July 8, 2013

Not just a house, an adventure in Lafayette!

We hope you enjoyed your four day weekend. Of course, Burbed went to work every day, and you can read the last few days’ articles while you’re avoiding yours.  For today, we’ve got another example of East Bay Real Estate Win courtesy of Burbed reader J from Alameda.

130708-hillview-redfin3256 HILLVIEW Ln
Lafayette, CA 94549

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,427 Sq. Ft.
$595 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1959
Lot Size: 9,963 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 21 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 1
County: Contra Costa
Style: Ranch
Community: Lafayette
MLS#: 40619252

Fixer upper on private lane. Uncooperative tenant, eviction in process, no show at this time. Write offer subject to viewing.

Here’s why J ventured Off the Island to send this one in:

It’s all about the listing copy on this one. It’s simple. Just write an offer. No worries about the uncooperative tenant.

We like this listing. None of this namby-pamby open house, offers will be presented at 3 am a week from Tuesday nonsense. You want to see this house? Tough. The realtard couldn’t get inside and neither can you. If you dare to buy it, you get to find out what “uncooperative” means.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

July 7, 2013

The End is Nigh? Or is that Ni?

Terrible bad news! Someone let the air out of Bay Area Bubble 4.0’s tires!  Tragedy!

Bay Area housing frenzy cooling off

By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   07/04/2013 04:00:00 PM PDT, Updated:   07/05/2013 08:44:05 AM PDT

130706-over-signThe Bay Area’s frenzied housing market, marked by soaring prices, short supply and a scramble for homes, is showing signs of cooling.

Some buyers, fearful of a new bubble or worried about higher interest rates, are putting their plans on hold, while new listings of homes for sale have been increasing since March, which should put the brakes on spiraling prices.

"It’s a welcome break in the trend, even if it ultimately means prices start to cool off a bit too," said ZipRealty CEO and President Lanny Baker.

Real estate agents in Silicon Valley, where homes have commanded offers hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking price, say bidding is less frenzied than a few months ago, although it’s still one of the hottest markets in the country with a median of 10 days to sell a home.

Santa Clara Median Sale Price / sq. ft.

This can’t be! The party isn’t over just because mortgage rates are going up, or more homes are being put up for sale. Not in the Real Bay Area, anyway! The above map of Santa Clara County real estate sale prices per square foot says so. The spiking rental market keeps pushing buyers forward as well. Besides, It’s Special Here!  (It’s so special we have to tell you that red is county, green is city.)

And that median of ten days to sell a home proves that things can’t be cooling off. Everyone knows the smart agents wait 10 days and get all the overbids all at once. Houses could sell in 15 minutes if the sellers wanted them to.

The housing frenzy isn’t cooling off. This is wishful thinking. Mortgage rates don’t affect the Real Bay Area, because every single house in it was purchased by suitcases-full-of-cash-wielding foreigners, who, HELLO, don’t care what the mortgage rates are because they have, HELLO, suitcases full of cash on hand.  And more houses being listed? That just allows more people the opportunity to lose out to overbids on an excellent property.

We don’t understand why anyone would be allowed to print something this misleading, although the quote from the president of a county Realtard association (in the East Bay, yet), makes us glad they did:

While the steep climb in median sales prices for single-family homes in the East Bay, Peninsula and South Bay has made some buyers nervous, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a bubble, said Robin Dickson, president of the Contra Costa Association of Realtors.

"Clients say they are just not going to buy at the top of market, but really, how do you know this is the top of market?" Dickson said.

Other things we don’t know is whether the sun will rise tomorrow morning, when the San Jose Mercury News will admit it’s just a website, and when real estate writers will stop asking realtards for economic analysis knowing damned well all they’re going to get is cheerleading and happy talk.

Really, how do you know this is the top of the market?  It could actually be the floor of the NEXT market, Mr. Negativity!

Comments (33) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:15 am

July 6, 2013

Fake Realty Win: North Side of made-up city is “better”

Any reader of this blog knows that some parts of the Bay Area are just better than others, and that’s what we call the “Real Bay Area.” Do you know where the RBA is? According to this study, it’s probably north of you.

Study Points to Bias Toward a City’s North Side

People tend to see the north as more desirable and affluent, in turn fueling stereotypes about where the rich live

130705-north-mapBy Sanette Tanaka, The Wall Street Journal
SPREAD SHEET, July 4, 2013, 8:14 p.m. ET

North, south, east or west, researchers find north seems best.

Most people, knowing nothing else about a city, would rather live in the northern half of town than in the southern, says Brian Meier, associate professor of psychology at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa. People tend to see the north as more desirable and affluent, in turn fueling stereotypes about where the rich and the poor live.

