Bridgewater Emeryville
It took eight years, including a two-year hiatus from 2009 to 2011 when the unsold units were lost to foreclosure, but the 424-unit Bridgewater complex in Emeryville, a complex which was originally developed as a rental property in 1988, is now officially “sold out.”

A few numbers to note: over half the buyers were Millennials between 26 and 33 years old; another quarter were between 34 and 45 years old; and nearly half the residents are currently employed in San Francisco.

Priced from $170,000 to $290,000 in 2011, closing price for the one-bedrooms reached the low $400,000s by the end of the sales cycle, with the most expensive two-bedrooms hitting the mid $500,000 mark.

31 thoughts on “Millennial Buyers Rule The Roost At Emeryville Development”
  1. This is an interesting trend: younger folks are smart and conservative enough to buy affordable units early to build up equity instead of paying nosebleed rents in SF hip locations. Glad to see more homeowners in Emeryville — also explains why IKEA is also busy during weekdays.

  2. The bizarro SF crush on E’ville lives. You wouldn’t read such an upbeat missive on SS about an Oakland development where “unsold units were lost to foreclosure”. Actually, if the development story involves Oakland you likely won’t read about it on here. Heads-up, the other half of the residents in this development are working in Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Fremont, the Tri-Valley, Marin Co, and even Sil Va -cause you can do that when you live in the center of the Bay Area. And…99% of the residents that go out at night are doing so in Oakland. Anyway, good for E’ville and Bridgewater -both are rising above their frumpy pasts.

    [Editor’s Note: Nope, no upbeat news with regard to the Oakland market here. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch…]

    1. obviously the other half are working in those areas you mentioned. Every single time someone writes about the East Bay, you have some sort of indignant take. Why?

  3. This is how affordable housing should be naturally: Find a place you can afford without being it subsidized by tax payers, developers, or wherever funds come from.

    1. It was built in 1988. If you can repeat this feat of traveling back in time to construct buildings cheaply, well, that’s an interesting use of a time machine. Otherwise it’s no net new units, just a shift from rental to condo.

    2. Subsidized housing artificially boost market price.

      It costs more to build subsidized housing than market rate housing due to union labor, politician lobbying, lax management of other people’s money, non-profit organization’s operating cost, resident’s less care of the property, higher interest rate from higher default risk etc etc.

      Also, if you subtract 30% of the new constructions from market rate market, the real market operating under supply and demand, price is boosted by more than 30% I guess.

  4. Seriously,

    This is how low income housing should be. Build it in Emeryville and build market rate in San Francisco.

    1. Not low income housing, it is middle class housing for hard working people who are not depending on other people’s subsidy.

    2. wtf?! The rest of the Bay Area does not exist to be the City’s dumping ground.
      San Francisco has become increasingly more segregated and class based.
      it needs to build more affordable housing.

      1. Brooklyn does not need to be Manhattan’s dumping ground.
        Queens does not need to be Brooklyn’s dumping ground.
        Nearby NJ does not need to be nearby Queens’ dumping ground.
        Manhattan has become increasingly more segregated and class based.

        How come no one there makes these kind of comments?
        Not even the leftist mayor of NY.

      2. “affordable housing” is a misnomer. If it requires taxpayer subsidy, please say “subsidized housing”; otherwise, it is market priced housing with a wide price range that serves the hard working population with a wide range of income level.

        Every house is affordable to its buyer. There is no “non-affordable house”. If it is priced too high and no one buys, the price will be reduced until it is affordable to someone.

        It is misleading to use “affordable housing” for “subsidized housing”.

        1. The mortgage interest deduction is one of the largest taxpayer subsidies and much greater in total cost than all the combined government subsidies for “affordable housing” and bmr and public housing. Shall we refer to homes bought with this benefit as “subsidized housing”? Wouldn’t that mean that most homes purchased in America were “subsidized housing”?

          1. I couldn’t have bought my first home without benefit of the mortgage interest deduction. I would have had to have bought something ~20% less expensive or else remained a renter. Same for tens of millions of other homeowners in the USA.
            A hearty thank you to the US taxpayers that have bought down my mortgage interest rate for all these years. Another hearty thank you to CA taxpayers for their generous willingness to let me pay much lower property taxes than new buyers of comparable properties, though I enjoy all the same rights, privileges, and protections.
            Evidently, the various tax subsidies only available to property owners are not to be though of as “subsidies”, though I’ve never heard a good rationale for why not.

          2. imho, SF should behave like a regular city. Stop having ridiculous city policies. I am all for the federal and state policies for subsidies to lower income folks. SF government has just simply over-reached by the activist politicians.

        2. Mortgage interest deduction is a federal tax law. SF’s subsidized Housing is a novelty for a very small population. If you want a comparable tax benefit to renters, please change the tax law and give renters the similar tax deductions.

          SF is only a small city. SF’s local policy should not be compared with a federal policy and state policy.

          1. Then you agree that the Federal government provides massive subsidies to home owners via the tax code. My bank account and my accountant don’t care which government body provides each subsidy, just that they do give them out and that I get them.

