San Francisco Listed Inventory: 4/27/09 (www.SocketSite.com)
Inventory of Active listed single-family homes, condos, and TICs in San Francisco increased a nominal 0.6% over the past two weeks (versus an average gain of 7.5% for the same two week period over the previous three years) and is now running 12.8% higher on a year-over-year basis (flat for single-family homes and up 21.7% for condos/TICs) and 54.2% higher than at the same point in 2006.
Twenty-three percent fewer listings on a year-over-year basis over the past two weeks is partially to blame for the dip, but we continue to see a slight uptick in potential sales activity albeit much less so than over the first two weeks of the month and without any signs of values stabilizing versus continuing to drop.
The standard SocketSite Listed Inventory footnote: Keep in mind that our listed inventory count does not include listings in any stage of contract (even those which are simply contingent) nor does it include listings for multi-family properties (unless the units are individually listed).
SocketSite’s San Francisco Listed Housing Update: 4/13/09 [SocketSite]
SocketSite’s Residential Real Estate Outlook For 2009 [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by chuckie

    I find it very interesing that no one, neither bulls nor bears, has anything to say on this turn of events…
    So I will ask, does this represent some sort of top for the inventory? Or are we going to see rising inventories on seasonally adjusted basis through the summer?

  2. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I’ve got a hunch that the only new entries to inventory these days are from those who are forced to sell. No-one would just put their home up for sale right now thinking that they have timed the peak of a seller’s market.
    Those forced to sell will be :
    – life changes (birth, death, divorce) : no change in trend here
    – lost job : increasing
    – loan recasts to unaffordable payment : increasing
    – spec homes coming on the market : decreasing
    of course government decisions can have a big impact on the job and loan situations.

  3. Posted by tipster

    As I’ve stated before:
    A) some people are trapped in their homes. They would have to bring cash to the closing they don’t have, so they have no alternative but to keep making the minimum option-arm payment until the loan recasts, then wait 12 months (rent free) for foreclosure.
    B) The realtors know full well that people watch that number like a hawk. They have every incentive to hide the true numbers. Look on craigslist for listings that say “not on MLS” or “Coming Soon to MLS” (Paul Hwang had one of those up this weekend, though it had been posted to MLS by then) and you can see what I mean. If I had a car lot full of cars, I’d park some of them off the lot so that the buyers wouldn’t catch on a bargain harder. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just smart business. The true number is much higher.
    And many realtors specialize in one or two areas: so they have even more incentive to keep the listings down. They’ll tell you about the other half of their listings when you come to their open house, or ask who you are working with and let that realtor know. They aren’t going to show you that they have homes coming out of their ears, because you won’t pay as much if you know.
    And, I disagree with the above post: anyone who sees what’s coming down the line, who is able to sell, would sell now. That number is higher than it’s been in years: lots of people are following that advice and getting out now. How many people wish they had taken a loss and gotten out of their dot com stocks when the downturn had just started!

  4. Posted by anonnn

    I see 592 SFRs on the market right now. Subtract 3 and 10 for the Socketsite wishlist crowd and there are only 425 SFRs. Anecdotally, at an extremely busy open house yesterday, people were saying how little inventory there is right now. The MLS sort of bears that out. I agree that there are more pocket listings than previous years. But I don’t think it tips the scales. There also seems to be quite a bit less FSBO properties on Craig’s List than in previous years. Reason being? People are perceiving that this is not at all a good time to sell.

  5. Posted by EBGuy

    Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances. Pull the listing.

