February 1, 2014

I Can Haz Stock Optionz?

Here’s a piece of investment and career advice: If your job doesn’t give you a piece of equity in the company you’re working for, it’s time to move on.

You Need Equity To Live In Silicon Valley

140131-stanford-memeMay 22, 2013 – Andy Rachleff Wealthfront

The other day we were modeling our typical client’s spending when we realized something disturbing – an average Bay Area-based young couple has to own equity in a business if they hope to send their kids to a good university and be able to retire well.

Investing well alone can’t get you there.

Our analysis found you need to work for at least one company where your equity stake can generate at least a few hundred thousand dollars after tax to make your economics work in the Bay Area.

The problem is the hole that opens up in a typical couple’s budget when they are in their late 30s. Three big pressures converge then: the mortgage on your expensive Bay Area home, and the dueling needs to fund your retirement and your kids’ college early so that you take advantage of compounding.

That’s why we say: You need equity to live in Silicon Valley.

And we say, you need even more equity to live in The Real Silicon Valley.  Then again, you could always rent AND send your kids to Community College and Cal State AND move to Arkansas for your Golden Years.

Basically this is another one of those “We make $250,000 a year and we feel sooooooo poooooor” pieces. Please all join in this First World Problems Pity Party because in lieu of another crap house for your disapproval.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:06 am






October 19, 2013

San Francisco & San Jose: Two Different Metros. WTFF? WHY?

131014-sfsj-bayareaThe conventional definition of the Bay Area was always the nine counties that touched SF Bay somewhere.  These were:

  • San Francisco, which everyone used to acknowledge as The City, because it was a City and a County both!
  • Alameda, its close-by yet cheaper urban commuter residence, home to Oakland, Berkeley, and of course, Hayward.
  • Contra Costa, further away, and featuring the lovely features of Richmond contrasted with the excitement of the I-680 corridor.
  • San Mateo, the nicer bedroom county. Not as nice as Marin, but easier to get to, and more importantly now, waaaaay closer to Google.
  • Santa Clara, formerly the valley of fruits and nuts, now home to the real economic engines. As in Google and Apple and Facebook and Intel and Cisco and a bunch of other places that make it possible for you to read this blog every day.
  • Marin, home to aging hippies and even more aging real estate, it’s the whitest part of the Bay Area
  • Sonoma, rural and removed from, well, everything above.
  • Napa, even more rural and removed except when the tourists clog up the wineries.
  • Solano, our very own Stockton on the Bay. That’s a reference to their finances, not their cattle ranching. Vallejo has a different economy.

Yet The Bay Area is often missing from lists comparing different parts of the country because the Census Bureau (now in shutdown mode!) decided to break The Bay Area into two different metropolitan areas.  There’s the San Francisco Metropolitan Statistical Area, and there’s the San Jose one.  San Francisco also got Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin counties. 

What did San Jose get?  San fucking Benito.  Thanks a LOT, Census anal-retentives.  You take the fifth largest metro area in the country and bust us into number 11. And number 34. Thanks a fucking lot, people counting geeks.  We really appreciate all the respect for our geographic integrity.

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Breaking SF and SJ into different metros is utterly stupid. Also, SF gets San Mateo AND Alameda Counties, which have plenty of commuters crossing into Santa Clara County.

I finally found some actual commuting numbers in this chart here.  72 thousand San Mateo County residents commute to SF and 61 thousand commute to Santa Clara County.  But… this was in 2010. Lots more people even in SF taking the Google Bus now.  (SF-to-SCC commuters was 18K, the reverse was 7K)

You know what else is stupid? This graph. The size of the arrows seems to have little to do with how many commuters they represent when compared to the same size arrow in another county.  That big-assed snot-green one coming out of Contra Costa to Alameda?  It actually is the biggest inter-county commute, with 120 thousand people crossing the line to get to work. But the two opposed arrows out of San Mateo County, going to SF and Santa Clara County?  The baby shit brown one is longer but the purple one represents 10,000 more people.  Similarly, the same two colors coming out of Alameda?  That fabulous purple arrow is longer and just as wide, but there’s 6,000 more people heading to Silicon Valley than The City.

