October 14, 2013

We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re… PRICED OUT FOREVER!

Yesterday we shared a San Jose Mercury News (motto: Website now as thin as our newspaper!) piece showing many first-time buyers are going to remain full-time renters for the time being.  And that’s true even if we spot them places like Hayward and Mountain House.

That’s distressing news if you hate your blood-sucking landlord (but we repeat ourselves), your noisy neighbors, or your shiftless property “manager.”  Let’s balance that cup of cold crappy colloquy with some news that will turn your frown upside down.

Where Can the Middle Class Buy a Home?

131013-sf-least-affordable-ggbBy CONOR DOUGHERTY, The Wall Street Journal

If you’re in the middle class and want to buy a home here’s a piece of advice: Move to Ohio (if you’re not already there).

Some 86% of homes in the Akron, Ohio area are within reach of middle-class buyers in the area, the highest share in the nation, according to a report from Trulia, the real estate listings site. The next two cities on the list, with 85% of homes affordable to middle class, are Dayton and Toledo, respectively.

For those of you in the coastal elite who are reading this post for the perverse pleasure of finding out just how unaffordable your city is, you might be surprised to hear that New York isn’t No. 1. San Francisco is the least affordable place to be a middle-class buyer, with only 14% of homes within reach of those making the median San Francisco household income of $78,840, according to Trulia.*

However, we were slightly surprised by the next two most unaffordable places, Orange County and Los Angeles, respectively. New York was the fourth least affordable place to be middle class. After that were San Diego and San Jose and Ventura County.

Sooooo, SF is #1 but Silicon Valley is #6? But note, California completely PWN3D New York and the entire East Coast in the unaffordability sweeps. Washington DC? Shut out by the shutdown. Later, you imperialist running dogs no longer feeding at the public trough for the next few days!  When it comes to places nobody can afford to live in, we can revel in our Specialness!

131013-sf-least-listThe Trulia link above (yes, of course it works) says that while San Francisco has a 60% higher median income than most-affordable Akron, Ohio, homes there sell for (deep breath, now) seven times as much.  Only 14% of homes for sale are affordable to a household earning median income for the area.  Even worse, whoops, we mean better, San Francisco has dropped ten more percentage points in affordability since last October when 24% of homes could be purchased by a median income household.

To get slightly wonky, the real formula was what percent of homes’ monthly payments were 31% or less of the median household income, which shows the problem right there.  Everyone knows if you want to buy a house in SF, Cash is King. Monthly payment? Might as well ask if they’ll sell you the house for a hogshead of buggy whips.

San Jose’s affordability index per Trulia was 31%, but then again, none of the contenders were anywhere close to SF.  Second-place Orange County came in with only 23% of homes rated affordable by the “middle class.”

Trulia also provided a “maximum affordable home price” for each area.  Let’s take a look at what you get for that price.  Here’s a 5 BR/3 BA in SF at only $10K less than the maximum affordable amount. Of course this house is in Bayview and it has some permit issues, but you can’t have everything.


Contrast to how far your dollar S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S in San Jose!


Wow, a gated estate with lots of CAPITAL LETTERS and it’s yours AS IS, which means the seller won’t switch houses on you!  And just for giggles, let’s see what an “affordable” house in Akron (highest affordable house: $226K) looks like.


OMG look at that house! Those bricks are going down into a big ol’ pile as soon as The Big One hits! Not only that, it would take at least a couple more hours to get to Google from here than the other two houses we showed you.  And when you look out in the boonies like this, notice what you don’t get: a decent fence around the place to keep the nosy neighbors away.

We won’t even get into the difficulty of transferring into Cupertino schools.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:08 am

September 25, 2013

Have you checked out our links?

You should. Every once in a while we add some new content to them. F’rinstance early this morning we added this one. Here’s a few examples. Have fun over there.  Titles exclusively ours, of course.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader SL in SVL for alerting us to this tumblr.

Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife


Museum Quality Listing


When a cellphone camera is Insufficient


Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:17 am

August 11, 2012

Your Long-Distance Weekend Open Thread

It’s the weekend!  Time to check out the Open Houses, and share your excursions on this Open Thread!  Here’s today’s Red-Hot Home for you.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Ryan, over at Estately, for passing this marvelous mansion along.  The property’s a bit more effort to get to, but we think it’s well worth the trip.

805 Curiosity Lane
4th  Planet from the Sun


120809-curiosity-squirrelsAsking Price $30,000
1 beds
1 baths
1,680 sqft
6,000 lot sqft
2012 built
1 days on site

Special Features of this Property Include

  1. It’s on Mars
  2. Rocket man Bobak Ferdowsi will personally watch your yard while you’re away
  3. You can do cool astronaut stuff in your yard
  4. Hunt rabid alien squirrels from your bathroom window
  5. Follow NASA’s Curiosity
  6. Libertarian paradise—no government or laws on Mars. Live free and die.

