March 10, 2013

Time for a Bay Area Bubble 4.0 Open Thread

How crowded are the Open Houses you're looking at today? The one we visited was not very busy and the Realtard didn't understand the difference between a Census tract, a tract house, and a County parcel.

We wish we were making this up. Meanwhile, make up whatever you wish, because this is an Open Thread.


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:04 am

March 9, 2013

Is the Bay Area in another Housing Bubble? Will the Next Pope be Catholic?

We’ve made the call on Bay Area Bubble 4.0, now we’re just lining up the evidence.  Palo Alto began heating up and blowing past peak pricing last year.  The proof of another housing bubble, though, is when the increasing prices and the bidding frenzy and the sales velocity measured in Hours on Market rather than Days and the large number of listings marked Pending/Do Not Show start overwhelming the Not So Special parts of the region.

Here is Evidence For a Bay Area Housing Bubble #1,726: Frenzy for condos.  CONDOS.  In MILPITAS.

Bay Area condos’ tight supply has buyers scrambling

130308-condos-constructionBy Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   02/18/2013 04:00:00 AM PST | Updated:   02/18/2013 08:19:38 AM PST

The Bay Area’s market for condominiums and townhouses has seldom been hotter. Existing units are selling in record time with multiple offers, and new ones are being snapped up before there’s even a model home to see.

Just ask Niha Singh. Last month, Singh, a 27-year-old Silicon Valley computer engineer, and her husband tried to buy one of 12 units in a new townhouse development under construction in Milpitas. Even though they’d car-camped outside the developer’s office, they ended up on a waiting list.

130308-condos-new"When we got there on Friday, there was already a line," she said. "People were camping out, some of them for six days before the date of release."

Across the Bay Area, buyers are fighting for a limited supply of new and existing condos. Investors have already snapped up many foreclosures and short sales and are renting them out, while owners who might sell in a typical market are either still on the sidelines watching prices rise or are underwater and can’t afford to sell. And demand has been growing.

Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago we were reading about condo complexes that had reverted to all-rental buildings (also known as apartments)?  Why yes, it was.  But obviously Milpitas is Much More Special than Downtown San Jose.  Also Three Sixty is Five days short of even a Regular Year.

People camping out for five days in front of a Milpitas development not enough? Want more evidence of Bubble 4.0?  You think a seller’s market in Milpitas condos is reaching?  At least Milpitas is in the same area code as Google.

Condos in Castro Valley sold in 11 days in December, compared with 82 days in 2011, the Bay East Association of Realtors reported. In Pleasanton, the average number of days on the market dropped from 52 days in December 2011 to 10 days last December.

Castro Valley.  You know, Gateway to Hayward, City of Diversity.  We’re putting in our sell order when Stockton comes back.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

March 8, 2013

Super Fun site in Mountain View, Perfect for entertaining!

Let’s finish out the week with a double dose of Mountain View Bubble 4.0: this house is a floor wax and a dessert topping. Today’s featured property was brought to you courtesy of Burbed reader bublidoo.  Thanks very much for a listing so aerated that we had to go to four different sites until we found a photo of the actual house as it exists today.  Yep, pending in a week!

130307-whisman-movoto460 N Whisman Rd
Mountain View, CA 94043

Loan Payment: $4,000/mo
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3&1/2
Size: 1,999 sqft
$/Sqft: $574/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 2013
Lot Size: 4,960
Days on Movoto: 9 days
Neighborhood: Whisman
MLS#: 81305578
Status: Pending – Do Not Show

Stunning newly constructed custom 4/3.5 Craftsman located on a great lot close to downtown MV, Google and easy commute routes! This gorgeous open floor plan inc. 2 master suites, one 1st floor, 3.5 designer baths, gourmet chef?s kitchen with granite counter tops & stainless steel appliances, large island w/counter seating & sliding doors to patio. Perfect for entertaining! Close to top MV schools!

