December 14, 2008

A Visual Guide to the Financial Crisis

For those who haven’t seen this yet:

Not 100% accurate – some sections are extraordinarily weak – but a good appetizer nonetheless.

Comments (102) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:49 am

December 7, 2008

Houses are selling like crazy in Mountain View

Mountain View Voice Mountain View Voice: Home sales buck downward trend (November 28, 2008)
Home sales buck downward trend
Larger market turmoil fails to deter real estate buyers in Mountain View

by Daniel DeBolt

Stanford Terrace Inn
While the median price of a home has decreased in Mountain View over the last year, the number of home sales has gone up.

In October of last year there were 48 home sales. This October there were 53, four of which were foreclosures.

Strangely, the sales are happening in a very shaky market, says broker Nick French.

“Talk about uncertainty,” French said. “There’s job market uncertainty, economic uncertainty, stock market uncertainty.”

But it’s times like these that are the best time to buy, he says, when fewer people are looking. He added that he’s been buying up property himself. Others apparently have been, too.

French likes to quote the character Ricky Roma in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”: “I subscribe to the law of contrary public opinion. … If everyone thinks one thing, then I say, bet the other way.”

The public’s opinion may be reflected in Mountain View’s median home prices for October: $971,858 for single family homes and $646,803 for condos, compared to $1,037,654 for single family homes and $561,604 for condos during the same month last year.

If now isn’t an awesome time to buy in Mountain View, I don’t know what is. Real Bay Area at its best!

Check this out:

Historically, Mountain View housing prices don’t go down very much in a down market, French says. Many buyers have been able to justify the investment.

At the corner of Calderon and Dana streets, the new “Wild Orchid” development is evidence the housing market is still alive and kicking. After going on sale in May, 30 of the 39 town homes sold for over $900,000. Sales didn’t even slow in October.

It’s clear, the bottom has been reached in Mountain View. At this point, prices are set to soar in 2009. Buy now, and sit tight for the ride. Just think, in 40 years, you can post a comment just like this guy did:

Posted by Mr. Bernier, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Nov 27, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Every MV resident that has owned real estate in MV for over 20 years should be tax exempt from property taxes. I think this would be a nice little bonus for those of us that were here first.

Be a founder today! Buy buy buy!

Comments (173) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:46 am

November 30, 2008

California Layoff Tracker Database Notice

California Layoff Notices
This is a database of layoff notices filed with the state Employment Development Department under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The WARN Act requires certain employers to give affected employees at least 60 days advance written notice of any plant closing or mass layoff. (Note: The state updates the WARN list once a month. The data below is based on information provided on Nov. 10, 2008.)

To wrap up Thanksgiving weekend, be thankful that your company is not listed on this site.

Or is it?

Comments (103) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

November 29, 2008

At least we’re Top 10….

S.D. home prices fall but sales are brisk
While nearly 39 percent of San Diego homes sold were affordable in the third quarter, the New York City area was deemed the least affordable with only 10.6 percent of homes sold at a median $500,000 and within reach of the median-income household earning $63,000.

Four of the least-affordable markets were in California: San Luis Obispo, 13.4 percent; San Francisco, 16.6 percent; Los Angeles, 20.7 percent; and Napa, 23.2 percent.

To be clear, these are definitely tough times. With house prices not going up as fast anymore, there’s definitely some gloom. It saddens me that we still can’t beat New York City in unaffordability, but we sure beat them in median income  (wtf, $63k? cafeteria chefs make more than that here!)! And, it should hearten some that we are at least in the Top 10 for being unaffordable.

Mixed signs for sure.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:11 am

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Usually I publish the annual Thanksgiving price comparison – which shows that groceries in the Bay Area are dramatically more expensive than they are in our competitors of Seattle and Washington DC (also known as the “The other places where there are Safeways”). You can see last year’s edition here.

Unfortunately, this year I waited too long, and as a result, Safeway started having crazy sales which made direct comparisons impossible. Whoops. My bad on that.

So, instead, this year I will list what I am thankful for, and I hope you share as well:

  1. That I have this site.
  2. That the Bay Area is still incredibly special.
  3. That the comments on this site are still pretty darn good (compared to… say… youtube comments!)
  4. That people keep reading this site.
  5. All the fine people who have donated to the site. Most recently – a $50 contribution from madhaus! Thanks a lot! (You too can contribute!)

Of course, there’s plenty more I’m thankful for, but I’ll leave it short and sweet for today.

What are you thankful for?

