February 9, 2008

“small number of households … that make more than $160,000 a year.”

Inside Bay Area – Stimulus divides experts Real economic impact of package open for debate
Christopher Thornberg, an economist and founder of Beacon Economics, said the stimulus package would not bring the real estate industry around.

The proposed new loan limit of $729,750, he said, caters to a small number of households in the Bay Area that make more than $160,000 a year.

“The people who are in trouble are not being helped by this plan,” he said. “How many people earn that kind of money to buy those homes? Prices are falling and they’re falling for a good reason, because they’re too high.”

Uh, earth to Chris Thornberg – do you know any Real Bay Area couples that don’t make less than $160k?

Talk about Ivory Tower!

Comments (52) -- Posted by: burbed @ 2:47 pm

A serious question about Cupertino

Here’s a serious question.

Tiny towns like Los Altos have their own police department.

Yet, Cupertino contracts out to Santa Clara County.

Why do they do that? What are the pros and cons of doing this?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:33 am

February 8, 2008

Proof that Palo Alto is prime: $1204 per square foot.



Palo Alto (Palo Alto) 94301
Detached Single Family (Class 1)
Bed/Bath: 2 / 1
SqFt: 660
Lot: 1,742 sq ft
Age: 82 years
List Price: $795,000
Assoc Fee:

How sweet it is. $1204 per square foot. Palo Alto is clearly prime. Next year, this is going to be at least $914k – a modest 15% bump.

Heck, it’s even got Corian counters – you don’t see that very often these days. None of that granite crud here. And look, you can entertain your guests on the deck!


In fact, that’s where you’ll be talking to your friends (one at a time albeit) about how your Facebook options have made you a millionaire, and how this house will be $1.4 million in 1 PFBIPO (Post Facebook IPO).

You heard it here first!

Comments (45) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:59 am

February 7, 2008

Bay Area – #1 winners of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage ceiling hike!

Will New Rules On Mortgages Help Borrowers? – WSJ.com

Woot! We’re #1! We’re #1! And #2! And #3 (sort of)!

Suck it New York Metro Area!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:29 am

Redwood City house prices compared to Levittown – which is more expensive

Here at Burbed.com, we want our readers to be educated. Thanks to Burbed reader Robert for sharing this information

$698 per sqft house in Redwood City that you missed [Burbed.com]

> You don’t see these junks in southern Cal, or in other states as much
> 730 sq. ft.? What were they thinking when they built them?

These sorts of houses were build just post-World War 2 when there was a housing shortage for returning vets, and there were US government controls on building materials. I think there were actually restrictions on the size of houses that could be built so there would be enough material to satisfy all the pent-up demand. (Fun fact: 30% of veterans in 1946 were living in trailers or in doubled-up households.) The outlying suburbs of the Bay Area are filled with these houses. They’re always small, on small lots, and with one car garages, and always date from around 1945-1950. They’re even smaller than pre-war houses (my grandfather built his modest house in 1940 with a two car garage, even though he only had one car). By the early ’50’s, the houses were much larger and often better made.

I’d guess that California and the Bay Area have more of these houses because more vets either moved to California, or decided to stay in California, and there wasn’t as much vacant housing as there might have been in other cities.

The houses do exist elsewhere, you just need to find a city where lots of WW II vets settled. Levittown’s houses (built 1947-1951) are the equivalent of these — same era, same small sizes. I’m sure there’s a bunch of these in the San Fernando Valley, Compton, and other suburbs of LA. I’ll bet if you looked around Houston, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis, etc, you’d find the same sorts of houses.

Of course, those houses won’t be worth $500K.

Hm… isn’t Levittown in New York? We must check that out… after all, New York is our top competitor for Most Expensive Housing.

Let’s take a look at what you can buy in Levittown for the price of the Redwood City house above:


Holy cow! More proof that houses in the NY metro area are cheaper than the Bay Area. If only we could get the Main Street Media (MSM) to recognize this fact!

Also, observe how expensive the property tax is there – just another classic example of how New York is a tax tax tax spend spend spend kind of place, unlike California. Who cares that Levittown has amazing public schools, whereas the Redwood City house above has scary schools – don’t we all make enough to send our kids to Harker?

Just for completeness sake, let’s look at the price of a 2br/1ba in Levittown:


$299k? Egad. No wonder everyone’s leaving New York metro and moving to the Bay Area. Sheesh!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:25 am

February 6, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s Plan to solve housing crisis: freeze interest rates

KSBY 6 Action News, Weather, Sports: Covering California’s Central Coast | Action News’ exclusive interview with Senator Hillary Clinton
On a day it counts most, when voters hit the polls, Senator Clinton makes one last pitch, touching on issues like the housing crisis.

I asked Senator Clinton, “As President, what would you do to make housing more affordable in California?”

The senator’s answer was, “Well, I’m the only candidate in either party who has a specific plan. I will have a moratorium on home foreclosures for 90 days to help people work out staying in their homes, and I would freeze interest rates for five years.”

She forgot to say… “And pass an executive order that declares that the Bay Area is special… and to direct federal money to ensure all houses sold in the Bay Area are sold at a profit.”

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:46 pm

9br/5ba 12,800 sqft house for $899,999

Single Family Home – DETROIT, MI, 48202 – Realtor.com

9 Bed, 5 Bath
12,800 Sq. Ft.
Estimated Payment:
$4,532 Per Month*

MLS ID# 30573267
9 Bed, 5 Bath, 12,800 Sq. Ft.

