Update: A spokesperson for 72 Townsend (responding to previous requests for comment rather than to this story) now denies that the advertised liquidations are happening, saying “We’re down to the last few homes and negotiations are getting more competitive,” but calling realtor Carter Waite’s sales email essentially a fabrication that “got everything wrong except the location.” Waite himself has not commented.
According to a sales email forwarded to Curbed SF, 72 Townsend, the 74-unit condo project built out of a South Beach warehouse that predates the 1906 earthquake, has cut prices on all of its remaining vacancies in an effort to sell out this month.
Less than a week later, the city’s de facto redevelopment agency, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, heard a report that some 300 people applied for just seven below market rate units in the same development.
A July email from realtor Carter Waite aimed at potential buyers says:
72 Townsend wants all their inventory sold by August 31st. They are doing massive price reductions, 20 percent off the asking prices. Depending on the home, you can save $300,000 to $400,000. [...] These are going to sell out in the next one to two weeks, so we’ll need to move quickly if you’re interested.
The message includes rundowns of listings for eight homes, ranging from a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath penthouse for $3.14 million to single-bed, one-and-a-half-bath, eighth-floor unit for $1.28 million. (Note that those prices don’t include the advertised 20 percent off.)
Meanwhile, at a meeting on Tuesday, OCII heard a report on leasing demand for affordable housing in San Francisco that included figures for 72 Townsend.
The city set aside seven of the building’s 74 homes for middle-income buyers making 95 to 100 percent of the median income.
Prices topped out at $250,000, notably less money the discounts now on offer to well-heeled buyers.
By the time the final one sold in February of this year, the Mayor’s Office of Housing received 304 applications for the seven condos.
It’s hardly surprising, of course, that demand for BMR units in high-end new buildings should be higher than supply.
Nor does the across-the-board discounts of 72 Townsend’s market-rate condos necessarily indicate a lack of consumer demand for them. (Although obviously it does mean nobody thought they’d sell sufficiently speedily at previous prices.)
Even so, it’s hard to think of a more dramatic microcosm of the San Francisco housing crisis than scores of median-income users jockeying for a few slots in a building where seven-figure luxury homes still quest for buyers.
BMR demand becomes even more alarmingly pronounced further down the income scale, as OCII also reviewed demand at an affordable senior housing development at 1751 Carroll Avenue in Bayview on Tuesday.
In the 121-unit building, “a total of 4,126 households applied [...] for 97 units of multifamily senior housing” priced for buyers making between 30 and 50 percent of the median income, according to the city report. The last one leased in November of 2016.
(The remaining 20-plus units were handled through a separate agency and weren’t part of the report.)
As the San Francisco Examiner notes, the city granted priority for placement in the Carroll Avenue homes to those who lost homes under the renovation at the nearby Alice Griffith housing project, and to those driven out of their houses during urban renewal schemes in the 1960s and 1970s.