November 9, 2013

We’re Number One! In Rent!

Take that, NYC.  San Francisco rents are even higher than yours.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for passing this awesome news along.

San Francisco Rents Skyrocket, Up 10.1% From Last Year

Forbes, LIFESTYLE | 11/05/2013 @ 12:59PM | 2,823 views

131108-rents-listTrulia TRLA +3.3% Chief Economist Jed Kolko dives into the latest findings from the Trulia Rent Monitor, the earliest leading indicator of how rents are trending nationally and locally. It adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what’s really happening to rents.

Among the 25 largest rental markets, rents are rising fastest in San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, while they’re falling slightly in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. San Francisco has not only the steepest year-over-year rent increase, but also has the highest median rent ($3250/month) for 2-bedroom units in the country, edging out the New York metro ($3150). No other market comes close to San Francisco and New York: Boston, the third-most expensive, comes in at $2300. At the other extreme, median rent for a 2-bedroom unit is less than $1000 in Phoenix, St. Louis, and Las Vegas.

Can you imagine how much higher SF rent would be if they threw in Santa Clara County? And there is a bit of a cheat in here, buried deep in the FAQ we discover this nugget:

Some MSA’s [Metropolitan Statistical Areas] are split into Metropolitan Divisions, which we use instead of MSA’s where available. For example, we report the “San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City” and “Oakland – Fremont – Hayward” metropolitan divisions separately, rather than the “San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont” MSA.  [explanation added –ed.]

Ho, ho, ho! So that’s how we did it, by throwing away away Oakland, Richmond, and Hayward, City of Diversity!  Meanwhile the New York City subcategory, according to this thrilling OMB document on Metropolitan Statistical Areas, is still saddled with all the working-class outer boroughs as well as the pricier suburbs.  At least we now know which government agency is responsible for splitting SF and SJ into two separate metro areas.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am






June 9, 2013

We’re Number 8! We’re Number 8!

130608-trulia-sanjoseYes, another danged list! This time San Jose is #8 on the Least Affordable Housing Market list created by Trulia. Not only that, Oakland and San Francisco are ranked even better!  Let’s have a look, and also at this article that referenced the Trulia list.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for sending in the second article.

 

Rank US Metro % of monthly avg wage to pay mortgage YOY % change in prices
1 Honolulu, HI 74% 12.8%
2 San Francisco, CA 55% 19.6%
3 Orange County, CA 44% 21.2%
4 Ventura County, CA 41% 15.4%
5 Los Angeles, CA 41% 17.4%
6 (tie) San Diego, CA 37% 16.8%
6 (tie) Oakland, CA 37% 31.2%
7 (tie) Long Island, NY 35% 1.1%
7 (tie) New York, NY-NJ 35% 4.6%
8 San Jose, CA 33% 23.2%

Affordability is measured as a mortgage payment at 3.8%, 30 year fixed, on an 1800 sf home at median price per sf divided by local average monthly wage for a worker.

130608-trulia-oaklandNot only that, Oakland and San Jose metros are the 1-2 punch of year over year housing price increases, greater than every other Top 100 metro that Trulia examined.  San Francisco is also showing frightening gains at 19.6%, right behind Orange County.

But remember, 8s are very, very lucky.  Tell us how you feel about so many California cities on the Least Affordable List?  Are you going to keep renting or are you determined to get out there and overbid?

130608-trulia-pineappleThe Wall Street Cheat Sheet piece conveniently left our old nemesis Manhattan and environs off its list by completely ignoring it. After all, if you can’t increase housing prices by double digits, what the heck are you doing calling yourself unaffordable?

Now, what are we going to do about Honolulu? We’d better get those median housing prices up past a million in at least 15 more cities by next week!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

June 1, 2013

Northern California: Fit, healthy & wealthy

130531-afi-top10The American College of Sports Medicine has released their annual American Fitness Index, and we’ve got three spots in the top ten.  You can check out lots of details over on their site, but here’s the the ten fittest metros (out of 50) on their list.