The chart key says arrow width is what matters, not length. But that’s bad design.  A stubby arrow connotes direction but also represents area.  A longer arrow should either show a longer commute or also more commuters.  And both SF vs SJ (well, SCC) arrows are not equilinear, yet the danged chart doesn’t tell us why that is.

131014-sfsj-commuteThere are more jobs in SCC than any other county in the Bay Area, too, 953K.  The next biggest job center is Alameda County with 737K, and The So-Called City is third with 621K.

Feel free to talk about your commute, where your job is in relation to your house, or anything you want. It’s not like we’ve ever removed a post for being off-topic.

Comments (18) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 am

September 9, 2013

We’re all Bozos on this Google Bus

We thought about bringing up the Google Gossip about Sergey leaving his wife for Google Glass Gal, but we thought better of it. Nothing more predictable than yet another dude with too much money having a midlife crisis and discovering the joys of a relationship with a younger woman.  Instead, we bring you a different Google story, which is actually real-estate related.

Mapping Silicon Valley’s Gentrification Problem Through Corporate Shuttle Routes

20130908-googlebus-mapBY ERIC RODENBECK, Wired Magazine
09.06.13 9:30 AM

Digital flows of information and the capital that it’s generating are having a material input on the physical landscape.

Here’s an ironic thing: I spend a good part of my day designing maps and data visualizations that represent change, while working out of one of the most change-resistant corners in the city of San Francisco.

For the past dozen or so years, the 16th and Mission Street BART plaza below the studio where we work has steadfastly hosted a diverse, rotating cast of characters — from drug dealers and preachers to musicians and hipsters, cheek by jowl with families, social activists, Social Security poets (sadly a shrinking population), and, increasingly but haltingly, young workers in the great technology fields to the south.

It’s proven a remarkably resilient situation: It was this way when I watched it in 2001, at the nadir of the dot-com crash. And it’s this way in 2013, at the mid-point of what some are calling the next big tech boom, the bastard love child of late 1990s Delusion 1.0. Yet the city is just bursting with change these days, if construction is an indicator. When I look out my window, I see at least nine active construction cranes at any given time (and that number would be even higher if it weren’t for the new scaffolding blocking my view of the rest of the city).

Neighborhoods that just 10 years ago were once written off as un-developable are seeing barriers to change break down every day. Why? It’s tough to point to a single cause, but it seems abundantly clear that digital flows of information and the attendant capital that it’s generating are having a material input on the physical urban landscape.

130908-googlebus-posterNow, the title above is completely off the mark.  This article isn’t in any way about Silicon Valley’s gentrification problem.  It’s about San Francisco’s gentrification problem because of those high paying jobs in Silicon Valley.  You would never know from reading the Wired piece that there are “Google buses” all throughout Silicon Valley and its exurbs, not just running various SF to Mountain View routes.  We’ve seen the luxury shuttle buses in San Ramon, in Los Gatos, and in Scotts Valley.  Every one of those buses means the employees onboard are not driving their own vehicles to work, and they are free to come up with brilliant ideas during the commute thanks to onboard WiFi.

They’re also free to play video poker, just like hardworking Senator John McCain.  And like Senators, taking private shuttle buses insulates tech workers from having to deal with ordinary people on public transit. You would be amazed at all the resentment there is toward the Google buses.  Maybe it’s because all those highly-paid tech workers are driving up rents and sales prices, forcing everyone else to move to the East Bay.

