June 20, 2018

Incredible View Condo at Highest Elevation in Metro Area

Looking for a condo with a great view, take a look at Park One #9, this condo has 270 degree wrap around views from the Mountains to the East, Balboa Park to the South, Downtown skyline and bay to the Southwest and views to La Jolla to the North.  The Park One condos are very unique having only one Penthouse style residence per floor.  There are no hallways to walk down and no neighborhoods on your floor.  The elevators open directly into your residence. 

Designed as a dual master bedroom floor plan with a separate den/office and a separate laundry room.  Unit #9 was the Developers model unit and has been updated and upgraded compared to most units in Park One.  The 35 foot long balcony invites outdoor living. 

Park One Condo Views over Balboa Park

Park One #9 Panoramic Views

Click Here to See More Photos and Details of 3415 6th Ave #9 (Park One Condo #9).

Posted in Buying a Condo
June 18, 2018

Manchester Pacific Gateway - Blocking Bay Views??

How many of you out there think the Manchester Pacific Gateway project is going to block all the Western water views for the condos looking West today?  Based on what I'm hearing from condo shoppers and some other Realtors is that its ALL going to be blocked.  Seems no one has any interest in buying a condo with bay views over those parking lots that are going to be developed because they, like buyers from years past, fear the worst with new construction. 

If 30% of your water views get obstructed did you lose all your view  OR said another way You will still have 70% of your water view preserved, the latter sounds better for sure.  I know people that had a bay view that included views of the Hyatt hotels and switched to a different condo with bay views but can no longer see the Hyatt hotels and they miss the view of those towers, especially at night.   Seems is possible to say the value of some water views does not go to zero if its obstructed with an attractive  looking building. 

Based on my calculations the buildings on the Manchester Pacific Gateway project will only obstruct about 30% of the current water views (over those existing parking lots) say from a location in the middle of downtown like the Meridian condos.  In rough measurements, the 8 blocks of that land is about 1,359 feet long running North to South.  There are only 4 high rise buildings going up plus one mid rise that will be in front of Embassy Suites but not any taller.  The width of those 4 high rise buildings is only about 400 feet.  That's right of the almost 1,400 wide strip of land that is being developed only about 400 feet of it will obstruct any views from a high rise East of the project.  To be technical I'm talking 400 feet of obstructions say above the 8th floor of other buildings as the base of the new buildings near the ground is wider.  So remember that when shopping for a high rise condo with views of the Western waterfront, don't be intimidated by the new construction as 70% of your water views should be intact based on the plans I'm seeing today.   Note between these buildings they are opening up the streets that are currently blocked off by this Navy chain linked fortress.  Streets such as E, F and G streets are going to be opened up creating view corridors plus the set back each building has from the street, as you visualize that I hope you can begin to see these huge openings between the towers creating bay view corridors.    

Views Not Blocked by Manchester Pacific Gateway Development San Diego

Here is a real life current example of the impact those soon to be built hotels and office buildings will have on the value of a condo with the obstructed bay views.  Before Pacific Gate was built, the most expensive condos in downtown per square foot were the South facing Pinnacle condominiums. Are you ready for this approximately 50% of their bay views are obstructed by hotels, specifically the two Marriott towers and two Hyatt towers.  The sweet spot of these views, is the bay between the hotels, if you measure the distance between the one Hyatt to the far West and the Marriott to the far East it's about 1,600sf and the width of those four hotels as seen from the Pinnacle is about 767 feet or almost 50%.  Whats interesting is that people that live in these Pinnacle units will say they have unobstructed bay views. 

Most Expensive Bay Views Downtown San Diego

Bottom line is it's all about the view corridors and how preserved they will be that seems to matter to people buying these condos.  One could say the smart money already knows this, at the new Pacific Gate condominiums the first floor plan to sell out was the big wrap around West and SW facing plan which will have great views of the water and new hotel and office towers soon to be built.  I'll save the boost in value all the condos along the Western waterfront should get once this $1.4 billion project is completed. 


Posted in Buying a Condo
March 25, 2018

San Diego Condo Price Trends Past and Future?


I often hear people say condo prices in San Diego have to come down.  I always ask the people saying this, why do you think that is?  I don't really get many reasons other than its time, the real estate market cycles and a lot of people can't afford them. 

Im old enough to have lived through a few real estate cycles and realize affordability is an issue.  But real estate cycles happen because of an outside force (usually from the US Govt) and affordability has been an issue since I moved to San Diego in 1990 and people thought I was crazy to spend $200,000 on a condo that is now worth $600,000.  So I discount the argument on lack of affordability.  Its been proven to not be a driver of price trends.

