January 31, 2010

How are Property Taxes in California Distributed?

Demystifying the California Property Tax Apportionment System

Ever wonder how Property Taxes in California are distributed? Well, this 81 page document will help you understand!

Here’s the intro:

The California property tax system is often perceived as a mysterious process
understandable by only the technicians who work its applications. It is deemed by all to
be complex with its complexity increasing with each related statutory change. There is
no single feature of the apportionment system that is difficult to comprehend. In fact,
each individual procedure would appear to be rather simple. The complexities lie with
the multifarious procedures and formulas and how each procedure and formula
interrelates and affects the final outcome.
In light of this, the most useful tool to enable the reader to understand the AB 8 process is
a simple model demonstrating its important features and formulas. The model in this
report provides that needed step-by-step approach. The foundation of the model was
developed by Woody McWaters of Ventura County. California counties will have
variations from the processes demonstrated by the model (as the saying goes, “there are
58 counties and 59 ways of doing things”), however, the essence will be the same.

This report also includes discussions on legislative history and the effect each change has
made to the apportionment process. It does not include a history of events that led to the
passage of Proposition 13. The best source to learn about the chain of events leading to
the tax revolt is David Doerr’s “California Tax Machine: A History of Taxing and
Spending in the Golden State”, published by the California Taxpayers’ Association.
Also, for a more detailed description and discussion on the intricacies of the property tax
apportionment system, the reader should refer to the “California Property Tax Managers’
Reference Manual” and various other uniform guidelines published by the State
Association of County Auditors.

It’s a fun read. If you understand it, please help others understand it by posting your summary in the comments!

Comments (1) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:49 am

January 28, 2010

“palo alto” apartment rent trends

It’s search engine Thursday.

Recently someone found this site by searching for: “"palo alto" apartment rent trends”

This is easy. Up. Rents always go up.

I guess the tricky question is: by how much? 10% 20% 30%?

With the recession over, and IPOs going to start blossoming this year, I’d say probably at least 10%. More importantly, house prices are going to start to soar this year, and that will drive up rental prices in that… uh… supply and demand.

So, your best bet is probably to buy 2 houses now, and rent one out!

Comments (1) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

January 24, 2010

Californians demonstrate ability to manage money by using strategic defaults

American Dream 2: Default, Then Rent

Congrats to California for demonstrating our savvy financial abilities. Now we’re not only the leaders in producing innovative products, but we’re also one of the best in using strategy to manage our finances.

More importantly, we beat NY. You’d figure all those finance/banking losers would be better at this, but clearly they can’t think out of the box like we can. Go California!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:08 am

January 21, 2010

why many houses for rent in bay area

It’s search engine Thursday!

Recently, someone found this site by searching for: why many houses for rent in bay area 

This one is easy: because everyone dreams of being a landlord!

To repeat from a few days ago:


Let’s face it – there’s no more noble calling that being a landlord in California. If it weren’t, then laws like Prop 13 wouldn’t reward landlords by providing them with amazingly low property taxes! Clearly, the citizens of the state have decided that more landlords is better from a social perspective.

And let’s face it, there’s nothing better about being a landlord than being able to evict a tenant. After all, it goes to show how powerful you are. You are the lord of the land, and you can do to the serfs whatever your will compels you to do. You should always be sure to conduct evictions while wearing your golden, jewel encrusted, crown that says “LANDLORD”.

And there you go. Easiest question so far.

Comments (33) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

January 17, 2010

It’s time California started to tax students and tuition

Pittsburgh Sets Vote on Adding Tax on Tuition

The mayor of Pittsburgh calls it the “Fair Share Tax.” But to officials at the city’s 10 colleges and universities and many of their 100,000 students, it is anything but.

On Wednesday, the City Council is expected to give preliminary approval to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s proposal for a 1 percent tuition tax on students attending college in Pittsburgh, which he says will raise $16.2 million in annual revenue that is needed to pay pensions for retired city employees. Final Council action will be on Monday.

The tax would be the first of its kind in the nation, and other cities are watching closely as they try to find ways to close their own budget gaps.

How embarrassing. This is something that California should have thought of first!

Let’s face it, children and students are a drain on society. California should continue on the rich legacy of Prop 13, and institute new taxes and fees to help the shining starts of the state’s future: retiring baby boomers.

It’s not enough that California de-fund schools, California should take the next step and start adding extra fees. It’s a well known fact that families distract people from working and producing innovations that benefit humanity. It’s a win win – make it less attractive to have families and you’ll get more innovations, and more revenue to support the aging population.

Come on California – we can beat Pittsburgh!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

January 14, 2010

problems with Chinese in Cupertino

It’s search engine Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: problems with Chinese in Cupertino

Now, on face value, you might think that this was probably some racist guy, complaining about how the Chinese people keep moving into his Cupertino street – driving up house prices and paying his share of the property tax. And as a result, he will only pay $1,400 a year in property tax while his new Chinese neighbors pay $12,000 a year, and when he sells his house, he’ll make a $1 million dollar profit. Damn those newcomers for ruining the neighborhood by making it nice! White flight, blah blah blah.

But as we all know, there is absolutely no racism in the enlightened world of the Bay Area. After all, the Bay Area is full of only smart people who love each other (except when it comes to building more houses).

So… what could this search really be about?

