79 Woodland
The apples to apples sale of 79 Woodland closed escrow yesterday with a reported contact price of $1,335,000 ($6,000 over asking). Purchased for $1,300,000 in June of 2005, call it average annual appreciation of 0.6% over the past five years for the remodeled single-family Parnassus Heights home.
But we wouldn’t call it a “push” in terms of whether or not it’s fallen from “peak” having appreciated (and then depreciated) since 2005.
We’ll also call the effective pre-tax benefited cost of ownership around $8,000 per month over the past 56 months and let you run your own numbers in terms of rent versus buy from an economic (versus emotional) standpoint.
Parnassus Heights Apples To Apples (And Neighborhood Economics) [SocketSite]
Another Market Metric And Food For Thought At The End Of The Year [SocketSite]
To Rent Or To Buy, That Is The Question (That Only You Can Answer) [SocketSite]

66 thoughts on “Into Our Apple Cart (And Back To 2005) 79 Woodland Goes”
  1. It went for about 1% under my guess of 1.350.
    Apparently, the market is still worse than even the bears are predicting.

  2. In January 2010, the average days on the market (DOM) fell to the lowest level since September 2008 , another sign of increasing demand for San Francisco real estate. For people who have been waiting to sell, this is a better time to come on than the last couple years. We may even see a tick up for a couple months. Who knows after that.

  3. They financed 1.04M, X 6% = 62,400. Divided by 12 = 5,200 per month. Add in taxes. An additional 1200 a month. You’re off by 20% with the 8000 number.
    [Editor’s Note: The $8,000 figure is fully leveraged (and includes transaction costs as it should), opportunity cost for the equity would need to be accounted for otherwise.]

  4. If they financed a million at 4.75% with an interest only loan, they’d pay $4750/month, even with tax added it’s arguably lower than they’d pay in rent. So here we are in the biggest real estate bust in SF history, they still come out about even. What a market.
    Socketsite bears need to start a site in Bakersfield or Stockton. There’s just no pleasure to be had for bears here.

  5. So they threw away $120,000 away on “non rent”, and lost another $50,000 when transaction costs are factored in.
    No doubt every realtor in town will tout their “gain”

  6. So they bought it for $1.3 and sold for $1.335; you really have to go into a lot of rhetorical contortions to explain how they lost. The SF market is amazing, in up years it goes up like crazy; in down years it stays about the same.

  7. anonn/unwarrantedinlaw, unless they managed to sell without paying the usual 6-8% in comissions and other costs, they had a non-trivial capital loss to go along with their carrying costs.

  8. anonn wrote:
    > They financed 1.04M, X 6% = 62,400. Divided
    > by 12 = 5,200 per month. Add in taxes. An
    > additional 1200 a month. You’re off by 20%
    > with the 8000 number.
    You are off since (like most Realtors ®) you forgot property insurance, gardening, repairs and any return on the $260,000 down payment that would have averaged about $600 a month over the past 5 years in risk free CDs. I have to give anonn credit for mentioning taxes since most Realtors ® only talk about the monthly P&I payment as the only monthly housing cost…

  9. Don’t forget brokerage costs. 6% is $80K. Transfer tax is another ~$15K? That’s around $1700/mo for the months they lived there.
    [Editor’s Note: The brokerage cost would most likely have been 5%, the transfer tax $10,013.]

  10. The usual 8% you say? Explain that.
    The 35K “net” took care of the transfer tax plus part of the realtors fees. OK?
    No wonder these costs always take it too far. The toy bears get all wound up and pointed in that direction.

  11. Nice job of getting out without taking too much of a bath, relatively speaking. They bought about two years before the market peak and sold at about a 15-20% discount to that peak value. As others have noted, this 4 1/2 year hold cost them about double (maybe a tad less) what it would have cost to rent factoring in all commissions/expenses and assuming a generous tax deduction and no maintenance expenses or remodeling. Not bad for this market.

  12. Wrong again, fluj. I live in district 5E and know it very well. Some crazy prices in 2007 and early 2008. Not so many sales at all in the last 6 months or so, but what has sold has been really nice and at much lower prices than those prevailing a few years ago.

  13. “If they financed a million at 4.75% with an interest only loan”
    Uhhh, wouldn’t they be in jumbo land? So the interest rate would be closer to 6%? Plus, doesn’t the rate go up if one can get an interest only loan? Like to 7%? Even if one goes interest only they are still going to have a sizable chunk of money (~$270,000) invested and the day of reckoning will come. If one goes bare minimum on a FHA at 3.5% at least one can be a ruthless defaulter and walk away.

  14. As some may know, I use the calculator at irvinehousingblog.com to figure cost of ownership. I get a COO of $6,230 at this price. Here are the calculations:
    Cost of Ownership Inputs Calculations
    Purchase Price $1,335,000
    Downpayment 20.0% $267,000
    Interest Rate 6.00%
    Number of Years 30
    Mortgage $1,068,000
    Monthly Payment $6,403
    Property Tax 1% $1,112
    Special Taxes and Levies 0.25% $278
    Homeowners Insurance 0.15% $167
    Homeowners Association Fees $- 0 $- 0
    Other (ex. Private Mortgage Ins) $- 0 $- 0
    Monthly Cash Outlays $7,961
    Monthly Interest for 1st Payment $5,340
    Tax Savings (% of Interest and Property Tax) 25% $(1,613)
    Equity Hidden in Payment $(1,063)
    Lost Income to Down Payment (net of taxes) 3.00% $668
    Maintenance and Replacement Reserves 0.25% $278
    Monthly Cost of Ownership $6,230
    I would be interested to see what people thought of the opportunity cost on the down payment and how irvinehousingblog calculates that. They classify it as “lost income to down payment” and calculate it at 3%. Is that appropriate? Also note the maintenance cost at .25%–the gardeners, etc. that FormerAptBroker mentions.

  15. Per my math, I feel the cost of owning exceeded the cost of renting by about $75k over five years or $15k a year — a fair premium for owning vs. renting.
    Here is my math for yearly costs:
    Financed $1.050 million at 5% — $52,500
    Property taxes add $14,950
    Insurance, repairs etct add $12k
    Lost interest on $250k down, assume tax free muni CD — $8k
    Tax shield at 25% (since at this level it is likely the owner runs into AMT troubles and can’t deduct the full mortgage given income required to support) savings of $13k.
    Total annual costs $74k.
    Now add in net gain / loss. They bought for $1.3, sold for $1.335 less 6% transaction costs (re fee 5% plust 1% for transfer tax and the other costs you always incur e.g. staging) and divide by five years –$9k loss but net a $2k tax “savings” from the loss assuming you have income against which to write off this loss. This brings total annual costs to $81.750k or $6,756 a month
    I suspect average rent during the period would be $5,500 a month (currently would be closer to $4,500) so hence a monthly cost to own of $1,256. Not an unreasonable premium to own, but definitely not the buy now, buy and get rich, re will let you retire results sooo many here and in the RE complex promised in 2005. Too bad RE agents don’t give guarantees or get paid on your net gain / loss from owning.
    My question — we see a very small uptick in house prices from Trillions in govt. support — what happens when this support ends which it definitely will… Only about 3% uptick in Case Shiller and sooo much $$$ spent…..fundamentals can really suck when you try to argue a market only goes up up and up

  16. of course if they had an option arm they would have paid under 3% interest for the last year+
    So about $2600 a month plus the other costs.

  17. “Per my math, I feel the cost of owning exceeded the cost of renting by about $75k over five years or $15k a year — a fair premium for owning vs. renting.”
    That may be a fair premium to compensate someone for the chance to make an out-sized profit. But in this case it obviously wasn’t a good deal. In hindsight, paying $75K just for the honor of being in the landed gentry class is not worth it, all other things being equal. If they were able to sell for more than the premium than it would be worth it. But they didn’t. Now the next guy is making the same bet.
    Also, I think you’re prediction of a rental comp is way off. This isn’t the nice big place in the other thread were I think you were right that it could get up to $5K. Being just over the hill from that other place (greater Castro area) and being much smaller and not recently redone I’m sure the rent is closer to $4k and maybe less. Maybe $4,500 at peak and closer to $3,500 now.
    Here’s what I see on Craigslist for rentals in the area:
    The average asking rent appears to be much lower than in the greater Castro area over the hill that Calbear discussed in the other thread. My amateur reasoning is that there are a lot more group rentals in the Cole Valley area. I personally know a lot of younger people that would group up to rent a SFH or big condo in Cole Valley than in Greater Castro (my term). In the Greater Castro I think the over-remodelled little castle condos are far more prevalent and one is going to see higher asking rents. Those rentals seem to be more geared to family households and not group places and I bet there are far fewer of these tenants looking for a place.

  18. 2 1/2 years or so into the housing downturn and places in SF still sell for higher than 2005 prices.
    Pretty impressive.

  19. My wife has been clamoring for us to rent a house instead of living in the 2 apartments where we own the building. The one big show stopper for us is that someone else could ask us to move. IMO that is worth $15,000/ year. The other part is that unless you are willing to pay upward of $8,000 a month for the rental there is either a lot of competition or the place is a dump.
    Does anyone have a link / pics / info on the reported $4k rental on that street? The one rental house we have been interested in was around $6k.
    On the other hand, this particular house on woodland would not have met our needs. The layout could not be more child unfriendly and cramped. It has obviously been built out into every nook of space that originally was probably just crawl space.

  20. If you own you can choose to paint your walls purple, rollerskate on your hardwood floors, have pets, have children, and know no one is going to kick you out. All this is priceless.

  21. There is no “reasonable premium” to own. Renting has historically had 10% premium over owning.

    I’d love to be proven wrong, but I don’t think this is the case in The City, and certainly not over the last fifteen years or so (when I’ve been paying the most attention to this).
    Where is the data you’re basing this on?

  22. I don’t care if you live there or not. You’ve not studied it, and you’ve tossed a careless comment into the mix. 2005 stands up to any year in that area and your off peak 15 to 20 percent comment regarding the property is not apt.
    2005 26 SFR sales at 775 a foot
    2006 33 SFR sales at 781 a foot
    2007 17 SFR sales at 817 a foot
    2008 26 SFR sales at 822 a foot
    Sure looks to me like 2005 was about 5.5% off peak. Considering this property sold for almost 3% more than it did in 2005, where is your 15 to 20 percent coming from? It looks like it’s coming from you metabolizing macro numbers, and that’s not apt. (Standard bemusement at 2008 being a peak year despite the Socketsite death and destruction vitriol spewing at the time.)

  23. @SFHawkguy
    When I first looked at your link, I thought maybe I had missed some listings. However, it looks like there is only 1 house listed at $6500 and it’s not really in Cole Valley, more twin peaks. The other one is at $13,000 and per the wife “looks awful”.

  24. They bought about two years before the market peak and sold at about a 15-20% discount to that peak value
    This is a hysterically funny comment. Classic.
    If, back in 2007, someone on this site had claimed prices were 20% up from 05 they would have been laughed out of town.
    Medians were up slightly in 07, but the argument was strong on this site that was all mix factors.
    Now it suits the position that prices were way up in 2007 cf 2005 that has gone all out of the window.
    Really, really funny to watch.

  25. Totally worthless analysis fluj/anonn, and you know it. About 40% of the sales list no sf, so the $/sf is meaningless. Second, there are so few sales each year around here that $/sf means next to nothing. One or two really nice or really crummy places skews that whole measure tremendously.
    I know this area and you obviously don’t (this is a really nice area — it ain’t Bernal). Places around here easily saw 10% gains in each of 2006 and 2007, and that’s conservative. If you are really trying to deny that, you’ve lost all credibility. It was a frenzy then. This place is pretty nice and would have fetched $1.6 million in a New York minute in Spring 2007. These sellers did OK, relatively speaking, because they bought long enough before the peak of the madness.