Agent’s Summary

120809-curiosity-window-viewRARE FIND! Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own property on the edge of Gale Crater on Mars! Jump into this lucrative market before the Curiosity Rover exposes it.

Whether you’re a stranded astronaut, a Civil War vet named John Carter, or a plutonium-powered rover that just traveled 354-million miles, this happy homestead is the spot to call home. The perfect place to rest after a long day of analyzing soil samples, blasting rocks with lasers, or searching for signs of life, this quaint casa has it all. The modern bath features a tub and shower (should you ever discover water), an oxygen chamber so you can breathe, and a spacious master bedroom should you locate a life form to procreate with (be fruitful and multiply). Seriously, even if single cell organisms are found on Mars it will take billions of years until they evolve into something like humans.

Avoid Earth’s global warming by living on a planet where the average temperature is -81 degrees fahrenheit. Release as much CO2 into the sky as you want—it might even help develop the atmosphere! Are you morbidly obese? Good news—you just dropped 2/3 of your weight because Mars has only 1/3 of Earth’s gravity! Here on the 4th planet from the sun even the heftiest of humans can break the Olympic pole vaulting record! Just don’t try to breathe the air or you’ll die. Seriously. You will die. This home is move-in ready, priced to sell, and offers LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Listing Provided by Estately Intergalactic Real Estate





We’ve already let Ryan know that here at Burbed we expect to see photos of the toilets.  Preferably with the seat left up.  Given that this one works using vacuum suction, leaving out that photo is serious mistake on the realtard’s part.

So… what kind of toilets are you looking at this weekend?


Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

June 9, 2012

When your home won’t sell: An electrifying solution

As regular readers of this site already know, homes in the Real Bay Area don’t need to convince buyers of their value.  No matter how inept the Realtard representing it, even a turkey of a home within RBA limits will go pending quickly.

This isn’t the case for homes far, far away from the RBA. Thanks to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for this example of how to sell a house that has the misfortune of not being anywhere near Google or Facebook.

$1,149,000 (Reduced from $1,490,000)


120608-guthrie-theaterBATHS: 5
SQ. FT.: 6,757
$/SQ. FT.: $170
HOA DUES: $17/month
LOT SIZE: 1.03 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family, 2 Stories
STYLE: Traditional
EXPOSURE: East, West
COMMUNITY: Inverness
MLS#: 08047047
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 46 days

Wide open floor plan with granite, stainless, and maple kitchen w/ viking range and commercial hood. Hardwood floors throughout much of the home. !st flr. Theater, office, and sun room! Dining room is perfect for large dinner parties. All bedrooms with private baths and walk-in’s. luxurious master suite with sitting room, and high end master bath with vaulted ceilings, cherry cabinets, and marble. Huge deck.

120608-guthrie-kitchenWhat can you do if you own a ginormous housing tumor in flyover country and no longer wish to have it sap your precious bodily fluids?  You list it for sale and more than 30 days go by, which means, according to Jim the Realtor, that the price is more than 10% too high.  In this case, probably way more than 10%, as you’ve already cut it 23% without any takers.  It could mean that nobody wants your expensive mistake.

Clearly, more drastic marketing measures are needed.  Have a look at them by clicking on through.


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

June 2, 2012

MERS so ubiquitous it ends up suing itself

Here’s a story out of Salt Lake City, Utah, but Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is going to continue to be a headache all across the country.  Yes, even where it’s Special.

Bankers’ mortgage system survives legal storm in Utah

But lawsuit that catches couple shows gaps it leaves behind

120527-mers-lawyerBy Tom Harvey | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published May 25 2012 02:07 pm • Updated 41 minutes ago

It says something about the ubiquity of the alternative mortgage registration system created by the nation’s bankers that it is now suing itself in a Utah lawsuit.

But even without that anomaly, the lawsuit is a bizarre confluence of factors that has caught a Draper couple in a situation where they bought a home based on a clean title report only to now be in court fighting to ensure the transaction was legitimate.

The case demonstrates both how much the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. bankers created in the mid-1990s has invaded the state’s traditional property registration system and how it also left cracks along the way.

And while MERS has beaten back a flood of lawsuits in Utah challenging its legality, it faces serious legal actions in other states over its usurping of traditional real estate recording practices.

Remember the wild and wooly days of the housing bubble, where anyone who could fog a mirror could get a mortgage?  That was because the investment banks figured out that they could slice and dice these mortgages, bundle them into securities, and sell them as AAA bonds even though they were 99.44% pure crap.  These CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and the CDSs (credit default swaps) that “insured” them were popular, and plenty of money flowed into the mortgage market in search of the ten people who hadn’t bought a house yet.

120527-mers-shareholdersNeedless to say, with all this slicing and dicing of mortgages into creative (read: fraudulent) financing vehicles, the banks didn’t want to have to keep registering all these mortgages every hour another bond fund took ownership of them.  So they instead created a ginormous spreadsheet that listed the owners and figured that was good enough.  That spreadsheet was MERS.  This had the added advantage of starving county governments, because they were no longer receiving recording fees when mortgages changed ownership.  It also is a Full Employment Act for real estate attorneys, because it’s going to take years to dig out of this mess.