130307-whisman-kitchenSo why is this house nominated for a big ol’ Burbed hug? Let’s check in with our reader whose very name implies Bubble 4.0.

wanted to point out this stunning, newly constructed custom craftsman to you. If it was near good schools or downtown Mountain View (the description claims both … but not sure about "near"), perhaps the price could be justified. But what we’re looking at here …

130307-whisman-yardis an asking price well over a million bucks for a single family house (yes, stunning, I forgot, sorry …) on a small lot within the vapor intrusion study area. And the listing comes on the heels of super fun coverage by burbed, the local TV channel, and the Mountain View Voice. One has to wonder why the agent didn’t include "Buyer to attend meetings on toxic vapors. Walk to Google Offices!"

130307-whisman-redfin-pdnsPerhaps there’s been too much super fun coverage already? In that case, no pressure … and hope you had a chuckle.


Oh no, bublidoo, you can never, ever, ever have too much Super Fun.  Want some more?  Let’s look at this house over on Redfin, where’ they’ve pulled down the listing and are featuring the before photo (singular) and listing copy. 

Did we mention how much we love Pending/Do Not Show?  It’s like an extra set of presents we completely missed behind the Christmas tree!  And speaking of extra presents, look what we found on Zillow.  This is like finding out we’re celebrating Chanukah too, as an added extended family holiday, with bunus presents!


Wow, who knew that side of the family was so artsy?  (Or too klutzy to use a camera?)  Must be because of those good schools.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

March 7, 2013

The Rock: No unit above

That’s right, there is no unit above or better than this Mountain View maisonette.  Read on to find out why!  Warning: sale may have closed already.  Our thanks to Burbed reader LomaLuvr.

130306-rock-redfin1939 Rock St #17
Mountain View, CA 94043

HOA Dues: $299/mo.
1 Beds
1 Baths
697 Sq. Ft.
$466 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1963
Lot Size: 2,917 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 7 days
HOA Dues: $299/month
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Property Type: Townhouse
Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
Community: Rengstorff
MLS#: 81306070

Rebuilt in 2006 * Charming1 bedroom Condo * Closed to Google * Quiet 19 units community * No unit Above * Gorgeous Kitchen w/ Granite Countertop, Cherry Cabinet, SS Microwave & Refri. w/ Tile Fl. * Family Rm w/ Recess Lights & Crown Molding * Master Bedrm. w/ Ceiling Fans & Closet * Private Backyard * Cheerful Bathrm w/ Tiles, Vanity, Granite countertop, SS faucet * Indoor Laundry * One covered & One Guest Parking

Nothing like a rebuilt place that where you can take one look at the kitchen and say, yup, rebuilt in 2006.  Definitely 2006.  Added bunus: kitchen cabinetry matches the landscaping.  Only in the Bay Area do we have homes so Special that they’re staged with that degree of fit and finish.


All this, and closed to Google too!

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

March 6, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0: The Old is New Again

We’re covering the housing bubble 24/7 now that everyone’s paying attention to real estate again.  Today we have a lovely home in Redwood City that you may have seen before.  Take another look, while you still can!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for an excellent surveillance operation.

130305-esther-redfin715 ESTHER Ln
Redwood City, CA 94062

2 Beds
1 Baths
750 Sq. Ft.
$600 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1929
Lot Size: 4,790 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 33 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Cordilleras Heights
MLS#: 81303054

Beautiful view of bay and city lights. Additional 6900sqft lot to be sold with the property. The additional 6900 sq ft parcel of land CANNOT be developed upon per city and county building department. Building square footage 1130sf on public profile is incorrect, actual living area is about 750sf, Fixer-upper Sold "As Is" may not qualify for FHA.

This house’s list of tag may be bigger than it is.  Not only that, it has a history!


Here’s something it didn’t have last year (besides an extra hundred thou of instant equity you get now!): Redfin Agent Insights!


“Dead End,” “Completely gutted” and “Killer Views,” three phrases that don’t go well together after watching certain movies.  How about Zero Dark Thirty?

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 5, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0: Seller Sez Make Me Move from Millbrae

We’ve been calling Bubble on the Real Bay Area for several months.  For the next few days we’ll continue to make the case that the housing bubble in the Bay Area is absolutely unmistakable.  Yesterday, we had a 35% overbid in Prime Palo Alto for a tear-down bungalow on a lot too small for subdivision.  Today, we have an even smaller lot with a return of what we called a “wishing price” when the Bubble was about to pop.  But before it did, we had another name for a WTF asking price.  Let’s see what one would look like in Millbrae.

