The failure of yesterday's TIC auction at 3731 Fillmore Street leads one to ask many questions of its' meaning. Does it mean the highest bid was the true market value of the unit? Does it mean the auction was botched? Does it mean that TIC's are not well suited for auctions? Does it mean that the market is crashing all around us since even the lowest estimates of value prior to the auction were around $450,000, or 10% higher than the highest bid.
I've got my opinions, but I thought it would be constructive to get an update on how TIC's have been trending. In May of 2008 I ran the numbers for all TIC sales per year since 2002, but didn't include 2008.
So here's the update on total TIC sales per year (per the San Francisco MLS)
'02 = 154 sales of any sized TIC
'03 = 269 up 75% year over year
'04 = 395 up 47% y-o-y
'05 = 539 up 37%
'06 = 652 up 21%
'07 = 722 up 11%
'08 = 434 down 40%
Now before we jump to conclusions, condo sales are down 20% from 2069 in 2007 to 1665 in 2008.
Condo sales (per the San Francisco MLS)
'02 = 2119
'03 = 2313 up 9.2%
'04 = 2557 up 10.5%
'05 = 2442 down -4.5%
'06 = 2150 down -12.0%
'07 = 2069 down -3.8%
'08 = 1665 down -19.5%
You can also see by comparing the two charts that TIC sales absolutely exploded, so a bigger drop was probably due. TIC sales are still above the number sold in 2004, whereas condo sales haven't EVER been this slow (well, I'm using the MLS for my reporting and that has three flaws, one it is only Realtor represented sales, two, the current MLS only goes back so far. 1996 reported lower sales, but I'm not convinced that is accurate data. And three, it doesn't include FSBO or sales center sales at new construction buildings).
Single Family homes are down 8% from 2007 to 2008.
'02 = 3100
'03 = 3392 up 9.4%
'04 = 3321 down -2.1%
'05 = 3093 down -6.9%
'06 = 2718 down -12.1%
'07 = 2322 down -14.6%
'08 = 2136 down -8.0%
There may be other reasons that TIC sales have dropped further too. Buildings that have to enter the lottery to convert to condos have bloated that lottery. Only 200 conversions are granted per year. Compare that to the TIC chart above. 200 was great in 2002 and 2003, then half as good in 2004 and in 2007, TIC's sold not only had to compete with 522 more units than could qualify, but all the overage from the prior years. Thus the allure of TIC's an an investment that should increase in value with conversion has greatly decreased.
Winning the lottery probably became less important with the proliferation of fractional lenders and loans in 2007. But now the TIC lender market is contracting, and loans are at least 1% more expensive than comparable Condo loans.
Overall, the meaning of the failure of the auction at 3731 Fillmore to generate a much higher offer probably had more to do with TIC's suitability to auctions, and the confusion that occured leading up to and during the auction. Buyers don't buy when they are confused and ill informed.