Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 29, 2008

P and you

Filed under: Alameda, Election, Public Resources — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 7:00 am

Measure P, as a reminder for those who have not voted yet, is the hike in the real estate transfer tax in order to help fund services in Alameda.  Before we get into talk about mavericks and lone dissenters again, ALL the City Council members voted to put the real estate transfer tax on the ballot.

As mentioned in passing, the “No on P” campaign has raised the most money, largely through the state Realtors Association PAC and have spent a healthy chunk of change to defeat this Measure as evidenced by all the lawn signs cropping up around the City.  (signs don’t vote!)   Stop, Drop, and Roll (SDR) has covered a bit of the No on P funding here and here

My initial reaction to Measure P was to vote “no” on it.   After all, while I consider City Services to be vital, I didn’t think it was necessarily fair to have such a small segment of the population pay for services to benefit the vast majority of Alamedans.  After all, if Alamedans felt as though police, fire, etc… services were important then they would agree to pony up to make up for the budget shortfalls.    Actually, as recently as last week I had decided that I was going to vote no on P, until last week’s City Council meeting where everything was sort of laid out about what would be at stake if the City doesn’t have the additional funding that Measure P could provide.   As much as I like equity in all things tax related, I like services a lot more and this was definitely a tough philosophical battle for me.

So, along with SDR who has proffered a “reluctant yes” on Measure P, the Island who is also reluctantly supporting P, I am holding my nose and voting yes on Measure P.

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37 Comments

  1. I would favor a parcel tax based upon square footage that had no exemptions. I’m voting no on P even though I have no plans to sell. People have seen the equity in their homes (and their 401ks) vanish. Those who are selling now are doing so under distress and we should not take more money from them. I would be willing to pay a more equitable tax to support city services, but I would also want city employees to be willing to sacrifice some of their perks. In other words, I will make sacrifices if others are also willing to do so.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — October 29, 2008 @ 7:28 am

  2. Measure P … just one more tax to redistribute my wealth to the 1/3 of the population that doesn’t pay taxes at all. We’re just getting warmed up for Obama Hussein :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — October 29, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  3. #2
    But think of all the servicing you’ll get.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 29, 2008 @ 10:14 am

  4. The City Council and City Manager new this issue was coming four years ago, the City Employees (non-safety) pointed out that a parcel transfer tax would be an issue that could help solve future problems during the boom. At the time they did not want to discuss at all, not until Public Safety contracts came up did they move this direction.

    The Public Safety contracts are way too sweet. The medical and retirement benefits are better than anything you can get in the Public or Private sector. Fire and Police need to take a cut, move retirement to 60 and change to 2% PERS instead of 3%. That Fire gets life medical after five years is ridiculous. I am sorry, but I can name hundreds of jobs that are more dangerous, so that argument does not hold water. They need to do their part as the economy changes.

    The parcel transfer tax will not solve the problem, and if sales continue to decline they may overstate projections and be in a bigger hole. Council needs to do the hard work, cut staff, cut budgets and stand strong against public safety.

    Comment by John — October 29, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  5. I have neighbors down the street who have owned their home for about five years and tried to sell it but couldn’t get the price they needed and took it off the market. There is a very real possibility that an increased transfer tax could push people like them (they both work and have one child) into foreclosure in the event that one of them loses a job and they can’t sell their house without taking a big loss. I understand that our transfer tax is lower than other cities, but this is the wrong time to increase it. I’m not selling my house, ever, so it will not have a direct affect on me. I’m concerned about people who are on the edge of being upside down on their mortgage in a tough job market and who may need to sell.

    Comment by Michael Rich — October 29, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  6. Mike, are we back to 2003 prices yet?

    If they didn’t borrow against their house, they shouldn’t take much of a hit. Otherwise, they couldn’t afford to buy in the first place.

    Comment by Jack B. — October 29, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  7. Jack B, the house was a fixer-upper when they bought it and they did quite a bit of work on it over the last five years. I have sort of minded my own business and not asked them about loans, etc., but my guess is they got an ARM, took an equity line to do the work, and the ARM is resetting. I’m sure that type of situation is not unique to them.

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 29, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  8. I’m sure it’s not unique to them at all, but the unfolding carnage was very predictable (despite how “shocked” Alan Greenspan says he is).

    Values will keep going down and taxes will keep going up. And, as usual, savers will keep getting punished.

