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商业 - 房地产

Facebook上市在即引发硅谷地产狂热

David A. Kaplan 2012年05月04日

社交网络巨头Facebook公司即将启动的IPO产生了一个鲜有人关注的效应:本已缓过气的硅谷房地产市场正在陷入疯狂。

    Facebook即将启动的首次公开募股发行,或许是硅谷周围这些日子以来信心爆棚的标志。很可能在几周之后,许多技术人员将由此变成大富豪,这是毫无疑问的。但这次IPO还产生了一个相对较小且鲜有人关注的效应:本已缓过气的硅谷房地产市场正在陷入疯狂。

    虽然与Facebook有实际联系的潜在购房者仅占硅谷全部买家的一小部分,但他们对市场的心理影响却是毋庸置疑的。特别是在被马克•扎克伯格称为家的Facebook总部所在地帕洛阿尔托(Palo Alto),卖家们要么选择在IPO之前暂停销售房屋,要么大幅提升了他们的期望值。房产中介机构BrokerMetrics公司提供的数据显示,在2012年第一季度,帕洛阿尔托市独户型住宅的中间价上涨了11%,库存则下降了57%。

    房产经纪人迈克尔•德雷福斯讲了这样一个故事。一位客户在帕洛阿尔托老城(帕洛阿尔托市最好的社区之一,史蒂夫•乔布斯曾居住于此)拥有一套住宅。几个月前,他在向这位客户提供咨询时表示,这套住宅的售价很可能在280万到300万美元之间。这位客户认为这个价位太过保守,随后将售价确定为350万美元。2个月后,这栋看起来非常普通,面积为3,500平方英尺的住宅最终以390万美元的价格成功售出。“Facebook的上市让当地人的信心空前膨胀,他们坚信自己的房子会卖一个非常好的价格,”德雷福斯说。“他们目前不愿出售房屋,坐等其升值。”

    这反过来产生了一个库存问题,进而驱动房屋售价进一步上涨。“去帕洛阿尔托淘金!”今年初,德雷福斯供职的精品住宅经纪公司的网站上出现了这样一条留言。德雷福斯表示,“城里每家房产经纪公司都握有一长串买家清单,你几乎能感受到即将在春天到来的火热景象。大批买家将蜂拥而至,少得可怜的房源根本无法满足他们的需要。”

    但如果Facebook的募股表现低于市场预期(Facebook本周发布公告称该公司营收下降),房地产市场就有可能面临“一场大崩溃,”德雷福斯如是说。倘若如今持观望态度的房主由于担心房价进一步下跌,依然决定出售其房屋,房市的行情就将进一步走低。如果这一幕发生,那可能预示着早有预言的硅谷房市泡沫或许已经出现,并随之破裂了。

    Facebook效应正在硅谷周围创造另一个新兴的景象:秘密出售。美国房地产房源共享系统(Multiple Listing Service,简称MLS)一直是美国人出售房屋的主流渠道。但许多富裕的房主不想在屋前草坪上竖起“待售”标牌,也不想把房屋地址公开在经纪公司的房源清单上或者在网上发布自家卧室的照片。因此,一些经纪公司绕过MLS系统,转而使用自己的渠道搜寻潜在买家。“嘿……我为你准备了一套房子!”《帕洛阿尔托周报》(Palo Alto Weekly)最近发布的一则消息使用了这样一个毫无讽刺意味的标题。这篇报道配发了大量住宅照片,其中一栋位于扎克伯格的新家不远处,是一套7,732平方英尺的殖民地风格住宅(“售价还不到900万美元!”),另一栋建于1929年,售价1,150万美元的地中海风格住宅则位于乔布斯家正对面,

    德雷福斯目前有一套打算在私人市场销售的房子,售价在1,500万美元以上。他说这套房子将成为帕洛阿尔托市最昂贵的房产。他或许想透露更多信息,但他不能这样做,甚至连具体的价格都不能随便向外界公开。

    译者:任文科

    Facebook's looming public offering may mark high water in confidence around Silicon Valley these days. And it is surely is going to make a lot of techies very rich, likely in a few weeks. But there's a smaller, barely noticed effect of the IPO: an already hyperventilating local real estate market that's now going bonkers.

    Though the number of actual prospective home buyers with Facebook connections is only a fraction of all buyers in the Valley, their psychological effect on the market is unmistakable. In Palo Alto, in particular -- which Mark Zuckerberg calls home --sellers are either keeping their homes off the market until the IPO or ramping up expectations. For the first quarter of 2012, according to BrokerMetrics, the median price of a single-family P.A. home went up 11%, whereas inventory declined 57%.

    One broker, Michael Dreyfus, tells a story. He had a client with a house in Old Palo Alto -- one of the town's best neighborhoods (where Steve Jobs lived) -- and advised the client a few months ago the house would likely sell between $2.8 million and $3 million. Thinking that too conservative, the client priced it at $3.5 million. The unexceptional 3,500-square-foot home sold two months later for nearly $3.9 million. "The locals are all gaga over Facebook and how much their houses are going to be worth," Dreyfus says. "And they're holding their houses off the market."

    That in turns generates an inventory problem, which drives prices up further. "Palo Alto Gold!" declared a post earlier this year on the website of Dreyfus's boutique residential brokerage. "Every real estate agent in town has a long list of buyers and you can almost feel the preparation for a spring frenzy. The hordes of buyers are going to overwhelm our meager supply."

    But if the Facebook offering doesn't perform as well as expected -- and this week the company reported revenues were down -- then the housing market could face "a great big crash," according to Dreyfus. If the homeowners who are now waiting put their homes on the market anyway, worried over further declines, the market would go down more. If that happened, it could be the sign that the long-prognosticated bubble in the Valley may finally have appeared -- and burst.

    The Facebook effect may be creating another burgeoning phenomenon around the Valley: secret sales. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has always been the mainstream way to sell your house in the U.S. But many wealthy homeowners don't want FOR SALE signs up on the front lawns or their addresses in public brokerage listings—or photos online of the master bedroom. So some brokers bypass MLS and use their own contacts to hunt for possible buyers. "Pssst…Have I got a house for you!" reads a recent unironically intended headline in the Palo Alto Weekly, The story comes complete with unprivate photos of that lovely 7,732-square-foot Colonial not far from Zuck's new place ("just under $9 million"!) or the 1929 Mediterranean for $11.5 million just across the street from Jobs's house.

    One estate currently for sale by Dreyfus is on the private market for what he says will be the most expensive ever sold in Palo Alto -- more than a record $15 million. He might want to tell you more about it, but he can't. Even the price is private.

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