Notice who isn’t here? That’s right, New York City.  They’re a practically dead-average #24 out of 50.  The least healthy and fit metro? Oklahoma City.

San Jose metro (Santa Clara and San Benito County), as all the metros, was given a list of Strengths and Challenges in the fitness and health department.  It seems we’re good at some aspects of healthy living (good eating, fewer obese people, lots of biking to work) but we’re failling down with all the asthma and diabetes sufferers, not to mention all the loons living here. Also we’re low on some of the dedicated sports areas per capita, no doubt because they’d be better off as residential property (sheesh, anyone knows that).

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Again, you can feel free to peruse the website, because it has all kinds of interesting stuff on how they made their list. But the reason we’re calling the list out in the first place isn’t just because we have three cities in the Top 10.

It’s because somebody’s pulled a Burbed and decided to critique how this list was made.  Even better, the complaining site is one we’ve previously called out for not including San Jose metro on their own lists.

Updated: Nope, that was actually Travel & Leisure.

The basic complaints are that too many of the indicators that produce the index tend to line up with who has the money. The above Top 10 has a high correlation with household income.

130531-afi-appsorsAnd the bitchfest goes on: there are too many indicators and they end up reinforcing each other.  Worse, some of the Community Health numbers are for how many facilities are in the city limits, rather than the larger metro areas. Yes, this is an actual case of mixing apples and oranges, which is actually a reasonably healthy thing to do.

Finally, our critic notes that this sort of data doesn’t change much, so creating an annual list sort of defeats the point. Minneapolis has gotten #1 for the last 3 years.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

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.

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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

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130525-zipr-lereahboom

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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

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

February 24, 2013

NOW is the time to buy or sell a house!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) isn’t known for deep thinking.  After all, this is the group that brought you David Lereah, America’s very own Baghdad Bob on the topic of forecasting home values.  But let’s take a closer look at the idea that NOW is always the time to buy. After all, if now is not the time to buy, then now is the time to sell.

Turns out NAR has that one covered.  They’ve got a list of the best places to buy and sell, NOW.  And guess where is the time to sell NOW.

That’s right.  Where it’s Special.

Asheville, NC Tops Best Places To Buy In 2013

Real Estate News   |  Feb 14, 2013   |  By: Lexie Puckett | Realtor.com

130222-nar-ashevilleThe new year started on a positive note in January, with inventories at record lows and list prices holding steady on a year-over-year basis. Whether this shows a continuation of the nascent housing recovery into 2013 will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the overall economy, the cost and availability of mortgage credit, consumer expectations regarding future housing prices, and the success of continuing efforts to stem the flow of new foreclosures.

If inventories remain low — and if list prices begin to rise during the next few months, as they did last year — conditions are ripe for additional house price appreciation in 2013. However, such gains are likely to be concentrated in markets already well into their recovery process, such as California, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and many sand states. Markets in the older industrialized parts of the Midwest and the East will likely continue to struggle without a significant turnaround in their local economies. However, if inventories in these areas remain high, it could effectively set the stage for further declines in housing values in these local markets.

2013 Best Places to Buy and Sell

With two months remaining before the home-buying season opens, sellers have a huge advantage. In tight markets, such as the top five “Best Places to Sell,” sellers benefit from better prices than they’ve seen in years. In our five “Best Places to Buy,” buyers will find plentiful inventory and prices that haven’t experienced the increases others have seen during the past year.

So wait, are they saying that there actually exist places where NOW is not the time to buy? Well… no, because they would never want to prevent suckers from giving them money interfere with the free market.  Also commissions.

Here are NAR’s Top 5 Best Markets to Sell a House NOW.  Except they didn’t say NOW, but you KNOW it’s THERE.

130222-nar-sacto1. Sacramento. No, really. Inventory dropped even more than here where it really is Special, leading to price increases of (get ready to scream) 40%.  You forgot to invest in Sacramento last year, didn’t you?

2. San Jose.  Prices are up 25% here and inventory isn’t exactly generous. But unlike Sacramento, San Jose wasn’t rebounding from a complete price collapse.