Meanwhile, in order to figure out the unpublished list of private shuttle bus stops, Wired had to hire a bunch of bike messengers to follow the buses… and scribble notes on paper.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:09 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

June 1, 2013

Northern California: Fit, healthy & wealthy

130531-afi-top10The American College of Sports Medicine has released their annual American Fitness Index, and we’ve got three spots in the top ten.  You can check out lots of details over on their site, but here’s the the ten fittest metros (out of 50) on their list.

Notice who isn’t here? That’s right, New York City.  They’re a practically dead-average #24 out of 50.  The least healthy and fit metro? Oklahoma City.

San Jose metro (Santa Clara and San Benito County), as all the metros, was given a list of Strengths and Challenges in the fitness and health department.  It seems we’re good at some aspects of healthy living (good eating, fewer obese people, lots of biking to work) but we’re failling down with all the asthma and diabetes sufferers, not to mention all the loons living here. Also we’re low on some of the dedicated sports areas per capita, no doubt because they’d be better off as residential property (sheesh, anyone knows that).

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Again, you can feel free to peruse the website, because it has all kinds of interesting stuff on how they made their list. But the reason we’re calling the list out in the first place isn’t just because we have three cities in the Top 10.

It’s because somebody’s pulled a Burbed and decided to critique how this list was made.  Even better, the complaining site is one we’ve previously called out for not including San Jose metro on their own lists.

Updated: Nope, that was actually Travel & Leisure.

The basic complaints are that too many of the indicators that produce the index tend to line up with who has the money. The above Top 10 has a high correlation with household income.

130531-afi-appsorsAnd the bitchfest goes on: there are too many indicators and they end up reinforcing each other.  Worse, some of the Community Health numbers are for how many facilities are in the city limits, rather than the larger metro areas. Yes, this is an actual case of mixing apples and oranges, which is actually a reasonably healthy thing to do.

Finally, our critic notes that this sort of data doesn’t change much, so creating an annual list sort of defeats the point. Minneapolis has gotten #1 for the last 3 years.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

May 26, 2013

UPDATED: A Bay Area School Ranking Mysteriously Heavy on the East Bay

Now how did this happen?  ZipRealty has produced a school ranking report that justifies buyers staying in its own East Bay backyard. A number of news sites ran completely uncritical parroting of this news release.  Let’s take a closer look to find out exactly how this happened, because there’s a reason there’s a Real Bay Area and the East Bay will never be part of it.

See updates below.

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Top Schools and Affordable Homes: East Bay Dominates ZipRealty’s List of Best Places to Live for Families

San Ramon Valley, Sunol Glen and Piedmont schools top the list.

EMERYVILLE, Calif., May 16, 2013 – ZipRealty, Inc. (http://www.ziprealty.com) (NASDAQ: ZIPR), the leading online residential real estate brokerage and technology provider, has released its first annual ranking of the Best Places for Families to Live: Top School Districts with Most Affordable Housing in the Bay Area. The public school rankings were compiled by factoring each school district’s School Score on ZipRealty.com with median price per square foot in that district. To be considered, at least 10 home sales must have closed in that school district over the course of 2012.

"We all know lots of factors – not just price per square foot – go into determining home values," says ZipRealty CEO and President Lanny Baker. "Among the most important of these factors for many families today is the quality of local schools in relation to the price of their local real estate. In our ongoing effort to help home buyers make important decisions, we are thrilled to bring these two sets of data together."

ZipRealty’s proprietary School Score ratings measure the performance of each school district, including elementary, middle and high schools on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. ZipRealty calculates School Score ratings based on test-score data as well as student/teacher ratios, says Jamie Wilson, Senior Vice President of Technology.

130525-zipr-supermodelNotice that dateline? Emeryville. You think a realty portal located in a region with an inferiority complex is going to play fair with school rankings when up against the Real Bay Area? Ha. You can see how this is shaping up with the name of that list: “Best Places for Families to Live: Top School Districts with Most Affordable Housing in the Bay Area.”

