November 3, 2014

House prices are amazing in the Bay Area

Modest Bay Area homes hit mind-boggling prices

Two years of tight supply and intense demand have pushed prices for modest Bay Area homes in trendy neighborhoods to mind-boggling heights.

In Palo Alto, tiny homes sell for multiple millions of dollars. In Oakland’s sought-after Rockridge district, a home just sold for $500,000 over the asking price.

On both sides of the bay, it’s the location that commands the biggest price, even as the amount paid per square foot reached new peaks in more than a third of 155 Bay Area ZIP codes analyzed for this newspaper by CoreLogic DataQuick.

With the price of homes in Palo Alto skyrocketing, Ken Plourde, a 79-year-old retired jazz bass player, decided it was time to sell the home he bought for $35,000 in 1970.

"I was sitting on a gold mine," said Plourde, whose income from music gigs has been declining with his advancing years and changes in the live music business.

The 992-square-foot-home within walking distance of Stanford University was snapped up in one day by a wealthy Stanford graduate in China for $3 million, a price that comes to just over $3,000 a square foot.

Real estate agents say two groups are leading the pack of home shoppers in Silicon Valley: newly wealthy tech workers and overseas buyers, particularly from Asia.

Congrats to the Bay Area. You are making me so proud.

2015 is the year where the median price will be $1250 per square foot across the entire real Silicon Valley. I just know it!

Maybe it’s time to retire this blog.

Comments (24) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:15 am






August 20, 2014

Big data Wednesday – Median Home Price to Median Income ratio

Last week we highlighted how awesome and fantastic it is that San Francisco (aka the Real Bay Area) finally crushed Manhattan and New York in terms of how expensive housing has become.

So, for some data – and using some newer, brighter, colors.

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Hmm… looks like there’s still some improvement here. It looks like the South Bay really needs to step up its game to ensure that the Price/Income ratio beats that of New York metro!

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Hm, it looks like the blue line is sagging below the redline. That means housing is still probably too cheap. We need it to look more like the good ol’ days of 2003-2007!

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Yeah, some room for improvement here as well!

Ok people, let’s get to work on driving up these prices!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:36 am

August 13, 2014

Tears of joy: San Francisco versus Manhattan versus Brooklyn and more

http://time.com/money/3063930/the-15-most-expensive-cities-for-millennials/

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When it comes to least affordable counties to buy a house, four of NYC’s five boroughs take up almost a third of the list, with Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings Country), the Bronx (Bronx County), and Queens (Queens Country), each “earning” a spot.

The West Coast isn’t off the hook, either. Beating out Manhattan for the dubious honor of most expensive city for young people is San Francisco. Buying a median-priced three-bedroom house—$950,000 as of this April— in the City by the Bay will cost median income earners more than 78% of their wages.

I really can’t help but have tears of joy every time I see this chart.

For so long, all of us worked together to ensure that the Real Bay Area would one day defeat our arch nemesis, Manhattan, to ensure that we were the most expensive place to buy real estate.

And now the news is spreading far and wide that we’ve done this.

San Francisco beats Manhattan (aka New York County), Brooklyn (aka Kings County), Queens, and (I’m guessing) Staten Island. All 5 boroughs. A sweep. One city crushes another city.

Sure, we still need to beat Tokyo and London. But this is a fantastic start.

And there’s more. By being more expensive than NY, we will attract attention as being expensive – this will help prices soar even further as panic buying sets in.

Watch out Tokyo and London – you’re next.

In the meantime, take that New York and Manhattan! We’re #1! We’re #1! And more people know it than ever now!

What will you be doing to help us beat those cities?

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:12 am

August 6, 2014

Is now the best time to buy, ever?

The Real Bay Area is all about data. Big data!

So here’s some big data!

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Green line continues to be below the blue line.

Is now the best time to buy? Ever?

Where are all the math/finance nerds?

