In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, let’s talk about race. Most of those reading this know I’m a native San Franciscan and third generation Realtor. I also have a unique perspective as an American of Chinese descent.
I come from a resilient people.
The Gold Rush and work on the Transcontinental Railroad brought waves of Chinese immigrants to the West Coast in the mid-1800s.
But rampant discrimination and racism eventually led to the first and only law to have been implemented to prevent all members of a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act stayed on the books for 60 years.
One of the critics of the Act was the anti-slavery/anti-imperialist Republican senator George Frisbie Hoar of Massachusetts who described the act as “nothing less than the legalization of racial discrimination.”
There were limited exceptions – if you were related to Chinese who were already here, or did certain types of work, you could still come to the US. That’s how my grandfather came here when he was a teenager, as a “paper son” of a family friend.
In his twenties he enlisted in the Army Air Force during WWII, and served as a tail-gunner in a B-17 bomber.
After he survived the war, things back home opened up a bit for the Chinese. In 1943 the Exclusion Act was repealed, it was possible to attend school, and different lines of work other than in restaurants, laundries and as house servants became possible.
In 1954, he opened one of the first American Chinese real estate and insurance sales offices in San Francisco, right in the heart of Chinatown.
Chinese people started to branch out to neighborhoods beyond Chinatown for the first time in the City’s history. Still not necessarily welcomed, but as with anything, when people get used to seeing you around, and realize you’re not all that different than them, barriers become a little less insurmountable.
Fast forward, my dad took over the business in 1977, and I got my license in 1985.
By that time, my Chinese speaking skills were still rudimentary, so it didn’t make sense for me to stay in my family’s Chinatown office. I’d spent my early developmental years assimilating, and the more like the majority population I acted, the easier things would be for me. My parents knew this.
Growing up in the 70s, we’d just come out of the turbulent 60s, and parts of society welcomed peace, building bridges and were open to connecting to other races than their own. Nowhere was this more evident than in our forms of popular culture – movies, Norman Lear TV shows, music and sports showed more race mixing than just the decade before. It was hip to be liberal and open minded.
Childhood idol Bruce Lee said, “Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family.”
I used to bristle at the tag assigned to Asians as the “Model Minority”. And then I thought one day, well…”studious, hardworking, law abiding, dependable”…if there had to be a stereotype, it could be much worse. Knock on wood, in business,
I don’t think I’ve experienced discrimination or prejudice in a blatant way. If I didn’t get a person’s business, I chalked it up to just not being a fit, not because of my ethnicity. Our clients have represented a broad spectrum of the City’s population, and I like it that way.
Realtors have a certain amount of influence…how we reach out, touch and treat people of all backgrounds carries some weight. “Community stewards” would not be an inaccurate description.
Time cycles around. It’s difficult to see that the quiet prejudices and loud attacks against Asians have returned, or in some cases, never left.
What can we do individually or collectively? If you see injustice, speak up. If you see a crime, report it. If you see hate, stand up to it. Support those on the front lines. I’m committed to working with and loving my black, white, brown and yellow fellow human beings. I can personally carry on the attitude of acceptance that I witnessed in the ‘70s. I’m a pebble in the pond.
As if the universe is conspiring to create an opening for us to educate, inspire and engage, a friend of mine named Marc Pomerleau recently reached out to tell me about a short film he was working on. When he said the title was “Seeking Home”, and was about the struggle of Asian people to feel at home in a place they’ve often been made to feel not quite part of, I thought immediately of Compass’s Mission Statement, “To Help Everyone Find Their Place in the World”.
Here’s the link to the trailer, and a poem he wrote.
SEEKING HOME TRAILER
Your father and mother cry when alone
They keep kissing a country that rarely kisses back
Or jams tongues in their mouths violent
While the old country whispers Toisan poems
Across the Pacific
Children cut out their native tongues and bury them for English
Still, your parents dream of a day they can rest
U.S. soil sprinkled on their chests
Knowing the risks they took gave you a fighting chance
To find a land you can learn to love
A land you will teach to love you back
That someday you will remember the scent of the earth
Your parents held to your lips
Scent of the motherland
Ingrained in their skin
Released in their sweat
Drip in your eyes and for the very first time
See through all of your tears
You will someday
find your way home
Till next month – Stay healthy, safe and sane.
Derek & Natalie and Geneva
by Patrick Carlisle, Market Analyst for Compass Bay Area
Fluctuations in median sales prices are common, and broad trends over longer periods of time are more meaningful than short-term changes.
Unlike other local communities, in San Francisco, the median $/sq.ft. value for condos typically runs higher than that for houses.
However, condo values are well below their peak, while house values have hit new highs.
New Listings | Just Sold | Announcement
Have License Will Travel.
From time to time, we’re referred clients who want to purchase a home outside of The City. And while we have a network of fantastic referral agents throughout the Bay Area (and beyond), the Kleidermachers appreciated our ability to negotiate $200,000 off the list price for this fabulous home in Palo Alto.
Sincere congratulations to this wonderful family!
Did You Know?
DID YOU KNOW? New tax laws being proposed could abolish deferred taxes on 1031 exchanges on real-estate profits of more than $500,000. Might new tax laws spur owners to list their homes now to potentially avoid paying much higher capital gains taxes too?
