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Category Archive: ‘Local Government’

$1B Mid-Coast Trolley Extension

More on the Blue Line trolley extension:

On September 14, 2016, the top transit official in the United States committed $1 billion toward building the San Diego region’s newest trolley line, signing an agreement that will provide 50 percent of the funds to extend the popular transit service for 11-miles from Old Town to UC San Diego and the University City community.

The largest public transit project in the history of the San Diego region, the Mid-Coast Trolley Extension will extend the existing Blue Line, building nine new stops along the north coast of San Diego, including near Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, the VA Medical Center, the UC San Diego campus, and the dense residential and commercial areas along Genesee Avenue.

“The Mid-Coast Trolley will bring fast, reliable transit to the places where it’s most needed, including our largest research university and biggest employment center,” SANDAG Chair and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Ron Roberts said. “At the same time, it is an outstanding example of our ability to leverage the region’s local TransNet dollars to bring in outside money to complete major transportation projects.”

The San Diego region was able to garner the 50 percent match for the Mid-Coast Trolley in large part because it has a dedicated local source of funding that provided the other 50 percent match for the project. Revenues from TransNet, the countywide half-cent sales tax for transportation, are covering half of the $2.1 billion total project cost.

“FTA is proud to partner with San Diego to bring new transit options to this growing region,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “With the population along the Mid-Coast corridor expected to grow nearly 20 percent in the coming decades, this Trolley extension will offer a much-needed alternative to traffic congestion in the years ahead.”

A ceremonial signing of the Full Funding Grant Agreement – dedicating approximately $1 billion to the project over the course of 10 years subject to annual Congressional approval – took place on the campus of UC San Diego, at a location where the future Pepper Canyon Trolley station will be built. As part of the ceremony, Flowers handed Roberts a symbolic $1 billion check. Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Board Chair Harry Mathis, UC San Diego Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews, and Cynthia Abair, Acting Director of VA San Diego Health Care System, also spoke during the ceremony.

Pre-construction activities for the project – primarily the relocation of underground utilities out of the project alignment – are already underway. Primary construction is expected to begin this October, with service anticipated to start in 2021.

Once the extension is built, transit riders will enjoy a one-seat ride (no transfers) from San Ysidro to University City. Planners estimate that the project will provide more than 20,000 new transit trips every weekday.

The construction of the Mid-Coast project is expected to produce more than 14,000 new local jobs. Even after the construction is over, the Mid-Coast project will have an estimated $116 million of annual economic impact on the region by reducing congestion, reducing parking needs, and increasing access to jobs. The Mid-Coast corridor supports more than 325,000 jobs. The two ends of the route – Downtown San Diego and University City – account for nearly half of that total.

For more information, visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/MidCoast

My tour of the area:

The official, professional flyover tour:

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 in Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, La Jolla, Local Flavor, Local Government, The Future | 6 comments

The Rising Tide

Climate change has been hotly contested, and who knows what the eventual outcome will be.  It’s unlikely that we will have to worry about any possible effects, but your kids might – and look out Mission Beach!  Hat tip daytrip!

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-sea-level-rise-california-20170724-story.html

As glaciers melt amid the heat of a warming planet, scientists predict that coastal communities in the United States could eventually experience flooding from higher tides.

Conservative estimates range from an increase of about one to four feet in sea-level rise by the end of the century. Experts also warn that people should be prepared for unlikely but extreme scenarios of up to eight feet in sea-level rise, which would cause severe and chronic flooding in hundreds of coastal cities.

Grappling with this problem would be expensive for local governments. Anticipating the costly possibility, the city of Imperial Beach and the counties of Marin and San Mateo last week filed potentially groundbreaking lawsuits to push large oil and coal companies to foot the bill.

According to scientists, sea-level rise is underway in some seaside neighborhoods and comes on top of the potential for large storms to intensify because of climate change. Cities along the East Coast — such as Miami, Boston and Charleston, S.C. — face the greatest risk, but flooding is also projected to harm much of San Diego County’s coastline in the coming decades.

The major questions currently are: How much flooding will vulnerable cities experience, and how fast?

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Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government, Thinking of Buying? | 6 comments

Answers for the Homeless

Bye-bye Chargers – let’s turn their practice field into a homeless camp!