The really great news is while the rest of the nation is still dealing with fallout from all the foreclosures and lawsuits, we in the Real Bay Area are just getting started on Housing Bubble 2.0.  It’s going to be Better Than EVAH.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

March 24, 2012

Spring has Sprung, The Price has Riz

Hope you’re heading out to look at Open Houses now that we’ve officially entered the Spring Selling Season!  Oh, what’s that?  Spring Selling Season doesn’t start until after Easter?  Well, dang.

Why don’t you instead do some window shopping?  Here you can admire this waterfront property in Washington State while you try to find an open house a little closer to home.  Thanks to Burbed reader SEA for mentioning this one in comments yesterday.

11718 Possession Lane
Edmonds, WA 98026


Bunus: Stupid street name is stupid, too.  This is an open thread.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:22 am

January 21, 2012

Your Weekend Open Thread

It’s another weekend in the Real Bay Area, so what better time to discuss anything you want about real estate, or all the sites that went on strike Wednesday, or anything at all. 

Here’s a photo sent in by Burbed reader nomadic to get you started. Photo source here.


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

March 29, 2011

The importance of a comma

burbed guest editorLet’s give a warm welcome to longtime Burbed reader sonarrat, Burbed’s newest regular blogger!

Please, save your rotten tomatoes and rioting until the end. To celebrate the interment, er, I mean introduction of our new contributor, let’s make a day trip to beautiful scenic Santa Cruz.


1165 Thompson Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,317
$/Sq. Ft.: $235
Lot Size: 0.34 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Traditional
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1948
Community: Live Oak
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 81056459
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 114 days

Non-Conforming Residential located on a parcel zoned M-1 Light Industrial. This property is located directly across from the ProBuild Door & Window Design Company. This property is eligible under the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative through 12.15.2010. Seller is offering a 2 year home warranty limitations, do apply ask for details.

imageLionel Hutz: All right, gentlemen, I’ll take your case, but I’m going to have to ask for a thousand-dollar retainer.
Bart: A thousand dollars? But your ad says “No money down”.
Lionel Hutz: Oh, they got this all screwed up… (scribbles) “Works on contingency basis? No, money down!”
Bart: So, you don’t work on a contingency basis?
Lionel Hutz: No, money down! Oops, it shouldn’t have this Bar Association logo here either.

A comma can be a powerful thing. Let’s ignore the home warranty limitations for now, though, and focus on the property. We have some of the Burbed standbys: the low-maintenance lawn, garage pre-boarded for the next tsunami, and your very own dumpster, which has the added effect of harboring wildlife! This is truly the perfect house for Santa Cruz’ tender-hearted liberal sensibilities. You also have the possibility of using the house as a workshop, seeing how it has M-1 zoning.  And look at the instant equity!

The last sale was for $425,000, before The Bubble even began. Clearly, then, that must be the baseline, because there could never have been any real estate bubble in California before The Bubble. No, The Bubble was a one-off that has never happened before and will never happen again!

Comments (27) -- Posted by: sonarrat @ 6:00 am

March 3, 2011

And the Top City to Meet a Nerd goes to…

Sorry to interrupt the horrible houses, but this is too good to pass up.  Match.com just listed their Top Ten Cities to Meet A Nerd.  Why don’t you all make your predictions which city is the absolute petaflops best place to land yourself your very own nerd, before finding out what they came up with?

Go on, we’re waiting.  We’ll have that list for you right after the break. Did we make it? Did we?


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

January 19, 2011

Affordable house with great schools–just $284 per square foot!

So on Monday we looked at an affordable house with easy commutes in the Bay Area – just $288 per square foot in East Palo Alto.

Today, let’s look a house in the same category in the suburbs of our mortal enemy: New York

Beds: 3
Baths: 1.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,300
$/Sq. Ft.: $284
Lot Size: 8,084 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Residential, Detached
Style: Colonial
Year Built: 1924
Community: Westbury
County: Nassau
MLS#: 2306655
Source: MLSLI
Status: New
On Redfin: 191 days
Charming Colonial Has Been Updated With New Kitchen, Ss Appliances, Granite Countertops. Hardwood Floors On Main And Top Floors, Fabulous Sunlit Home, Sliders To Deck In Rear Yard, Beautiful Landscaping, Separate Shed On Property. Must See! Fabulous Yard
Hah. And people say New York is expensive. Look at this! Just $284 per square foot, with some of the nation’s best schools.
And, let me tell you one thing I know for sure: It’s a long drive from New York to Facebook – so you’re looking at a crazy commute. And they only have cannoli there, no sushi. Are there even smart people there?
Sorry NY suburbs – you have nothing on Bay Area suburbs.
Let’s all give a round of applause to East Palo Alto for helping us stand out!
Comments (41) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:33 am