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."


This map comes to us thanks to Burbed reader PKamp3 over at, 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 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

January 15, 2012

Fun with Case and Shiller

imageYesterday, we had a guest post from Greg Fielding on Bay Area Case-Shiller tiered data.  In case you haven’t been reading any real estate sites ever, a Case-Shiller index tracks home values by comparing sales of the same homes over time.  The index is arbitrarily set at 100 at the first quarter of the year 2000, so watch out if you ever see a two-digit C-S index for this or any region.  There is also a national C-S index.  Monthly updates represent sales from two months previous.

The counties included in the “San Francisco” regional index are the aforementioned City and County of San Francisco, as well as Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo.  That’s right, it’s not a full Bay Area index and note the absence of Santa Clara County, that engine of high-paying job creation.

Today, we take a look at the magical cut-off point to qualify for the top tier.  According to Fielding, any house selling for more than $579,803 is in the top tier (there are three of them).  Let’s see what kind of palatial abodes you could have for this kind of money.  All homes shown today are at selling prices rather than the wishing ones.


San Ramon, CA 94583
$585,000, sold on 12/8/2011

If you’re looking in San Ramon, here’s a 3 bedroom, two and a half place for you. It’s not a new house, though, this was built in 1980.

The development it’s in sits hard against the freeway (and there’s only one in San Ramon, I-680), but the property itself does not. Instead it backs onto what is now open space.  Given how many new homes went up in San Ramon, the new owner will have some quiet over the back fence until the next bubble starts boiling up.


5205 MANILA Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
$580,000, sold on 12/24/2011

This cute little bungalow is in the Rockridge district, desired by hipsters and yuppies alike.  It’s a 2/1, but at over 1200 square feet it doesn’t qualify for the Burbed “cozy” tag.

There’s absolutely no information about previous sales on Redfin, but with a $43,000 assessment, this obviously wasn’t a flip.  The sellers went all-out with the staging and photography, so enjoy.


122 Crescent Rd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
$594,000, sold on 12/22/2011

Wow, what a home, complete with extra rooms the county obviously didn’t know about.  Listed as a 3/2.5, but recorded as a 2/1.  This place hiding in the woods of Marin County against a hill is going to be a contractor’s retirement fund.

Be sure to check out the sales history on this former REO puppy, it’s crap-tastic.


San Mateo, CA 94403
$585,000, sold on 11/30/2011

Everything in this price range in San Mateo is on the east side.  “Bunus:” This 3/2’s near the 101/92 cloverleaf, which is why it needs the doublepane windows.

This house sold for $795K in 2006, but at least it went for above asking this time around.


328 Monticello St
San Francisco, CA 94132
$583,000, sold on 10/19/2011

Amazingly, this Merced Heights house doesn’t directly touch walls with its neighbors.  And if you decide it isn’t for you, there are plenty of SF State students to rent it to.  Anyway, you or your tenants are going to have loads of fun with the tandem parking garage.

The house last changed hands in 1989, for $271K.  Quite the investment that doubles its value in 22 years.

We won’t bother with Santa Clara County, as it’s not in the Case-Shiller SF Index anyway.  If it were, that top tier would be a bit higher and way more Special.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

January 14, 2012

Holy home sales, Batman, this column was written by an agent!

Today we have a guest post from Burbed reader Greg Fielding.  Greg has a real estate blog, Bay Area Real Estate Trends, and even though he’s a real estate agent, he is not a Realtard.  If you check out his site, you’ll find it rather free of Now Is The Time To Buy.  For someone who makes a living helping people buy or sell houses, he sure spends a lot of time over on

Greg is based in Contra Costa County, which we haven’t covered enough on this site.  Be sure to let him know if you think his analysis is relevant to the Real Bay Area (if anyone can figure out where it is in 2012).

Anyway, please give Greg a big, warm, RBA welcome to the front page today. 

