Rent or Buy: The Best Calculator

A belated Happy New Year everyone.  One of my new year’s resolutions is to blog more frequently.  I love blogging about real estate!  I just need to get faster at it.  This can be a challenge if you care about getting the facts right.  For example, I just spent about 4 hours over 2 days unearthing a discrepancy between my 2010 data on San Francisco home sales and the data provided by my generally excellent real estate feed, which you can find under the Market Trends tab.  Turns out they’d incorrectly included sales from the northern part of San Mateo County, which resulted in a much lower median home sales price for 2010 and a very inaccurate read on what had happened in the SF Market over the last year. My next blog will cover those results. ...  Additional Details

More Grim News on Housing

Saturday’s NY Times proclaims “A Gloomy Outlook for Home Sales’ Big Season.” The headliner, by the way, was “Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of U.S. Economy.” Is it really any wonder we have difficulty sleeping a’ nights?

Here are some of the cheery highlights:

  • One out of every seven apartments and houses in the US are vacant, a level not seen since the 1960’s. That’s about 19 million units
  • Less than a third of those are actually for rent or for sale, meaning that many more could yet come onto the market.
  • New contracts for previously owned homes fell at their fastest pace for two years.
  • Some areas that have fallen fastest, like inland California, are seeing improved sales.
  • Urban areas that have withstood the recession reasonably well, like San Francisco and New York, are “frozen.”

We pass Elk Grove on our way up to Tahoe.  Beautiful spot east of Sacramento.  You can buy a 3 BR house there for $193,000.  The same house sold for $336,000 four years ago.  The mortgage is a $100 less than it costs to rent a 2BR apartment.  It’s hard not to think of that as positive.  That is, unless you were the one who lost $143,000 in equity. ...  Additional Details