We Provide Successful, Client-based and Professional Real Estate for San Francisco

Our Mission:

It’s All About You. 

Grow your success, wealth and happiness together with Kevin + Jonathan.

My name is Kevin Ho and I am Broker Associate and Top Producer at Vanguard Properties, one of the top San Francisco brokerages that is also locally owned and operated. I am also one of San Francisco’s Top 10% of Agents. Together with my partner Jonathan McNarry, we specialize in residential real estate in and around our fair city of San Francisco representing buyers, sellers, investors and builders.  My client base and business continues to grow — success begets success. I am from Iowa City, Iowa originally, I am also an active attorney in California and have lived in San Francisco for 10 years.  Jonathan hails from the U.K. via Atlanta and has worked in large-scale community development planning and sales as well as working in the healthcare sector in addition to real estate.  We do real estate differently than most: we genuinely love what we do, we are hand’s on and we work hard, wisely and empathetically.

I’ve been an invited commentator/expert on Curbed SF, have been quoted and featured in the New York Times for innovative real estate marketing, and interviewed a number of times on local television news talking about real estate.

Our clients benefit from having a lawyer, realtor, mediator and reporter work for them  — and now from having a larger and larger team of experienced professionals to draw upon as well.  While this site is about our services and market information, it’s really about client success. Read on to see how.  

Let’s get started today!

We bought our house and Kevin was super responsive, incredibly helpful and full of knowledge. He was the perfect guide in navigating what can be a complicated and confusing process. Thanks Kevin!

— Christel L.

The Latest...

What’s the Latest?

Data Bits | July 12-19, 2014

For the past 7 days (July 19-July 24, 2014) there were 118 properties that closed escrow (-1 from last week).

  • Single-family homes: 48 (+3 from last week); 4 sold under list price, 2 at the list price and the other 42 sold above the list price (this is the same breakdown as last week).
  • Condominiums, Tenancy in Common/Co-Ops: 56 (-5)
  • 2 to 4 unit buildings: 6 (-4)
  • 5+ unit buildings: 5 (+2)

This Week’s Most-Over-Asking Price Single-Family Home is in the Sunset neighborhood (where the fog is), which has seen prices rise significantly over the past 2 years. This circa 1957, extra-wide lot, 2280+ sqft home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a large ‘multi purpose’ room and giant front concrete years and very large Brady Bunch backyard. The coral yellow ceramic tile bathroom has been unchanged and there was a mild kitchen upgrade ala Home Depot. The home, listed for $949,000, sold for $1,365,000 at $597/sqft or at 143% over asking.

For Condos the Most-Over-Asking Condo is at 2232 15th Street, right near Noe Street. This recently remodeled condo has 2-bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and no-parking (even though the other folks in the building have a garage (#insulttoinjury). Given that it was just bought just 2 years ago for $725,000, I’d say there was a great return on this 1100 sqft condo in Duboce Park. On the market for just 13 days, the condo, which is on the ground floor, was listed at $899,000 and sold at $1,029/sqft at $1.2M or 133% of asking.

We received a lot of good offers…, but based on our past relationship and how smoothly it went, I pushed for your offer.

— Listing Agent, San Francisco, Castro

(Client closed on property beating out 2 other offers)

Exclusive Listings from Two Real Estate Agents and A Big Black Dog from the recent past, present and future.

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Listed Now

Chic, serene, and spacious condominium with modern amenities in the Dogpatch neighborhood. 1 bd / 1.5 ba Dogpatch at Espirit Park, Number 411 Listed at: $739,000 (Contingent within 72-hours of debut)

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Now Available:

2 Parcels, Vacant, on Stuart Street, Lafayette, CA Adjacent parcels to 1050–1056 Stuart Street in affluent San Francisco suburb Listed at: $998,000 + $998,000

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Now Available:

1050–1056 Stuart Street, Lafayette, CA 4-unit income property atop pretty hill in affluent East Bay suburb of Lafayette adjacent to 2 vacant parcels. Listed at: $1,050,000

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Just Sold!

