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Old 06-27-2014, 04:21 PM   #61
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However the assessed value of homes in Tx is online. Further the law does say that the assessment districts should keep up with full value. It does seem from some observation that the assesment districts do get sales prices. (In my neighborhood one vacant lot sold and the land value on vacant lots nearby went up that year). When I lived in Houston, I saw the assessed value drop in the late 1980s and recover by 2005 (to a bit more than I got for the house when I sold it). So you can use the assessed value to cross check with Zillow.
Daughter's house was reassessed this Spring at a value of $146,000, much closer to the last Zillow estimate of $156,000. But I can't explain the $212,000 valuation Zillow made earlier this year.

Houses are going for absurd prices around this end of Houston due to the new Exxon complex being built in the neighborhood. That will bring in roughly 8,000 Exxon employees by end of 2015. The flurry of buyers and rising prices remind me of the years I spent in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:21 PM   #62
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Lately the biggest concern for me being happy in Southern California for the long term is increasing population density. Where I live now was mixed rural and new suburbs 25 years ago. Now it is mixed suburbs and semiurban with terrible traffic and less serene vistas. The built out areas within 30 minutes of the coast or metro areas that have class and charm are too expensive for us to RE. Even if we find a little refuge just outside the current hot markets I worry that within a decade we will be absorbed into the giant suburban traffic jam that is much of socal. Guess that is the tradeoff for the climate.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:39 PM   #63
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Zillow is all wet, as far as I am concerned. Especially when it comes to putting fair market value on Texas homes.
I just used our old house on Zillow as an example. Housing in Texas is around $99 sq foot and San Francisco itself is $853, with the suburbs usually coming in varying amount lower.

The initial price of a house is one consideration, but potential appreciation may offset a higher initial cost. I have been intrigued with housing options like straw bale houses a family could build themselves for a low cost, but with a limited resale market, little chance of appreciation and usually a lot not in a walkable area I think just buying a condo that might appreciate more could actually cost less in the long run. So my only point was initial cost isn't the only factor for housing costs and Prop 13 is very advantageous to long term home owners, so the housing costs here are not always as bad as they seem at first glance.
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:18 PM   #64
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I did a living expense exercise between staying put in CA vs moving to Florida. There was about 17% difference in expense, and much of that was due to housing (and golf which is cheaper in FL, all things being equal). 17% surtax for better climate, closer to relatives, etc? I can live with that.
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:21 PM   #65
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I just used our old house on Zillow as an example. Housing in Texas is around $99 sq foot and San Francisco itself is $853, with the suburbs usually coming in varying amount lower.

The initial price of a house is one consideration, but potential appreciation may offset a higher initial cost. I have been intrigued with housing options like straw bale houses a family could build themselves for a low cost, but with a limited resale market, little chance of appreciation and usually a lot not in a walkable area I think just buying a condo that might appreciate more could actually cost less in the long run. So my only point was initial cost isn't the only factor for housing costs and Prop 13 is very advantageous to long term home owners, so the housing costs here are not always as bad as they seem at first glance.
Prop 13 was good when I lived in CA as we paid $229,000 in 1983 for our home (taxes about $2400/yr). Who bought it and paid $800K+ had to pay 4 times the property tax as it used to be based on 1.25% of the new purchase price.

Another thing that used to grab me was even though property tax can't rise under Prop 13, the communities float bonds to pay for town improvements, etc, then you get to pay those back on your tax statement as separate line items. I remember on our tax bill we had a list of those bond paybacks that totaled about 1/2 the property tax. So they get you anyway.

On Texas housing prices being $99/square foot? Where did you get that? Is that a state average, or something? Housing prices are rising faster than a hot summer moon around here and the square footage is remaining the same. While we are certainly not at SF rates yet, I see $300+ a square foot in some local areas of new construction. Things have changed in Texas the last few years with the energy boom.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:59 PM   #66
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Why would people want to live near a big Exxon facility unless you worked there?

