Wednesday, August 31, 2011

House fever

I shifted my point of view up to Newark and Fremont, and found that housing prices there are far more affordable than in the South Bay and Peninsula. Of course, there's a reason for that. It's a PITA to get to the South Bay and Peninsula (where the jobs are) from up there. You are forced either onto I880 or CA84 to get anywhere that high-tech jobs are, and I know from experience that those are painful unless you are riding a motorcycle and can lane split and use the diamond lanes. Although things are a bit less painful now that the Mission Blvd overpass is complete and the freeway no longer necks down there. And it'd be a great excuse to buy another motorcycle ;).

Still, *with* taxes and insurance a 3 bedroom house with 2 car garage can be obtained up there for roughly the same as my rent on a 2 bedroom duplex with 1 car garage (once you count up the tax deductions). E.g. on a $300K home, rent, mortgage, and insurance comes to about $1950, and then factor in the tax deductions and it comes out to *less* than my current rent (hint -- 28% tax bracket, and most of the early years of a mortgage are tax-deductible interest, PMI, and property taxes). Hmm. Not bad, assuming the neighborhood isn't full of meth-heads and gang bangers :).

-- Badtux the Sorta-house-huntin' Penguin


  1. Yeah, BUT! How much longer are the taxes, PMI & interest gonna be deductible? The repukians want to do away with those for us poor folks so they can pass it on up the line to the Gentry folks of quality. You know the Job Creators

  2. When calculating the cost, you are assigning a low money value to the time it would take you to make that commute two times a day. You also don't calculate the risk of lost income from a crash on the drive. Not a good deal still, IMO.

  3. It was helpful to me that I never really saw my house as an investment. I bought my house because I didn't want to have to deal with a landlord anymore and because in the neighborhoods where I wanted to live, there really aren't too many rentals. I bought my house because it was where I wanted to live.

    I've found that attitude has been helpful lately too because housing prices have dropped so much that my house is worth only 50% of what it once was and I am underwater in my mortgage (although not so much thankfully that I am stuck). My house is my house and it is emotionally very different from renting. I don't know if you would find that to be the case but it is something worth considering.

  4. The other problem with Fremont/Newark is that you're too damned close to the Hayward fault, which is gonna go big-time someday soon.

  5. Karen, not proposing to buy near the Hayward Fault. Saw one house in Milpitas on that fault where it's clear the house is getting pulled into pieces by the fault, huge cracks everywhere.

    Lynne, yes, there is some advantage to being able to make the house the way *you* want it, rather than the way your *landlord* wants it. That said, I've owned a house before and it was, meh, a place to live, not something special or anything, I didn't do much to it other than some basic maintenance like replacing a dead dishwasher. So it goes.

    Bukko, I'm talking about Fremont, not Los Banos. 30 minute commute vs 15 minute commute isn't significant enough for me to worry about.

    Dave: Good question. I'll just note that if they do away with those tax deductions, it'll be a bloodbath. But still, I'm not relying on the tax deductions to make this affordable, if I cannot get a house that I can afford without the tax deductions, I simply won't buy.

    So anyhow, I'm not serious -- yet. I would need to line some ducks up in a row first. For one thing, I don't want to even think about pulling the trigger on a house search until I've had one year on the current job...

    - Badtux the Well-housed Penguin

  6. Houses are nice. If only there was some way to prove you own the house that you own...

    Tough titties if some huge corporation decides it can make a buck from taking it away. Or can't make a buck, but will take it anyway, just to increase the evil and misery in the world.

  7. We'd welcome ya in Penguin friendly Forestville!

  8. How about the Salinas area if you are stuck on Ca.?

  9. Uhm, dudes. Salinas and Forestville are as far from work as Los Banos. And I know for a fact that it takes me around 2 hours to go between Los Banos and work during peak commuting hours (because I go out that way when I go to the desert).

    Not happenin'.

    - Badtux the Not-crazy Penguin


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