Now if you’ve been reading Burbed for more than a couple of weeks, you already know that “Top School Districts” and “Most Affordable Housing in the Bay Area” are Two of Those Things That Don’t Go Together. It’s kind of like finding America’s Top Supermodels Who Live In Trailer Parks.  Only the supermodels are probably easier to locate because there’s less overbidding.

But it was the Top 10 on this list that made us write in to ZipRealty to ask just how the heck this list came to be.  Have a look:

  1. San Ramon Valley Unified: School Score 9.1/Median Price per SF $304
  2. Sunol Glen Unified: School Score 9.3/Median Price per SF $356
  3. Piedmont Unified: School Score 9.5/Median Price per SF $539
  4. Palo Alto Unified: School Score 9.2/Median Price per SF $885
  5. Castro Valley Unified: School Score 8/Median Price per SF $265
  6. Dublin Unified: School Score 8.4/Median Price per SF $265
  7. Pleasanton Unified: School Score 8.6/Median Price per SF $332
  8. Albany Unified: School Score 8.6/Median Price per SF $419
  9. Benicia Unified: School Score 7.8/Median Price per SF $181
  10. Martinez Unified: School Score 7.8/Median Price per SF $185

Okay, what the heck? Not only is every single school district on this list but one on the East side of the Bay, every single one is also single.  Where the hell are the non-unified school districts?  And look who’s sticking out like a sore thumb on this list. Yes, everyone’s favorite Palo Alto, sailing in at a Most Affordable Housing Price of $885 a square foot (which is too low because they calculated it more than a week ago).

Needless to say, that Most Affordable Housing figure made us write to ZipRealty’s media contact and ask just how this list was ranked.  Their answer is they put all the 9s in one bucket, then ranked the per square foot prices within the rank, then did the same for the 8s, the 7s, etc.  The school score itself was calculated based on “test-score data as well as student/teacher ratios.”  So Palo Alto and its sky-high price per foot represented the “worst” or Least Affordable of the Most Affordable of the 9s category, which had all of four school districts in it.

We were also sent the full list of 70 school districts, and there actually were some non-unified organizations therein. The highest scoring non-unified district was Los Gatos-Saratoga High School District, with an 8.3 (and a Most Affordable Housing Price of $601 a foot, which then pushed it below the Tamalpais and Fremont Union HSDs, which scored lower but were much more Most Affordable, reinforcing what we said above about those supermodels).

130525-zipr-overcrowdedComparing a high school district (grades 9-12) to a unified district (grades K-12) is batshit insane pretty silly, though.  Elementary schools have lower student-teacher ratios because, and stop us if this concept seems a little too technical, but State Law mandates smaller student-teacher ratios for elementary classes.  Therefore a Unified district would score more highly, benefitting both from that smaller student-teacher ratio and the resulting higher school test scores than a district that only has high schools.  You know, because high schools have… larger classes… and more students in the school from more diverse backgrounds than elementary schools.

Talk about a stacked deck: Alameda County has no high school districts at all, only unified districts.  Same with Solano County.  And you know else how they shuffled the cards funny?  Where the HELL is Cupertino Union School District?  You may have heard of them, they’re the one that scores 998 on the danged STAR tests from a couple of their elementary schools. But they’re nowhere to be found on the list.  And that’s rather interesting, because we looked up a house in the district on ZipRealty, just to find out CUSD’s ranking.

It’s 9.4, which means it beats every other district on the list except Piedmont (which got a whopping 9.5, or 10.2 on the list of 70 we were sent, which makes us wonder about their copyediting). Yet for some reason there’s no mention of Cupertino at all. Maybe it’s that Most Affordable Housing Price of $750 a foot – except that’s still less than Palo Alto.

130525-zipr-unfairfightPerhaps they only wanted to include school districts that had high schools? Maybe, but that doesn’t explain the presence of two (yes two out of 70) elementary school districts on the list (Howell Mountain and Pope Valley, both toward the bottom).  How many of the 70 were unified school districts? 53. And 14 high school (only) districts.

