December 4, 2011

OMFG is this THE END of those %$#@ Zip Codes? Rly?

What with all the excitement from our Black Friday and Beyond DEALS, you may not have noticed that our last zip code installment finished out the 301-400 level of Forbes’ Most Expensive Zip codes.  You know what that means!

Yes, this article, the Bottom 100 of the 500 Most Expensive, is The End of the Delivery Route.  Really.  Well, until 2012, when Forbes puts out a brand-new list, but there’s a good chance the world will end before then.  There’s an even better chance that Forbes will only have 5 places on that list instead of 500, with all the mistakes they made this year.  So you’re going to want to pay attention to every single zippy digit in this last entry for 2011!  But first… here’s your chance to catch up if you missed the earlier entries in this exciting, edge-of-your-seat-on-the-mail-truck, most beloved Burbed series of all time!  (Or was that most belittled?)

Previous Entries in the Most Expensive Zip Code Series:

Hold onto your mailbags, folks!  We’re entering an area with all the median prices under $750,000!  Watch out, there may not be any sushi available.

#406: San Anselmo 94960

  • Median Home Price: $749,000
  • Median Price Change: -17.4%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 129
  • Inventory: 129 52
  • 2010 Rank: 267 (-139 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $20.5 Million

imageA $20.5 million dollar house in Marin makes sense, but in San Anselmo?  I can’t find anything for eight digits anywhere near San Pablo Bay, and this zip’s most expensive place at 178 W Oak Knoll Drive comes in at only $3.4 million.  That’s very different. This 6000 square foot hotel-like structure on almost 10 acres has been on the market for just about half a year, so you’d better hurry!

Now, we know plenty of high-end places get yanked at the end of warm weather season.  But I find the idea of a $20 million ask going without comment pretty unlikely.  This Marin real estate blog didn’t note it under San Anselmo.  Or anywhere else.  The most expensive sale logged in MLS this year was only $8.75 million, in nearby Ross (#30 last year and mysteriously absent this one).

Zowie!! More zip code inZanity after ze break!

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Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am






November 30, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest house in Contra Costa County

If you want a property DEAL, you have come to the right place!  Contra Costa has two different kinds of value to offer.  First, there’s classic urban decay in Richmond, with poorly maintained homes and the threat of property damage.  But CCC sweetens the DEALS with exurban abandonment from Antioch to Discovery Bay!  Plus there’s an interesting demographic shift of lower-income inner city residents to the far-flung exurbs, and watch hijinks ensue!

There were 236 listings available for under $100,000 in CCC, so you’re sure to find something suitable at a price you can afford.  Maybe think Costco and buy several at once. 

Today’s house is less than half the price of yesterday’s DEAL, yet it is completely intact and there’s not a word about fire damage.  CHECK IT OUT!

8 W BISSELL Ave #201, Richmond, CA 94801
$30,000

image

BEDS: 1
BATHS: 1
SQ. FT.: 554
$/SQ. FT.: $54
LOT SIZE: –
TYPE: Patio Home/Villa
STYLE: Other
STORIES: 1
YEAR BUILT: 1942
COMMUNITY: Atchison Village
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40524154
SOURCE: EBRD
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 200 days

Own a piece of History! Cozy 1 level end unit in Atchison Village Co-Op. Light and bright, freshly painted, refinished wood floors, new windows, updated kitchen and bath, fenced backyard. Very convenient commute location & a price you can’t beat.

imageThis “end unit” came up in a Redfin search for “houses,”  with townhouses and condos excluded.  Patio Villa looks like a fancy way to say condo, complete with $265 a month HOA.  But since this is a 450 unit co-op, it’s 100% owner-occupied. 

It does indeed have an interesting history, built as housing for defense workers during World War II, and still home to some of them, or their descendants.  Also, since the entire parcel is owned by the co-op, you get low, low, low Prop 13 valuation no matter how many times an individual unit changes ownership!  That’s because you don’t own the land, the co-op does.

You won’t be able to get a conventional mortgage to buy here, so either scrape up the cash or find yourself a co-signer willing to put collateral on the line. Where else are you going to buy your own place for $30,000 right on the Bay? Well, 13 feet above the Bay.

image

Also, it’s located within the happening Iron Triangle area of Richmond. But not too happening, as the Streetview picture shows: you have gates to keep the 99% out! Or maybe since we’re talking about a $30,000 property, you can keep the 1% out!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:05 am

November 27, 2011

Our Biggest Fan of This Series is Thrilled There’s Another Installment!

imagePoor Mr. Zip.  The United States Postal Service put him out to pasture in 1986, when they introduced the ZIP+4 postal codes.  But he was a familiar sight in the 1960s, urging everyone to include the new ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) postal codes when sending mail.