DID YOU KNOW? San Francisco’s controller office projects that the city’s commercial and residential tax base fell just 0.46% in 2020, from $301.4 billion to $300 billion, resulting in a $7.6 million loss in revenue for the fiscal year starting in July. That’s significantly less than you might have expected after reading all those gloom-and-doom headlines!
DID YOU KNOW? Median asking rent rose 1.1% on an annual basis in March to $1,463/month across the country’s 50 largest markets. As the COVID vaccines take effect and cities roar back to life, rent prices recover. As more people are priced out of the for-sale market, they flock to the only other option: renting. Which could further escalate rental prices which were escalation over 3% a year ago in March 2020. San Francisco’s rents rose 3.4% in March over the month prior.
DID YOU KNOW? The economy is just starting a boom period, where 2nd quarter growth could top 10%, and 2021 could be the strongest year since 1984. The 2nd quarter is expected to be the strongest, but the boom is not expected to fizzle, and growth is expected to be stronger than during the pre-pandemic into 2022. A period of supercharged growth is just starting, and it’s showing up in surging consumer spending and in an increasing shortage of skilled workers. With surging demand could come inflation, something the economy has avoided for more than two decades…..real estate is considered a good hedge against inflation. Already replacement/building costs are surging…..
DID YOU KNOW? Google reported that the search “When is the housing market going to crash?” had spiked 2,450% in the past month. At the start of April, 42% of homes were selling for more than their list price, 16 percentage points higher than the same period a year earlier. Nearly 75% of the 100 largest U.S. housing markets saw annual home price growth of 10% or higher, according to Black Knight. Markets with the strongest price appreciation could be most at risk.
DID YOU KNOW? Lumber prices are at all-time highs fueled by COVID-related supply-chain disruptions. The progressive easing of quarantine measures should allow lumber mills to return to full capacity fairly soon. The recent pick-up in hiring and higher trucker pay is likely to alleviate the current shortage of truck drivers, which should help resolve some of the logistical constraints too although some suspect the lumber industry is enjoying producing less and charging lots more….. building could slow down in the coming months as Americans spend more on traveling and entertainment as coronavirus infections drop. The lumber price spike has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by more than $24,000!
Benchmark Mortgage Rate Inches Down to 2.96 Percent
Despite concerns that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s recent comments hinted at the need for the Fed to raise rates sooner rather than later, in order to keep the economy from “overheating,” the average rate for a benchmark 30-year mortgage inched back down 2 basis points (0.02 percentage points) over the past week to 2.96 percent.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a Monday press briefing a proposal to expand the existing stimulus program for low-income residents to middle class families, with two out of every three Californians expected to receive $600 checks from the state if passed. There’s also additional stimulus for families with dependents and undocumented families.
The empty pedestal that once held the statue of Francis Scott Key, who was a slave owner and abolition opponent, could soon be surrounded by black steel sculptural figures with vinyl tubing, each standing 4 feet high. The installation will include 350 sculptures, representing the number of Africans initially forced onto the slave ship San Juan Bautista for a journey across the Atlantic.
This week, an app launching in San Francisco and Oakland offers users the opportunity to purchase available surpluses at local bakeries, markets, and restaurants at a major discount.
Our Virtual Services
Aiming to prove that middle-aged dogs can learn new tricks, here’s a quick look at how we’ve adjusted to our current landscape for our selling clients. (Woof!)
Visualizing your Upgrade:
Curious to know how Compass can transform a listing and improve its sale price?
Compass Lens uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to visualize the potential of your space! See exactly the difference working with us can make.
Virtual Property Presentations:
Sticking with what we’ve always done, we’ll provide Professional Photography & Videography, including Matterport 3D home tours, and a dedicated property website which includes all of this within the site.
We’re able to make quick (10 seconds or less) videos of our listings with essential details to our social feeds.
Create a virtual open house experience using standard video from our phone:
We can record a Home Tour – more informal than a professional video, we’ll walk the property and show it as we would in a traditional open house, pointing out all of the features, opening closets and cabinets, send to prospective buyers and their agents, and be available for questions.
Facetime or Zoom conferencing in the property:
As above but on a live feed that is mutually scheduled with prospective buyers and their agents. Offers a personal experience and 1:1 questions are answered.
Dynamic Digital Brochures:
Home features will come to life inside this dynamic, digital brochure while creating an immersive experience for even the most discerning of buyers. Pages will turn and videos will play while allowing us to capture real-time data and actionable insights from potential buyers.
Mobile Listing Ads:
We’ll run geo-targeted mobile ad campaigns to reach buyers in the right place, at the right time. Now more than ever, buyers and sellers are spending most (if not all) of their time at home. We’ll create a geofence around the neighborhoods where you’d like your ads to be seen. These ads will appear in mobile apps and will re-target viewers on their desktops and laptops.
All of this is designed to bring proper exposure to our wonderful listings, and encourage eager buyers to make safe, virtual visits before making safe, in-person visits.
WE are here for YOU
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Since Compass launched in 2012, we’ve been simplifying the real estate process one community at a time. Today, we have more than 250+ offices extending from coast to coast.
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