  6. Posted by Trip

    This is certainly an interesting trend to watch. But it masks what appears to be the extreme divergence between the low-end and high-end markets. A quickie (imperfect) redfin search shows 788 units on the market for under $600k and about 140/mo selling in that range over the past three months (about 15/mo seem to be throwaways like $1000 sales). Giving about 6.3 months of inventory. Still pretty high by recent SF standards and indicating weakness, but not an extreme imbalance. $700k-$900k range shows about 9.3 months of inventory (401 listings, 43 sales/mo). (There are other ways to measure months of inventory).
    But the higher-end is very different. Redfin shows 253 units listed at $1.5 million and higher and only about 11/mo selling over the last few months in that range. 23 months of inventory — extremely high.
    I know this delta has grown over the last year, but I really don’t know what the months-of-inventory differences have typically been for the various price segments over the last 7-8 years. But the high end is very weak right now by any measure.

  7. Posted by tipster

    Trip, that was an amazing analysis. Thanks!

  8. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    Trip, I think there is an obvious dynamic driving the stratification you noted. The under-600k market can be served with a fairly ordinary loan. The under-900k market requires something like a 720k loan and a 180k down payment … the latter requires high liquidity and the former requires great credit. The over-900k people are buying cash or with at least 25% down, an even more rarified group.
    Contrast that with the seller population. Up until late 2007 these people could get whatever exotic financing they desired. Therefore you have a lot of sellers of $1.5m houses who are ordinary under-200k household income people, and they are trying to sell into a market consisting entire of over-300k income households with at least 400k in the bank.

  9. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    tipster – I think you’re right that owners that assume that we’re going down another 20% will be motivated to put their home on the market. Perhaps they already have and we’re already seeing that effect in these numbers.
    But not all owners are predicting gloom and doom in the RE market and think we’re already at bottom. It might even be a majority of owners who feel this way. You need to be very sure that the drop is going to be substantial to make that sort of move. A 30% chance of going down 10% is not much motivation, but a 80% chance of going down 20% is. None of this is easy to quantify.
    Then there’s the prop 13 effect. During the boom years, sellers were willing to forfeit their low tax rate if they could sell their $120k home for $1.2M. These days the motivation is not as strong. If you’re counting on capital gains from a RE sale to fund your retirement, then maybe it makes sense to hang on and ride out the storm.

  10. Posted by Trip

    JWB, I think you’re exactly right and you highlight the problem of buying in a system that artificially juices prices by means that come to an end. Prices were elevated in the bubble years not because buyers were wealthier but because money flowed further and easier. When that flow stopped, the buying also dried up (and prices are following). If wealth/incomes were high enough to support the bubble prices, I don’t think you would see such a dramatic slowdown in the higher-end market.
    This will also hit current buyers who have to sell at some point. As you note, buyers at the low end (at least by SF terms) still have pretty easy access to funds and at extremely low rates. They need a decent down payment, which was not the case a few years ago, so prices are still falling as the buyer pool has been reduced. But when the crisis is “over” or, for other reasons, interest rates are no longer so artificially depressed, borrowing costs will rise, shrinking the buyer pool and putting further pressure on prices. There will be some point maybe a couple years from now where the combination of lowered prices and low rates will make buying attractive, at least for very long-term owners. We’re probably already there for some markets around the country but not here.

  11. Posted by viewlover

    tipster, how do you account for the seller in your theory that the realtor is holding back inventory? Your anology of cars does not fit, a dealer has the option to hold off on inventory, but a realtor? The seller would find another realtor to sell their property, not hide it.

  12. Posted by mktwatcher

    It seems like we do have a classic standoff between buyers and sellers right now with sellers pulling listings if they don’t get their price. At least that is what I am hearing anectdotally. I’ve even heard some friends say they’re hoping to inflate their way out of the problem of lowered values in 2010 or 2011. As somebody who’s waited a long time for the right moment to jump in, I have to say that possibility concerns me. Roubini thinks near term deflation and then the fed will be able to steer policy to prevent inflation. I hope he’s right.

  13. Posted by Jorge

    @mktwatcher,
    Inflation probably won’t be the magical solution that most homeowners believe it will be, assuming it shows up by 2011. Banks will pass on inflation into mortgage rates which will put further negative pressures on home prices due to affordability (Think what a 10%+ rate will do to prices). It could very easily put many owners into a negative equity position despite the fact that it reduces the monthly mortgage payment in real terms. Either way, homes will definitely continue to depreciate in real terms.