  26. Ryan,
    Yeah, I didn’t really find a good comp for this place. I don’t see as many SFHs in the area as I did when searching in the Castro area (a search for another thread). I would walk the neighborhood to look for SFH or look at non-Craiglist sites. (I simply searched for all properties over $3K in that neighborhood). At this price range many won’t use Craigslist.
    Plus, I think one would have to consider a flat or condo as a comp in this neighborhood. People like you may have to give up a detached house in exchange for more space, another bedroom, etc. There appears to be a lot of flats or condos available in that neighborhood–it might be a neighborhood thing.
    Basically, I hear you saying you are interested in the 2 or 3 bedroom single family house with garage, etc. A nice family home. I think these properties are going to be harder to land because often these people are going to hire a realtor and some of them will be first time landlords or are not really serious (are going through the options while modifying the underwater mortgage–put a WTF asking price on Craiglist just to see). I would also would be on the look out for underwater landlords at this price point. Anyway, a lot of desperate SFH owners will be renting out their underwater homes and will probably deviate from traditional landlord practices.
    Anyway, I plan on walking the neighborhood I want to rent in, I will try to negotiate with landlords directly and avoid agents, and I may offer incentives (like 6 months up front) in exchange for a longer term rental and lower monthly price (but I would want to protect myself from the owner defaulting on the mortgage and running away with the security deposit, etc.–especially when going up to ~ $5k a month).
    To respond to your issues with renting. Yes, a landlord could conceivably kick you out after your lease was up (never happened to me or anyone I know–they tend to like paying tenants) but you also have the freedom to leave. Say the San Francisco school system changes it’s placement procedures and your child has to go to a public school you don’t like and you want to move to a new neighborhood. Ooops, you can’t. You’re underwater. A renter can move to any school district or get out of a bad deal more easily.
    Plus, I can always paint or roller skate in my rentals. If you are considering forking over $60,000 a year to a landlord and he won’t let you paint then he is cutting off his nose to spite his face. In fact, every landlord I’ve had has actually appreciated my painting.

  27. Totally worthless analysis fluj/anonn, and you know it. About 40% of the sales list no sf, so the $/sf is meaningless. Second, there are so few sales each year around here that $/sf means next to nothing. One
    Wow. You’re still talking after that? Weird.

  28. woops, characters in my post got messed up.
    When it is cheaper to rent, that is a bubble indication. You can’t take out a toxic loan to pay your rent every month….

  29. Actually, I’ve represented several buyers and sellers of real estate of all different quality in this very area several times over the last five years. The numbers I provided accurately reflect what was going on. You are throwing up 15 and 20 percen and 10 percent and 1.6M out of nowhere, doing the same exact things that you always accuse me of doing. So not only are you painfully inaccurate, but you’re a hypocrite too. Typical Socketslop. Catch you later.

  30. “The one big show stopper for us is that someone else could ask us to move.”
    Theoretically possible but it’s never happened to me or anyone I know here or elsewhere, ever.
    Then again, I’m getting a much bigger rent “premium” than the numbers thrown around on this property: we moved to a 2000 sq ft SFR in Piedmont last fall and are paying under $2500/month. It will be decades if ever before it might become rational for us to buy. And we’ve been told we’re fine to stay for the next 15 years if we want — though even if we only stayed a year it would be obviously worth it.

  31. “that’s a national number.”
    Actually, I was talking about percentages. I also don’t place much value on median statistics.
    What is important, is to understand how a bubble forms and deflates. Different areas deflate faster than others.

  32. Katy,
    Please save your shilling for your own website.
    ONly the disabled would believe MLS “days on the market” numbers. There IS a point at which your “profession’s” reputation for blatant dishonesty will come back to haunt you, and the DOM lie is a great example.

