June 2, 2013

The Village

Sent in by a Mountain View resident:

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Friends of The Village. That just rolls off the tongue so nicely.  Would you like to be added to their email-list for updates?

130601-village-pennyfarthing20130601-village-movieBe sure to Check-off any or all that you like. Although last time we saw something by Check-off, everyone was pretty sad at the end.  (Spoiler: The cherry orchard gets cut down, which means it was actually about Sunnyvale.)

You are Number Six. And since this is your Weekend Open Thread, tell us about any Open Houses you found in The Village of Your Choice. Or which of these would you like in The Village Phase II, near Caltrain.

Also tell us about any Open Houses near Caltrain.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am






May 25, 2013

Why Everyone Loves Realtards: Part LXIV

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Self-serving arguments: what else would you expect?  Item for discussion: which is cheaper, a divorce or a bigger house? Be sure to indicate where said house would be.  And if you push for downgrading your school district while upsizing your residence, the divorce may well follow on its own.

It’s the weekend! In fact, it’s a three-day weekend! Will you look at more or fewer Open Houses?  Will you post more or fewer comments in this Weekend Open Thread?

Photo from Funny Signs website.

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

May 18, 2013

Is it the weekend already?

And if it is, does that mean time to look at Open Houses?  Let us know what’s out there.  We hear overbidding happens sometimes.  Let us know about it because we’re going back to bed.

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This is also your weekend open thread! Speak up before somebody croaks.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

May 11, 2013

Surburban Sprawl, Mexican Style

This was a National Geographic Photo of the Day for Wednesday, May 8th.  Yes, it’s real.  No, we don’t care if you think it’s shopped and that you can tell by the pixels.  It’s real. We swear we are not making this up.

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Click to learn more about where in Mexico this was taken and what the photographer noticed about this place.  Then tell us if you saw any Open Houses today that were in a tract of suburban sameness.

Yes, this is indeed your Weekend Open Thread!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

May 4, 2013

Open Houses need Open Threads

Are you looking at any Open Houses next to a farm?

Photo credit thanks to Galen Ward.

 

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

April 28, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0: The Real Bay Area is Real, too

We told you there was a Bay Area real estate bubble. This mercurynews.com (motto: we were once a newspaper, really!) article caught our attention. Not only does it lend support to everything we said about peak housing prices in northwest Silicon Valley and other prime real estate markets, there’s another interesting reveal as well.

Bay Area housing recovery spreads from Silicon Valley to East Bay

130427-svpeak-mapBy Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   04/26/2013 06:54:33 AM PDT, Updated:   04/26/2013 06:54:55 AM PDT

The Bay Area’s overheated housing market is restoring thousands of homes to their pre-crash peak values in a ZIP-code-by-ZIP-code recovery that is rapidly spreading from Silicon Valley to the East Bay.

Thirty-four of 185 ZIP codes in five counties have regained or surpassed their bubble-era peak home value or are less than 1 percent from it, according to this newspaper’s analysis of February median values for all homes from online real estate site Zillow.

Another 49 ZIPs are within 15 percent of their previous highs, including 18 in the East Bay. A year ago, only part of leafy Palo Alto had regained the value it lost after Bay Area home values crested in 2006-07.

"Seven or eight years ago, there was really a bubble," said Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California. "Now it’s just good real estate where values are returning to near past peaks."

Yes, This Time It’s Different 4.0.  This is “good real estate” as opposed to Bay Area Bubble 3.0 which was also considered “good real estate,” as we can see by looking at some of the stories they ran in 2006.  Here’s one:

MercuryNews.com | 10/03/2006 | ‘Burdened’: Area owners pay a big chunk of their income for housing
Lenders and other home buying experts said they’re not surprised by the numbers, which they said reflect a long-running trend in the Bay Area. And some questioned whether the 30 percent figure was outdated, saying many people can afford to pay more.

[snip]

Lenders and real estate experts said home buyers in the Bay Area are used to paying more for housing than home buyers elsewhere, and that many, like Singer, use their homes as a savings plan. Most have figured out how to manage the extra debt, they said. In some cases, borrowers are making smaller down payments than previous generations of home buyers.