            Rent control in California was created in response to the windfall given out via Prop 13. May seem like old history, but the underlying justification for both was to shield current and future populations of owners and renters from rapid cost increases in property assessments and rents, respectively. They aren’t just to be compared, they are historically combined.

            FWIW, there are about one million rent controlled/stabilized housing units in California. Hardly a novelty.

          2. @Jake: It is just false to say that rent control was a response to Proposition 13. Rent control is a very local phenomena (existing in just a few locales) and kicked in at about the same time as Prop 13 — it was not a reaction against it. Also, Prop 13 was very much a conservative anti-government, anti high tax movement. Rent control is from the other side of the spectrum. I am not defending Prop 13 or rent control, but I am continually baffled by people who link them and say that one cannot get rid of rent control without getting rid of Prop 13. There is no connection and it is just historically wrong to say that there was one.

          3. @NoeNeighbor, Prop 13 helped pave the way for rent control in SF (namelink). As I already mentioned, they were both born in response to the rapid property and housing cost increases of the time. We might use some unkind words to describe the nature and results of those births, and you may not like to think of them as part of the same litter, but the history is quite clear.
            “Jarvis was the father of rent control,” Calvin Welch. Very ironic.

          4. Rent control is rent control, it has nothing to do Prop 13 and tax code.

            Prop 13 is a California regulation. Most of the cities in California have no rent control.

            Mortgage interest deduction is a federal law, most cities in USA have no rent control.

            SF rent control is ridiculously different from other cities. SF rent control should be repealed. Otherwise, continue to enjoy SF styles “housing crisis”.

          5. Banalities are banalities and history is history. Repeating the former won’t change the latter. And ignorance of or indifference to the actual history only further undermines what is at best a quixotic attempt to repeal a very popular California law.

            FYI, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act is California law. Californians have been given the chance to vote to phase-out rent control and they have voted to keep it, e.g., Proposition 199 (year 1996) lost by 1.2 million votes, Proposition 98 (year 2008) lost by 1 million votes.

            Deny it all you want, but in the hearts and minds and history of millions of Californians, the two are related. Howard Jarvis and his property owning buddies opened pandora’s box of price protection, they didn’t control what came out of it. The people’s will and all that.

            Here is some history from an article about rent control in CA and MA (pdf at namelink):

            “Gov. Brown’s veto of the CHC’s pre-emption bill proved fateful, because demand for rent control exploded across the state in the aftermath of proposition 13. Proposition 13 was spearheaded by ultra-conservative political forces. The leader of the tax revolt was Howard Jarvis, chief executive of the Apartment Association of Los Angeles County, who sent a mailing to landlords urging them to “convince your tenants that lower property taxes mean lower rents.” A month before election day, the California Apartment Association announced that landlords would pass property tax savings onto tenants if Proposition 13 passed. Recognizing the dangers of a tenant backlash if landlords failed to fulfill their promises, the CHC opposed Proposition 13.

            On the same day that Proposition 13 won by a two-to-one margin statewide, rent control initiatives were defeated in Santa Monica (56-44%) and Santa Barbara (by roughly the same margin), even though tenants represented a majority in both communities. Real estate interests poured huge sums of money to defeat these referenda. An analysis of voting results revealed that precincts that favored Proposition 13 voted against rent control, often by a similar margin. Throughout the state, in fact, voters who opposed rent control thought that property taxes were the cause of high rents. They expected Proposition 13 to hold down rents.”

        3. “Every house is affordable to its buyer.”

          True, but the blanket term “affordable” implies “to a substantial block of the general public”, not a specific, narrow subset of affluent buyers.

          Otherwise we could say that the products made by Lamborghini and Rolex are affordable and the term loses all meaning.

          I do however agree that “subsidized” is a better term because it implies that the end sales price is not only affordable but it also highlights the instrument used to make it so.

          1. Agree. Subsidized housing is a more accurate name since it accurately reflects the subsidy in its below market price.

            OTOH, “Affordable Housing” is misleading and many people thought that somehow SF city can produce housing at a very low cost which can be afforded by most people. In reality, “Subsidized Housing” has a higher cost than a comparable market produced housing due to many reasons related to government inefficiency.

  5. I’m a supporter of more affordable housing in San Francisco, but this does point out the need to think regionally about housing options for middle income folks. Essentially there are no subsidies for middle class worker housing (teachers, waiters, dental techs, etc), so it has been and will continue to be hard for them to buy/rent in SF. But affordable places in Emeryville, Oakland, Daly City, San Leandro are still within reasonable commuting distances, so could take up the slack. It’s sad the City will lose their contributions to diversity, of course, but there’s not that much that can be done about that.

    We should keep in mind, however, that so far there is not a real building boom in those outlying areas either. These units were built in 1988, and a number of the peninsula cities have strongly resisted higher density housing. And there will be trickle down effects – as the middle income folks flee San Francisco, they will displace those below them on the ladder that used to call those communities home – so the truck drivers, delivery guys, nurses aides, janitors, child care workers will have to move even farther out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *