Bay Area Housing Market Tweets Grab Public’s Attention

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Bay Area residents are no strangers to dealing with the lack of affordable housing in cities across the Bay, especially in and around the Silicon Valley.

Sally Kuchar, Cities Director of local and national news network Curbed, took to Twitter Monday to inform residents just how bad the housing market is in the Bay, causing a buzz on the social media platform.

"I follow that data quite closely and I am constantly shocked at how bad it is," Kuchar said, who takes to Twitter once or twice a year to share her findings.

In the last 30 days, there have been 430 homes sold in San Francisco with a median sold price of $1.45 million. Kuchar made it clear that the median price for homes in the city is $1.39 million, so homes are selling for more than they list for, "this is not normal!" she tweeted.

Kuchar claims that the average down payment in San Francisco is 33.4 percent, "supply and demand is real, y'all," she wrote.

To her, the most surprising factor about the Bay Area housing market is that people think they have the answer. She claims many responded to her tweet with suggestions that she believes wouldn’t work.

"I think if there's anything to do, it's to reach out to the people who live in this beautiful place with empathy and compassion," Kuchar said. "I think we really need to have a deeper conversation about this."

Another city she tackled was Menlo Park. She claims the city "refuses" to build housing for its growing workforce.

The average down payment for a house in the city where Facebook is headquartered is averaged to $898,730, based on the median sold price of homes sold in the last 30 days.

When addressing Cupertino, Kuchar tweeted out photos showing a one bedroom, one bathroom condo listed at $828,000.

She compared Cupertino to Menlo Park stating, "The city refuses to even try to keep up with the growing demand for housing. Right now there are only 20 homes for sale. The median sold price for a home is $2.3M."

Kuchar also shared photos of a one bedroom, one bathroom condo on the market for $848,000 in Palo Alto, where she claims housing inventory is "incredibly low for a place with very high demand."

Someone reached out to her on Twitter and sent her a link to an 18-bedroom French chateau listed at $1.3 million, the same cost of another condo on the market in Palo Alto.

"But it's Silicon Valley! you say. Of course it's expensive. Sure, fine. I'll buy that. Let's swim across the bay to Oakland. (Spoiler: This is going to suck.)," she tweeted next.

Even though there are significantly more houses on sale in Oakland, the lack of affordable housing for middle-income families puts the city on the list of worst housing markets in the Bay Area.

According to Kuchar, the average income for a median household in Oakland is $57,778, and the average median sold price of homes sold in the last 30 days is $735,000 with a down payment of $249,165.

"It's easy to see why tension between longtime residents and new homebuyers are high," she tweeted.

The last of Kuchar’s tweets show a picture of a parking lot surrounding the North Berkeley BART station. She wrote that for years, residents have fought to keep it a parking lot instead of turning into transit-friendly housing.

"Think about that for a second," Kuchar tweeted. "People value homes for their cars more than homes for their fellow humans. I don't know how to convince these people to care about other humans."

Though Kuchar acknowledges there's no way to predict the future, she does not see any changes coming to the Bay Area housing market any time soon.

"Economists have confirmed that it's not a matter of if but when it comes, but a recession might have a small impact," she said.

When asked what advice she would give those looking to buy a new home in the Bay Area, she jokingly said, "Have a rich relative who is very generous."

However, she really advises people to be realistic about what they can afford. "Homes are listed for less than they sell for," Kuchar said. "If you want to spend $600,000, look for $500,000 listings."

Among all of the responses she received in her over 20-tweet thread, she said one stood out the most.

A Berkeley native reached out to Kuchar on Twitter and shared her story. The woman said she was a fourth generation Berkeley resident that had to move because she could no longer afford to stay.

"She said, 'the next time I'll be able to afford to live in Berkeley is when I have my ashes scattered on the streets,' the most heartbreaking thing I have heard," Kuchar said.

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