Obviously it is that this person is having problems finding a good place to learn Mandarin Chinese in Cupertino.

What’s your guess?

Comments (3) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

January 10, 2010

California’s population continues to grow!

California population grows less than 1 percent

SACRAMENTO — California demographers say the state’s population grew less than 1 percent in 2009, one of the lowest rates on record.

The state Department of Finance reported new population figures today. They show the state added 353,000 residents from July 2008 to July 2009, bringing California’s total population to nearly 38.5 million people.

The only time the state has seen a slower growth rate was in the years from 1994 to 1996.

Most of the latest growth was due to births within the state. California gained over 179,000 new immigrants and lost about 142,000 people to other states.

More than half the population growth was in the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Santa Clara.

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find. Woohoo! California’s population continues to grow!

Now… let’s be frank, the growth isn’t all that great… but still it’s growing! And that was in 2009 when California had all these fires and budget issues.

Now, in 2010, things are going to be awesome. Green/clean tech is really going to take off and people will be falling over themselves to enter the state. 1% in 2009. 10% in 2010.

You heard it here first.

Now, the real challenge for the Bay Area is to get more of this growth in our counties. Sure Santa Clara was represented, but… come on… LA? SD? OC? What about SM (San Mateo), AC (Alameda County)? Why aren’t people flocking there? And more importantly, what can we do about it?

Comments (26) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:01 am

January 7, 2010

good salary bay area

It’s search engine Thursday!

Recently someone found this site by searching for: good salary bay area 

That’s a great question. But in some ways, it’s the wrong question.

You see, salary doesn’t really matter. Look at Steve Jobs! He gets paid $1 per year as a salary. But he’s pretty well off from Apple stock, and the Gulfstream 5 plane that Apple bought him, and pays him to fly in.

So, really, it’s a combination of salary, stock, and perks. However, stocks and perks are complicated, so I’ll just stick with salary.

As a benchmark, according to the City of Mountain View, if you make between $84,000-$105,500 (for a 4 person family), you qualify for their Below Market Rate housing assistance program. Translation: you’re poor.

So $105,500 is the baseline. Good? Probably double. $211k sounds reasonable. Living comfortably? Probably at least $250,000 – which is what the Mayor of San Jose would call “upper working class”.

Would readers care to chime in with some analysis about how stock and perks play into this? How do you factor the gourmet free food that Google and Facebook provide into the equation?

Comments (36) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:35 am

January 3, 2010

More fun stats about San Francisco – median household income, median sales price, average rent

What’s your ideal San Francisco neighborhood?

SAN FRANCISCO — San Franciscans love their neighborhoods. Blithely ask a Sunset district resident and a Richmond district resident which has the best inexpensive Asian food and watch the arguments begin. Confuse Cole Valley with Noe Valley in front of someone who calls one of those areas home and you’ll never do it again.

The Examiner compiled a range of facts and figures about neighborhoods across The City — including how much it costs to live there and the percentage of people with access to a supermarket — to show that aside from the commonly held assumptions about the areas, there are vast differences among the places San Franciscans call home.

San Francisco

Population: 808,796
Average household size: 2
Percentage of families with children under 18: 40
Percent married: 34
Violent crimes, Sept.-Dec.*: 1,103
Nonviolent crimes, Sept.-Dec.*: 5,623
Median sales price, Sept.-Nov.*: $640,000
Average rent for two-bedroom apartment*: $2,737
Median household income: $71,451
Percentage of households within half-mile of supermarket: 84

Woot… even more good news for San Francisco. Wow… check out that rent/income spread! The average rent is 46% of the median household income!

Of course, that’s the average rent for a 2 bedroom. As we all know, the Bay Area is one of the greenest places in the world, and we’re all extremely concerned about our carbon footprint. Thus, most people live 4 to a bedroom to keep their footprint small – which means that 2 bedrooms are extravagant. Seriously, who needs 2 bedrooms? The average household size is 2 anyway.

Regardless, these are great stats that should give us optimism for 2010. As rent continues to rise, more people will have no choice but to buy, which will drive up prices, and restore us to our god given 15% YoY appreciation. Woot!

Comments (2) -- Posted by: burbed @ 6:00 am

December 31, 2009

What are your Real Bay Area house price predictions for 2010?

Ok readers, it’s that time of the year – what are your predictions for some of the star cities of the Real Bay Area?

For reference, here are the current stats for some selected ones:

Palo Alto 2009 Market Trends

Mountain View Market Trends

Sunnyvale Market Trends

Cupertino Market Trends

Atherton Market Trends

Ok, now these are just a few of Burbed’s favorite cities, but you can feel free to pick your own cities to make predictions foru.

Burbed is going to predict that… this time in 2010, both the list and sold price will be 10% higher than they are in these pictures.

2010 is going to be big. As we all know, real estate is on a 5 year cycle. The downturn started 5 years ago and so of course now is the time for it to soar. (BTW, this is actually a real quote I sort of heard. Really? The downturn started in 2004/2005? Hm.)

Also, it’s clear that the economy is roaring back to life. Look at the stock market. Cha-ching! Everyone has money to buy tons of houses. And where do you buy tons of houses? In the Bay Area – of course. It’s the best investment known to man… in history… ever!

Hurray 2010!

Comments (37) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am