Mr. Zip might not be around to nag you on addressing envelopes, because he’s in retirement.  Mr. Z writes to say he hopes this series will go on forever, because he can’t play Name That Code all the time.

imageToday we bring you yet another installment of all the Northern California cities on Forbes’ Most Expensive Zip Code list.  It features data crunched by local favorite Altos Research (and mangled by Forbes; you’d think after I’ve linked to them four different times and noted in each article that their data has a systematic error in every single entry, maybe somebody there would fix it, but NOOOOOOOO).  Anyway, here’s what you may have missed while writing code or hanging out on a sunny sidewalk waiting to collect a faceful of pepper spray.

imagePrevious Entries in the Most Expensive Zip Code Series:

imageNow, we’ll take the Fifth!  Fifth Tier, that is; the Top Half of the Bottom 200!

Let’s see which cities can still scrape together a property median wishing price just under $850K.  Remember, we correct the mistakes as we find them, and we added the comparison to last year’s list.  That’s the kind of original work you’ll only find done by obsessive-compulsive bloggers who think zip codes are fascinating.  Well, Mr. Zip certainly agrees!

image#304: San Mateo 94402

  • Median Home Price: $849,292
  • Median Price Change: NA
  • Average Days On Market: 200 114
  • Inventory: 114 81
  • Rank in 2010: 236 (-68 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $13 Million

Now I am beginning to think that the people at Forbes were just making stuff up for that “Most Expensive Home” field.  $13 million.  In San Mateo.  The most expensive place I could find sold for $3.3 mil in June, including the gated entryway.  It’s just like what you get in mid-level condoplexes, including calling itself an ESTATE (complete with the CAPITAL LETTERS).

Ah, but that living room does look spacious enough to hold a very small charity ball.  More goodness from Mr. Zip after the break!

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Comments (37) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

November 13, 2011

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: The Third Tier Zip Codes

What will it take to make the zip code series stop?  Lots and lots and lots of quality submissions!  So until you send in your best guest post EVEH, we’ll be running these wonderful lists and photos for the next few hundred Sundays or until we run out of data, by which time Forbes (if they’re still a going concern) will have the 2012 list ready.  But look on the bright side.  No more annoying maps like last year!

Today we look at all the Northern California entries in Forbes Most Expensive Zip Codes 2011: The Top 100 of the Bottom 400.

Previous entries in this year’s series:

Quick recap: Forbes messed up their data even worse than usual this year, plus many areas on last year’s list have completely disappeared without explanation.  We add in the comparison to last year’s rankings and find the “most expensive” house (if it’s findable) that Forbes mentions for each entry.  While Forbes doesn’t seem that interested in hearing from their readers (registration is required), Altos Research, who did the number-crunching, loves talking data.  They’ve responded to a couple of my concerns here.

Here we go, numbers 101-200, which are now under the Million and a Half Median!  How Low do we have to go to sink under a million?  Remember, this is the Third Tier, so Real Bay Area (RBA) bragging rights are gone (except for some exceptions).

#106: Alamo 94507

  • imageMedian Home Price: $1,396,000
  • Median Price Change: -7.8%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 134
  • Inventory: 134 102
  • Rank in 2010: #101 (-5 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $11.8 Million (322 Lark Lane)

This high-end (for the East Bay) location south of Walnut Creek is stuck in atop the third tier right where it belongs, just a few spots above Newport Beach.  This luxury home that looks more like an administration building kind of says it all.  Free architectural clue: It’s the windows that make this place a façade fail.

A new $13.8 million property has come on the market since the Forbes article ran, and it has a more traditional (and attractive) look, in the classic “Let’s build a French country estate in Contra Costa County” style.

Plenty more to enjoy after the break!  In fact, we promise the very next one is a Burbed favorite, so click on through.

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Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

November 6, 2011

Non-RBA Poseurs Not Priced Enough for Top 50

imageIn a previous article, we profiled the Northern California cities that hit the Forbes 50 Most Expensive Zip Codes out of 500 of those suckahs.  But we only care about the ones where the weather is nice, sushi is abundant, and you can get stock options without being the CEO.

These are the Zips that didn’t make the Top 50.  Forbes didn’t think they were worthy of home listing photos, so I had to dig them up myself.  And let’s remind Forbes about their messing up their detail data, what with every single DOM value set to 200.