Presuming this is an office building complex, not a refinery or anything with oil or gas processing?
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:10 PM   #67
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Why would people want to live near a big Exxon facility unless you worked there?
Or conducted business with those who did.
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Presuming this is an office building complex...
+1
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In total, the complex will house 10,000 people when it opens in 2015.
February 2014: The new Exxon Mobil corporate campus
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:18 PM   #68
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Housing in Texas is around $99 sq foot...
Can you post the source of this info? It sure doesn't sound like the Texas I live in.
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:22 PM   #69
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Can you post the source of this info? It sure doesn't sound like the Texas I live in.
Texas Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

http://www.zillow.com/houston-tx/home-values/

I am sorry if my post offended people who live in Texas. If the median is $99 for then half the homes will be more than that per sq ft. I took the sq ft price of my old house and it matched the Zillow median sq ft price for Texas as a whole, and both were around $99 a sq ft.

My only point was that the initial price of a house may not be the biggest indicator of its financial value, and housing in California for longer term residents may not necessarily be a bad investment, especially with Prop 13. I am very, very, very, very sorry I used my old house (which just happened to be in Texas) as an example.
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:01 AM   #70
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Prop 13 was good when I lived in CA as we paid $229,000 in 1983 for our home (taxes about $2400/yr). Who bought it and paid $800K+ had to pay 4 times the property tax as it used to be based on 1.25% of the new purchase price.

Another thing that used to grab me was even though property tax can't rise under Prop 13, the communities float bonds to pay for town improvements, etc, then you get to pay those back on your tax statement as separate line items. I remember on our tax bill we had a list of those bond paybacks that totaled about 1/2 the property tax. So they get you anyway.

On Texas housing prices being $99/square foot? Where did you get that? Is that a state average, or something? Housing prices are rising faster than a hot summer moon around here and the square footage is remaining the same. While we are certainly not at SF rates yet, I see $300+ a square foot in some local areas of new construction. Things have changed in Texas the last few years with the energy boom.

I've been looking around using Trulia and I've seen nice houses outside Houston for under $100/sq ft. I.e., around $500k for a nice 5000sq ft house. In fact I'm looking at one right now on trulia : 4990 sq ft, $459000, large lot, swimming pool, gorgeous kitchen.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:48 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
Texas Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

Houston Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow

I am sorry if my post offended people who live in Texas. If the median is $99 for then half the homes will be more than that per sq ft. I took the sq ft price of my old house and it matched the Zillow median sq ft price for Texas as a whole, and both were around $99 a sq ft.

My only point was that the initial price of a house may not be the biggest indicator of its financial value, and housing in California for longer term residents may not necessarily be a bad investment, especially with Prop 13. I am very, very, very, very sorry I used my old house (which just happened to be in Texas) as an example.
Not really offended, just a bit surprised at the numbers and wondering where they came from. Thanks for the source info.

BTW, I think a far more valid comparison would be using the $ per SQ FT in a Texas city rather than the state itself. San Francisco (232 square miles) vs. Texas (268,820 square miles) isn't apples to apples. The numbers won't change by much - Houston $/SF is $138 and Dallas is $145.

EDIT: Zillow says the median price per SQ FT for California is $255.
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Old 06-28-2014, 04:13 PM   #72
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Why would people want to live near a big Exxon facility unless you worked there?

Presuming this is an office building complex, not a refinery or anything with oil or gas processing?
Yes, it happens to be the largest private commercial project in the U.S. at the moment. It will bring a lot of new jobs to the area as Exxon will be closing and relocating services from several parts of the country. The corporate office in Falls Village, Va is one of the main offices being shut down.

It's just part of the U.S. energy business continuing consolidation to Texas and specifically the area north of Houston.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:43 PM   #73
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The new Apple Campus they're building, the Norman Foster flying saucer building, is suppose to host 10,000 employees as well.

But it's one big building, not several.

