October 29, 2008

Some comments from Madhaus

Unfortunately the anti-spam filter is blocking madhaus right now (sigh) so I thought I’d just post this directly as an entry:

Case-Schiller’s out, and the numbers keep on a-goin’ down, down!

San Francisco C-S index is now 151.42, same value last seen in October 2003. Yes you read that right, the SF area resold home index has lost five years’ worth of gains.

Last August was 208.15 so the August ’08 index is down an incredible 27%. If you look at the highest tiered prices (upper one-third), that’s down 13.5% (half the aggregate index) compared to last August. The upper tier’s index of 165.31 compares with prices in January/February of 2005. The lowest tier, however, is down 42.7% and the index of 139.44 is at the same rate last seen in (are you ready?) April/May 2001. Yes, I said 2001.

I don’t know if cream is rising to the top but the crap is definitely sinking.

Comments (198) -- Posted by: burbed @ 1:31 am

October 25, 2008

“Foreclosures add to tight rental market”

Foreclosures add to tight rental market – San Jose Mercury News
Record numbers of Silicon Valley homeowners have been foreclosed upon this year, and most must seek rental housing once they leave their homes. If tenant-occupied houses are in foreclosure, tenants nearly always get evicted, pushing them into the rental market again. And many renters who could afford to buy homes size up the bleak economy and opt not to take on mortgages and home ownership.

The result: It’s a competitive market for those seeking reasonably priced rentals, and it’s a pretty good time to be a landlord.


Average apartment rents rose 5.2 percent in Santa Clara County in the third quarter, to $1,708 a month, according to RealFacts, a Marin County firm that measures average monthly rents for all types of units in complexes of at least 50 units.

But rent increases in the third quarter were not as steep as in the second quarter, a sign of the softening economy. And RealFacts said apartment complexes were 95.6 percent full in the July-to-September quarter, down from 96.7 percent a year earlier.

One reason apartment occupancy rates are slipping is that more single-family houses are coming onto the market as rentals, said Joshua Howard, executive director of the local division of the California Apartment Association. Some of those houses are previous foreclosures that were purchased by investors.

Sweet! It’s now a great time to become a landlord. Once the economy gets a little better, rents will soar and instantly start racing with house prices to see who can win the title of “biggest increase per year.”

Man oh man… 2009 is going to party like 1999! You read it here first!

Comments (14) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:50 am

October 24, 2008

What’s $1.2 million dollars and happy to see you?

33 Pointe View Pl, South San Francisco, CA 94080 1101203 MLS# 336836 – Property Details

* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 3
* Bathroom: 3&1/2
* Year Built: 2004
* Lot Size: N/A
* Square Footage: 2490
* List Date: 2/8/2008

* Garage Spaces: 2
Modern sophistication w/unrivaled views! High on San Bruno Mountain, with views from the hills to the sparkling SF Bay, this semi-detached 3 level home has elegant architectural details, lovingly selected color schemes & custom WOW amenities including a world class kitchen. Designed for today’s living, the floor plan offers both the openness for entertaining on the main level & privacy on the lower levels. An ideal home for Buyers who look for easy access to downtown SF & Peninsula.

Thanks to Burbed reader sonarrat for the find… and the joke.

Heh. “Happy to see you.”

I think I’ll just leave it at that.

BTW, gotta love the location! Easy access to freeways indeed!

Comments (91) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am

October 22, 2008

Can I get a patent on “Real”?

McCain aide says he’s strong in ‘real’ Virginia – Yahoo! News
A top aide to John McCain said Saturday the Republican presidential nominee still has a strong chance of winning the state because of his support in “real Virginia,” the downstate areas far removed in distance and political philosophy from the more liberal northern part of the state.

Oh great. Now there’s a Real Virignia – RVA.

What next? A Real NY? A Real LA?

Man… I should’ve gotten a patent on prefacing areas with the word “Real”! Is it too late?

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:10 am

October 19, 2008

“Prices, sales of Bay Area high-end homes may fall next year, Realtor group predicts”

Prices, sales of Bay Area high-end homes may fall next year, Realtor group predicts – San Jose Mercury News
Expensive Bay Area communities — some of the only pockets of California real estate that have remained relatively unscathed by the housing downturn — may see fewer home sales and lower prices next year if mortgage financing for big-ticket homes does not improve, an economist for a real estate trade group said this week.

