February 12, 2007

"This is the Bay Area. It will always be a place where people want to live."

Inside Bay Area – Slowdown in Bay Area home sales little threat to most, experts advise
“People like me and my friends, whose property figures into their retirement plans and net worth, don’t care if there is seven months of inventory on the real estate market. We say, ‘Is the value of my property going down?’ And I don’t see that it is,” said Berkeley homeowner Robert Marsh.

“Even if it goes down for several years, it will go up in the long term,” Marsh said.

Janet Fouts bought her house two years ago “and gained enough in the house not to be too worried about the changing market,” the San Jose resident said. “I think it’s just an overall adjustment, not a downhill trend. This is the Bay Area. It will always be a place where people want to live.”

Janet Fouts – you are my hero.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:44 am

February 11, 2007

Grow up in the Bay Area? Do you agree?

A Burbed reader posted this comment the other day:

$949,000 – mi 1092sqft casa is su casa — Burbed.com: Your Silicon Valley Home and Mortgage Insanity Blog
# Norcalboomer Says:
February 8th, 2007 at 9:51 pm e

I grew up in the Bay Area. It sure WAS special. Now it looks like a third world country, and has the services to boot! Thank god my kids did not attend Bay Area Public Schools. In the 50’s and 60’s they were some of the best in the nation, now they are no better than a glorified baby sitting service. How do I know? ALL of my relatives who live in the Bay Area and care about education send their children to PRIVATE schools. Except for the weather and beautiful scenery the Bay Area is a ” has been” locale.


Did you grow up in the Bay Area? Do you agree with this assessment?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

February 10, 2007

What's Below Market Rate (BMR)income limit in San Francisco?

MLS SFAR Reports (513)
Junior One BD Below Market Rate subject to income verification by the Mayor’s Office of Housing. This unit is to be sold to a household not earning more than: One Person – $95,775. Two Persons – $109,425. Three Persons – 123,150. Buyer’s must be 1st time homebuyers or have lived in their current home for over 3 years. Deadline for submission is Feb. 15 at 4pm. Lottery will be held on Feb. 16.

Therefore, prices will never drop below $600,000.

If you don’t make more than $95,775 – San Francisco doesn’t need you.

In fact, the Bay Area doesn’t need you.

We only need people like Shannon Hermes – a millionaire receptionist.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am

February 9, 2007

$1000 per sqft… guess where!

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 621261
San Jose, CA 95110


This Single Family Residence has the following features:
MLS#: 621261 Approx Age: Unavailable Approx Sq Ft: 528
Detached Single Family 1 Story 2 Bedrooms

Did you guess San Jose? No???

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 9:25 pm

Mountain View City Council to protect homeowners!!!

Mountain View Voice: City may limit housing growth (February 9, 2007)
After years of rapid development in Mountain View, a newly formed City Council may halt housing development until a comprehensive update is made to the city’s 15-year-old general plan.

Finally! The City Council is taking the right action and looking at reducing the growth of housing in Mountain View. Good work! Right now, we really need to do something to make sure property values don’t erode any further. If we don’t have 10-15% annual appreciation, the terrorists have won.

Let me propose a plan: Levy a tax on all renters. As we all know, renters are selfish – they don’t buy real estate, and therefore they are bad.

This will help close the gap 2x price gap between renting and buying – so that people who don’t want to commute 2 hours a day will have no choice but to buy. And that’s good because it helps Mountain View residents retire.

Finally, where would the Selfish Renters Tax go? Well, it would go to people who have owned property for more than 5 years. After all, they deserve it – they lived here and by doing so, contributed to the vibrancy and specialness of Mountain View. It would also go to local employers to help them move out of the city. Like this resident said in August: Mountain View has too many jobs.

What do you think?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 10:54 am

February 8, 2007

$700k for a moldy house – why the Bay Area is special

From time to time, no one asks me “Burbed, real estate is so expensive here in the Bay Area. I know it’s special, and they’re not making any more land – but maybe I should just move somewhere else and get a bigger house that won’t require a complete teardown.”