"For some reason, people see the north and south as very different," Prof. Meier says. "When all else is equal, people have this bias to think that northerly areas are better or more affluent.

Prof. Meier and co-authors Arlen Moller of Northwestern University, and Julie Chen and Miles Riemer-Peltz, both of Gettysburg College at the time, conducted four studies with groups ranging from 28 to 87 participants to see how "north" and "south" affects housing preferences. The study, "Spatial Metaphor and Real Estate: North-South Location Biases Housing Preference," was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science in August 2011.

130705-north-heatscWe’re going to note a fairly seriously flaw in this study (or at least Tanaka’s description of it) right off the bat: the participants aren’t identified in terms of where they live. We know what schools the researchers did the study out of, but this article doesn’t indicate if the participants were from the surrounding regions, randomly chosen throughout the United States, or were a worldwide sample. And that’s actually an important bit of data. How could they possibly assume that all people, everywhere, prefer the north side of a city when we don’t know if anyone from the Southern Hemisphere was represented? Maybe South is the “better side” in Buenos Aires, Melbourne, and Christchurch.  Maybe South is superior if you get too far north as well, as it would get more sun.  Northern exposure isn’t a good thing if you want sunlight.

130705-north-mapmvThis silly study suggests people are so used to thinking of north as “up” on a map, that they conflate the direction with the emotion. We’ve just found that prices keep heading north as long as you’re looking at the RBA.  Although the heat map of Santa Clara County above suggests that high prices are found not in the north, but the northwest and to a lesser degree, the northeast. North Central, though, does not impress..And the map at right shows sales for hot, hot, HOT Mountain View, hottest in the part that is the Exact Opposite Of North.

And… open thread! What direction are you heading to check out Open Houses this weekend? Or, if you’re on vacation and can’t stay away from us, what direction did you head for your getaway?

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:22 am

July 5, 2013

Be a Micro-Slumlord in SF

Here’s an interesting property for sale: a brand new building full of micro-apartments in SF. 23 studios are leased and await your bloodsucking.  Thanks much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for sending this in.

130704-harriet-redfin38 Harriet St
San Francisco, CA 94103

— Beds
— Baths
11,775 Sq. Ft.
$628 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2013
Lot Size: —
On Redfin: 27 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Apartments, 16-30 Units
Stories: 4
Building Name: SoMa Studios
County: San Francisco
Style: Contemporary, Modern/High Tech
View: City Lights, Bay Bridge, San Francisco, Downtown
Community: South of Market
MLS#: 409189

130704-harriet-studioThe SoMa Studios are the first new micro-apartments in the booming SoMa neighborhood, home to Twitter, Square, and hundreds of other tech companies, cafes, restaurants and clubs. The building represents the culmination of four years of research in hyper efficient and super green development. It reflects fastidious attention to detail and the highest quality construction. Fully leased. State-of-the-art seismic and fire safety. In-house 100 mbs internet connection. Extra-heavy solid core doors. Enhanced, engineered soundproofing. Built-in window seats and tables. Wood and porcelain tile floors. Elfa shelving and storage systems. GE Profile Dishwashers. LG all-in-one Washer/Dryer in each unit. LEED Platinum (pending certification).

100 megabits per second? No wonder they’re fully leased. And they’re featured on national television! Our only question is why the owner would want to give up a sweet hyper efficient and super green development deal like this.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 12:38 am

July 4, 2013

Declare your Independence… from your home

Here’s another Housing Bubble of a sort to pay attention to: RV sales are up, too.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for alerting us to this alarming threat to vacation home prices.

RV-buying boom a sign of consumer confidence

By Dan Nakaso, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   05/29/2013 05:43:55 AM PDT; Updated:   05/29/2013 10:36:14 AM PDT

130703-rv-sweetThe number of recreational vehicles delivered to dealers’ lots is expected to reach a six-year high in 2013 as fledgling RV buyers such as Karen and Jim Smith, of San Jose, shake off the economic slumber of the past few years and prepare to hit the road this summer.

"There are just so many things to see that we’ve never seen before: Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Lookout Mountain in Tennessee," Karen Smith said after writing a $21,000 check for her 18-foot 2014 White Water Retro Travel Trailer that came stocked with a queen-size bed, separate refrigerator and freezer, two-burner stove, microwave, full-size bath, shower and beds for three more people.

The Smiths represent new hope for a U.S. RV industry that sustained a series of body blows beginning with the 2008 recession but now appears to be rebounding in the Bay Area and beyond.

