Review the latest real estate and local news headlines: Concord will move to district council elections. Affordable apartments in Walnut Creek and Russians at center of bribery trial! Also for renters, the new normal: lower expectations and shrinking apartments. Economists say both 2018 rents and house prices will continue to grow with no end in sight. Plus, Millenial homebuyer credit scores are apparently decreasing.
CONCORD — In a move that may empower the city’s Latino voters, Concord will transition from at-large City Council elections to selecting representatives by district.
Although several of his colleagues expressed concern that districts may lead to “provincial” leaders who advocate for their areas instead of the entire city, Mayor Edi Birsan said the onus will be on voters to choose wisely.
“You are going to have to pick leaders who are sophisticated enough to represent your interests, not only in the district, but wherever else the city is,” said Birsan, a longtime proponent of district elections.
Concord joins Martinez among Contra Costa County cities scrapping at-large elections to avoid a potentially costly lawsuit. Read More…
MARTINEZ — The trial started Monday for a man accused of bribery involving low-income apartments in a lavish transit village in Walnut Creek, but the defense alleged its client and numerous others were discriminated against because they are Russian nationals.
It is an outlandish case, which authorities say might not have been solved if not for the defendant’s love of quirky, old-fashioned automobiles that led to numerous parking complaints, the property manager being transferred to another building, and the new property manager using Nancy Drew-like instincts to uncover what was going on.
The defendant, Walnut Creek resident Aziz Artykov, 50, is accused of facilitating tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to the former property manager of Avalon Walnut Creek Apartments, Matthew McVicker, who would in turn move Artykov’s friends to the top of a wait list for Avalon’s low-income housing program, which offered nice units for way below the market rate, to people who made less than half the median income. Read More…
Gabriel Rodarte grew up in San Jose and has worked there for 30 years as a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service. Making his rounds, he says, “I see it all. I see three families living inside one small apartment, or total strangers who share a room. None of them stay very long; they can’t afford it”… A generation of tenants now sees itself as rent-poor, with every last dime doled out for gas, groceries and the landlord. Renters struggle throughout the Bay Area. In San Jose, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $2,550, far above the national average of $1,560. A similar two-bedroom flat can cost even more elsewhere: $3,080 in Walnut Creek and $4,910 in Cupertino, according to a recent report.
As the Bay Area’s economy booms, and as the tech sector continues to expand, this is the new normal for those on the margins: shrinking expectations and shrinking apartments. Nearly 40 percent of working adults in the Bay Area are now “doubled up” with roommates in order to afford rent, according to a study from Zillow. Read More…
Will 2018 be the seventh year home prices go up? Or the year the market stalls? Will this be the year that tenants get the upper hand over landlords? Or will rent hikes just keep coming?
In other words, will the seller’s market of the past 69 months continue in 2018?
We interviewed 10 economists and reviewed nine forecasts to find an answer to that question. It can be summed up in one word.
Yes. Read More…
The latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker report shows a slight decline in the average credit scores of closed loans to Millennials from the previous year.
The report, which covers November 2017, shows that the trend was most noticeable for FHA and VA loans.
According to Ellie Mae, in November 2016, the average FICO score on a closed FHA refinance loan to a Millennial borrower was 678, but that dropped to 669 in November 2017. On VA loans, the average FICO scores on closed VA refinance loans dropped from 725 in 2016 to 710 in 2017.
“With the average credit score dipping, lenders are extending credit to borrowers who may have had no previous access to the housing market,” said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy at Ellie Mae. “While these scores are still significantly above the levels seen a few years ago, it is encouraging to see increased accessibility, especially as the millennial population continues to pursue home ownership.” Read More…
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