June 19, 2013

Ni Hao! Why housing prices in the Bay Area can go only go up!

All the time, people ask me “Burbed, will the house prices in the Real Bay Area continue to go up?”

My answer: Are they making any more land… that Chinese people want to buy?

But enough of my pithy subjective comments, let’s look at this certified Bar Charts™:

http://thefrontsteps.com/2013/06/03/san-franciscos-gender-sexual-preference-income-ethnicity-marital-status-and-more/20130618paragon

Now, let’s face it: China is a country full of rich people. Full of them! And what do they want? US real estate!

Whether it be rich parents buying apartments for their high school aged children so they go to prep schools here, or for their 2 year olds, they are buying real estate. Now, granted, these two previous links were mostly about NY because of the lamestream media’s perpetual bias towards NY – but those of us in the Yay Area know better.

Looking at that chart above, you can see a trend. The blue bar is the biggest, and will only grow bigger. It’s almost touching the other edge of the chart, and that means there’s room to grow. In fact, if you look really hard, you can see that the bar is accelerating.

By the end of this decade, Chinese people will account for 105% of the Real Bay Area – that’s right, you heard it here first. They will all be coming here with their suitcases full of RMBs, buying all the real estate in sight. You think cash only offers are crazy today? Just imagine the future when you’ll be getting cash only with a LV suitcase offer.

With any luck, the Chinese will help the entire Real Bay Area finally edge out Manhattan for the highest $/sqft in America by the end of the decade, if not the the world.

Enter the dragon… the Open House hours are 9a-9:15a. xie xie!

So… Burbians… how are you doing in your Mandarin classes?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:03 am






June 18, 2013

Lotsa Listing Lunacy in Los Altos!

Let’s take a look at this lovely lienhold in Los Altos. Today’s featured property brings us lots of great photography.  That is if by great we mean some other word, such as “quaint” or “challenging” or perhaps “well-meant.”  Thanks very much to Burbed reader littleoldlady from RBA.

And since this place is already in contract, Redfin isn’t showing it anymore. Helloooooo, Trulia!

130617-morton-redfin1650 Morton Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
$1,388,000

4 bed / 3 full bath
2,588 sqft
Single-Family Home
Active Contingent
$6,215 / mo
25 days on Trulia
Built in 1955
Neighborhood: South Los Altos
MLS/Source ID: 81317816

1650 Morton Ave DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH-UPGRADE TO YOUR TASTE! This home was extensively remodeled and expanded in 2000. A guest room wing with two separate entrances was added and much of the original house was rebuilt. The finishes and details need attention, but the bones are 130617-morton-hardwoodgood. If you have the vision to imagine your own finishes and colors in place, you could polish this into the gem of the neighborhood, and what a fine neighborhood it is. The kitchen features maple cabinets and a comfortable breakfast area. Granite slab counters would complete the kitchen makeover (and we have a bid of just under $10,000 to supply and install… these). The bathrooms are dated; in fact, the guest bath is so dated it is 1950’s retro! The 130617-morton-kitchenhouse would benefit from interior paint, new windows, extending the wide plank hardwood floors from the living/dining areas or adding new carpet, and bathroom updating. Located on a spacious corner lot of over 10,000 feet, the parcel includes two majestic redwoods, three mature oaks, and three soap bark trees. The trees are near the property perimeter so you can develop the rest of the parcel as you choose. The landscape details and final design are up to you. Priced to allow the new owner the ability to integrate all the details and finishes you desire and still enjoy a valuable acquisition.

130617-morton-paintNow that is one chatty agent. This one went on for more than three picture’s worth of listing copy! Can you imagine having to get in the car and go on a house tour with that dude?  You’ll be glad you brought your earbuds!  Now let’s hear from LOL RBA.

Now wait… I have noticed a pattern in Los Altos. Every nice house gets listed for $1495, or $1498… Then sell then sells for $1750 – $1800. 130617-morton-tileEvery not so nice house gets listed for $1150 and sells for around $1300. What on earth is this terrifying listing? Rebuilt in 2000? Wha’?? What did they rebuild? And is this a nice house, destined to sell for $1750 (um…no) or a not so nice house that will sell for $1300, thereby getting no overbids? Regardless, the house will be in escrow within 7 days, like everything else in the RBA.

I love your blog. My favorite stop with my morning coffee. Your fan.  Sent from my iPad

You know you’re in the Real Bay Area when even the little old ladies correspond with an iPad. And LOL-RBA was correct about the 7 day escrow, or was it more like 7 minutes?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

June 17, 2013

A Burbed Classic Design Goes Upscale. Way Upscale.

A little more than a year ago we ran a house that had a most unusual addition.  Remember the Budget-Add-A-Room strategy?  Just back a cheap RV next to the house, and… instant extra living space!  Also instant addition to Best of Burbed!

Hey, for a hundred year old house in the East Bay, this is a possible solution to cramped quarters.  Now imagine what this would look like if some la-di-da designer got ahold of this idea and tried staging it to attract some Twithead with more money than taste or sense.  It would probably look like today’s featured listing.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for this rip-roaring reboot.