3. San Francisco. They’re just copying us, and not as well.

4. Phoenix. See Sacramento. Inventory is down 16%, but so what? They simply make more land. What they can’t manage to make more of here is water.

5. Washington, DC. “With a median price of $429,900, D.C. is one of the nation’s priciest markets…”  Right, NAR.  You want to see what you can get here, where it’s actually Special, for $430,000?  This.

130222-nar-sheriann1889 SHERI ANN Cir
San Jose, CA 95131
$429,950

HOA Dues: $202/mo.
2 Beds
2 Baths
1,157 Sq. Ft.
$372 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1993
Lot Size: 435 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $202/month
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Property Type: Condominium Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
Community: Berryessa
MLS#: 81305233

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, Feb 23: 1:30-4:00 pm
Sunday, Feb 24: 1:30-4:00 pm

Dwnstrs condo has bright & open flr plan. Newer carpet, hrdwd flrs in entry & ktchn. Interior has been freshly painted. Spacious patio off of lving rm. Gas stove, dual sinks & recessed lights in Kitchen. Mster bdrm has it’s own patio, walk-in closet, recently updated bthrm, 2 sink vanity. Attchd 1 car garage w/ laundry. Community has large pool, spa, sports court, bbq/picnic area. Great location.

And by “Great location” they don’t really mean “great location.”  Yesterday’s house was “great location.”  This place is “You’re less likely to get shot than on Story Road.”

Now, lest you think all those California metros filling in the first 3 on that top 5 list are some big honking coincidence, here’s some data ripped straight out of NAR’s January Trends report.  The blog entry linked above is distilled from this longer report.

130222-nar-inventory

It goes on to confirm what we already knew: It’s Special Here. Then again, it’s even More Special in Sacramento.  Want to know where else it’s surprisingly Special?

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Anyone who doesn’t see Bubble written all over these tables simply is not paying attention.

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

February 13, 2013

We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!

The good news: We beat LA and Chicago and New York and Washington DC and even SAN FRANCISCO. W00t!

The bad news: We lost to Connecticut. Connecticut? Haven’t they been in the news enough already?

The US Metropolitan Areas Packed With The Most Rich People

Rob Wile | Business Insider | Feb. 11, 2013, 8:24 PM

The U.S. Census has published its list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of wealth in the country.

These are places where a large percentage of your neighbors earn incomes in the top 5th percentile.

Here are the top five.  For the full list, see the article at Business Insider.

Rank Metro % MSA households in US Top 5% Primary Industry
5 Trenton/Ewing NJ 11.6% Protection, extralegal goods, beating the shit out of rivals
4 San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont CA 13.0% Social Media, Investment (hypothetical shit)
3 Washington/Arlington/Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV 14.1% Lobbying (access to shit)
2 San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara CA 15.9% Inventing new shit
1 Bridgeport/Stanford/Norwalk CT 17.9% Insuring shit
Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

December 9, 2012

10 Least Affordable Metros: We Are Number 2. You Are Number 6.

CNN/Money has another one of their Most/Least/Best/Worst/Good/Evil slideshows that could have been presented as a table, but then they'd get ten fewer click-throughs. This time it's one of our favorite regional competitions, for 10 Least Affordable Cities for buying. Actually it's Least Affordable Metros, but it sounds better if they call them cities, even if a couple of them are known locales for multiple Portals to Hell and very few yachts or polo ponies.

10 least affordable cities to buy a home

BY LES CHRISTIE @CNNMONEY – LAST UPDATED NOVEMBER 29 2012 02:02 PM ET

Looking to buy a home? You may want to skip these places. Prices are either so high or incomes so low that many families can't afford to buy homes here, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Anyway, we lost to New York City again, which is just so unfair. This isn't even an SF to Manhattan comparison, so we should have kicked serious butt here. However, California totally owns the Least Coast as far as leaderboard spots, and Washington DC didn't even qualify. We present the results in one easy list, so you don't have to click through their annoying one-city-at-a-time-gee-who-could-be-next-and-if-this-was-so-exciting-why-didn't-they-put-it-in-reverse-order-Top-Ten-List-style?