    Comment by Jack B. — October 29, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

  9. BTW – Where is your Prop 8 thread Lauren and what are your thoughts? Taking the easy way out of the most explosive issue we have faced since measure H?
    :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — October 29, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  10. For a while I thought I would reluctantly vote for P but it is too unfair to everyone. The more I thought about it the more I remembered when we bought this house. It was so hard to afford to buy in Alameda – we had kept looking for years, checking listings every week. The transfer tax had not been budgeted for because we were so focused on getting a fixed rate mortage that we could afford with the taxes and insurance included. We were clear we could not “fix up” the house before moving in because the money was so tight, and right before closing we were notified about the transfer tax. Ouch! But we were so excited to be able to move to Alameda and our agent told us that as transfer taxes go, Alameda was cheap. I have to wonder how I would feel if it was much higher and I was told that it was one of the highest in the state. I wonder how my perception of Alameda government would have been skewed if that tax was twice the amount.

    When we work to try to make things best within societies it is good to remember that “harm to one is harm to all.”

    While I have no intention of moving from Alameda thus I will not be hit with this tax, I feel any time a cost is doubled in one fell swoop there is something inherently unfair happening. (An unavoidable exception was when Bazooka bubble gum went from a penny each to 2 cents.) Measure P is just plain wrong for jumping so high all at once and putting the burden on so few, perhaps the few with the least ability to deal with it. That it the harm, and to put it on such a minority of voters to enable its passage should make us all quiver with the distaste of such an unfair suggestion.

    Also voters must examine what has caused the need for so much additional tax for Alameda. I can’t begin to understand the city manager’s perspective. If we need to make cuts, why start with police, fire, libraries, museums, parks and senior centers? Is the first job of any bureaucracy to grow and protect the bureaucracy or to serve those for whom it was created and who fund it?

    On a broader level, over and above income and property taxes, we have 13 additional “special” taxes added on to our property tax bills. Taxes we voted to approve because the taxes we already pay are being diverted away from education, transit, roads, parks, libraries, water systems, etc.
    It seems if we want something vital to be funded, we have to have a “special tax” to fund it, or the funds go to simply feed invisible layers of bureaucracy or things a majority of us don’t want and would not vote for.

    Alameda just spent over $100,000 toward yet another study for an estuary crossing, this time for bicycles; we apparently give our fire fighter families full medical coverage for life – after just 5 years of service. We have terribly imbalanced employee contracts that our city managers negotiated. I’m grateful to police and firefighters just as I am grateful to those who clear our storm drainage system to prevent flooding, and the tree trimmer to prevent power line problems, but when you get more applicants for positions than you can deal with, it says volumes about the ability to trim salary and benefits. Being fair to one group of employees does not mean putting them ahead of all others.

    More importantly, how much is money is annually being diverted away from our city’s general fund to pay for unneeded development projects decided upon by 5 or fewer individuals in the city?

    We all need to participate more in organizing our city’s economic house before we cast such an unfair tax burden upon so few, especially since many of them are already surrendering their homes because of financial considerations.

    No on P.

    Comment by David Kirwin — October 30, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  11. How much money is the city losing out on because of all those who refuse to get building permits? Before asking for more taxes and fees, the city needs to make a concerted effort to get the money already owed to it. The city should offer a financial incentive for reporting work done without permits.

    Also, how much tax money is being lost from fast food restaurants that do not charge sales tax? Many don’t even ask if the food is “for here or to go?”

    I’m sure that others can think of fees and taxes that the city routinely fails to collect.

    Before asking us to pay more, the city needs to make sure that it takes in what it is already owed.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — October 30, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  12. ANT,

    The building department has three enforcement inspectors just for dealing with unpermitted work. I don’t know if they are all full time, but the cuts could effect that staffing. Catch 22. I think there is far less unpermitted work than in the past and people who try it are taking a real risk, but I can’t get behind a reward program for ratting people out.

    DK, #10. Regardless of the amount of the transfer tax, weren’t you a little pissed at the realtors for not cluing you to all the closing costs until the last second?.

    Our purchase was a probate and I brought an off island realtor to the process, thinking I needed an advocate. I learned that the seller really has two realtors and the buyer is almost on their own sometimes except for greasing the wheels with the title company.

