Monday, December 31, 2007

Year-end inventory update

Typical for December, Santa Monica inventory <$3M is down 19% for the month, Pacific Palisades <$2M is down 17%, and Palms-Mar Vista is down 18%. Total Westside inventory is down 17% to 1,329.

Year-to-year Santa Santa Monica inventory <$3M is down 22%, and Pacific Palisades <$2M is down 42%. Palms-Mar Vista was up 13%, and total Westside up 4% from early February 2007 when I started tracking those.

A reason for the decreases is fewer new listings. New listings in Santa Monica <$3M Apr-Dec 2006 were 237, but Apr-Dec 2007 were only 176, a 26% drop. Note also how stale the unsold listings have become (DOM column).

Well, that wraps 2007.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/30/07 59,108 52 14 67 136 23 11 88 94 96 23 96
12/31/07 53,475 42 5 53 148 19 2 73 119 79 13 116
All Westside

             2/9     4/6     6/1     8/3    9/28   11/30 
3/1 5/4 6/30 8/31 11/2 12/31

Bel Air-H.Hls.86 86 92 100 103 99 86 99 104 104 86 64
Bev.Ctr.-M.M. 64 57 48 53 54 65 64 67 75 75 73 59
Beverly Hills 67 70 56 46 53 49 59 61 62 58 65 56
B.H. P.O. 94 91 92 88 93 95 92 94 90 93 85 75
B'wood Vic. 35 36 31 39 38 41 42 46 50 59 57 48
Brentwood 67 71 73 75 72 68 86 77 89 96 90 65
Chev.-R.Pk.'8'22 20 19 22 23 22 26 20 28 23 27 20
Culver City 35 25 20 28 33 36 41 48 49 46 39 32
Malibu 178 181 192 199 206 220 224 216 216 209 209 181
Malibu Beach 42 44 51 52 56 58 54 45 43 45 43 41
Marina Del Rey20 20 20 27 29 28 26 27 26 22 19 23
Pac.Palisades 64 68 73 82 87 92 78 69 90 106 88 73
Palms-M.Vista 62 53 52 68 77 73 84 90 87 98 96 79
Playa Del Rey 7 8 17 20 21 20 21 24 29 27 26 25
Playa Vista 3 2 3 1 3 5 4 9 8 10 7 5
Santa Monica 50 50 49 53 61 57 68 72 74 81 67 53
Sunset-Hwd.H.155 178 159 166 180 168 187 184 215 226 214 183
Topanga 39 41 36 43 45 54 49 54 55 52 49 39
Venice 64 64 57 68 70 72 69 68 68 84 75 54
W.H'wood Vic. 23 32 25 36 42 41 40 36 49 52 49 41
West L.A. 19 21 25 24 25 34 31 36 40 37 30 21
Westchester 53 46 47 45 53 52 62 72 82 78 73 68
W'wood-C.City 33 44 37 42 33 34 29 37 42 50 33 24
____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Total 1282 1274 1457 1522 1671 1600
1308 1377 1483 1551 1731 1329
Month-month incr. 2% -3% 8% 6% 2% 3% 2% 8% 4% -8%-17%

Notes

LA County inventory via OC Renter. Santa Monica Days on Market (DOM) is for <$3M, and omits Santa Monica Canyon (in City of Los Angeles but S.M. Post Office). Pacific Palisades DOM is for <$2M and count omits mobile homes. "New" is for previous month, or month-to-date for current partial month.

San Diego story

This story is third-hand but I believe reliable, and shows what can happen in a downturn. San Diego now, Los Angeles in 2008?

The subject is a small ~1,000 SF high-ceiling loft condo in a new high-rise building a couple of blocks from the baseball stadium in downtown San Diego. (Photo is for general location only; I doubt it shows this building.)

It originally expected to be priced at $800K, but with the San Diego downturn was asking $550K. The buyer in this story offered a rediculous low-ball $400K - half its target price. The sales person came back with an "ok", and he bought it. But even at that price, after adding a large HOA fee and property taxes, it would not rent at positive cash flow.

Closer to home, today's LA Times featured three housing bubble articles: front page lead "Housing crisis takes bite out of states, cities"; "How a bank fell victim to loan fraud"; and "Seattle clings to housing peak, but some wonder if it can last". And yesterday's Times Real Estate featured Nicholas Cage who took his Bel-Air mansion off the market, no buyers at $35M.