The industry has not seen more than 300,000 RVs shipped to dealers around the country since 2007, the year before the recession took hold. But deliveries this year were up 11 percent in the first quarter and the RV industry now expects to see a total of 307,300 deliveries of motor homes and tow-able RVs. Tow-ables make up the overwhelming majority of RV sales in the U.S.

Read the whole article. You will learn that yes, RV sales are up even in the Bay Area, despite this place being so awesome nobody would ever need a vacation from it. You’ll also learn that the #1 RV dealer in Northern California is in Gilroy and started up in 2008, right in time for the financial collapse that took out all its competition. Finally, just like there’s the RBA and everywhere else, it turns out there are different degrees of #winning with RVs.

130703-rv-fireworksThe cheapest kind are the ones that get towed, and that’s 90% of all sales. Think of it as the East Bay of Recreational Vehicles. And enjoy your recreation today, because it’s, in theory a holiday. We know that you’re actually hard at work since there are always new End of Quarter Goals now that you didn’t make your old ones.

Speaking of the East Bay, most Walmarts allow RVs to park in their lots, and there are more Walmarts in the East Bay so… just sayin’.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

July 3, 2013

Peak Pricing: Not Just for RBA Homes

We’ve been talking about the Bay Area Real Estate Bubble 4,0 for half a year now. One way to tell things are getting bubblicious and frothy is when areas we don’t think of as expensive start acting like Real Bay Area markets.  Today’s featured home is from the East Bay, and it joins the peak parade,  Thanks much to Burbed reader Brittney for alerting us to this disturbance in the Force.

130702-westbury-redfin5670 OLD WESTBURY Way
Dublin, CA 94568
Sold for $825,000

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
1,972 Sq. Ft.
$418 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2003
Lot Size: 3,117 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: May 31, 2013

HOA Dues: $126/month
Style: Mediterranean
Community: Tassajara Creek
MLS#: 40615019
Type: Detached
Stories: 2
County: Alameda

Corner location! Features include two tone paint, plantation shutters and crown molding throughout. Kitchen with stainless appliances, honey maple cabinets and granite counters with backsplash. Upgraded fireplace in family room with custom tile work. Backyard w/ grassy area and custom patio!

130702-westbury-livingYes! Corner location! Twice as much traffic who can all appreciate your two-tone paint job! Now let’s hear from Brittney.

Just saw this listing go sold recently. It was listed at $724,900 and sold for $825,000 which is incidentally the exact amount paid for it by the owners back in Oct 2005 – peak of the peak during that bubble. Nothing new was done to the house and it’s not anything special in that area….

130702-westbury-patioThat’s one diference between the RBA and the East No Way, namely when the market peaked. RBA homes peaked in 2008, except You Are Priced Out Forever AGAIN this year. What’s great is you can choose whether you can’t afford Palo Alto or whether you can’t afford Dublin.

Just remember what you can’t afford for $825K in Palo Alto.

Bunus: Holy Planned Unit Development, Batman, this place has a FAR of 0.63.  That’s what your HOA fees bring: the bribes development fees to make that even legal.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

July 2, 2013


130701-hope-simplyYes, we did Mountain View yesterday. We’re doing Mountain View today. We may even do Mountain View tomorrow, because one does not simply run out of Burbed Win in Mountain View.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader mtv-renter for alerting us to this important fact. (And to the house.) 

Whoops, were you breathing? PENDING!  We mean Pending/Do Not Show, so hellooooooooooo Movoto!

130701-hope-movoto505 Hope St
Mountain View, CA 94041

Loan Payment: $4,576/mo
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Size: 1,909 sqft
$/sqft: $627/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1953
Lot Size: 5,000
Days on Movoto: 8 days
Neighborhood: Downtown
MLS#: 81319557
Status: Pending – Do Not Show


130701-hope-bedroomHey, when the first listing photo isn’t the front of the house, you know this is going to be good. By which we mean bad. And that’s good.  Let’s check in with mtv-renter, who may be updating that handle.

I came across this cool place:

$1.2M apparently doesn’t buy good spelling, or a computer with a working CAPS LOCK key. It also looks like a flip.

It sure does, and you can see the before pictures right now on Redfin. (If you can’t, click the address.) Heck, the Pending/Do Not Show status not only pushed it back to the last listing ID, it even gave it a cool Bought With Redfin banner.

130701-hope-redfin505 HOPE St
Mountain View, CA 94041
Sold for $1,100,000

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
1,909 Sq. Ft.
$576 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1953
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Nov 2, 2012
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 1
Community: Downtown
MLS#: 81234364



You know, these are hardly “before” pictures. They’re actually pretty good.

