“It is essential the city find new ways to increase the rate of home ownership through condo conversions, while protecting existing tenants. A careful, gradual way to increase ownership rates."
— San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)
Housing affordability has been a major issue in San Francisco and the Bay Area for decades. It threatens everything that makes the region a great place to live — our ethnic diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, economic competitiveness, cultural creativity, even the environment.
Exorbitantly priced housing is making it increasingly difficult for anyone other than a narrow elite to live and work in our cities. And the problem is likely to get worse: 2 million more people are projected to move into the Bay Area over the next 25 years, according to SPUR, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal Association.
The median sales price of a home in San Francisco is more than $1.25 million — the highest in the nation, according to Zillow. Between 2011 and 2017, rents in the city surged 74 percent. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $3,290 and, for a two-bedroom, about $4,380, making San Francisco the most expensive rental market in the United States, ahead of both New York and Boston. San Francisco has also eclipsed New York as the most expensive city in the nation to rent office space.
This growth has created an unprecedented demand for housing and has made the need for new housing solutions greater than ever. The housing supply for first-time homeowners typically comes from new construction. A thriving city depends on the availability of market-affordable, entry-level homes that can attract upwardly mobile residents. A city that lacks such housing will eventually lose its economic vitality. Housing is like money: it must circulate and continually change hands to be effective.
Condo conversion is a creative solution to the Bay Area's housing crisis because it increases the rate of home ownership and raises property values. Condo conversion is an effective strategy for creating more home ownership and equity.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Condominiums were born in San Francisco in the 1960s, after federal laws were changed to enable developers to finance the sale of condo units with FHA-insured mortgages. Before that, San Franciscans had only two viable housing options: owning a house or renting an apartment. Those limitations created the demand for a third option. Condominiums gave people the opportunity to own their "own apartment," along with shared ownership of the common areas, in a multi-unit building.
Before 1979, the City did not regulate condominium conversions. In 1979, the Board of Supervisors amended the Subdivision Code to allow conversions of existing rental units to condominiums. In the 1980s, San Francisco further expanded its housing options with the creation of Tenants in Common, or TICs, which gave residents who could not afford to buy a single-family home or a condominium the opportunity to share ownership in a multi-unit building. The city also established a condo conversion lottery system that restricted, yet enabled limited number of units each year to convert their apartments to condos.
In 2013, WHITE TIGER expanded to the next level of condo conversion services by creating a legal agreement under its Fast Track Condo Conversion Program™ (FTCC). This agreement — which ties the entire condo conversion process together as one comprehensive service — is designed to help more people achieve individual condo home ownership, open up more housing options, and foster financial security and wealth.
BUILDING VIBRANT CITIES
By 2050, approximately two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. San Francisco, tech capital of the world, was recently ranked by Business Insider as the world’s #1 "City of the Future" because of its strength in innovation. The rise of the sharing economy — a massive business phenomenon transforming industries and changing traditional business models — is reshaping the real estate industry in the Bay Area, across the country, and around the world.
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