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    Vicious Cycle: Here Comes the Neighborhood

    americaFrom the Harvard Review, July 26, 2012:

    The addition of one same-sex couple for every 1,000 households is associated with a 1% increase in home prices in US neighborhoods that are socially liberal, but a 1% drop in neighborhoods that are extremely conservative, say David Christafore of Konkuk University in South Korea and Susane Leguizamon of Tulane University.

    Their study of more than 20,000 real estate transactions in Ohio in 2000 supports previous findings that migration of same-sex couples to an area increases home values, in part because these residents tend to develop or enhance cultural amenities. But the new research suggests that in socially conservative areas, housing prices reflect prejudice against gays.

    Huh? Who would’ve thought we had so much impact on an area’s value.

    Here we are, minding our own damn business, moving into neighborhoods with other like-minded people, creating community and boom! Things start going sideways because, imagine if you will for a moment, fiscally conservative (read politically conservative) people like to live in nice neighborhoods too. Nice areas demand higher prices and fiscally conservative people can afford more house.

    Unfortunately, conservative folks don’t particularly care for us moving into their neighborhoods. “Honey, is that the stench of liberal I smell wafting over from those two ladies and their children who just moved next door? Perhaps we should think about moving farther out.”

    Think it doesn’t happen? Look at the Castro, originally a nice established Italian Catholic neighborhood. Where did all the Italian Catholics go? They moved to Silver Terrace and the Excelsior as more liberal people moved in. This depressed the prices in the Castro, which made things affordable for other like-minded people to move into the neighborhood.

    Over the years, the Castro has become very nice and very expensive. Here comes the neighborhood. Remember what history teaches: Those that forget are doomed to repeat.

    It’s the boomerang effect. Liberals move into a depressed conservative neighborhood, create community and celebrate culture. Hip fiscal conservatives, attracted by the safety, amenities, and low prices, move in and further gentrify the area. Chaos ensues. Liberals are priced out of the neighborhood and go look for other like-minded people in affordable areas as more conservative people move in. And so on, ad infinitum, goes the vicious cycle of gentrification.

    Whoa, let me back up.

    This is supposed to be some light traipse through mediocrity where we quietly suggest you use us to sell your house in San Francisco and move to the promised land of the East Bay. Lacking the ability to force common sense on those that choose not to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities available in real estate these days, this tiny opinion piece must suffice. The law of diminishing returns, loosely interpreted by the author, states that adding more of a good thing to a good thing does not necessarily keep increasing the goodness.

    San Francisco is getting to the apex of gentrification. This is almost as good as the City is going to get, and that causes a number of questions to leap to mind. Are you happy living where you live? Do you feel like the cost of living is affecting your lifestyle? Do you like your neighbors? Do you know you have options about where you want to live? Do you feel like you’re the one dropping the value 1% in your neighborhood?

    Then let us sell your house in San Francisco so you can move to the promised land of the East Bay, where you can be the reason property values are increasing 1% when you move into the neighborhood. We love to talk real estate and community. Contact us for a conversation.

    America Foy and Taylor Sublett are top producing real estate agents with Sotheby’s International Realty in Berkeley. Call or email them if you want to buy or sell residential, commercial, or investment properties throughout the Bay Area. Bay Area natives, and recent East Bay residents, Taylor and America will help you sell in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties. America Foy: 510-473-7775,; Taylor Sublett: 510-301-9569,