Sorry, that’s whacked, comparing unified districts with high school only.  We can run similarly helpful lists, showing East Bay city values jumping by huge margins… and forgetting to mention that they utterly imploded after 2006.  Oh wait, that’s what realtards do every time they tell you that NOW IS ALWAYS THE TIME TO BUY.

We’ve helpfully pulled out all the high school districts from the ZipRealty list, to get a better idea of how they rank against each other, since we don’t see the value in comparing apples with horse apples.  The two numbers after each high school district are the price per square foot, and the ZipRealty School Score. 

Updated 4:30 PM: The number in parenthesis in front is the rank amid all those unified districts. And we’ve separated them into their respective school score buckets, which is how the entire list was ranked (first digit of score, followed by ranking price per foot from least to most).

(11) TAMALPAIS UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $486  8.1
(12) FREMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $545  8
(13) LOS GATOS-SARATOGA JOINT UHSD  $601  8.3

(17) WEST SONOMA COUNTY UNION HSD  $255  7
(19) ACALANES UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $307  7.6
(24) SAN MATEO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $474  7
(25) MOUNTAIN VIEW-LOS ALTOS UNION HSD  $626  7.6

(27) LIBERTY UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $124  6
(32) SAN RAFAEL CITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $338  6.4
(36) CAMPBELL UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $408  6
(38) SEQUOIA UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $515.5  6.8

(45) SAN BENITO HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $153  5.5
(52) EAST SIDE UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $272  5.7
(54) JEFFERSON UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT  $344  5.8

Jefferson was 54th out of 70 districts, which means it still managed to beat out 14 unifieds despite the structural handicap of not having any K-8 students.

Update 4:30: Just for giggles, let’s take a look at the bottom 10 schools on their list. East Bay in yellow, and the two WTF elementaries in green (both in Napa County).

61. HAYWARD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $192  4.2
62. HOWELL MOUNTAIN ELEMENTARY SD  $201  4.7
63. OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $210  4.9
64. SAN LORENZO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $211  4.8
65. SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $218  4.6

66. PAJARO VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $247 4
67. SONOMA VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $269.5 4.4
68. CALISTOGA JOINT UNIFIED SD  $405  4.7
69. POPE VALLEY UNION ELEMENTARY SD  $55  3.8
70. EMERY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  $270  3.6

No RBA here!

130525-zipr-4pinocchios

We rank this press release 4 Pinocchios and 5 Lereahs

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And seriously, shame on Yahoo Finance and HuffPo Parents for not doing the slightest bit of due diligence on it. Do we have to do everything?

Update 4:30 PM: We’ve asked ZipRealty to explain their mooshing together unified and high school districts, as well as the two elementaries in their list. We will run any response of theirs in full.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

May 19, 2013

Real American Area: No Bubble. Real Bay Area? Otherwise.

Here’s part 1643 of Proof there is indeed a Bay Area Bubble 4.0.

Housing Bubble Unlikely, Home Price Appreciation Should Slow – CoreLogic

BY JANN SWANSON, Mortgage News Daily
May 16 2013, 11:10AM

CoreLogic said today that home prices are projected to increase 3.9 percent on an annualized basis between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the same quarter in 2017.  However, a new housing bubble is not likely as market dynamics shift for both supply and demand.  Prices rose 7.3 percent in 2012.

The CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index report notes that the increase in 2012 was the strongest rate of appreciation in nearly seven years and projected that prices will continue to improve in 2013 and beyond in the more than 380 U.S. markets it tracks.  The company’s current analysis says that, "Cities at epicenter of housing bubble/crash are clocking highest rate of appreciation, largely driven by investor demand."

