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    Tech startups are an opportunity for commercial brokers

    Small business startups in the tech industry are flourishing in California, and commercial real estate brokers are advised to take notice. As new tech startups continue to lay roots and crop up across the state, the commercial real estate market is facing high demand for attractive office spaces that will draw in the right type of business — and the right type of tenants. Tech companies in search of long- or short-term commercial leases provide real estate brokers a chance to improve their own business by expanding their client base and helping startups find the desirable office spaces they require to best operate their businesses. Brokers who want to add tech business startups to their list of clients will need to stay on top of California’s commercial trends to understand just what tech startups are looking for and where they are best suited to set up shop. While commercial brokers typically favor long-term leases, the unique lease agreements and office spaces sought by tech startups provide brokers ample opportunity to benefit from this expanding niche market.   Meeting the demand Taking advantage of the growing number of tech startups requires an understanding of how to accommodate these clients. Tech startups... Read more →

    Megaprojects coming to the Bay Area with insufficient new housing

    California’s Bay Area is known for its larger-than-life tech empire and pricey urban housing market. Home to tech industry giants Apple, Facebook, Google, and others, it’s easy to get caught up in the evolving picture of glittering Silicon Valley. However, bigger isn’t always better. Three gargantuan projects planned for development in San Jose, Santa Clara and Mountain View — dubbed “megaprojects” by the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) — emphasize this fact, as their major plans for commercial amenities vastly overshadow the Bay Area’s desperate need of housing. The three projects collectively total more than 1,000 acres and individually encompass several million square feet each. Located in three prime tech hubs in the Silicon Valley, the projects include: City Place of Santa Clara; Diridion Station of San Jose; and North Bayshore of Mountain View. All three projects are mixed-use, combining commercial and minimal residential uses into the new construction. In total, the megaprojects will create roughly 13,000 new housing units and 61,000 new jobs for Bay Area residents. Here, apt observers will note the glaring discrepancy between the number of potential jobs and housing units resulting from the three projects. From where will the 48,000... Read more →

    All-cash sales of high-end homes need to be reported in major California counties

    In an attempt to quell money laundering in several U.S. cities, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), part of the U.S. Department of Treasury, will temporarily require title insurance companies to report the identities of people using all-cash to purchase high-end homes. Title insurance companies will need to report these types of transactions beginning August 28, 2016, and — unless the order is extended — will continue to report through February 23, 2017. The affected counties include three in New York, Florida and Texas, as well as the following expensive California counties: Los Angeles; San Diego; San Francisco; San Mateo; and Santa Clara. In California, all-cash sales of $2 million or more need to be reported. The requirement’s goal is to reveal the people behind “shell companies” who use large amounts of cash to purchase real estate. These shell companies might be legal, but they also might be hiding funds obtained illegally, which is what the FinCEN is interested in. For instance, when purchasing a property through a limited liability company (LLC), the bank only requires the account holder of the LLC to be identified. Others with ownership interests in the LLC are of no interest to the bank. This... Read more →

    Strong growth potential for California’s hot solar market

    California solar activity accounts for over half of all solar activity in the nation. Over 113,000 new residential and commercial solar permits were issued in California during 2015, compared to 218,000 permits issued nationwide, according to BuildFax. Further, nearly half of the top 20 quickest growing markets for solar are cities in California. In order of the fastest rate of increase in 2015, these cities are: Sacramento at 139%; Stockton at 118%; Chula Vista at 84%; Anaheim at 80%; San Diego at 73%; Fremont at 65%; Oakland at 55%; and Riverside at 50%. While solar is taking off today, the future success of solar still depends largely on government incentives and the ongoing cooperation of local utilities. For example, in California, new residential and commercial buildings of ten or fewer stories need to be solar ready, with at least 15% of its roof area cleared for potential installation of solar panels. [24 Calif. Code of Regulations §110.10] Beginning in 2017 in San Francisco, new residential and commercial buildings ten or fewer stories tall are required to have a solar system installed. (Of course, the effect on the state as a whole will be negligible, considering the minimal amount of new... Read more →