“The higher end of the market may be a little more at risk than in the past because of the question mark about jumbo financing,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors, in an interview Tuesday, a day before delivering her statewide housing forecast for 2009.

Ever since the “credit crunch” began late last year, interest rates for “jumbo” loans — which currently means those of more than about $730,000 — have been significantly higher than rates for smaller, “conforming” loans, leading to fewer sales of expensive homes. And as of January 1, because of economic and housing recovery legislation passed in Congress this summer, it’s likely that the higher rates will apply to all loans of more than about $625,000, which may further chill the market for high-end real estate.


Ever since the “credit crunch” began late last year, interest rates for “jumbo” loans — which currently means those of more than about $730,000 — have been significantly higher than rates for smaller, “conforming” loans, leading to fewer sales of expensive homes. And as of January 1, because of economic and housing recovery legislation passed in Congress this summer, it’s likely that the higher rates will apply to all loans of more than about $625,000, which may further chill the market for high-end real estate.

While the group does not create separate forecasts for different regions of the state, Appleton-Young said the Bay Area “in general has been the strongest market in the state over last four or five years.” But, it is vulnerable to the uncertainties still facing the credit markets, especially in high-priced markets that rely on jumbo loans. Sales have been speeding up in places like Solano and Contra Costa counties, where foreclosures have been plentiful and prices have dropped sharply.

“The Bay Area is a mixed bag, depending on what market you’re looking at,” she said.a

Comments (234) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:17 am

October 18, 2008

Is Barack Obama right for the Bay Area? How Much Would You Pay in Taxes?

Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain both say they’ll cut federal taxes if elected. Here’s what their proposals would mean for you.

Obama McCain
If you make… you’d
less than $19,000 $567 $21
$19,000-$37,600 $892 $118
$37,600-$66,400 $1118 $325
$66,400-$111,600 $1264 $994
$111,600-$161,000 $2135 $2584
$161,000-$227,000 $2796 $4437
If you’re in the top 5% of earners… you’d pay
an extra…
$227,000-$603,400 $121 $8159
$603,400-$2.87 million $93,709 $48,862
more than $2.87 million $542,882 $290,708

Now, Burbed doesn’t usually venture much into politics. At most, it’s a guide to Propositions like last week.

But after seeing, this I now wonder if Obama is right for Silicon Valley. Sure he’s proposed to offer grants and funding to green tech startups – that has the potential to churn out a few thousand millionaires once that industry explodes. But… But…. most Bay Area families would save nearly $1641 more in taxes with McCain. In fact, tens of thousands of Bay Area families will end up owing more taxes now that before!

Frankly, I’m torn. Is Barack Obama the right choice for the Bay Area? Will the greentech funding help us restore housing prices more? Or will the tax increases hurt us more?

(Thanks to anonymous Burbed reader for ths find!)

Comments (14) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:39 am

October 14, 2008

The Most Affordable House In The Bay Area with instant equity

665 W. MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA
665 W. MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA
Wonderful Rehab Potential
2BR/1BA Multi-Family, 3 units

offered at $215,000
Year Built 1868
Sq Footage 2,088
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms 1 full, 0 partial
Floors 2
Parking 3
Lot Size 4,429 sqft
HOA/Maint $0 per month

Large 3 unit building. 2 bedrooms upstairs, 1 bedroom or studios down. Lot Size 4,429 /- Property in middle of rehab and will be sold �AS IS�. Great potential with possible seller financing to approved purchaser. Large lot, permits available
to be transferred.

Thanks to Burbed reader Alex for thsi amazing find.

Dude this is a huge lot! It’s like 4429 square feet! Wowsers!

And guess what? It’s sold as-is – in the middle of a rehab. That means you have instant equity when buy this amazing find.

I mean seriously – this has got to be the most affordable house in the Bay Area with instant equity!

I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to buy it. Can you find a better deal than this?

Comments (21) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:12 am

October 11, 2008

Burbed’s Voter Guide for 2008: California Propositions

One of the best and biggest advantages of living in California is that you are able to make a giant impact through Propositions! For example, in 1978, voters ignored their callous politicians (who they had elected), ignored greedy corporations like Bank of America and Standard Oil that the idea would lead to ruin, and enacted the world famous Prop 13 – ensuring that real estate prices would stay high forever, ensuring that our schools and services would have no funding, ensuring that corporations would have a huge tax loophole forever, and ensuring that once you own land in California, you are king. Strong family values.