130616-norfolk-redfin55 Norfolk St #101
San Francisco, CA 94103
$599,000

HOA Dues: $400/mo.
1 Beds
1 Baths
— Sq. Ft.
Built: 1995
Lot Size: —
On Redfin: 17 days
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $400/month
Style: Modern/High Tech
County: San Francisco
Property Type: Live/Work Unit, Loft Condominium
Community: South of Market
MLS#: 408810

Think Big in this modern SoMa loft! Polished concrete floors, west-facing industrial windows, soaring ceilings make this live/work space special. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows w/ sliding door leads to private outdoor garden. Fire engine red spiral staircase leads mezzanine Master Suite w/ new carpeting, industrial railings, closet. Rare and unusual Winnebago nook creates a private, enclosed space. Kitchen w/ maple cabinetry, stainless steel backsplash, gas range, dishwasher, microwave. Full bathroom and storage area. Deeded parking and laundry in garage. Located at the western edge of SOMA, 55 Norfolk provides the best of SoMa nightlife, dining, shopping, tech companies. Access to shuttle buses, 101, and Bay Bridge makes commuting easy.

Hope you caught that: Access to shuttle buses. That means Google and Facebook, too!  Now, check out the rate and unusual Winnebago nook.

130616-norfolk-winnebago

Not too many listing photos have to come with safety warnings, either.

130616-norfolk-roof

You can tell from this view that unlike the Castro Valley house, this SF loft/condo had to cut things down. You’re only getting a quarter of a Winnebago. Maybe 3 other units also get the “rare and unusual” nook.

130616-norfolk-side

Note that the house with the entire RV went for above asking.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 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

June 15, 2013

Open House Time. Real Open.

130614-hwy14-wtfSpring Bounce will be over very soon, leading to Summer Bummer. So get your open house visits in while there’s still nothing in inventory because foreigners with suitcases full of cash are buying up everything.  Just think, if Bay Area Bubble continues expanding, you can head to Washington and see home décor like this.

Fortunately, in the Real Bay Area, people do not display amateur carvings of naked women mated to boat prows.  You’re far more likely to find a pinball machine or an open wire closet than hundreds of dollars of wood that would be better used as high-quality flooring.

Let us know what you find in this weekend’s open house visits, because this is your weekend’s Open Thread.  Feel free to open your shirt, lean back and stay a while.

Thanks very much to Christin’s Redfin Collections page Just Wow for featuring this… work of… bark.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

June 14, 2013

Game of Thrones in Daly City

130613-parkview-throneWe love featuring all kinds of Bay Area Real Estate win: the bad listing photos, the atrocious listing copy, the ridiculous pricing, the uncorrectable defects better known as location fail, the horrendous décor choices, or any other example of Realty WTF that our readers send us.

Today’s entry will start your weekend off well.  While Game of Thrones just finished its third season on HBO, you can play the game on the Peninsula! Thanks very much to Burbed reader waiting_for_the_fall for this fantastic installment!

130613-parkview-redfin96 PARKVIEW Ave
Daly City, CA 94014
$489,000

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,150 Sq. Ft.
$425 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1922
Lot Size: 3,300 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 40 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: ‘Original’ Daly City
MLS#: 81315124
Stories: 1
County: San Mateo

Complete fixer in great Daly City neighborhood. City approved remodel plans in place to create legal 3 bedroom 2 bath. Large corner lot close to transportation and shopping. Detached garage and private, low maintenance yard. Lots of sweat equity in this home ready for the handy buyer!

First let’s have a good look around, especially that low maintenance yard.

130613-parkview-gated130613-parkview-paint130613-parkview-window

What does waiting_for_the_fall have to say about this charming cottage?

I got another one for you.  This one is a real stinker.

Check out the steps up to both toilets.  I’ve heard of toilets called thrones before, but this is taking it a bit too far.  The listing history is like a roller coster.  How can anyone think this crapshack (with toilet thrones!) is worth 489k?!?

130613-parkview-bath130613-parkview-bath2

If anyone buys this house at the listed price, they are mentally insane.

If everyone is high on bubbly, that’s not mental insanity. That’s a day in the Bay Area that ends with “-y”!  Y for Yes We Are!

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

June 13, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0: Oakland. Yes, Oakland.

People often ask us, “Why do you keep saying this is another bubble? All the real estate experts out there keep assuring us it isn’t.”

Puh-leeze, people! Do you really expect those so-called experts to understand the difference between national averages and Real Estate Where It’s Special? Of course not! Those silly “experts” think this isn’t a bubble because prices haven’t hit their pre-crash peaks.  Except if you followed real estate in the Real Bay Area you’d know that they have and they do, every day.  So let’s look at yet another “point of light” illuminating the real estate bubble that we damned well know is blowing up a little bigger every day in the RBA, Where It’s Special.

And even where it isn’t. Because today we’re looking at overbidding in Oakland.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Bob in Oakland for the find.