Coming tonight/tomorrow: year-end inventory wrapup, and a look ahead to 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Great links

Today's Market Ticker, "The Year In Review And a Look Ahead for 2008" is a must-read. Long, but says it very well.

On the lighter side, see Burbed.com's "Redwood City house that needs to be tinted due to termite damage" and "SFGate: Bay Area is too Expensive. ...".

The former documents a house listed in July as "BEST VALUE IN RWC!!!! IMMACULATE HOME, RECENTLY REMODELED! CHERRY KITCHEN CAB, HARDWOOD FLR ENTRY, LAUNDRY IN BACK, ..." for $515K.

It's now "3rd bed 2nd bath no permits, roof needs to be replaced, lots of termite damage, needs to be tinted. lots of code violations.laundry in back no permits. ..." for $399K. Whew, talk about a failed act of attempted flipping!

The second documents a Daly City listing's fall from $850K in January to $639.9K in August to $514.9K in December. This could be a taste of the Westside in 2008, when we too are no longer so special.

Weekly inventory update

12/28 - SM <$3M is down 2%, PP <$2M is down 5%, and MV is down 4%.

12/21 - SM <$3M is down 9%, PP <$2M is down 17%, but MV is flat.

12/14 - SM <$3M is down 6%, PP <$2M is down 4%, and MV is down 8%. Surprisingly there are a couple of new listings.

I've also been intermittently tracking Westwood-Century City <$2M (17 on 11/30, 16 on 12/14) and Brentwood <$2M (25 on 11/23 and 26 on 12/14).

12/7 - Not a lot happening heading into December. SM <$3M is down 4%, PP <$2M is up 4%, and MV is down 5%. No new listings in SM so far this month.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/30/07 59,108 52 14 67 136 24 11 88 94 96 23 96
12/ 7/07 50 0 65 139 25 2 87 97 90 4 99
12/14/07 47 2 60 146 24 2 86 103 83 10 98
12/21/07 55,803 43 3 56 144 20 2 74 110 83 12 105
12/28/07 42 4 53 151 19 2 73 116 80 13 113

Friday, December 28, 2007

EXTRA! LA Times discovers Option-ARMs!

Good to see today's LA Times discovered Option-ARM loans, and it's a good piece. But come on, once again the bubble blogs have known about their coming impact for a loooong time. My October bookmark was merely an update. The Times begins:

Thought the mortgage meltdown was just a sub-prime affair? Think again. There's another time bomb waiting to explode, experts say: risky loans made to people with good credit.

So-called pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages, or option ARMs, were the easiest and most profitable home loans for lenders and brokers to make for much of this decade. Last year, they accounted for about 9% of the volume of all mortgages made in the U.S. and were especially popular in California, Florida and Nevada -- states where home prices rose the most during the housing boom and are now falling most sharply.

An option ARM loan gives a borrower the option of paying less than the interest due, causing the loan balance to rise. If it rises too much -- say, by 10% or 15% -- the opportunity to make a low payment vanishes and the required payment skyrockets.

That scenario is becoming increasingly common. In fact, more than 75% of option ARM borrowers have been making only the minimum payments, analysts at Standard & Poor's Corp. said last week. As a result, the delinquency rate on option ARMs already is jumping and is likely to keep rising sharply, S&P said. Because option ARMS went only to "prime" borrowers, they aren't eligible for a much-publicized interest rate freeze that is part of a White House-backed plan to stem sub-prime foreclosures.

One upshot could be foreclosures growing more common in affluent neighborhoods. ...

"The only reason for taking [an option ARM] was to use the minimum payment to get more house or a bigger refi than you otherwise could afford," said Guy Cecala, editor of Inside Mortgage Finance.

The familiar chart above shows the coming bulge in resets through 2011.

Also on page 4 was the news that:

Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. may write down an additional $34 billion in bonds linked to the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market, analysts at rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc. say in a new report.
Once again, industry reports that the problems are behind them are premature. So far, the bears have been calling this a lot better than the bulls.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

October Case-Shiller

The October S&P/Case-Shiller data were released yesterday. The drop is getting steeper, now including August's mortgage meltdown. Los Angeles (includes Orange County) is now down 8.9% from its peak in September 2006 - 1.9% from September, which was 1.2% from August. The national index is down 7.3% from its peak in June 2006 - 1.3% from September, which was .7% from August. See Calculated Risk yesterday for more discussion.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Then there's the LA Times Christmas Eve heart-tugger, front of the California section, "Foreclosure on Christmas" in Boyle Heights.

