September 20, 2013

Cheapest House in San Jose: Just add imagination & love

Tired of seeing three million dollars for a cracker box in Palo Alto?  Us, too.  Here’s how far you can S-T-R-E-T-C-H your dollar if you’re willing to look in San Jose. Well, the Special parts, anyway.

130919-drake-redfin602 DRAKE St
San Jose, CA 95125
$319,000

2 Beds
1 Baths
966 Sq. Ft.
$330 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 4,840 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 8 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Willow Glen
MLS#: 81333635
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara

Diamond in the rough, Corner lot with potential, with some imagination and love you can turn it into your dream home. Large backyard with room for RV or boat parking. Detached garage, perfect for an at home workshop. ALL CASH ONLY. Property condition restricts financing options.

Didn’t we already have a diamond in the rough this week? This one appears to be a little rougher. At least it won’t set you back too much scratch. And here’s why.

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Not only do you get these lovely pavers, the shadowing on the house makes it look jauntily nautical. Um, that is if “tugboat” can go in that nautical category.

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And don’t worry about the low price meaning you’ll do without amenities! As you can clearly observe, the house does have rooms in it!

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There’s more! Looks like we found another R.O.U.S, stronghold as well!  That’s two this week!

And here’s really why this place is such a bargain: Location, location, location! Although this location sure ain’t Willow Glen.

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Bunus: Dorky datestamps on photos are from July!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am






August 18, 2013

Around the Web: Useless Realty-Related Infographics

Maybe by 2014 everyone will be sick of these ubiquitous infographics, but for now they’re everywhere.  And not everyone is improved by the addition of spurious graphics. Realtards aren’t the only ones out there giving out self-serving information while suggesting they’re helping you.  Homebuilders also play many of the same games we know and love.  Here’s a fun infographic, if by “fun” we really mean “see how much fun you can have spotting all the misleading information in one image.”

Not only is “Myth One” a real hoot in the Bay Area (let alone the Real Bay Area), it isn’t even true without all the special pleading for tax exemptions and future streams of payments and other sneaky accounting tricks.  Remember, Richard Florida pointed out that in Opposite of the Real Bay Area, it’s actually cheaper to buy than rent, as in monthly payments there are lower than monthly rents.  Why?  Because everyone who wants a house has bought one, so there are few potential customers.  In the RBA, lots of people want to buy but can’t afford to, so prices stay high as they save up until they can.

We don’t even want to mention that unlike the Bay Area, there are many places in the US where it’s very difficult to rent a typical single family house, so comparative rent vs buy is almost impossible. Perhaps more people would rent if they could get a house instead of an apartment.

What’s your situation? Do you live in a SFH, a townhouse, or an apartment? Do you own or rent? What do you think if this silly poster?

Oh yes, NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY! NOW! NOW! NOW!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:04 am

July 23, 2013

10% Discount in Hillsborough (price subject to seller financing)

Today we turn our back on the crapboxen and Likelers. We’re off to Hillsborough, where you need not rub elbows with your neighbors at all. In fact, you won’t even see your neighbors unless you show up at one of their fundraising balls.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for sending this in this cozy contemporary, provided that by contemporary we mean we’re putting on our FDR campaign button.  Um, first campaign.

130722-verbalee-redfin40 VERBALEE Ln
Hillsborough, CA 94010
$26,000,000

12 Beds
13.5 Baths
35,000 Sq. Ft.
$743 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1932
Lot Size: 5.91 Acres
On Redfin: 26 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
County: San Mateo
Style: Tudor
Community: Tobin Clark Estate/Polo Terrace
MLS#: 81322895

Price subject to seller financing, otherwise $29 million. Tobin Clark Estate designed by David Adler on 6 landscaped acres. Grand Music Room w/ 15ft ceilings, soaring leaded-glass windows, antique parquet-de-Versailles floors, French doors to Loggia & Grand Tr. Marble Entry w/ 17th Century paneling, Formal Dining Room. VIP + 2 Master Suites, oak-paneled Library.

130722-verbalee-tesselationThis isn’t just any house. This is the Tobin Clark Estate. It has its own video. And no, we don’t mean the one Redfin puts together automatically (there’s one of those too! Save $243,750!)  Just think, this home has been host to “numerous dignitaries including Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.”

Guess we now know the sellers’ politics.  And given that the price goes up to $29 million if you won’t let the sellers finance your purchase, guess we also know how they got enough saved up to buy a spread like this in the first place. Remember, if they won’t give you a cash discount, you can always save $243,750 with Redfin!