    Comment by Mark Irons — October 30, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  13. Everybody in Alameda knows at least one homeowner in Alameda who has done major work on their house with no permit. I know several and I bet you all do, too. I would bet a million dollars that the City inspectors are aware of hundreds of unpermitted projects. Why is it that only a few people, like Mark Haskett (remember that one), ever get called out by the City? I agree with Mark Irons that it is not the responsibility of individual citizens to rat out their neighbors.

    As someone who tried to do my home improvement project right and went through hell with the City nonetheless, I can empathize with those who want to avoid a permit. The City needs to do a better job so that people who try to do it right are treated well. On the other hand, that doesn’t excuse, at least in my mind, scofflaws who not only avoid the permit fees, but the property tax reassessments as well.

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 31, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  14. State law prevents the city from using building permits as a revenue source. Permit proceeds can only be used to finance the operations of the building dept. For this reason it is a stand alone unit on the city’s books.

    Comment by dave — October 31, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  15. The axe is always directed toward the public services that are vital: police, fire, hospital. In this case, the city is practically threatening to shut down altoghether, and shouldn’t we examine that?

    As has been pointed out, out of town consultants get hundreds of thousands of dollars at the drop of a hat to spin the big dreamy redevelopment scenarios (some of which are just plain laughable… in a town with a surfeit of EMPTY commerical/retail property, they always want to put in MORE for the imaginary business concerns that are obviously JUST DYING to open their businesses on an island).

    But, closing the senior center? Come on! Farming out our public safety to the county? Don’t forget, the hospital plays into all of this, as well.

    And yet, as someone pointed out in a letter to the Sun, we seem to have an over-abundance of staff at City Hall(s).

    What does it add up to? The public is being blackmailed and flimflammed.

    The transfer tax won’t bother anyone in office who already owns a home here, so why should city officials and staff give a flip about putting expenses on others?

    And the premise is just plain stupid. People will not be attracted to come here, business or residential, if such ridiculous premiums are placed on living/working here.

    So City Hall is shooting itself in the foot.

    Comment by E T — October 31, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  16. The idea of closing the senior center strikes me as a blatant scare tactic similar to what happens at the national level (their going to cut your social security benefits!). Every politician knows that seniors vote and there is no way that the center will close regardless of whether Measure P is approved or not.

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 31, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  17. The only talk of farming out work to the county has been for Administrative services. If we can consolidate management tasks to save dollars that is a good thing. Even if City Firefighter were replaced, which no one has talked about, the firehouses in Alameda will stay open just the payment structure would change.

    The City of Dublin uses Alameda County Sheriffs for Patrol, the cars say Dublin PD, Uniforms Dublin PD, but the Management is Alameda Sheriff. Saves money.

    We need to look at all of these options.

    Comment by John — October 31, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  18. Does State law disallow the use of fines and penalties (for lack of permits) as a revenue source?

    Comment by David Kirwin — October 31, 2008 @ 11:46 am

  19. This thread is moving off topic, but let me try to address few items.

    #4 At current rate of sales my estimate is that we’ll generate about $3 million in additional revenue with the increased transfer tax. That’s less than $4 M expected, and far less than the $5 M touted in the YES on P flyers.

    The 600-650 properties represent less than 2% of all Alameda residents if both buyer and seller are included. Many Alamedans are selling a small home and buying a larger / or vice versa.

    Yep, this means Jeff R. Thomason is a socialistic free rider thanks to the current transfer tax.

    #11, #12, #13, #14 PERMITS- As Dave says in #14, permit money does not go into the general fund. No connection with transfer tax, moot point on this thread. (Don’t get me started on compliance problems.)

    #10, DK and #12 Mark Irons on closing costs and representation.

    There is a distinction between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®. There is a further distinction between a sales person and a fiduciary.

    There was a time when BOTH agents only represented the seller. Those days, thankfully are gone. Same with disclosing closing costs BEFORE showing up at closing.

    I’m a fiduciary for my clients. When you visit an open house I’m listing, like other professionals, I’ll hand you printed estimated closing costs including taxes, insurance, transfer taxes, escrow fees, “garbage” fees and coordination fees. I do the same for my buyers before we look for properties at a target purchase price.

    I only represent ONLY one side of the transaction, like a fiduciary or legal advocate. I present this not to tout my services, but to explain that there are distinctions in the levels of professional care.

