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Mysterious tax collector data for new condo development
Old 03-14-2008, 07:06 PM   #1
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Mysterious tax collector data for new condo development

I've got a bit of a mystery involving the vagaries of tax assessor records for a new condo development. In case anyone wants to help solve the mystery, here are the details.

I'm trying to figure out what my landlord paid for the condo I'm renting now. I went to the San Francisco Tax Collector website, and looked up my unit. It said the value is $245k, which seems very low given that comparable 1br units are selling new for high $600's. When my new construction building was opened in early 2007, 12 of the 80 units were slated "Below Market Rate" units; the city makes them sell at prices affordable on the median income. News releases say the BMR units cost from $170k to $309k. My landlord had told me when I moved that my unit was not a BMR unit, and that she had paid market rate for it. But she was evasive when I asked how much she paid. My guess is that this is indeed a BMR unit, and that she just lied so as not to appear "declasse".

But what's mysterious is that nearly all the units on the tax rolls are listed at below market prices. 53 of the 80 units are visible on the tax site, and ALL of them have prices below $500k. From the start these units were advertised new for $500k to 1 million. On six out of the seven listed sales are above $525k, with one outlier at $275k that I assume was a relative sale or something anomalous.

I can understand that the recent flips haven't made it on the tax rolls yet, but I'm still puzzled by what is there.

Out of those tax values, 29 of them are below $300k, 14 are between $300k-400k, and 11 are $400k-500k. I did verify that the tax collector supposedly uses the FULL Value of sales.

So the mystery is whether the housing authority somehow quadrupled the number of BMR units from 12 to ~48 without telling anyone, or if these low prices represent some other kind of sweetheart deals.

If anyone wants the street address to do more analysis, just PM me.

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Old 03-14-2008, 07:46 PM   #2
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Free4now New construction can receive a builders exclusion and the builder will not receive a supplemental bill when new construction is complete so his value is distorted by the timing of his lien date value and his sales. He also receives Prop 13 protection on his land value so if he bought the land years ago this also distorts the valuation. More than likely the new owner has not received their supplemental (it won't show on the Tax Collectors website) so the total value is again distorted and the valuation is possibly distorted by Prop 60, 58 193 and god knows what else.

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Old 03-14-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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After some further analysis, I'm thinking that the tax collector values are not to be trusted. The comments in this page talk about all kinds of ways that developers hide the values of condos in this town:

188 King Street: Sales Update at SocketSite™
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:55 PM   #4
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And after a little more digging (whew!) I think I know what happenned here. The tax collector has a example of a new $600k condo which would receive two tax bills, a bill for the assessed value of $400k and a supplemental bill for the difference, $200k.

On the tax collector's site all the units in my building had the notation "Supplemental bill is in process". So I think the values I'm seeing are what were estimated when the building was completed based on some formula, without regard for market or sale values. Apparently when a sale happens the sale price will determine the amount of the supplemental tax bill.

I still don't know for sure whether my unit was a Below Market Rate unit or not... I guess I'll have to find someone with access to MLS.
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