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.

131014-sfsj-commuter-map

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 19, 2013

It’s Search Engine Thursday!

130918-search-dummyToday’s Search Engine result is what happened when someone typed something into a search engine and ended up on Burbed.  Ready?

bay area too crowded to too expensive to live

Boom!  Our keyword-rich title is Number Six, and we think it’s full of Number Two!

Hah! Somebody isn’t living in the Real Bay Area or they would never say anything like that! Why, in the Real Bay Area you can spend millions of dollars and still have a generous 6,000 square foot lot for your 1500 sf house! That’s only crowded if you’re sharing it with 8 other Googlers!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 am

September 7, 2013

Planning on Selling? You waited too long!

Should have sold this spring when there wasn’t any competition!

Bay Area home sales hit seven-year high

130906-sales-houseBy Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
POSTED:   08/15/2013 11:48:29 AM PDT | UPDATED:   22 DAYS AGO

The Bay Area’s housing market staged a breakthrough in July, reaching the highest level of sales for any month in nearly seven years, according to a report Thursday.

The housing recovery has been bogged down by a lack of inventory. This month’s report indicates that is no longer the case, as sellers respond to double-digit price increases.

July’s median sale price of $562,000 for all types of homes is up 33.5 percent across the nine-county Bay Area in 12 months, according to real estate information company DataQuick, meaning that homeowners who have been sitting on the sidelines for years can finally sell at a profit.

Along with the news that the average Silicon Valley house is selling for over a million dollars, perhaps we’ll hear from some Deluded Renters about how smart it is to buy a house NOW and how they can’t wait to sink every penny they have into a 30 year obligation.

Also note the lack of recent Real Estate news in the Murk. Maybe nobody is buying or selling anything anymore.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 am

August 4, 2013

Another Bay Area Bubble Call!

We’ve been boosting the Bay Area Bubble 4.0 news all year. Now, another voice joins in the chorus we started months ago. And this is a one of our long-time fans, PK from DQYDJ! That stands for Don’t Quit Your Day Job.  Recently PK revisited the post that introduced the Bay Area Income and Home calculator, so this is definitely worth your while!

Bay Area Housing Prices: Beware the Inflating Bubble

130803-dqydj-graphPosted By PK    Last updated July 14th, 2013

Two years ago (well, September 28, 2011 anyway), we regaled you on this site with tales about how the Bay Area’s home prices – while admittedly quite high – were complete justifiable.  If you don’t have time to read those prescient words, I can summarize: home prices may have been high in 2011, but Bay Area households pulled in a ton of income (second only to the Government driven economies around Washington, D.C.), making houses somewhat affordable to many households in the area.

Am I proud of that call now that we’ve seen 20% year over year price returns in many areas, and 52% absolute returns on the house I purchased in July 2011?  Well, yeah, of course I am.  However, the mark of a truthful person is to change your opinion when presented with new data.  Here’s to being honest: the Bay Area is getting pretty frothy.

Told ya.

While we do want you to head over to PK’s site and read it, we’ve got the new calculators for you to play around with right here for afters.  First, here’s where you can see how well your income stacks up against the competition. Zuckerberg, you’re not, but go ahead and type in your income and see where you are compared to everyone else.

Remember, Inner Bay Area isn’t quite the same thing as Real Bay Area, because the former is by county. Everyone in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara is included. Unfortunately they also invited Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and by adding those East Bay locales the numbers already skew down.  Leaving out Marin County made prices even lower! Wanted: data so we can unskew these calculators by zip code!

Next, here’s the home edition, whoops, the home value edition.  Are you building a Larry Page-type compound in the most prestigious part of Palo Alto? Didn’t think so. But you can find out how affordable your home is, or the home you’re thinking of buying, or the home Larry Page is going to buy.

Let us know what you think of PK’s calculators, or anything else you’d like to talk about.  Yes, it’s Weekend Open Thread time!  How affordable were the Open Houses you saw this weekend?

Comments (4) -- 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

March 27, 2013

The Bay Area is “Ground Zero”

Real Estate “Flash Sales” Prove Market Is Hot

If you’re looking for a home in the Bay Area, you will probably need two things on your side: luck, and a lot of cash.

Those who aren’t willing to compete with up to dozens of other offers on a home are now trying to buy it – hours after it’s listed on the market.

The new trend has been dubbed by realty experts as “flash sales” – any sale that happens within 24 hours.

For example, a home in East Palo Alto on Gates Street was put on the market on March 19. It got nine offers the same day and sold for above asking price within 24 hours.

Glenn Kelman, CEO of online real estate brokerage Redfin which is set up in 19 U.S. markets, said that trend is growing in the Bay Area and calls it “Ground Zero” for an incredibly hot housing market, one that experienced an incredible boom at the start of 2013 in January.

I hate to be the kind of person who brags, but… well… told you so.

Oh, I forgot. We’re in the Bay Area. I need to humble brag.

I’m so amazed and honored to be proven right.

The Bay Area is back, baby. It’s Ground Zero!

Just how special?

