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.

130525-zipr-bloghead

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

130525-zipr-lereahboom

130525-zipr-lereahboom

130525-zipr-lereahboom

130525-zipr-lereahboom

130525-zipr-lereahboom

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






January 29, 2012

Oakland Tribune: SJ, SF are Special, East Bay Ain’t

This article won’t tell you anything you didn’t already know, but it’s interesting to see them admit it.  At least as far as the local economies go, things are much worse in the East Bay than in the SF or SJ Zones of Awesomeness.

South Bay expected to recover lost jobs by 2014; recovery slower in East Bay

By George Avalos, Oakland Tribune
Posted: 01/25/2012 05:48:06 PM PST, Updated: 01/25/2012 09:09:30 PM PST

The current economic boom will be robust enough for the South Bay to recover the jobs it lost during the recession by 2014 — but the East Bay and the San Francisco metro regions might need until at least 2015, the chief economist with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute said Wednesday.

“Every industry in the South Bay is growing except for construction and retail,” said Jon Haveman. “The East Bay is very much hurting, and it may continue to do so for a while.”

Haveman gave his divergent outlooks at a downtown Oakland conference sponsored by Torrey Pines Bank.

One big reason for the differing paces of recovery is that the East Bay tumbled into a much deeper economic abyss, an analysis of state Employment Development Department figures shows.

120126-oakland-fail

The article goes on to say that East Bay job growth during the oughties was fueled by the real estate boom: construction and the mortgage industry.  Alameda and Contra Costa Counties lost 105,000 jobs from peak employment in August, 2007.  Both San Francisco (defined as the City by the Bay plus Marin and San Mateo Counties) and the South Bay (undefined, but including at least Santa Clara County) lost much fewer jobs, which were each in turn a much smaller percentage of jobs lost.

And the conclusion of the article shows that the East Bay will be getting the trickle-down until they reinvent themselves as something other than manufacturing (gone), real estate (gone), or back-office space (still an option).

The best hope for an East Bay economic upswing may be to capture overflow tenants from its neighbors.

“Tech companies are filling spaces in the South Bay and rents are rising,” [director of a realty brokerage Edward] Del Beccaro said. “As office rents rise in San Francisco and Santa Clara County, you will see some companies migrate to the East Bay.”

120127-santana-row-win

Where do you see the job growth in the next few years?  Is President Gingrich going to have us all working on a Moon Colony Program?

 

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:13 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

March 20, 2011

2010 Census Data Displays Diverse Diversity Diversions

Thanks to Burbed reader Real Estater for nominating this article by posting it in the comments on Friday.

image

Image from USA Today

East Bay tops among California’s most diverse places

By Eric Kurhi and Matt O’Brien, Contra Costa Times
Posted: 03/18/2011 03:20:18 PM PDT

HAYWARD — Close to the geographic center of a city known as the “Heart of the Bay,” Luciano Ruiz peered out the pickup window of a burger joint in what is, by one measure, the most racially diverse neighborhood in California.

“There’s been a mix of people here ever since I grew up,” said Ruiz, 18. “It’s always been mainly Latino down here in South Hayward, but now you see more African-Americans, a lot more Asians. I’ve seen a little increase in Middle Eastern people.”

The 2010 census shows a collection of census tracts in the Hayward flatlands as the most diverse in California and a microcosm of the state’s likely future. Latinos are the largest group, but share the space with many other people. Multicultural churches, mosques and businesses are in walking distance.

Thirty-five miles away, in the Walnut Creek retirement community of Rossmoor, a cluster of census tracts reflect an older, less integrated California. About 90 percent of residents are white and less than 1 percent are African-American in the Bay Area’s least-diverse neighborhood.