  33. It is interesting to hear the biggest concern for renting is being forced to move. That is true in most areas, but SF in that regard is rather unique.
    As far as I can tell, as long as you rent a place for a year and it was built pre 1979, the only way a landlord can get you to move legally is to pay you to do so ($4k or more per tenant and if your tennant has a kid in school look out as a landlord). Of course many landlords could try to raise the rents but I’d wish any lurking landlord on this site good luck with that in this market (unless your rent is so low it is below market). Again I have been closely watching craigslist in the last 4 months and vitually nothing is moving and only stellar places at much lower rents than 2 years ago are moving (and I mean stellar — the places that were re-done to flip for $1.5 million or more)
    I will be able to give more insight on this view in the next few weeks as I am in the very situation of having a new owner of the place I rent under rent control for eviction (a successful short sale). Perhaps the new owner will be stupid enough to try to raise the rent — he will get to meet my attorney for the priveledge when I sue claiming it as a way to circumvent a legal eviction — or perhaps the new owner will be smart and negotiate a reasonable payment to me to move. We will see — is he smart enough to speak with counsel or is he stupid enough to listen to his agent (who I’ll bet has said just raise the rent as most agents still think we are in 2003 to 2006 which we are not and will not be in for at least 5 or more years).
    So the fear of having to move while valid is really not a huge concern in SF. But at rent levels above $4k or house prices of $900k or higher, I do feel there is a long term bias for owning. How much this is worth is a personal choice but since most people in our country can’t even analyze rent vs. buy, I would not be surprised if this is a 10% to 15% premium as we do live in a country where ownership is much more valued over renting. (when I rented in OC most of my neighbors never wanted to talk to the renter who brought the value of their homes down since I did not buy at over inflated prices — think I got the last laugh — my landlords downt there have lost $450k in 4 years and are $2.5k negative cash flow a month when it is rented).

  34. Is there any way for Socketsite to add a feature so that we can filter realtor comments out? I’m getting sick of useless posts from used car dealers.
    Its a nice apples to apples comparison, and in my price range. Thanks for highlighting.

  35. “but since most people in our country can’t even analyze rent vs. buy, I would not be surprised if this is a 10% to 15% premium as we do live in a country where ownership is much more valued over renting”
    God I love macro-intelligent posts like that. My mom (older) still correlates my non-ownership status as a sign of financial weakness. Add to this my friends (younger) who think paying down your mortgage is a sign of financial strength.
    Mom can’t do rent vs. buy calculation, but friends can. Neither do.
    Kudos to you jane.

  36. Poor math skill are a prerequisite for being a happy homeowner.
    Example: bought it for $1.3, sold it for $1.335 = a return of 2.7%. But with the magic of leverage, you automatically multiply that by 10 and -BAMM!- a 27% return here!! Wow! They killed it!
    Too bad the sellers are probably trying to figure out why they have less cash than when they started despite that great return….

  37. They probably aren’t to be fair Legacy.
    I think it’s fair to say the average socketsite poster spends far more time working out +/- or leveraged rates of return on a house sale than the sellers themselves.
    Remember they have had 5 years of living since the purchase, and have either made or lost money in many other areas as well.
    They probably aren’t trying to figure out too much, other than that they sold for more than what they bought, but had to pay out more than the profit in selling costs.
    I certainly doubt they are checking CPI indicies, finding comparable rental properties etc etc etc

  38. ..while valid is really not a huge concern in SF
    Do your really believe the $5k payment ($8k if you have kids) and 120-day notice is a big hindrance to someone buying the single family house you rent that they want to live in?

  39. Ryan –
    I’m going to try post for the 3rd time, fingers crossed I don’t get cut off now.
    We are are renting a 3 BR/2BA/2 garage house, kid friendly layout, huge backyard, nicely updated house (granite countertop, italian appliances, hardwood floors, etc) in Glen Park.
    Our rent is $3850/month. By my estimates, the house we’re renting would sell in the $1.1 mil range on the market now – so no brainer renting costs us less than buying.
    I’m really posting to promote Glen Park – it’s not the sexiest neighborhood, but it’s awesome for families who want to live in a single family home. We’re < 10 mins walking distance to BART and shops/restaurants, 2 mins from Glen Park Playground, and overall this is a walkable, family-friendly community. I would highly recommend looking for houses for rent here.
    [Editor’s Note: Sorry Jane, but “less than” signs and HTML don’t mix all that well. But there are ways to make it work.]

