Archive for February 2012 | Monthly archive page

Warren Buffet on Housing

In an CNBC interview on February 27th, Warren Buffett said the following when asked whether he’d recommend people buy stocks or houses right now:

“If I knew where I was going to live for the next five years or 10 years, I’d buy a home and I’d finance it with a 30-year mortgage. It’s a terrific deal…

If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes… I would load up on them. And I would take mortgages out on them at very low rates… [With] a 30-year mortgage… it’s a leveraged way of owning a very cheap asset now. That’s as attractive an investment as you can make.” And in his latest letter to shareholders: “Housing will come back – you can be sure of that… Every day, we are creating more households than housing units. People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over… Fortunately, demographics and our market system will restore the needed balance…”

Case-Shiller for December 2011

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the month of December 2011 was just published. For the “high-tier” price index, which most applies to the city of San Francisco itself, the index showed a tiny tick down – less than 4 tenths of 1 percent . Three things to remember about the Case-Shiller Index:

1) it’s like looking in the rearview mirror – December’s closed sales generally reflect market activity in October and November, i.e. the market 4-5 months ago,

2) It tracks house sales in a 5-county San Francisco “Metro Area”, of which San Francisco’s sales are only a relatively small percentage. So even as our market has begun what appears to be a strong recovery, the general results will be pulled down by the other counties’ market conditions which are not as positive as the city’s. Anyone working in SF real estate brokerage right now, knows that our market is certainly not declining: demand is ferocious right now.

3) Case-Shiller’s high-tier price index is the one that applies to the city best, but it doesn’t apply all that well. Case-Shiller divides all house sales into thirds: low price, mid-price and high price. The low and mid-price segments have been hit with value declines much greater than the high-price segment (See 3rd chart below) because they have been much harder hit by distress sales. For the 5 county San Francisco Metro Area, the top third in December 2011 starts at a sales price of $573,000. But if we divide the city’s house sales of the past 12 months into thirds, its lower third of sales ends at $570,000; the city’s upper third of sales doesn’t begin until $860,000. (And if we took our less affluent southernmost neighborhoods out of the equation, our upper third would start much, much higher than that.)

It should also be noted that tiny changes up and down would certainly be assumed to be within a margin of error by any statistician.

So sadly, for Case-Shiller to be of much use to us, it would have to concentrate on the city’s market conditions alone. Be that as it may here is an overview of the short-term and long-term trends as calculated by Case-Shiller for the 5-County SF Metro Area:


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810 44th Avenue


Represented Buyer
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Weekly Charts

These charts track market activity by week for the last six months through February 19, 2012 for San Francisco houses, condos, co-ops and TICs. Listings for Sale (not including listings currently under contract): Inventory remains terribly low. Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) – how long it would take to sell the entire inventory of homes for sale at current rates of market activity – which we will measure again once February ends, is probably as low as it has ever been.


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Listings Accepting Offers: Typically, in the first 6 weeks of the year, the market slowly comes awake after the holidays. This year demand blasted off in mid-January. We’re looking at similar numbers of listings going under contract now as during the (typical) post-Labor Day surge, but with almost 50% fewer homes for sale.


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New Listings coming on Market: New listings are clearly not meeting demand. Appealing, reasonably priced homes are flying into escrow almost immediately upon being put on market. Multiple offers on such listings are now the norm and not the exception.


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Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers: This is the clearest snapshot of (very strong) buyer demand meeting (very low) supply of homes available to purchase. The percentages in the SF market over the past 5 weeks are certainly the highest by far in recent years, and are either at or close to historical highs.


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Yes, yes, Noe Valley, say eager S.F. home buyers

“The two-bedroom Noe Valley house had an unorthodox layout and looked like a 1980s Tahoe cabin.

Taking those flaws into consideration, Realtor Bernard Katzmann listed it for $1.1 million at the inauspicious sales time of Thanksgiving. Then he watched in amazement as 22 offers came in – many for all cash – and it ended up selling for $1.54 million.

“Lots of tech companies were represented” among the bidders, he said. “I heard that many buyers want to get in now before Facebook goes public (and spawns scores of new millionaires), which is pushing demand.”

In a still-moribund real estate market, Noe Valley stands out as a neighborhood buoyed by positive fiscal forces.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Who is San Francisco? Who We Are, How We Live, What We Do, How We Rank

How many San Franciscans: Trace their ancestry from China, Ireland, Mexico or the Philippines? Are children under 5? Speak Spanish at home? Have their cars stolen? Are heterosexual or gay? Divorced? Live alone? Give birth each year? Vote Libertarian? Earn over $200,000/year? Have graduate degrees? There is no city in the world quite like San Francisco – and here are some of the details.

Who is San Francisco? Who We Are, How We Live, What We Do, How We Rank

How many San Franciscans:

Trace their ancestry from China, Ireland, Mexico or the Philippines?
Are children under 5? Speak Spanish at home? Have their cars stolen?
Are heterosexual or gay? Divorced? Live alone? Give birth each year?
Vote Libertarian? Earn over $200,000/year? Have graduate degrees?

There is no city in the world quite like San Francisco – and here are some of the details.

Country of Origin

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Language Spoken at Home

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Place of Birth

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Miscellaneous Statistics

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Ethnicity/Race

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Degree of Education

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Sexual Orientation

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Employment

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Political Affiliation

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Commute

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Households

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Occupancy Rent vs Own

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Average Income by Zip Code

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San Francisco Fortune 500 Companies

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Answer: Known around the world for it’s Victorian rowhouses, which spectacular hilltop park is an ideal picture taking spot?

Answer: Alamo Square

Characterized by Victorian architecture that was left largely untouched by the urban renewal projects in other parts of the Western Addition.

The park includes a playground and a tennis court, and is frequented by neighbors, tourists, and dog owners. On a clear day, the Transamerica Pyramid building and the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge can be seen from the park’s center. The San Francisco City Hall can be seen directly down Fulton Street.

There are many architecturally significant mansions on the perimeter of the park, including the Archbishop’s Mansion, the residences of the Russian and German Imperial consuls in the early 1900s, and the mansions on the block diagonally across from the Painted Ladies.

Question: Known around the world for it’s Victorian rowhouses, which spectacular hilltop park is an ideal picture taking spot?

Answer tomorrow!

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