    Kirk Knight
    REALTOR®
    webmaster for Alamedans.org (No on P)

    Comment by Kirk Knight — October 31, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  20. Kirk,

    Thanks for clarification. Your posts here are never wasted.

    Comment by Mark Irons — November 1, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  21. Kirk — Thanks for identifying yourself. When City Services have to be cut and home values drop if Measure P fails, I will know which realtors NOT to enlist when I sell my home.

    Comment by Sarah — November 1, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  22. Sarah, it is not Kirk’s fault that our city wastes so much money is it?

    We as a city had the money, but decisions were made to spend it on unneeded development before the money was even in our treasury. This is a trend that will continue to get worse because of all the tax increments to repay newer redevelopment bonds sold to pay developers.

    Part of anti-P’s reasoning is that the added tax could result in homes prices dropping because of the doubling of the tax homebuyers would have to pay to move to Alameda.
    Do you think having the highest transfer tax in the state will affect the decisions of homebuyers?

    Comment by David Kirwin — November 1, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  23. I’m not stumping for P here, but I see aspects that are unfair and other reasons to consider the tax as pragmatic and reasonable, relative to other options. I refuse to see it as either a perfect or completely flawed solution, because to me neither is the case.

    I have to say to Sarah, that within the history of this blog, to me Kirk Knight has proved to be a very knowledgeable source of accurate and detailed information on local real estate and I have learned to respect and value his knowledge of the market, even if I disagree with his opinion on something.

    Kirk, I note that you say “many” current home sales in Alameda are people already here either up or down sizing. I would not know, but it’s important to me what those figures are, as well as the number of new immigrants, for reasons at least partially explained in comments below.

    To me, on the face of it, P is unfair because it seems to put the whole burden on a small group and it can be passed by a majority who largely won’t be affected in the short term. But there is also precedent for this tax and nobody has complained in the past that Alameda’s transfer tax has been lower than average, because nobody ever complains about being under-taxed.

    In terms of supporting P, I see several considerations.

    The effect on sellers: Many current home sellers, particularly the elderly, are people who have been in their homes a long time and therefore should have reaped an advantage from Prop 13 for years, so this an opportunity for them to give back a relatively small amount of that benefit they have garnered. For those who didn’t sell out before the bubble burst it must be a huge disappointment, just like looking at my IRA, but again, anybody who has been in their home for more than ten years or even less, stands to benefit from appreciation. Timing is good for some of us and others not so much, the world is just not fair that way.

    The effect on buyers: With a slumping market homes are more affordable every day. For potential buyers, homes may still be relatively expensive compared to income, but most who can consider getting into a home in the market at any point since the median price went above $350,000 aren’t likely to find another $2000, or even $4000 to be a total deal breaker (excluding Dave Kirwin of course). If the tax is given consideration up front, it should be factored into the price agreed on, though I realize it is technically a cost on top of purchase price and not like the bulk of purchase price which is paid over time in the mortgage. So it is like adding to the down payment which is a primary hurdle.

    I see P as either raising the cost of a $600,000 range home by about $4000, which ultimately comes from the buyer, or it knocks the price down for the seller, or something in between. The effect on real estate fees would be minimal as a percentage of $4000, as an arbitrary average being taken from the selling price.

    In terms of services, real estate prices are buoyed by strong public safety services and if those services are degraded homes prices would be expected to be negatively effected, which at least makes a direct correlation between this choice of a tax and where the money is to be spent. I think this was the Councils point in choosing this tax. Many, including real estate agent Troy Staten who is on the ballot in opposition, have pointed out a number of other smaller tax options available to Council, but under Prop 13 each option would require a separate ballot initiative which for a number of reasons is not practical. Mainly an insanely complicated ballot.

    Just as some folks think a flat income tax is most fair, some have argued that a uniform parcel tax would be the fairer alternative. In the case of income taxes, I prefer a so called progressive tax of the Obama variety as more fair. In the case of Measure P, I only offer the above considerations as reasons why the tax may not be wholly unfair, as many will continue to insist.

    Comment by Mark Irons — November 1, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  24. Mark, while I agree with much of your post #23, (the obvious exception is that my being here proves the error of your pointless personal jab), but it is not simply a case of ‘glass; half empty or half full’. We all know it neither an absolute good or absolute bad proposal. On the bad side it is grossly unfair. On the good side it covers part of the City’s needs.

    We agree so far.