  1. New York, where 28.5% of homes are affordible. They seemed impressed by $1100 a square foot, too. But they didn't define the boundaries of any of these metro areas, so of course we can (and will) complain we were cheated on geographical grounds. We doubt this was an apples-to-Big-Apples comparison.
  2. San Francisco, 31.4%. The piece laments it's unaffordable all over, because nearby communities are also expensive. Nearby high-priced places such as Sausalito, Berkeley, and… wait for it… Daly City. We swear we are not making this up.
  3. Santa Ana, 43.5%. I kid you not. Perhaps the nearby beach towns are pulling up its results. And Disneyland. Because Santa Ana is not what comes to mind when we think “delightful but so unaffordable California real estate.”
  4. Los Angeles, 44.1%. Because “bunus” hydrocarbons and ozone raise home prices. Seriously, when did LA rediscover the bubbly?
  5. Bridgeport, Connecticut, 44.2%. Look, if you have to tell us what state the metro is in, maybe it isn't really worth mentioning. Just sayin'.
  6. San Jose, 46.2%. Above is the lovely photo they used to feature the Capital of Silicon Valley, probably because the Quetzlcoatl statue made the photog drop a perfectly good camera. Not one other metro had a freeway interchange featured. Not even Los Angeles, which loves its freeways so much they get definite articles. We suspect they're also putting their thumb on the scale by adding in San Benito County.
  7. Honolulu, 48.8%. Houses cost more because of good weather, expensive shipping, and hotel jobs pay squat. But they get a photo with palm trees.
  8. San Diego, 54.6%. Here the filler text spends more time lamenting the glory days of 6% affordability during the last bubble. Well screw you, because we're already on our next one.
  9. Newark, 55.3%. No, not that one, in New Jersey. Although Newark itself is cheap. It's la-di-da luxury locales like Hoboken and Jersey City that cost the big bucks. We're sure it's a complete coincidence that NJ made the list even though the feature author's surname is Christie.
  10. El Paso, 61.7%.This is an honest case of low overall incomes ($41.7K) as opposed to expensive housing ($141K).

Let us know if you find any of these results surprising, or what you plan to do to ensure we never lose to New York or LA or The OC ever again.. Or mention anything you want, because this is Your Weekend Open Thread.

 

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

October 21, 2012

We’re Number… Three?

We lost out to both New York City and Washington DC, this time in the contest for the town with the highest earnings.  Here are the Top Ten, courtesy of CNN/Money, of the places with the highest median family incomes.

1 Bethesda, MD $184,606
2 Greenwich, CT $167,502
3 Palo Alto, CA $163,661
4 Newport Beach, CA $156,928
5 Lower Merion, PA $153,309
6 Ashburn, VA $146,093
7 Newton, MA $145,639
8 Hoboken, NJ $140,780
9 Brookline, MA $139,756
10 Fairfield, CT $136,808

People, this is not good. Not only did High Tech lose out to High Finance and High Crimes and Misdemeanors, but there’s Highly-wood right behind us. Also this list is disturbingly full of Least Coasters.

Here’s what they thought of The Specialest Place of Them All (Not Including Mountain View, because for Pete’s Sake, Palo Alto may be Special but it does Not Have Google Anymore).

3. Palo Alto, CA          3 of 25

121020-highincome-paPopulation: 65,260
Median family income: $163,661
Median home price: $1,225,000

Nestled in California’s Silicon Valley, Palo Alto has attracted a pile of tech companies — and their CEOs. Not only does tech granddaddy HP have its headquarters here, but so do newbies like Pinterest and Ning. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has a house in Palo Alto, as did Steve Jobs. Stanford University, which falls within its boundaries, adds to the city’s prestige.

Palo Alto nurtures startups and the money that results from their successes. Its residents reap the rewards. Area schools are exceptional, while the city has 35 parks and a Mediterranean climate that varies by only 20 degrees year-round.

