Friday, July 11, 2014


First time home owner's maintenance guide; Julian Castro; Consumer's expect higher rents and lower home prices; Google's $600 million real estate shopping spree in Mountain View; Hotel developer buys in Milpitas; Developer drops plans to buy Palo Alto mobile home park; Silicon Valley assessment roll posts more growth; Tiny houses; Backyard cottages.


Julián Castro confirmed for Obama's Cabinet - This week Julián Castro was confirmed as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Castro will replace Shaun Donovan, who had held the Cabinet position since President Obama's first term. President Obama called Castro a “proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing, and strong, sustainable neighborhoods.”

Consumers Increasingly Expect Higher Rents and Lower Home Prices - According to Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey, there is slowly increasing confidence in the housing market and in the economy in general; however, the greatest change was in consumer expectations about interest rates. The number of respondents who think this is a good time to buy a house increased 2 percentage points from May to 70 percent, but those who think it is a good time to sell reversed a four-month climb to drop from 43 percent to 40 percent. Fifty-four percent of respondents expect rental prices to rise over the next 12 months compared to 51 percent in May.

Google's $600 million real estate shopping spree in Mountain View - When Google launched the current buying binge in 2011, observers were puzzled. The decades-old structures didn't fit the mold of the modern offices Google was leasing. Yet seen in the context of Mountain View's lack of sites for large new office buildings, the purchases leave Google poised for a major expansion of its operations, depending on the city's density decision.

Hotel developer buys Milpitas R&D building - "Staff believe the hotel market has identified this entire area as an ideal location for hotel uses given its easy access and visibility from I-880 and proximity to other business related uses," Milpitas officials wrote on the planning project's website.

Developer drops plan to buy Buena Vista Mobile Home Park - Prometheus Real Estate Group has backed away from its plan to build high-end apartments on the Palo Alto site of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, adding a fresh layer of uncertainty to the park's future.

Silicon Valley's assessment roll posts more growth - Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone announced June 26 that the county assessment roll increased by 6.8 percent to $357 billion, an increase of $22.8 billion. In the past two years, the property assessments have increased by almost $50 billion. The assessment roll is a snapshot of the assessed value of all real and business personal property in Santa Clara County as of the Jan. 1, 2014 lien date.

Tiny Houses Big With U.S. Owners Seeking Economic Freedom - Micro buildings and tiny homes are growing in popularity for many Americans who want to minimize expenses while achieving the dream of homeownership. Dramatic downsizing appears to be gaining interest among Americans based on increased sales of plans and ready-made homes and growing audiences for websites related to the niche. These tiny houses are typically 500 or fewer square feet.

The Next Big Thing In Urban Planning? Backyard Cottages - "Anywhere there's a growing economy and expensive housing, it makes sense," Casey tells Co.Design. "The Bay Area is the most expensive real estate in the market, so it's by default the most logical place to do this." (Wegmann and Casey knew one another at Berkeley and remain acquainted, but Wegmann claims no financial interest in the company.)

Small Wonders - Little detached structures create a place to get away from it all. My favorites:

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