  14. Posted by tipster

    Sorry viewlover, but I’ve had Realtors flat out admit to me that they weren’t going to list something until properties A and B closed because they thought the market was saturated.
    And it’s simple: they tell the seller “there are 15 properties for sale just like yours in within a 5 block radius. In three months there will be 5. I can put yours on and you can slug it out on price with the other 15 or I can wait and put it on when there are only 5. Up to you.” Most sellers will wait.

  15. Posted by sparky-b

    I do not believe the above statement. It needs to assume 1) that those sellers do not need to sell and can just sit tight for a couple of months. 2) That the agent knows that the other properties will sell and that nothing else in the hood is coming out in that time frame. Oh, and 3) that the agent doesn’t just want to get their payday and cares about the client.
    So this agent is knowledgable, has tons of nieghborhood information, and is helpful. Not the typical agent description I hear on this site.

  16. Posted by asad

    everyone is waiting to see what happens with the market and unemployment, I am pessimistic and don’t see a recovery in sight, once the market starts to fall again you’ll see a whole slew of new houses on the market, that 15 houses in a 5 block area will become 20 and then 25.

  17. Posted by spencer

    any updates on CII?

  18. Posted by viewlover

    Most listing agents will promise seller the moon in order to get the listing. If it does not sell they tell the buyer to lower the price, but the idea is to get the listing and that won’t happen if a seller wants to put the house on the market and the realtor tells them to hold off. I agree that a good listing agent will tell you what is out there, give you an idea of what the competition may be, but even in your example, the realtor tells the seller, its’ up to you. The realtor does not really care what the price of the property is, or how the seller will fair in the market, (the market is the market) they are more concerned about selling it and collecting a commission.

  19. Posted by ex SF-er

    Don’t forget, listings came on like crazy starting a little prior to the super bowl.
    so I think what’s happened is that the listing surge came a little earlier.
    this would explain why it shot up so quick early on… and now is plateauing.
    everybody who felt they “needed” to sell listed early.
    now people are either giving up or selling, so the inventory is flattened.
    if I recall, some of us predicted an early pre-super bowl surge this year…. (I may have been one of them… I predicted it but not sure if I wrote it on SS or not… someone can google it)

  20. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    viewlover wrote:
    > tipster, how do you account for the seller
    > in your theory that the realtor is holding
    > back inventory? Your anology of cars does
    > not fit, a dealer has the option to hold
    > off on inventory, but a realtor? The seller
    > would find another realtor to sell their
    > property, not hide it.
    There are quite a few properties that are for sale but not in the MLS. An older lady that lived down the street from me as a kid (in lower
    Hillsborough) just died and my parents heard that her kids were going to sell the house. My Mom ran in to the (~65 year old daughter) at church and mentioned that she did not see a sign on the house and the daughter told her that “only people selling crappy little homes and condos put them in the MLS or put up a for sale sign since wealthy buyers like to keep things quiet”. I told my Mom that it sounds like a Realtor is scamming them to try and double end the deal. Just last night I read an article in San Francisco Magazine (see link below) that
    said: “How many more Silicon Valley homeowners with multimillion-dollar mortgages are in dire straits is impossible to know. “Some homes—those above a certain price point—sell without making it public,” Chilicas Saldanha says. “They’re never on MLS [Multiple Listing Service]. But I see them all over the Peninsula: Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, Palo Alto.”
    http://www.sanfranmag.com/story/foreclosure-close-home

