Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2007:June:24 Sunday <Saturday, Monday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2007/6/24-28 [Reference/BayArea] UID:47051 Activity:high
6/24    So here is something that puzzles me. I think we have conclusively
        proven that the suburban lifestyle, with its wide streets, plentiful
        parking and large back yards is clearly superior to the crowded,
        rat-infested warrens in the cities. But why are home prices dropping
        in the suburbs, while still going up in San Francisco? Antioch, Vallejo,
        Santa Rose, Hayward, Vacaville all nice places with plenty of free
        parking, are plummeting in price, while the zip codes in San Francisco
        that most people live in, 94117, 94114, 94116, 92131, are all going up.
        What is going on here?
        \_ Hi troll.  Prices are drpping in the places you mention because
           they suck and have always sucked.  Some suburbs are slummy.  Shock!
        \_ So much for conclusive proof!  What's the percentage of Americans
           that believe in a literal Hell, or that the world was created in
           7 days?  Americans == stupid.
        \_ Suburbs are usually the last to rise and the first to fall. The
           reason: supply and demand. Supply is restricted in the cities.
           In the suburbs, not so much.
           \_ you mean, demand is higher in the cities.
              \_ No, I think it is more a case of supply affecting prices.
                 \- the issue is probably more of an issue of substiution
                    effects. if you are a white collar couple taking a
                    job in sf and want to buy a house in a "nice" suburb,
                    to some extent palo alto, mill valley, danville, moraga
                    may all be candidates. if you want to live an urban
                    lifestyle, you might not even want to live below
                    cortland or beyond 19th ave ... so maybe you are
                    considering only say 40% of SF. oakland or downtown
                    sj are not likely to be substitutes.
                    \_ I agree with this. The supply of <suitable suburban
                       housing> is greater than the supply of <parts of
                       SF I'd like to raise kids in>.
                       \_ Or to flip it around; suburban housing is
                          a commodity (Concord =~ Fremont) while urban
                          housing has intrinsic value.  -tom
                          \_ I wouldn't say it has intrinsic value. Demand
                             can always fall. See: Detroit. It's just that
                             supply is limited as compared to the suburbs,
                             almost by definition. I don't see where SF
                             has intrinsic value and, say, Black Hawk does
                             not. Neither of them do, really, except maybe
                             for their agricultural value and in that case
                             I would argue a 1/2 acre suburban lot has
                             more intrinsic value than a condo on the 30th
                             floor of a building in SF or NYC.
                             \_ If you think SF or NYC is anything like Detroit
                                you are a moron.
                                \_ What makes them different? Detroit was
                                   a major US city and a good place to
                                   live. It still (arguably) is. However,
                                   what happened in Detroit is that all
                                   the wealthy people fled to the suburbs.
                                   This proves that an 'urban lifestyle'
                                   is not necessarily more intrinsically
                                   valuable than a suburban lifestyle.
                                   \_ No, it proves that Detroit and
                                      San Francisco are different, in a
                                      way that Concord and Fremont are
                                      not.  -tom
                                      \_ You can't get much more urban
                                         than Detroit. So perhaps the
                                         allure of SF is not that it is
                                         \_ Does Detroit have a higher
                                            density than San Francisco or
                                            NYC? In what way is it more urban?
                                            \_ It's a lot larger, for one.
                                               \_ Larger in area or population?
                                                  A large spread out city is
                                                  not "urban" is is suburban.
                                                  \_ Are you going to claim
                                                     that Detroit is suburban?!
                                                     \_ No, I just dispute the
                                                        claim that it is "more
                                                        urban" than NYC and SF.
                                                        Since you can't even
                                                        define a value that
                                                        makes Detroit more
                                                        urban, I think you
                                                        should admit that you
                                                        are wrong. LA is even
                                                        denser than Detroit
                                                        and huge swaths of LA
                                                        are unarguably
                                                        \_ What's more urban:
                                                           Somerville, MA
                                                           or SF? Population
                                                           density doesn't
                                                           tell the story.
