Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Monkey Bars Not Included

Well, given where the previous post's comment thread is heading I think it is "high" time for a new post. This Mill Valley "tree house" doesn't quite meet all of the "requirements" for the PoS designation, but it's pretty close. Break out the moonshine, grab your cute cousin, and check out these fragments from the realtor's write-up: "mountain home", "this home needs tlc but could be transformed", "currently functioning as 2 non-conforming units". No "life style" upgrades and it costs just a pittance (by Marin standards) -- just three-quarters of a million dollars.

19 Comments:

Blogger mogger said...

Property is worth what people are prepared to pay for it and eventually rents and everything else will rise because of it and the gap between the haves and have nots will continue to grow, this is the problem when people try too hard to jump on the bandwagon, they will simply get thrown off.
Think about how many investors have made huge gains over the last few years and are now consolidating to better areas or a better lifestyle using their windfalls.
While these houses may look average to someone who has lived in the area a while I can see the attraction, these places have a character all thier own.
It`s interesting in aussie its taken for granted that home prices double around every seven or so years and many have made fortunes by taking advantage of this but in America it seems this is not a reliable mantra to have.
Some places in Aussie are going down but generally prices are holding and there is still activity everywhere you look in Brisbane, in fact all of Qld.
Sydney has long been overated compared to warmer areas up north around Brisbane, what`s happening with prices reflects that shift.
Many are simply selling up down south and heading north to retire to a more affordable lifestyle, especially when most realise the lifestyle is actually better.
Big dollars are made where perception and reality come together, but bigger dollars are lost when they don`t!.

December 28, 2005 2:05 PM  
Blogger SiliconValley Renter said...

That's actually a bargain at $750k considering the enormous size of that deck and that free pile of firewood!

All kidding aside, I grew up in Marin and would love to move back up there if there was a job market that could support the current home prices. I simply will not buy a $600k 1BR condo just because it's a "nice place to live", but that's just me.

To each his own!

December 28, 2005 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mogger -

Austraila is different from the US because A is a commodity driven country and it is benefitting from the commodity boom lately. Also, it is a lot closer to China so Chinese like to buy properties there. A does not have huge deficit like the US. Overall speaking A could weather the RE slowdown better than the US.

I agree with you that it is wise to take advantage of the RE boom time. Cash out and live a smiple lifestyle.

December 28, 2005 4:20 PM  
Blogger INVESTORDUDE said...

My daddy built me a better looking treehouse when I was a kid...

December 28, 2005 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this tree house will cost about $20 million (correct me if I'm wrong), principal and interest payment combined after 30 year's mortgage is paid off. Will this house be there after 30 years?

December 28, 2005 7:14 PM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

As a former Sydney resident during the beginning of their boom (1999-2001), I agree with mogger that there is a difference in the culture and attitude towards RE between here and Oz.

1. Aussies are much bigger risk takers and more ambitious and better-educated than Americans. If Australia were not hampered by its ridiculous tax system, I am convinced their per capita income would be higher than ours.

2. Aussies consider property ownership a birthright and the idea of owning investment property is considered quite normal. Plenty of people consider residential investment real estate a component of their retirement plans, like their superannuation (401k). Here, it seems very few people actually look at real estate as part of a diversified investment portfolio.

Also, just to set the record straight, Australia has a huge trade deficit, mainly with China (surprise, surprise), although their government runs a budget surplus.

My plan is to retire at 40, sell my 3 Marin properties, convert the proceeds to A$ (a 30% boost), buy a place for around A$300k on the beach in Queensland, throw the rest in the bank and call it good.* There is so much cheap coastal RE in Australia -- I am surprised it isn't more expensive.

Beats the crap out of retiring to Arizona, eh?

*I am kidding. My wife would kill me if we moved across the Pacific yet again and had to fly 13 hours back to the US to see her parents. But I can dream...

December 28, 2005 7:18 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"Aussies are much bigger risk takers and more ambitious and better-educated than Americans."

LOL, then GTFO!

When my family from the midwest heard what I paid for my house they couldnt believe it, now when they come and visit they don't want to leave.

Quality of life is a matter of perspective. California is a great place to live FOREVER, and more specifically Marin IS > most locales in the U.S. The anti-Marin RE bubbleheads will scream 'gods country!', but I do not care, I HAVED lived in six other states and europe, I know what it is like to not see the sun for 6 months, deal with snow, humidity, and now I know what it is like to Tee-off in January wearing shorts, and then drive 4-6 hrs for some of the best skiing in the country, but who am I? I am just a Naive RE investor Marin Transplant.

