Why you should care
Because home is where the heart is. And the wallet, too, for that matter.
Real estate is the biggest investment many people will make, so when a crucial part of the industry shifts, it’s time to pay attention. Like now. The private mortgage industry is only just now getting back on its feet since the housing crash. The market has turned, and investors are starting to put their millions where the PMIs are. The lesson: If you’re looking to buy your first house, don’t just look to the feds, despite what history might tell you. Especially if you’ve got a good credit score — the potential difference could be in the ballpark of $100 a month. If the private companies will have you, that is.
Second homes. That’s where it’s at during tough times. At the end of 2013, home values roared back from the deepest slump in recorded history. Homebuilders are gearing up for an unprecedented boom after the worst new-construction housing drought since WWII. And banks are flush from mortgage lending fueled by the lowest interest rates ever offered. One of the best bargains out there might just be in the vacation-home and secondary-home markets, which tend to lag behind the rest of the real estate market. Are you listening? That means: Buy, buy, buy.
Silicon Valley’s growth spurt is upending San Francisco’s housing market, and not everyone is happy about it. Housing construction, much of it priced far outside the budgets of longtime residents, is on the rise, resulting in high eviction rates. A debate over gentrification is raging: On one side, you have advocates for growth who see a robust economy; and on the other, you have those who see growing signs of widening economic inequality. Some in the latter group choose to riot, throw a brick through a window, or burn a bus to the ground in anger. But if you are Chris Statton or Megan Wilson, you paint. OZY spoke with these two artists, whose murals depict the dark side of the Bay Area’s tech boom.