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September 08, 2016

Comments

Jennifer

Most of the people who bought around the same time we got our house (early 1990s) bought homes that may have been rentals for many years, and were in general decline (That's actually a nice way of putting it). Though there were tear-downs happening, the cost of building a brand new house, and needing a place to live at the same time, made that option impossible, so people like ourselves, who loved the bones of their homes, and really wanted to be in Burlingame, scraped all we had together, which was pretty frightening, and added years of sweat equity into their investments. If you didn't have two high wage earners, or a nice inheritance, that was the way to get your foot in the door. The looming threat was that the 9.5% variable loan from Glendale Fed, that we were grateful to find would one day climb into the teens, and we'd lose our home.

Purchasing property in this city is not, and has never been, for the faint of heart. In the last decade or so, It seems to me that most people want the ready-made home, all fixed and nice on the day they buy it. The idea of working towards something, whether that entails purchasing in another, less expensive community, with the goal of ending up in Burlingame, or scraping together a patchwork of funds, borrowed and otherwise, to buy a wreck to work on for several years, is not generally what is done. We are in a time of instant gratification.

I, too, remember people who rented here by choice, for years. Those with young children choose Burlingame because of the schools, but typically thought it would not be a wise investment to spend hard earned savings on small properties that were generally in "fixer" condition. These folks got their kids through the elementary system, and moved elsewhere to invest, mainly in the east bay where newer tract homes were the norm--a choice they made very deliberately.

While I agree, for many, a purchase anywhere would not have been in the cards, Burlingame always had a variety of rentals--these come with risks, just like an adjustable mortgage, or the realization that you've got 50K worth of dry rot on a building you've just purchased that you didn't expect.

When the recession hit a decade or so ago, rental property surplus went way up, and the prices fell considerably. Many property owners lowered their rents, but that didn't mean that the owners of these places had to pay any less mortgage--they were on the hook, too. It really works both ways, no?

Charlene

It definitely works both ways but the rent controllers refuse to see that. I had not considered it before but that make SAMCAR's coalition name make sense to me. Thank you for a great story and insight.

Sysiphus

Thanks Jennifer- and such a lovely home.

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