The Urban Exodus

The Urban Exodus

  Are megatropolises creating a geographical boundary of inequality?   In case you haven’t heard enough griping about California’s over-priced real estate market recently, here is a little more fuel for the fire.  As cities become more popular and affluent, particularly with the attraction of high-paying jobs, the divide between the upper class and the middle and lower classes becomes more apparent and geographically based. Cities are becoming high-income districts unto themselves, with the poor and less affluent moving into the suburbs or as far as affordable transport permits.  As the price of living in America’s most expensive urban areas...Read more
May 2016 Market Update

May 2016 Market Update

  California continues to top the charts in real estate.   California dominated the nation’s top 20 hottest real estate markets for May 2016, claiming half of the most popular real estate markets.  Four out of five of the most active real estate markets are from California, with Vallejo topping the charts this month. Asking prices for homes hit record highs in May, and homes flew off the market as fast as we’ve seen since the housing recovery began.  The median home price for May is about 9% higher than it was one year ago, and 2% higher than in...Read more
The $20,000 House

The $20,000 House

  Rural Studio students have been perfecting a series of radically affordable, well-designed 550-square-foot houses for nearly a decade.   How do you design a comfortable home that someone living below the poverty line can afford?  Rural Studio has spent decades pondering this problem and testing prototypes.  In January, the team finished their first pilot project in the real world, building two one-bedroom houses, with materials that cost just $14,000 each. Sam “Sambo” Mockbee founded Rural Studio in 1993, centered around “social justice architecture.”  Initially, architecture students would use reclaimed wood and other materials to design houses for low-income residents...Read more
Crowd Fund Your Down Payment

Crowd Fund Your Down Payment

  Turn Wedding Gifts Into A Down Payment.   Have you heard of a crowd funding?  Of course you have, it’s everywhere, helping to produce new products and technologies, lend support to those in need, and get new businesses off the ground.  But did you know you can use crowd funding to help buy a home? More and more young couples are foregoing toasters and flatware and are requesting cash donations instead to help fund the wedding, honeymoon travels, and even the down payment on a new home!   Let’s be clear, you can’t just launch a Kickstarter campaign and try...Read more

How To Save A 20% Down Payment

  If you're looking to buy a home, it's never too soon to start saving.   Living in sunny California is going to cost you.  The west coast is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the nation.  Many are tempted to take advantage of loan programs with low down payment options to reduce the initial out-of-pocket investment.  Saving for a down payment of $50,000, let alone $100,000 or more seems insurmountable to many would-be homeowners.  But keep in mind, anything less than a 20% down payment will require private mortgage insurance (PMI), an added fee that...Read more
Why Are Home Sellers Spooked?

Why Are Home Sellers Spooked?

  In the heart of the busiest season for housing, homesellers are pulling back.   Inventory continues to be tight in many markets, so what has potential home sellers pulling back when buyer demand is reportedly so high?  Inventory fell 3.2% in April from last year, the seventh-straight month of declines, according to Redfin. Inventory is at historic lows in some west coast communities, and given the lack of new listings, it will likely go lower. Low mortgage rates, job growth and other drivers have stoked buyer demand, but the supply of homes for sale — especially in the low-to-middle...Read more
The Vote on AB 2502

The Vote on AB 2502

  A new bill is going before the assembly which some argue violates the Costa-Hawkins law.   “Rent Control” is a type of municipal law aimed at mitigating the disruptive effect of escalating or fluctuating rental market prices on neighborhoods and individual renters, as well as to promote the maintenance of safe and habitable dwelling units in tight markets with housing shortages.  For instance, San Francisco’s Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance (SFRO), was enacted as an emergency ordinance, amending the San Francisco Administrative Code in 1979, and acknowledged that, in the face of significant increases prior to rent control, "some...Read more
California’s First Farm-to-Table Housing Development

California’s First Farm-to-Table Housing Development

  If the idea of living in a solar-powered community with access to organic food grown in your own backyard sounds like paradise, you’ll love The Cannery!   The Davis area of California has long been known for its interest in sustainability and agriculture.  Now they have introduced California’s first farm-to-table housing development, called The Cannery. The Cannery is a 100-acre development located just one mile from downtown Davis and designed so that residents can easily and safely bike or walk to the city center.  The community boasts 547 units divided into 4 neighborhoods.  There are a mix of housing types from single-family...Read more
Ideas For Every Backyard

Ideas For Every Backyard

  Backyard ideas that will add style, functionality and value to your home.   It’s time to prepare for summer!  Outdoor patios and living spaces will soon be occupied with people hosting neighborhood barbecues and various social gatherings. That also means that prospective homebuyers will be looking to take advantage of homes that are adequately prepared to host an outdoor event. So whether you are a homeowner or a rehabber, the summer months offer the perfect opportunity to upgrade your backyard. It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish lavish interior living spaces from functional outdoor lounges. The lines that once...Read more
7 Benefits of Outdoor Space

7 Benefits of Outdoor Space

  Creating an idyllic and cozy outdoor environment is good for your wallet and good for your health.   It's common today for backyard space to be used as an extension of your living space.  People are investing more in the back of their property, and the home-improvement boom is driving that engine. A study by the University of Michigan found that consumers value a landscaped home 11.3% higher than the same home without good landscaping. A well-cultivated outdoor space can do wonders for your home’s value, but there are many other benefits to be gained from your backyard.  The...Read more