                                                           You even say
                                                           that you concede
                                                           Detroit is urban, so
                                                           what's your point?
                                                           I said "you
                                                           can't get much
                                                           more urban than
                                                           Detroit" not
                                                           "Detroit is more
                                                           urban than NYC".
                                                           Can you read?
      You forget, urban is a racist code word for Black. _/
                                         \_ What point are you trying to make?
                                            There are great cities and
                                            shitholes.  People want to live
                                            in great cities and they don't
                                            want to live in shitholes.  -tom
                                            \_ The point is that urban is
                                               not necessarily more desirable,
                                               which seems to be your thesis.
                                               \_ No, my thesis is that cities
                                                  like San Francisco have
                                                  inherent value, not that
                                                  all cities do.  Or at least,
                                                  not all cities have
                                                  inherent value > 0.  -tom
                                                  \_ What's unique about
                                                     San Francisco? Would
                                                     you say most cities
                                                     are "like SF"? I see
                                                     weasel words here.
                                                     \_ SF has a beautiful
                                                        location, a vibrant
                                                        culture, neighborhoods
                                                        with great services.
                                                        I would say some
                                                        U.S. cities and more
                                                        European cities are
                                                        like SF in those
                                                        ways.  -tom
                             \_ If you are buying a house for where to live
                                when civilization collapses, then yes, you
                                are correct.  But giant planned developments
                                don't have character.  Easy as that.  The fact
                                is that good urban areas are high demand low
                                supply.  Suburban areas are a dime a dozen in
                                this country.  Land out in the middle of
                                nowhere is cheap.  If you have the money to
                                front it you could create a new development
                                area in a few years.  You can't make a world
                                class city no matter how much you try.
                                \_ "Urban cityscapes with character" and "giant
                                   planned suburban developments" are not
                                   the only two choices. I could argue
                                   that there are only 3 "world class
                                   cities" in the US: New York, Chicago, and
                                   LA (Alpha world cities). If you include
                                   beta world cities then you get SF, too.
                                   So where does that leave, say, Seattle?
                                   What about Santa Barbara? Can you
                                   create another Honolulu? It's not so
                                   easy to create a Blackhawk or a Danville.
                                   If a developer could, he'd do it.
                                   \- washington dc is a special case.
                                      there are alpha people there because
                                      they need to be there at a certain
                                      point in their life. not sure about the
                                      status of chicago now.
                             \_ Demand can fall, but a house in San Francisco
                                will always be something different than a
                                house in Blackhawk, whereas there are
                                dozens of isomorphic Blackhawk-like
                                communitites.  -tom
                                \_ I wonder if you've ever been to Blackhawk?
                                   Each house there is unique.  I don't see
                                   how you can honestly claim BH is cloneville
                                   while apartment complexes are somehow
                                   unique and artful or something.  You have
                                   that backwards.
                                   \_ In Blackhawk, the houses may be
                                      individual, but the community is not.
                                   \_ Blackhawk can be replicated on any
                                      place you can get a bit of land. Things
                                      like natural ports cannot be.
                                      \_ Which would matter if I was a
                                         shipping company. If Blackhawk
                                         could be replicated anywhere then
                                         it would happen and the values
                                         in Blackhawk would fall, so there
                                         must be something unique about it.
                                         Why aren't Emeryville or Albany
                                         priced like Blackhawk even though
                                         they are on the Bay?
                                         \_ The ability to move goods is an
                                            intrinsic and rare value in a way
                                            that a golf course is not. I am
                                            amazed you cannot see that.
                                            \_ Which benefits me as a
                                               resident how?
                                               \_ If you don't see how being
                                                  near jobs and commerce is
                                                  valuable, then there is no
                                                  way that it could be
                                                  explained to you.
                                                  \_ So SF is near jobs
                                                     and commerce, but
                                                     Walnut Creek is not?
