Buying a House in San Francisco? Here's What Your Salary Should Be.

Categories: Real Estate
Too much, too much, too much...
When queried by curious neighbors, family members, or solicitors how much they paid for their residence, every last recent San Francisco homebuyer has a built-in answer: Too much. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price here is now $682,410. So, how much do you have to earn to pay too much? Answer: A lot. 

Exact answer: $115,510.06. The six cents is, apparently, important. 

That's the calculation reached by the website, which tabulated the salary one must pull down in order to afford the median-priced home in 25 cities. 

Congratulations! You're gonna put 20 percent down. You're gonna have a "standard 28 percent 'front-end' debt ratio." And your salary will, in actuality, have to be much higher to pay taxes, furnish the place, and squander your remaining savings on food and heat. 

Oh, you're gonna pay too much. Here's how much of a salary it takes to afford a median-priced home in those 25 bergs: 

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S.F. Wax Museum Closes, Goes Corporate

Denis A./Yelp
See you later
Can a gentrification story be squeezed out of ersatz celebrities made out of wax? Possibly, as San Francisco's lone locally owned wax museum is going corporate.

Today is the Wax Museum's last day of its 50-year-run at Fisherman's Wharf. The Fong family, which has run the museum since before the Wharf was a tourist trap, according to write-ups in the Chronicle and the Business Journal, is getting out of the wax figure game.

But fret not -- this is a success story that contains decades of wax to come.

See Also: Lance Armstrong Booted From Wax Museum

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San Francisco's Housing Stats Confound Even the Best of Minds

A nice place to live...
Earlier today, we ran an article about the GOP harnessing the seemingly limitless hatred of Nancy Pelosi within its membership to turn the occasion of the House minority leader's 73rd birthday into a "RETIRE NANCY" fund-raising bash.

Slate's Matthew Yglesias was puzzled by Republicans' visceral hatred of all things San Francisco, stating the only problem with San Francisco is that that "there's not enough San Francisco."

Cavalcades of people should be moving here, he continues, "But in fact total population growth in the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas has been rather slow, since for people to move there we'd have to build more houses. Zoning and other permitting restrictions have tended to make that quite difficult" -- thus jacking up housing prices.

That makes a lot of sense. But, counter-intuitively, it's not entirely true.

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Prop. 13: Willie Brown Offers Advice on Solving Problem He Helped Create

All of your (tax) base are belong to us...
San Francisco voters are a forgiving lot. Local politicians can make huge messes, solve them years later -- and reap the credit for tackling the problems of their own making. Over the weekend, Willie Brown offered his advice on how to address one of the most burdensome and unfair rules of Proposition 13 -- rules codified by a task force he chaired.

Whenever Brown offers advice on how to solve the problems he helped create it's a pretty good bet he's been visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Land-use -- particularly in this city, where there's so little land -- is a byzantine and beastly subject. Many locals, including, we're told, mayors less astute than Brown, would rather tune it out altogether. But it is the life blood of this city, just as water rights were the all-important issue in Los Angeles. You can't decipher San Francisco politics without addressing land-use any more than you can learn French without mastering grammar.

The thorny issue Brown helped codify was one we wrote a cover story about this year regarding the incongruous theft of a building.

See Also: 
The Building-Size Loopholes in Prop. 13 That Corporations Exploit

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"Dark Prince" Accomplice Jay Shah Captured

da colburn.jpg
Coburn Palmer
After being convicted of grand theft, money laundering, forgery, conspiracy, and filing forged documents for his part in a $2.2 million condo scam, Jay Shah made a run for it and was on the lam.

Until now.

For two weeks he traveled up and down the California coast, making it as far south as San Diego and into Nevada before returning to Watsonville, where he was captured by police this week.

See also: "Dark Prince" Accomplices Found Guilty in Rincon Hill Scam

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Occupy Moves Its Cause Indoors

Thumbnail image for OccupyBayArea_Cristy_Roads_courtesy_of_artist_and_YBCA-thumb-300x272.jpg
Courtesy of Eric Drooker and YBCA
If anything, Occupy made for good art
Occupy isn't gone, it has just moved inside -- where it's much cooler these days.

Far from having their spirits crushed after police raided the last remaining Occupy camp last week (which had become less about occupy and more about the homeless), the Occupy movement has strategically continued to fight for the 99 percent.

During the last year, the massive movement has spawned many branches of itself, including Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign, Occupy the Dream House, and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

And Tuesday was a big day for these groups, as they worked again to halt a slew of pending foreclosures before "occupying" a local museum.

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Floating Cities Could Be on the Horizon


This weekend, seasteading enthusiasts will be flocking to the city for their annual conference at the Le Meridien Hotel to plan future floating cities. 

The ultimate goal of the seasteading movement is to establish autonomously governed communities on the water -- an ocean city-state, so to speak. The conference is hosted by the Seasteading Institute, and this year participants will discuss ways to implement sustainable energy options and recruiting real estate investors. 

"We are not the first to see freedom on the high seas," writes Randolph Hencken, the Institute's senior director, "but we are the first to temper this idealistic vision with a realistic strategy."  

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How Much Would the White House Cost You in San Francisco?

Categories: Media, Real Estate
How much for a sublet?
In San Francisco, a building hailing from the mid-19th century is a source of wonder. In Europe, they've got public toilets that old.

The White House, which was completed in 1800, would be an oddity out here -- to put it mildly. San Francisco has its share of palatial estates, but none that were burned by the British in 1814.

What would the White House command in the City by the Bay? The real estate website Movoto aimed to answer that question. It figured that the presidential residence would command perhaps $115 million on the open market. But that's back East. What about here?

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Controversial 8 Washington Condo Project Slips Off Greased Skids -- For Now

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A proposal to erect a 12-story tower housing 165 condos ranging in price from several million dollars up to $10 million -- or more -- has, at least for now, come derailed from an intriguingly fast track of pending approvals.

The 8 Washington project, whose developers describe it as a plan to erect some of the priciest condos the city has ever seen, was scheduled to go through a series of rapid-fire, back-to-back meetings. A joint session of the Recreation and Park Commission and Planning Commission originally set for today would have both reviewed the Environmental Impact Report and certified it -- among myriad other steps. Then a specially convened meeting of the Port Commission the very next day would do much the same. And then the State Lands Commission -- Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom presiding -- would approve a complex land swap necessitated by the Embarcadero project's waterfront setting.

That's the kind of bang-bang-bang scheduling it takes more than asking nicely to arrange. "There's only a few people in San Francisco who can put together something like that," intimates Brad Paul, a former deputy mayor of housing and one of the project's most outspoken critics.

But it was undone, at least for the short term, thanks to a classic snafu.  

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Ridiculously Spacious Bay Area Home for Sale, Only $29 Million

Thumbnail image for silver spoons.jpeg
You, too, could live here ... working as a servant
Here's something that will surely stoke contempt among the Occupy Movement: A San Francisco suburban home is on the market. Its asking price? Only $29 million!

The mega mansion, which sits on 6 acres in the quiet town of Hillsborough, is secured by classic wrought-iron gates. It has reportedly been on and off the market for more than 10 years, we're guessing because almost nobody could afford that insanity. (The mortgage would be something like $62,000 a month).

The 5,000-square-foot, 30-room home (gross) has been touted as one of the most expensive homes in the United States. And now, it's in need of a family with at least a dozen servants.

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