“(They) are going to make the lifestyle change necessary to own a home, which may mean that 50 percent of their income goes to their mortgage. . . . (They) don’t go out to dinner, they don’t go shopping anymore. It’s about changing their lifestyle,” said Andrea Lanier, a mortgage broker with the San Mateo office of Bankers Preferred Real Estate Loans.

But what we’d also like you to pay attention to is the map pictured above.  Green represents home values above the 2005-08 bubble previous peak, and red means the current value is below the pre-crash peak.  And by “values” they mean those Zestimate numbers that Zillow not only made up, they keep changing the historical data retroactively. Hope that’s science-y enough for you because we’re sure convinced! 

The first thing we noticed was that there’s green where we expect to find it: along the 280 spine.  Where’s the red? Why the East Bay, of course.  Now, let’s look at this map next to a few others we’ve featured in the past.  As always, you can click on any map to see a larger version.

First, here’s the map above next to a recent Zillow map of negative equity.  Difficult to have high home values when the homes are worth less than the “owners” owe on them.

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Next, the infamous “Whole Foods vs Walmart” location maps.

And finally, the some of the “Real Bay Area” maps we’ve provided in the past.  2010 is on the left, 2008 on the right.

And here’s the granddaddy.

Hate to say we told you so, but we told you so — about ten kajillion times.  Eventually Bay Area Bubble 4.0 will raise East Bay home prices above the last peak, by which point The Real Bay Area (which most certainly does not include the East Bay) will be so expensive that even dual-income Google couples will be Priced. Out. For-EVEH!

Until Bay Area Bubble 4.0 goes all Bubblepopcalypse on us and we start preparing for Bay Area Bubble 5.0. As you load up on gold bars and dried beans, let us know what Open Houses you were checking out, because this is also your Weekend Open Thread!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

April 21, 2013

Open Houses, Open Threads, Open Minds, Open Wallets

130420-fallon-redfinToday is Sunday! That means better hurry up and make the most of Spring Bounce by visiting as many Open Houses as you can today.  It also means we put the alphabet away until Monday.

This particular house on the left isn’t listed as Open and probably won’t be, because it’s selling shortly.  The bank knows a lot more about it than the FB who wasn’t getting the monthly nut met.

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130420-fallon-tower130420-fallon-crisisAnd you don’t have to be a psychic to get that banks expect mortgages to be paid back.  Too bad this resident didn’t sense that sudden change in their domestic affairs. 

Here’s the most real estate-related card in the Tarot.  The Tower represents sudden change, release, downfall or revelation. Yes, that definitely sounds like a ride on a Bay Area Real Estate Bubble.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for observing the inherent contradiction in that listing photo.

This is an Open Thread. Share your predictions of where home prices are headed.  Or we’ll just post them for you as we shuffle the cards.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

April 14, 2013

UPDATED: Bay Area Bubble 4.0 Update #127: Still Bubbly

130414-minibubble-mapRedfin’s got a new blog post out that says just because housing prices are going up, that doesn’t mean we’re in a bubble.

Unless, of course, you live in the Bay Area. While they call some markets “mini-bubbles,” we don’t see anything diminished about the “frenzy” they admit seeing in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro.  You know, 40-60 offers per listing, suitcases full of cash, that sort of thing.

There’s no mention of the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara market, no doubt because the idjits who put together Case-Shiller listings didn’t look at which ones were missing and why. By breaking the Bay Area into smaller MSAs, they spun Santa Clara County off from SF/Marin/Alamenda/Contra Costa/San Mateo, resulting in Silicon Valley no longer being in a Top 30 metro.  We’re sorry, but that’s an incredibly dumbass decision.  Does anyone really think that more San Mateo County 16 million working people work in SF than Santa Clara County?

This is an Open Thread. Why do you think San Jose isn’t in Case-Shiller, other than their terror of our always being #1 every month?

Updated on 4/20: This is the 3000th post to appear on Burbed!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

April 7, 2013

A Day of Rest Should be Observed with Real Estate

Today is Sunday, and that means… no A-Z Blog Challenge today. The schedule’s been set that we do a new letter every Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday you can go to church or look at Open Houses.  Or in the case of this story, courtesy of Burbed reader nomadic, you can combine both.

