December 14, 2013

Priced Out For-EVEH AGAIN!

Don’t look now, but the FHA just swiftly kicked California in the housing numb…ers.

Housing Agency Will Reduce Mortgage-Loan Limits

FHA will drop the maximum mortgage loan it will guarantee next month

131213-mortgageBy NICK TIMIRAOS, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 2013 5:17 p.m. ET

The Federal Housing Administration will drop the maximum size of home-mortgage loans that it will guarantee beginning next month in nearly 650 counties, the agency said Friday.

The maximum for single-family homes in certain "high-cost" housing markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York will fall to $625,500, from the current level of $729,750.

The FHA doesn’t make mortgages but instead insures lenders against defaults on loans that meet its standards. It allows borrowers to make down payments of just 3.5% and has played an outsized role backstopping mortgages in the aftermath of the housing bust.

You just know those New York and DC types are behind this, trying to harsh our mellow, and kill our housing price leadership.

131213-fhaWell, we just have one thing to say to that: PTHTHBBBT.  That’s not going to hurt us here where the Engines of Creativity run 24/7/365.25.  No FHA mortgage backstop means everyone has to put 20% down on their above-$625,000 loans.  But so what?  Everyone here has a brazillion stock options and can buy houses for cash found under their Tesla Model S seat cushions! You know who that’s going to hurt, instead?

Los Angeles.  Moohahahahaha!  Look at the reaction by the California Association of Realtards, who are terrified of county median values resetting downward.  Of course, in the Real Bay Area, prices continue to only go upwards.

And as this is the first Weekend Open Thread we’ve provided in a while, feel free to comment on government housing issues, why SoCal’s housing market sucks compared to ours, or anything on your mind.

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






November 10, 2013

Building a new house is easy!

Nobody even noticed we had a new article yesterday. And it was on topic and everything! So just for that, we give you a lame-ass Ikea rip-off on what to do if they ever made any more land. And you managed to get some.

131109-houss-instructions

This is your weekend Open Thread.  Heck, this is probably going to be your Open Thread for the whole effing month of November at the rate we’re going.

We would love to properly credit and link to the author of these instructions. Let us know if you can figure out who it is.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

October 13, 2013

More of you are Priced Out For-EVEH!!!!!!

And now for some Totally Obvious News for Anyone Who’s Been Paying Attention, courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News (nickname: Adventures in Irrelevance).

Many first-time buyers shut out of Bay Area housing market

131012-pricedout-proudBy Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
POSTED:   10/06/2013 04:00:00 AM PDT, UPDATED:   10/07/2013 03:59:42 PM PDT

As the peak homebuying season ends, months of rising prices, tight inventory and competition from investors have left many would-be first-time buyers on the sidelines.

Prices are up an astonishing 31.7 percent in August from a year ago for all types of homes in the nine-county Bay Area, and for moderate-income buyers that represents a growing hurdle.

And the slice of home sales for less than $500,000 has dropped from a combined 59.1 percent to 42.2 percent in August in Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, according to real estate information company DataQuick. Homes under $300,000 are down from a combined 29.7 percent in the four counties to 15.2 percent.

See the proud homedebtor in the piccie above? He got himself a house.  In Hayward, City of Diversity. And lately we’ve been seeing ads for new homes in Mountain House.  Not Mountain View, Mountain House.  Mountain House is what people in Livermore point to when asked where the “exurbs” are,  Extra chuckle points to whatever robot put that page together calling San Ramon a “nearby community.”  Sure, just like Prunedale is “nearby” Almaden Valley.

Just as there is nothing wrong with any house that price cannot fix, there is nothing wrong with any price that distance cannot fix either. It’s just that some of you are going to have to buy in Turlock.

This is not only your Weekend Open Thread, it may have to do for the entire week. Tune in tomorrow and find out if there’s going to be a new edition of Burbed or not!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:04 am

October 5, 2013

Open Thread Salute

It’s the weekend! Time to see what’s available because YOU SHOULD BE BUYING A HOUSE! Or selling one.

131004-rikers-ugh

We hope you appreciate the two-tone paint job as well. Now tell us how your Open House visits go in this Weekend Open Thread.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am

September 22, 2013

Post some comments or else… Part Deux

20130921-dog-gunYou enjoy this site? Well, then, this requires your assistance. Good content needs good comments to keep more good content coming.

Yesterday we threatened a stock photo of a house if we didn’t see more comments pronto. Today, we up the ante.

Remember this iconic image?

And if you’re too young to remember it, well, you can read it, can’t you?

Thought you could.

We don’t think we have to spell it out, now, do we?

Fine. We’ll spell it out. Post some more comments or the dog gets it.

And don’t give us any crap about this dog probably being dead already since the magazine cover was from January, 1973. He’s been brought back to life… in Bucharest.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, not that that ever made any difference.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:09 am

September 15, 2013

Hacker House dies from excessive self-image, brand overexposure

Almost exactly a year ago, we took a look at group housing as not just a way to save on rent, but as launching pad to future success.  Some of these homes were in San Francisco, some were in Silicon Valley.  The most well-known one in the Valley might have been the Rainbow Mansion.  Of course, it has a website.