  21. Posted by viewlover

    fab, you are referring to a class of buyer and seller that has always bought and sold that way, sort of like the c in the theory of relativity. Although it sounds like the daughter is new to the process,lacks class, or both, even if she is church-going in my own judgemntal opinion.
    The average seller puts up their house for sale when they decide, based unique circumstances but still thier decision, not the realtors’. Sometimes people will give honest advise because they already know the sellers expectations and know they are unrealistic for the moment, basically secure the listing for another time, but they won’t let that fish get away.
    For 99% of the sellers out there, I find it really hard to believe that any realtor will pass up the opportunity to list. Specially on distressed properties, motivated sellers houses are easier to sell at all price-points. Besides, agents are effected by the economy also, don’t you think they are clawing for business?
    This is why I don’t buy into Tipsters car analogy and the with-holding of inventory theory.

  22. Posted by chuckie

    It’s still very curious that yoy the inventory is only up 12%.
    I have noticed another phenomenon where the listing status is changed to “OFF MARKET” and back again to “ACTIVE” a few days later. I wonder if this hides a portion of the active inventory.

  23. Posted by viewlover

    12% from last year, but 53% from 2007, before the official start of the recession. A small correction or dip to the delta for the last two weeks is immaterial primarily because the inventory spiked up much more in March-April than prior periods. Although I am curious to know how the inventory at Infinity and ORH was counted when back when they were 98% in contract. Between the two buildings they can reall account for a large portion of the swings.

  24. Posted by no_no

    Found Jeffrey W. Baker comments excellent, and agree that it must be the case that the seller population income is totally separate from buyers on the high end poperties.
    We are a 200k household with plenty down for any property, but find the 600 -850k range in the wrong neighborhood, the 850-1.2 basically the same as we have renting, and 1.2+ horrendously expensive even with 40% down.
    Mini poll, how many on SS have the 300k income in SF that would make spending 1.2 + MILLION dollars on a house feel ok?

  25. Posted by Jorge

    @no_no,
    I’d like to poll all of the suckers out there searching for a 6x home price to income ratio loan during the worst recession in 60 years.
    You’ve pretty much answered your own question, if in fact you are really serious.

  26. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    viewlover wrote:
    > For 99% of the sellers out there, I find it
    > really hard to believe that any realtor will
    > pass up the opportunity to list.
    I (and I’m pretty sure that the others) are talking about property that is “listed” (with a signed exclusive right to sell) but they are just not entered in to the MLS system.

  27. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    no no wrote:
    > We are a 200k household with plenty down
    > for any property but find the 600 -850k range
    > in the wrong neighborhood, the 850-1.2 basically
    > the same as we have renting, and 1.2+ horrendously
    > expensive even with 40% down.
    > Mini poll, how many on SS have the 300k income in
    > SF that would make spending 1.2 + MILLION dollars
    > on a house feel ok?
    I don’t have any problem if someone wants to spend $1.2mm on a little house, but if you are OK renting today (like me) your $1.2mm will go a lot farther if you just wait a couple (or more) years to buy.
    Things always revert to the mean, so if the temp in SF is over 100 degrees for a week it is a safe bet that things will be cooling down (just like if the income to home price is over 10x it is a safe bet that it will be heading back down to the mean).
    I’ve been looking at Bay Area census data (down at the census track level) since the 1970 census and other than the top 5% of Bay Area homes (mostly owned by people that buy with family money not income) and the bottom 5% of the Bay Area (where almost everyone rents and few buy homes) the home piece to household income has been in the 2.5 to 3.5 range (don’t believe the Realtors that tell you the Bay Area has always been close to 5x).
    In the past few years many came out ahead paying $40K a year more to buy than rent when the homes were going up in value by $100K a year, but not as many people are excited to buy when they are paying $40K more than renting and watching the home drop in value by $100K a year.

  28. Posted by gowiththeflow

    “searching for a 6x home price to income ratio loan during the worst recession in 60 years”
    “home price to household income has been in the 2.5 to 3.5 range (don’t believe Realtors that tell you Bay Area has always been close to 5x)”
    Are you two saying these ranges = home price or = mortgage after down payment as the best safety net? The later right?