“It’s probably accurate,” said Rossmoor resident David Smith of the newly released statistics. “Our population is overwhelmingly white.”

imageSince this is from the Contra Costa Times, there’s little about neighborhoods in Santa Clara or San Mateo County, and which would be the most or least diverse. East Palo Alto was specifically called out as one of the 10 most diverse communities in California. The diversity index is the probability that two randomly picked people from the area would be of different race or ethnicity. Maybe you might have an idea which neighborhoods you’d nominate?

imageAnyway, I looked up the data, and East Palo Alto has a DI of 83.4 (the highest was 86.4 and Hayward was 85.1).  Oakland was 81.1. Not mentioned in the article are Sacramento, 79.6, South San Francisco, 79.0, San Jose, 77.1, San Bruno, 76.3, Santa Clara, Cholula Half Gallon - Click Image to Close71.8, and Sunnyvale, 70.7.  On the other end of the scale we find Belvedere, 16.4, Portola Valley, 22.3, Woodside, 25.2, and Boulder Creek at 26.  Don’t assume that a low DI means white-bread; the Central Valley’s Mendota is 96.6% Hispanic and has a DI of 26.0.

In case you’re wondering how some areas end up with lots of diversity, here’s the secret, according to the above article:

It didn’t happen overnight,” Bogue said. “Just like anywhere, somebody puts a house up for sale, somebody looks at it and somebody buys it.”

Yeah, that couldn’t happen in Atherton, where houses are bequeathed.  But while houses are occasionally listed for sale in homogenous census tracts, the diverse ones, such as Richmond, San Pablo, Pittsburg, Hayward, Vallejo, Oakland and San Leandro have another interesting thing in common.

imageLocal historian Frank Goulart said affordability has also long attracted a broad spectrum of people to parts of Hayward.

“If you want an honest answer, it’s the cheap housing,” Goulart said.

He said many of the homes in the city’s most diverse tracts “were built like shacks.”

There you go.  Diversity is code for crapboxes (like this one above, in Hayward, the City of Diversity).  But don’t worry about it.  The majority of California public school students are now Hispanic, so the Diversity Index must be heading down (see Mendota, above).  That means housing quality will go up, so the Real Bay Area will get bigger!

imageThere’s no danger of that in Silicon Valley, though.  Santa Clara County’s index is a kumbayah 74, almost as multicultural as Alameda County’s state-topping 78.  The least diverse Bay Area County?  Marin, at 45. The overall state index is 72.9, second only to Hawaii’s 81.1.

But what’s more important is housing!  And the county with the highest percentage of vacant housing units goes to Alpine, with a whopping 71% of its housing sitting empty.  For the Bay Area, the winner is Sonoma, with 9.2%, imagebut Santa Cruz’s 9.7% would have beaten it had any of the county physically come into contact with the Bay.  Meanwhile San Mateo and Santa Clara county are both in the 4’s, while San Francisco managed double: 8.3% of the housing units sitting empty.

There’s stats, stats, stats to play with, so have fun courtesy of USA Today.  Data is available by city as well, so go wild and wonder why the city (town?) of Almanor has 100% of their 75 housing units empty.

Photo above: foreclosed home in Hayward, showcasing diversity.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

March 17, 2011

It’s got the copy and the listing history to be famous

burbedguestblogger

As any regular Burbed reader knows, the East Bay is no way no how never was, never is and never will be part of the Real Bay Area (RBA).  But there’s plenty to be found in the East Bay!  Plenty of great houses for Burbed treatment, that is.

So, speaking of the East Bay, please welcome A Lewis, in his very first appearance as a Burbed Guest Blogger!  Please give him a warm RBA welcome!


8190 TERRACE Dr, El Cerrito, CA 94530
$549,000

image

BEDS: 4
BATHS: 3.5
SQ. FT.: 3,973
$/SQ. FT.: $138
LOT SIZE: 6,630 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Brown Shingle
STORIES: 3+
YEAR BUILT: 1969
COMMUNITY: Country Club Ter
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40513365
SOURCE: EBRD
STATUS: New
ON REDFIN: 4 days

VIEWS! Views! Views! Enjoy the views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge! Huge Potential with plenty of space. POOL, possible inlaw apartment downstairs for extended family. Contractors Dream! HUGE, HUGE upside potential!

imageFirst, the listing copy is so Excited, EXCITED! VIEWS! POOL! That is one crappy pool in lieu of a small back yard Great hazard for families with small children.

That’s strange, no interior pics?

And 3 of the worst view pics you could imagine. Why would you take your view pics on a hazy grey day and then reduce them to an unviewable resolution? Do they teach that in realtor-school?