December 28, 2005 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My plan is to retire at 40, sell my 3 Marin properties, convert the proceeds to A$ (a 30% boost), buy a place for around A$300k on the beach in Queensland, throw the rest in the bank and call it good. - rejunkie

Yippee. Even rejunkie is planning to cash out his RE holdings in Marin and move to somewhere cheaper in Australia. Does this mean rejunkie sense the Marin RE price has peaked?

December 28, 2005 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness there are a lot of people who want to live in places like Marin!

What that means is prices for the type of property where I like to live are affordable for me.

5-10 acres with a small house (not a trailer), close enough to a Big City for great shopping; quiet seclusion, hunting, fishing, growing organic food, livestock if you want it, crime rate lower than Marin's -

one-tenth the price.

December 29, 2005 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The richest people of this country do not live in Marin either because they could tell value from illusion. They rather spend money on big parcels for seclusion and privacy with reasonable price. This is how they get rich. Right now, Warren Buffett is downsizing his real estate holding and it probably means something.

December 29, 2005 9:05 AM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

Yippee. Even rejunkie is planning to cash out his RE holdings in Marin and move to somewhere cheaper in Australia. Does this mean rejunkie sense the Marin RE price has peaked?


Um, that was a joke. The little asterisk thingey sort of said as much. Believe me, I ain't selling.

fredtobik, I have just one thing to say: "Amen brother".

December 29, 2005 8:32 PM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

The richest people of this country do not live in Marin either because they could tell value from illusion. They rather spend money on big parcels for seclusion and privacy with reasonable price. This is how they get rich. Right now, Warren Buffett is downsizing his real estate holding and it probably means something. - anonymous

Andre Agassi, George Lucas, Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Yahoo! founders, numerous CEO's. All foolish idiots who have ruined themselves financially by owning Marin real estate.

December 29, 2005 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andre Agassi, George Lucas, Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Yahoo! founders, numerous CEO's. All foolish idiots who have ruined themselves financially by owning Marin real estate.

No one said they are foolish idiots and have ruined themselves financially by owning Marin real estate. It is fine that they chose to live here. Other very rich people rather live somewhere else. Not every one has a passion for Marin.

Besides, Andre Agassi's mansion in Marin has been on the market for at least 2 years. Two Russian oil men have been trying to sell their multi-million houses for quite some time.

December 29, 2005 9:47 PM  
Blogger mogger said...

I see the big change these days being moreso that everyone wants the best house in the best street right now!, why is it people think that they deserve everything?, and easily?, right now.
My guess is it the availability of information and more to the point, the incorrect info churned out by gurus preaching how we can all be rich and how we don`t need to work hard to do it.

December 30, 2005 1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rejunkie, where in Queensland would you move? Near Byron or Sunshine coast?

December 30, 2005 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the big change these days being moreso that everyone wants the best house in the best street right now!, why is it people think that they deserve everything?, and easily?

Yes, we are at the era of "entitlement". It is never enough, bigger cars, bigger TV screens, and bigger houses. It takes a clear head to know that the real virtue in life is to have a modest lifestyle and be happy with what you have got.

December 30, 2005 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure that there really is much of a difference in attitudes between your average mariner and your average sydneysider and for that matter the average auckland resident.

The reason that Marin (and Santa Barbara and San Diego) real estate is higher priced than elsewhere in the US is that people of middling means (teachers, bartenders, hairdressers) feel that they must own a home in marin. Call it a birthrite attitude. These are the marginal buyers that have pushed up the starter and POS homes in the area that we all poke fun at. In Sydney, you get the same crowd of police and nurses making $40k aus crowding into the market and pushing up the bottom while the rest of the market trades up. Human psychology is the same.

Financially, on a per capital basis, the residents of Aus are not even close to as well off as the mariners. Their debt per gross income is higher and those that have mortgages carry mortgages that are a huge ratio of their after tax income.

I doubt that sydney residents are more risk taking than mariners. One difference may be that many are expat workers from an early age and manage to bring a lot of cash back into the country that finds its way into real estate.

Better educated? Give me a break.

Highly flawed tax system that is for sure.

For my money, the gold cost looks a lot like the Vegas strip without the neon. Tacky. If that is your version of paradise, you can have that surfers paradise.

December 30, 2005 2:39 PM  
Blogger mogger said...

Except of course Surfers has, and is among many of the the best surf beaches in the world.
It`s Captain Nemos heaven on earth!.

December 31, 2005 1:05 PM  
Blogger VO5 said...

this place is a major piece of sh**,
Its on Miller ave. known as the tree house, I got a bit sea sick standing in there checking it out a while ago,the floors are totally pitched. zero potential no parking 70+ stairs to get up there, north facing a complete shroom farm.

I was looking at it and the 10th or so agent to represent to clueless owner, poor guy, showed it to me, gave me his pitch. was a maxiberg POS, one of the worst I've seen.

January 13, 2006 10:12 AM  

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