August 18, 2013

Around the Web: Useless Realty-Related Infographics

Maybe by 2014 everyone will be sick of these ubiquitous infographics, but for now they’re everywhere.  And not everyone is improved by the addition of spurious graphics. Realtards aren’t the only ones out there giving out self-serving information while suggesting they’re helping you.  Homebuilders also play many of the same games we know and love.  Here’s a fun infographic, if by “fun” we really mean “see how much fun you can have spotting all the misleading information in one image.”

Not only is “Myth One” a real hoot in the Bay Area (let alone the Real Bay Area), it isn’t even true without all the special pleading for tax exemptions and future streams of payments and other sneaky accounting tricks.  Remember, Richard Florida pointed out that in Opposite of the Real Bay Area, it’s actually cheaper to buy than rent, as in monthly payments there are lower than monthly rents.  Why?  Because everyone who wants a house has bought one, so there are few potential customers.  In the RBA, lots of people want to buy but can’t afford to, so prices stay high as they save up until they can.

We don’t even want to mention that unlike the Bay Area, there are many places in the US where it’s very difficult to rent a typical single family house, so comparative rent vs buy is almost impossible. Perhaps more people would rent if they could get a house instead of an apartment.

What’s your situation? Do you live in a SFH, a townhouse, or an apartment? Do you own or rent? What do you think if this silly poster?


Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:04 am

June 16, 2013

Fed Study: Angeleños really did use houses as ATMs

In the latest installment of Formerly Middle Class People Deserved To Lose All Their Money, the Wall Street Journal informs us of a study from the Federal Reserve Board’s Steven Laufer. Not too surprisingly, the paper says these longer-term FBs would have been fine if they hadn’t kept taking equity out of their houses just because they could.

Study: How Using Homes as ATMs Fueled Foreclosures

130614-la-townhomesBy Nick Timiraos, The Wall Street Journal
May 28, 2013, 11:58 AM

The conventional wisdom of the housing crisis goes something like this: Too many people bought homes as the housing bubble inflated. Some were unlucky in their timing, while others overextended themselves by putting too little money down. All of these top-of-the-market purchases led to an explosion of foreclosures once home prices dropped sharply and the economy hit the skids.

Amid the current debate about whether a new bubble is forming in the housing market, it’s worth looking at a paper published in March that challenges conventional wisdom by showing that a significant share of foreclosures came from people who bought their homes before 2004.

So why did so many people who bought their homes before the housing bubble fully inflated end up losing their homes anyway?

20130614-la-freemoneyThe paper concludes that if only California had laws like Texas (which forbids borrowing more than 80% of home equity), not only would fewer FBs gotten F’ed, but homeowners (as opposed to homedebtors) would have had more money to spend because houses wouldn’t have cost so much.

Which is ridiculous, because why do you think these FBs borrowed all that equity in the first place? They sure as heck didn’t invest it in infrastructure.  Heck, no.  They spent it.  We’re cheered to see Larry Roberts (OC Housing News) agrees with us.

Then again, that study also says people defaulted because (among other reasons) they assumed their home prices would keep going down. This shows why the study was in Los Angeles instead of the Real Bay Area. Everyone knows in the RBA, prices only go up.

There’s also a very important reveal in the paper. Laufer’s model shows that home prices would be 14% lower if all that equity extraction hadn’t taken place. And as we know, the Real Estate industry will simply not allow that to happen.  They might as well throw away tax-deductibility of mortgage interest too.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

April 14, 2012

Saturday Soak: Your weekend Open Thread


This image from SFGate shows eight lightning bolts hitting the Bay Bridge on April 12th.  How did you enjoy nature’s fireworks Thursday night?

You can also discuss this New York Times piece observing that California’s North/South divide is overblown.  The real divide is West versus East, and we coastal huggers are doing fine economically.  Inland is a much different story.  Stockton is looking into bankruptcy.  People moved inland, but the jobs didn’t follow, and then the housing values collapsed.  The coastal regions are more politically liberal and more eager for environmental policies that inland residents object to.  And geographically, a beach is not a desert.

This is an Open Thread.  How’s your weekend going?  Seen any good Open Houses lately?  How about those local sports teams, eh?

