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?

130222-nar-dom

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

January 13, 2013

San Francisco is the Brooklyn to Silicon Valley’s Unbuilt Manhattan

Discuss.

130112-sfbrooklyn-startrekAs disappointed visitors and new employees discover, Silicon Valley is a dull and ugly landscape of low-rise stucco office parks and immense traffic-clogged boulevards. The fancy restaurants are in strip malls, like you’d find in Arizona or something. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. Massive arcologies like the new Apple campus are where the tech giants are headed, but until there are living urban neighborhoods connecting these monstrosities, anyone with hopes for a life outside of work will pay a ridiculous premium to live in San Francisco and spend two hours of every day sitting on a bus.

Meanwhile, the areas around and in between the tech giants of Silicon Valley are mostly ready to be razed and rebuilt. There are miles and miles of half-empty retail space, hideous 1970s’ two-story apartment complexes, most of it lacking the basic human infrastructure of public transportation, playgrounds, bicycle and running and walking paths, outdoor cafes and blocks loaded with bars and late-night restaurants. This is where the new metropolis must be built, in this unloved but sunny valley.

And then the new supercity gets linked to San Francisco by an existing boulevard of run-down old malls and decrepit car lots that pours right into the Mission District and downtown SF, 40 miles north. The boulevard is El Camino Real, or California Route 82, the one-time king’s highway that could be a new corridor of high-rise apartments and HQs and restaurants and museums filling in the long gaps between downtown San Jose and Apple/Google/HP/Yahoo/Intel and Stanford University and San Francisco. With local light rail at street level and express trains overhead or underground, the whole route could be lined with native-landscaped sidewalks dotted with pocket parks and filled on both sides with ground-floor retail, farmers markets and nightlife districts around every station. Caltrain already runs just east of Route 82, and BART already reaches south to Millbrae now.

130112-sfbrooklyn-bartconceptThe above is from a piece in The Awl that notes the large number of young, hip techies who may work in Silicon Valley but definitely don’t want to live in a ginormous, boring suburb.  Yes, there are well-paid people out there who don’t want to spend a million dollars for a sixty year old tract house, or even three thousand a month to merely rent one.  So what would you replace the endless clone houses of San Jose with?  Or would you simply raze most of Redwood City and rebuild Manhattan there?

This is also a great time to whip out this map of the region again, to remind everyone what makes The Bay Area So Special.  Pay careful attention to the region along The Street of Kings.

Thanks very much to Apocryphon at MetaFilter for linking to these sites above.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

December 14, 2012

Perhaps the most beautiful studio photographs in San Francisco

Let’s finish up our week in The City with some, um, Extreme Real Estate photography.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for finding this superb San Francisco studio.

121213-gough-trulia1950 Gough St #203
San Francisco, CA 94109 (Pacific Heights)
$495,000

1 bath 600 sqft Condo
Open House:
Saturday Dec 15th, 2pm to 4pm
For Sale / Resale
Listing Details
7 Days on Trulia
397 views

Stunning Pacific Heights Jewel Box. This Lafayette Park view pied-a-terre in a desirable 1920′s steel frame building on top of the hill is sure to charm you with its attitude. Perhaps the most beautiful studio in San Francisco. Impressive chef’s kitchen. Formal dining area with built-ins. Hardwood floors and high ceilings. Handsome black and white tile bath. Inviting sleeping alcove. Good closets. Laundry, strg and small car deeded parking in bldg. Stunning lobby and facade. Elevator. A+ reserves. Professionally managed. Newly renovated Lafayette and tennis courts, Fillmore, Union, Polk, cultural meccas, downtown, Muni and Whole Foods.… Small pets ok.

121213-gough-facadeSorry, pending, and Redfin’s already yanked the pictures down but you can see the old listing copy, and better yet, the old (2003) price of $335K.  Also the old number of bedrooms (1) and the old HOA dues of $263. What the dues are now is a mystery. Perhaps this is a case of if you have to ask…

The missing photos are really a shame, as this curated photography gallery will really give your eyeballs a great workout.  We’ve included some of the better examples in case Trulia also goes dark on us.

121213-gough-herbs

 

Let’s begin with something you don’t often get to see in real estate photography: an actual action shot.  As you can see, not only is the building painted white, but vehicles can drive right by the front door.  Time-lapse photography illustrates how this could work in real life.

Also, in case the top photo made you wonder about the interior decorating scheme, we have plenty more that should assure you the current owner really did go all in on the burnt pumpkin and expired cream palette. 

Click on through to see those and more!

(more…)

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

December 12, 2012

Opportunity in Bayview! Buyer To Investigate To Their Satisfaction

121211-gilman-250KToday’s feature caught our eye on a political site’s discussion area that doesn’t usually get into real estate. The topic was those disadvantaged $250K a year families who are going to get dinged with new taxes, which is so unfair!  These put-upon engines of economic advancement are hardly making it!  Why after spending all their take-home pay on a high-priced mortage or rent payments, private school or college tuition for the kiddies, sky-high taxes, fully funding their retirement plans, restaurants, gifts, vacations, clothing, cable (of course including HBO and Showtime), utilities, cleaning services (housekeeper and pool) 16 cell phone lines, internet, car payments for the new BMW, the current Mercedes and the old (2011) Audi, why before you know it these unfortunate folks in the top 5% are barely clearing anything!