Judge Rules Against Bay Area Church Leaders In Real Estate Case

130406-vallejo-marqueeVALLEJO (KPIX 5) – A California state judge has ruled against two leaders of a prominent Bay Area church accused of bilking parishioners in an alleged investment scheme.

The judge ruled that General Assembly Church leaders Lacy Hawkins and Michael Parker operated a real estate investment company without a license, in violation of securities law.

KPIX 5 has been investigating Lacy Hawkins and Michael Parker’s involvement in the business deal, that church members said cost them millions of dollars. General Assembly Church has locations in Union City and Vallejo.

Hundreds of parishioners mortgaged their homes and drained retirement accounts on the promise of investment returns as high as 30 percent. Some said they were even promised salvation.

Yes, it’s not enough to have a religious leader in a fraud case, it has to have a realty component. And this one’s actually pretty interesting. Seems this was one of those We’re Here To Run Your Life For You kinds of churches, where you can’t even wipe your nose without permission.

130406-vallejo-churchAnd the Supreme Leader pretty much was ordering parishioners to buy into their real estate trusts or tout them to each other.  The investment vehicles weren’t exactly transparent about the real estate in them.  Unless you count the Woodlands of Ascension project they bought in Louisiana. Which was, mo konmprann, swamp.  Leadership blamed lack of progress on Katrina, but the Army Corps of Engineers said the land was always swamp.

The victims are claiming they were brainwashed into investing with the church’s leaders. We’re imagining just what kind of techniques were used. Maybe “Buy now or you’ll be priced out forever and that, my friends, is the definition of HELL.” 

Also the church leadership quickly realized that paying the real estate agent (who was part of the church) regular commissions for flipping properties was a loser… for them. The agent went from $20,000 a month to $1600 biweekly, as straight salary.  Meanwhile, the church reported to the IRS that they had paid him the commissions, so he owes more than a million in taxes.

The investment’s books were not open to the membership, either, so they didn’t realize that the vehicles were classic Ponzi schemes.

This is an Open Thread. Are you attending religious services this weekend, Open Houses, both, or neither?  And we’ll be back with the next letter in the Challenge tomorrow, G for God. Or Grab. Or both.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

March 30, 2013

Priced Out Forever? There’s an App for That

And now for your weekly dose of gee-whiz, tech news!

Real estate apps can help, overwhelm homebuyers

By Dan Nakaso, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   03/29/2013 06:00:00 PM PDT; Updated:   03/29/2013 06:57:43 PM PDT

130329-apps-truliaRaj Aurora has been searching to buy his first home for the last three months, but hasn’t wasted time looking at condos he knows he won’t like and hasn’t even needed to meet his agent, all thanks to real estate apps that Aurora downloaded on his iPhone 5.

"We’ve already eliminated 20 to 30 houses without driving around," said Aurora, a 42-year-old chiropractor and part-time Web developer from Danville. "I don’t want to sit with (my agent) for eight hours driving from house to house. I’d rather hang out with my dog and my friends."

Aurora instead checks out properties virtually by glancing at his Zillow and Trulia apps throughout the day, then reviews any possibilities via text or email with his Danville real estate agent, Kevin R. Kieffer of Keller Williams Realty, whom Aurora has yet to see.

We think the Merc headline has an extraneous comma.  We also think Mr. Aurora doesn’t need to see Mr. Kieffer as long as Bay Area Bubble 4.0 ensures that homes are sold faster than they can be listed.

If you’ve been reading this site for more than a few days, you’re already aware that there are several real estate sites out there that have information on homes for sale. And if you’ve spent any time on the sites themselves, they probably let you know about their various apps for different devices.  Because, if you don’t want to be PRICED OUT FOREVER, you have to be ready to look at new listings at any possible moment, day or night.

130329-apps-zillowAlso, if you’re anything like Raj Aurora, you will do absolutely anything to avoid coming into contact with people you don’t have to.

This is your weekend Open Thread.  Let us know which, if any, real estate apps you use to find those open houses you’ll be looking at later today.  Be sure to mention the superiority of whatever hardware you’re using it on as well, because if you don’t have enough respect for your zip code, at least you can have it for your mobile device. Or talk about anything you want at all.  Remember, this isn’t having to actually talk to other people, so you can say anything.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am