130304-magnolia-redfin140 MAGNOLIA Ave
Millbrae, CA 94030

2 Beds
1 Baths
990 Sq. Ft.
$1,111 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1927
Lot Size: 6,000 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 3 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: San Mateo
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
Community: Highlands
MLS#: 81306376

Charming Two Bedroom and One Bathroom Single Family Home situated on a Lot that is Zoned R-2 (Residential Duplex). This home is located conveniently around the corner from Downtown Millbrae’s Finest Restaurants and Shopping. Great Development Potential, come see this home!

130304-magnolia-shrinkwrapA thousand a foot is a fair price for convenient access to SFO plus two freeways! Plus this is primo real estate photography. At least the agent isn’t snapping pictures in corners like yesterday.

Plus this home is located conveniently around the corner from Downtown Millbrae’s Finest Restaurants and Shopping.  According to Yelp, the Best Restaurant in Millbrae is the Millbrae Pancake House, so we’re talking haute cuisine.  Or at least hot cuisine. 

130304-magnolia-oldlistingNow, this lovely home last changed hands in September 2010, for $675,000.  Aren’t you sorry you didn’t snag it then?  Look at all the instant equity you missed out on!  As you can see from the old listing photo (right), the only improvement done to the home since then was to Photoshop in a better sky.  Also back then the place was “Close to BART, Airport, Freeways and schools.”

Not any longer!  Now it’s just one big Great Development Potential opportunity for you! With a price like this, this is now a Real Bay Area house, therefore the train tracks, airport and freeways must have been relocated.

We hope you realize this is THE SECRET of how to make money in Bay Area real estate:

  1. Buy house not in the Real Bay Area due to its location fail
  2. Eliminate location fail so house moves to RBA
  3. ???
  4. PROFIT!

Remember, a WTF asking price isn’t a Wishing Price unless there’s no chance of getting it. This is a Bubble Price.  This seller is saying, “You want this house? You’re going to have to pay me enough to Make Me Move.”

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

March 4, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0 is now officially entering insanity stage: $2.8M Teardown in (of course) Palo Alto

It may be just the tip of the Krazy Kool-Aid effect, but this is not how a reasonable housing market should work.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Wendie (as well as additional fans) for bringing this textbook definition of Irrational Exuberance to our attention.

130302-tennyson-redfin559 TENNYSON Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Listed for $2,088,000 on 1/25/2013
Price changed to $2,088,888 on 1/27/2013
Sold for $2,820,000 on 2/25/2013

2 Beds
1 Baths
1,353 Sq. Ft.
$2,084 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1921
Lot Size: 7,500 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Feb 25, 2013
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
Community: Old Palo Alto
MLS#: 81302338

Located in the heart of wonderful old Palo Alto with top rated schools on a large 7500/SF lot. Charming 2 bedroom 1 bath plus den. One oversized bedroom. Hardwood floors , utility basement, and detached Garage. Sold as is in its present condition. Offers to be reviewed after 2/8/2013.

130302-tennyson-bathWe’ll have plenty more evidence as we move into Spring Selling Season that the Real Bay Area is in a Real Bubbly Attitude.  Maybe this can be the First 35% Overbid of Spring.  Now let’s hear from Wendie.

This realtor did an amazing job with the photos of this house! How else could this 3/1 1300 square foot house have sold for 2.8 million dollars?? 800K over asking prices. 

I mean, did you ever think that taking photos of a 1920’s bathroom and a CORNER of a room could do such magic?


You’re simply not giving the agent enough credit, Wendie.  I see at least TWO corners.  What, do you think these houses just sell themselves?

Comments (31) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 3, 2013

How do you REALLY feel about Real Estate Professionals?

It’s been a while since we had a realtards thread.  But today’s Not So Professional Agent isn’t being given the Burbed Loving Hug of Attention for his brilliant listing copy.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader J from Alameda for alerting us to this story.

130302-hitnrun-sceneSonoma Co. real estate agent held in fatal hit-run

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle | Updated 7:52 am, Saturday, March 2, 2013

Photo from KTVU, no credit specified

(03-02) 07:49 PST SANTA ROSA — A Santa Rosa man turned himself in Friday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian, police said.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run in the crash Wednesday that killed 64-year-old George Michael Black of Pacifica, Santa Rosa police said.