Fortunately, one of the respondents noted that living in San Francisco really did not have to cost so much.  We thank our political participants for pointing us to this house.

121211-gilman-trulia1055 Gilman Avenue
San Francisco CA 94124
Price:  $200,000

Bedrooms: 2 
Bathrooms: 1
63 days on Trulia
3,442 views
Property type: Single-Family Home
Size: 950 sqft
Lot: Ask agent
Price/sqft: $211/sqft
Year built: 1908
MLS/ID: 401812
Neighborhood: Bayview, 94124

Opportunity In Bayview! Close To Gilman Rec, Brete Harte Elementary And Steps To Candlestick Park. Some Interior Walls And Flooring Have Been Removed. Buyer To Investigate To Their Satisfaction. Property Is Not Being Shown At This Time, Please Check Back After October 29Th.

While the property is still Not Being Shown At This Time, seeing is believing!

121211-gilman-front121211-gilman-floor121211-gilman-back121211-gilman-window121211-gilman-open-plan121211-gilman-bath

This home has potential all over, especially In The Electrical Wiring.  You’ll have no trouble confirming this, what with Some Interior Walls and Flooring helpfully Removed.

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 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

December 2, 2012

UPDATED: Got an extra house or two taking up space in your portfolio?

Donate that unneeded realty to charity!  UCSF is ready to take that spare structure off your swollen asset list.  Thanks to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for passing this handy space-saving tip along.

121201-ucsf_1

Not only that, if you donate RBA real estate, you could get your picture in a newletter like this!  There’s more, too!  See, lots of people are giving it away! Don’t be the last on your block to give away your other block!

121201-ucsf_combined_2_3

Do you have any other ideas of what to do with your excess real estate?

Updated 17:53 — PG asked that you be given the privilege of actually reading this newsletter. A larger version of Page 1 is now available by clicking its image above, as well as a larger combined spread.  Here, separately, are Page 2 and Page 3.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:20 am

November 25, 2012

Black Friday All Week Long! San Francisco Savings!

121122-blackfridayLet’s continue our DEALS DEALS DEALS as we look at the cheapest houses in every one of the Bay Area Counties, and then in some favorite cities!  Today, “The City by the Bay.”  Wait, if you live in the Bay Area, that means some of your County is already by the Bay. 

Okay, today’s Black Friday DEAL is from The City In San Francisco County By The Bay.  Game on!

 

121124-harkness-redfin320 Harkness
San Francisco, CA 94124
$359,000

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
840 Sq. Ft.
$427 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1900 
Lot Size: — 
On Redfin: 5 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Junior, Single-Family Home
Community: Visitacion Valley
MLS#: 403079
Style: Contemporary
County: San Francisco

Short sale subject to lender approval. Tax records show 2 bds, 1ba; however, there are 2 bds and 1 ba downstairs–currently unknown as to legality. Owner occupied, vacant at COE. Open Sunday, Nov. 25 from 2-4pm. Agents please see agent remarks.

Yes, you can check out this 112 year old “Contemporary” at the Open House today!  Let us know about the legality of what you find downstairs.  Note that during our Black Friday Deals we are not responsible for the loss or misplacement of any street name qualifiers.

You know what else this property offers?

121124-harkness-listing-history

Instant equity, baby!  It’s Baaaaaack!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

October 26, 2012

Architec-designed living in the heart of SOMA

It’s time for your weekend!  How about spending it somewhere exciting, like the big city?  (Noooo, we do not mean San Jose.) We’re willing to go toe to toe with the San Francisco real estate blogs when we have to, and when we have to is when it comes to listing fail.  Here’s an Unhappy Hipsters-inspired example of Better Living Through Concrete, courtesy of Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer.  Thanks very much for this snug single in SF!

121025-harrison-redfin766 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94107
$349,000

HOA Dues: $265/mo.
0 Beds
1 Baths
292 Sq. Ft.
$1,195 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2008
Lot Size: —
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $265/month
Style: Contemporary, Modern/High Tech
County: San Francisco
Property Type: Condominium, Studio
Community: Yerba Buena
MLS#: 402288

Architec-designed living in the heart of SOMA. Cubix is a contemporary community located in th Yerba Buena Arts District. George Hauser designed this modern studio resindence 121025-harrison-buildingwhich faces Northwest. Stylishly appointed home with concrete radient heat floors, newly upgraded full kitchen with Bosch appliances and cabinetry, and a balcony. Rare storage is included. Green building features lansdcaped roof deck, BBQ, glass-enclosed outdoor picnic area for private parties, succulent garden. Epicenter Cafe is conveniently located on the first floor. Great location next to Whole Foods, SFMOMA, Metreon.

121025-harrison-kitchenNot only is it architec-designed, it looks like it was architec-spellchecked as well.  This resindence features radient heat floors and a lansdcaped roof deck.  It also features architec-design suggestive of The Stacks.

One way you know there was an architec involved: lots and lots and lots of pictures of a 292 square foot condo.  Bunus: a price per square foot that gives Palo Alto a shove in the shoulder and says, “Can you beat that? Huh? Huh? Can you?”

Comments (10) -- 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.

121020-highincome-mark

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