    It however is important to examine the reasons for the increased tax needs – the way the City is spending the money. If we keep giving ‘them’ more money we are reinforcing their belief that spending future tax increments on projects desired by some, needed by none, can continue as a standard practice. It reinforces the belief by city labor negotiators that unrealistic benefit packages for some city employees is okay. Etc, etc. In short simple terms, it rewards bad behavior.

    That’s why I do not support “P”.

    Comment by David Kirwin — November 1, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  25. The Mayor and members of the city council have said at public forums that Measure P will not solve the general budget deficit or stop cuts to city services. When they voted last July to put it on the ballot, they said that it was the “easiest way” to generate revenue. They wanted a one shot solution. There are many alternatives that would not put the burden on any one small group. For starters, the city could aggressively work to collect the $1.4 million owed in back rent from tenants at Alameda Point. They can revisit the agreement with Oakland and stop sending our paramedics for 911 calls to Oakland without being reimbursed. Oakland hired American Medical Response for their paramedics. Their contract states that there is a specific number of calls per month. When it goes over, they call Alameda to get the service for free. The question has been raised of why we have so many city attorneys when San Leandro seems to be fine with none on staff. I am voting No on P to send a message to our city leaders that enough is enough. The Mayor has already said that they are considering another parcel tax for a special election in June, 2009. As long as voters continue to allow the city to just keep putting on more taxes, nothing will change significantly. It is time to make the tough decisions and get rid of the excessive administration. I don’t believe that we need to cut services if cuts were made to some of the bloated city departments (why do we need a city manager AND two deputy city managers???). Alameda needs an independent management audit to evaluate where we can streamline. The Mayor says that she is having all department heads make recommendations on where they can make cuts. It needs to be done by an objective professional company – not those that it will affect. In regards to transfer taxes, Alameda is lower than other surrounding cities (Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont), but most cities are much lower (San Rafael, San Jose, Palo Alto, Campbell, San Mateo and all of the cities in southern California that have a transfer tax). Many cities in Alameda County have no transfer tax (Fremont, Union City, Newark, Castro Valley, Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore). The state average for cities with transfer taxes is $3.00 per thousand. Two final thoughts: The city will still get $5.40 per thousand of the real estate sales price and what happened to all of the additional transfer tax the city got for the years that the housing market was so hot and prices and number of sales far exceeded projections???? I wholeheartedly agree with David Kirwin, we need to stop rewarding bad behavior.

    Comment by Nancy Thomas — November 2, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  26. Nancy Thomas,

    With the schools, lots of people, many of whom don’t seem to actually understand anything specific, insist the entire problem surly lies with “bloated bureaucracy”. With AUSD I happen to know enough to really believe these people are wrong.

    With the City I am not so familiar, so I appreciate your offering specific examples. Just on gut intuition, it seems dubious to me that we could cancel all deficit through staffing cuts alone, but I’ll listen to informed suggestions.

    Do I understand you to be saying San Leandro has no City attorney? Having some kind of in house lawyer sitting right at Council meetings as part of that process makes a lot of sense to me. Who among City staff has the duty to aggressively pursue the $1.4 million back rent at Alameda Point. Are those amounts due from sources which have any real ability to pay like a profit making company or is it the Hornet? Do you think Ms. Kurita should operate with no assistants, only one perhaps?

    I don’t know their job descriptions or salary, so it’s hard for me to guess where cuts might occur. The idea of an independent audit does not sound out of line, but ironically that costs money too.

    Comment by Mark Irons — November 2, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

  27. I don’t believe there is one single solution to the budget issues that face Alameda. But, I do believe that there are other answers besides taxes and cutting public safety and recreation services. There needs to be a balance between revenues and expenditures. I don’t have the expertise or background to know what needs to be done to make the corrections. That’s why we need an independent management audit. San Leandro has a paralegal on staff and an attorney on retainer. The paralegal handles all usual daily administration and the attorney is available as needed. The information on the back rent was discussed at the City Council meeting where they reviewed the budget. The debt has gotten better. Originally, it was $2 million.

    Comment by Nancy Thomas — November 2, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  28. “I don’t believe there is one single solution to the budget issues that face Alameda”

    Bankruptcy … it is the only thing that will save us.