It has all the bubble elements. A 53-year-old grandmother, a long-time renter, was persuaded to buy with two loans at the peak of the market when a "a well-dressed man knocked on their door one day", a real estate agent. "'We were so happy. We never had our own house,'" Maria Debora said."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekly inventory update

12/21 - SM <$3M is down 9%, PP <$2M is down 17%, but MV is flat.

12/14 - SM <$3M is down 6%, PP <$2M is down 4%, and MV is down 8%. Surprisingly there are a couple of new listings.

I've also been intermittently tracking Westwood-Century City <$2M (17 on 11/30, 16 on 12/14) and Brentwood <$2M (25 on 11/23 and 26 on 12/14).

12/7 - Not a lot happening heading into December. SM <$3M is down 4%, PP <$2M is up 4%, and MV is down 5%. No new listings in SM so far this month.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/30/07 59,108 52 14 67 136 24 11 88 94 96 23 96
12/ 7/07 50 0 65 139 25 2 87 97 90 4 99
12/14/07 47 2 60 146 24 2 86 103 83 10 98
12/21/07 55,803 43 3 56 144 20 2 74 110 83 12 105
12/28/07

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Links

I expect most of you also read Santa Monica Distress Monitor. If not, be sure to see his now-4-part series on The 90402, which seems to be everyone's favorite subject here.

Second, I watched this video of economist Paul Krugman last night, via Calculated Risk. It's an excellent lecture that summarizes what went wrong to get us to here in the housing bubble. Here's also his NY Times blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

DataQuick November

DataQuick's November stats show more of the same. Los Angeles County (above) volume for November was down 46% from November 2006. Median price was essentially flat at $499K from October's $500K, and down 3% from October 2006. Note the graph above highlights in yellow the second quarter of each year, historically the highest volume and largest price rise. Below are median prices for four southern California counties.

Prices must fall

Today's LA Times says it succinctly: prices must fall for the market to recover. That needs to become the reply to NAR spin and narrow blame on subprime.

James Baker, a Lancaster agent, said years of unrealistic financing, such as loans with artificially low "teaser" rates, led to wild price inflation. For the market to recover, "the median price has to come down to match incomes," he said.

Edward Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, agrees with that assessment. The White House plan "focuses on a sliver of individuals at risk of foreclosure but ignores the bigger picture," he said.

"Californians need to get interested in buying again," Leamer said. That won't happen, he said, until prices inflated by the shaky loans of recent years fall further.

Barrington flopper

This little 640 SF 1923 2 bed / 2 bath house at 1120 S. Barrington Ave., second block north of Wilshire in Brentwood, is for sale asking $695K. X above marks it; it's a skinny 2,250 SF lot between the other houses (enlarge map). The listing says it (emphasis added):

"Back on market. Least expensive Brentwood home. Rare, development opportunity in Prime Brentood (90049) on R4 lot! Perfect for first time buyer or buillder. Walk to shops. Build TWO with LA’s new “small lot subdivision ordinance.” Lot is already split. This is a key lot, and seller on either side could decide to sell. Seller decided not to build at this time. Seller is Broker. Drive by only, there is no sign. Subject to a bank approval...."

It last sold 7/8/2005 for $772.5K. Lot of things you could do with this lot, but this seller is bailing, hoping the lender will accept a nearly-$100K haircut. Hmmm.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not selling in Ocean Park

To complete the trio, here is the fifth mid-month list of single-family houses in Ocean Park over 30 days on the market (11/14 previous). Five were added, three removed.

651 Navy St., 1 bed/1 bath, $679K LP, 10/25/07 LD new
664 Marine St., 2/1, $749K, 10/18/07, new
724 Navy St., 2/1.5, $849K, 5/6/07 (red. 11%)
2724 6th St., 2/1, $999K, 9/4/06 (red. 16%) new
2613 5th St., 3/2, $1,195K, 6/1/07 (red. 20%)
2614 2nd St., 3/1.75, $1,339K, 8/28/06 (red. 10%)
2327 5th St., 2/1, $1,499K, 7/13/07 (red. 6%)
213 Pacific, 3/2, $1,499K, 8/1/07 (red. 3%)
2912 2nd St., 2/1, $1,600K, 12/29/06 (incr. 10%!)
2629 6th St., 3/2, $1,750K, 10/3/07 (incr. 3%)
419 Hill St., 4/3, $1,880K, 10/8/07
654 Ashland Ave., 3/2, $2,295K, 11/8/07 new
150 Fraser St., 2/2, $2,395K, 10/4/07
2806 2nd St., 3/3, $2,695K, 10/3/07
2219 Ocean Ave., 3/3, $3,300K, 9/20/05
2606 Highland Ave., 2/2.75, $3,475K, 11/9/07, new