Comments (11) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:38 am

July 16, 2014

A new challenge for Real Bay Area Real Estate

Thanks to Burbed reader Nomadic for this find:

Stash Pad

Those on the New York end of the transaction often don’t know—or don’t care to find out—the exact derivation of foreign money involved in these transactions. “Sometimes they come in with wires,” says Luigi Rosabianca. “Sometimes they come in with suitcases.” Most of the time, the motivation behind this movement of cash, and buyers’ desire for privacy, is legitimate, but sometimes it’s not. An inquiry by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington-based nonprofit, has uncovered numerous cases in which New York real estate figured in foreign financial- and political-corruption scandals. “It’s something that is never discussed, but it’s the elephant in the room,” says Rosabianca. “Real estate is a wonderful way to cleanse money. Once you buy real estate, the derivation of that cash is forgotten.”

More typically, though, foreign buyers are searching for a favorable investment climate and the identity protection provided by an LLC. Rosabianca’s client, the Italian, lives in Nigeria, where her husband is in the oil business. But she said she was still a tax resident of her home country, giving me a knowing look. Italy taxes its citizens’ overseas assets—if it can find them. “To invest in Italy now is terrible,” she said. So the Italian spent most of her Sunday in taxis, bouncing from Gramercy to Tribeca to the High Line in search of the right place to store her wealth.

She ended up back downtown at 75 Wall Street, where she saw a unit she liked: a one-bedroom belonging to a Panamanian-owned company. She ended up making an offer on both that one and the condo at 20 Pine, but ultimately settled on yet another unit at 75 Wall for $1.3 million. The seller was also an LLC, its true owner unknown.

(Click to enlarge)

How unfortunate. How very, very, very unfortunate.

Not once does this article mention the Real Bay Area. Where is Cupertino in any of this? Palo Alto? Even San Francisco?

Why is New York getting all this laundered money?

Dear Russians, Nigerians, Chinese, Brazilians – the Real Bay Area is just as prestigious as Manhattan and London. Please send your millions of dollars in cash and loose diamonds here. We need your help to drive real estate to $5,000 per square foot!

Please act today!

Comments (1) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:05 am

June 23, 2014

Square footage is a moving target, professionals say

How big is that house, really?

Square footage is a moving target, professionals say

A home’s square footage is a number easily misrepresented, especially when determining ever-ambiguous "liveable space." Measurements can be taken in numerous ways, and what to include in those measurements — garages, basements or porches — is often unclear.

"There are customs … that vary from community to community," Dreyfus said. "There’s no universal way of arriving at that number."

In the Real Bay Area, we are all locavores. As a result we deeply respect the right of local communities to make the right decisions on things.

For example: If you put an extra mattress in a garage in Redwood City, of course that should be counted as part of the sqft! But that would never be acceptable in, say, a far-away land like Atherton.

But fear not… realtors are here to help!

Article 12 of the Code states, "Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real-estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations."

Violating any part of the Code could mean expulsion from the organization or fines.

As well know, Realtors are the paragon of truth telling. I, for one, would welcome our Realtor overlords… for they would definitely be fair and just. And nothing is more fair and just than this:

"If you put furniture in it, it’s livable space," said Harrison, noting that common sense and a required training process can help clarify the term for Realtors and real-estate agents who post on the site.

Remember my mattress in the garage example? Even if the mattress is leaning against the wall, it will count (maybe you’re a former astronaut relocating to Redwood City – climate best by government test after all.)

But according to Harrison, misrepresentation in real estate doesn’t happen often.

"Very rarely does anyone go in and put in a ficticious square-footage number," he said.

Also, since sellers are almost on the verge of taking the next step by requiring bids being placed without even seeing the house, why bother worrying?

After all… housing prices can only go up, so what’s a few sqft.

How would you measure a home?

Comments (11) -- Posted by: burbed @ 2:24 am

June 20, 2014

SEO advice needed

Dear Burbed readers who have some free time this fine Friday,

What can this site do to improve its SEO-ness?

-Burbed

Comments (4) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:57 am

June 18, 2014

Peak median home prices in the Real Bay Area

Bay Area home sales great for sellers, tough on buyers

Santa Clara County, which surpassed its peak price for existing single-family homes in April, saw a gain of 6.7 percent to $800,000, and San Mateo County was up 14.2 percent to $925,000.

