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 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

November 5, 2008

Some comments from RealEstater

Some comments from Madhaus []

RealEstater Says:
November 1st, 2008 at 9:38 pm e

Here are some of the most recent data on RBA sales:
324 Valparaiso Ave, Atherton – Sold for $2.15M. Previous sale: 6/00, $1M

1172 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park (note: a high traffic street) – Sold for $1.65M. Previous sale: 4/97, $670K

161 Eunice Ave., Mountain View – $1.2M. Previous sale: 6/00, $747K

565 Minton Lane, Mountain View – $1.035M. Previous sale: 9/03, $695K

1664 Notre Dame Drive, Mountain View – $1.359M. Previous sale: 9/96, $390K!

881 East Meadow Drive, Palo Alto (Note: High traffic street) – $1.25M. Previous sale: 1/04, $886K

2741 Carolina Ave., Redwood City – $939K. Previous sale: 3/93 – $312K

What have you noticed lately in your neighborhood?

Comments (149) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:40 am

November 4, 2008

It’s Election Day. Go vote to preserve the Real Bay Area

Sorry for the re-run, but it is Election Day after all. Go vote!

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 on how you should vote on this year’s Propositions!

Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear ‘em!

Comments (92) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am

November 1, 2008

Who says homeownership in California is unaffordable?

California Cities Cut Police Budgets –
After Sept. 11, California municipalities moved to increase wages and benefits to attract police officers and firefighters. Vallejo joined a consortium of cities in the region, including Oakland and San Francisco, that used each city’s salary and benefit increases as a guide for labor contracts.

Before that, in 1999, state lawmakers had adopted a measure called “3% at 50″ that allowed local and state police officers and firefighters to retire at 50 years of age with 3% of their highest annual salary — multiplied by the number of years served. The legislation granted thousands of public-safety workers a retirement payout of 90% of their former salaries for life. The benefit, bolstered by post-9/11 recruiting, swiftly became a major staple for most California cities.

Those full-natured benefits created a bidding war among Northern California cities, and Vallejo negotiated lucrative wage increases with police and firefighter unions to stay competitive. Three years ago, the city agreed to a 20% pay increase between 2007 and 2009; an average police officer now makes $121,000. When benefits are included, the number rises to more than $190,000. By 2007, 80% of Vallejo’s budget was dedicated to police and firefighters.


Vallejo also finds itself in competition with Bay Area cities that can still afford to attract officers. Joe McCarthy, a Vallejo detective, says 10 surrounding cities have contacted him with job offers. He plans to leave soon.

Check out how much the average Bay Area police officer makes. See? Housing is plenty affordable for our public servants. They’ll help keep prices up!

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

October 30, 2008

Welcome to the Real Bay Area, Salinas!

Property Report: 1139 WELLINGTON Ct SALINAS, CA 93906 – Krunching

Year Built
Lot Sqft (ac)
5998 (0.14)
Bldg Sqft

Listing Price

Map data ©2008 Tele Atlas – Terms of Use
Listing Information

Listing Date
Subscribers only
– 819094
Listing Agent
Listing Office


Beautiful Creekbridge home perfect for a growing family or for someone who wants alot of room. This beauty features a very generously sized kitchen and plenty of room throughout the four bedrooms. Schedule your private showing today. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to Burbed reader Jim for this amazing find.

Wow. I’m shocked. At $149,478 per square foot, this house truly takes the cake. Forget Real Bay Area, this is Real Bay Area Maximus! Or… True Real Bay Area. Either way… wow… we’ve got some stiff competition going on. Do you hear that Palo Alto and Saratoga? REAL STIFF COMPETITION. Time to step up your game and beat these suckers.

(BTW, where is Salinas?)

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:44 am

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