Real Estate’s New Normal: Homeowners Staying Put

For much of last year, Greg Rubin was looking to buy a bigger house. He has been in the same two-bedroom home for 17 years and hoped to upgrade to a place with a guest room, a home office and a workshop for his guitars, radio-controlled planes and gardening equipment.

This year, Mr. Rubin has a new plan. He stopped looking and embarked on an ambitious renovation project that will begin with a new kitchen and end with a workshop for all the man toys.

“My girlfriend would like to get a larger house, but right now, I’m staying put,” said Mr. Rubin, who lives in Escondido, Calif., and owns a landscaping firm called California’s Own Native Landscape Design.

Mr. Rubin is the face of what appears to be a new normal in the real estate business: Homeowners are moving less, creating a drag on the economy, fewer commissions for real estate brokers and a brutally competitive market for first-time home shoppers who cannot find much for sale and are likely to be disappointed during real estate’s spring selling season.

Read more of the article at The New York Times.

The Real Cause of Gentrification

When cities like Oakland prohibit new apartments and condos in wealthy neighborhoods, low-income areas pay the price.

What it would actually take to reduce rents in America’s most expensive city

The for-rent ads in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, April 2, 1961, sound dreamy:

Luxurious spacious 4 rooms. Many walk-in closets. All Utilities included. $155 a month in the Marina.

Deluxe 3. Garbage disposal, wall-to-wall carpet. Garage included. $125 and up in Pacific Heights.

Spectacular Marine view. 1-bedroom, sun deck. $175 on Telegraph Hill.

Those were the good old days, right?

In fact, in the early 1960s, rents in San Francisco were rising by an average of about 6.6 percent each year. As it turns out, that’s the same annual rate they would later rise in the 1970s, and in the late 1990s, and in the mid-2000s. It’s the rate they’re rising today.

How many units would we need to build in order to slow or reverse the rent increases? You can find the whole article on Wonkblog.

SF Bay RE Costs Continue to Drive Expansion Elsewhere

Two tech startups headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area said Tuesday they’re expanding elsewhere, establishing offices and hiring hundreds of employees in North Carolina and Arizona at much lower cost than here.

San Francisco fintech Credit Karma, which only last week said it would enter the tax-preparation business, wasted no time in staking out an office for the service in Charlotte. Palo Alto-based Houzz, a home remodeling and design web site, will open a sales and client services office in Tempe.

Read the full article at SF Business Times (Paywall).