    Right now you have the wealthy 10% of the Island picking up the tab for the 50% that pay no taxes whatsoever and contribute nothing to the community but head-count in the diversity column. Once Osama’s tax plan is implemented, Alameda is going to need to look for a new cash cow or declare bankruptcy. It is that simple …
    :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — November 2, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  29. DK,

    Sorry, cheap shot. The personal jab was like climbing Mount Everest, it’s because you are there.

    In fact, I recognize the added tax fee is another hurdle to affordability for persons who are on the bitter edge of that equation, as you described yourself, even if the added burden is rather small relative to the entire equation.

    Comment by Mark Irons — November 3, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  30. Re #27

    San Leandro contracts out their Legal Department to Meyers, Nave, a law firm with over 200 attorneys.

    San Leandro also contracts out their Fire Services to the County.

    Comment by Sarah — November 3, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  31. Sorry, I forgot to click to be notified of responses.

    Sarah, as others have noted, I’m not the one who spent more than our city budget. Nor did I spend more than the state budget.

    Without question many of the financial problems can be traced to the severe drop in tax revenue as the business cycle fell through the floor, not merely increased spending. Having founded several businesses over the last 35 years, I know what a recession feels like.

    My message to the Mayor, City Manager, CFO and several council members was that each time I stood before them several times with proven revenue producing proposals of $250,000 -$500,000 a year that would require no new taxes, no more traffic, no additional residents, and no city funding they have ignored the suggestions and raised roadblocks. I finally gave up.

    Bankruptcy won’t save the City, it will only rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We will need to come together to explore all options. And we will need citizens, people in city management and city government who are prepared to listen and cooperate, not merely snipe.

    Comment by Kirk Knight — November 3, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

  32. #23 Mark.
    I don’t know (and I don’t think there are any easy stats) on how many homes are Alameda sellers buying other Alameda properties.

    So far this year 25% of my buyers have been Alameda sellers, generally families with another child wanting a larger home

    Estimates are 650 homes will sell this year in Alameda.

    Comment by Kirk Knight — November 3, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  33. #23 Mark I.
    I don’t know what immigrants have to do with any of this. I’ve re-read your post and don’t see what you mean.

    Comment by Kirk Knight — November 3, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  34. #23 – how transfer tax affects buyers.

    It’s actually ratios, not merely cash.

    A $500,000 house in Alameda can be bought today with 2.85% down payment with FHA financing. That’s $14,250 in cash.

    Add closing costs of about $10,900.

    Now, with Measure P, add another $2,500 paid by the buyers.

    A total of $27,650 down.

    What’s the difference between $25,150 and $27,650? How long does it take you to save $2,500 AFTER TAXES?

    The buyers need an annual income of $100,000, very good credit, and minimal other debt, and will have monthly payments of $3,750 a month including taxes and insurance.

    Comment by Kirk Knight — November 3, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

  35. Kirk,

    As I recall, you are a builder as well as a real estate agent.
    I may be wrong, but didn’t you want to change MA to allow ‘condoization’ of old Victorian homes?
    If I am mistaken, what were you proposals to the city regarding;
    “My message to the Mayor, City Manager, CFO and several council members was that each time I stood before them several times with proven revenue producing proposals of $250,000 -$500,000 a year that would require no new taxes, no more traffic, no additional residents, and no city funding they have ignored the suggestions and raised roadblocks. I finally gave up.”?

    Comment by David Kirwin — November 4, 2008 @ 7:21 am

  36. “A $500,000 house in Alameda can be bought today with 2.85% down payment with FHA financing. That’s $14,250 in cash. Add closing costs of about $10,900. Now, with Measure P, add another $2,500 paid by the buyers. A total of $27,650 down.”

    If you can only put $27k down on a $550k house … YOU SHOULDN’T BE BUYING IT!!! Welcome to the foreclosure crisis :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — November 4, 2008 @ 7:54 am

  37. 36. We certainly put down larger down payments in both purchases. People with smaller down payments have less at risk but nobody wants to walk away from $27,000. It’s the income stream and credit rating of a buyer which really define them.

    #33 Kirk,

    My fault for thew confusing use of the word immigrant. I was being cute I guess, since Alameda tends to be sensitive about foreign elements I was using the term “immigrant” for new buyers to the island in contrast to people already here who sell and buy up. I guess from your answer on the latter, 75% are new buyers, immigrants to Alamedaland.

    Comment by Mark Irons — November 4, 2008 @ 8:14 am


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