Facebook wealth is in the air

May 17, 2012 at 5:28 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, May 17 (UPI) -- From fancy restaurants to fast cars, limousines and luxury homes, the San Francisco Bay Area is awash in wealth again, local business owners say.

With Facebook as the new mascot for Silicon Valley's high-tech high rollers, fancy restaurants are booked solid and luxury showrooms are having trouble keeping cars on their lots, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The major wealth generator for the moment is Facebook, set to go public Friday, making many of its employees very wealthy overnight.

A spending spree is already under way, but 180 days after Facebook goes public those who have not already sold their shares can cash in their paper wealth. A second wave of luxury spending is expected then.

The anecdotes already sparkle with wealth.

"Charles Schwab was in the restaurant the other day, and I asked him to hook me up with some Facebook shares. He told me he can't get Facebook shares," said Jamis MacNiven, a restaurant owner in San Mateo County.

For the year ending March 2012 an unheard of 21 percent of new car registrations in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties involved luxury cars, about twice the national average, the newspaper said.

Anecdotes concerning home sales have also gone from the sublime to the ultra-ridiculous.

A recent home listed for $849,000, a 1903 three-bedroom one-bath home not in the greatest shape, attracted 51 bidders, real estate agent Jeff Appenrodt said.

One of his clients with tech wealth in his wallet offered 50 percent more than the asking price -- and lost out. It sold for $1.4 million to someone else, Appenrodt said.

Silicon Valley is likely one of only a few areas in the country where a high-tech lawyer can quit his job to go into real estate.

Ken DeLeon did that and has already sold properties worth a total of $100 million in 2012.

"Everyone feels confident again. Everyone has the mindset that their net worth will be higher next year," DeLeon said.

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