LINK

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)–Creating a quick, temporary respite for San Diego’s homeless population at Qualcomm Stadium was at the forefront of today’s meeting of the San Diego City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness.

Committee chair and City Councilmember Christopher Ward, who represents the third district, presented options including:

  • Temporary housing at Golden Hall downtown
  • Temporary housing at Qualcomm Stadium practice field
  • Expanding outreach efforts
  • Creating more places in city-controlled facilities where people who live in their cars can spend the night

“One of the big barriers people have from getting off the streets today is that their stuff is on the streets,” Ward said. “So trying to go interview with the Housing Council or seek health assistance or do a job interview, they don’t want to leave their stuff. We don’t have enough storage and that’s something the city can provide.”

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Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government | 3 comments

Trump Tax Plan and the M.I.D.

Hat tip to SWM for sending in this clarification regarding the point at which the M.I.D. is an advantage.

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/trump-tax-proposal-would-make-mortgage-deduction-useless-for-most-homeowners/

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has taken pains to stress that the Trump administration isn’t out to kill Americans’ beloved mortgage-interest tax deduction — but a side effect of the plan could turn it into a perk for only the wealthy.

President Donald Trump has proposed rewriting the tax code to raise the standard federal deduction to a level where about 25 million home­owners would no longer take advantage of the century-old break.

A married couple would need a home-loan balance of about $608,000 — almost triple the mortgage on a median-priced U.S. home — before using it would make sense, according to a new analysis by property-data provider Trulia. That would be up from about $322,000 today.

Without the incentives, along with a proposed end to local property-tax deductions, home sales may be hurt in cities where prices are rising quickly and buyers are stretching to afford their purchases, from Denver and Portland to Boston and Washington, D.C. Reduced demand would weigh on values, causing price declines nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors, which opposes the change.

The proposal “is a backdoor way of rendering the mortgage-interest deduction close to worthless,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.

Prices may fall 10 percent on average nationwide, taking into account the lack of deduction for state and local property taxes, according to a preliminary estimate prepared by a consultant for the National Association of Realtors. Zandi, of Moody’s, said the proposed deduction changes would reduce prices by about 4?percent nationally, including the property-tax impact, with bigger decreases in pricier parts of the country.

Economists have been critical of the mortgage-interest deduction because it disproportionately benefits people with more expensive properties, including many who would have purchased even without the break. It also inflates home prices because buyers often overestimate their tax savings when they’re budgeting for a purchase, said Dennis Ventry, a professor at University of California, Davis, School of Law who has studied the program’s history.

Trump’s plan might boost homeownership rates over time because a drop in prices would improve affordability and the standard deduction would give buyers more money to spend on a house, Ventry said.

The real-estate industry is lining up against the proposal, including the powerful National Association of Realtors, which spent $10.2 million lobbying Congress in the first quarter, more than any other organization except the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Trump’s plan also targets tax deductions for state and local taxes paid — a provision that would hurt homeowners in states where property taxes are high.

“One of the big reasons for homeownership is the ability to deduct property taxes,” said Coldwell Banker Realtor Kevin Cascone, who’s based in Westfield, New Jersey. “If that’s eliminated, what’s the difference between renting and buying?”

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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Market Conditions | 3 comments

San Diego County Tax Sale

An online auction to sell real estate? Maybe it will catch on!

Gone are the days of the quick talking auctioneer, paddles and shouted bids. Today, San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister announced he is moving the annual property tax sale auction online.

“With this new system, people sitting at home can browse and bid on more than 1,600 properties currently available, including timeshares starting at $900,” said McAllister. “The online auction aligns with our ‘e-nitiative’ to make it easier and more efficient to do all business with us electronically.”

The online tax sale auction will take place May 5-10. Interested buyers can register as a bidder beginning April 5, and registration will end April 27. Bidders must put up a $1,000 advance and a nonrefundable $35 bid processing fee.

“Moving this tax sale online will cut our operation costs compared to a live auction,” said McAllister. “We also hope to sell more properties as we open the auction up to bidders outside the San Diego region – even around the world.”

All sales are final, so this is a buyer beware sale. Before April, the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office (TTC) encourages everyone to research the selection of available properties by clicking here.

Right now, there are about 1,600 parcels available, roughly four times the number we have put up for auction in previous years. The majority – 1,231 – are timeshares, many with minimum bids as low as $900.