Outside forces, now thats one thing the market of buyers and sellers cant control but can be influenced by.  Lets look at the last down cycle, there were two factors in play at the same time that created a bubble in that eventually burst.  The first of those factors was the Government mandated that banks dramatically ease their qualification to get a mortgage.  We all remember how little documentation was needed to get a loan back then and many programs required no down payment and some programs even let you qualify on a teaser rate of 2% which was reset to 5 or 6% a couple years later. 

The second factor was an increasing supply of new condos being built.  In a span of 9 years (2001-2010) downtown San Diego added 8,270 condos to an existing market that had only about 2,000.  Looking back we know that there were not 8,000 individual buyers ready to absorb that new inventory.  There was no off setting market force like say a new Amazon headquarters locating to downtown, so where were all these buyers going to come from?  Because there were not enough buyers to absorb all these units at market prices the market had to adjust itself in the form of lower prices to get all these units sold.  As you can see on the graph prices went down about 40% from their peak in 2005 to the bottom in 2011. 

Once it was clear prices were dropping, builders stopped starting construction on any new condo buildings and most just finished what they had under construction and left town.  You can see this on the chart in the green bars where new construction stopped in about 2007 and the last of the new buildings was completed in 2009. 

For all of us that have taken Economics 101 in college its no surprise that once new construction stopped coming on the market (increased supply) that price started to climb in 2012 and have been increasing every year since. 

So if the prices are going to come down, its not because the clock says so many years have passed its time, something has to happen to disrupt the supply vs demand market force.  We all know its currently pretty hard to get a loan, no lender I know thinks were going to get back to 100% financing and stated income loans, etc.  As you can see from the chart, there is no big uptick in new construction.  There is a brand new building that is finishing up this year and one on schedule to be completed next year, together these will add only about 500 residences to downtown. 

Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 7, 2018

Bayside Condos vs Grande Condos

Direct Comparison of Bayside Condos to The Grande Condos

A direct comparison of the Grande condo complex in downtown San Diego to its new neighbor, the Bayside condos next door. Read on to see which building has the best condo for you.

Every condo shopper that is considering a purchase in either the Grande condos or the Bayside condos should look at both buildings. They have a lot of similarities and some big differences that I will lay out below to help you determine which might be the best fit for you.

Developer: Both complexes were built by Bosa Development, the premiere condo developer in downtown San Diego. Tie

Buildings: The Grande condominiums are a twin tower design with a circular driveway between them. Grande has about 460 condos and town homes. Each Grande tower is a mirror image of the other. Bayside is a single tower with about 232 condos and town homes. The Grande is about 5 years older than Bayside. Tie

Location: All three towers are lined up in a row, on the “residential front row” of downtown, lining Pacific Highway. This is the closest location to the waterfront you can own a condo, land between these condos and the water is owned by the Port of San Diego which does not allow residential properties on it. The Bayside condos in San Diego is the furthest tower to the North and the two Grande towers are just South of it. In 2016/17 two new hotels got built almost directly in front (looking West) of the Grande South.  These hotels are the Marriott and the Intercontinental.  These two hotels really obstruct the SW views from the Grande South and the far SW views from the Grande North and Bayside.  To look over these hotels you need to be around the 25th floor or so in each of the three towers.  Advantage Bayside as its views are less obstructed.

Floor Plans: The main floors of the Grande condos have six units per floor, three 2 bedrooms and a den, two 2 bedrooms and a single 1 bedroom floor plan. Bayside has seven floor plans on its main floors, all two bedrooms, four with dens. The Grande is shaped like a triangle pointing West towards the bay. There is one single unit on the front (or top) of the triangle that has 270 degree views to the South, West and North, its 1,944 sf. That is a floor plan unique to the Grande and not found elsewhere downtown. Bayside is shaped more like a rectangle with its long sides facing South and North. The West side facing the bay, has 3 units on it, two corners and one in the middle. Its fair to say that each condo complex has 3 units with great water views. The top five floors at The Grande only have three units, the same one on the West point and two larger ones back on each side, with the largest 1,944 sf. Bayside floor plans get fewer and larger starting on the 29th floor with only five units on up to the top four floors which only has three units, these are very large, ranging from 1,800 – 3,200 sf. Most town homes in both complexes are three stories, at the Grande they are all about 1,900 sf, Bayside has some as large as 2,600 sf. Tie, unless you need 3,000 sf the Advantage Bayside.