Should any of these zips be allowed in the RBA?

#51: Los Altos 94024

  • imageMedian Home Price: $1,895,000
  • Median Price Change: -36.3%
  • Average Days On Market: 200 119
  • Inventory: 119 43
  • Rank in 2010: #18 (-33 spots )
  • Most Expensive Home: $5.5 Million (12445 Hilltop Rd)

Forbes avoided last year’s screwup with this zip by simply not admitting Los Altos Hills exists in 94024 this year.  Last year LA and LAH had identical data and ranks.  This year they screwed up by picking a property in Los Altos Hills as most expensive.  The most expensive I can find in Los Altos proper is this one (whose photo appears at right) at $4M.

And there’s plenty more, after the break!

(more…)

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 17, 2011

Cash Licks Loans in Low-End Bay Area Housing Market

Looking for a house because you figure the market’s finally hit bottom?  Hope you have suitcases full of cash, because if you don’t, there are other people hefting full TravelPros!  And we aren’t talking about foreigners, either.

Home buyers find themselves aced out by investors

By Eve Mitchell, Contra Costa Times
Posted: 09/10/2011 03:00:00 PM PDT, Updated: 09/11/2011 04:33:48 AM PDT

image

As husband Mark looks on, Kathryn Bressem gives son Lyndon, 5, a push on the swing in the backyard of their home in Hercules, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. Competing with all-cash investment buyers, the Bressems had been frustrated in their home-buying efforts before purchasing this house. (Kristopher Skinner/Staff)

After getting the good news on a Friday night that their offer topped all the others on a foreclosure in Vacaville they wanted as their retirement home, Jack and Donna Pfister spent the weekend packing.

But the following Tuesday they were told the bank had decided to go with an all-cash buyer, whose offer was $25,000 less than the $475,000 offer from the Pfisters.

“My husband was heartbroken,” said Donna Pfister, of Rodeo. “I was heartbroken because he was heartbroken. … Right now, we both feel kind of let down.”

The Pfisters are far from alone. In the Bay Area, about one-fifth of all homes sold in July were purchased by absentee buyers, mostly investors looking for rentals or properties to fix up and then sell, according to DataQuick, a real-estate reporting service. About six out of 10 absentee buyer transactions (which can also involve second-home purchase) were all-cash purchases. In July 2010, absentee buyers accounted for 17.4 percent of home sales, and the average for all months since 2000 is 13.8 percent.

Supposedly these people living in East Contra Costa County are losing out on houses to… investors from Silicon Valley!  They’re also snapping out homes in East San Jose.  Some investors are buying the homes as rentals, and others fix the properties up and flip them.  It’s also difficult to get a loan on a property needing extensive repairs, which is why so many flippers are bottom-feeding now.

So, would-be Silicon Valley investors: why go all the way to Brentwood, Antioch, or even Hercules to look for homes?  There are plenty of crapboxes in Redwood City and San Jose to choose from.  Plus that’s one less thwarted family complaining in what’s left of the newspaper that they didn’t get their dream home.  As in they must be dreaming if they think buying now is a good idea.

This is an Open Thread.

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

September 9, 2011

Too many features to list, like $400 monthly HOA fees

As long as I got one real estate agent annoyed with us, let’s take this find from another one.  My good buddy Greg Fielding actually posted this listing to patrick.net and expected to get a friendly reception there.  I told him he should have posted it here.  Then I realized, why wait on Greg to write it up?  I’m sure he wants this listing on as many real estate sites as possible!

 

831 TANGLEWOOD Dr, Lafayette, CA 94549
$1,300,000

image

BEDS: 5
BATHS: 5.5
SQ. FT.: 6,120
$/SQ. FT.: $212
LOT SIZE: 0.69 Acres
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Spanish
STORIES: 2
YEAR BUILT: 1925
COMMUNITY: Lafayette
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40541345
SOURCE: EBRD
STATUS: New
ON REDFIN: 1 day
NEW LISTING (24 HOURS)

Expansive, Spanish-style home with secluded feel yet close to everything. Master suite w/ fireplace & soaking tub occupies 2nd floor. Boasts den w/ fireplace, dining room, wet bar, & kitchen with too many features to list. Deck w/ built-in BBQ & firepit, perfect for entertaining. A must-see!

imageThis place’s former homedebtors would have been better off realizing that with three fireplaces plus a firepit, the answer to their financial woes was staring them right in the face.  Instead, the bank took this disaster from them along with $1,835,379 of a two million dollar mortgage that was never going to be made good. Now, three or four entities later, whichever finance company ended up owning this Spanish elephant is actually throwing it onto the market in hopes of seeing some of the money again.