The remaining 393 parcels are improved and unimproved properties, 39 of which have owners living in them. Owners of the for-sale properties can redeem them by paying owed taxes and fees until 5 p.m. on May 4. Over the past five years, TTC notices and late bills to these owners have not been responded to. In early April, each of the properties will be personally contacted by TTC staff who will warn them of the impending sale.

The TTC has not held a tax sale auction since 2015, and on average, sales have generated more than $1.1 million each year.

http://www.sdtreastax.com/content/ttc/en/press-releases/Tax-Sale-Auction-Moves-Online.html.html

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 in Auctions, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, REOs, REOs Coming to Market | 2 comments

Dog Beach Resort

Congrats to Brian who has had the middle parcel listed for sale since 2007!

Hat tip Richard:

One of San Diego’s most popular beaches could soon be getting a luxury resort.

Two Encinitas based companies specializing in hospitality development – The Robert Green Company and Zephyr – acquired a 16 acres oceanfront parcel in Del Mar, just north of Dog Beach.

They plan to build a luxury resort, and want input from the public.

“What we’re really doing is announcing a process where we go out and hold a series of community meetings to really define what the plan is,” said Brad Termini, CEO of Zephyr.

Termini said he and Robert Green, of The Robert Green Company, have been working to acquire the site for over a year.

“There actually are eight parcels here, owned by three different local families that have owned this land for a very long time,” Termini said.

The land sits north of Del Mar’s popular Dog Beach, south of Solana Beach, and west of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“It’s essentially a large triangular-shaped property and because of its shape it creates spectacular views in multiple directions,” said Robert Green, President and CEO of the Robert Green Company.

According to Zephyr and The Robert Green Company, plans are not finalized, but include a luxury resort, branded resort villas, restaurants and meeting space.

Both Green and Termini are local San Diegans. Termini lives a quarter-mile from the site and Green was born and raised in San Diego.

Termini said he’s been walking by the site for years with his dog, just looking at this site and thinking about what he could build there.

He and Green plan to hold a series of public meetings to get input from the public before starting to build.

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Del Mar, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government, Solana Beach | 6 comments

The Millennials’ Housing Disadvantage

Everything about the real estate market favors those who got in years ago (location, zoning, traffic, property taxes, etc.).  Today’s desperate search for reasonably-priced housing is futile at best, and invites table-tilting by all involved. The rich get richer! Hat tip to Bill W:

LINK

Excerpt:

The problems facing millennials include an economy where job growth has been largely in service and part-time employment, producing lower incomes; the Census bureau estimates they earn, even with a full-time job, $2,000 less in real dollars than the same age group made in 1980. More millennials, notes a recent White House report, face far longer period of unemployment and suffer low rates of labor participation. More than 20 percent of people 18 to 34 live in poverty, up from 14 percent in 1980.

They are also saddled with ever more college debt, with around half of students borrowing for their education during the 2013-14 school year, up from around 30 percent in the mid-1990s.

All this at a time when the returns on education seem to be dropping: A millennial with both a college degree and college debt, according to a recent analysis of Federal Reserve data, earns about the same as a boomer without a degree did at the same age.

Downward mobility, for now at least, is increasingly rife. Stanford economist Raj Chatty finds that someone born in 1940 had a 92 percent chance of earning more than their parents; a boomer born in 1950 had a 79 percent chance of earning more than their parents. Those born in 1980, in contrast, have just a 46 percent chance.

Since 2004, homeownership rates for people under 35 have dropped by 21 percent, easily outpacing the 15 percent fall among those 35 to 44; the boomers’ rate remained largely unchanged.

In some markets, high rents and weak millennial incomes make it all but impossible to raise a down payment. According to Zillow, for workers between 22 and 34, rent costs now claim upward of 45 percent of income in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Miami, compared to less than 30 percent of income in metropolitan areas like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

The costs of purchasing a house are even more lopsided: In Los Angeles and the Bay Area, a monthly mortgage takes, on average, close to 40 percent of income, compared to 15 percent nationally.

Home ownership rates in California are among the nation’s lowest, with Los Angeles-Orange having the lowest rate of the nation’s 75 large metropolitan areas. For every two homebuyers who come to the state, five families leave, notes the research firm Core Logic.

Like medieval serfs in pre-industrial Europe, America’s new generation, particularly in its alpha cities, seems increasingly destined to spend their lives paying off their overlords, and having little to show for it.

