Part of Riverside’s Main Street to close for ‘Chow Alley’ plan

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Part of Riverside’s Main Street to close for ‘Chow Alley’ plan

Despite concerns about disappearing parking spaces, the block between 10th and 11th streets will shut as the city plans for ‘Chow Alley.’

Riverside’s Main Street pedestrian mall will add the block south of City Hall possibly as soon as this summer, a move that could make room for a year-round outdoor dining area and more attractions during the holiday Festival of Lights.

Changes will include replacing the asphalt with colored pavement that matches the rest of the mall and adding decorative seating with umbrellas. The project is being designed, and construction is expected to start this summer – when the block would close to car traffic – and wrap up in October, Public Works Director Kris Martinez said Wednesday, March 29.After hearing a handful of objections from people concerned about the loss of parking, the potential impact on nearby businesses and the expectation that alcohol would be served at future eateries, the City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to extend the mall between 10th and 11th streets.

Officials have said they are working on agreements to replace street and handicapped parking that will be lost and provide some extra spaces. Security would be provided when the dining area is in use.

Through traffic would still be allowed on 10th and 11th streets.

The Chow Alley project, which includes food vendors, goes hand in hand with the street closure, but officials made clear that the council will decide on that in a separate vote that City Councilman Mike Gardner said could come in May.

The barriers that will block the street to cars will be removable, so they could be taken down for an annual charity hot rod show and the various parades that use the street.

The newest portion of the mall may also host the popular ice skating rink during the Festival of Lights, but the council delayed until April 11 a decision on where to put the rink for 2017. Gardner said the extra time will allow the city to confer with organizers of the annual Chanukah Festival, which uses the same area for its event each December.

Warning Orange County: Inland Empire catching up in livability!


Warning Orange County: Inland Empire catching up in livability!

Is the Inland Empire shedding its cheap-living image and getting ready to compete with its coastal brethren in terms of livability?

Gallup’s annual “well-being” rankings for the nation’s metropolitan areas are out and there’s a shrinking gap in the perception of lifestyle quality between Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire.

L.A.-O.C. came in 53rd out of 189 metros this year – sandwiched in the rankings between Houston and Charlotte. That’s not bad company, but it’s down from No. 40 a year ago.

The Inland Empire came in at 73rd, between Nashville and Boise. What’s more noteworthy is the new ranking is up from 93rd for the previous year.

So, the perception gap between Southern California’s coastal counties and the Inland neighbors – 53 ranking spots for 2015 –has been sliced by more than half to 20 in 2016.

Why do blue states rank better than red in livability?

Gallup’s livability ranking is more touchy-feely than other quality-of-city scorecards. This “well-being index” is based on the firm’s constant polling of American adults’ feelings on five regional attributes: the sense of daily purpose; the social climate; financial opportunities; community pride; and local health.

I like this poll’s logic as its results have a discerning eye for what’s good and bad about California living.

In 2016, California had seven metros in the top 25 – Santa Cruz (third); San Luis Obispo (seventh); Santa Barbara (12th); Santa Rosa (17th); Salinas (19th); San Diego (22nd); and Visalia (25th) – and three in the bottom 25 – Chico (183rd); Bakersfield (172nd) and Stockton (166th).

It’s worth a moment to see what Gallup’s measurement of well-being says about gap between L.A.-O.C. and the Inland Empire.

On this national scale, both regions have relatively good rankings for a local sense of purpose and roughly equal mid-range scores for financial considerations.

L.A.-O.C.’s No. 18 ranking for healthy lifestyle may have beaten the Inland Empire, but a 43rd place finish is very respectable. Conversely, both regions scored poorly for sense of community.

The most noteworthy gap was in terms of social qualities that Gallup defined as “having supportive relationships and love in your life.” L.A.-O.C. won this ranking battle easily, 73rd to 134th. Perhaps the Inland Empire suffering from being a place where people move but consequently have fewer family ties.

The Inland Empire used to be just about cheap housing and a tough commute toward coastal jobs centers. With Riverside and San Bernardino now growing their own employment base, Gallup results show the livability gap is decidedly narrowing.

Perhaps some day soon, the “909” will be an equal brand.

$568K House Vs. $10 Million House

A little Buzzfeed video I thought was fun for all you buyers out there.


And if you can buy in the Inland Empire you will get more bang for your buck! 😉

Renters Now Rule Half of U.S. Cities


Apartments With Tiny Layout Nail Why Rental Prices Are Out of Control

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Apartments With Tiny Layout Nail Why Rental Prices Are Out of Control

This Photo Shows a Shower in Kitchen in San Francisco


From @Brockkeeling

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San Francisco holds the honor of being the most expensive city in the U.S. to rent a one-bedroom apartment with the cost at almost $3,600 per month, according to Time.

An apartment listing in the city perfectly illustrates the absurd lengths property owners are going to in order to squeeze as much money as they can out of their holdings – and the tiny amount of space renters are finding available for vast sums of money.

