You Don't Own Me

Touring the glamorous homes of the opponents of Prop. R, which would allow thousands of renters per year to buy their own apartments

"You've got these beautiful views -- you have city hill views. It's a lovely, quiet, well-established neighborhood," Brewer says. "People are very house-proud out here."

Leafy Comfort, Near Shopping, Sans Homeowners' Associations

Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano is one of 26 signers of an anti- Prop. R ballot argument that seems to suggest the measure is anti-gay: "The rare few who can buy will find that instead of one landlord, they have many -- their Condo Homeowners Association. A majority vote can ban dogs, rainbow flags -- or restrict overnight or long-term guests."

Duplex owned by Calvin Welch, who says San 
Franciscans don't dream of owning homes.
Paul Trapani
Duplex owned by Calvin Welch, who says San Franciscans don't dream of owning homes.
House owned by Bruce Brugmann, whose San 
Francisco Bay Guardian says homeownership is 
bad for bohemian culture.
Paul Trapani
House owned by Bruce Brugmann, whose San Francisco Bay Guardian says homeownership is bad for bohemian culture.
House owned by anti-condo Tom Ammiano.
Paul Trapani
House owned by anti-condo Tom Ammiano.
The Peskin property, with neighborhood character.
Paul Trapani
The Peskin property, with neighborhood character.
Chris Daly's recent condo purchase.
Paul Trapani
Chris Daly's recent condo purchase.

Ammiano certainly puts his money where his mouth is: No condo owner himself, Ammiano is the proud deed-holder to a lovely home in that dreamy, shaded, restaurant-packed area where Bernal Hill butts up against Mission Street.

With the last sale recorded in 1974, Ammiano's house has a recorded Prop. 13 assessed value of $39,074. Recent sales data from Ammiano's neighborhood, meanwhile, suggest his house is now worth $382,500. And it's a bargain even at that price, Brewer believes.

"This is a charming little neighborhood right off of Mission. The beautiful thing about this location is that you've got ambient light everywhere. This is always the sunny Mission. [In a] neighborhood like this you have lots of old, charming architecture: You have a mixture of Victorian as well as some Spanish Mediterranean, and this is a classic example," Brewer says. "You've got great shopping access. You've got wonderful light, and usually the yards in this area do very well for foliage. If you're the type who likes a landscaped back yard, and if you like to have the summer barbecues, this is an ideal location."

My Location, Location, Location -- Not Yours

Before he became a supervisor, Aaron Peskin was known as the king of North Beach, thanks to his tireless activism toward protecting the neighborhood where he now owns a lovely two-bedroom, 1912 home. Peskin bought his house before becoming supervisor, according to tax records. Recent neighborhood sales suggest it's worth around $803,000. Sounds like a great idea for the rest of us, no?

Well, no. At least not according to Peskin's anti-Prop. R ballot argument, paid for by the San Francisco Tenants Union.

"Vote NO to preserve neighborhood character and save affordable housing," Peskin wrote.

Peskin ought to know: His Filbert Street neighborhood is filled with character.

"It's a nice area, a lot like Telegraph Hill," says Brewer. "You're near the waterfront. You're within walking distance to the tourist areas, North Beach, all these landmarks. It's very desirable -- we just sold a condo in that area for $725,000, a two-bedroom, about five months ago. And, mind you, that was a lower-level condo. So it's a really lovely area."

Gritty, Exclusive Charm

One of the city's newest homeowners, Supervisor Chris Daly, ran into a bit of embarrassment last year when allies of his archenemy, Mayor Willie Brown, touted public records showing he had recently bought a $435,000, two-bedroom SOMA condominium with the help of an $85,000 bank account.

In a ballot argument also paid for by the San Francisco Tenants Union, Daly said Prop. R is bad because the measure's sponsors are bad.

"Don't trust your home to untrustworthy people. Vote NO on Prop. R," Daly's statement read.

Speaking of trust, Daly has entrusted his own financial future to a real estate investment that will remain sound -- as long as Prop. R doesn't suddenly make condominiums more affordable.

"As an investment, it's probably a solid one," Brewer says. "With any investment, whether it's real estate or the stock market, it's not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you worry about it day to day, you'll give yourself an ulcer. Five to seven years, you could almost certainly make a profit. Your income tax credit for your mortgage deduction is a tremendous savings over time, versus what you would end up paying in rent, which you don't get any tax breaks from. You're always ahead when you buy. Someone with a home of their own is always at an advantage over someone who rents."

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