Magnificent Landmark Historic Mansion on 1/2 City Block in Boston-Edison Historic District. Exquisite detailing T/O the 30 Room Limestone Showplace designed by Albert Kahn. Unmatched quailty of contruction and finshwork, inclu. Lavish Paneling, Marble, Pewabic Tile, Muraled Ceilings & more. Spectacular Kitchen with Granite Countertops & Marble Floors! 1100 sq. ft. Bedroom Apartment above 3 1/2 Car Garage. 24 Hour Notice to show/Pre-Approved Buyers

Did you really think this would be in the Bay Area? Of course not!

This is what Burbed reader Cesar had to say:

Thank you for your magnificent website!  I live in the Detroit area, where the economy is not the best right now, and jobs are hard to come by, but if you’re lucky to have a stable, well paying job, then it’s a magnificent place to raise a family.  With all the jokes aside about Detroit, I thought you might find this interesting

I do find it interesting indeed. Sorry Cesar , but it just goes to show how undesirable Detroit is. If a middle level engineer can afford a 9 bedroom house, would anyone really want to live there? Do 9 bedroom houses for $899k attract the best Web 2.0 developers?

Yeah. Didn’t think so.

Thanks anyway Cesar!

Comments (25) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:53 am

February 5, 2008

Free child included with Menlo Park home?

MLS-2.com: Property Details
923 MARSH RD, Menlo Park,CA,94025 – $699,000923marsh.jpg3 Beds 1070 Sq.Ft. Aprx. 1 Car Garage MLS#: 768984
1.0 Baths 5,000 Lot Size 57 Yrs Old Aprx. List Date: 2007-12-21What’s new on MLS-2: Search by % Price Drop // Search by “MOTIVATED SELLERS”Description – 923 MARSH RD, Menlo Park,CA,94025
Adorable home with lots of charm and light. Very sunny, private backyard, nice sized bedrooms, hardwood floors, fireplace, newer applicances, nice bathroom. very good condition, great value. cozy home for the Holidays!Please be courteous and call first.

So far so good… after all, it’s just a $6xx per square foot house on a major road, and near a rail road tracks that may be one day be reactivated.

But wait, Burbeed reader Jeff had this to say:

Great blog. I came across this Menlo Park listing (below $700k and on the “good” side of 101, almost reasonable) Check out the 5th picture when you click view all photos, do you think the child is included? It always makes me wonder what the agent was thinking when they took the photo…

Pst Jeff, while this is on the “good” side of 101, it’s on the “bad” side of El Camino. That aside, let’s take a look at the included photos:


Indeed! What exactly is the Realtor trying to sell here? Hmmmmmmm…..

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:59 am

February 4, 2008

East Palo Alto fire leaves 14 without a home – 2393 Glen Way

I know this is late, but this caught my attention:

San Jose Mercury News – East Palo Alto fire leaves 14 without a home
East Palo Alto fire leaves 14 without a home
Article Launched: 01/27/2008 11:47:16 AM PST

Fourteen people narrowly escaped a devastating East Palo Alto house fire when an alert little girl warned her family members early Sunday morning.

The fire, which was reported at 1:12 a.m., took off intensely just after the five adults and nine children got out of the house on 2393 Glen Way. There were no injuries.

“It’s amazing they all got out,” said Fire Battalion Chief Tim Campbell. “She truly saved their lives.”

Props to the kid! Now that’s a hero!

What’s really unfortunate is that these people must’ve just moved in a few months ago as this house was sold last October!


Bummer. At least they got out with their lives thanks to this hero!

UPDATE: Thanks to those who pointed out that I linked to the wrong house. Here is the right link. The house has a Zestimate of $551,500 and 990 sqft. Also, this article has more information on the fire:

Johnston said the house — a rental unit — contains no smoke detectors, has an illegally converted garage and a second kitchen. From the looks of it, somebody converted the house almost into a duplex, he said.

Further proof that when you rent, you put your lives at risk! Just like DreamT recently posted in this comment:

I am happy for you for making it safely in your neighborhood in the past two years. My experience is different. We were renting in the MView triangle, ripe with drugs, car thefts and a murder all within or nearby our condominium complex. We moved and bought into a SFR just for safety reason. Long story short, your personal experience or mine are of little relevance, best keep it to statistics that you can extract off the MView Voice to back my assertion that renting generally exposes one to higher-crime areas.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:59 am

February 3, 2008

A guide to Menlo Park neighborhoods for Spring Bounce

It’s SuperBowl Sunday! That means that the Spring Bounce will start tomorrow, and housing prices will begin to soar once again!

If I were you, I’d skip the game and start studying the MLS and going to open houses. At the end of last year, “Real Estater” posted a handy guide to Menlo Park that may be of use to you if you’re going in that direction:

“Property seems to have no structural problems” [Burbed.com]


To those who are not familiar, there are 3 distict “Menlo Park” neighborhoods by the same name:

1. The “real” Menlo Park – Multi-million dollar homes.
2. “East” Menlo Park – Ghetto area; same as East Palo Alto.
3. “Unincorporated” Menlo Park – Kids aren’t entitled to go to Menlo Park schools; get bus’ed to ghetto area of Redwood City for school.

Be very careful when shopping for real estate there. Don’t work with an idiot real estate agent who can’t tell the difference between 1, 2 and 3. #2 is fairly obvious, but #3 is not as widely known. If you see a new-ish looking big house priced at under $2 mil, then it might be in area #3. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true…

Thanks for sharing!

Get ready for the bounce! Don’t be priced out forever!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:53 am