To those non-existent people, I say “I pity the fool who leaves the Bay Area.” Now, obviously you’re not going to leave California  – because California is special – so let’s look at what happens when you buy outside of the Bay Area:

cbs13.com – Call Kurtis: High-Cost Homes Blown Apart
The Yeadon family moved out of their million-dollar home in the Serrano Country Club area on the advice of their doctors. [Ed note: Near Folsom]

“I think we had 23 doctor visits between the kids and my wife that month, in May of 2005,” said Yeadon.

This, after months of symptoms that seemed like an endless series of colds and flu, under laid with constant exhaustion.

“I never put together it was the house,” said Yeadon.

The Yeadon’s finally brought in someone to sample the air in their home. The tests found so much moisture, an attorney suggested they look for mold, and they found it.

“I came back after a weekend of taking my kids’, all of our clothes, and all of our belongings, and throwing them into a dumpster. I said, I can’t see straight. I got blood in one eye and tears in another,” expressed Yeadon.

When the family bought this home, brand new three and a half years ago, they paid just more than $800,000, and then put in $100,000 more in upgrades like this pool. They just sold this house. The highest bid they could get–$425,000.

So what does wind have to do with mold? Bill Thomas explains it like this: high winds can rock the house from its roof to its foundation. But as the building sways, individual parts, like doors and windows move at a different frequency, and even different directions.

Thomas says that can break the seals, loosens the caulking, fractures the stucco and water gets into the walls.

“You feel that house kind of move in the wind,” said Thomas.

Bill Thomas says separating windows, and cracked walls with dark water spots like these at the Yeadon’s house are signs a building is moving.

Rusting nails and staples in what are supposed to be dry spots are another sign. El Dorado Hills and much of the county below Lake Tahoe are zoned for what’s called “Wind Exposure B”.

Thomas says exposure “C” should be the standard here, but that would require stiffer materials and stronger design and drive up the cost of homes.

“If it costs you $10,000 less to build it and you just built 400 homes in the subdivision, then now, you’re talking about real money,” said Thomas.

California’s uniform building code says a home built with more than a half-mile of open space with gentle hills around it is technically wind exposure “C”. In much of El Dorado Hills, the exposure appears endless.

“You can see all of the homes, along this ridge, in both directions, all have the same wind exposure,” said Thomas.

Its not just the top of the hill either.

“The house, in my opinion, and in our expert’s opinion, is under-engineered for the wind exposure,” said Dave Crozier.

Stonebriar, a development of nearly 200-homes at the bottom of the hill, and south of highway 50 from Serrano. People here say scaffolding and mold remediation equipment are depressingly common throughout the neighborhood.

Dave and Vickie Crozier paid more than $700,000 for their home on the edge of Stonebriar. They’re now living with their two-kids in an apartment paid for by the builder.

So remember folks, if you care about the health of your family – think of the children – you know what to do: buy in the Bay Area.

$700,000 to gamble your health on a new built house in a gated community non-special part of special California… or $700,000 to buy a house that you know already in the beautiful Bay Area? Like this one:

It’s your decision. I think the choice is obvious.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:25 am

February 7, 2007

High risk mortgages great for Generation Xers and Ys

Business | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California
Use of nontraditional loans also increased, Appleton-Young said, although changing market conditions started to give an edge to fixed-rate mortgages rather than adjustable rates.

Zero down payments became more prevalent with fixed-rate mortgages, increasing to 16 percent last year from 11 percent in 2005, Appleton-Young said.

“Nontraditional mortgages are not going away. They are just a part of the landscape now,” she said.

While baby boomers facing retirement might shy away from higher-risk mortgages, she said, they can be beneficial “for younger Generation Xers and Ys entering the market with the need to stretch every dollar.”

