May 17, 2010

Two Years Later, Who’s in the RBA Now!

And now, a guest post from Madhaus. Pretty thought provoking!

Two Years Later, Who’s in the RBA Now!

Just about two years ago, burbed ran this post, picking up my comment predicting which Special places in the Bay Area were going to become a little less Special.  Home prices in income-challenged regions of the Bay Area had been crashing for more than a year, and foreclosures were starting to mount in far-flung exurbs such as Stockton (and closer ones such as Gilroy).  But most in the Real Bay Area thought they were immune from the oncoming tide of equity retreat.

With my battle cry of “Here’s my prediction of which areas will be removed from the RBA next, in order, with RBA defined as ‘where prices never go down,’” I invite you to Real Bay Area, Then and Now!

And the surprising conclusion?  Only ONE ZIP CODE remains in the RBA.  That’s right.  ONE.  And it’s in Palo Alto!

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td valign=”top” width=”108″>565

-18.3%

Locale 2008 $/sf 2010 $/sf Annual % change
West Redwood City 94062 $576 $499 -6.9%
S. Santa Clara 95051Maywood Park/CUSD $465$796k $348
$724k
-13.5%
-4.6%
South Sunnyvale 94087non-CUSD
CUSD
5781.42M
1.26M
5321.18M
1.05M
-4.1%-8.8%
-8.7%
Central Mountain View 94040 573 550 -2.0%
South Mountain View 94041 644 572 -5.8%
Willow Glen 95125
redfin neighborhood
468 350 -6.4%
West San Jose CUSD 95129 567 485 -7.5%
Los Altos 94022 764 649 -7.8%
Cupertino 95014east of Bubb
west of Bubb
6201.3M
2.14M
5351.09M
1.49M
-7.1%-8.4%
-16.6%
Los Gatos 95032 572 457 -10.6%
Los Gatos 95030 719 603 -8.4%
West Menlo Park 94025
actual Redfin neighborhood
793 724 -4.6%
Palo Alto 94303Midtown 706
1.89M
269
1.57M
-38.3%
-8.9%
Palo Alto 94306 580 724 +11.7% (!)
Saratoga 95070 671 559 -8.7%
Palo Alto 94301 907 801 -6.0%
Los Altos Hills 94024 739 647 -6.4%
Woodside 94062 847
Portola Valley 1,060 648 -21.8%
Palo Alto 94304 1,070 771 -15.1%

Zip code $/sf data from redfin, comparing April 14, 2008 with April 12, 2010 sales prices per square foot.  If a neighborhood is unrepresentative (read: way more Special) of its ZIP code, I picked a house in the neighborhood and compared Zestimates for the beginning of May 2008 and 2010.  Yes, completely unscientific and unrepresentative, but until Redfin lets me pick a neighborhood by school district, or pick a neighborhood that has a name they don’t want to acknowledge, tough.

Wasn’t that a surprise?  The fairest ZIP code of them all is South Palo Alto.   Who knew?  South Palo Alto 94306 – up an incredible 11.7% annualized!  Yes, scraping tiny homes off small lots and replacing them with McMansions pays off!

And let’s have a round of applause for our lovely runners-up, those areas that lost less than five percent annual value in the last two years.  Yes, two years, so you have to more than double those percentages to figure out how much value the average house lost!  Here they are, the lucky ducks!

  • · Central Mountain View 94040 -2.0%
  • · South Sunnyvale 94087 -4.1%
  • · West Menlo Park 94025 -4.6%

Sorry North Mountain View (94043), you’re only down -3.3% a year, but you never were in the RBA in the first place.

Many predictions were made in 2008.  Discuss.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:25 am






May 6, 2010

average high school donation

It’s been a while, but it’s time for Search Engine Result Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: average high school donation 

Great question! I think the average in the Bay Area ranges from $250-$10,000. It’s a function of how much you care about your child’s education, and how much you care about the welfare of the senior citizens, landlords, and corporate land holders that pay 1/10th of what you pay in their property tax.

How much do you donate to your school?

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

April 24, 2010

Top 29 Cities to live in for men – San Francisco beats New York in cost of living!

Top 29 Cities to live in

1: New York City

image

image

10: San Francisco

image

image

I think this is a case of good news/bad news. The good news is that San Francisco scored 9.2/10 for cost of living, while our mortal enemy New York scored a mere 8.9/10. WOOHOO!

That said, it’s clear the methodology of this report was wrong. They should’ve been comparing Silicon Valley!

Comments (76) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:57 am

April 18, 2010

Keeping it Real – Real Bay Area that is!

Thanks to Burbed reader madhaus for this guest post!

burbed reader SEA listed a few uses of “real” recently: Real Bay Area, Real Houses, Real Resident, Real drop in price, Real Buyer, and Real Home.  Goes on to wonder if there is a “real seller”  and if so, what would that be?  And reader nomadic responded: “Real Sellers never drop their price.  They wait patiently for ‘just the right buyer.’  After all, it only takes one!”