Well, it’s now that time of year again! Election season! Time for you to make an impact. Here’s Burbed’s guide to the Propositions!

Proposition 1A. Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train — State of California (Bond Act – Majority Approval Required)
To provide Californians a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices; to provide good-paying jobs and improve California’s economy while reducing air polution, global warning greenhouse gases, and our dependence on foreign oil, shall $9.95 billion in bonds be issued to establish a clean, efficient high-speed train service linking Southern California, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area, with at least 90 percent of bond funds spent for specific projects, with federal and private matching funds required, all bond funds subject to an independent audit?

Vote No! This will destroy some of our most fragile downtowns – like Mountain View, Burlingame, and others. Furthermore, do we really need access to SoCal? Clearly there’s no reason to go down there, the Bay Area is the most important part of California. Thus, this is being proposed so cultureless SoCal’ers can come up here. Forget about it – this won’t help boost real estate values in the Bay Area. Now… if they were going to build a high speed rail to Moscow, Shanghai, or Mumbai to attract more foreign dollars which are pouring in to buy real estate in world famous Cupertino – that’d be a different story!

Proposition 2. Standards for Confining Farm Animals — State of California (Initiative Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall certain farm animals be allowed, for the majority of every day, to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around?

Vote Yes! This will require farms to expand, thus causing land to become even more valuable and expensive. This will help real estate prices for sure!

Proposition 3. Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program — State of California (Initiative Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall $980,000,000 in general obligation bonds be authorized for construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of eligible children’s hospitals?

Vote No! Come on! Californians voted for Prop 13 30 years ago to send a strong signal: children are not our future. Not only will this not help our most valuable citizens – the baby boomers, our future retirees, this will hurt them by preventing more seniors hospitals from being built. And seniors are the kind of people we need to attract! Can you imagine if we had more world class elderly hospitals? Think about all the cash and equity rich retirees that would be pouring in from Florida, the United Arab Emirates, New York, and London! Think about it: do children have money? No! So why do we want more?

Proposition 4. Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy – State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment – Majority Approval Required)
Shall the California Constitution be changed to prohibit abortion for an unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent, legal guardian, or, in limited cases, substitute adult relative?

Vote Yes! We need to eliminate abortion. Think about it: more fetuses, more people, more need for houses. Eliminating abortion can only help boost real estate prices (though we may need more police as well if you believe in Freakanomics….)

Proposition 5. Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation — State of California (Initiative Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall $460,000,000 be allocated annually to improve and expand treatment programs?

Vote Yes! Just think about how amazing it would be if we could turn these small time drug dealers into something more productive and relevant: mortgage brokers and realtors. Exactly! This is the future right here! With their skills, even more people will be talked into buying houses. “What are you chicken? All the cool kids are buying condos!” Also, with more criminals out and rehabilitated, there will be more demand for housing. Real estate wins again!

Proposition 6. Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws — State of California (Initiative Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall of minimum of $965,000,000 of state funding be required each year for police and local law enforcement?

Vote Yes! Just incase Prop 4 and Prop 5 pass – this may be helpful. Besides, more police will help house prices.

Proposition 7. Renewable Energy Generation — State of California (Initiative Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall government-owned utilities be required to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2010, a standard currently applicable to private electrical corporations? Shall all utilities be required to generate 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025?

Vote Yes! Who doesn’t like clean skies? This will raise real estate prices.

Proposition 8. Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry — State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment – Majority Approval Required)
Shall the California Constitution be changed to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry providing that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California?

Vote No! We need gays and lesbians to marry! Why? Once people get married, they will instinctively want to settle down. And what does settling down mean? That’s right! Switching from renters to homeowners. More married same-sex couples will mean more demand for homes. And more demand means higher prices!

Proposition 9. Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole — State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall notification to victim and opportunity for input during phases of criminal justice process, including bail, pleas, sentencing and parole be required? Shall victim safety be a consideration for bail or parole?

Vote No! We need more people outside of jail – not behind bars. What good are people behind bars? They have free housing! We need to get them out, and get them into some sub-prime mortgages! Sorry victims!

Proposition 10. Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds — State of California (Initiative Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall $5 billion in bonds paid from state’s General Fund be authorized to help consumers and others purchase certain vehicles, and to help research in renewable energy and alternative fuel vehicles?