So you can now consider moving into this expansive, Spanish-style monument home with secluded finances feel yet close to bankruptcy court everything.  There are too many features to list!  Don’t you think they should list what you get for those $400 of homeowner fees?

  • imageOther Item Included in Fee
  • Other Amenity
  • Other HOA Documents
  • Other Transfer Fee

While you’re puzzling over what that “other amenity” could possibly be for $4800 a year (I think it’s martinis for the lawyer who drew up those HOA documents), let’s admire the bathroom.  It could use some mawbul kawlums, I suppose, but you’re not in much danger of falling asleep in the soaking tub with this bold, innovative color scheme.

imageThere are a few other parts of the house with similar décor, so if you’re a bold, innovative person you might appreciate what’s been done with some of these rooms.  Then again, if you’re a bold, innovative person, you might also know better than to leave other people’s bold, innovative interior decoration around for your party guests to snicker gape at.  Perfect for entertaining, indeed!

And it looks like the bold, innovative people who borrowed way too much on this house also made bold, innovative moves like putting in improvements without bothering to get any necessary building permits.

image

Now, let’s salute the agent who had the bold, innovative idea to encourage readers and fans of one of the Biggest Bear Housing Market Sites Eveh to come on down and check out this REO.  Given that his site is usually a breath of fresh air refreshingly free from Now is the Time to Buy hype, this one’s for you, Greg!

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

July 31, 2011

Media Room In Search of Some Action

That is, if by “action” I really meant “trademark violation lawsuit.”  Here’s a weekend WTF for your enjoyment, thanks to Burbed reader James M.

Media_Room

Here’s what James has to say about this photo:

Here’s a great shot of a "media room" from a 6000+ sq ft Toll Bros monstrosity in San Ramon… Perfect for that tech baron in all of us!  That little TV looks pathetic…

Alas, according to Redfin, this listing was removed this past Thursday.  It was still on Trulia, though.

This is an Open Thread.  Let us know about the Open House action you saw this weekend, and how the big the flat-screen TVs are now that rents are going up again.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

May 2, 2011

Who Needs Marble Columns when you can have Arches?

burbedguestbloggerPlease welcome Burbed reader A Lewis back to the front page, with another thrilling listing from, you guessed it, the East Bay!  We know it can’t possibly be in the RBA because that entire part of the region is a chasm of no-can-do, but let’s see the place anyway!

Please give A your bestest, warmest Real Bay Area welcome!




A few details in this East-Bay, non-RBA listing make it stand out:

1733 Elm St, El Cerrito, CA 94530
$575,000

image

BEDS: 3
BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 1,723
$/SQ. FT.: $334
LOT SIZE: –
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Other
STORIES: 2
VIEW: Hills, Wooded
YEAR BUILT: 2007
COMMUNITY: Del Norte
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40519704
SOURCE: EBRD
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 14 days

Built in 2007 by Arch John Rolf Hattam One block from BART, Separate APN from Sister build behind. Well designed spaces that create privacy throughout. Arch features everywhere, private and separate backyard, 2 car garage w/ interior acc. Eat in kitchen, laundry, home office rm, pier & grd bm foundtn

image#1) The Arches! So important, the architect added the word "Arch" to his name: "Built in 2007 by Arch John Rolf Hattam" "Arch features everywhere".

#2) Built in 2007 (OK, great!), and it’s a short sale (oooops!). I think whoever gave them the construction loan is now crying their way to insolvency.

#3) You get a twin sister for your home – and it’s so close, you can reach out the back bedroom windows to touch it! "Separate APN from Sister build behind." I don’t know what an APN is, so who cares, I bet it just means instant equity. If you look at the picture on Zillow, you can see the foundations:

image

The second one doesn’t seem to be for sale – maybe the builders are living there – and I’m sure you’ll get to know them VERY well.

image

image#4) The pictures, my god, the pictures. The place actually looks pretty nice from the thumbnails (and I was DYING to see those ARCHES!) – but the Realtor who stands to earn 3% by selling this beauty couldn’t be bothered to check his Redfin posting to find out he uploaded the thumbnails for the full-size pics. Let’s play a game: how few pixels do you need to tell a bathroom from a bedroom? Contestant #1: "Burbed, I can name that room with 250 pixels!" Contestant #2: "Burbed, I can name that room with 100 pixels!". Burbed: "NAME THAT ROOM!". 

image#5) The listing history: they bought the empty lot for $225k in 8/2004. Finished building in 2007 and started selling in 2009 (whew!), for $749k (thanks, Zillow, for filling in the blanks – Redfin, you are falling behind!), then a steady game of de-list, drop price, re-list, leading us to today’s bargain price of $575k for an almost-townhome in a decidedly non-RBA neighborhood. If you look at the estimates, you will see he is on the WRONG SIDE OF ELM St. to be listing over $500k. It gets better as you go ‘uphill’ around here, and sorry, this house ain’t uphill.

image

Nice and close to BART, though.