Now Buzzfeed has a fairly longish piece on the implosion of a shared SF house that saw itself as more than just a bunch of geeks splitting the rent.  Or an “intentional community.” Burbed readers, meet the Rise mansion, formerly known as TheGlint. Right, no space. Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to this story.

The Rise And Fall Of A Startup Mansion

130914-rise-viewStartups, pizza, ego, beer, filth. The collapse of a hacker house and the battle for Silicon Valley’s soul.

Justine Shamrocks, BuzzFeed Staff, posted on August 26, 2013 at 2:20pm EDT

When William Hsu first moved to San Francisco to work in startups, he got a one-bedroom apartment. “I thought that was the adult thing to do, the thing I was supposed to do,” Hsu says. “But it kind of sucked actually to go home and no one was there. It was kind of depressing.” He missed college. Like many other young techies, his career development was outpacing his social development.

Instead of just getting roommates, he applied to live with 15 other guys at a San Francisco “startup mansion,” which he later went on to run. As more and more young techies like Hsu move into the notoriously expensive city, these “hacker houses” are becoming a rising trend. Varying in size from about 5 to 20 people, they are sort of commune-meets-incubator-meets-dorm. Each has its own vibe, reflecting the different sub-scenes of the of the tech world from visionaries to brogrammers, grad students to hackers, as well as people working at big companies. Some houses are more established and formal; others, chiefly casual.

I first heard about Hsu’s house when I saw the Craigslist ad for the “Live/Work Startup Mansion with sweeping views of San Francisco!” looking to add “cool new people.”

“Come check it out, seriously,” the ad said.

130914-rise-craigslistThe Craigslist ad pointed to this Business Insider writeup, which was essentially a photo diary about where several of Peter Thiel’s Fellows ended up.

Shared housing in a place of high rental costs is nothing new. What is different was when a group of people sharing a bigger than normal house begin to have bigger than normal ideas about what they’re actually doing.

Much bigger than normal:

"The truth is that The Glint is a live-work community that accelerates the creation and creators of value through design, philosophy, the arts & sciences, technology and entrepreneurship. It aspires to shift the conception of heroism from historical warrior ideals to a new paradigm of creativity, collaboration and innovation"

And if you think that’s bad, their two-word tagline for the group home was “Heroism Accelerator.”

That’s going to need the “ginormous” tag all by itself.  Which it isn’t going to earn according to Redfin.

130914-rise-streetview170 Saint Germain Ave
San Francisco, CA 94114
Sold for $1,400,000

4 Beds
3 Baths
4,300 Sq. Ft.
$326 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1938
Lot Size: 4,996 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Jun 5, 2003
Status: Sold Source: Public Records

And yes, we realize this doesn’t bear a lot of resemblance to the photos in the article, which is why we double-checked a bit. And this Bing bird’s eye image (right) looks more like the one in the story (left).

130914-rise-bf-craigslist130914-rise-birdseye“One of my jokes for a while was that the whole point of TheGlint was to save the planet, at least according to them. But they couldn’t even save the house,” Gooen says. “Imagine taking the most successful CEOs and putting them in a house together in a reality TV show to organize the dishes and house maintenance. That was almost what it was like. Although they were not as successful. They just thought they were.”

130914-rise-getshitdoneHah.  This is still before TheGlint was shut down and two renters took over the lease and rebranded the house as Rise. Now instead of “changing the planet,” they just wanted to network the heck out of each other.

Hilarity ensues.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread. Ever live in a group house?  Did you ever actually “Get Sh*t Done”?

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

September 8, 2013

Department of Duh: More House for Your Money in East Bay

And now we present yet another story about people having to move to the East Bay and insisting that it was a great idea.

Families flee S.F. for East Bay with cheaper homes

130907-flight-smithCarolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle
Updated 9:45 pm, Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Family flight" out of San Francisco is nothing new. But now, real estate prices in the city have risen so steeply – much more so than in the East Bay – that there’s an extra incentive for longtime San Francisco homeowners to cash out their equity and head across the bay seeking more house for less money.

After 20 years in San Francisco, John Perryand Rob Picciotto, along with their children, Ben and Louisa, and three dogs, transplanted themselves to Oakland. "I didn’t think we would ever leave San Francisco, but a convergence of things made us consider moving," said Perry.

In 1998, Perry and Picciotto had stretched to buy their Bernal Heights house and make it work as their family grew. In June it sold for more than triple what they’d paid, a windfall that allowed them to pay cash for a less expensive house in Oakland’s Leona Heights neighborhood in the hills above Mills College.

"We don’t have a mortgage anymore, which is awesome," Perry said. "We doubled our square footage on more than an acre of land, and have phenomenal neighbors. Oakland is so diverse; it’s a whole new world to learn and explore. There’s more space, more mix."

