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San Diego Most Overpriced Real Estate Market, Says Forbes Magazine

San Diego received some negative national recognition earlier this month. Forbes magazine named San Diego the top overpriced real estate market out of the 40 reviewed.

The publication said San Diego is a market where only 5 percent of residents can afford the median home and a high-price-to-earnings ratio earned it the top honor.

Several other California cities made the list, including Sacramento, which ranked third, San Francisco, which ranked fourth, Los Angeles, which ranked eighth, and San Jose, which ranked 10th.

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Shifting Gears:

Burnham Real Estate reported slow sales activity in the San Diego County apartment market for the first quarter of 2007.

The local real estate services provider said buyers are continuing to wait for prices to drop back to more realistic levels.

“Potential buyers recognize the market has softened and expect lower sales prices,” said George Carlson, Burnham vice president and apartment specialist. “However, sellers are still reluctant to lower asking prices, which has reduced the number of apartments on the market, resulting in fewer offerings and sales.”

In the first quarter, Burnham reported 137 apartment transactions involving 2,854 units, which represents an 11 percent decrease in number of transactions and 7.4 percent decrease in number of units sold from the same period last year.

Carlson predicts investors will be back when prices “normalize.”

Several submarkets, including East San Diego and North Park, saw increases from last year. North Park had 16 sales involving 227 units, up from 10 sales of 53 units a year ago.

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SRO Units Under Way:

Affirmed Housing Group, a local affordable housing developer, broke ground on a single room occupancy complex in the East Village. Studio 15 will be a five-story residential building consisting of 274 units, 58 parking spaces, storage for 60 bicycles and many other features.

Jim Silverwood, president of Affirmed, said the $41 million project on 15th and Imperial streets is unusual because it targets the downtown’s service work force and is close to many jobs and public transportation.

“It is an excellent location to provide housing for workers serving downtown businesses,” Silverwood said. “It is in walking distance of Petco Park, the Convention Center and many of the Gaslamp restaurants.”

Rents will range between $454 and $660 a month. Each unit will feature its own bathroom and kitchenette. Common areas include large kitchen, computer center, laundry facility, lounge, media room and outdoor courtyard.

The 93,000-square-foot project should be completed next summer.

The designer is Carrier Johnson Architects and the general contractor is Allgire General Contractors Inc. of Carlsbad.

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Settlement Leads To Transportation Study:

Local activists reached a legal settlement concerning the city’s downtown community plan OK’d last year. Save Our Forests and Ranchlands’ lawsuit challenged the plan, claiming the environmental analysis did not consider an adequate range of alternatives regarding transit and traffic impacts.

Under the settlement, SOFAR will dismiss its action and the Centre City Development Corp., the city’s redevelopment arm, will initiate a study analyzing transit-oriented alternatives.

The purpose of the study is to identify more efficient ways to manage downtown’s transportation systems, investigate funding for transit improvements and reduce transportation and parking impacts.

“The agreement is a successful outcome for both sides,” said CCDC President Nancy Graham. “SOFAR will get its transit alternative analyzed and presented to the City Council for consideration and possible approval, and the city’s plan remains intact and reliable for landowners and developers.”

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Supervisors Consider Landscaping Options:

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to discuss a proposal to explore mandating drought-tolerant and fire-resistant landscaping at all new county projects. The county maintains 3 million square feet of landscaping, including plants, alongside county roads.


Send real estate news to Michelle Mowad at mmowad@sdbj.com. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3109.

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