788 Minna Street, No. 403, Mid-Market/SOMA condo 1-bed, 1-bath, 1 car parking, elevator. Central location, sophisticated and bright (circa 2011)(MLS 421876). Listed at: $600,000 SOLD AT: $607,500 (July 21, 2014)

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Just Sold.

135 Valencia Street, A210, Condo, Valencia Corridor/Mission. 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car parking, elevator. Central location, spacious and smart (MLS 421175) Listed at: $599,000 SOLD AT: $725,000

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Recently Sold:

471 Hickory Street Single-family Home, Hayes Valley. 2 bed, 1 bath, 2-3 car garage parking, private center patio. Central location, quiet street, light, airy and bright. (MLS 421090) Listed at: $1,060,000 SOLD AT: $1,400,000 (June 12, 2014)

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Recently Sold:

273 Romain Street Single-family Home, Twin Peaks/Upper Market. 2 Bedroom, 1 bath, 1 car garage parking, private yard. Recently remodeled bath and kitchen, quiet street, light, airy with incredible 180º views from Bay to Peaks. (MLS 420070) Three offers received — all over asking price from my clients and outside agents. Listed at: $995,000 SOLD AT: $1,270,000 (May 30, 2014)

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Listings in the Works:

Top-Floor Mission Dolores Condominium SOMA, 2-Bed/2-Bath, 2-level Loft Condominium Large Parkside Single-Family Home with 4 beds/4 baths and 2-car parking with yard

Let’s Roll.  What would you like to do today? 

Are you buying? Selling? Browsing? Regardless of what you’re doing we’re here to help. Take a gander at current listings by using the MLS search form to the left and/or call us to learn more about a given neighborhood, property or trend and we’ll get going.

Hire Us.

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SEARCH

(Search the MLS Live using Kevin’s credentials)

Sell Smart.

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SUNDAY

FUNDAY

(Open House Picks for July 26-27, 2014)

Buy Wisely.

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BROWSE 

BROKER TOUR HOUSES. 

(Tuesday, July 21, 2014)

Our Services.

Brainstorming and Creativity at Your Service

An agent who can see what you can't is one who sees the potential for success

It's a Vision Thing that Translates into a Success Thing.

I have worked with many agents. Kevin always makes himself available and is willing to go the extra mile for his clients. He is helpful with ideas and brainstorming. He definitely has a passion for real estate. — Edward G. Successful San Francisco Real Estate Developer, Buyer, Multi-Unit Fixer (Mission Dolores)

Streamlined, Technology- and Data-based Responsive Service

We're in a 24/7, connected, data-rich world. Your agent should be too.

Knowing how to navigate the 1's and 0's of real estate with technology

If you have Kevin on your side, I think you will end up with a real advocate for your needs who can streamline the entire home-buying process for you. He’s also up-to-date with the latest tools to conduct the transaction…. —Hass L. SF-based Start-Up, Buyer & Seller (Mid-Market/SOMA & Uptown Oakland)

Connected Insider with Powerful Knowledge

How exclusive advance information from a connected agent will benefit you.

The Results from Being Attentive, Listening and Asking the Right Questions

He truly knows about all available properties and not just what’s on the market, but more importantly, what’s coming on soon so that you get early previews… — Jay S. Startup Mogul, Buyers and Sellers (Duboce Park & Upper Market/Eureka Valley)

Successful Buyer Representation

How to identify and win the right property competitively but prudently.

Sold! A Winning Noe Valley Example.

We worked with Kevin as buying agent and he was superb. He invested considerable time and energy to help us understand how the market and process here works and is super-responsive, even late at night…. Importantly, he had great suggestions and advice on making our offer compelling. —Ross & Sarah M. Googler & EBayer, Buyers (Noe Valley)

Winning & Comprehensive Seller Representation

How to get the most money & satisfy your goals using your property.