Removed listings:
718 Marine St., 1/1, $799K LP, 5/25/07 LD (red. 8%)
716 Marine St., 4/2.75, $1,589K, 4/20/07 (red. 10%)
2404 2nd St., 2/2.75, $1,875K, 6/21/07 (red. 17%)

Not selling in Sunset Park

Here's our sixth mid-month review of everything R-1 in Sunset Park over 30 days on the market (11/14 previous). Well-priced listings have sold within a few weeks; these haven't. One listing joined the list, while nine others are no longer available. Some may be expired (* below): when a listing disappears without "Backup Offer Accepted" status an even number of months from its listing date, one suspects.

2638 32nd St., 2 bed/1 bath, $865K LP, 6/6/07 LD (incr. 4%)
2338 Pier Ave., 3/2, $898K, 9/16/07 (red. 3%)
1717 Robson Ave., 2/1, $1,139K, 10/12/07 (red. 5%)
3118 17th St., 2/2, $1,149K, 9/7/07 (red. 11%)
1307 Marine St., 3/2, $1,195K, 11/6/07 new
926 Ozone St., 3/2.5, $1,199K, 7/29/07 (red. 15%)
2723 11th St., 2/2, $1,249K, 5/2/07 (red. 7%)
3041 Paula Dr., 5/4, $1,395K, 10/5/07, (red. 7%)
1702 Ashland Ave., 4/3.5, $1,399K, 10/3/07 (red. 4%)
1702 Cedar St., 3/2, $1,399K, 10/8/07 (red. 5%)
1640 Bryn Mawr Ave., 3/2, $1,449K, 7/7/07 (red. 5%)
1348 Hill St., 3/2, $1,539K, 9/17/07, (red. 4%)
1320 Pearl St., 2/1.75, $1,570K, 10/7/07
2222 Marine St., 4/4, $1,725K, 5/17/07 (red. 13%)
834 Maple St., 3/2, $1,879K, 8/24/07 (red. 11%)
2343 29th St. (photo), 4/4.5, $1,895K, 8/2/07 (red. 5%)

Removed listings:
1615 Marine St.*, 3/2, $985, 8/13/07 (red. 14%)
2432 21st St., 3/2, $1,149K, 10/10/07
2224 Navy St.*, 2/1, $1,150K, 6/5/07 (red. 8%)
2314 Pier Ave.*, 2/2, $1,195K, 7/9/07 (red. 4%)
2407 31st St.*, 3/2.5, $1,395K, 7/9/07 (red. 5%)
1101 Cedar St., 3/2, $1,399K, 4/11/07 (red. 11%)
1741 Maple St., 3/2, $1,590K, 10/14/07
1337 Ashland Ave., 3/2.75, $1,728K, 8/20/07 (red. 4%)
2516 Cloverfield Blvd.*, 4/3, $2,395K, 7/15/07 (red. 8%)

Not selling north of Montana

How's north of Montana doing as we head for the end of the year?

Here's the sixth mid-month list of everything north of Montana over 30 days on the market (11/14 previous). Four joined the list and four were removed.

476 26th St., 2 bed/2 bath, $1,950K LP, 11/7/07 LD new
754 23rd St., 4/3.5, $2,395K, 9/27/07
557 12th St., 6/5.5, $3,495K, 6/4/07 (red. 17%)
1628 Georgina Ave., 4/3, $3,550K, 10/25/07 new
317 Alta Ave., 5/3.5, $3,850K, 11/8/07 (red. 4%) new
310 22nd St., 5/5.5, $4,395K, 11/6/07 new
333 14th St., 5/6, $4,595K, 6/29/07 (red. 6%)
620 Alta Ave., 4/3.5, $5,395K, 10/11/07
1605 San Vicente Blvd. (photo), 6/7, $22,500K, 8/20/07

Removed listings:
704 15th St., 2/1, $1,990K, 8/22/07 (red. 13%)
710 23rd St., 4/3, $3,150K, 7/13/07 (red. 4%)
239 14th St., 5/5.5, $3,998K, 5/29/07 (red. 11%)
533 23rd St., 5/6, $4,790K, 9/25/07

Friday, December 14, 2007

Weekly inventory update

12/14 - SM <$3M is down 6%, PP <$2M is down 4%, and MV is down 8%. Surprisingly there are a couple of new listings.

