaux public toilets. They’re going, well… “down the toilet.” Swooping in from a sort of Jetson’s futuristic techno and environmentally-friendly blend is the new toilet design from SmithGroupJJR which just won the toilet design contest held by SF’s Public Works department.  The new toilets are metallic sheen with soft aerodynamic curves, a living garden on its roof, and benches with planters embedded on one side. The mockup looks techno-savvy and comfy, roomy even.

Two hundred submissions came in for the design challenge, most of which were kind of fuddy-duddy out of date. The Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said of the design, “SmithGroupJJR’s design is forward-thinking, combining natural elements and environmental sustainability with modern technology and materials. This 21st-century street furniture reflects our San Francisco values, as we invest in a public realm designed with dignity, inclusivity, and beauty,”

However, once the final design is worked out between SmithGroupJJR and JCDecaux engineers, the design needs to be reviewed by the San Francisco Arts Commission and Historic Preservation Committee.