June 20, 2006

No need to worry: Millionaires thriving

No need to worry: Millionaires thriving
The millionaires club keeps getting bigger and bigger.

In the Bay Area, nearly 111,600 out of 2.5 million households had a net worth of at least $1 million or more in 2005, excluding the value of their homes, according to a new study.

Over the next five years, that total is expected to jump by nearly 53 percent, while the population is expected to grow by only 20 percent.

“It’s like the Napa Valley, which is a great place to grow grapes because of the various environmental factors,” said Rich Hogan, a San Francisco senior vice president at Merrill Lynch, which released the data Tuesday, along with its annual “World Wealth Report.” “In the Bay Area, there is a well-educated, sophisticated population, unparalleled access to investment managers and an area that tends to be very aware of what the next big thing is.”

Further proof that Bay Area house prices will always go up!

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June 13, 2006

Washington area richest, most educated in US: report – Yahoo! News

Washington area richest, most educated in US: report – Yahoo! News
The Washington area has the wealthiest households and most educated work force of any metropolitan area in the United States, according to a report released on Thursday by a local business group.

The greater Washington area, including the District of Columbia, and neighboring areas of Maryland and Virginia, had the highest U.S. median household income, at nearly $72,800, ahead of the San Francisco area at $71,201 and Boston at $63,958, according to the report from the Greater Washington Initiative, which cites data from the U.S.
Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, market data firm Claritas Inc and other sources.

The report also found the Washington area, which has seen a major increase in defense-related technology employment in recent years, to have the largest science and engineering work force of any U.S. metropolitan area, at 324,530, ahead of the combined San Francisco and San Jose, California, work force of 214,500 and Chicago at 203,090.

The report said 42.5 percent of Washington-area residents have a bachelor’s degree and 19 percent have a graduate degree, greater than San Francisco’s bachelor’s degree rate of 37.3 percent and graduate degree rate of 14.1 percent. Washington also claims the highest percentage of PhDs, at 2.5 percent of the population.

Housing costs in greater Washington were ranked 4th, with a 2005 median price of $424,700. San Francisco was highest at $715,700, followed by Los Angeles at $529,000 and New York at
$446,000.

That’s impossible! Everyone knows that the Bay Area is the best-est place in the world! With the smartest and richest people in the world! It’s the only place where you can have nerds! That’s why we have the highest housing prices! And if you don’t believe it, you don’t need to get a 40 year mortgage and live here!
What heresy!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:08 am

June 3, 2006

WSJ.com – cul-de-sacs Under Siege

This isn’t particularly Bay Area related, but I figure I’d post it because… well… I don’t like cul de sacs

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WSJ.com – The Suburbs Under Siege
According to the Census Bureau, the population of American suburbs grew 12% from 1980 to 2000, while the total population in center cities grew by just 1%. Likewise, from 1997 to 2003, the total percentage of American housing units located in the suburbs rose to 62 million, an increase of about 9%. The influx of homes in the suburbs, and the traffic they bring, has become the chief concern of planners across the nation, many of whom are struggling to mitigate the impact of car culture.
[Photo]
City planners are increasingly criticizing cul-de-sacs.

To some of them, cul-de-sacs have come to represent a failed experiment that has produced more isolation and more traffic by forcing people into their cars. David Schrank, a transportation researcher with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, says the old “peak hour” of traffic in many suburbs has been replaced by a longer “peak period.” As new developments spring up, he says, “sometimes the transport network isn’t in place to support them.”

In some growing suburbs, “cul-de-sac” is becoming a dirty word. At a meeting in April with the planning commission in Northfield, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis that has adopted rules preventing the use of cul-de-sacs, developer Lynn Giovannelli of Miles Development says she was “blindsided” by a chorus of objections about a single cul-de-sac she was including in plans for part of a new subdivision called Rosewood. “The land parcel was a funky shape, and I told them the only way to do anything with it is to do a cul-de-sac,” she says. One commissioner told her to put in a park instead. “Preposterous,” she says. “I was rolling my eyes.”

While the plan was ultimately approved, it wasn’t unanimous. “We might be prejudiced,” says Jim Herreid, one of two commissioners who voted against the plan. “But we just don’t like cul-de-sacs because they restrict the ability to get around town easily.”

For all the criticism aimed at them, cul-de-sacs do seem to have one last defender: the free market. Real-estate brokers say that despite the recent opposition by policy makers, homes on cul-de-sacs still tend to sell faster than other homes — and often command a comfortable premium. Ralph Spargo, the vice president of product development for Standard Pacific Homes in Irvine, Calif., says his company charges as much as 5% more for a home located on one. (For a house that sells for the April 2006 national median price of $223,000, that works out to about $11,000).

Rochelle Johnson, a 38-year-old real-estate agent from Lakeville, Minn., who grew up on a cul-de-sac, says she doesn’t worry about the “isolation” — she welcomes it. From her home on a cul-de-sac in a development called Wyldwood Oaks, Mrs. Johnson says the minimal amount of traffic gives her the peace of mind to allow her two children to play soccer in the street. “I don’t know why somebody wouldn’t want to live on a cul-de-sac,” she says.

1. Children playing in the streets? Are you kidding? Who does that? Aren’t they at home watching TV or posting on MySpace?

2. People don’t see a problem with them. Is it because I work 60 hours a week that I’m bothered by every additional minute I have to sit in th ecar?

