How we’re turning into a “megaregion”…

Silicon Valley sprawls East: How tech jobs, housing and transit are shaping a megaregion

Lauren Helper | Silicon Valley Business Journal | Oct 21, 2014 | link
City of Livermore

As Silicon Valley sprawls out of the confines of the South Bay, business advocates and city planners in the East Bay’s Tri-Valley region are angling to leverage transit, housing and sophisticated federal laboratories to grow the local tech industry. Here, a rendering of a proposed transit-oriented development area in Livermore, should the city win a controversial extension of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

On the outside, the SpinDx technology pioneered at Livermore’s Sandia National Laboratory looks like little more than a beige cube with a retro CD player on one end.

But the “lab-on-a-disk” tool developed with $4 million in federal funding has been hailed as a potential game changer in the detection of biological warfare agents, like anthrax, for its capability to manipulate and identify unknown substances.

Now, startups in the Tri-Valley area of the East Bay — a region immediately northeast of Silicon Valley, centered around the cities San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton — want to harness the technology’s healthcare potential to diagnose cancer or conduct in-home fertility testing.

The technology represents the crystallization of the type of public-private business development work that Tri-Valley officials and economic boosters want to use to foster a growing local tech industry.

In addition to research spun out of national research centers in the area like the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, they cite the region’s highly educated workforce, strong base of corporate tenants, an emerging startup scene and increasing economic ties to Silicon Valley as variables working in their favor.

Though the Tri-Valley’s billion-dollar research tenants offer a potential leg up, the business push also comes as outlying regions from Santa Cruz to the San Joaquin Valley up to Davis also look to strengthen ties to Silicon Valley. It all adds fuel to demographers’ predictions that Northern California will likely look like a 24 million-resident “Megaregion” in just a few decades.

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We’re back in a big way!

California home prices hit new seven-year high, sales rebound
Elliot Spagat | Associated Press |  April 18, 2015 | link

SAN DIEGO — California home prices reached fresh seven-year-highs in March, a research firm said Friday, helping sales rebound from a two-month slide as some homeowners put their property on the market to reap gains.

The median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $397,000, up about 5 percent from $378,000 in February and about 6 percent from $376,000 in March 2014, CoreLogic said.

It marked the highest level since December 2007, when the median was $402,000, and the 37th straight month of annual gains.

There were about 35,000 homes sold in March, up 38 percent from about 26,000 the previous month and 7 percent from nearly 33,000 during the same period of 2014. Sales typically increase from February to March but the jump was higher than some expected and followed two straight months of declines from year-ago levels.

The San Francisco Bay Area’s stratospheric prices and thin supplies stood out. Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist of the California Association of Realtors, said sellers are getting multiple offers well above asking prices.

“The market in the Bay Area is really unique,” Appleton-Young said. “You’ve got this concentration of job and income growth in an environment with very little new construction (and) limited land.”

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The weather isn’t the only thing getting sunnier this spring!

Optimism Buoys National Housing Survey Results

Jann Swanson | Mortgage News Daily | Feb 9 2015 | link

Fannie Mae said today that its monthly National Housing Survey (NHS) portrayed increasing optimism as both employment and overall economic figures improved.  More respondents reported their own financial situations were improving and attitudes toward housing also brightened.

The share of respondents who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 4 percentage points to 29 percent, and the share expecting their personal financial situation to improve over the next year increased to 48 percent – both all-time survey highs.  At the same time the number of consumers who see this as a good time to buy a home rose 3 percentage points and those seeing it as a good time to sell rose 4 to scores of 67 and 44 respectively.  The latter number is an all-time survey high.

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Some crazy news from a crazy SF market…

San Francisco real estate has gotten so crazy that this startup founder was offered stock options for his house

joe fernandez

From million-dollar teardowns to homes selling for 70% above their asking price, there have been plenty of crazy stories about the San Francisco real estate market.

This one might take the cake.

Joe Fernandez, cofounder of social influence startup Klout, was looking to sell his Noe Valley home before making the move to Los Angeles with his wife.

The home, a three-bedroom Victorian house whose gutting and renovation had been featured in the New York Times, was listed for $1.895 million at the beginning of March.

Fernandez said hundreds of people showed up for the open house in the days that followed.

“I guess people researched and found out that I was the one who owned the house,” he told Business Insider. A “Klout For Dummies” book on a shelf also probably tipped off visitors to the owner’s identity.

