Is there a “mid-Peninsula real estate market”? No, just as there’s no “national real estate market”, except for the convenience of real estate’s story-tellers: journalists and economists. Occasionally you’ll run across someone who tells you that the truism that “all real estate is local” is just a smokescreen to persuade you that the bad stuff happening in other markets won’t happen here. But when you see five mid-Peninsula markets moving in four directions, it’s a convincing argument that not only is all real estate local, but that it can even be micro-local.
New homeowners are keeping themselves and their contractors busy, according to a Nielsen Scarborough study and, I’m guessing, keeping Home Depot and Orchard in business. Leading the list of home improvements are kitchen remodels and landscaping jobs, the two projects that, in my experience, usually offer the most bang for the buck.
Remember the Y2K scare? No? Well, it was your parents’ version of Mars invades Earth. Once 1/1/2000 rolled around, so the experts said, computers would read 2000, shortened to 00, as 1900, and either roll over and die or mill about in confusion. Big scare.
The New Yorker’s recent article Real Estate Goes Global gives us insights not only into the Vancouver real estate market but also the San Francisco and Silicon Valley markets. It tells us that a city’s ratio of average home price to income can get out of whack without necessarily signaling a bubble.
The “one cool fact” infographics are fun, and they always present a relevant idea in a catchy way, but they usually need translating for local market conditions. I get them from the California Association of REALTORS, which gets its data from the National Association of REALTORS, which means we’re steadily moving away from “all real estate is micro-local” and toward the illusory national real estate market that exists mainly for the benefit of statisticians and the economists who love them.
I guess you young’uns know by now that we old-timers worry about you–mostly about your consumption habits, since that’s what makes or breaks entire industries. The “Silent Generation” worried about us boomers, and it had every right to. Boomers worried about Gen X, that strangely non-boomer generation with the sinister-sounding name. Now that Gen X has been dissected and safely categorized and filed away, the microscope is on Gen Y.
One of the most fatuous (translation: “dumbest”) reasons I’ve ever heard for renting instead of owning came from perhaps the most successful–or at least noisiest–bubble bloggers of all time: “Rents can’t go up faster than income.”
So is your ideal luxe home a view property? Most of my buyer clients would be happy with a spectacular view of a high-scoring school across the street, a park down the block and either a shopping center or a snazzy downtown close but not so close you can hear the delivery trucks at 4:00 AM.