3. What’s with this desire to get away from everyone? Are we really afraid of ourselves?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

June 2, 2006

Only 12% of SFers can afford a home. Families leaving in droves…

Lots of toddlers, fewer school-age kids in S.F.
Only an estimated 12 percent of San Francisco households earn enough to buy a median-price home, which costs more than $760,000, according to the California Association of Realtors and DataQuick Information Systems.

In some ways, this isn’t terribly surprising. 12% does seem a bit low – especially when you think about how many properties in SOMA are second homes. But what’s really shocking is the chart. No one is moving to Santa Clara! I checked with the author of the piece and this is not a mistake. Whoa!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

May 31, 2006

$3048 – average Bay Area mortgage

DQNews – Most Recent Press Release
The median price paid for a Bay Area home rose to a record $628,000 last month. That was up 1.0 percent from March’s $622,000, and up 7.2 percent from $586,000 for April a year ago. Last month’s year-over-year increase was the lowest since August 2003 when the $447,000 median was also up 7.2 percent.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $3,048 in April. That was up from $2,958 in March, and up from $2,659 for April a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, mortgage payments are 20 percent higher than they were at the peak of the prior cycle sixteen years ago.

So you know those Capital One credit commercials where end asking “What’s in your wallet?”

For the Bay Area, I guess that’d be “NOTHING.”

(Thanks to http://sonomahousingbubble.blogspot.com/ for the find) 

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

May 25, 2006

Home sales drop to 5-year low / Steep decline sparks debate over whether the Bay Area real estate boom is over

Home sales drop to 5-year low / Steep decline sparks debate over whether the Bay Area real estate boom is over
Despite a record for Bay Area home prices in April, sales tumbled to their lowest level in five years as a chill continued to creep through the region’s housing market.

Experts remain split on whether the slower rate of appreciation and softer demand during what is typically a robust sales season signal a pause or the beginning of prolonged slowdown in a sector that has bolstered the region’s economy and vastly increased wealth for many homeowners in the past few years.

The median price for a single-family home in the nine counties last month was $664,000, up less than 7 percent from a year ago, and just above the previous record of $656,000 in autumn, according to real estate information firm DataQuick.

Uh oh! Quick! We need some more IPOs!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

May 24, 2006

495,000 Real Estate Agents in California

Inman Real Estate News – Real estate licensees are booming in California
The California Department of Real Estate announced today that there are about 500,000 real estate licensees in the state – which means that one in every 52 adults in California has a real estate license.

In 2005, the number of licensees grew 14 percent over the previous year to a then-record 476,000 licensees. That total represented a 57 percent increase compared to the number of California real estate licensees in 2000. The number of licensees reached 495,000 as of April 2006.

Holy cow. To put things in perspective, if all of these real estate agents got together and formed a city, they would be the 33nd largest city in America.

There are more real estate agents in California than there are people living in Sacramento, Atlanta, Miami, or Honolulu.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 11:28 am

Santa Clara SFH Trends for April 2006

The Santa Clara County Real Estate Report

april06trends.gif

Wow that’s a growing inventory. Wow that’s a dropping home sales count. What does this real estate company have to say?

For buyers, if you’re an investor, this is not the market to be in. But, I suspect you are already out of this market. If you are a buyer planning to stay in your home for over five years, go ahead and buy. Although prices are still increasing, the rate of increase has slowed quite a bit. There’s a good deal of inventory, so there’s no need to be frantic. For sellers, right now it is all about the pricing. Price it right and your home will sell. Also, make sure it shows well. Buyers are looking for fairly priced homes, if not bargains. The question is how do you make your home a bargain, or at least look like a bargain, to attract many buyers and offers.

Some more stats:

april06stats.gif

Pretty interesting numbers. What’s your take?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

May 23, 2006

Crime Rate Comparison: San Francisco Vs. New York

I saw this the other day and found it pretty surprising:

Crime Rate Comparison: San Francisco Vs. New York

SFvNYCCrime.jpg

It really does clash with the stereotypes of New York.

On the other hand, I never realized how dangerous Houston was:

NYvHouston.jpg

Yipes!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

May 21, 2006

‘Own A California Home With 600 Easy Payments!’

The Housing Bubble Blog » ‘Own A California Home With 600 Easy Payments!’
“You, too, can own a home in California, with 600 easy monthly payments! Just get a 50-year mortgage! With any luck, you’ll have paid it off before you die!”

“The 50-year mortgage won’t keep monthly payments very low because it’s not really a 50-year mortgage at all. It’s an adjustable-rate mortgage with a 50-year amortization (meaning it’s paid off after 50 years). The interest rate is fixed for the first five years, then moves up or down thereafter, meaning the monthly payment fluctuates as well.”

“‘The monthly payment on the 50-year mortgage would actually be higher than it would be on the 40-year, because the (higher) interest rate overwhelms the (longer) term,’ Kieth Gumbinger explains. Someone who takes out a 50-year, $300,000 mortgage will repay $300,000 in principal and $714,000 in interest over the life of the loan. That compares to $382,000 in interest for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, and $543,000 in interest for a 40-year fixed-rate.”

Wow… that’s a lot of interest payment! But you have to do what you can to buy a place in the Best Place On Earth(TM).

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 1:47 pm