  29. Posted by anonn

    FormerAptBroker, can we see some data speaking to the traditional 2.5 to 3X housing to net income for San Francisco? Or how about charts showing values climbing 100K YoY for SF, and now decreasing 100K?

  30. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Here is the median SFH to median income ratio, going back to 1997:
    http://www.housingtracker.net/affordability/california/san-francisco
    It has always been above 4, but only recently did it grow to above 8. I wish this site had updated info on it. Does anyone have more recent numbers?
    [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind housgintracker stats are for the San Francisco Metropolitan Area not County.]

  31. Posted by viewlover

    FAB, well you responded to my comment to Tipster that suggested inventory was not being put on the market. Clearly the charts don’t show that with pretty much higher inventory. Your commnent did not apply to that situation, so I really think you are talking about something else. The listings not on the MLS vs. homes not being listed. Two different things, actually. If you wanted to make the comment that some rich people don’t enter the MLS, then do it independently of my post, otherwise you are just muddling the issue and taking the opportunity to sound like you are disputing my point, when you are actually trying to make another one.

  32. Posted by sanfrantim

    thanks, NVJ, for the helpful source!

  33. Posted by ex SF-er

    Jorge:
    there is no reason to doubt that no_no is serious. s/he brings up the essential problem with SF RE.
    it became so expensive that it literally priced most everybody out of the market.
    in general, people with income in the $300-400k/year range would not settle for a house that costs under $1.2-1.5M… so even those with high incomes ended up needing to stretch. this pressure has not improved thus far into the downturn.
    therefore, either people need to start making more money or housing will need to become more affordable through price drops/mortgage products, or a combination.
    it will be difficult to get back to the lax lending of 2005-7 anytime soon. it will be hard to raise incomes during a severe prolonged recession. thus, price drops are the most likely. of course, inflation could also help if the govt can engineer wage inflation as well… difficult in the era of global wage aritrage.

  34. Posted by LMRiM

    Here is the median SFH to median income ratio, going back to 1997
    Looking to housing data from 1997 through 2008 to gauge valuation metrics is imho about as sensible today as when “investment analysts” in 2000 looked at US stock returns from 1987 through 1999 and predicted Dow 36,000.
    I’m sure SF will unwind to long term equilibrium ratios – whatever they are. Expand out the data set to take in observations from the 1950s through 1990s, and then subtract a bit because government taxation will be higher (and trend real growth will be a bit lower), and then we can start talking “reversion to trend” investing. Otherwise, you’re just being a momentum trader now caught on the wrong side of go-go.

  35. Posted by anon

    Reversion to mean works fine (looking at the periods you’re referring to LMRiM, 50’s-today), but only if EVERYTHING is going to revert to mean. That is, new housing growth within easy distance to jobs tracking population growth, etc. Some significant things happened in the late 70’s (prop 13, rent control, etc), mid 80’s (essential buildout of greenfields in the immediate Bay Area), and all through the 70’s-today (movements to control or slow development, areas listed as off-limits to development, BMR requirements, etc, etc) that have significantly changed what can be expected.
    IMO.
    I don’t know what exactly all of the effects of this will be, but trying to use data from 1950-2008 seems a little bizarre, when many things that were happening for at least half of that time have basically ZERO chance of ever happening again.

