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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Real estate snapshot

Uploaded: Sep 18, 2012

David Stark, the PR director of the Bay East Association of Realtors, gave an update on the valley real estate market to a group of men from Centerpointe Church this week. Some highlights:
? Median prices for single family homes in Pleasanton climbed from more than $500,000 in 2000 to the mid-$800,000s in 2005 and remained at that level until 2009 when they slipped to about $690,000. It's $755,000 as of August. That drop was significantly less than what occurred in neighboring Livermore and Dublin.
? Listings have dropped by 63 percent year-over-year to just 69 properties in August in Pleasanton. Notably 75 homes closed in August. Listings are down sharply in the other valley cities as well.
? Short-sales and bank-owned property sales are significant portions of the market in Dublin (38 percent) and Livermore (42 percent), while they make up about 20 percent of transactions in Pleasanton. The effect on prices and particularly appraisals when homes are in your neighborhood—significant. The traditional sale had a median price of $744,500 in August compared to $615,000 for a short sale and $537,000 for a foreclosed property owned by the lender. That's a huge delta of $200,000 that factors significantly into what homes in the neighborhood will appraise for if another homeowner is selling or trying to refinance.
Dave's bottom line—be delighted you line in such a desirable community with quality schools and an enviable quality of life. Values have held up very well and the lack of supply keeps demand high. Throw in that the city receives a phenomenal flow of tax revenues for a community of its size—a revenue stream that is driven by the business parks, Stoneridge mall and the Pleasanton Auto Mall.
For a community with a population of nearly 69,000 to have general fund revenues of $90 million--that makes for a very high level of services. Livermore, for instance, has a population that about 81,000 with general fund revenues of more than $77 million.

Glancing through a list of retired public employees receiving pensions of more than $200,000, I noted that former Livermore school superintendent Brenda Miller was on that list. Brenda worked as an administrator in Pleasanton for a number of years before moving over to Livermore and eventually serving six years as superintendent.
She started receiving a pension of $18,450 monthly ($221,400 annually) in 2010. Her base salary in the highest year of single earnings (which is used in pension calculations for employees with more than 25 years of service) was $226,955. It was increased to $244,998 by taking her allocation for medical benefits and an annuity payment as salary instead of fringe benefits.
With that extra $18k added, she retired at nearly 98 percent of her final base salary thanks to her 37.5 years of service. Years of service are multiplied by 2.4 to determine what percentage of final salary will constitute the pension. In Brenda's case, it's 90 percent.
What is it worth to you?


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