Broad and Comprehensive Service that Goes Above & Beyond

If you want a realtor who lives and breathes your deal, keeps you constantly abreast of your property’s progress and does nice little things for you, you have to call Kevin Ho. We have ushered in the era of smart, technology literate, well educated, vibrant deal closers like Kevin Ho. —Peter G. Media & Advertising Director, Seller (SOMA, the Palms)

Broader Counsel from an Experienced Attorney

Clients benefit from a lawyer's experience and background.

Cutting through the paper chase.

Kevin reads contracts in detail and really protects your interests — he knows his stuff on this. He had a stronger understanding of the market than other realtors I spoke with. I felt a lot of confidence throughout the process knowing I was working with someone who knew their stuff inside out. —Joanna S. Manager, Clinton Global Health Initiative, Buyer (Noe Valley)

WHERE KEVIN'S CLIENTS ARE

Let Raffi Guide You Home

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Top 10% of San Francisco Agents

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I love the style of your newsletter! It is so informative and fun! I love to see what is happening in my neighborhood too.

—Cynthia W., Home Owner, Noe Valley


GET THE BEST WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: EXCLUSIVE & CURRENT

In the Know with Kevin Ho…

Sign up for my exclusive Stories of the Week featuring inside information about how properties did (how many offers, what terms won); Advances of the Week (information about pre-MLS and off-MLS listings and developments); and, my Open House Picks of the Week where I cull through the hundreds of listings for those that may match my clients’ needs or that at least catch my eye. Combined with all of that is closing data and various news clips relevant to San Francisco real estate. Your email remains private with me and you can unsubscribe anytime you like. So, join the at least 100+ folks who read it each week and get your subscription on!

Become a Real Estate Insider with Kevin & Jonathan by signing up!

Take the Plunge.

We couldn’t be happier with the service we received from Kevin.

He’s personable, helpful, tech-savvy, and extremely dedicated!

Kevin is a very opinionated realtor, but I say this in a good way.  There were many homes that we were willing to bid on in what was a very challenging market, but thankfully Kevin kept our best interests in mind.  Rather than going for a quick close, he actually talked us out of a few homes to make sure we stayed true to our criteria.

Aaron & Ashley L., Buyers, Charming Victorian (Noe Valley)

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

In the Know with Kevin & Jonathan: Our Mid-Summer Buyer’s Dream? July 20th Edition, No. 30

Is this Buyer Bargaining power … per chance? Rising prices vs. more inventory.

This past week we’ve seen buyers witness a new phenomenon they haven’t seen in a while: Bargaining power. Because of rising prices and rising inventory, we’re seeing the phenomenon of buyer bargaining power return. Even if it’s just for a little bit and just an incremental change buyers should feel a bit happier. Over the past couple of weeks we’re seeing that brand new condos aren’t flying off the shelves like they were just a few weeks ago. Yes, inventory is shallow but just a little more is coming out in the city that is making the difference. The same is true in Marin and in the North Bay according to our colleagues there.

What does this mean on the ground level?

1515 15th Street, for example, the sales office is now negotiating on price and they’re calling agents and their buyers back up.

There’s also been a lot of ‘popcorn’ in the market. A lot of people popping in and popping out of escrow within the first week — more so than usual for whatever reason. This means that if we present a more vetted, serious offer with all the possibilities discussed (see how underwriting can torpedo the process) that will give the seller more certainty that the transaction will go through then we’re 1-up then where we were. C’mon buyers!

How long will this last? There’s a short window before Labor Day during which attentive buyers may be able to get really good deals in the next 5 weeks before everyone snaps out of our summer slumber/stupor.