We hope you also caught that the link to the estate notes the house was being put up for sale… in January.  January, 2012.

On Redfin: 26 days.  Riiiiiiiiight.  At least the 35,000 square foot house isn’t a typo.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 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

130525-zipr-lereahboom

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

September 27, 2012

This new home in Millbrae is unbelievable!

817 MORNINGSIDE Dr
Millbrae, CA 94030
$1,298,000

20120926a

Ah, who doesn’t love the smell of a new home in the morning. And, look, this even comes with an Au-Pair suite! (Translation: Revenue stream opportunity! Pivot today!)

And what a reasonable price of just $601 per square foot. Practically a steal since it is just minutes from SFO where you’ll be going everyday to take your Gulfstream to whatever important business place you are going to. Caymans, perhaps?

Let’s take a look at some pictures of this new home!

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Huh. Look at that! Who knew that new home developers were putting in race cookers, step stools, water bottles, and frosted mini wheats as part of staging. Already I feel more emotionally bonded to this home! Nice job!

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Oh, nice work new home stagers! I can totally see myself having a 49er’s loving boy who has lots of hats and… is that a pink pair of sneakers under the bed? And… uh… what’s up with that weird wall fixture? That seems like a waste of space.

Odd choices… but it’s a new home after all.

Let’s look at one more picture of this new home!

20120926f 

Wow. I am absolutely impressed with this staging company. I mean, they’ve made this new home look lived in. How did they find a stained bath math like that to include? Did they even add some wear to the vent?

I am convinced that ILM was the staging company used to make this new home so awesome. ‘cuz, it’s new. Right?

What are your theories?

Comments (27) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:55 am

September 26, 2012

It’s like living in Manhattan, but in Los Altos

169 CUESTA Dr
Los Altos, CA 94022
$449,000

169quest

Thanks to Burbed reader LJ for this find! Here’s what LJ had to say:

Yes, it’s new-ish, and yes, it’s in swanky Los Altos, but it’s a frickin’ studio! Not sure how they can get away with listing it as a 1 bedroom. I always thought "Junior One Bedroom" is realtard-speak for "big studio", except that this one is not really that big at 388sqft.

And the sad part is that you could probably cover 90% of your cash flow by renting this one out to a Google or Facebook employee, who is single, and maybe also tiny, and not prone to claustrophobia, which I get just by looking at the pictures. At first I thought, wow they really crammed a lot of furniture in there, but then I looked at the data and saw how small it was. Also, I thought the foldable bed (pictures 8/9) was a nice touch, gives it a NYC big city charm, deep in RBA suburbia.

Did someone say Murphy Bed (aka Foldable bed)?

20120925c

YES! YES! YES!

At $1,157 per square foot, this housing unit represents the pinnacle, the paragon, the pagoda, the pinterest, of all that is good in the Bay Area.

Everyone stop what you are doing! This is what we want. I know that if we all work together, we can make all the homes in the Bay Area this expensive. Yes we can do better!

By the way…

20120925b

Yes, this place apparently comes with an alarm to protect all your valuables. BONUS!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:54 am

September 7, 2012

Excellent Los Gatos and San Jose Public & Private Schools

And we’ll finish up this shortened week of accommodation awesomeness with some new construction in Los Gatos!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for yet another example of Truth in Real Estate!

120906-panorama-redfin116 PANORAMA Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$1,999,000

4 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
3,000 Sq. Ft.
$666 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2012 
Lot Size: 10,100 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 126 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81216707
Style: French, Mediterranean
View: Mountains
County: Santa Clara

New Construction. Excellent Floor Plan; Gourmet Kitchen with Custom paint & glazed Cabinets with Professional grade Bosch Appliances; Walk-in Pantry; Alarmed Security Systems; Smart Wired for CATV/HDTV & custom audio system; Laundry with custom built Cabinets with Granite Countertops & skylight.

120906-panorama-tubNot another one of those backwards houses!  And by backwards we mean a “luxury” type McMansion that has an impressive address, but forgot to bring the school district along for the ride.  Let nomadic explain:

New construction for a premium in the slums of Los Gatos!

I’m calling them out because on the “features” tab it says: “Excellent Los Gatos and San Jose Public & Private Schools.”  They must be referring to private schools in Los Gatos, because the public schools (while quite good) are in the Union Elementary and Campbell Union High School districts.

120906-panorama-virtual-tour-features

120906-panorama-streetview-from-unionRedfin has the location all wrong for these houses on the Google map, which makes me think they’re taking liberties with the lot sizes too.  If you look on the map and pan down Union Avenue to just north of Leewood Court, you can see the two of them nuzzled together on the construction site. 