No wonder that rather than strike out on their own, many millennials are simply failing to launch, with record numbers hunkering down in their parents’ homes. Since 2000, the numbers of people aged 18 to 34 living at home has shot up by over 5 million.

Home ownership rates in California are among the nation’s lowest, with Los Angeles-Orange having the lowest rate of the nation’s 75 large metropolitan areas. For every two homebuyers who come to the state, five families leave, notes the research firm Core Logic.

The irony is that the state’s progressive policies are contributing  to a less mobile society and a potential demographic crisis. For one thing, fewer young people can form families—Los Angeles-Orange had one of the biggest drops in the child population of any of the 53 largest metros from 2010 to 2015.

This also has a racial component, as homeownership rates African American and Latino households—which often lack access to family wealth—have dropped far more precipitously than those of non-Hispanic Whites or Asians. Hispanics, accounting for 42 percent of all California millennials, endure homeownership roughly half that seen in other parts of the country.

This is not the planners’ happy future of density dwelling, transit-riding millennials but a present of overcrowding, the nation’s highest level of poverty and, inevitably, a continued drop in fertility in comparison to less regulated, and less costly, states such as Utah, Texas, and Tennessee that have been among those with the biggest surges in millennial migration.

Once identified with youth, California’s urban areas are now experiencing a significant decline in both their millennial and Xer populations. By the 2030s, large swaths of the state—particularly along the coast—could become geriatric belts, with an affluent older boomer population served by a largely minority servant class. How feudal!

Read full article here:

LINK

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Posted by on Mar 12, 2017 in Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, The Future | 3 comments

Trump Travel Ban and Real Estate

A pair of married software engineers hooked up with real estate agent Tim Gullicksen about six months ago in pursuit of their dream home.

After taking time to peruse the market, the couple found a multimillion-dollar single-family home in San Francisco that they loved. In January, they wrote an offer letter to the seller, complete with an attached photo of the young family, and squared away their finances.

In early February, the couple told Gullicksen they would no longer place a bid. They planned to take a three-week vacation in their native country of India, and decided they couldn’t risk buying a house if President Donald Trump’s administration wouldn’t let them back into the US. (While no such restriction exists, they worry the new administration might change its mind.) They declined to speak with Business Insider directly for fear of retribution from the government.

San Francisco is one of the most competitive housing markets in the US, with a median listing price that tops $1.1 million. But foreign-born tech workers, who often commute to Silicon Valley, are starting to back out of buying property because they worry about an escalating crackdown on immigration under Trump, according to some real estate agents.

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Posted by on Feb 9, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Market Buzz | 6 comments

Trump Effect on 1031 Exchanges

Reader socalbuyer had to send in this article about the Republicans threatening to tinker with the 1031 tax-differed exchange benefits – but who knows what will happen.  If they do eliminate the 1031s, the extra taxation on sales of investment properties would cause fewer people to sell.

Great – less inventory!

WaPo article link

Excerpts:

House Republicans are working on a proposal that, as part of an overall streamlining of the Internal Revenue Code and a reduction in tax rates, may eliminate or seriously restrict the use of tax-deferred exchanges — property swaps — under Section 1031 of the code. President Trump has identified tax revision as one of his top priorities, and legislation is expected to move quickly in the new Congress.

Loss of the ability to use an exchange would be a significant blow to “Mom and Pop” and other small-scale realty investors. According to a study posted on the website of the National Rental Home Council, there were 15.7 million rental homes in the United States as of 2015, and 99 percent of them were owned by non-institutional investors. A study by professors at the University of Florida and Syracuse University estimated that most exchanges involve relatively small properties; in 2011, 59 percent had a sale price of less than $1 million.

Exchange proponents, such as Suzanne Baker of Investment Property Exchange Services in Chicago, argue that most of the deferred taxes ultimately are collected when properties get sold for cash and that exchanges stimulate economic activity — redevelopment and upgrades of properties, for example — that would not occur if owners faced immediate taxes on their gains and therefore simply sat on them.

Bottom line: If you own investment real estate and have contemplated a Section 1031 exchange, be aware: There’s a significant possibility that tax revisions could knock your plans off track. Keep a close eye on what’s happening, because it could happen fast.

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Real Estate Investing | 4 comments