I've also been intermittently tracking Westwood-Century City <$2M (17 on 11/30, 16 on 12/14) and Brentwood <$2M (25 on 11/23 and 26 on 12/14).

12/7 - Not a lot happening heading into December. SM <$3M is down 4%, PP <$2M is up 4%, and MV is down 5%. No new listings in SM so far this month.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/30/07 59,108 52 14 67 136 24 11 88 94 96 23 96
12/ 7/07 50 0 65 139 25 2 87 97 90 4 99
12/14/07 47 2 60 146 24 2 86 103 83 10 98
12/21/07

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Really Ancient Listings

I've written before on the Westside's Ancient Listings - those that have managed to last for month after month unsold, despite an active 2007 market. I count from original listing, despite some relistings and a few off the market awhile but no sale recorded. Santa Monica has the oldest ones. Here's the top-ten countdown from Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades (<$2M), and Palms-Mar Vista:

325 days - 1931 22nd, SM, 3 bed/2 bath, $1,150K, originally $1,325K listed about 1/22/07
331 - 3436 S. Centinela, MV, 3/2, $949K, $999K on 1/16/07
349 - 2912 2nd, SM, 2/1, $1,600K, $1,449K about 12/29/06
354 - 3735 Globe, MV, 3/1, $659K, $725K on 12/24/06
398 - 16602 Pequeno Pl., PP, 3/2, $1,299K, $1,495K on 11/10/06
436 - 2629 6th, SM, 3/2, $1,750K, $1,699K on 10/3/06
465 - 2724 6th, SM, 2/1, $999K, $1,190K about 9/4/06
472 - 2614 2nd, SM, 3/1.75, $1,339K, $1,495K about 8/28/06
502 - 926 Ozone, SM, 3/2.5, $1,199K, $1,410K about 7/29/06
814 - 2219 Ocean, SM, 3/3, $3,300K, $3,300K on 9/20/05 (photo)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Year-end deals

Suppose you're looking for a year-end deal vs. waiting a couple of years for the market to decline. In tracking past sales I've noticed a range of sold prices for similar properties, and there's some history of closing a good price in the winter. If you can save $100-200K now on a property you like, you may feel less like waiting for a general decline.

One type is a stale listing, perhaps with a history of price reductions, heading toward winter with few buyers still shopping. An example is 1629 Wellesley Dr., 2 bed/2 bath, listed in May '06 for $1,300K, reduced three times, finally to $995K (23%) in October, and closed 11/21/06 for $985K.

Another is 450 Lincoln, 2 bed/2 bath, listed in July '06 for $2,195K, also reduced three times, finally to $1,749K (20%), and closed 11/6/06 for $1,605K.

Another type is a quick-sell listing in the off-season. An example is 1408 Hill St., listed in January '07 for $899K and closed fast on 2/20/07 for $896K. Although since torn down, its price was a big discount off most other sales on Hill Street.

So are there any interesting stale listings as we head toward the holidays?

At the low end of Santa Monica in a reasonable location (but a fixer on a 40-foot lot) there's 2638 32nd St. (photo), 2 bed/1 bath, listed 6/6/07 for $829K, incredibly increased to $865K earlier this month.

For other possibilities I'd look at Zip Realty, which you can sort by listing date. Some of their dates have been relisted, but our past features Biggest price reductions, Not selling north of Montana, Not selling in Sunset Park, and Not selling in Ocean Park have original dates and may be a useful starting point.

Me? There's really nothing out there now that I like, let alone at all close to a price I'd consider, so it looks like I'll keep waiting.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Flopper archives 2

Here's the second edition of Flopper Archives, updates on past acts of attempted flipping documented here.

Let's start with 724 Navy St. (above) from May 22, which has become a poster child here for flopping in Ocean Park.

It is a 2 bed/1.5 bath house on a 2,000 sq.ft. lot, second block west of Lincoln. Originally listed 5/6/07 for $949K, its latest LD is 9/29/07 and price $849K. Over 200 days on market, and managed to fail to sell in an active year.

Even 716 Marine one block over, new 2-story 4 bed/2.75 bath listed 4/20/07 for $1,759K, reduced to $1,589K, went Looking for Backup mid-November and off the market early December. Its neighbor at 718 Marine, 1 bed/1 bath, listed 5/25/07 for $869K, reduced to $799K, and was off the market late November. Did it sell too?