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am

November 24, 2008

“NorCal median home price plummets 41 percent”

NorCal median home price plummets 41 percent
A real estate tracking firm says the median home price plunged 41 percent last month in a nine-county region around San Francisco Bay, as homebuyers snapped up homes that had been foreclosed and otherwise discounted.

Figures released Thursday by MDA DataQuick show the median sale price in the region declined to $375,000 October, compared to $631,000 in the year-ago period.

October’s median was down 6.3 percent from September and nearly 44 percent below the peak median of $665,000 in the summer of 2007.

Last month’s home sales climbed nearly 39 percent from a year ago to 7,613 and nearly 5 percent from September.

Foreclosure resales accounted for nearly 45 percent of preowned homes sold last month.

Bay Area H8ters will probably celebrating this news and throwing it in our face. But let’s be clear, this refers to the 9-county region in Northern California. I can’t even name all 9 – can you?

Come on folks, please write letters to the editor explaining to them the concept fo the Real Bay Area. It’s all about (most of) Santa Clara, (some of) San Mateo, and San Francisco county.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:13 am

November 16, 2008

1 in 7 homes in Santa Clara County is ‘underwater’

1 in 7 homes in Santa Clara County is ‘underwater’ – San Jose Mercury News
In Cupertino, for example, only 1 percent of owners who purchased their homes since 2003 were underwater — also called “upside-down” — in the third quarter. In San Jose’s 95122 ZIP code, 62 percent of recent buyers had negative equity. In Gilroy, 51 percent did.

That’s bad news for many homeowners in the San Jose metropolitan area. But, said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s vice president for data and analytics, “When you compare it to other major metro areas in California, it actually fares very well.”

Seriously? People are talking about Gilroy when they talk about the Bay Area? Still? Come on MSM (Main Street Media)! Get with the times!

Here’s a corrected map of the Real Bay Area:

Let’s focus on the real news:

Humphries noted that home values in Santa Clara County cities such as Cupertino and Mountain View finally began to slip in the third quarter, despite the fact that other parts of the county already have seen double-digit depreciation.

“Prior to this quarter we were thinking of those as oases,” he said. “It’s very evident just how much the San Jose metro region has been buoyed by the tech sector.”

In Cupertino, Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, the company said, the median estimated value of all homes declined between 1 and 2 percent in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier. Monte Sereno was the only community in the county where values rose compared with third quarter 2007, rising 1.3 percent.

Good! Good riddance. All those Real Bay Area wannabees will finally be purged, so we can focus on retaining the best Real Bay Area homeowners. So 2008 isn’t going to end with a bang… that just sets us up to be in an even better position for 2009! OH YEAH!

BTW, Monte Sereno, you are my new BFF.

Comments (55) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:48 am

November 15, 2008

Bay Area homeowners owe more than home’s worth

Bay Area homeowners owe more than home’s worth
Twenty percent of Bay Area homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to a study being released today. This dubious distinction has entered the American lexicon as an all-too-familiar term – being underwater.

Tsk tsk tsk… once again the MSM (Main Street Media) gets it wrong. Yes there are houses underwater in the Bay Area. But what does it really look like in the Real Bay Area? Who cares if Snoopy’s doghouse is upside down in Santa Rosa (heck, he sleeps on the top anyway), what matters is how are house prices in Palo Alto and Cupertino.

Here’s a remix of their misleading chart:

Sure, the Real Bay Area is hurting a little these days. But this is great news – this just means that next year, prices will rocket once people get over their pessimism and start to spend spend spend. Hey, didn’t LinkedIn just get more funding? Didn’t Obama promise to support alt energy startups?

The good times are coming back soon – now’s the best time to buy.

Comments (267) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

November 10, 2008

My apologies for the awful downtime…

My apologies for the awful downtime. I am investigating why that happened.

Comments Off on My apologies for the awful downtime… Posted by: burbed @ 10:27 pm

November 8, 2008

Funky Scams on Craigslist

Moving Chronicles (08v9) Scams-I
Recent house price weakness makes us feel good about renting. Recent stock price weakness contributes to the idea house price weakness may continue.
To recap, discounting the months of uncertainty and extra workload while we continuously searched for a new rental, we found a new place, moved in during the summer and declared victory.
There are a couple more “lessons” we learned along the way which we will now presume to share with our readers.
The rental ad below seems like a very nice price for an area which many enjoy. Portions of Cambrian are zoned for good schools, so it is imperative to understand the exact location.
The first thing we asked this agent was the address: (The typos and spelling issues are they appeaed in the ad.)

Pretty interesting read. Be sure to read the Part 2 as well.

Seen any interesting scams in your neighborhood lately?

Comments (120) -- Posted by: burbed @ 8:45 am