Black was walking on the 4600 block of Montgomery Drive shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit by a car that fled the scene, police said. Black died at the scene.

On Friday, a Santa Rosa law firm contacted police on behalf of Heath, who works as a real estate agent. Heath’s attorney told officers that the vehicle from the crash would be found at Heath’s home, authorities said.

130302-hitnrun-heathLet’s review.  Real estate “professional” in a Mercedes S550 hits a pedestrian in broad daylight, and flees the scene. Unlucky stroller who had traveled to Santa Rosa to attend a healing program is pronounced dead seven minutes later#1 Agent in Sonoma the last 3 years running then requests his lawyer contact police two entire days later to say they’ll find what they’re looking for at the hit-and-run driver’s house. Why two whole days? We’re going to make an educated guess that it was long enough for all possible alcohol in someone’s bloodstream to dissipate.

130302-hitnrun-pepperwoodPerhaps you think we’re being cynical.  Well, the readership of is far more so, as several commenters hypothesized that Heath had his attorney transfer his assets to the law firm. We think that’s nonsensical speculation, and that he asked the law firm to transfer his wealth to some deserving relative outside the United States.  Heath, we note, is British and probably has relatives in non-US locales.

Here is just one of those assets: his house on 5562 Pepperwood Road. None of the real estate portals have any specific information on the house other than the lot size (11,246 sf) because they aren’t in the public recorder’s office search results either (yes, we checked).

We are now opening the floor to discuss whatever you’d like about those wonderful real estate professionals in your life, or about anyone who would leave the scene and lawyer up when the right thing to do was fucking call 911 because you just ran your fucking 6,000 pound vehicle into some innocent party’s 175 pound body.  We usually don’t pick on realtards by name, but we’re going to make a giant-ass exception in this case because.

Oh yeah, and this is an Open Thread. It’s March! Time for some Spring Bounce! Let us know how many Mercedes S-class vehicles you see parked at Open Houses!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

March 2, 2013

Ever wonder why the East Bay isn’t in the RBA?

This is why.


This is Zillow’s map of negative equity by county in Central California.  The more red, the more they bled.  You can look at the map by state, by county, and by zip code.  At the county level, we can see that the only Bay Area regions that aren’t about to terminate from failure to clot are Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin Counties.  Santa Cruz County is looking a little pink around the neck (it’s 22% underwater) but it’s downright alabaster compared to the abattoir north and east of San Jose.  Here are the county by county numbers for 2012.

Bay Area County Percent of homes w/mortgage underwater Median Zillow Home Value Index Decline from peak value
Alameda 25% $447,100 -30%
Contra Costa 33% (highest 20% in US) $334,200 -46%
Marin 16% $716,500 -20%
Napa 30% $365,100 42%
San Francisco 10% $771,100 -3%
San Mateo 15% $689.900 -15%
Santa Clara 15% $642,600 -13%
Santa Cruz* 23% $503,400 -31%
Solano 54% (highest 1% in US) $202,400 -58%
Sonoma 29% $357,800 40%

And here’s a live version for you to play with, although you can also head over to Zillow and see it in action wherever you want to examine.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

March 1, 2013

They’re Making More RBA Land

Sometimes a picture explains what words cannot.

Rising home values push more Bay Area homes above water, Zillow says

By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News

Posted: 02/21/2013 06:26:11 AM PST, Updated: 02/21/2013 06:26:39 AM PST

Rising prices pushed thousands of Bay Area homes back above water last year, according to a report released Wednesday, another sign that the region's housing crisis is easing as the economy recovers.

The report, by the housing website Zillow, shows drops across the region in the number of homes that are underwater — worth less than the value of their mortgages.

More than 56,826 homes bobbed back above water across seven counties of the Bay Area in 2012, Zillow reported. That still leaves 205,986 homes with a total negative equity of $31.5 billion.

Now let's see the graphic. See? Fewer homes are underwater! That means more of them are Special, so more are also in the Real Bay Area! They must be making more Real Bay Area land.

Glad we could clear this up.


Comments (30) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am