Thursday, June 19, 2014


Kitchen of the Week: Storage, Style and Efficiency in San Francisco

Kitchen redo in SF; Walkability drives values; Winning a bidding war; New construction to help normalize market in 1-2 years; CA housing market predictions; Population boom affects housing market; Affordable housing crisis; Who's footing the bill for affordable housing?; Some statements from Yellen; What to do with a small backyard. 


A city's 'walkability' drives real estate values - A new report from Smart Growth America ranks the walkability of the nation's 30 largest metropolitan areas, and there is a distinct correlation between walkability and real estate values. The author of the report, Chris Leinberger, commented, “Walkable, urban for-sale housing is by far the most expensive housing in the country. The range, depends on the market, between 40 percent and 200 percent greater than drivable, suburban housing. Twenty-five years ago that relationship didn't exist because walkable (cities back then) was not valued.”

Winning a Real Estate Bidding War - Low inventory in many real estate markets means that potential buyers may need to be prepared for bidding wars. In order to avoid paying too high a premium for one’s dream home, it is advised that buyers should be strategic in how they present their offers, such as obtaining written confirmation of preapproval for a mortgage and buying in a price range slightly below their maximum in case they have to bid up.

Builders’ Shift to More Home Construction Might Take 1-2 Years - Potential home buyers faced with a market that is low on inventory are likely wondering when the construction industry will fully shift to constructing a greater volume of homes. Home starts remain below their average, and many experts predict that it could be at least a year before volume picks up for more affordable homes.

UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts 'normal' California housing market - Construction jobs should continue to help drive job growth in Southern California over the next few years, according to the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast. The forecast predicts that the market will move toward more “normal territory” as foreclosures and other so-called distressed properties no longer flood the market, which will encourage builders to launch new construction.

Bay Area's Population Boom is a Bust for Housing Market - Thanks to Silicon Valley’s job boom, the population in the Bay Area has skyrocketed and the influx of residents have economists and real estate experts worried about what it means for the region's housing supply and transportation infrastructure. The Bay Area has the state’s fastest growing population, according to a report released last month by the Department of Finance.

The shadow of success: Facing the facts on Silicon Valley’s affordable housing crisis - Silicon Valley’s tech-fueled prosperity — in combination with a failure by local governments, developers and employers to ensure that housing supply can meet demand — leaves the region vulnerable to talent poaching from less-expensive markets. It also manifests day-to-day in productivity-sapping traffic caused by commuters who clog the freeways driving from more affordable fringe cities.

Who's footing the bill for Silicon Valley's housing crisis? - As budget-constrained local cities rush to catch up with housing demand, the central question is how the bill for the region's housing crisis might be split between taxpayers, developers and employers. In the meantime, those confronting the region’s severe affordable housing shortage on a daily basis warn that the situation is unsustainable. “Having affordable housing for our workers is critical for our long-term economic success,” San Jose Housing Director Leslye Corsiglia told me. “If we don’t address that need, we are at risk of harming the economic boom that we have right now.”

Real Estate Notebook: Yellen shares Fed's assessment of the economy - Yellen on Wednesday hinted of action to strengthen financial regulation in a way that makes lending more robust and reduces systemic risk. “My own assessment is credit is broadly available in the economy,” Yellen said, but banks are reluctant to lend to borrower with lower FICO scores. “Consistently, there are concerns about the risk. It is difficult for anyone who doesn’t have pristine credit to get a mortgage... While I agree with the assessment there are practices with mortgage lending that need to be changed, it is important to work to clarify the rules around mortgage lending to crate an environment of greater certainty to enable mortgage lenders to extend more credit” to would-be borrowers.

16 Ways to Get More From Your Small Backyard - Make a tight or awkward yard a real destination with these design tricks from the pros. My favorites:

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