Vote No! We all want cleaner air and less traffic. The solution is to make sure that only those who can afford to drive clean air cars are allowed to drive! If that were to happen, the Bay Area would be even more progressive! And progressive areas attract the smartest and richest people. Win win!

Proposition 11. Redistricting — State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute – Majority Approval Required)
Shall the authority for establishing state office boundaries be changed from elected representatives to a commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither party selected from the registered voter pool in a multilevel process?

Vote Yes or No! Who cares?

Proposition 12. Veteran’s Bond Act of 2008 — State of California (Bond – Majority Approval Required)
Shall a nine hundred million dollar ($900,000,000) bond be issued to provide farm and home aid for California veterans?

Vote Yes! Duh. This might as well say “Do you want the future generations to pay for homes for veterans of today and boost your real estate prices?” Duh!

Well… these are the official stances of Burbed.com on how you should vote on this year’s Propositions!

Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear ‘em!

Comments (81) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:47 am

October 10, 2008

Silicon Valley Finds It Isn’t Immune From Credit Crisis

Silicon Valley Finds It Isn’t Immune From Credit Crisis – WSJ.com
Sequoia’s partners, who began the special meeting with a slide that read “RIP: Good Times,” pored over dire economic data and warned that the current downturn will be long and painful, according to people present. Sequoia declined to comment.

Until a few weeks ago, the tech sector looked relatively insulated from a downturn, as tech companies rode still-strong international sales and benefited from a weak dollar. Tech companies also typically have little debt on their balance sheets, limiting their exposure to the frozen credit markets — and leading to a certain complacence in Silicon Valley this summer as the credit crunch burned other industries.

But the turmoil of the past few weeks has changed that momentum. Venture capitalists are running into trouble raising new funds and tech vendors are getting squeezed as businesses cut budgets, banks pull credit lines and consumers close their wallets.

Benchmark Capital, a prominent Silicon Valley firm, recently sent a letter to its portfolio companies telling them that “financings as we know it just got a whole lot tougher.”

In the letter, Benchmark urged entrepreneurs to “be calm, but pragmatic” and added that “the rules of the game have changed.”

The letter suggested that entrepreneurs should raise new cash sooner than later and added that they could potentially draw down bank lines now before the financing spigots shut. Benchmark didn’t immediately have a comment.

“It’s like the perfect storm,” says Andy Morning, chief financial officer of Mattson Technology Inc., a Fremont, Calif., maker of chip-manufacturing equipment.

Last month, Mattson announced it was cutting its staff by 14% because of the poor business environment.

Similar layoff notices are piling up across Silicon Valley. This week, eBay Inc. said that it would cut 10% of its work force, or about 1,000 full-time jobs. Last month, Hewlett-Packard Co. said it would cut 24,600 employees, or 7.5% of its work force, after a big acquisition, while chip maker Nvidia Corp. said it would lay off 6.5% of its workers.


“Up until recently we were still competing with Apple and Google for talent,” says Bill Nguyen, a founder of the Palo Alto, Calif., company, which currently has 35 employees. “But now we just look at it and say we just can’t do it.” Instead, he wants to bank more money as reserves, in case the downturn becomes more protracted, he says.

Hm. Well, this is probably just a short term thing. 2009 will rock!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:35 am

October 9, 2008

Silicon Valley full of patriots – not house-poor

In Silicon Valley, more homeowners are spending more than half their income on housing – San Jose Mercury News
Over the last four years, the number of Santa Clara County homeowners who spend over half their income on housing climbed by 26 percent, to more than one in five households with a mortgage, a Mercury News analysis of newly released census data shows.

Devoting a majority of your income to housing is one definition of “house-poor”; people are often advised to figure on 30 percent as the right proportion. Despite the Bay Area’s affluence, economists say the growing mortgage burden is a cause for concern as the economy teeters and credit markets lock up. While having large numbers of households that spend so much on housing doesn’t necessarily increase the risks of a recession, it could worsen the consequences of one.

How dare the MSM (Main Street Media) refer to these people as being house-poor. These people are keeping our economy going. They are the true patriots of America.

Figures the elitist out of touch media would dump on them.

Frankly, it seems to me we should have a parade for these folks!

Comments (67) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:15 am