And it's not even February yet!
A week into the new year, Climb announced an unexpected shutdown, and just like that—the place I called home for the last 3.5 years is now sadly no more. It's crazy how an office that was once bursting at the seams with vibrance and energy could just cease to exist overnight the way it did. But, life goes on (is what I was told after reasonably and rationally claiming to be homeless and jobless forever and ever).
Needless to say, things have been a little nuts. In the span of ten extremely long days, I learned the news about Climb (devastating), scrambled around interviewing with different brokerages (exhausting), continued working as though my work life had not just been turned upside down (grinding), bought an investment property on an aggressively tight timeline (stress-inducing), found my new real estate home at Compass (exciting), and lived happily ever after (hoping). While I will always carry a piece of Climb with me wherever I go (literally because this pop socket with the Climb logo stuck to the back of my phone is impossible to take off), I'm super excited for these new beginnings and what's in store for me at Compass!
Besides a change in my email address (please please please save firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book!), everything else will be business as usual. The only exception is that I now have more tools, more resources, more support, which ultimately allows me to have more time for you and your referrals. ;)
We all hear it time and time again. "Rent is so expensive in the Bay Area!" But just how expensive? Well, rental website Zumper actually reported that rent prices broke all-time high records not once, not twice, but SEVERAL times in 2019! According to Zumper, the median price of a one-bedroom apartment in SF this past June was $3,720. According to another rental website, Adobo, a one-bedroom in SF was going for even more, topping out at $3,904 just last month.
The good news is that the current SF one-bedroom median price is now estimated to be lower, around $3,490. And by good, I mean actually-just-medicore news because wow, that is still a ton of rent money. Wouldn't you rather just use that money to build some equity in a home across the bay and take advantage of all the tax write-offs instead? Asking as a (knowingly) biased real estate agent.
Ever since leading tech companies Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google all landed on the West Siiiide (did you say that in your best Tupac voice?), affordable housing has been nearly impossible to find. Recently these companies vowed to find solutions to this issue in their local communities. But are their efforts enough? Some say nah.
Despite the billions of dollars they've pledged and initiatives they've started (Amazon literally opened a homeless shelter on their downtown campus), many folks feel that it might be too little too late. With homelessness rising and diversity dwindling in these communities, a lot of people believe that the money being thrown at the problem just isn't enough. Is there a better solution? That’s yet to be seen. But hey, this is a start.
Thanks to rising home prices, conforming loan limits just got a boost. Compared to last year's loan limit of $726,525, most of the Bay Area can now borrow up to $765,600 with a mortgage backed by my two favorite F-words........Fannie and Freddie, duh (what did you think I was going to say?). This means that buyers can now enjoy more purchasing power before going into the more restrictive jumbo loan territory, leaving everyone looking for a home priced near that cutoff point saying F YEAH!
A few months ago, health insurance company Blue Shield of California moved 1,200 of their employees from their old building in San Francisco to a 24-story high rise a few blocks away from the Oakland City Center BART Station. And it appears this is just the beginning. There's a whole movement happening—companies want to be based in Oakland.
Kaiser Permanente plans to build a $900 million headquarters, BART plans to create a new headquarters, and tech companies Square and Credit Karma have already signed major plans to expand their SF-based offices to The Town. And let's not forget to mention the most important development of all: FOOD. The new launch of Oakland Assembly, a 14,000 square foot, two-level market hall located at Jack London's waterfront will bring in star chefs who will be sure to fill your bellies while emptying your wallets.
All of these developments have made one thing abundantly clear: Downtown Oakland is about to see one of its biggest building booms in decades, and I'm here for it.
In 2017, Business Insider writer Sam Dogen (also renowned author of my favorite finance and real estate blog Financial Samurai) became a stay-at-home dad after he sold his SF rental property for $2.75 million, leaving him with a $1.8 million profit after paying off the mortgage, taxes, and fees. Umm, can we say GOALS? Now a couple years later, he wants to buy property in SF again. Why now, you ask? (Or maybe you didn’t ask and I’m gonna tell you anyway?)
Well, Dogen says property prices in the US have softened and mortgage rates have collapsed. All while rent prices continue to rise! Plus he thinks the fact that 2020 is an election year, the stock market is thriving AF, and the amount of foreign buyers has dramatically decreased, all point to now being a good time to start looking into purchasing. He listed about 87** other reasons if you’re interested in reading all of them (**ok fine slight exaggeration, but honestly, there were a lot and they were all pretty convincing).
*Disclaimer: Every economist, journalist, and psychic will have varying degrees of optimism and pessimism about where the housing market is going—up, down, all around. If you want to compare different points of view and form your own educated prediction, here are a few other market forecasts to satisfy your inner nerd: Realtor.com, Redfin, Forbes, Freddie Mac, and Zillow.
All things real estate.