Real Estate Today

Bears, tech humans and primal instincts

Finding exactly the right scratching tree is not unlike finding the right home Photo: saajaja

This morning I needed a bit of amusement, and fortunately my daughter sent me a YouTube video to brighten my spirits: Bear Hoe Down: What Goes On When You Are Not There ( Two minutes of bears in the wild rubbing up against a tree (30 seconds may be enough for you). Who could imagine such a thing, or better yet that here sitting at my computer in San Francisco I could watch the action in Alberta, Canada, thanks to YouTube? As a certified city dweller who feels anxious if I am not walking distance to coffee, I found the bears scratching their backs on a tree amazing.

There were thousands of trees in the forest, but for some reason the bears scratched their back on the same tree. So what has this got to do with San Francisco real estate?

Because I know more about teddy bears than real bears, I will do a bit of free association here.

1. Walking in the forest a bear found a great tree for scratching its back.

2. Another bear watched or the first bear went back to the den and told another bear. Here it looks like Papa bear told Momma bear.

3. The Momma bear tried the scratching tree and liked it, too.

4. Momma bear showed the tree to the baby bears and taught them how to scratch their backs.

5. One thing led to another and word spread throughout the forest that there was a special scratching tree.

6. The strong scent of bears caused other animals to investigate the area and the scratching tree.

7. Once the word got out among the bears, more bears came to the tree to happily scratch their backs.

Now to real estate and humans in San Francisco
1. Educated humans found high-paying tech jobs in the Bay Area.

2. They told their friends about their great jobs and more tech humans moved here.

3. They came to San Francisco for entertainment (maybe a bit of back scratching) and found Dolores Park, moved to Noe Valley, the Mission, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, and other neighborhoods.

4. One thing led to another and word spread about how much fun it was to live in San Francisco.

5. Once the word got out among the tech humans, they were coming in droves to San Francisco to live and to enjoy city life (a lot of back scratching going on now).

6. There were so many tech humans living in San Francisco who worked on the Peninsula that corporate shuttles were invented to take them back and forth to work in comfort.

It looks to me like powerful primal behavior is going on here that may be common to all living things. If one member of a species likes something and it feels good, they will pass the information on to other members of their species.

What will the future bring as more tech humans move to San Francisco?
San Francisco has been a destination to seek your fortune and find the good life since the gold rush, but the tech revolution seems to have opened the flood gates, and the City is swarming with new arrivals looking for homes.

The forecast is that job growth is strong and all signs point to the human flood continuing. Interest rates have gone up a bit, but not so dramatically relative to incomes to reduce the number of buyers actively looking for homes. If anything, the rise in interest rates has caused fence sitters to jump into the market, worrying they would be eventually priced out of a home in San Francisco.

Now that Dolores Park, Noe Valley and the Mission, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, and neighborhoods along the corporate shuttle routes have been discovered by the tech humans, real estate in these areas have exploded to life. Today sellers can expect a premium of 20 percent or more if they are lucky enough to own a home within walking distance to a shuttle stop. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the transportation engineers at Apple, Genentech and Google meet to discuss adding additional shuttle stops or routes. Note to tech companies: Call me and I will make suggestions on where to extend current routes or add new ones.

As far as the bears go, the question is: What will they do when the scratching tree is worn down and used up? Where will they go next? Will it be the closest tree near the one they clearly enjoyed, or will it be at the other side of the forest? In the case of tech humans, they have special brain power that causes employers to cater to their needs. From all accounts, the tech industry is doing everything humanly possible, from corporate shuttles to fabulous food in their cafeterias to mention only a few, to keep their employees happy.

The outlook is positive! As long as the tech humans are happy and loving San Francisco, it looks as if the price of homes will continue to go up and buying a home will be a solid investment for the future.

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Carole Isaacs is a Realtor with McGuire Real Estate. Visit her online at or call 415-608-1267.