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

November 26, 2011

Sawbuck measures Market Health, drunk-dials 911

imageThere are several real estate search sites out there that let you peruse homes on the Multiple Listing Service.  Regular Burbed readers may have have noted we’re partial to RedfinZillow gets noticed for their ZEstimate, an automated model that attempts to value most homes in the United States.  Some of our fans like Trulia, as I get the occasional submission pointing to their site.

imageI just took another look at Sawbuck when I put a recent feature together.  Sawbuck is a Washington DC-based site that partners with local agents in several regions, including the Bay Area.   Until I found their listing information last week, I figured Sawbuck links were just nuisances. Google searches for property addresses pointed to Sawbuck’s very silly videos that were animated frames for MLS photos and information. 

But this time they had a very detailed page on the house I was checking out.  The videos were gone, even when Google pointed to embedded players.  They also had something I haven’t seen on any of the other sites before.

Their pages for each city have a Market Overview, showing how many homes are for sale, the median list and sales price, ho-hum, seen it.  But I hadn’t seen a Market Health Score on a city’s real estate activity before, at least not on a site that links to individual home listings.  Altos Research does something like that called the Market Action Index (MAI), but they’re in the Useless Aggregate Data business.

So how is the market doing in the Real Bay Area?  Let’s have Sawbuck and Altos fight it out, after the break!


Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 12, 2006

Another Bay Area Success Story!

Mountain View Voice: Letters to the Editor (September 8, 2006)
Big fan of Google wireless network


I just finished reading your Aug. 25 article titled “ExpressNets extends reach of Google WiFi,” and wanted to comment on how great this service offered by Google truly is.

I have grown up in California, and my husband and I are both in our late 20s and have college degrees. We just moved to Mountain View from the South Bay, work full time, and found that what we could afford in the Bay Area was … well … a mobile home.

Our budget is such that we have elected to not have television, a landline telephone (as we have cell phones), or Internet, because it would simply be too expensive.

I work in eCommerce, so this decision was tough. Though I am on the Internet at my place of employment all day, we do not have the time for personal business. When I read that Google launched its WiFi for Mountain View, I was so ecstatic it is impossible to put into words.

The Internet has become such an indispensable part of modern life, both business and personal, that it seems almost counter-intuitive for companies to not want individuals to have the ability to access the Web for free.

The amount of money spent on online consumer goods is staggering. The money that a company would have to spend to provide Internet service to a city is paltry by comparison. To make a long story short, I am so grateful to Google as I type this up on the couch in my living room that I hope that other companies follow suit, mainly because we have a problem in California with too many individuals being overqualified and underemployed.

Companies will profit from these individuals when the time comes that they need people to fill positions, buy products, or promote services. If people are denied something as basic as Internet connectivity because of the price tag, it is the companies, and ultimately the community, that will lose in the end.

I think the letter got chopped off. At the end, it should probably have read:

“P.S. Dear Google – please send food. And cash”

Now that I think of it, I wonder how much mobile homes go for here…

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 652020
Mountain View, CA 94041
(Mountain View)Park: MOORPARK
Model: FLEETWOOD Year: 2006



This Mobile Home has the following features:
MLS#: 652020 Approx Age: 1 Years Approx Sq Ft: 1160

Wow… just $162k? Sweet!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:53 am

September 5, 2006

Median income trends in multiple states

I saw this today…

The Washington Monthly

HAPPY LABOR DAY!….Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, here’s a handy map showing how far median incomes have dropped over the past six years. And it’s good news for most of you: Compared to Michigan and North Carolina you’re not doing so badly after all. So stop your sniveling.

—Kevin Drum 1:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (243)

Oh well no wonder housing prices have gone up so much in California! Everyone knows that as median income falls, prices go up because of the magic housing fairy!

Comments (1) -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:20 am

August 19, 2006

Congrats CA! Affordability at a record low! 23%!

2Q 06 First-time Buyer HAI
The percentage of first-time buyers in California able to afford a median-priced home stood at 23 percent in the second quarter of 2006, compared with 30 percent for the same period a year ago, according to a newly developed index released today by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

C.A.R.’s First-time Buyer Housing Affordability Index (FTB-HAI) measures the percentage of first-time buyer households that can afford to purchase a home in California. C.A.R. also reports first-time buyer indexes for regions and select counties within the state. The Index is the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for first-time buyers in the state.

The minimum household income first-time buyers needed to purchase a home at $482,000 in California in the second quarter of 2006 was $98,720, based on an adjustable interest rate of 6.48 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment. First-time buyers typically purchase a home equal to 85 percent of the prevailing median price. The monthly payment including taxes and insurance was $3,290 for the second quarter of 2006.

Congrats California! Let’s try to aim for 10%!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:22 am