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

Case Shiller Chimes in With Good News: US Down only 17%!

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Case-Shiller published its closely watched indices yesterday.  Hooray! The broadest CS index shows that the rate of decline in the nation’s largest housing markets has reversed in recent months.  Now we’re only going down 16% year over year instead of 20%.

They also point out that we are now back to 2003 values, which also holds true of San Francisco.  Here’s my chart from an April blog:

Core Area Medians vs All Districts

Before you go out and celebrate, Case-Shiller has “San Francisco” down a whopping 26.1% year over year.  Why the quotes?  Because it’s really the “San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area” and it includes ALL of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and … San Francisco County. That’s 5 counties folks, a factoid often omitted even by such august publications as the New York Times (see today’s front page article). ...  Additional Details

January Data Sings the Blues

Here’s the latest sales data broken down by MLS District.  Full reports are available here under the Market Trends Tab and are well worth a look.

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Median and Average prices are down substantially year over year for single family homes in all districts except District 7 (“North”, which includes top-shelf enclaves like Pacific Heights and the Marina), but with only 2 sales for the month in that area, it’s not a meaningful statistic.  Indeed, as I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, sales drop off so dramatically every year during December/January that I’d be cautious reading too much into the  statistics for those particular months.  ...  Additional Details

Still Getting The New Blog Up and Running

Please be patient on the lack of content here.  I’ve been making a concerted effort to integrate an easy-to-use blog page with the more static content on my previous website, along with the really great market data that I want to be able to present to you on a monthly basis.  For market data, please take a look at my Market Trends page and click on the links that interest you.  It’s not quite where I want it to be, but it’s getting there.

Back at you soon.