Amenities: Both the Grande condos and the Bayside condos have some of the highest quality amenities of any condominium in downtown San Diego. Both complexes have a 24hr concierge, staffed security, lap pools, hot tubs, fitness centers, dry saunas, steam rooms and bike storage. Each also has areas to entertain yourself and your guests. This is where the two towers differ. At the Grande, they have one big entertainment room, sort of a one size fits all, with a caterers kitchen and a rather low ceiling. The Bayside condos have several common areas to entertain in, they have club house with 4 TV’s, pool table, caterers kitchen, plus a private movie theater room with popcorn machine, a wine tasting room with huge wine cooler, conference room and a large reading room with soft music. Bayside also has a staffed guard at the entrance to its parking garage, the Grande does not. One amenity that each Grande tower has that Bayside does not is a one bedroom condo, called a guest suite, that you can reserve for your overnight guests at a nominal fee (about $125/night). Advantage Bayside for quality and variety of amenities.

Interior Finishes: Bosa development is know for its high quality of finishes throughout its many towers in downtown San Diego with the newer towers finishes surpassing its last tower. That trend continued with Bayside which now has the highest level of interior finishes in all of downtown. For the first time ever, they used a quartz stone counter top (often called Caesar stone), they also used Italian cabinetry (Snaidero), Viking appliances, they even when up a notch in the quality of wood used for the flooring. The Grande condos have great finishes but being that its five years older than Bayside its just not the latest and greatest. Advantage Bayside.

Views: The views from the Bayside and Grande condos are one of the primary reasons condo shoppers purchase in these buildings. Every unit in both towers, except the lowest of floors has a great city view, water view or both. The best view in both towers, excluding the top six floors of Bayside, is the 1,944 sf floor plan in the Grande, it has the wrap around bay views from North, West and South. For comparison purposes, lets say this is a five star view. The two units in the Grande adjacent to this unit have 4 star views. Over at Bayside, with three units facing directly West, these have 4.5 star views because they are either only West facing, or SW or NW. However, one of the biggest advantages Bayside has going for it is the views to the North are unobstructed as far as the eye can see because this is the last high rise to be built as you go toward the flight path to the airport. Units on the NW corner at Bayside are the most sought after and this was the first floor plan to sell out, even though it was the most expensive floor plan. If you are in Bayside looking South, or in either Grande tower looking North or South you are looking into another high rise. Note as of fall 2010, the high rise office building planned to be built adjacent to Grande South has not yet been built. Also see my comments in the “Location” section above in this article. Advantage overall Bayside, Best View from one single floor plan is at Grande.

Home Owners Associations (HOA): Each Grande tower has their own separate HOA. HOA fees are about the same between the two complexes, there are some differences but not enough sway a decision to purchase in one tower vs the other. Tie

Price: In 2017, selling prices per square foot are about equal between the two complexes. Tie

Conclusions: Both the Grande condos and the Bayside condos in downtown San Diego are wonderful places to live, each a high quality complex with great views and a great location. Its been my experience in shopping both buildings many many times that it comes down to a buyers preferences for the finishes, expected use of the amenities and which floor plan they like the best and the views from that floor plan. In my opinion Bayside get the slight advantage over The Grande for these reasons: its newer, more modern, safer bay views and some very large floor plans. 

Bayside Condos in San Diego

Grande Condominiums Image San Diego


Posted in Buying a Condo
Jan. 6, 2018

Are The Pacific Gate Condos Already a Bargain?

Ever since the brand new super prime Pacific Gate condos began selling pre-construction there was a lot of talk among buyers and Realtors not familiar with the developer (Bosa) or the architect (KPF) that the residences were just too expensive.   The main reason for that was people under estimated the quality of the building both in design and finish level.  Same can be said for their HOA fees which are higher than most but not by much and the quantity and quality of these amenities is far superior to all other buildings downtown. 

Now that the Pacific Gate condominium building has model residences open to tour in person buyer and agents alike are beginning to realize that you get what you pay for and in compared to other resales on the market its actually a bargain compared to some competing resales.   Take for example, just yesterday a resale condo in the Meridian building came on the market with an asking price of over $2,000 per square foot.  Here is a link to details of that very expensive resale:http://www.liveatthetop.com/property/180001050/

For those of you not familiar with The Meridian, its over 30 years old and while in a good location is not on the residential front row.  Compare this to Pacific Gate prices for units also on the 25th floor which are selling for less than $1,200/sf for some floor plans.  Even the most expensive residence at Pacific Gate is way under $2,000/sf,

So if you have looked at Pacific Gate as an option but passed it over due to the prices, I encourage you to take another look as it seems to becoming a better value even before its ready for occupancy in Spring 2018.  Pacific Gate will offer an unparalleled residential experience with the plethora of amenities including a yacht to share, luxury cars to share, an onsite pet retreat (first condo to have one downtown), also the chef concierge, its going to be an amazing daily experience living at Pacific Gate. 

Pacific Gate Condominiums

Posted in Buying a Condo