Mortgage Mania 17 - Foreclosures Inside The Bubble

June 7, 2008

Long-time Mortgage Mania readers, (aka Mortgage Maniacs) know that I’m an avid reader of the New York Times, so it should come as no surprise that I would have some comments on this article in the Friday June 6 edition regarding the continuing foreclosure crisis affecting consumers across the country.

Authors Bajaj and Grynbaum review some recent statistics on foreclosures, and then go on to predict another wave of foreclosures as the economy continues to slow and more consumers fall victim to layoffs and job cuts.

It’s easy to ignore these rumblings here in wealthy Silicon Valley where the local economy is still vibrant, even with nearly $5 a gallon gas, as it is still a minor impact on a budget with a $5,000 a month mortgage. It’s easy for us living in The Bubble of Unstoppable Real Estate (which I define as: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Los Altos, your mileage may vary) to say “it can’t happen here”.

Not so fast there pardner. A Short Sale in Atherton you say? It’s almost enough to make you drop your Grey Poupon.

This little number at 199 Selby Lane in Atherton recently listed by Lanny Dannenberg of Keller Williams is a short sale at $1,795,000. It has been on the market with a couple of different brokers for over two years, starting at $2,495,000 in March of 2006.

The good news is that the local market continues to be pretty strong, especially at the upper levels, above $3 million. Don’t take my word for it, check out this market data for the latest facts and figures on Palo Alto and surrounding communities.

Thanks for reading . . .

Tags: , , economy, , ,

Strange sights #1 — Fair Oaks road construction

September 5, 2006

If you’ve driven in Fair Oaks lately (the Menlo Park neighborhood near Marsh and Middlefield, not the Sunnyvale street), you’ll know the county has been giving the streets, especially 9th Avenue and Oak Drive, a much-needed makeover.The construction crews and vehicles have gone, but their handiwork on Oak Drive between San Benito and Encina looks a little suspect.
Notice anything odd about the picture below of Oak Drive, facing northwest from the intersection of Oak Drive and Placitas? It looks like they’ve only done one half of the street!

Oak Drive near Placitas — only one half paved?

As you go further northwest on Oak Drive, you get to Encina, and from there on, both sides are paved.

Oak Drive near Encina — both halves paved

Why would the county arbitrarily pave half of Oak Drive on one part of the street, but the whole street elsewhere? Union strike? Ran out of money? Bad engineering?

Turns out the answer is pretty innocent — and quite informative about city boundaries. Though much of Fair Oaks is in unincorporated San Mateo county (with a Menlo Park mailing address), a sliver of it actually belongs to Atherton. The boundary, as it turns out, runs literally halfway through Oak Drive itself between San Benito and Encina, then runs left on Encina until it meets up with Middlefield and the rest Atherton proper.

So, the county’s responsibility is only for the northeastern half of Oak Drive between San Benito and Encina, and then all of Oak Drive northwest of Encina.

Confused? Maybe this map will help; the dark green shading is Atherton’s bit of Fair Oaks; the lighter green is the Menlo Park section.

Boundary between Atherton (dark green) and Menlo Park

We’ll have to wait for the Town of Atherton to pave the other half.

Strange indeed.

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