There’s plenty of uses for “Real” in this Real Special place we live.  All those hillside homes, we can find out the lot square footage, but what’s the Real Square Footage — the land you can actually use instead of slide to the bottom of your property line?  And how does the word “Real” makes almost anything better?

Real (adj.): Smaller, more exclusive, superior.  Way more Special.

So, watch the RBA get more concentrated and more special as time marches on.  Here’s burbed’s original Real Bay Area map:
clip_image002
Good, but needs a bit more detail.  So I came up with this a couple of years ago:
clip_image004

Well, it’s time to update the map, boys and girls!  Let’s see how things are looking in April, 2010!
clip_image006

Looks like the RBA has traded down!  Former RBA could soon be part of the Corridor of Not Quite!  And “Real” continues to be defined as getting smaller but better all the time!

Comments (130) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:24 am

April 17, 2010

Who doesn’t love taxes?

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this guest post. Take it away Herve!

I (heart) taxes

Taxes. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Did you know California’s 2010 business tax climate ranks 48th while our archenemies New York and New Jersey rank 49th and 50th respectively? Shocking!

Obviously, the formula was biased towards boring states like Texas (#11) and Washington (#9) but once you include Real Bay Area values like weather, sushi and property tax, California goes where it belongs, i.e. NUMBER ONE! Yes, even Kanye West won’t challenge that: California’s property tax ranks 27th despite our more valuable houses whereas New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington rank 1st, 6th, 14th and 26th respectively. Booyah!california

(Data compiled from The Tax Foundation)

Comments (63) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:12 am

April 15, 2010

what to do to get additional driveway in san mateo

Recently someone found this site by searching for: what to do to get additional driveway in san mateo

Um. Uh. Well. That’s certainly an unusual question.

My advice? Buy a house near SFO. Perhaps you can use some of the runways or taxiways during offpeak hours for parking your RVs and boats.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am

April 11, 2010

What are the best real estate tips that you have?

Thanks to Burbed reader nomadic for this post:

Rumors of increased activity for house flippers have been circulating, so it’s time to share some basic rules of flipping.  Anyone who undertakes a house flip should be focused on using their funds wisely (think style over substance) and not tying their money up any longer than absolutely necessary.  In that spirit, these tips are short – inspired by a blogger who calls them “triplets:”

Use maximum leverage.

Always landscape first.

Brazilian hardwood floors.

Travertine all bathrooms.

Granite kitchen countertops.

Stainless steel appliances.

Red front door.

Staging: angle bed.

Plant bright flowers.

8s in price.

Plus a bonus tip for every seller based on my experience at numerous open houses:

Vacuum dead bugs.

What tips would you add?

Comments (22) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:57 am

April 8, 2010

will california house prices drop

It’s search engine result Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: will saratoga california house prices drop

But really, let’s broaden this out to be: will california house prices drop

The answer? Maybe.

Gasp! Shock! OMG! WTF!

It’s true! If you live anywhere but Saratoga, Palo Alto, Atherton, and a few other select cities, house prices may drop. Just look at Stockton.

Now… on the other hand, when house prices go up, being in California gives you a leg up because everyone wants to move here (except for all the people moving out.)

So… in summary… the answer is: maybe, for California and certainly not for Saratoga.

Real estate in California will always be a great proposition (like Proposition 13), but do be careful where you buy. Generally speaking, if you’re not paying at least $600 per square foot, you’re putting yourself at risk.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:02 am

April 3, 2010

Let’s try charity 2

On most Saturday’s, there’s a plug for a book sold on Amazon, with unique commentary about why the book was chosen. And then a plea for funds to help keep this site running.

By all measurements, this has not been a success.

In the spirit of trying new things, Easter (do other religions have something going on around this time?), and general good heartedness, I figured I’d feature a charity instead this week – just like last week.

I chose:

image

If you don’t find contributing to this site a worthy cause, then please consider the National Kidney Foundation.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:02 am

April 1, 2010

100K salary and $500K in bank

It’s search engine result page Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: “100K salary and $500K in bank

And that, my friends, is why Bay Area house prices simply cannot possibly drop.

First, we all know that $100k is almost what the starting salary is for a person with a MS degree in CS from Stanford. And let’s face it, who doesn’t have a MS degree from Stanford these days? Ok… not even close to starting salary? Then 3 years afterwards – that you have to agree with.

Next, who doesn’t have $500k in the bank, after 3 years of working? You eat breakfast, lunch, dinner at work. You only wear free t-shirts from work. You bike to work. You don’t go on vacation because you don’t need to – you live in the Bay Area. You call your parents and they send you a suitcase of cash. Boom! $500k easily!

With $100k in salary, and $500k in the bank, you can easily afford a $1-1.1M house. No problemo.

What? You don’t have $500k in the bank? Where did it go?

Comments (152) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:07 am