The picture, of a tiny apartment with a full shower and toilet in its kitchen, was one of four posted on the rental site Nextdoor, enticing renters to live in a “newly renovated tiny studio apartment” with “easy parking” and “quiet” available for $2,000 per month. The listing doesn’t mention the unit’s size, but Sfist, who first posted it, believes it’s around 200 square feet – and was likely converted from a large storage closet.

Since access to Nextdoor is limited by neighborhood, it was difficult for media outlets to confirm the veracity of the photo but Reddit users on a thread about the kitchen/bathroom combo narrowed its location down to the intersection of Laurel and Pacific in the Presidio Heights neighborhood.

 kramer sienfeld shower phone GIF

Needless to say, the arrangement is not sanitary. “Fecal plumes could be a problem,” as Elizabeth Lopatto, science editor at The Verge, put it to Curbed SF. It’s also a violation of San Francisco’s building codes.

Shockingly (or not), the San Francisco toilet-in-kitchen is not unique. There’s at least one Sydney, Australia, studio features a toilet just inches away from the kitchen sink. There are a number of small New York City apartments with a bathtub in the kitchen, a leftover from an era where tenement owners didn’t want to install two sets of hot water pipes.

Bathtub in KitchenHUffington Post

But it’s not just pricey coastal enclaves that face skyrocketing rents as real estate website Curbed described it as a cycle that’s playing out across the country. As noted on rental apartment site Street Easy, a kitchen in bathroom combo one year ago in the trendy New York City East Village neighborhood was listed for $1,900 per month.

Street Easy New York City Apartment Street Easy

It noted how the scarcity of homes drives up housing prices, which forces people to rent, which drives up rental prices, too. Rent is now the highest-rising expense in almost every major U.S. city, according to CNBC.

It starts with a near standstill on the construction of new starter homes, caused by what developers see as an avalanche of new regulations, requirements, fees, building codes and permits.

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“[T]he last decade has seen nine million Americans become new renters, the largest 10-year gain in history, pushing the percentage of households that rent from 31 to 37 percent, the highest level since the Johnson administration. That’s all happening at the same time the country is losing roughly 125,000 affordable rental units a year,” according to Curbed.

Beyond that, those who already own homes are finding it harder and harder to move up in the market. “The number of starter homes on the market dropped by 44 percent,” according to CNBC.

Mayors around the country are trying to find solutions to the affordable housing crunch, including tax credits for redevelopment, new policies to ensure more low-and mixed-income housing, and easing regulations, as Curbed reports.

 shower GIF

But the crisis is getting virtually no attention at the federal level. In fact, the Trump administration’s budget draft slashes funding for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), home ownership programs, and neighborhood development.

Lastly, there’s been no word on whether the “apartment” with the kitchen/bathroom combo in San Francisco was rented or other apartments with similar layouts in other parts of the country. .

Home Sales Slide on Tight Supply, Higher Prices

Home Sales Slide on Tight Supply, Higher Prices – WSJ

Home Sales Slide on Tight Supply, Higher Prices

Laura Kusisto
The Wall Street Journal

Existing home sales declined in February as tight inventory and rising prices frustrated would-be buyers and damped sales activity heading into the critical spring selling season.

Purchases of previously owned homes, which account for the vast majority of U.S. sales, decreased 3.7% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million last month, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

The decline followed a strong performance in January, when sales rose 3.3%. February’s sale pace was 5.4% above the same month a year earlier.

Economists said the combination of rising prices and mortgage rates is expected to push some buyers out of the market this year, especially in expensive coastal markets where first-time purchasers are already stretching to afford homes.

“You either have to believe that we’re in a bubble right now or you have to believe that sales are going to decline,” said Todd Tomalak, vice president of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, said the company has seen a slight decline in the number of buyers touring properties and making offers—indicating they are frustrated by a lack of homes for sale.

“Inventory may be having a bigger effect on sales [this year] than last year,” Ms. Richardson said. “It’s just there’s not a lot for sale.”

Inventory increased 4.2% at the end of February from a month earlier, after December’s reading was the lowest since the Realtors association began tracking all types of supply in 1999. Inventory in February was still down 6.4% from a year earlier. At the current sales pace, it would take 3.8 months to exhaust the supply of existing homes on the market, the Realtors said Wednesday. Economists say the typical supply is roughly six months.

“We just don’t have enough inventory to satisfy all the buying interest,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Low inventory is also helping to push up prices. The median sale price rose 7.7% in February from a year earlier, to $228,400. Experts said rapid price increases are creating concerns about affordability.

“I would be happier if it was not as frothy,” said Greg Rand, founder and chief executive of OwnAmerica, a broker for investors in single-family rental properties.

Economists said the rise in mortgage rates that began in December may have caused some buyers to rush into the market to lock in lower rates, pushing forward some demand. Rates for a 30-year mortgage rose to 4.3% last week, the highest level this year, according to mortgage company Freddie Mac.

New home construction is starting to pick up, which could relieve some of the inventory crunch in the coming months. U.S. single-family housing starts in February hit their highest level since the recession, boosted by warm weather and a strong economy.

Tony Robbins’ 4 rules for investing