  36. Posted by LMRiM

    I agree, anon. That’s why I say we can start talking about reversion to mean once we expand out the data set. The conversation would be a long one :)
    That being said, a few things seem pretty clear to me, the most important being that in real terms, I very highly doubt that most of us will ever again see valuations this high again in our lifetimes. Once you get into “inflation” adjustments, things get really squirelly, and the crystal ball gets clouded once you get out more than a year or two I think.
    At the highest, top-down, analysis, however, I think it is an odds on bet that trend US real GDP growth continues to decline, and that the share of resources consumed by government/allocated by political methods continues to grow. These are not helpful trends for the real value of personal consumption items like real estate. There is always the potential for a “positive” Black Swan (say, a dramatic breakthrough in medical technology or energy production that benefits the US disproportionately), but we should recognize that the US has been on the winning side of a number of positive Black Swans in the 20th century and we would need a numberof them justto sustain our prosperous historic trajectory!
    The idea that land is “resource constrained” and all that is nonsense. The US is largely empty. Cities have always held a certain appeal, but that doesn’t prevent the growth of new ones, and it certainly as a historical matter didn’t stop huge wipeouts of real value in even the most glamorous cities – yes, even SF (didn’t “Western Addition” used to be one of the “nicest” parts of SF, with some of the most expensive housing in real terms? Ditto for Alamo Square. I know, I know, it’s different this time….). Sure, there are all sorts of development restrictions, and distortions like prop 13, which collectively have raised equilirium real valuations to the point of unaffordability. But all these factors are endogenous variables – let’s see what happens as the decades unfold.

  37. Posted by no_no

    Jorge, the question was on a 700k loan on a 1.2m place so I guess that is a standard 3.5 ratio on 200k income (gross). I don’t even like that ratio, prob unwilling to do it, call me conservative. But I do want a house.
    I suspect a lot of the “suckers” buying are in the same situation, plenty of cash, and high income. My question is what an high income is, I thought 200k was high but prob not in SF, I’d like to see numbers around that. It is a serious question, nobody yet on this post have owned up to a + 200k income.
    FAB: I don’t think there is any indication prices will go down from here. Could as easily go up. The places I’m looking at are all higher than they were 2 years ago (actually fall 2006 so 2+ years), or at least the same. Sure they probably popped and dropped in-between when I wasn’t looking, but the fact remains I should have pulled out of the stock market 2yrs ago and bought, I still would of been way better off now. So if these neighborhoods and many parts of SF didn’t go down in the last 2yrs with the worst meltdown in 70yrs, anything from here is a guess. My guess, flat in nominal terms next 2yrs.
    I hope they do… LMRiM has complicated financial analysis predicting price declines, and I think ex-sfr put his finger on it, and my central question: This market is too expensive for almost everyone. It isn’t technically for me, but I’m cheap so don’t want to buy.
    Still, it is just as possible that one should buy now, if you can, and there isn’t any more real predicatablity about sf housinig prices than any other financial market. So for all yall pretending you are not guessing with your little charts analysis, guaranteeing prices are going down, good luck with that.

  38. Posted by anon

    LMRiM – I agree with much of what you said, and I absolutely think that the last ten years were an anomaly that won’t repeat itself, but I also think that we’re likely not going back to valuations of the 50’s and 60’s either (unless there is a major economic catastrophe in the Bay Area significantly worse than that of the rest of teh country). I mean, in the 50’s and 60’s we were still building on greenfields in SF! Not to mention the entire rest of the inner Bay Area.
    To me, going back to something around the average between 1970 and 1995 is probably where we’ll end up, barring a major change that affects overall Bay Area desirability compared to other places in California first and the overall US second. (which while possible, I view as unlikely)

  39. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    We’re still building on greenfields in SF, even today.

