Friday Must Read: Home Prices Skyrocket in Bay Area; Governor Unveils Plan for Giant Water Tunnels



Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Bay Area home prices jumped 24.6 percent in February compared to a year ago, as buyers engaged in bidding wars for a limited number of homes on the market, the Chron reports, citing a new industry analysis. The median sales price in February increased to $405,000, compared to $325,000 in the same month in 2012. However, the number of homes sold decreased by 6.1 percent. Real estate agents are reporting ferocious bidding wars over a small number of homes.

2. Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his new plan to build two massive water tunnels around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Mercury News reports. The tunnels, which are estimated to cost $23 billion, would ship fresh water from the Sacramento River to the southern Central Valley and Southern California. They also are designed to reduce fish kills in the Delta and improve water quality, but many environmental groups question those assumptions and oppose the plan.

3. California utilities, including PG&E, ramped up their purchase of renewable energy in 2011 as they attempt to meet new state rules for green-energy usage, the Chron reports. The amount of wind, solar, and geothermal purchased increased 16 percent compared to 2010. But utilities also say that ratepayer bills may go up because renewable energy is slightly more expensive than fossil-fuel power.

4. President Obama is proposing to spend $2 billion over the next ten years on research for clean fuels for vehicles by diverting revenues from domestic oil and gas leases, The New York Times$ reports. Because of Republican opposition, the president has given up on comprehensive climate change legislation and a proposed tax on carbon.

5. And State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is attempting to reconcile with his estranged wife Nadia Lockyer, the former Alameda County supervisor who went through rehab after resigning from office because of a drug and sex scandal, the Trib reports.