Friday, January 25, 2008

Gov Elbridge Gerry Would Be Proud

This is the 23rd congressional district of Lois Capps in pink. Nothing like a compact district with regular borders to insure impartial representation. This is why we have Nancy Pelosi as House Chair. Get used to it.

Thanks below for the reference to with their truer to scale map:


Adam said...

It's a fun way to learn more about redistricting that happens every few years.

Ogg the Caveman said...

OT, but in line with the general thread of conversation around here: Does anyone actually think that this stimulus package is a good idea?

H Simpson said...


To Casey, it is sweet cash back. Well except he never paid taxes in the FIRST place.


Akubi said...

Maybe I'll start looking into multi-units again so I can get a cheap 700K mortgage and let the government work for me rather than against me. Debt is the American way. Woohoo!

Property Flopper said...

Ogg - It's theatre. This is a simple case of the "leaders" trying to look like they are actually doing something.

This will have little or no impact on the economy.

Property Flopper said...

Additional comment:

The package as proposed does include one item of interest - the definition of "Jumbo" loans. It would bump them up to ~$730k in high priced areas. This will help out the CA and NY housing markets a little, but only a little.

Package only has this in place for a year... would probably be extended (should be based on median home price in the area, but that's another story).

Personally, I like the idea of bumping it, but as a stimulus package the impact will be minimal and right now, the CA market NEEDS a good hit to get back to reality.

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I'm actually HOPING for a recession - something to bring a dose of reality back to the economy. Slow, steady growth beats the get rich quick schemes. Buy now, pay later is a bad idea. Apparently these are not commonly held ideas.

Lou Minatti said...

Personally, I like the idea of bumping it,

Why? Isn't the goal of the FHA to help make houses affordable to the working masses? $730k is affordable only to the wealthy. There is no legit reason a standard Brady Bunch 2000-sq-foot family house in California should cost more than $250,000.

Property Flopper said...

Lou -

I have always found it silly that the same limits are used on loans for Manhattan and Montana. Wildly different markets, yet they are treated the same by the FHA.

> $730k is affordable only to the wealthy.

This is not true. Depending on down payment, rates, etc., ~100k income can float at $700k home. In many places, $100k is wealthy. Around SF (I'm just outside of), it is middle class.

> There is no legit reason a standard
> Brady Bunch 2000-sq-foot family house in
> California should cost more than $250,000.

It isn't the house, it's the land. Where I live, you can't touch a build lot for $250k, they just don't exist. That's with no house, just land.

Simple supply and demand - people want to live here. I spent 3 years living in Montana and for what my house is worth, I could have a HUGE place up there... would rather live right where I am. A lot of others feel the same way, that's why the land values are what they are.

This is why I feel it silly to use a single definition for jumbo across the entire country.

Changing "Jumbo" doesn't impact me at all - my home is outside of either range and I am not planning to buy anything else until the local market gets a good enima. I do think this change is long over due.

SurferNate said...

Is there still plans for that tax reallocation idea for these banks, hb...? And if they get that big check, will they actually lend anyway?

Lou Minatti said...

This is not true. Depending on down payment, rates, etc., ~100k income can float at $700k home.


The median household income in California is $54,385. The median household income in Bay Area is $70,717. But let's say the average household income is $100k.

Assuming 10% down, a loan of $630,000 fixed at 5.75% for 30 years is $3700/mo. California property taxes are, what... 1%? That's $700/mo. Insurance... $150/mo? That's $4500/mo, $54,600/year. Just to keep the roof over their heads. (This isn't counting those Mello Roos fees ya'll have. Then there's the HOA dues.) 2/3 of their net income would go just towards a house.

Got kids? Childcare will suck up half of the remnants.

That's insane and it doesn't pencil out. This is why we are seeing the market collapse and bringing down prices.

Lou Minatti said...

I'm watching a live feed of the Monte Carlo fire. Looks like arson to me.

Lou Minatti said...