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

April 10, 2011

SJ Merc Discovers Joy of Burbed Housing [Updated]

Here’s some copy that ought to have originated on Burbed.  But this is from from the San Jose Mercury News, or as the journos now call it, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Newsletter!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for calling this out in the Open Thread yesterday.

Bay Area homes you can buy for the national median price of $157,000

imageBy Patrick May, San Jose Mercury News   Posted:  04/09/2011 4:52 PM

The median price of a previously owned single-family home in America today is $157,000. What can you get for that in the Bay Area?

Headaches, mostly.

Here, where the median is nearly three times higher than the national, $157,000 will get you a 460-square-foot house in East Palo Alto that would fit inside a Saratoga walk-in closet. Or a two-bedroom in Antioch with mold, a squatter’s mattress in the kitchen, the oily remnants of an amateur grease-monkey operation out back, and what looks like a bullet hole dead-center in the front window.

image“Bring your tools & imagination to shine this piece of property,” the Realtor wrote on the online real estate site Redfin.

Want to spend that $157,000 on a San Jose bungalow on North 13th Street?

No problem.

OK. So there’s one small problem.

“Burned house,” says the real estate agent’s MLS note. “Don’t go in!”

Photos: Top right, 460 sf East Palo Alto house, Josie Lepe, SJMN.  Above left, SJ burnt house on 13th Street has received several offers.  Karen T Borchers, SJMN.

Wow, CAR (California Association of Realtors) must be pulling a Fry’s on the Merc for running this story.  Bet they’re going to pull all their advertising for weeks!  Nope, the Merc pulled this story within hours of posting it. In fact, the link above is to the mobile site, because it’s gone from the regular one (and if the mobile link doesn’t work, try this link to a cached copy from the Pasadena Star News.

But no problem, we’re going to find all the sites in this story and maybe even write them up in the coming days.  Meanwhile, what do you think is going to happen to Patrick May?

Update: This article mysteriously appeared yesterday afternoon for a few hours and then was thrown down the memory hole.  It’s back so I’ve changed the link, and also added the Merc’s pictures.  Too bad they didn’t take some inside the SF house.

image

This cozy charmer is at 2169 Addison Ave, East Palo Alto, weighing in at 460 square feet. Owner selling it only to establish a market value with bank so they’ll modify his loan.  Sold in 2003 for $278,000!

image

$157,000 will get you two homes in Antioch! 1117 Klengel Street, listed for $78,000, and conveniently bank-owned.  Bonus: Sold for $95,000 in… (drumroll) 1993!

image

Then take a look at 36 Texas Street:

Yes, it comes with roosters next door and a guy down the street dismantling his motorcycle on the front lawn. And yes, you’ll have to clear out that squatter’s mattress from the kitchen. And maybe, with all that motor oil soaked into the back yard, you’ll need the Environmental Protection Agency to sign off on the deal. But for $69,000, what do you expect?

image

A pre-heated house at 642 North 13th St. San Jose, plus agent had to threaten to Taser a squatter.  Price: $166,900.  The catch: Foreclosed in December for $350,000, and sold for $217K.  In 1998.  DAYUM, IT’S PENDING!

image

Vertigo house in Bayview-Hunters Point.  1482 Underwood Ave, SF.  “The easiest way to repair it is to tear it down.”   Price: $145,900  “The house is all crooked,” said realtor Alyce Cardinale.  Sold for $250K in 2000, foreclosed in 1997 and again in 2008!

image

imageHayward Contractor’s Delight, whoops the agent calls it “Carpenters Delights!”; train goes by every ten minutes.  22026 Western Blvd, Hayward.  Price: $155,000, originally listed for $189,000.
“It’s a fairly quiet neighborhood. Except for the train every ten minutes.”

Which one of these imagebargains will you be writing a check for?

Left, front of the house on Western Boulevard.  Right, agent David Ormonde shows door to garage from the kitchen in the Western Boulevard property. Photos, Karen T Borchers, SJMN.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am