The Latest Real Estate RSS News:

RSS The Latest from Our Friends at Curbed SF

RSS From SF Gate’s On the Block

  • Pacific Heights mansion with indoor lap pool for $6.5 million July 31, 2014
    Very few single-family homes in San Francisco have swimming pools, since the city doesn’t usually have the hot weather (or the space) to support them. So, it caught our attention when 2555 Webster Street in Pacific Heights came to market recently at $6.5 million. The seven-bedroom, 7.5-bath Julius Krafft-designed home has maintained much of its […]
  • S.F.’s most expensive condo buildings July 29, 2014
    The Four Seasons tops the list of the city’s most-expensive condo buildings, according to a new survey from Paragon Real Estate.  Condos in the Market Street high-rise sold for a median price of $1,760 a square foot, or about $3.2 million, in the calendar year ending May 30, 2014. 999 Green in Russian Hill was next […]
  • S.F. Victorian formerly owned by Meg Ryan finally sells at $770K discount July 28, 2014
    Selling for roughly three-quarters of a million dollars less than asking, this Pacific Heights home is making news again. As we reported when it hit the market, the property was originally designed in 1889 by architect Samuel Newsom. Since then, it has enjoyed decades of excellent care and celebrity attention. 2602 Pacific Ave. has been the site […]
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Relevant information for you now

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Why You’re Hiring Vanguard Properties

Vanguard Properties continues its Number 1 position in District 9 (SoMa, South Beach, Dogpatch, Potrero, Bernal Heights) and have moved up in District 5 (Noe and Eureka Valleys, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores) to the Number 2 position just $10M short of Zephyr (a company that has nearly 80 more agents than Vanguard Properties) with 14.5% of the district’s market share. And of note, Districts 5 & 9 are the most traded in the City.

Overall for all of San Francisco, Vanguard Properties is now Number 4 in overall trade/dollar volume as based on closed transactions. Vanguard Properties is on the way to the $1B mark for 2014 thanks to all of you and your referrals. Keep them coming!

At Vanguard Properties we are committed to understanding your individual needs. We promise to provide you with the kind of quality service that will exceed your expectations. Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. And all of this is thanks to you and yours. Keep up the support and help us succeed in helping you succeed. Learn more HERE.

San Francisco is Worth the Price

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You’ve heard it before — San Francisco is a truly international city that will command a premium that attracts international buyers the world over. And while you may hear of growth in Houston, for example, would you really want to live there? Would the rest of the world’s people want to visit?

Instead, San Francisco stands out from most of the country (bar NYC) as being tops in real estate and the place to be for tourist and techie alike —18 of the top 25 tech companies are here for example. Our universities, proximity to emerging markets, financial base and diversity attracts the best and the brightest (although Berkeley and Stanford may have something to do with it). Plus our climate, while foggy sometimes, still beats cold vortexes and heat waves. And because land is scarce here … well, you get the picture.

Did I mention there’s wine here too?

A Little More About Kevin & Jonathan.

Team Kevin and Jonathan’s background and personality lend themselves to real estate naturally.  Kevin loves what he does and doesn’t think of it as work at all. It beats being a full-time lawyer hands down, but Kevin values being a lawyer at the same time as it gives him an edge in that he can interpret documents for clients as well as to bring an additional layer of confidence, knowledge and authority. Meanwhile, Jonathan bring a background of large-scale real estate development and health care to the table. He worked with his family in the Southeast as they developed large tracts of land into communities and has been selling real estate since he was 18. Jonathan works as a RN at UCSF where he has provided healthcare to patients of all ages, shapes and sizes. He is part of the hospital’s elite Rapid Response Team, works with ICU patients that requires absolute focus and the ability to handle all kinds of situations adeptly, calmly and professionally.  He has also worked as a paramedic/EMT, Respiratory Therapist, banker, insurance agent and Notary Public. He brings experience as well as a perspective that is cool, steady and nimble — just what the real estate doctor ordered!

Here’s what Kevin has done in bullet-point form:

Education.

  • Lawyer, ’04 to present (Cal. SBN 233408)
  • Law degree, (JD) U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall) ’04
  • Master’s in Diplomacy & Int’l Studies (MA), University of London (SOAS) ’01
  • BA, East Asian Studies,WashU ’00 (Junior Year Abroad,New College, Oxford University)
  • Worked as a reporter, lawyer, mediator and legal clerk
  • Bay Area resident, 13 years, born & raised, Iowa City, Iowa
  • English, Cantonese, Mandarin, German, HTML
  • Cook, bike and play with Raffi (a former Guide Dogs for the Blind trainee) in my free time

Business.