A guy on another message board says he's worked on the Monte Carlo and a lot of the exterior is clad with some type of foam.

Property Flopper said...

Damn it... just typed up a nice post and it didn't save. :(

Short version - notice the big difference between CA as a whole and the Bay? Only half the story. "The Bay" is a nine county grouping. Marin County (one of them) has the highest per capita income in the nation, $100k means you are renting. SF is up there too... the other counties are significantly different.

Also - the median home around here is not $730k, that's the number for the jumbo loans - the median is close to (and I belive under) $600k. Median home price in SF/Marin will exceed $600k. The other 7 counties? Under 600k, often significantly.

Try the numbers again with a $400k / $500k home, it works out. First time home buyers do not start out in the high rent district. Here, they buy in the outlying areas and commute in.

Bob said...

Funny, that looks like a perfectly logical congressional district -- all FEMA flood zone "A".

Seriously, repubs are as much to blame as dems for gerrymandering in CA--they both wanted to create "safe" districts for incumbents.

wagga said...

The mass off the coastline is actually Santa Cruz Island. The differently colored section at the right-hand end is the National Park portion. It's not to scale.

Total human population used to be about 1100 Chumash, now only several dozen.

Not many votes.

s said...

At least you can argue that keeping the coastline in one long and thin district "makes sense".

On the other hand:

Unknown said...

I read about her District. Her district is so narrow in places that it actually becomes two districts durring high tide.

Unknown said...

Your map shows her district much wider then it really is.

This is more to scale:

We are just one step away from Congressmen hand picking the homes they represent. This is all made possible from new software that show you all the registered Democrats and Republicans. All one needs to do is get a 60/40 ratio of thier own party and the only oppostion is in the primary.

Also since illegals can't vote if you look at the worst California congressmen you will see there districts have low turnout. Fabian Nuenez won with 30,000 votes, were most other congressmen had +100,000 votes.

incessant_din said...

Property Flopper's stats are mostly correct. I doubt median household income has cracked $100K in Marin, given that it was $71K in 2000. Bay Area incomes have not increased by 50% since then. I think I saw that 2 mid-sized cities in the U.S. have median incomes of near $100K, Newport Beach, CA and Pleasanton, CA, neither in Marin.
Dataquick has the December numbers up. Notice the huge downward velocity in the prices in the outlying B.A. counties.

County/City/Area...# Sold..Dec. 2007..% Change y-y
Alameda-thru 12/27...627...$540,500......-9.54%
Contra Costa.........809...$500,000.....-12.36%
San Francisco.......374....$733,500......-1.54%
San Mateo...........320....$735,000......-1.41%
Santa Clara.........971....$664,000......-0.67%

As for what a fair price is given those incomes, I'll say the market is trying to get there. If Marin is at 90K now, then I'd say $450K, given the low interest rates. Will it get there? Probably not. I predict $540K in 2010.

Lou Minatti said...

For your viewing enjoyment. Anyone know Japanese?

Akubi said...

I believe Property Flopper was referring to per capita income as opposed to median income in Marin.

incessant_din said...

Well, then the case is even more strained. Per Capita is lower than household, typically only about 40-60% of household median. Although high earners skew this, it is best to compare median incomes to median home prices. It's a pretty reliable indicator in most places (and I think that the county size is big enough to fit this description).

Both income distribution and home price distribution typically follow the same lognormal relationship with a power-law tail at the extreme upper end. The relationship holds across many societies, and I think Marin will hold as well. Marin has a lot of room for growth in the county, so I expect more elasticity than San Francisco.

In any event, the per capita income isn't $100K in Marin...

Akubi said...

I agree per capita income is not 100K in Marin and I don't believe Property Flopper stated it as such.
You're losing me with the rest of your explanation though.
Growth in Marin? It's 80% open space and I doubt that will change.
Anyway, it's Friday which means fishnets and I like this foreclosure related song: Key To The House

incessant_din said...