See complete data and interactive map for Palo Alto

Did you know that Palo Alto’s climate was More Special than that of any of the surrounding Not As Special cities?  Perhaps Redwood City (Motto: Climate Best by Government Test) is going to have to come over and punch them out for getting airs.

Oh yeah, and Mark Zuckerberg is mostly hanging out in San Francisco these days.  Could he have picked up this little pied-a-terre?  Just kidding, that place was sold to a school, which is now awash in neighborhood NIMBY lawsuits.  But have a look at this SocketSite discussion and see if you can figure out where Mark bought.  Two possibilities: 366 Liberty or 376 Hill.

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Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am

September 22, 2012

America’s Dirtiest Cities ignores Silicon Valley

120922-dirtiest-coverTravel & Leisure magazine really enjoys making all kinds of lists of cities, and their newest one is a doody.  Whoops, we mean a doozy, sorry.  They’ve just released a list of America’s Dirtiest Cities, which is merely a reverse ranking of the Cleanliness category on their Quality of Life index. They do love making lists.

T&L offers lists of the best city for singles, or for culture, or fine dining on their website, and they do an annual America’s Favorite Cities ranking that adds up a number of those qualities.  But one thing you won’t find is any mention of America’s tenth largest city, San Jose.

120922-dirtiest-tandlThere are only 35 cities on T&L’s lists, and as far as they’re concerned, San Jose is merely a very remote suburb of smaller but way more famous San Francisco.  (San Francisco ranks 14th in population and is a quarter the physical size of San Jose.)  The only other California cities on T&L’s rankings are Los Angeles and San Diego, both of which are larger than either Northern California nexus.  Cities they deem more worth your notice than San Jose include Baltimore, Portland (Maine), Savannah, Providence, and Kansas City.

Here’s the SF entry on the dirtiest cities list, and we’ve got the entire list for you as well.  (Spoiler: NYC wins again.)

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No. 11 San Francisco

The foodie capital of the nation ranks near the top of the AFC for its fine dining, ethnic cuisine, and cafés. But all that takeout can pile up. A recent study found that one of the biggest culprits for pollution in the San Francisco Bay is food containers—though ironically, they may be floating in from neighboring cities. Voters also commended the locals for being brainy and diverse.

See all the America’s Favorite Cities survey results!

The ten cities with even less civic hygiene than San Francisco are:

  1. New York City –  If you can make a mess here, you can make it anywhere.
  2. New Orleans –  The Simpsons defamed them far better than we could.
  3. Baltimore –  Quoth the raven, “Close the compactor door!”
  4. Los Angeles –  You’ll never get out of your car, so you’ll never know.
  5. Atlanta –  The litter gets moved around rather than be Gone With the Wind.
  6. Philthydelphia –  Sorry, couldn’t resist.
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth –  Everything’s bigger in Texas.
  8. Miami –  Why clean up? Another hurricane’s just around the corner.
  9. Memphis –  Elvis has left the building, but his trash hasn’t.
  10. Houston – See Dallas.  Then note they rank #7 and #10, showing that everything’s merely said to be bigger in Texas.

If you’re interested, this T&L link covers how SF has fared on all their lists.  The City by the Bay earns plenty of Top Ten rankings, and only hit bottom on Affordability, Filth, and (you didn’t see this one coming, did you?) Barbecue and Hamburgers (the latter only according to residents; we prefer the travelers’ rankings).  Worst city for barbeque: Anchorage, Alaska.

And bad news, New York City beat us again on Least Affordable.  We really have to work on that.  How about raising the price of cable car tickets to thirty bucks?  The only #1 ranking San Francisco got on anything was its residents’ vote for Ethnic Food.  Otherwise, there was plenty of Number Two all over SF.  And that brings us back to today’s topic.

120922-dirtiest-coyotecreekSee the trash in that photo on the left?  That’s Coyote Creek earlier this month (the WINNER!!! in an SF Chronicle piece on dirtiest Bay Area waterways), so San Francisco’s got nothing on us!

You can discuss the relative filth of any city you wish, including the one you live in.  Or anything at all, because this is Your Weekend Open Thread.  How filthy were the Open Houses you visited today?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:16 am