DID YOU KNOW? Housing affordability is fueling a crisis of homelessness in California, despite billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded efforts (higher property taxes in LA). Homelessness jumped 12% and 16% from a year ago in the county and city of Los Angeles, respectively. The tally showed 58,936 homeless people in Los Angeles County, which includes 36,300 in the city, the USA’s largest outdoor-homeless population. In San Francisco, the number rose 17% while Alameda County, which includes Oakland, saw a 43% increase. Homelessness grew 42% in San Jose over the past 2 years and 31% in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley. New York is not far behind.
At the end of 2018, four California mayors from the largest cities got together to discuss this as a monumental crisis requiring state-wide effort. See full article HERE. Let’s hope someone can finally come up with solutions to make this grim situation better.
In honor of Gay Pride this month, let’s review all the LGBT victories in 2019 so far. I love seeing all these RIGHTS and bans finally happen. HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!
For more information on LGBT rights, you can visit the Wikipedia page HERE.
DID YOU KNOW? National home prices increased 3.6% year over year in April 2019 and are forecast to increase by 4.7% from April 2019 to April 2020. The April 2019 HPI gain was down from the April 2018 gain of 6.6%, but up slightly from the March 2019 gain of 3.5%, indicating that the rate of home price increases has flattened out. Prices in 39 states (including the District of Columbia) have risen above their pre-crisis peaks. Of the 7 states that had larger peak-to-trough declines than the national average, California, Idaho, and Michigan have surpassed their pre-crisis peaks as of April 2019. Connecticut home prices in April 2019 were the farthest below their all-time HPI high, still 18.8% below the July 2006 peak. (CoreLogic)
DID YOU KNOW? 3.79 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2018, down 2% from 2017, a 32-year low. The total US fertility rate has generally remained below the “replacement” level of 2.1 since 1971. Without enough immigrants, the U.S. could see population declines and a workforce too small to support a growing segment of retirees. (WSJ)
Our wonderful state of California has been at the forefront of limiting single-use plastics with statewide bans on plastic bags, straws and bottles. And while this is amazing, I can’t help but notice how many single-use plastic bags are still lining garbage bins all around the city. It’s so simple to come up with a solution to eliminate these. Here are some suggestions from The San Francisco Department of the Environment on what to use instead. These small changes can make a BIG impact on our environment.
Recycling Bin: no liner needed
Composting Bin: find a compostable liner that works for you
Landfill Bin: think small
The position of a home is a key factor when deciding what to buy. It’s also key when selling – doing so can help you highlight attributes that may be important in a buyer’s eyes, yet often ignored or not broadcast loudly enough.
For instance, all apartments in a large condo building share the exact same location, but position of each apartment is different. Low floor corners may get interesting street views and even some greenery. Upper floors may not have the same benefit, but they may enjoy better light. Proximity to amenities like the gym, pool or elevator can also make a difference.
The lifestyle a home offers is also a consideration. What are the amenities? What is within walking distance? How long will it take to drive to get to the things you need? I like to picture an imaginary day in a home hour-by-hour. It helps me speak about the property more effectively and develop better “word pictures” for any ads I’m writing.
The immediate neighborhood is also important. I pay attention to how “settled” the block is and ask the Seller about their neighbors. I also like to see how many homes have been improved with new paint or landscaping. Recently completed work indicates that the block has potential upside.
I always take note of which direction a property faces. Often our best views are North facing, which can make the rooms facing them colder, while a south-facing yard is ideal for plants and sun. A western view can offer wonderful sunsets, but can also be hard on furniture and art.
Just like a fine painting, all real estate requires close observation to FULLY understand its positives and negatives. No property is perfect: matching the needs of a buyer to a seller is the key.
With San Francisco real estate the highest in the nation, it’s easy to feel you’ve been priced out of the market. Are you starting to wonder how you’ll ever afford a home? Maybe it’s time to get creative. According to Forbes, 36% of first-time homebuyers would have a roommate if it meant being able to afford a home sooner. Do you have a friend with dreams to buy a home as well? Perhaps you can invest in a home together. Yes, I know. Having a roommate doesn’t sound ideal, but finally owning a home does. And a good investment means you can hopefully sell in a few years, and then afford to buy your OWN home. The article here has a great list of pros and cons for this type of investment.
April 27 – May 27
The esteemed San Francisco Decorator Showcase benefitting the San Francisco University High School financial aid program is underway and the photos I’ve seen so far are nothing short of gorgeous. This year’s 18,000-square-foot Presidio Heights home (3800 Washington) has been transformed into a magical space with rooms designed by top Bay Area designers. Tickets are $35-40 and can be purchased here.
“Houghton Hall Reimagined” by Jonathan Rachman Design
Balcony Garden: the Skylight Conservatory” by Brandon Pruett Design
“Daydream Believin’” by Studio Heimat
“Master Bathroom/Spa” by Alexis Humiston of ABH Interiors