Wendy McPherson of Coldwell Banker in Menlo Park said recent tech company public offerings and acquisitions are creating wealthy buyers at a brisk pace. "We just had a buyer buy a $20 million property who was living in a $900,000 house," she said.

Ken DeLeon of DeLeon Realty in Palo Alto said demand is so brisk for luxury real estate that one home in Atherton sold for $14 million in three days.

As we all know, it’s been a long time dream of the readers of this site, and the homeowners and landlords of the Real Bay Area to see housing prices surpass those of our arch nemesis, Manhattan – proving that you don’t need ugly skyscrapers, integrated cultural diversity, things that open late, low crime, taxis, functioning mass transit, and <shudder> shadows to be successful.

We. Are. Almost. There.

The median home price for a single family home in San Mateo is now $925,000. Santa Clara, which includes Gilroy, $800,00.

Is there anything more beautiful than this?

Question time: What will the median price in a year from now for SM and SC? $2M and $1.8?

Post your predictions in the comments!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:28 am

May 28, 2014

What is the minimum salary to buy a house in San Francisco?

You Must Make At Least $137,129 A Year To Afford A Home In San Francisco

You need make at least $137,129 a year (before taxes) to afford a home in the Fog City, which according to a new report is the most expensive city in the country for home buyers.

Coming in a distant second place is San Diego, where you need to bring home $98,534 a year to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance of a median-priced home, the measure used to make the calculations by HSH Associates, the mortgage-tracker that published the report.

New York City scored third place — perhaps surprisingly, because of its notoriously high rents. You "only" (hahaha!) have to make a salary of $89,788 a year to afford a mid-level apartment.

The widening gap between rich and poor in San Francisco just keeps getting worse. A recent report ranked income inequality in the city on par with developing countries including Rwanda.

This poses a real dilemma for us in the Real Bay Area. Now that we’ve set the bar so high, how we do we drive this even further?

I have a feeling that if we all work together, we can drive this minimum to a nice even $200,000.

What will you be doing to make this happen?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am

May 26, 2014

No wonder California is called “The Golden State”

I hope you’re enjoy this Memorial Day!

As a community of people obsessed homes, we should also remember those houses that are still underwater.

Obviously, there are none in the Real Bay Area though…

Rent or Buy? The Math Is Changing

Billy Gasparino and Jenna Dillon-Gasparino were savvy enough to wait out the housing boom of a decade ago as renters. Not until 2010, well into the bust, did they buy a house in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, less than a mile from the beach, for $810,000.

Only four years later, the couple see new signs of excess in the housing market and have decided to go back to renting. They are close to a deal to sell their house – for $1.35 million, a cool 67 percent gain.

Is it any wonder that California is called? Every house you touch turns to gold. And we all know that gold always goes up in value!

Since the start of 2011, prices have risen 33 percent in the San Francisco area, 30 percent in Miami, 24 percent in Los Angeles — and even more in some of the most desirable neighborhoods within those areas.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, home of the sharpest recent price increases, the sale price of a home is about 20 times what it would cost to rent a home of the same size for a year. That ratio, based on an analysis of data from Zillow, is the same as in 2003, when the San Francisco real estate market had yet to become an out-of-control bubble but was well on its way there.

That’s right! Based on data… DATA…there’s still plenty of upside for the homes in Silicon Valley.

But wait.. there’s more!

When low mortgage rates are taken into account, buying a home in San Francisco looks somewhat more attractive — but with a 10 percent down payment and prevailing interest rates, buying a home is 6 percent more expensive than renting a place of the same size, the same premium for buying as there was during the dot-com boom in 1999. Just two years ago, buying in the San Francisco area was 24 percent cheaper than renting an equivalent place.

There you have it! The NY Times says now is a great time to buy a home in San Francisco.

“If you thought home values in the Bay Area or Southern California were such that we might see another housing correction, that radically starts to advantage rental housing,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, who argues that current prices are reasonably well justified, while acknowledging that prices are high enough to leave buyers exposed.

Even the Chief Economist at Zillow agrees!

This time it’s different. The economics have changed. The paradigm has shifted. House prices simply cannot go down.

I’m surprised you haven’t gone and picked up 6 houses over the weekend!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am