Wow, it looks AWFUL on the satellite view – worse than the view from Union. 

120906-panorama-redmap

The better-looking but much too close companion chateau finally went Pending a couple of weeks ago.  And given how lovey-dovey these two homes are, who wants to guess that the lot size of 10,500 is for both of them?  (Lot size of 117 is conveniently provided in acres to make comparisons quick and easy!  That’s 11,326 sf.  You’re welcome.)

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

July 26, 2012

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

120725-bing-doublemintIt’s been too long since we’ve checked in with Burbed reader Tracy Tea House and her amazing collection of what-the-heck-is-THATs from the East Side. 

Today she’s back with another San Jose special for all you would-be Silicon Valley millionaires, but this one’s on the other side of the Valley.  Tracy likes Trulia for all her househunting needs, so let’s check in with them.

1454 Bing Drive Bing Drive
San Jose CA 95129
$998,000

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120725-bing-kitchenBedrooms: 4 24 days on Trulia
Bathrooms: 2 
Property type: Single-Family Home
Size: 1,650 sqft
Lot: 6,098 sqft
Price/sqft: $605/sqft
Year built: 1965
MLS/ID: 81224226
Zip: 95129
Listing agent: Michelle Carr-Crowe, ABR,ACRE,ALHS,ASP,CDPE,RECS,SRES, Top 5% US RE Agents
Broker: Just Call (408) 252-8900 Michelle Carr Crowe at Keller Williams Cupertino 

120725-bing-livingHURRY! Special Fourth of July HOT BUY! 1454 BING Dr., San Jose 95129, Open Sat. & Sun., 1:30-4:30 You and the people you care about are invited to see our HOT BUY! Effortless Elegance & Entertaining can Easily be Yours in this Lovely & Upgraded Lynbrook High Home. Featuring a Formal Foyer, Separate LR & FR & Skylight-Illuminated Dining, a Custom Tile & Oak Kitchen, 4 Light & Airy Bedrooms, and 2 Jaw-Droppingly Gorgeous Remodeled Baths, it all add up to Fabulous! Quality Upgrades include Dual Pane Windows, Copper Plumbing to the Main and Cement Tile Roof. COOL Central Air Conditioning, Wet

120725-bing-frontPut your best foot forward, invite the reader into your book with a great cover photo, you’ve got one chance to make a great first impression so always lead your listing with a terrific all-over picture of the house.  A photo of the house.  Not a photo of the flyer for the house.  Wow, this is worse than confusing Call by Name with Call by Value.  And in this listing the facade shot at left doesn’t appear until the fourth photo, but don’t worry, the agent put in another one right next to it in case you skip past.

See that green thing above the flyer and left of the price?  This property is “Active Contingent,” which means an offer was accepted but you just never know which contingency could derail the whole deal. That’s good news for you, because that means you can submit your own backup overbid!

For old times’ sake, head over to Redfin, where’ you’ll find:

  • 120725-bing-lynbrookDifferent first photo, plus photos of school signs (this one is second)
  • All home photos repeated
  • But the street name isn’t
  • Lot is 124 square feet smaller
  • San Jose address in the “Cupertino” community (while being 1.1 miles from Cupertino)
  • Pending Without Release (can’t figure out if that’s the same as Active Contingent since Redfin doesn’t define Without vs With Release)
  • A Virtual Tour link!
  • And different listing copy:

Effortless Elegance & Entertaining Can Be Yours! Fabulous Floor Plan Features Sep. LR & FR! Custom Tile & Oak Kit. Boasts Garden Window, Roll-Outs, Custom Details! Skylights! E-Z Care Laminate, Hardwood, Quality Carpet! E-Z Walk to Rainbow Park! E-Z Walk to Nat. -Recgnizd Cupertino Scls! Miller-API 981 & Lynbrook-API 943! Cool Central A/C + Private Hot Tub for Summer Family Fun!

It’s not enough to name the schools, now they also include the API scores. But the listing copy on Trulia is more deserving of the Burbed Seal of Approval.

 

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

April 13, 2012

An oldie but a goodie in Mountain View

Today is the last entry of a string of hella fine housing from Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer.  We hope you have enjoyed Petsmart Groomer week.  Next week we’ll return to a mix of properties from all over the Bay Area submitted by some of our other readers (if we still have any).

Many thanks again to Petsmart Groomer for all the finds, including this, um, place that’s been on Burbed twice already!  But you’d have to go all the back to 2008 to remember this one.  That was so long ago we were still using the MLS website for our listings!