130612-monterey-redfin3239 MONTEREY Blvd
Oakland, CA 94602
$840,000

5 Beds
3.5 Baths
4,971 Sq. Ft.
$169 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2002
Lot Size: 8,755 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 104 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Alameda County
MLS#: 81306257
Stories: 2
County: Alameda

Large beautiful home with a fantastic view!

 

130612-monterey-aerialThis home may be large and beautiful, but the agent thoughtfully kept things simple by not including any photos other than the one you see right here. Now if that isn’t proof of a real estate bubble, we don’t know what to tell you. This house is telling you, you want an almost 5,000 square foot house? Well you can bloody well submit your overbid and hope you get to see the inside, then!

Did we say overbid? More like over-overbid, because last week the price got cranked up from $550k to $840k despite There’s No Bubble Here.

And if you’re wondering how the heck there’s almost 5,000 sf of house in this modest façade, have a look at the satellite photo. Looks like the builder went deep. Real deep. Also there’s another floor under the driveway, which means you’d best check the drainage.

Bunus: That’s a freeway in the bottom right corner: Lucky number 13!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

June 12, 2013

Huge electrical tower in front of house in Sunnyvale

Let’s take a look at a house with some location fail. When we use the term “location fail” we’re referring to uncorrectable defects that are a function of where the house is. The only way to fix them is to move. Let’s move on to this Sunnyvale house and see how the Tower of Power is treating it.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for wiring this over.

130611-remington-redfin1113 REMINGTON Ct
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
$1,199,999

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
2,006 Sq. Ft.
$598 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1975
Lot Size: 6,527 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 11 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Sunnyvale
MLS#: 81318908

Huge electrical tower in front of house. House has additional bedrooms and baths, half garage has been converted to a studio, all done professionally without permits

We feel cheated.  There’s a huge electrical tower in front of the house and the listing photo doesn’t even show it. Why mention such an important feature if you’re not going to show it off?

130611-remington-streetview

You’re welcome.

Bunus: Look what we found on Zillow.  All we were trying to do is figure out what they were asking for this place in 2012 when it went pending twice but never actually changed hands. 

130611-remington-zillow

We’re pretty confident this place will be selling shortly.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

June 11, 2013

Attention all first-time buyers!

Let’s find out what affordable housing looks like Close to Facebook!  Here’s a honey of a house from Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer. Thanks very much… we think.

130611-wisteria-redfin143 WISTERIA Dr
East Palo Alto, CA 94303
$375,000

3 Beds
1 Baths
1,060 Sq. Ft.
$354 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1952
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 6 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: East of U.S. 101
MLS#: 81319639
Style: Traditional
View": Neighborhood
County: San Mateo

Attention all first time buyers!!! Diamond in the rough!! "The Gardens Home" Hardwood floors throughout, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1060 square feet on a 5000 square foot lot. Minutes from highway 101, Dumbarton and IKEA. This is a great started home in a well maintained neighborhood!!!

Check it out!

130611-wisteria-side130611-wisteria-floor130611-wisteria-back

Great started home indeed!  Plus, we got 3/4 of a Dude Hanging Out in that… um…guest house.  Which we are absolutely sure has all required permits.  Uh huh.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

June 10, 2013

in-ground pool, custom tile entry way

It’s time for another week of Burbed win! You know what that means, right? Sure you do! Today’s fine featured fortress is brought to you by Burbed reader J from Alameda.  Yes, another bit of East Bay win today, in Walnut Creek!

And you know that by “win” we still mean the exact opposite of “win.”

130609-newell-redfin1764 NEWELL Ave
Walnut Creek, CA 94595
$734,900

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,977 Sq. Ft.
$372 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 9,504 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 172 days
Status: Pend-REO
Type: Detached
Stories: 1
County: Contra Costa
Style: Ranch
Community: Parkmead
MLS#: 40598733

This custom home has over 2000 sq ft of living space located in the heart of Parkmead. Home features an open floorplan, custom tile entry way, hardwood floors, sunroom (permits unknown) and updated master bath. The backyard has a in-ground pool. Call today for more information on this great home!!

130609-newell-open-planLet’s have J check in on why another East Bay property when there are so many deserving listings much closer to Google:

How about a nomination for most trips down Pending Lane? And a few price reductions thrown in for good measure.

Theories? Is it the pool? The unknown sunroom permits? Can’t be the freeway noise since it’s at least a block away. The house is on a busy 130609-newell-poolstreet but just doesn’t look so terrible. What am I missing?

Oh, sure, anyone can take a trip down Pending Lane if all you have to do is lounge around on the bank’s inventory.  And anyone can take multiple trips if the house isn’t in the Real Bay Area. RBA houses are in such demand that pushy buyers are known to force their way into bank VPs’ offices at gunpoint and demand they sell them the house at 10% over asking.

What, you think real bank robbers would hit a place like Cupertino?  And if they did, they sure as heck wouldn’t dare try Los Altos.

As to the house: 8 days too soon to call this an Old LIsting. Lot’s 496 feet too small to be “big.”  But, ah, the photos.  We’re talking win.

130609-newell-open-plan130609-newell-corner130609-newell-bedroom130609-newell-doorway130609-newell-kitchen

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am