“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)
SAN FRANCISCO - BAY AREA - CALIFORNIA
Housing affordability has been a major issue in San Francisco and the Bay Area — and other California cities — 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: Two million more people are projected to move into the Bay Area over the next 25 years, according to the San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal Association.
The median sales price of a home in San Francisco is more than $1.38 million — the highest in the nation — according to Zillow. Between 2011 and 2018, 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.
The skyrocketing cost of 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.
Condominiums took root in San Francisco and other cities 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. Condos gave people the opportunity to own their "own apartment" in a multi-unit building.
In 1979, San Francisco amended its housing regulations to allow existing rental units to be converted into condos. Then, in the 1980s, the city 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 condo the opportunity to share ownership in a multi-unit building. The city established a lottery system that enabled a limited number of units each year to be converted to condos.
In 2013, WHITE TIGER introduced a major innovation in the condo conversion process by creating Fast Track Condo Conversion™ (FTCC), a proprietary program and system that ties the entire process together into one comprehensive service. FTCC is helping more people achieve individual condo home ownership, build wealth, and create stronger communities.
Now WHITE TIGER is expanding this real estate model into other communities in the Bay Area and beyond. As housing affordability becomes an increasingly important issue across the country, condo conversions are growing in popularity — not just in large cities but in smaller communities as well.
San Francisco — long regarded as the technology capital of the world — was recently ranked by Business Insider as the world’s No. 1 "City of the Future" because of its strength in innovation. But that leadership position is being threatened by the skyrocketing cost of housing and the growing blight of homelessness.
The rise of the sharing economy — sometimes called the 4th Industrial Revolution — poses another challenge for the region. In the sharing economy, ownership gives way to access, sellers and buyers are replaced by providers and users, social capital becomes as important as market capital, consumerism is upended by sustainability, and quality of life becomes more important than GDP.
By transforming traditional business models, the sharing economy also has the potential to improve the quality of life for all of us. As the corporate home of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and other pioneers in the sharing economy, San Francisco and the Bay Area are in the forefront of this economic revolution.
The sharing economy is reshaping the real estate industry in the Bay Area, across the country, and around the world — and condo conversions are playing an important role in this transformation.