130518-homeprices-map

This map comes to us thanks to Burbed reader PKamp3 over at DQYDJ.net, who linked us to the story in Business Insider. However they got the story from Jim the Realtor’s BubbleInfo blog, who in turn got it from Mortgage News Daily.  And it’s a good thing we traced the map (and story) all the way back to the original article, because it has some seriously amusing conclusions to anyone who lives Where It’s Special.  And that’s without making fun of the name of the Chief Economist for CoreLogic/Case-Shiller.  Nah, we’ll just make fun of his opinions of whether there’s a housing bubble:

Dr. Stiff tamped down concerns of another housing bubble. "Even if double-digit price appreciation were to continue in the former bubble metro areas, there is no reason to believe that new home price bubbles are forming. That’s because single-family homes in these markets are still very affordable, even after last year’s large price gains. Consider Phoenix, where home prices rose 27 percent since the market hit bottom in 2011, making it the strongest residential real estate market in the U.S. Yet, home prices there are still 45 percent below their 2006 peak," Stiff continued.

Yes, if you would consider living in a hellhole like Phoenix with summer daytime temperatures routinely above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, of course you’d note that these markets are still very affordable. But nobody uses the words “Real Bay Area home prices” and “affordable” unless they are separated by some sort of negating construction.

Lest you think we are making this up, the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City metro is the least affordable in the entire country, with only 28.9 percent of homes affordable by a median income household. That’s right, we’re Number One again, beating out 221 other metros for the crown!  Santa Cruz-Watsonville is #4 (37.1%), while San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara isn’t far behind at #6 (43.3%) and Salinas (44.4%) at #7.

130518-homeprices-paragonWhere’s Phoenix, the brick oven that’s still 45 percent below their 2006 peak? They’re at number 57 in unaffordability.

Let us remind everyone that San Francisco and San Mateo Counties never dropped 45 percent below peak. The reason the San Francisco Case-Shiller numbers dropped as much as they did is because they’re completely weighed down by Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

It’s the East Bay that dropped like a rock after 2006, not the Real Bay Area.  And like a pair of cement overshoes, the East Bay took the whole SF Case-Shiller index down with it. Even the upper tier (the top third of home prices) is affected by this home distribution.

130518-homeprices-paloaltoAnd let’s check those East Bay numbers.  Oakland-Fremont-Hayward turns in a respectable #24 in the You Can’t Touch This index, showing it’s no Phoenix, either.

So we have some words for that Stiff Doctor: There is too a Bay Area Bubble 4.0. We see it every single day even outside the Real Bay Area. We see peak pricing. We see bidding wars. We hear from readers reporting lines to enter Open Houses, or appraisals coming in higher in just a few weeks, or as-is cash overbids on homes where the would-be buyers didn’t even bother going inside.

Inotherwords, Dr. Stiff, maybe you need to get over your Phoenix fixation and check out the parts of the country where the housing bubble is very much back.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

April 28, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0: The Real Bay Area is Real, too

We told you there was a Bay Area real estate bubble. This mercurynews.com (motto: we were once a newspaper, really!) article caught our attention. Not only does it lend support to everything we said about peak housing prices in northwest Silicon Valley and other prime real estate markets, there’s another interesting reveal as well.

Bay Area housing recovery spreads from Silicon Valley to East Bay

130427-svpeak-mapBy Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   04/26/2013 06:54:33 AM PDT, Updated:   04/26/2013 06:54:55 AM PDT

The Bay Area’s overheated housing market is restoring thousands of homes to their pre-crash peak values in a ZIP-code-by-ZIP-code recovery that is rapidly spreading from Silicon Valley to the East Bay.

Thirty-four of 185 ZIP codes in five counties have regained or surpassed their bubble-era peak home value or are less than 1 percent from it, according to this newspaper’s analysis of February median values for all homes from online real estate site Zillow.

Another 49 ZIPs are within 15 percent of their previous highs, including 18 in the East Bay. A year ago, only part of leafy Palo Alto had regained the value it lost after Bay Area home values crested in 2006-07.

"Seven or eight years ago, there was really a bubble," said Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California. "Now it’s just good real estate where values are returning to near past peaks."