  • In 2012,  I tripled my real estate business here in San Francisco — going from $2.8M worth of transactions to about $10M.
  • In 2013, I closed about $20M in business and 2014 is already starting off strongly. I’ve gotten to the point in my career where clients are firing their agents to work with me and I am starting to develop a more robust team to support.
  • On average, I have an active pool of 15-20 clients looking to buy or sell property from the $500,000 range to $4M price points with a ratio of 70% buyers and 30% sellers.
  • I have an average of 3-4 escrows open at a time which means my days are busy but only just so; my schedule also allows me to focus on my clients, handle last-minute issues, and to meet new clients.
  • I am backed by one the City’s most experienced and cooperative brokerages that expanded from 2 offices to more than 5 in 2013 alone.

Because we are curious and enterprising we are always listening and learning — plus we like people! This is how we can deliver our clients exclusive opportunities that others cannot.

We incorporate technology effectively in our practice using iPhones, iPads, laptops, laser measurers and mobile technology to streamline the entire process for our clients freeing us to spend more time assisting clients on what’s important. We work creatively and think broadly but also approach real estate under the premise this is important business — home buying is the most important decision people make and it’s something we love doing and we hope you love what we do.

Take the next step and contact us today to get started.

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Kevin was a superb real estate agent, and did a great job helping us buy our first home! Kevin is funny and personable, and knows how to get the job done.

—Dana & Drew

Med Student & Chip Engineer

First Time Buyers (Miraloma Park)


Multimedia with and from Kevin Ho

For More Vimeo Videos from Kevin, Click Here or on YouTube.

See Kevin Move and Talk: Hello & Welcome

Raffi's Real Estate Videos: 4658 18th Street — Someone is Waiting for You at Home

Raffi Returns: 243 Romain — What Goes On at Home While You're Away

Sold in Noe Valley!

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Importantly, [Kevin] had great suggestions and advice on making our offer compelling, helping us secure the property we really wanted despite not being all-cash nor the highest offer.

— Ross & Sarah

Successful Buyers, Noe Valley Single-Family Home


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Starting in February 2012, the market changed in SF.

Instead of a shortage of serious buyers, the tables turned toward a shortage of good homes that lasted long enough for people to see without other buyers making preemptive offers. So, prices have gone up —and up but are expected to hold steady for 2014 as interest rates scoot up and as the number of REO and short sales continue to shrink. And while the strength in prices remains, agents are now generally pricing homes more accurately.

But many are still using an offer-date system whereby the listing price may have little to do with the ultimate selling price because competitive bidding is encouraged. They can do this is because there is so very little inventory in the City. Balanced against that is that home borrowing, while still strenuous, is affordable because interest rates remain at historic lows but for how much longer? In terms of pricing and how properties are presented, 2012 and 2013 has shown there’s no one right way to do things. Instead ascertaining pricing philosophy (some agents grossly under- or mis-price) comes down to a per agent, per property basis, which is leading too a lot of “wait and watch.”

Remember good things may not come to those who wait but do to the early birds.  There is a lot of cash on the market with people having to spend tax-deferred 1031 exchange monies from sales that would otherwise be subject to the 37% capital gains combined tax rate. And if you think prices will go down, think about all the other folks who lost out in competitive bidding — they’re not going anywhere too. And with interest rates going up (at some point), buyers will rush to lock rates in, even if it means making concessions like giving sellers longer rent-back periods. Prices have increased dramatically — so much so that $1000/sqft is the new norm as is the new normal in Noe Valley where 3 is the new 2 — as in $3M is the new $2M.

Another trend to watch is the city’s housing crunch, which started in 2013 and intensifying in 2014 has included more drama, more emotions, and now, promised tinkering with rent control and eviction control laws — which we have recently seen. The targets of popular discontent are the familiar landlords and now throw-in Airbnb types and/or the tech industry as a whole.

