Fewer, Smaller, Costlier: San Francisco Housing Trends

HouseJudging by the number of family rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms being shoe-horned into every Victorian-era attic and basement around town, you’d think that Homo Sapiens San Francisco is living much larger than his/her cousins of a hundred years ago.

It’s true that people a hundred years ago were smaller and had a lot less “things”  than 21st Century Human.  The challenge, for those that can afford it, is to find ways to squeeze extra space out of beautiful but functionally obsolescent homes that the  SF Dept.  of Building Inspection, in its infinite wisdom, is dead set against anyone demolishing.  Ever.  Never mind whether it’s a grand Victorian Dame or a sorry mid-century stucco box with no character and rotten innards. ...  Additional Details

Bay Area Home Purchase vs. S&P 500

We recently put together an analysis comparing the comparative investment returns of buying a San Francisco Bay Area house, gold, Apple stock, an S&P 500 Index fund or putting money into a bank CD in January 2012 (Of Real Estate, Gold & Apple Stock). Not unreasonably, the issue arose regarding returns over a longer term. Now, whatever time period is used will always be fundamentally arbitrary, and different periods will often generate dramatically different results. Twenty years is a round number, which allows a nice mix of recessions, bubbles, crashes and recoveries to be encompassed within our inquiry. Continue reading