Our favorite view from the old listing is on the left. We chose it because there’s nothing like spending the big bucks on a stager and HDR photography and then giving the sense that you’re out of TP.

And that sure sounds like what happens to FAMILIES OR EXECUTIVES WHO LIKE TO ENTERTAIN.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

July 1, 2013

Two doses of Mountain View WTF

Today’s house is a two for one special. Actually it’s a three for one special as you’ll get through today’s feature in record time, and use the savings to make some more overbids! Thanks very much to Burbed reader LomaLuvr for sending this one in.

130630-clark-movoto1061 Clark Ave
Mountain View, CA 94040

Loan Payment: $3,243/mo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1
Size: 974 sqft
$/sqft: $871/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1951
Lot Size: 5,607
Days on Movoto: 7 days
Neighborhood: Miramonte
MLS#: 81319766
Status: Pending – Do Not Show

Desirable neighborhood with Bubb Elementary and Los Altos High School. Close proximity to commuter routes and Silicon Valley.

130630-clark-office-applianceSo far it’s the usual boring Mountain View house going pending in minutes and selling for close to $900 a foot.  But it was picture #15 that had LL firing up the Compose window. Have. A. Look.

In case you don’t think the white credenza is a repurposed laundry appliance, go take a look at picture 14.  Or maybe the homeowner gets better ideas from the hum of clothing getting cleaner.

130630-clark-office-fenceBunus: Fence view win!

Be sure to check out the Redfin link (photos have been removed) for the awesome streetview in its place!

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am

June 30, 2013

Mortgages Up Half Point in a Week: You are Officially Priced Out Forever

Here’s some cheery news for you from our local Website That Was Once A Newspaper Too!

Biz Break: Mortgage rate skyrockets amid housing market turnaround

By Jeremy C. Owens, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   06/27/2013 03:47:57 PM PDT; ‘Updated:   06/27/2013 04:40:57 PM PDT

Today: 30-year mortgage rate takes a nearly unprecedented one-week jump to its highest point in two years as the real-estate market heats up. Also: Apple (AAPL) continues to decline even as Wall Street has third straight day of gains.

The average rate for a 30-year mortgage experienced its largest one-week increase in more than a quarter-century, as the housing market continues a booming turnaround from the crisis that precipitated the Great Recession.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the rate had increased from 3.9 percent to 4.46 percent in the past week, the highest rate recorded in more than two years. The rise in the mortgage rate is even more striking when comparing it to near-record-lows experienced less than two months ago — in early May, the average rate was 3.35 percent. Bankrate.com reported that the 3.35 percent rate on a $200,000 mortgage would result in monthly payments of $881, while the 4.46 percent rate would cost a buyer $1,008 a month.

The rise comes as the housing market roars back to life so quickly that some in the Bay Area have asked if the region has entered another housing bubble. Home prices in the Bay Area hit their highest average in five years in May, according to DataQuick, returning to levels last seen before the Great Recession had most of its effects on the market. That mirrors a national rise, with the Standard & Poor’s/Case Schiller index tracking the highest annual gain in home prices since 2006 in April, as San Francisco joined three other large metro areas in increases of more than 20 percent.

130629-mortgages-forsaleWe’ll stop you right there with a reminder that we called Bay Area Bubble 4.0 and have continued to call Bay Are Bubble 4.0 months and months ago. You can see how behind the Murky News is on this, running a story by one of their own reporters and using an AP photo of a house in, we kid you not, Illinois.

130629-mortgages-openhouseflagAlthough maybe we shouldn’t point and laugh, because houses in the Real Bay Area sell too fast for anyone to bother with For Sale signs anymore.  Instead they use For Sale flags.  Much faster to wave one around for a couple of minutes, collect the overbids, and head back to the air-conditioned office.

We like this one, especially because the tree is doing the agent’s job.

Are you trying to buy a house or do you know someone who is? Are you trying to refinance and are you kicking yourself for waiting too long? What kinds of rates are you being offered by your bank or mortgage broker? 

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:06 am

June 29, 2013

You know what they got? KAWLUMS

It’s been a while since we’ve been sent a MAWBUL KAWLUM heavy house. We miss them so much we were forced to present this one from (gasp) Southern California.

Good thing we just reordered red arrows.


The house itself is hideously overdone in Middle-Aged Movie Executive With Unlimited Budget, including the kawlum-bedecked indoor tennis court that meets US Open requirements. And no, we aren’t kidding. 


We didn’t even know there was a standard for kawlums at the US Open.

Let us know if any US Open Houses you tour this weekend have kawlums. Or tennis courts. Yes, this is your Weekend US Open Thread.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am