Remember, we are here to help you, your family and friends succeed.

 

One More Thing: The Bay Area’s New King — Big Data

Why 2013 and 2014′s recovery in San Francisco is more profound that just another market cycle.

Like all economic cycles — up and down — there is a recovery period that is to counterbalance the period of slower growth that preceded it as the system reaches a new equilibrium. So then, 2013 and 2014′s growth bear the hallmarks of recoveries in the mid-1990s and early to mid-2000s. Among the similarities are these:

1. We have ready, willing and able buyers chasing after

2. Low inventory, but that are nevertheless financed by

3. Low mortgage rates.

But in distinguishing this cycle from previous ones and why there’s been a shift that is more profound than other past real estate surges, consider a large shift. Yes, like all cities, we see growth too. Detroit has seen a big gain of +16% in home prices (San Francisco has seen +26% so far since 2012). But what explains the phenomenon that the median sale price for a single-family home and/or a condominium is now solidly above $1M? Why has 80% of all demand for limited office space within San Francisco city limits has been by tech sector-related companies. One fact should be clear: we now have different types buyers looking San Francisco and these folks are the kind who live in a place that takes the lead in a new technology and data driven society. So what type of buyers are these folks?

1. San Francisco Buyers are A+ Buyers who may know something about C++. We have folks who have cash or access to credit that want are using different metrics for valuing properties. Mainly, they’re eschewing metrics like dollars-per-square-foot and previous comparable sales and are instead judging their target properties by zip code, proximity to transit and cachet factor that trumps all other data. In other words, they’re looking for how a home will suit their lifestyle more than anything else.

In past market cycles, you’d be leery of such an approach. But the salient distinction that sets our Bay Area Buyer 3.0 apart from those in the past and those in other parts of the country is Silicon Valley. Arguably two bubbles were caused by tech folks over leveraging and pie-in-the-sky startups that had no chance of succeeding. That and society probably wasn’t ready for pets.com yet. But technology, which supported the first wave of Silicon Valley is now integral to all of our lives.

2. Why there will be more A+ Buyers who know about C++. The Bay Area’s future looks to very different than other places in the world because its linked with a new, digital, era: The paper options are gone and the online, mobile and cloud-based solutions are often the only options these days. Technology isn’t just part of the economy it is the economy. You can’t do much of anything these days without using technology. And while technology allows us to be more efficient and more productive it also allows us to do something more profound: namely, technology is the means of collecting vast amounts of data and insights about people, places and things that was once impossible.

And herein lies the reason why we shouldn’t expect Silicon Valley boom to go the way of Detroit’s boom-to-bust.

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3. Hello Big Data. Silicon Valley created a enormous amount of wealth in developing the technologies that support daily life, but now they’re the leader in the next big thing — namely we have entered into a data resource-rich environment and data-based economy. Like crude oil, unrefined data is messy and unwieldy when it first comes in. But like refining oil our big Silicon Valley/San Francisco titans take that raw data and refine it into insights about consumer behavior, consumer wants, vital data that influence medicine and public health trends, finance, energy, etc. It is a highly valuable prize that will add ever more value to our economy and our real estate.

Okay, you’re skeptical of the pie-in-the-sky stuff. Let’s look at the numbers instead:

If more than a billion people access Google and Facebook per day and these companies are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue where is it going? Also, big folks like Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and more are sitting on a collective $3 trillion worth of cash with another $7-$8 trillion offshore. That is a staggering amount of cash that could almost pay off the national debt! What are they doing with all that money? Yes, they’re buying up companies ($40 billion on Oculus, Beats Music, What’s App anyone?) and they’re paying their employees and where do those folks live? Where do they want to live? Here is where and not just here in the Bay Area, but here in San Francisco proper, why else did google pay $60M+ for an Embarcadero building to bring its total office footprint in the city to more than 700,000 sqft.? (Hint: you can google the answer on your iPhone while listening to your Beats headphones while waiting for your Tesla to charge).

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