                                         \_ Blackhawk could be replicated
                                            and it will.  It costs a shitload
                                            of money to start up however, and
                                            there is significant risk that
                                            it will be a failure, so there
                                            aren't 1000's of wanna be
                                            Blackhawks popping up.
                                            \_ Why would it fail? It's so
                                               easy to replicate.
                                            \_ What is unique or interstng
                                               about this home?
                                               Developers are in fact
                                               building little gated
                                               golf course communities
                                               similar to Blackhawk everywhere.
                                               The only reason that Blackhawk
                                               is worth more is because it is
                                               near San Francisco.
                                               \_ I guess my answer is,
                                                  thanks to tom, "It is in
                                                  \_ That's no answer.
                                                     There's nothing in
                                                     Blackhawk except houses
                                                     and golf.  -tom
                                               \_ What is unique or interesting
                                                  about any random new condo
                                                  development in SF?
                                                  \_ Most places selling in
                                                     SF are not new condo
                                                     developments.  Personally
                                                     I think people buying
                                                     in China Basin are crazy.
                                                  \_ It is in SF.  -tom
                                         \_ Emeryville and Albany don't
                                            have huge houses and they're
                                            not gated communities.  The total
                                            real estate value per acre is
                                            almost certainly much higher
                                            in those cities than in
                                            Blackhawk.  -tom
                                            \_ The point here is that
                                               well-heeled citizens who
                                               have choices have voted with
                                               their dollars and not in
                                               favor of SF. That must
                                               imply that there is some
                                               benefit to living in a
                                               place like Marin or
                                               Blackhawk or Pebble Beach
                                               over living in Nob Hill, at
                                               least for many people.
                                               \_ Funny, the million+ dollar
                                                  sf market is still going
                                                  strong.  There's a serious
                                                  lack of supply for the insane
                                                  places (2m+?)but those still
                                                  sell fast fast fast.
                                                  \_ The market in Texas
                                                     is hot, too. So what?
                                                     \_ For $2M homes?
                                                \_ Wrong. The top end market
                                                   in San Francisco is much
                                                   stronger than Blackhawk.
                                                   Marin is comparable perhaps.
                                                   Why did home prices in the
                                                   Blackhawk zip code drop 6.5%
                                                   and go up in The City?
                                                \_ How many billionaires live
                                                   in Blackhawk? The City has
                                                   at least 20.
                                                      I am not sure why this
                                                      is relevant. Many
                                                      millionaires maintain
                                                      many homes. I can be
                                                      a lot less selective
                                                      when I own 5 houses
                                                      than if I own 1. Is
                                                      The Hamptons a better
                                                      place to live than
                                                      Manhattan? What if I own
                                                      places in both?
        You don't see how this is a response to the-/
        comment "The point here is that well-heeled
        citizens who have choices have voted with
        their dollars and not in favor of SF."
        The billionaires, who are the most well
        heeled and have the most choices, have
        voted with thier dollars (and feet) and
        it has been for Pac and Presidio Heights,
        not Blackhawk.
        \_ One person (or 13) does not create a market. If I'm a
           billionaire I might own places in SF, London, NYC, Montana,
           Hawaii, and Nebraska. What does that really mean? The fact is
           that there are a lot of people who can afford to spend $4-5M+
           for a house in SF, that live/work near SF, that also choose
           not to be in SF proper.
           \_ Forbes clearly has 20 SF billionaires on this list. I think
              wiki is wrong, btw.
              And yes, not every rich person in the world chooses to live
              in San Francisco, or even a city at all. Many Bay Area
              billionaires live in Atherton or Palo Alto. Maybe you
              should talk about Atherton being a unique and desirable
              suburb, instead of Blackhawk.
              \_ We can talk about Atherton if you want. Blackhawk was
                 just an example. If it makes you feel better to say Atherton
                 or The Hamptons then go for it.
