Alameda real estate not immune from national crisis

With the federal government in the midst of hashing out the details of a massive rescue of country’s largest financial institutions, the news on the local front, in terms of falling home values and foreclosures, is bleak, too. In her September 11 blog post, real estate agent Pacita Dimacali, calculated that 14 percent of the 166 homes on the market in Alameda are either short sales (when they’re selling for less than is owed) or ‘bank owned.” Scary. And for always-edgy take on the local housing market, check out Knife Catchers, a blog dedicated to Alameda real estate. Anyone willing to talk about their home ownership problems with me, please send me an email, I’d like to hear your story. Anonymous is fine.


  • Nancy Rogers

    The housing crisis in Alameda is real. This is part of the reason that Measure P, the 122% increase in the real estate transfer tax in Alameda, is such a bad idea. Measure P would place the burden of balancing the general budget on the approximately 600 buyers and 600 sellers each year for the benefit of over 72,000 residents. The City Council based their decision to put this measure on the ballot after reviewing the document presented by the consulting firm that they hired. The problem is that the consulting firm used statistics from a year ago. This increase will not produce the $4,000,000 as projected. In fact, statistics for the first 9 months of 2008 indicate that there has been a significant decrease in both number of units sold (21% decline from 2007) and in sales price (26% decline). What will the city do then? They threaten that police, fire, and recreation services could be cut if Measure P doesn’t pass. Well, even when Prop 13 was enacted and everyone expected layoffs in the police and fire departments, not one officer lost their job. Since this revenue would go into the general budget, who is to say that it will be used for police and fire services? For seniors, who want to downsize and people who bought starter homes and want to move to larger homes, there would be the double whammy of them paying this increase on the sale of their existing home and the purchase of their new one. On the median home in Alameda, this increase would add over $3,000 that has to be paid at the close of escrow. This isn’t something that can be charged to a credit card or rolled into a mortgage. These are real dollars that could easily prevent a first time homebuyer from being able to purchase a home. The City was looking for a silver bullet to solve the deficit problem. To put this burden in place (for 20 years) at a time when the housing market is already hurting, is not the answer. The Council looked at over 30 revenue generating ideas. Maybe a combination of some of them would solve the problem and be more equitable to all Alamedans. Property owners are already subsidizing the library, hospital, and schools. It’s time to look at other alternatives.

  • Elisabeth Eliassen

    The citizens have also subsidized the Theater complex and parking garage, to the tune of millions that will never be recouped by the nickle and dime parking fees and sales tax revenue.

  • Jeff R. Thomason

    Bankruptcy is the only real solution … now if we could just get the CC over the related stigma factor.