Ken DeLeon, a realtor, said his latest listing is a 1200 square foot home in Palo Alto that he just put on the market Thursday. “The amazing part is just within 24 hours, we already had a client with a Chinese all-cash buyer offer us more than 300,000 above and we said, ‘No thank you, please wait,’” DeLeon said.

He and other realtors said they’re still catering to those wealthy foreign buyers, mostly from China and Russia; however, with historic-low mortgage interest rates and an inventory that’s also hitting record lows, they said the competitive cash offers are no longer limited to the high-end homes.

Hey Realtors – I gotta tip for you: Price the house in RMB. Why? There’d be even more opportunities to add 8’s to the price!

“There are sometimes traffic jams outside open houses,” said Kelman. “Folks get worried they can’t wait for the offer deadline on Sundays, so they make a preemptive strike to try and buy it on the spot.”

Forget waiting 3 hours to eat brunch at Mamas, or camping out 3 days to enroll your kids into pre-school… now you have to camp out a week to attend a open house.

Hold on for a sec.

I had to get a kleenex.

The tears won’t stop flowing.

This is so beautiful.

The Bay Area is back. Better than ever.

This is the year where the $ per square foot in the Real Bay Area will beat the average $ per square foot for Manhattan. You heard it here first.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am

March 17, 2013

If the Bay Area Were a High School…

Found while perusing The Atlantic Cities and submitted for your consideration need for a weekend giggle:

‘Rich Kid Who Wears Pastel Shirts’ of the Day: Connecticut

130316-hstypes-redditHENRY GRABAR | The Atlantic CITIES | MAR 11, 2013

Sometimes, the hive mind just does it better.

This weekend, thousands of Redditors brainstormed an exciting new method of stereotyping American regional identity. If the U.S. were a high school, which states would fulfill which high school stereotypes?

A few of the top answers:

Oregon, by DVDAmoog: "Oregon is that white dude with dreadlocks."

Washington by GoopyCheese: "Washington would be that awesome kid who’s cool enough to roll with the cool kids, but not too cool to hangout with the weird kids."

Alaska, by JoeTromboni: "Alaska is the fat kid with a beard who wears flannel, and gets A’s in shop class."

130316-hstypes-map

Okay, you get the idea: let your worst stereotypes run wild. We’ve included the link to Reddit so you can find more, but while this is a fun game, we need remember that on Burbed, all real estate is local. What would each city or neighborhood in the Bay Area be like if they were a typical high school kid?

Let’s see…

Alviso is the runty guy on reduced lunch who lets off Silent But Deadlies on the staircases. Even Milpitas won’t sit next to him anymore.

Emerald Hills (Redwood City) are twin girls. One wears Juicy Couture and tries to hang out with Woodside and his gang but they usually blow her off.  The other Emerald Hills girl buys her clothes at Goodwill, cuts most of her classes, and spends all day in the Art studio.  Nobody can figure out what she’s making.

Mission San Jose (Fremont) used to be a pretty fun dude but once he got those 2380 SATs back he’s just unbearable.

Go.

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

March 16, 2013

The Hipster in Suburbia: Do I Dare Hipsturb the Real Bay Area?

San Francisco’s Mission District is Hipster Central for the Bay Area.  (Also mentioned: The Uptown, Oakland.  But that’s in the East Bay, so fuhgeddabowdit.) A recent New York Times column (motto: We Still Think New York Is Important!) notes that not all the East Coast Hipsters are found in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district, either.

Creating Hipsturbia

130315-hipsturbia-illo

By ALEX WILLIAMS, The New York Times
Published: February 15, 2013

Illustration: Ryan Inzana

A yoga studio opened on Main Street that offers lunch-hour vinyasa classes. Nearby is a bicycle store that sells Dutch-style bikes, and a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its edible nasturtiums from its backyard garden.

Across the street is the home-décor shop that purveys monofloral honey produced by nomadic beekeepers in Sicily. And down the street is a retro-chic bakery, where the red-velvet cupcakes are gluten-free and the windows are decorated with bird silhouettes — the universal symbol for “hipsters welcome.”

You no longer have to take the L train to experience this slice of cosmopolitan bohemia. Instead, you’ll find it along the Metro-North Railroad, roughly 25 miles north of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

130315-hipsturbia-decadeSo, barring any proper large city, where would hipsturbia be in the Bay Area?  Is Palo Alto too expensive to qualify?  Is Larkspar too tilted to aging hippies?  Could Hayward, City of Diversity, take the title of the “twee lifestyle”?  How can people who don’t want to be like everyone else find meaning in a subdivision full of identical tract housing?

Well, they can’t, that’s the point.  The challenge is to find low-density but non-conformist older single-family housing.  Or at least older and idiosyncratic housing amid primary low-density population centers and front yards.  We’d say look for neighborhoods near funky downtowns, with low Walk Scores or lots of bicyclists.

130315-hipsturbia-vansWe bet you could find something appropriate near the downtowns of Mountain View, San Carlos, or Willow Glen.  Where would you suggest?

Meanwhile, this is also your weekend Open Thread, to discuss any hipster sightings in the Open Houses you’re reporting on.

Comments (21) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 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

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