February 15, 2008

The housing downturn begain in late 2005?

San Jose Mercury News – From bad to ‘worst’ for Santa Clara County home sales
For the first time since the housing downturn began in late 2005, housing prices in Santa Clara County dropped last month compared with a year earlier.

Uh, the housing downturn so didn’t happen in late 2005.

How’s that even possible? After all, this best selling book was published on February 21, 2006:

Talk about bogus news.

Comments (62) -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:36 pm

$1,025,000 vegetable garden in Palo Alto

Residential Lot – Vacant Land

Located across the street from community park in mature neighborhood where many homes are being renovated or replaced with custom construction. Minutes from downtown Palo Alto, Stanford U., and I-280. Lot is approx. 50 feet wide and 120 feet deep, 5,663 square feet. Zoned R-1. Currently leased to a neighbor for use as a vegetable garden, tenant to vacate in February 2008.
Address: 590 Maybell Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306
APN: 137-25-088
Price: $1,025,000
Viewing: Drive-by, open
Buyer’s broker: 2%
Seller’s broker: John A. Souerbry & Associates (Palo Alto)
Agent phone: John – (858) 945-5717
NOTE: Property is in probate, but is not a court sale. Offers must be valid for at least 15 calendar days to allow for review and processing.
Information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed, buyer to verify.

Thanks to Burbed reader PA Homeowner for finding this.

This is exactly what makes Palo Alto special. Did you know that those vegetables end up going to Ivy League colleges? Yep. Not only that, but those vegetables are constantly happy because they live in Palo Alto.

As we all know from watching Mountain View, they’re not making any more farmland around here. This is your last chance – better put in your bid for $1.5 million to be competitive. Besides, maybe you’ll get reimbursed by Facebook later!

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:36 am

February 14, 2008

The perfect house for Valentine’s Day is in Redwood City!

Last August, this house was featured on Burbed:

This is not a motel… really? [Burbed.com]

Back then, the house was playing hard to get – by not posting it’s address. What a tease!

Well, times have changed! Let’s look at this house now:


Ah hah! Now we know it’s at 40 Laurel St! And it’s still available! And it’s 24% off!

And most importantly, it’s still pink – which makes this a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved ones.

What are you waiting for? Think of your spouse!!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:43 am

February 13, 2008

740 6th Ave saves someone from throwing away money by renting

At the end of last year, Burbed featured this house:

This Realtor reveals the secret to gaining wealth [Burbed.com]

Now, just a few short months later,  740 6th Ave, is now seeing some action:


Congrats to the lucky buyer of this house! This buyer is lucky because he now doesn’t have to throw away money by renting. He knows that the secret to gaining wealth is to buy low and sell high. This place is guaranteed to go up every year, along with the price of gas and milk!

Sweet! Congrats again!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

Five Reasons Houses Beat Stocks [continued]

Wow… Monday’s post, “Five Reasons Houses Beat Stocks” continues to rock and roll with comments.

Here are some examples:

Most analysts believe that recession, if any, will be mild. By year end, when the stimulus package has kicked in, the economy will be in full recovery mode, and tech is expected to take the lead.


Another straw man argument. Nobody claimed here that the price will fall like a rock. But the price will be affected by slowdown eventually – even in Real Bay Area. Because the housing market of Real Bay Area is not isolated from non-real bay area. How much it will get affected and how long? That’s anybody’s guess. That’s something to watch out. That’s why it’s risky to jump into real estate market now. Because we simply don’t know the magnitude of downturn.


Let’s first make a correction. There is no plummeting market here in the Bay Area. Secondly, why isn’t your life savings invested?


Foreclosures are SKYROCKETTING. EVEN HERE IN THE BAY AREA! Once knowledge of the low prices being offered in auctions becomes more common (they do ads on this on TV now), people are not going to shell out copious amounts of money on a property when it is very obvious that other homes in the same area that were foreclosed upon are at drastically lower prices.


To summarize: Live where the management class lives — live in the real Bay Area. Look at it this way: what’s the difference between East Palo Alto and Palo Alto? One side has the execs, the other doesn’t!

Wham! Alright… enough of the Batman sound effects.

What do you think? Click here to post your comment – this entry will not allow comments.

By the way, I’ve upped the number of permissible links (before being held for moderation) to 4 from two.

Comments Off on Five Reasons Houses Beat Stocks [continued] Posted by: burbed @ 4:47 am

February 12, 2008

“Palo Alto Parents Lie For Kids To Attend Better Schools”

Some Palo Alto Parents Lie For Kids To Attend Better Schools – News Story – KNTV | San Francisco
Some Palo Alto parents are lying and cheating to get their children into the best schools possible.

Palo Alto Unified School District administrators said they carry out more than 200 investigations a year about parents possibly lying about their residence to qualify to attend a school.

“They do all sorts of different things,” said Steve Lawrence of the Palo Alto Unified School District. “We have people saying they are living with relatives that are really living someplace else.”

Margie Mitchell of the Palo Alto Unified School District said, “We have parents that come in and try and give us falsified lease agreements and property tax statements. We are on an overflow basis right now, especially in the elementary grades.”


One Palo Alto parent, who did not want to identify herself, said she does not feel bad lying about where she lived.

“Why should my daughter come home after the first day at school and be so depressed and sad?” she asked. “If my choice was to send my daughter to that school or and try and cheat the system I chose to try and cheat the system.”

The mother sends her children to a high performing school in the town where her relatives live. She uses their address.