I used $100K based on these:
"In many places, $100k is wealthy. Around SF (I'm just outside of), it is middle class."
"Marin County (one of them) has the highest per capita income in the nation, $100k means you are renting. SF is up there too... the other counties are significantly different."

I'm only trying to be more precise on the facts for the debate. I'm probably as guilty as anybody of mixing facts with poor recollections and opinions. I hope I make it clear when I do so. I think $100K is upper middle class, even in Marin. When you see what the median house is like, you wonder why upper middle class can't afford it (but maybe can "swing it").

And yes, it is Friday. I don't see fishnets in the plan for me and the Mrs., but Fridays don't come along every day, so we'll try to make the most of it...

Akubi said...

Itsallgood. I'm surprised how many Bay Area folks are here given Dawg's SoCal agenda;).

Lou Minatti said...

I think $100K is upper middle class, even in Marin.

We'd be considered upper-middle class in Marin based on that, and my wife and I would never even consider signing on the dotted line for a $700,000 house. I'd pucker on something even 1/3 that price. Those saps don't realize that the mortgage nut is just one part of the cost of owning a house.

Akubi said...

Thanks to the fed my ING savings interest rate dropped to only 3.59% so I'm considering transferring it elsewhere. Any suggestions?

Rob Dawg said...

Finding myself in similar circumstances I've been pondering a high yield MMF and everbank type foreign deposits. Both carry risks. There's always homebuilder stocks. Very liquid, easy to buy and sell and last 4 days saw 40% returns.

Akubi said...

Hmmm, I'm looking for lower risk than stocks, but would be interested in hearing more about foreign deposit options.
BTW, Dawg, I noticed that you mursted Tanta today and thought her comment that made you blush was rather cute.
For those who missed Dawg's moment on CR:
I take this opportunity to remind Rob how much I have enjoyed having him around. He and I often come from opposite sides of some problems, but that's the thing. Good faith is good faith. (And funny is funny.)

So here's to the Dawg.
Tanta | Homepage | 01.26.08 - 4:22 pm | #

Rob Dawg said...

To tell the truth until then I thought I was a barely tolerable foil to her insights. I get very little feedback in the places I post.

I wasn't serious about the homebuilders. Right now the stock markets are a sucker play for anyone who is looking to invest. It is all traders and meta-traders. After a few hedge funds blow up and a few weak players go bankrupt then we can talk about investing. Some of the regulars will be the first to tell you shorting stocks or taking futures positions are not investments.

Go to Everbank dot com and look at world currency CDs:

Feel free to ask questions and thanks for noticing over on CR.

Akubi said...

Thanks, I'll investigate Everbank.
Well, those CR folks might seem astute but their blog reading level is only high school as opposed to my various genius level fishnet, cephalopod and toilet-oriented publications.

sm_landlord said...


Everbank will sell you currency risk along with your interest. Good stuff if you want to place a bet, but currencies sometimes do surprising things. My guess is that the dollar is finished falling against the euro for the moment and could even go up a bit in the short term.

Unknown said...

Note that the Everbank foreign curency CD's are FDIC insured. The FDIC insurance does not shield you against adverse moves in the currency markets. However the risk/reward can be substantial if you are able to get on the right side of a currency move.

About a year ago, I purchased two one year CD's from them, one in Canadian dollars, the other in Swiss francs. The returns on these two insured instruments at maturity were 16.7% and 13.7% respectively.

Everbank is the only U.S. bank (as far as I know) that offers money market accounts denominated in Chinese currency (unfortunately currently non-interest bearing).

The bad news about Everbank: Even though I have been a customer for years, their fee structure is still a mystery to me. I also haven't figured out the restrictions on trading between accounts, if there are any. And their web interface can be really annoying.

Rob Dawg said...

I agree with sm_landlord. The fallout of a worldwide solvency crisis and unbalanced liquidity crisis will have interesting consequences not least will be that despite all the trash talk the dollar is a safer haven than most places.