  40. Geo
    No I don’t think the cost is a hindrance to the buyer but $9k allows me to pay movers and even pay movers to pack and unpack my stuff (unfortunately I know all to well the cost to move due to work). It is still a pain and hence back to why above a certain price range, over the long term I feel there is some level of premium to own vs. rent (but do remember if I rent it is easy for me to get up and leave and when the heater breaks it is a phone call or two and it is done not a $5k to $10k repair bill after scrambling to find and coordinate a repair).

  41. Katy, you kill me! You said:
    “In January 2010, the average days on the market (DOM) fell to the lowest level since September 2008 , another sign of increasing demand for San Francisco real estate.”
    Gosh, could it be that most everything that was sitting around not selling got pulled off in December and put back on in January?
    In years past, there was no 30 day relisting rule to reset DOM, so no one had to pick a 30 day period to pull their property off the market to reset DOM (it used to be much shorter to reset DOM), but now to reset DOM you have to pull the property off for 30 days, and although it took awhile, most everyone has converged on Dec 16-Jan 14 to take their properties off, so THAT might be the reason DOM was shorter in Jan?
    You Realtors are all alike.

  42. tipster – you kill me with your stereotypes.
    Maybe some day you’ll meet a real estate sales agent who will surprise you with their integrity.

  43. Like pulling properties during that timeframe isn’t a year in year out occurrence. And nothing has picked up at all, right Tipster? That’s what you’re saying? Since September 2008 … why would anybody doubt that? It’s not saying a whole lot. Quit falling all over yourself to comment whether you’ve got something or not. It’s unbecoming even an anonymous fence sitter who thinks he’s different than any other fence sitter since the dawn of time ’cause he’s on the internet.

  44. Thanks for the comments especially about Glen Park. We have been looking pretty much exclusively in Noe and Cole Valley and vicinity.
    I guess the moving thing is a bigger consideration when you find a really nice house that was probably purchased to flip and it looks like they are just renting it to ride out the market. I also have a friend who likes Pac Heights houses and he has been asked to moved 2 times in the last 10 years. On the other hand he always seems to find another nice place to live.
    On the “you can’t be asked to move” topic, I am a landlord myself and have gone through 5 evictions in the last 9 years. If my landlord of a SFD asked me to move, I would. I believe in property rights. Fighting a rent increase because it seems like an eviction sounds like a headache I would rather not involve my family. I just cannot picture putting another landlord through the kind of crap I have gone through to defend a right that is questionable from the start.

  45. Ryan,
    I agree with you that a tenant shouldn’t fight just for the sake of fighting.
    But they have property rights too. You, as a landlord, sold some of your property rights to the tenants in order to make a profit. Now the tenant has them.
    For instance, he can exclude you, the rightful “owner” from setting foot in his home except under certain conditions.
    You sympathize with landlords so you willingly gave up some rights you had as a tenant, but that just makes you a decent person. It goes both ways too.
    But tenants have certain rights, just as property owners do, and you are theoretically aware of them when you enter into a lease and are willingly giving them up. You shouldn’t expect a tenant to give up his rights anymore than a landlord would.
    Furthermore, you should have known the business you were getting into. You want to make a profit off of renting someone’s dwelling to them and I find it totally reasonable to make you go through a few extra hoops. They are fighting for their homes. You are fighting for the right to make a profit.

  46. @SFHawkguy
    We are totally getting off topic. My original point is that I didn’t think it was so easy to rent a nice house in SF.
    The point I was trying to make is that legally an owner of a SFD in SF can ask you to move out (or raise the rent in the case of a pre 1979 constuction) and I’m not going to pull all the tricks that I know tenants can do to stay in a place.
    I think you are over-simplifying evictions in SF when you say people are fighting for their homes and that the hoops are few. It’s the aggressive stance of “f*%k landlords” (quote Chris Daily’s wife) that pretty much sums up the lack of balance in the current eviction process.
    In the case of Calhousingbear, I suspect the new owner may well have purchased the place to live there. If so, prop h sets the relocation cost and there is very little to negotiate unless the owner does not want the omi restrictions.

  47. “Maybe some day you’ll meet a real estate sales agent who will surprise you with their integrity.”
    Really? How do you lie about actual DOM “with integrity”? Cross your fingers behind your back when you pull the listing off and then put it back on for no other reason than to reset the DOM count to zero?