120405-middlefield-burbed-080327[6]

And then we revisited the same house again three months later!

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Now it’s back, and it’s better than EVEH!  You can find out how much better after the break!

(more…)

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

March 25, 2012

UPDATED: Trulia weighs in on Buy vs Rent by putting finger on the scale

120324-trulia-usamapTrulia has a new blog entry on the eternal Buy vs Rent question, and they have lots of meaningless aggregate data to wave around!  Here’s their Winter 2012 Rent vs Buy Index, and and it isn’t restricted to the Real Bay Area. 

Don’t be surprised that Trulia thinks signs point to Buy.  Their being in the listing information and real estate agent referral business shouldn’t have anything to do with their conclusion, right?  After all, Now is Always the Time to Buy!

120324-trulia-prr-graphRemember, the Index is the Price Rent Ratio: sales price divided by annual rent.  So, if a house in the RBA sold for $1.5 million, and rented for $4,500 a month, the rent ratio would be 1500000 / (4500 x 12).  That equation simplifies to 27.8, which sounds about right for the RBA.  Trulia considers 15-20 to be the swing zone between whether buying or renting is a better option; below 15 is buy and above 20 is rent.  We’ve written about the price rent ratio before, and 15 was always the inflection point mentioned in these articles, not 15-20.

Update 10:26 AM: The swing zone was 15-20 from other sources, but the other sites and articles counseled renting over buying unless the home you were considering was an unusually good find.  Trulia considers the rent vs. buy decision as completely balanced when the ratio is between 15-20.  That’s the thumb on the scale.

120324-trulia-logoTrulia is pushing their own agenda with this redefinition of terms by asserting a higher ratio for the buy zone.  The lack of yellow on the map above could indicate homes are more affordable, or it could show that the unlabeled color key breakpoints were chosen incorrectly.  Perhaps they simply wanted the map to match their brand color.

Now for some bad news. The Bay Area appears at #2 and #4 on Trulia’s list of least buy-friendly metro areas. It’s always a disappointment to not first on a list.

120324-trulia-most-expensive

At least SF beat NYC this time, but they’re going to gripe that was because New Jersey pulled them into the Hudson like a pair of cement overshoes.  We can counter that SF has the East Bay to contend with, and San Jose has, well, East San Jose. 

Here’s a little bit more breakdown, by county, but this still doesn’t get to the city level, let alone by zip code. 

120324-trulia-bayarea

Look, Pacific Heights is going to have a higher rent ratio than the Outer Sunset.  Palo Alto is going to completely clean Gilroy’s clock.  Foster City will stomp Daly City, Montclair mauls Hayward, and Danville going to defeat Discovery Bay in the “mine’s bigger” sweeps.  Even when outside the RBA, we still have an idea which places would be contenders, and which are permanently assigned to LOLsville.  And it’s the Definitely Not In The RBA places that are going to have the lower ratios.

Here are some other metros that score lower on the Index.

120324-trulia-least-expensive

The same rule applies within the Bay Area as well.  The not-so-Special places that are “slow-growing with high vacancy rates and land to spare” will have the best ratios.  These places also have the most foreclosures, which might explain why so many FBs are turning into renters themselves.  Too many foreclosures thus drive home prices down and rents up, resulting in a lower price rent ratio.  But in the RBA, prices are sticky because more owners can afford to wait out the price lulls.

These ratios are much lower than what we’d been seeing before.  Do you agree that prices are down and/or rents are up where you live?  Here’s what Trulia has to say about how the Index has changed recently: San Jose has been stable but San Francisco is dropping. 

Updated 11:14 AM: Added Oakland, Sacramento and Fresno to the table.  Note how the numbers don’t agree with those in the Bay Area table.  Stockton not called out separately.

Metro Winter 2011 Spring 2011 Summer 2011 Fall 2011 Winter 2012
San Jose 14.8 13.6 14.5 14.3 14.5
San Francisco 19.5 16.9 17.2 17.4 15.5
Oakland 12.8 11.0 11,9 11.7 11.6
Sacramento 11.2 10.4 10.0 11.1 9.9
Fresno 7.5 7.5 7.8 8.1 7.9

San Jose Metro also has the second lowest vacancy rate (3.9%) of the 100 regions surveyed. The “winner” is Long Island, NY, by one tenth of a percentage point. It’s also the third highest in growth in the employment rate, at 3%.  In the first two spots are Louisville, KY and Salt Lake City.  The latter is gearing up for a ginormous government data mining operation, so there may be some tech jobs!

Their  full press release on how they came up with these numbers is here.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am