  40. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    I wrote:
    > I’ve been looking at Bay Area census data
    > (down at the census track level) since the 1970
    > census and the home piece to household income
    > has been in the 2.5 to 3.5 range (don’t believe
    > the Realtors that tell you the Bay Area has always
    > been close to 5x).
    Then gowiththeflow asked:
    > Are you two saying these ranges = home price
    > or = mortgage after down payment as the
    > best safety net? The later right?
    The census data is Gross Household income to Actual Home Price (you can go to census.gov for more info).
    Then anonn writes:
    > FormerAptBroker, can we see some data speaking
    > to the traditional 2.5 to 3X housing to net income
    > for San Francisco?
    The data is at census.gov. I would post some direct links, but the site has been updated and I can’t find out how to search by zip code and/or census track any more (when I started doing this I was using the hard copy data from the Burlingame Public Library).
    > Or how about charts showing values climbing
    > 100K YoY for SF, and now decreasing 100K?
    I was not saying that all houses had gone up by $100K a year, but that many buyers (the people I hang out with who have been buying in nicer parts of the Bay Area) have seen prices go up by ~$100K a year in 2002-2005 and are now seeing the same houses go down by ~$100K a year in 2007-2009 (I know you are just in denial about the price drops, but a quick Google search found this chart showing more than a $100K a year drop for 94123):
    http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Marina-San_Francisco/1431/market-trends/
    Then NoeValleyJim wrote (and the Editor added Keep in mind housgintracker stats are for the San Francisco Metropolitan Area not County.)
    > Here is the median SFH to median income ratio,
    > going back to 1997:
    > It has always been above 4, but only recently
    > did it grow to above 8. I wish this site had updated
    > info on it. Does anyone have more recent numbers?
    Looking at the median (or average) for a large area is not very helpful (you might not wear a sweater up at Tahoe in February if you hear the average temp in CA that day is 65 degrees. I like to look at a specific area like a zip code or even smaller census track since all you need is one housing project in a zip code to screw up the data…

  41. Posted by anonn

    I’m not in denial about price drops. They have taken place. Don’t know about 100K, tho. Census data comes out every 10 years. The last census data is from 2000, so I don’t see how that’s going to be particularly useful. Your 2002 to 2005 years are off too. The big runup occurred late 2004 to 3Q 2008.

  42. Posted by anon

    We’re still building on greenfields in SF, even today.
    Not in large numbers. Perhaps a lot has made it through here or there, but not very many open greenfield lots are out there.

  43. Posted by diemos

    You’re right, but we are converting lots of industrial brown-field sites into housing.

  44. Posted by anon

    ^^^Which is exponentially more expensive and time-consuming, when you consider teardown costs, toxic cleanup costs, several years delay for PDR job loss study cost, BMR unit costs, etc. If “the process” for building new units was as easy and fast, there would be no difference in greenfield versus brownfield development, and the two would be comparable. That isn’t the case, not by a long shot. That was my only point.

  45. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    The bottom of the last real estate cycle was 96-97, so it is unlikely that income to home price ratios will drop much below that.
    Of course, the bears on this site will all tell you “it is different this time” but they are probably wrong. Most of them think that we in for a once a century period of economic under performance. They are probably wrong about that, too. Human beings keep coming up with new inventions all the time, it is hard to imagine that the font of human ingenuity has run dry.
    There is only one way to find out though, and that is to hang around and see! :-)

  46. Posted by spencer

    “We are a 200k household with plenty down
    > for any property but find the 600 -850k range
    > in the wrong neighborhood, the 850-1.2 basically
    > the same as we have renting, and 1.2+ horrendously
    > expensive even with 40% down.
    > Mini poll, how many on SS have the 300k income in
    > SF that would make spending 1.2 + MILLION dollars
    > on a house feel ok?”
    Who in their right mind with a $300K income would be spending $1.2M on a home . That is financial insanity unless you are sitting on boatloads of cash. Even then, you can rent something twice as nice and rise out the market.
    With the bursting of the bubble and rapidly dropping prices, i can’t beleive anyone would pay more than 3x yearly income(including down payment)
    Find yourself a nice $800-$900K home. If its not available now, it will be next year

  47. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    therefore, either people need to start making more money or housing will need to become more affordable through price drops/mortgage products, or a combination.
    Or, you know, all those $300-400k households will have to realize that they can live just fine in a $1.2M house, but not in the style Dynasty and Friends got them to thinking they would be living. Aren’t you the one who tells us we are all going to have to get used to a lowered standard of living? Aren’t the moderately well-off going to have to do the same thing?

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