 

image

image

image

 

 

 


But the listing history is what makes this worth a second look – first off, there HAS got be a law made so you can’t call a listing ‘new’ just because you took it off Redfin for five seconds. Second, look at the almost unbroken monthly activity since 2008. This house needs a rest – it’s getting more action than a $5 hooker.

image

But it’s got $444k of instant equity! Multiply by 2 and you’ve got three 8’s! it’s only been foreclosed on once, and then it sold for $400k just one week ago. Now it’s ready for a new owner! How was that 7 days of owner-occupied bliss, anyways?

What the heck is happening on the inside of this place – I know they say Contractor’s special, but what have they been doing with it all these years? This one looks ripe for a fraud investigation. But at a rock-bottom $138/sqft, how can you pass it up? And it has a POOL!

Comments (48) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

February 1, 2011

The Vast Conspiracy to Raise Peninsula Real Estate Prices

And, lower East Bay prices too!  Win-win-win!

Officials push for higher tolls during rush hours on San Mateo, Dumbarton bridges

By Mike Rosenberg, The Oakland Tribune

Posted: 01/31/2011 07:23:07 AM PST, Updated: 01/31/2011 09:26:52 AM PST

imageDrivers crossing the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges would pay higher tolls during rush hours under a plan Peninsula officials are urging Bay Area leaders to adopt.

A group of city, county and transportation officials this week released the new San Mateo Countywide Transportation Plan, which includes support for congestion pricing on the two bridges that connect the Peninsula and East Bay.

"I think it’s a shame they haven’t done congestion pricing," said Rich Napier, executive director of the county’s congestion management agency, which is overseeing the transportation plan. "It does work."

(Photo, above right: Drivers crossing the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges would pay higher tolls during rush hours under a plan Peninsula officials are urging Bay Area leaders to adopt. File photo, The Oakland Tribune.)

Now, some readers of this site are really clever people, and will simply glance at the headline above and figure it out immediately.  Others of you need to be taken by the hand and have a few things spelled out really slowly and carefully.

Congestion pricing, in case you haven’t tried driving across the Bay Bridge during commute hours, means that the toll is higher during rush hour when everyone else is going to work.  At present, Bay Bridge congestion pricing is $6 during peak commute hours and $4 other times.  The San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges have a $5 toll at all times, rush hour or not.

Now, here’s the part you should have already worked out:

Drivers at the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges typically wait less than two minutes to get through the toll booth, according to the Bay Area Toll Authority.

Still, officials said traffic data shows many of the logjams on Highway 101 are caused by commuters who take advantage of cheaper housing in the East Bay and cross the bridges for their jobs in the Peninsula. Slowing traffic on the bridges during the commute could have a ripple effect on Highway 101, where officials have struggled for years to ease bottlenecks, they said.

Ooooh, ripple effect!  Double rainbow all the way!  Across the sky!  By making commuting more expensive or more inconvenient, homes on the Peninsula close to jobs will become even more valuable.  Meanwhile, “cheaper housing in the East Bay” won’t be such a bargain once the commute costs more time and money.  Expect that desirability deficit to work itself into pricing homes in the East Bay if congestion pricing moves to Peninsula bridges.

In related bridge toll news, the Golden Gate bridge authority is getting rid of all their human toll-takers and switching to an all-electronic system.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

January 20, 2011

A nightmare on Glen Mawr

image

Beds: 3
Baths: 1.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,406
$/Sq. Ft.: $142
Lot Size: 6,300 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 1
Year Built: 1950
Community: El Cerrito Hills
County: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40502277
Source: EBRD
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 10 days
A fixer in a very convenient location. Contractor’s special.

At first I was hesitant to post this as this is in El Cerrito, which is one of those cities that I have to check a map to make sure that it isn’t in Costa Rica or something – but that photo. WOW. Almost, JWOWW… but just WOW.

Here’s what A. Lewis who submitted this had to say:

I’m really sorry there are only 2 pictures. I have driven by this home many times over the years, and it’s got quite a history. I think it was Christmas 2009 when they started making exciting changes – it was some boring normal color, and then they spray-painted "Merry Christmas!" in big sloppy letters on the garage door. Then a lot of random paint colors were used on a lot of random patches around the house. I kept wondering what the heck was going on – and how they could stand it. I think it was early 2010 when the garage turned bright orange, and then the rest of the house started to follow. The exciting variety of trim colors were added piecemeal, too.