Soon he was being contacted with several interesting offers: stock options as part of a deal to buy the house.

Congrats to our local winners!

Pleasanton Chamber Announces Community Service Awards Honorees

Excellence, philanthropy, green practices–all are being recognized. Do you know anyone who’s getting an award?

Pleasanton Chamber Announces Community Service Awards Honorees

The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce will recognize those deserving individuals, groups and businesses who have demonstrated excellence and community leadership in business, volunteer activities and achievement within the Pleasanton community on this evening, March 25, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Firehouse Arts Center.

The public is invited to attend. The evening includes a hosted bar and heavy hors’ doeuvres as well as a silent auction followed by the awards presentation. Cost to attend is $35 per person and tickets are on sale now

Award recipients include:

Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel, Inc., Business Philanthropy Award: For businesses that have provided philanthropic service beyond the scope of normal business activity.

Ritter Investments, LLC, Excellence in Business Award: For businesses that have made a positive impact in the Pleasanton community through their achievement within the scope of normal business activity.

Cassidy Turley / DTZ, Excellence in Service Award: For organizations that have contributed to Pleasanton.

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BREAKING NEWS! USA Today names Pleasanton #4 best city to live in!

America’s 50 best cities to live in


When choosing where to live, Americans consider a variety of factors. For some, the quality of schools is important. For others, the strength of the local economy or personal safety takes priority.

To determine America’s best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the 550 areas measured by the U.S. Census Bureau with populations of 65,000 or more.

Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, educational attainment, and housing affordability, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s 50 best cities to live.

SPECIAL REPORT: The 50 best cities in America to live in and how they were chosen

Because of its importance, the labor market was one of the key measures we used to identify the best cities. In order to be considered, a city needed positive employment growth between 2011 and 2013 and an unemployment rate of no more than 9.8%, roughly one-third higher than the national rate last year.

We also measured the availability of certain amenities. According to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, access to outdoor activities, beautiful parks and sports clubs “are the type of amenities that often will set apart certain communities from others.”

Many of the best cities are located near major cities, as this proximity provides residents with access to good schools and safe neighborhoods, while also allowing them to enjoy the amenities available in the nearby larger cities.

However, none of America’s largest cities were among the nation’s best places to live. Nearly all of these had crime rates that automatically excluded them from consideration. Additionally, more than half of these cities had poverty rates above 21.1%, or 33% above the national average, making them ineligible.

Here are the top 5 of America’s best cities to live in:

5. Evanston, Illinois

> Median household income: $68,169

> Unemployment rate, 2013: 7.20%

> Median home value: $360,900

> Violent crime per 100,000 residents: 304.7

> Average commuter travel time: 28.4 minutes

More than two-thirds of adults living in Evanston had completed at least a bachelor’s degree, among the highest educational attainment rates in the nation. Younger Evanston residents seem to be on track to get a good education as well. Secondary school students performed above average on math and language arts standardized tests in 2013. Additionally, Northwestern University, one of the nation’s top universities, is based in Evanston.

In addition to a well-educated populace, Evanston residents have plenty of entertainment options available to them. Cook County, which includes Chicago, had 49 museums and 192 libraries as of 2012. There were also nearly 9,000 restaurants and more than 900 bars — more than any other county in the nation.

MORE: America’s best companies to work for

4. Pleasanton, California

> Median household income: $112,665

> Unemployment rate, 2013: 3.70%

> Median home value: $694,300

> Violent crime per 100,000 residents: 68.2

> Average commuter travel time: 28.9 minutes

Like many of the best cities to live in, Pleasanton is relatively safe. There were less than 70 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012, among the lowest rates nationwide. A typical household earned more than $112,000, more than all but a handful of U.S. cities. And the unemployment rate in Pleasanton was just 3.7% last year, also among the lowest rates nationwide.

Local students have access to a high-quality education. Secondary school children performed well above the state average in math, language arts, and science last year.

While median income was among the highest in the country, cost of living was also expensive. Property values in Pleasanton were among the highest in the nation. A typical home in the area was valued at nearly $695,000, more than all but six other cities reviewed.

Read more…

What’s Google got to do with it? (Housing, that is…)

What’s Google have to do with mortgages?

How a recent study of digital expectations relates to lending

Matt Corcoran | Housing Wire | August 22, 2014 | link
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