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Real Estate: John M. Lee – Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon – Richmond Review/Sunset …

Voting Suggestions

By John M. Lee

This November, we will have a plethora of ballot measures to go through both on the state and local level. We are already bombarded with ads for online gambling, abortion rights, affordable housing and candidates running for offices. I will stick to my expertise and cover the real estate related measures in this column and comment on others that can have an effect on real estate.

I read the ballot measures and their supporting and opposing arguments in the voter’s guide and this year found them to be quite humorous. I can pretty much look at the individuals or organizations writing the arguments and know what position they will take on these issues. It seems that everyone is distorting and interpreting the measures to fit their own political agenda. Maybe that should be obvious in politics, but I think it has gotten worse and worse every year.

Propositions D and E

Props. D and E are dueling measures seeking to improve affordable housing. Both proposals profess to streamline the approval process and provide developers with ways to obtain permits easier to build properties quicker than they can now. The State of California has come down hard on the City with the fact that we have not kept up with the pace of construction that is required and has threatened to withhold funds from us. 

Prop. D was put on the ballot by the mayor and Prop. E by the supervisors. The main differences appear to be that Prop. D will provide housing for people up to 140% of the area median income (AMI) and Prop. E for up to 120%. And the projects on Prop. E will be subjected to the approval by the SF Board of Supervisors. 

My opinion is that Prop. E is more restrictive to the number of people who can purchase these properties and the provision that it is subject to the Board of Supervisors’ approval just kills Prop. E for me. In the last few months, they have disapproved permit approvals for a couple of empty parking lots and if Prop. E passes, more of the same can happen. 

My pet peeve on these dueling measures is that we elect these top officials to work together and come up with plans and solutions for our City, and yet they are failing us by their inability to work together and come to a compromise for the common good. I would recommend a “yes” vote on Prop. D and a “no” vote on Prop. E. We need to build more housing to solve this housing affordability issue.

Proposition M

This measure was sponsored by Supervisor Dean Preston to tax owners who have kept their properties vacant for more than 182 days in a calendar year. The tax would range between $2,500 to $5,000 per year per vacant unit starting in 2024, and up to $20,000 in later years with adjustments for inflation. These funds will be used for rent subsidies and affordable housing.  

Initially there were reportedly 40,000 vacant units in the City and, if they were all offered as rentals, perhaps the rents would decrease because there would be more supply to meet the demand. However, upon the review of the data, that number might be closer to 10,000 as the vacant units can be due to the properties on the market for sale or rent, people renovating their homes or otherwise exempted from this measure. 

I think that taxing owners to force them to do what they do not want to do is wrong. The City officials have made renting out properties so difficult in San Francisco that many chose not to rent out their properties. This will add another of those provisions into the marketplace. I urge a “no” vote on Prop. M.

Propositions I and J 

Though not exactly real estate related, it does affect our quality of life in the Richmond and Sunset districts. Prop. I seeks to re-open the Upper Great Highway and JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to how it was pre-pandemic. Prop. J seeks to keep JFK Drive closed to traffic. If Prop. I gets more votes than Prop. J, then Prop. I wins and Prop. J will have no legal effect and vice versa.

I have been surprised at how divisive this issue has been and can see how people feel both ways. The common theme I am seeing is that people vote how this can benefit them personally rather than for the common good. So, since I live in the Richmond and use the Upper Great Highway to go south and drive on JFK Drive to access that area of the park, I am voting “yes” on Prop. I and “no” on Prop. J. 

District 4 Supervisor

The Sunset District gets to vote on whether to retain Gordon Mar for another four years or opt for a new supervisor. The other contender is Joel Engardio who has run before in D7. However, since the redistricting, part of D7 became D4, so Engardio is running in D4. 

Engardio is viewed more as a moderate and Mar more progressive. I have always viewed D4 as a moderate district and was surprised that Mar won four years ago. He does tend to side with the more progressive supervisors on issues. So, if you think Mar is doing a good job, vote for Mar. If not, vote for Engardio.

 We live in a great country and have the freedom to vote and voice our opinions. Whether you agree or disagree with my choices, I urge you all to vote this Nov. 8, or sooner with the mail-in ballot dropping in your mailboxes in October.

John M. Lee is a broker with Compass specializing in the Richmond and Sunset districts. If you have any real estate questions, call him at 415-465-0505 or email at johnlee@isellsf.com

Richmond Homes Sold in September*
Address Bed Bath Sq. Ft. Price
530 26th Ave. 1.50 1,430  $1,400,000 
514 19th Ave. 3.50 2,030  1,600,000 
865 44th Ave. 2 1,756  1,857,000 
671 Fifth Ave. 3 2,500  2,125,000 
682 22nd Ave. 2.50 1,831  2,200,000 
747 22nd Ave. 2 1,866  2,351,500 
173 Collins St. 3.50 2,183  3,115,000 
439 Third Ave. 3.50 3,035  3,500,000 
*Partial listing. Source: M.L.S.
Sunset Homes Sold in September*
Address Bed Bath Sq. Ft. Price
2486 44th Ave. 1.00 990  $1,208,000 
2018 43rd Ave. 2.00 1,214  1,265,000 
2426 24th Ave. 1.00 1,370  1,305,000 
3339 Vicente St. 2.00 1,717  1,380,000 
2518 Sloat Blvd. 2.00 1,541  1,470,000 
3915 Lincoln Way 2.00 2,000  1,550,000 
2491 37th Ave. 2.50 1,963  1,600,000 
2147 28th Ave. 2.00 1,358  1,650,000 
1683 11th Ave. 2.50 2,021  1,700,000 
2637 30th Ave. 2.00 2,105  1,750,000 
1432 24th Ave. 4.00 1,887  1,800,000 
2040 15th Ave. 3.00 2,410  1,875,000 
1350 Eighth Ave. 2.00 1,520  2,250,000 
1466 46th Ave. 2.00 1,930  2,360,000 
2255 21st Ave. 4.00 2,208  2,550,000 

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