It reminded me of when my parents took down some old wallpaper in our kitchen, and decided to allow us to draw wha
tever we wanted for a while. They were planning to re-paint, so they said what the hell, go nuts, we’ll fix it in the end. We painted a big Turkey in November, then a big Christmas Tree in December, and lots of mini art projects in the corners whenever we wanted. Crayon, paint, permanent markers – anything was allowed! It was great. Then they painted it over after a few more months.

Well, this house didn’t seem to do the ‘fix it in the end’ part. They just let the kids do whatever they wanted! Right up until it’s time to sell! And it’s an awesome prominent location, right next to a K-8 school, and near a BART station so a lot of commuters see it twice a day.

It’s also a DEAL! Now I know the East Bay doesn’t even qualify to smell the RBA’s dirty laundry, but similar houses nearby have easily gone for $300-500k. It’s not like Tracy or something. Maybe when they say ‘fixer’ they really mean it. Gosh, what does "Probate/Court Approval" mean in the Redfin details? Don’t let that scare you away…I think it has a view of the Golden Gate bridge!
Remember, the value’s in the land!

You tell him A-Man!

Personally, I’m just fascinated by the “very convenient location” comment. Let’s look at this location:

image

This nightmare house really should bill itself as being on Elm St. “Yeah, just take Cutting Blvd,and then slash over to Elm St”. It’d be awesome of the buyer was Freddy K.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

January 14, 2011

Biggest, Weirdest Reported Sale – Maybe Ever – Alameda County

I wanted to close out the week with one more property that could have made Zillow’s expensive home sales list (remember, not one RBA property on the list, the nerve!)  But there weren’t any over $10 million properties in Marin, and when I moved over to Alameda County… lookie here what I found.

1812 Bali Ter (Unable to map), San Leandro, CA 94578

Sold on 01/08/2011: $41,500,000

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

BEDS: 5
BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 2,192
$/SQ. FT.: $18,932
LOT SIZE: 2,543 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 2
YEAR BUILT: 2009
COMMUNITY: San Leandro
COUNTY: Alameda
MLS#: 40492923
SOURCE: EBRD
STATUS: Sold

New Construction. .. Gated Community. No HOA. Many upgrades included. Great floor plan. Large kitchen island & pantry and gas stove. Huge master suite with jet tub, etc. Has 3-fireplaces. Seller says must sell bring offer!.

Guess this was the seller’s lucky day, huh?  Or maybe someone seriously fat-fingered that update?  From looking at that rather pedestrian kitchen (for $41 million, I want something that doesn’t scream 2005 at me), I suspect someone made a big mistake.  Let’s hope it wasn’t the FB fulfilled buyer.  So, have a look at the asking price.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

Whoa!  I’ve heard overbidding is everywhere, but… let’s see what the lucky homedebtor got for (cough) $41 million.  Fortunately, this site and several others had lots of pictures and information and even managed to come up with a map.  There were 10 homes in this new gated community.  It must be really posh!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

That’s some serious elbow room.  At least there should be some open space nearby, right?

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

Plenty of room across Liberty Street!  Awesome!  Now, gated community, right? Let’s get a good gander at the gate!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

While a few security guards at an entry booth would be a touch more apropos, the riffraff won’t be crashing the cotillion!  In fact, don’t worry about the wrong element showing up uninvited to social events, because absolutely nobody will know where this house really is.  I’ll prove it.  Here’s where another Realtard site thinks it’s located:

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

Who wouldn’t pay a hundred times the asking price for an undisclosed location and guaranteed privacy?  Not convinced? Here’s where Zillow thinks it is:

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

And remember, Redfin didn’t even try to find the house.

Okay, I know you’re all laughing at this new construction in San Leandro (has Burbed ever been to San Leandro before?  Yes!) but it’s got 10 rooms!  The house yesterday had 14 (and zero bedrooms).  So there’s no reason why this house can’t sell for an eight digit price, too.  Plus you will avoid all that horrible traffic in The City.

Update 1/11/11: Well, dammit, Redfin now (as of 4 pm) says the house sold for $415,000.  I was so looking forward to watching this FB open the property tax bill, too.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am