So remember – if you’re about to retire, maybe ARM Option Payment loans aren’t for you. Maybe.

But if you’re not retiring, you can’t afford not to buy! Option Payment loans may be your only choice.

I hear that at some point in the interview for this article, Appleton-Young suddenly said: “Come with me if you want to live… in California!”

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:20 pm

$949,000 – mi 1092sqft casa is su casa

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 670493
San Mateo, CA 94403


This Single Family Residence has the following features:
MLS#: 670493 Approx Age: Unavailable Approx Sq Ft: 1092
Detached Single Family 1 Story Ranch
3 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms 2 or More Stall Showers

Alright, so it’s in San Mateo – which makes it especially special. It’s sort of in an ok neighborhood to boot. The name of the street is a little funny. Being able to live on this street is definitely worth the $5,258 a month mortgage this will cost you (10% d/30y fixed).

But come on – $949,000 for a 1092 sqft house and you don’t even get interior pictures?

Booo hiss!!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:21 am

CAR: Bay Area is special

2006 State of the Housing Market report
Home sales in California fell in 2006 after four years of expansion. Sales in the Bay Area housing market fell at a slightly lower rate than for the state as a whole. After peaking in 2004, Bay Area sales declined 10 percent in 2005 and then 19 percent in 2006. The median price in the Bay Area — the highest of any region in the state — continued to increase by small single-digit increments throughout 2006, in part because of inventories that were well below the statewide levels.

3 words: It’s different here.

This is the Bay Area – and we rock! Highest median price and we continue to inch upwards. BOOYAH!

Here’s some interesting facts about the rest of non-special California:

• More home buyers used 100-percent financing to purchase their home. About a fifth of all homes purchased (21.1 percent) were financed with a zero-down payment mortgage compared with 19.7 percent last year. Recent use of zero-down mortgages has increased significantly since 2000, when they were used by just 4.5 percent of buyers. Two of five first-time buyers (40.9 percent) made a zero-down payment on their home purchase, while just one in 10 repeat buyers (11.3 percent) purchased their home with no down payment.

Not surprising! Housing is the safest investment – that’s why you should use other people’s money whenever possible.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:35 am

February 6, 2007

"Why buy a condo or pay rent when you can own this charming home?"

San Francisco Bay Area Houses & Homes – 658 11TH AV, Menlo Park County Area/Fair Oaks Ave 94025
8 11TH AV, Menlo Park 94025

Bedroom: 3 Bathroom: 1 Square Footage: 920 $585,000
Year Built: 1954 List Date: 1/18/2007 Lot Size: 2675
Parking Spaces: 1 MLS#: 702612
Email this to a friend Ask a Question Neighborhood Data Comparable Data
658 11TH AV, Menlo Park
The Perfect Starter! Great neighborhood close to shopping and commuting. Updated kitchen, 3 large bedrooms and 1 updated bathroom. Double-paned windows, hardwood floors, just call the movers!

Why buy a condo or pay rent when you can own this charming home? Located in a great Menlo Park neighborhood, this home is convenient for shopping as well as commuting. The bright living room and dining room greet you as you enter this cheerful home. The updated kitchen leads to the garage with laundry area. You’ll find 3 spacious bedrooms and one updated bathroom. The large master bedroom has a sliding glass door that leads to the backyard and patio. This home has updated double pane windows, gleaming hardwood floors, and force air heating. Call the movers, you found your new home!
FEATURES – 658 11TH AV, Menlo Park
Property Type Detached Single Family
Lot Description Lot: 1 to 4,500 Sq Ft

Why pay rent indeed? Let’s see… according to a web calculator, this would require (with a 10% deposit):

  • Fixed 30: $3,232.52
  • ARM: $2,818
  • ARM IO: $2,187.50

We’ll conveniently ignore tax and maintenance – those things take care of themselves.

Oh but wait – you can rent a 3br/1ba duplex for just $2150.

Deal, or no deal?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:13 am