Yes, This Time It’s Different 4.0.  This is “good real estate” as opposed to Bay Area Bubble 3.0 which was also considered “good real estate,” as we can see by looking at some of the stories they ran in 2006.  Here’s one:

MercuryNews.com | 10/03/2006 | ‘Burdened’: Area owners pay a big chunk of their income for housing
Lenders and other home buying experts said they’re not surprised by the numbers, which they said reflect a long-running trend in the Bay Area. And some questioned whether the 30 percent figure was outdated, saying many people can afford to pay more.

[snip]

Lenders and real estate experts said home buyers in the Bay Area are used to paying more for housing than home buyers elsewhere, and that many, like Singer, use their homes as a savings plan. Most have figured out how to manage the extra debt, they said. In some cases, borrowers are making smaller down payments than previous generations of home buyers.

“(They) are going to make the lifestyle change necessary to own a home, which may mean that 50 percent of their income goes to their mortgage. . . . (They) don’t go out to dinner, they don’t go shopping anymore. It’s about changing their lifestyle,” said Andrea Lanier, a mortgage broker with the San Mateo office of Bankers Preferred Real Estate Loans.

But what we’d also like you to pay attention to is the map pictured above.  Green represents home values above the 2005-08 bubble previous peak, and red means the current value is below the pre-crash peak.  And by “values” they mean those Zestimate numbers that Zillow not only made up, they keep changing the historical data retroactively. Hope that’s science-y enough for you because we’re sure convinced! 

The first thing we noticed was that there’s green where we expect to find it: along the 280 spine.  Where’s the red? Why the East Bay, of course.  Now, let’s look at this map next to a few others we’ve featured in the past.  As always, you can click on any map to see a larger version.

First, here’s the map above next to a recent Zillow map of negative equity.  Difficult to have high home values when the homes are worth less than the “owners” owe on them.

130427-svpeak-map

Next, the infamous “Whole Foods vs Walmart” location maps.

And finally, the some of the “Real Bay Area” maps we’ve provided in the past.  2010 is on the left, 2008 on the right.

And here’s the granddaddy.

Hate to say we told you so, but we told you so — about ten kajillion times.  Eventually Bay Area Bubble 4.0 will raise East Bay home prices above the last peak, by which point The Real Bay Area (which most certainly does not include the East Bay) will be so expensive that even dual-income Google couples will be Priced. Out. For-EVEH!

Until Bay Area Bubble 4.0 goes all Bubblepopcalypse on us and we start preparing for Bay Area Bubble 5.0. As you load up on gold bars and dried beans, let us know what Open Houses you were checking out, because this is also your Weekend Open Thread!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

April 14, 2013

UPDATED: Bay Area Bubble 4.0 Update #127: Still Bubbly

130414-minibubble-mapRedfin’s got a new blog post out that says just because housing prices are going up, that doesn’t mean we’re in a bubble.

Unless, of course, you live in the Bay Area. While they call some markets “mini-bubbles,” we don’t see anything diminished about the “frenzy” they admit seeing in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro.  You know, 40-60 offers per listing, suitcases full of cash, that sort of thing.

There’s no mention of the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara market, no doubt because the idjits who put together Case-Shiller listings didn’t look at which ones were missing and why. By breaking the Bay Area into smaller MSAs, they spun Santa Clara County off from SF/Marin/Alamenda/Contra Costa/San Mateo, resulting in Silicon Valley no longer being in a Top 30 metro.  We’re sorry, but that’s an incredibly dumbass decision.  Does anyone really think that more San Mateo County 16 million working people work in SF than Santa Clara County?

This is an Open Thread. Why do you think San Jose isn’t in Case-Shiller, other than their terror of our always being #1 every month?

Updated on 4/20: This is the 3000th post to appear on Burbed!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

March 2, 2013

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

This is why.

130301-negeq-norcal

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