The Bay Area and California: Home to America’s Happiest Residents

Homebuyers flock to California for its plentiful jobs, pleasant year-round climate, stunning natural beauty, and multitude of outdoor-recreation opportunities. That all adds up to the happiest residents in the nation, with Bay Area cities at the top of the pack.

A recent analysis by WalletHub ranks 150 U.S. cities on a scale of 100 based on how happy (or unhappy) the people that live there are. The study uses 30 different metrics across three major categories to gauge happiness: physical and emotional well-being, community and environment, and income and employment. WalletHub notes that finances only influence happiness up to an annual income level of $75,000, then cease to have an effect.

The nation’s happiest residents can be found in Fremont, with an overall score of 77.55. The Alameda County city ranks No. 1 in the nation for community and employment — the latter criteria no doubt aided by the presence of Tesla Motors — and No. 2 for emotional and physical well-being. When considering individual criteria, Fremont has the nation’s smallest divorce and separation rate and ties Irvine, California for the lowest obesity rate.

The Bay Area’s two largest cities also rank among America’s five happiest places. With an overall score of 75.79 San Jose ranks No. 2 and is the country’s top city for emotional and physical well-being and third best for employment. At No. 4, San Francisco scores a 69.20, with the country’s second best employment ranking and third best state of well-being. San Francisco also has one of the lowest obesity rates in the U.S., hardly a surprise given that WalletHub recently named the city as the country’s healthiest.

California cities account for eight of the nation’s 10 happiest places and 13 of the top 20. Irvine ranks No. 3, followed by Huntington Beach (No. 6), San Diego (No. 7), Oakland (No. 8), Santa Rosa (No. 9), Chula Vista (No. 11), Santa Clarita (No. 12), Garden Grove (No. 14), Anaheim (No. 18), and Glendale (No. 20).

So if Californians are all smiles, where can the country’s least content residents be found? Nine of the 10 unhappiest cities are located in the Midwest or the South, with Detroit earning the dubious distinction as America’s most downtrodden place to call home.


Pacific Union Forms Strategic Partnership With Smart Home Pioneer Nest Labs

Pacific Union is proud to announce that we’ve formed a strategic partnership with Nest Labs, an innovator of smart-home technologies.

The deal pairs two innovative, forward-thinking companies in order to benefit Pacific Union’s real estate professionals and clients. Through the partnership, the first that Nest has forged with a real estate brokerage, Pacific Union professionals gain the opportunity to offer their clients Nest Labs product packages — created especially for the brokerage by the smart home leader — to help make their lives better and easier.

“This alignment of brands is ideal for Pacific Union,” Jessica Frushtick, Pacific Union vice president of marketing says. “We continue to push technology forward in our industry, and Nest leads the world in creating technology for the secure and efficient homes that our clients are seeking.”

Founded in 2010, Palo Alto-based Nest Labs produces a range of smart home products, which are fully integrated through the company’s newest redesigned app. The partnership with the company will enable Pacific Union real estate professionals to equip their clients with the following products, all of which can be remotely controlled and accessed from a smart phone:

  • The Nest Learning Thermostat™ and Nest Energy Services, which learns a homeowner’s energy-usage habits and automatically adjusts climate-control systems accordingly
  • Nest Protect™, a smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm that alerts homeowners to potential hazards via a human voice
  • Nest Cam™, an indoor and outdoor video and audio security system that records activity in the home and alerts homeowners to potential disturbances and issues via their smart phones
  • Additional Nest and Google products from Alphabet

Smart technologies have the potential to increase a home’s value, according to research from John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which found that two-thirds of buyers would pay more for a home that is equipped with smart devices. Smart home systems can also help cut insurance bills, as we explained in this November blog post.

To learn more about the partnership with Nest Labs, contact me.


Pacific Union Quarterly Report: Q4 2016

Check out Pacific Union’s comprehensive fourth-quarter report, which offers the latest regional and community-level real estate statistics for all of our Northern California regions, along with expert commentary from Chief Economist Selma Hepp.

Read the Full Report


San Francisco: Still a Top Five Global City for Foreign Real Estate Investors

Even with the uncertainties surrounding the incoming presidential administration, international investors remain almost unanimously confident in U.S. real estate, with San Francisco again ranking as one of the most popular global markets.

A survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate found that 95 percent of international investors will maintain or increase their stakes in the U.S. in 2017. The U.S. ranks as the most stable and secure country for real estate investors by a large margin, as well as the country that provides the best opportunity for capital appreciation. Investors cited a strong American economy and transparency as key reasons for their confidence, and more than half believe that Brexit will positively affect the U.S. housing market.

Still, investors appear more cautious than they were at this time last year. Thirty-three percent of survey respondents said that their outlooks on the U.S. housing market had become more pessimistic compared with 8 percent who said the same last year.

“As uncertainty rises with a new government in Washington and interest rates that have risen dramatically, it is no surprise that investors have signaled a note of caution,” AFIRE CEO James A. Fetgatter said. “Previous, comfortable spreads between cap rates and interest rates have narrowed making the investment criteria more selective and difficult.”

For the seventh consecutive year, New York City ranks as the No. 1 U.S. city for international real estate investors. New York was also the most popular global city, followed by Berlin, London, and Los Angeles.

San Francisco as ranked fifth best city for real estate investors on a global scale, unchanged from last year’s survey. It also ranks as the fifth most popular U.S. city for real estate investors, slipping below Boston and Seattle.

As in last year’s survey, respondents were evenly split on the best type of properties in which to invest, with industrial and multifamily residential tied for the top spot. Office space moved up to the third spot, followed by retail and hotel.

DISCLAIMER: All information furnished regarding property for sale, rental, comparables or financing is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or representation is made as to the accuracy thereof and same is submitted subject to errors, omissions, change of price, rental or other conditions, prior sale, lease or financing or withdrawal without notice.