We’ve pointed out many times in the past that the East Bay was not part of the Real Bay Area because it hasn’t benefitted from the same batshit insane price increases found in places West of the Bay. Outmigration serves as a release valve on the price hikes. When SF gets too expensive compared to Oakland or Walnut Creek (two places mentioned as where SF sellers moved to), people will move East because they get more house for the money.

Three things of note from this article:

  1. Moving from SF to Silicon Valley will NOT gain you a damned thing.  The prices have gone up just as much in Googleville.  These bargains are only to be found in the Nickle and Dime or Nine and a Quarter area codes.
  2. The exact same newspaper has a another feature on how the batshit insane SF home prices are leveling off, which isn’t exactly demonstrated by this piece.
  3. San Francisco has fewer residents under 18, by percentage, than any other major city.  This really still remains as a Family Flight From ‘Frisco story. The only difference is more people moving to Montclair instead of Marin.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread. Are you considering moving further afield because trading up where you already live is too expensive?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:06 am

September 1, 2013

Housing Market Trends for 2013: Up, up, up!

This is why we all have so much esteem for real estate professionals.

20130831-ads-graph

The above is a postcard received by Burbed reader Realtard Math. Let’s hear from RM why this was shared with us:

I love this graph. The trend arrow is shooting almost straight up, but every individual year goes up about the same. What’s the index here? No idea. We don’t know what’s being measured, or where. All we know is it went up every year, including this one. But 2013 isn’t over yet!

Aw, c’mon, RM, you missed how the arrows all have little chimneys on them, and 2009 and 2013 are right-handed varieties. And it also asks us “Did You Know” although it doesn’t inform us what we were supposed to find out. So we’re still ignorant of many things about Housing Market Trends other than that “Buyers are clamoring to purchase a home in your area.” Since RM didn’t tell us which area, for all we know it could be Alviso.

The local market called bottom sometime around the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, though. Perhaps this is a graph of agent enthusiasm, because it sure isn’t a graph of agent results.

Long Weekend Open Thread. open now! Share your favorite examples of agent math skillz.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

August 24, 2013

Internet hasn’t obsoleted Realtards. Why not?

Perhaps they will always be with us.

Here’s why real estate agents are still around

130823-realtards-picBy Lydia DePillis, The Washington Post
POSTED:   08/23/2013 09:25:43 AM PDT

In this Tuesday April 2, 2013, photo, Christian Bell and his wife Beth Heinen Bell view a home for sale with real estate agent Becky Dickenson, left, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Paul Sancya/AP)

The quintessentially mainstream American real-estate brokerage — Re/Max — went public Tuesday. The housing market is hot enough, its initial filing explained, that raising investor cash could launch it into markets around the country it hadn’t yet reached.

But wait — real estate agents? Wasn’t the Internet supposed to drive them out of business?

The online age has been hard on all kinds of middlemen, after all. Travel agents, for example, were rendered obsolete by Orbitz and Expedia. Soft-goods retailers were outpaced by Amazon. The effect should be similar with people who sell homes: What do they have but what they know? And what of that can’t be better figured out through unbiased, publicly available data, crunched and presented free on websites such as Zillow and Trulia?

This is a piece that asks many questions yet delivers few answers. “It’s complicated” is not really an explanation.  And what the heck is Jason’s House?  Shouldn’t he be more original and call it Jason’s List?  It’s mentioned in a Washington Post article and there’s mentions in Texas media, so it should be really helpful to all our Northern California readership.

It’s Weekend Open Thread time, too. Met any helpful real estate agents lately?

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am

August 17, 2013

Palo Alto still clinging to its one and only trailer park

The owner of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park wants out of the business, the units are vintage architectural treasures, and the residents love the value they get in the high-priced city. In this installment of As The Park Blights, the City hits the property owner with yet another stalling tactic. 

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for sending this important update to our attention.

Application to close Palo Alto mobile home park deemed incomplete — again

By Jason Green, Daily News Staff Writer
POSTED:   08/10/2013 01:52:55 PM PDT | UPDATED:   7 DAYS AGO

PALO ALTO — For a second time, an application to close the city’s sole mobile home park was rejected as incomplete this week.

Toufic Jisser, the owner of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, is required by Palo Alto’s municipal code to follow a specific process to shutter the decades-old facility. It includes completing a "resident impact report" that spells out how displaced residents would be compensated.

That report is still missing critical information, according to a letter Grant Kolling, senior assistant city attorney, sent to Jisser’s attorney, Margaret Nanda, on Thursday. Nanda, for her part, has said the report meets all legal and technical requirements, as well as the spirit of the municipal code.

While the owner jumps through more hoops to get the park ready for the bulldozers, you’re probably out touring as many Open Houses as you can. Let us know if you find anything affordable this weekend, especially if it’s in a community like this one. 

This is your weekend Open Thread!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:11 am