“Why we don’t live there is economic reasons at this point in our life that’s where we want to live,” she said. “Under our circumstances we can’t.”

Palo Alto is not the only school district facing the residency-cheating problem. The Fremont Union High School District said it investigated about 200 fraud cases last year. Of those cases the district said it found about 10 percent of the parents cheated their way into the district.

This is the kind of stuff that makes the Real Bay Area special.

This is the kind of stuff that gives kids going to Real Bay Area schools the advantage.

Think about it… if kids weren’t exposed to these sorts of things, how would they ever become successful C-level executives? Would they even be able to fathom something as obvious as backdating options? Or getting their company to buy them a corporate jet, and pay them for using it?

Even worse – how would the kid learn that one should do things like that, and not feel bad about it?

Silicon Valley has always been about being an entrepreneur, about “asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission”, about can-do spirit. And this is how it all begins – by going to the right school.

No wonder Palo Alto real estate is so expensive. Actually… given the life lessons… it’s a deal.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: burbed @ 6:19 am

Lowest price house in Redwood City… 1 year later…

Last August, Burbed featured this house in Redwood City:

How to lose $240 a day… 1923 Middlefield Road [Burbed.com]

Fortunately enough, this house is still on the market!


That’s right… run you law firm, your engineering firm, your CPA out of this house. Renters, hello! This house is for you! It’s centrally located! 1923 Middlefield!

This house won’t last long… it said that in August, and at this new price, it really won’t last long.

So what’s keeping you?

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am

February 11, 2008

Five Reasons Houses Beat Stocks

Realty Times – Real Estate News and Advice
Five Reasons Houses Beat Stocks
by Blanche Evans

It’s high time we told buyers, sellers and homeowners the truth about whether a home is a good investment.
FREE Agent Online Powerhouse Kit including a FREE business consultation

Despite what Wall Street wants you to believe, owning a home isn’t the same kind of investment as stocks or bonds. What you get is a USE asset that depreciates over time, while it grows in market value. All you have to do is keep the home in good repair to max out your take.

Here are five reasons why you get more for your money with a house than a worthless sock puppet.

1. Leverage: with stocks, you put in all your money for a little piece of a company. With a house, you put in a little money to get all of the house.

2. Tax benefits: Uncle Sam knows that owning a home is a pain in the neck, that’s why you get subsidies. These are basically government bribes to get you to buy. What other investment can you put in 5 percent of the cost of the asset, reap all the appreciation and pay no capital gains? That’s right: live in your home two years, rent it for three, sell it, and pay no tax on capital gains up to 250,000 for singles, $500,000 for married couples. And you’re worried about paying too much?

And that’s not all – think about the benefits of fixed-rate mortgages, property tax write-offs, interest rate deductions, depreciation. Is this a great country or what?

3. Control: When you buy stocks, you’re paying some CEO 500 times the average worker’s salary for results you’d lose your job for. With a home, you have control – what you buy, how much you pay, and where you live. You can improve the value with repairs and updates. Compare that to getting heard at the next shareholders’ meeting.

4. Lifestyle: Do you want to look at a dumpsite or your children playing in their own back yard? With a home, you’re purchasing a vantage point for yourself and your family. The neighborhood you want to be in, the size and style home that fits your needs. And the more wisely you choose, the better off you are.

5. Value: Unlike our little sock puppet friend, your house will seldom become worthless. Barring a catastrophe, your home will retain a major portion of its value, even in the worst of times. So don’t freak out about a losing a few percent this year. You’ll make it up. Housing has lost value only one year out of the last 35. It’s more normal to beat inflation by one to two percent.

Let’s get a little perspective here. You lost a greater percentage on the stock market this year than if you owned a house. You lost more on your SUV. And you sure lost more on your iPhone.

And keep this in mind — when it rains, which would you rather have over your head, a roof or a stock certificate?

So stop whining about the housing market. Complain about Wall Street instead.

Published: January 2, 2008

Don’t you feel silly now with you silly stocks?

Comments (195) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:35 am

Follow up on 652 Stanford in Redwood City

Last April, Burbed tried to visit this open house, but couldn’t find a parking spot:

What’s the 5th most affordable home in Redwood City like? [Burbed.com]

Fortunately, this house is still on the market! Let’s take a look!


Hm… according to zillow, this was last sold on 11/13/2007 for $499,000.

Yep, I’m pretty sure that you can say that they’re giving this house away!

BTW, you may want to bring a philosophy majoring friend with you as this house may have Not Positive sqft. If the sqft is negative, and you go in, what does that make you?

Comments (8) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:07 am

February 10, 2008

How can people in Santa Rosa afford homes?

How could so many people afford homes at peak of boom? | Early Edition Santa Rosa Press Democrat // News for California’s North Bay and Redwood Empire
Borrowers routinely exaggerated their incomes to obtain thousands of Sonoma County home loans during the housing boom, a major reason foreclosures are now spiraling to unprecedented highs.

In their eagerness to buy a home, many borrowers inflated earnings by 50 percent or more to qualify for loans they could not otherwise afford, according to a Press Democrat analysis of loans made in 2005 and 2006.

When home prices peaked in 2005, the typical home buyer in Sonoma County claimed to earn $120,000 a year on loan documents, according to federal home loan data. But they actually earned about $80,700, according to Census data. The spread grew in 2006, when the typical buyer claimed to earn $132,000; their actual income was about $79,000.

And this is why Santa Rosa is definitely not in The Real Bay Area anymore.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:43 pm