Tale of Two Markets: Breaking Down Case-Shiller Tiered Indices

Following up on the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index report for the Bay Area, let’s break down index into top, middle, and lower tiers. The result shows two distinctly different markets since the price lows in the Spring of 2009.

Just as Wall Street has diverged from Main Street, high-end neighborhoods are enjoying a different reality than the rest of us.

Tiered Case Shiller Home Prices San Francisco Bay Area

The lower and middle-tiers are generally following the same pattern. When the supply of foreclosures was turned off, interest rates dropped, and buyer incentives kicked in, both market segments rallied. Then, when that temporary stimulus was exhausted, they resumed their declines at a paces of roughly 10 percent per year.

However, the top-tier – homes priced above $579,803 – are only declining at a pace of roughly 3-4 percent per year.


There are lots of possible reasons. Among them, that higher home prices are more directly tied to the stock market, which has performed remarkably well. In April of 2009, the S&P 500 Index was in the 800′s. Today it is at 1,277 – an increase of roughly 50 percent. Also, higher-paying jobs have survived the recession better than lower paying retail-type jobs that are more directly tied to consumer spending and sentiment. Or, that wealthier homeowners with higher-paying jobs were more likely to be able to refinance their homes to avoid foreclosure. And there are probably a dozen other reasons that all contribute to the divergence.

One other note: high-end home prices are holding relatively stable in spite of the reduction in conforming loan limits. Buyers literally need 100K+ more of cash to buy the same high-end home, and they are still doing it. So far, anyway. Honestly, I am shocked by this.

One thing is clear: this circle will square itself at some point. Either the mid and lower-tiers will rally (or stabilize) and the gap will narrow over time. Or, the pillars holding up the high-end will eventually give way and prices will begin to fall at a pace that matches the other tiers.

Written by Greg Fielding. This article originally appeared on Bay Area Real Estate Trends on January 4th.  Republished with permission, nay, encouragement of the author.

Comments (28) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

October 29, 2008

Some comments from Madhaus

Unfortunately the anti-spam filter is blocking madhaus right now (sigh) so I thought I’d just post this directly as an entry:

Case-Schiller’s out, and the numbers keep on a-goin’ down, down!

San Francisco C-S index is now 151.42, same value last seen in October 2003. Yes you read that right, the SF area resold home index has lost five years’ worth of gains.

Last August was 208.15 so the August ’08 index is down an incredible 27%. If you look at the highest tiered prices (upper one-third), that’s down 13.5% (half the aggregate index) compared to last August. The upper tier’s index of 165.31 compares with prices in January/February of 2005. The lowest tier, however, is down 42.7% and the index of 139.44 is at the same rate last seen in (are you ready?) April/May 2001. Yes, I said 2001.

I don’t know if cream is rising to the top but the crap is definitely sinking.

Comments (198) -- Posted by: burbed @ 1:31 am

April 1, 2006

“Some New Math on Homes – New York Times”

Some New Math on Homes – New York Times
Their findings are at odds with other surveys that use the relationship of home prices to income to determine whether home buyers are overreaching. Homes in Orange County, Calif., were fairly priced, the Smiths found. Some cities like Dallas, Indianapolis and Atlanta were screaming bargains. Homes they surveyed in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, were, however, overpriced by about 54 percent.

In a paper the two presented at the Brookings Institution this week, “Bubble, Bubble, Where’s the Housing Bubble?” they said that even though prices had risen rapidly and some buyers unrealistically expected the trend to continue, “the bubble is not, in fact, a bubble in most of these areas.”

A fascinating read, until this part:

Those expectations are far too optimistic, numerous studies have shown, most notably a 2003 study by Mr. Case and Mr. Shiller that found, for instance, that homeowners in San Francisco expected annual price increases of 15.7 percent. “It’s clear a lot of people are nuts,” Mr. Case said.

Uh, hello, this is the Bay Area. Being nuts is a way of life!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:01 pm