The way these tech company campuses are built, with the perks they offer, there isn't as much benefit for local businesses. For instance, cafeterias usually offer nicer, healthier food at subsidized prices or free to employees. Various concierge services discourage people from leaving campus at all.

On a per square foot basis, I think retail space brings in more tax revenues to the city than corporate office buildings.

Now, the tech companies pay their employees a lot more than retail businesses but often, they also bus these employees from other cities, often San Francisco, rather than Santa Clara Valley.

Google is acquiring more and more land near their main campus and the suspicion is that they will build a company town of sorts, with housing included for employees.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:57 PM   #74
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Now, the tech companies pay their employees a lot more than retail businesses but often, they also bus these employees from other cities, often San Francisco, rather than Santa Clara Valley.
This is fairly new, and because the Valley has become such a boring soulless place, whereas San Francisco is now and always has been a very attractive city. Attractive enough that techies pay a big rent premium to live up there. And, there is an increasing amount of programmer type employment in SF.

Microsoft runs a similar bus service called The Connector, to take employees from close in Seattle neighborhoods to Redmond. It's a subset of employees though, I think the large majority of MS workers live on the Eastside.

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Old 06-28-2014, 07:09 PM   #75
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...I think the large majority of MS workers live on the Eastside.
That's true for two of my wife's nieces, who work at MS. They do not get paid the bigger bucks or loads of options like employees of some gogo Internet companies.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:18 PM   #76
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This is fairly new, and because the Valley has become such a boring soulless place, whereas San Francisco is now and always has been a very attractive city. Attractive enough that techies pay a big rent premium to live up there. And, there is an increasing amount of programmer type employment in SF.

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Yes, they call it the "San Francisco cloud corridor" (that's where I live), home of Twitter, Zynga, Yelp, and many others.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:32 PM   #77
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I think a lot of the tech employees who choose to live in San Francisco tend to be those from other regions, not those who grew up here.

San Francisco is one of the most glamorous places in the world, no suburbs are going to be able to compete with that, though I recall in the '80s, SF was kind of in decline, with big employers and businesses like Bank of America moving major operations outside, to Concord.

But it's cleaned up its act and new things like AT&T Park brought a new sheen back (imagine if they were still playing in Candlestick). I forget which mayor but they also sanitized the city, shipping out homeless, maybe confining the more gritty areas and cleaning up others. It's probably not as drastic as what New York did with midtown and Times Square but something similar.

Dotcom brought all these tech hipsters to the City and now the second Dotcom is doing the same. There used to be a few tech employees who'd take Caltrain down and we'd have to drive them to the station if they worked late. Now of course, the buses make it easier for people to live up in the City and commute down (though it's still at least 2 hours out of your day).

One of the draws for young tech workers with money is chasing all the trendy restaurants, made popular by social media. Being able to get tables at some high-demand places anointed through the web is a thing. In comparison, back in the day, the culinary thing in SF was getting good crab at Fisherman's Wharf.
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:59 PM   #78
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I forget which mayor but they also sanitized the city, shipping out homeless, maybe confining the more gritty areas and cleaning up others. It's probably not as drastic as what New York did with midtown and Times Square but something similar.
There used to be more homeless people in SF than there are now? Wow. I moved to SF in 2008, and lived and worked there for a year, before moving to the East Bay. SF was pretty much as I expected it would be except for one thing - all the homeless people. I was unprepared for that - and that's saying something, as I moved from Hollywood (the one in CA)!
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Old 06-28-2014, 09:06 PM   #79
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They moved them out of the Civic Center area a few years ago.

I don't know if it was permanent or if it was for some event and they wanted to keep them out of the visible areas.
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Old 06-28-2014, 09:13 PM   #80
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They moved them out of the Civic Center area a few years ago.

I don't know if it was permanent or if it was for some event and they wanted to keep them out of the visible areas.
They're back - in droves.

I know all large cities have a seedy side but for some reason, I found that aspect of SF particularly unappealing - and unexpected. Perhaps that's because I thought it was going to be all cable cars and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls
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