  48. What would a real estate agent possibly have to talk to Tipster about, MOD? That’s a very unlikely turn of events.

  49. Hmmm… 6 months’ owning this house or the 2008 M3 sedan I bought this morning.
    I think I’ll keep the car …

  50. Well Jimmy, Haven’t you been reading? Rich SF R.E. buyers don’t choose to buy one thing over the other, they have unlimited funds and zero analytical skills… That’s why the market hasn’t softened at all…

  51. Jane,
    Keep in mind it all hinges on your view of house price and rent inflation going forward, your tax rate etc, and time horizon. Your rent/cost estimate has a break even at 7 years assuming 3% inflation and 33% tax rate. So not such a “no brainer” The NYT buy vs. rent tool is one of the best i have seen out there.
    and I agree, Glen Park is a great little neighborhood.

  52. Oh, I think plenty of rich folks around here have great analytical skills, don’t need to do one thing or another, put lots of money down on property occasionally, and you’re unlikely to read about their r.e. turnovers for another 10 years or so. As for the market not softening at all, who said that? There’s a difference between countering someone’s argument that a house sold for 3% more than 2005 is showing a 15 to 20% market hit and saying the market hasn’t softened one bit. Dare I say it? Nice straw, er, men? ‘Cause that was two nonsense tangents, not just one?

  53. Nope, you’re mis-using the term strawman. You’re just complaining that someone made a statement without supporting evidence, in your mind. That’s not a strawman argument.

  54. I rent it is easy for me to get up and leave and when the heater breaks it is a phone call or two and it is done not a $5k to $10k
    Calhousing, fair points all, and true the 9k (assuming you have kids) does pay the relo etc. I too miss making the phone call when there is a leak.. I think the “premium” for owning is certainly different for different folks, which makes the market interesting in many ways.

  55. Yeah right. Setting up hyperbolic and sarcastic tangents as the central argument is nothing like straw man arguments. To you. And here we find you stretching to use the phrase “supporting evidence.” I chuckle at your robotic nature.

  56. In re: rental prices, we rent a 4-bedroom house in the Inner Sunset for a little less than $3200/month. We moved in two months ago. It has a remodeled kitchen, but the baths are still the old split-style with toilets separated from the sinks. It doesn’t have much of a back yard but it does have two decks, a garage, full basement, the original woodwork and stained-glass windows, and an extra office space off the laundry room. It’s not Cole Valley but we can walk there easily.
    I’m pretty sure our rent is below market, but there is a house with a very similar layout that we looked at a couple of blocks away ~5th/Hugo that didn’t manage to rent at $4600/month (last time we walked by, it was still empty), so presumably market rate on a 4-bedroom SFH around here is somewhere between $3200-$4600/month.

  57. Rent vs. own is very time and circumstance specific. Much of the commentary here focuses on the short term loss/gain of r.e. as an investment. But most people focus on having a place to LIVE. Over the long term, renting does have risks of eviction, crappy landlords, poor maintenance, inability to expand, etc. Yes, you could move, but at that point in time maybe rents are 20% more than you are able to pay. All of a sudden a 30 year fixed mortgage looks good. That’s what happened to us in 2002 – we had cheap rent in Glen Park, but we needed more room and the place was falling apart. At that point 2BR apartments were $1800-2000, and 2BR SFR were $2000+. So buying for $475K was not much of a stretch. Given the current market we’ve probably broken even (what with remodeling and opportunity costs), but we’re planning on staying a long time, and have made the place our own. How much is that worth? On the flip side, my in-laws are looking to buy a condo when they are renting a lovely SFR, and I think they are NUTS! Their hold window is 5-10 years, max, and they will be much less happy in the condo even if (and it’s a big if) they break even financially. But as someone else said, they aren’t willing to do the hard-eyed cost/benefit analysis. Sigh…..

  58. we moved to a 2000 sq ft SFR in Piedmont last fall and are paying under $2500/month.
    That seems impressive, to say the least. The few I see on Craigslist start out at ~$4000/month; did you have to negotiate aggressively with the landlord?

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