                 \-I dont know where in the thread to put this, but you cannot
                   look at the ultra wealthy because they dont need to make
                   any tradeoffs. Usually you are trading of things like
                   square footage, close to work, swimming pool, back yard,
                   view, culture etc. If you are a billionaire, you can have
                   a swimming pool + view + yard + close to work + 2 car
                   garage (dunno about tenis court) in pac heights. But if
                   you budget is "only" say $1.5m then you are going to have to
                   order your priorities as you pick between Moraga and SF.
                   I remember looking at a place that was like $850k and didnt
                   have parking ... can you imagine spending 15min looking for
                   parking coming backto your $1m house? If they super wealthy
                   are constrained by physical issue and legal ones, not money.
                   So if you want a to live on a lake or high on a hill, then
                   SF doesnt work, or if you wnt to do something architec-
                   are constrained by physical issues and legal ones, not money,
                   which is the overwhelming "limiting reagent" for the rest
                   of us. So if you want a to live on a lake or high on a hill,
                   then SF doesnt work, or if you wnt to do something architec-
                   turally SF wont let you, or you dont want SF weather etc.
                   \_ This is the point I was trying to make. Also that when
                      Larry Ellison tires of SF fog he goes down to his Malibu
                      house. Does that mean he prefers an urban SF
                      lifestyle to life on a Montana ranch? No, it just
                      means he has enough money to go where the mood
                      strikes him. Aspen is a great place to own a house
                      when you want to ski and pick up snow bunnies before
                      jetting off to the Maui house. It's a crappy place to
                      live full-time for most of us. Is quality of life better
                      in Aspen than anywhere else? Not for most of us, but
                      prices don't reflect that. That is another example
                      of a city that is (to some extent) constrained by supply
                      rather than demand. Aspen isn't so expensive because
                      1,000,000 people want to live there. It's expensive
                      because 1,000 people that have the money want to own
                      a vacation house there and there are only, say, 500
                      such houses.
                      \- hello, you may enjoy reading about PECUNIARY
                         EXTERNALITIES ... a word everyone is going to
                         learn as the Plutocratization of Society continues.
                         Actually you may not enjoy reading about it.
                         \_ Translation: "Hello, I read XYZ and you didn't
                            so I know more than you. Actually, you're
                            too dense to read XYZ, so why don't you take
                            my word for it because I'm snooty and I know
                            better. See E GLAESER paper if you're this tall."
                            \- gee you really have a bug up your ass.
                               it's not an enjoyable read because it is a
                               depressing thought, not because it's hard
                               like say the theory of chromatic abberations.
                               EGLAESER not hard to read, however you may
                               be E_TOOSHORT.
                               \_ Translation: "Fuck you asshole. Shit,
                                  I've been trolled!"
                         BTW, the quanlity of life probably is better in
                         Aspen because it is highly likely that people in
                         Aspen say dont have to worry about health care,
                         retirement, being outsourced, paying for kids educ,
                         they have autonomy in how they live their lives etc.
                         BTW, you can make places artificially expensive
                         by having things like minimum lot sizes ... so Aspen
                         probably has artificially kept down supply. This
                         may also apply to house prices all over. See E GLAESER
                         paper on this.
2007/6/24-28 [Politics/Domestic/Crime, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:47052 Activity:nil
6/24    Partha alert, you have mentioned this issue before, here an
        Economist has done a study on it (splitting the check):
        \- your capitalizing "Economist" caused problems for my high
           speed parser. i thought you were talking about The Economist.
           Unwinding from that local minima, was very expensive.
           otherwise it didnt say much that wasnt obvious i thought
           [although thanks for posting it]. i think in practice,
           dealing with the check splitting problem relies more on
           social skills rather than econ theory ... the freeriding
           problem is totally obvious in the case of strangers.
           the realistic problem is how to split with friend and
           friends of friends, and how to balance between fairness
           and awkwardness ... like how far does somebody have to
           drift from 1/n split to make special arrangements.
           in general, i think people get off too easily because
           too many people buy into the "being judgemenal is bad ...
           it is intolerant" view.
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2007:June:24 Sunday <Saturday, Monday>