Another in Ocean Park that we featured July 2 is 2614 2nd St., corner of Ocean Park Blvd. It's a 3 bed/1.75 bath, listed August last year for $1,495K, off the market Dec-Feb, now with a listing date of 9/25/07 asking $1,339K. Unsold a year and a quarter.

Two recently covered long-time floppers left the market late November: 1101 Cedar St. (corner of 11th), listed 4/11/07 for $1,475K, last asking $1,399K, and 2320 Idaho Ave. listed 3/22/07 for $2,395K, last asking $2,195K. Did they finally sell (at what discount?) or will they be back in 2008?

And be sure to see SM Distress Monitor's Sunset Park - The Airport Flip **Update 1, NOW AVAILABLE FOR RENT**.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Weekly inventory update

12/7 - Not a lot happening heading into December. SM <$3M is down 4%, PP <$2M is up 4%, and MV is down 5%. No new listings in SM so far this month.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/30/07 59,108 52 14 67 136 24 11 88 94 96 23 96
12/ 7/07 50 0 65 139 25 2 87 97 91 4 99
12/14/07

Bush's plan on Marketplace

Be sure to read or listen to yesterday's Marketplace "Putting a freeze to mortgage meltdown". It covers the issues well. Excerpts:

PRESIDENT BUSH: We should not bail out lenders, real estate speculators, or those who made the reckless decision to buy a home they knew they could never afford.

MOON: "This is a Band-Aid when the patient needs major surgery."

MOON: But [Moody's Economy.com chief economist Mark] Zandi does say that that assumes homeowners will be able to weather a very bad storm that's still ahead. He says he's already factored in the administration's new plan -- and even then, he's predicting a crash in home prices that will add up to more than 30 percent in many parts of the country before this crisis is over.

JOHN TAYLOR: What's been offered, at best, will probably not help more than 300,000 of the borrowers, so maybe 10 or 15 percent. It's simply not enough.

MOON: And there's even a question then, about whether this plan is going to survive in the courts, Kai. If Wall Street can't convince investors who hold all those mortgage-backed securities to go along with it, then it may be dead on arrival.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

News items

Tonight (12/6), 6:30-9:00 p.m., City of Santa Monica Transportation Workshop, Civic Auditorium East Wing, 1855 Main St.

Yesterday on public radio's Marketplace, the lead item about the housing bubble mortgage freeze and another on the art bubble. Tulip bulbs, anyone?

"Food bank cupboards are going bare" in Saturday's Daily News. The local economy is tightening.

LA Land blog's "Reader mail: A rate freeze 'rewards bad behavior'" yesterday should be an Op-Ed in the paper.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Biggest price reductions

Not a lot happening at the end of the year. Let's revisit the September 28 list of ten price reductions of at least 15% on the listings I've been tracking. Here are the current 14. Two are left over from the previous list (old%); guess they should have reduced more.

15% - 926 Ozone, SM, 3 bed/2.5 bath, $1,410K to $1,199K, 7/29/07
16% - 2724 6th, SM, 2/1, $1,190K to $999K, 9/4/07 (photo)
17% - 557 12th (16%), SM, 6/5.5, $4,195K to $3,495K, 6/4/07
17% - 3624 Maplewood, MV, 3/2, $1,068K to $890K, 5/31/07
17% - 12217 Palms, MV, 3/1.75, $1,075K to $895K, 3/20/07
18% - 2714 Washington, SM, 6/5, $2,850K to $2,350K, 8/13/07
18% - 3832 McLaughlin, MV, 4/3, $1,100K to $899K, 7/20/07
18% - 11886 Beatrice, CC, 4/4, $1,448K to $1,185K, 6/13/07
19% - 11917 Palms, MV, 5/4.5, $2,288K to $1,849K, 10/11/07
20% - 2613 5th, SM, 3/2, $1,495K to $1,195K, 6/1/07
20% - 11959 Charnock (18%), MV, 3/3, $2,250K to $1,795K, 4/29/07
23% - 4036 Moore, MV, 2/1, $879K to $675K, 8/27/07
24% - 4030 East, MV, 3/4, $2,229K to $1,695K, 8/31/07
31% - 11300 Kingsland, MV, 5/3, $1,300K to $900K, 1/16/07

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rate freeze

Friday's LA Times "Officials act to forestall foreclosures" made me ask the question who would bear the cost of such a rate freeze on negatively-amortizing teaser-rate mortgages. The owner of the mortgage? More negative amortization to the debtor? Taxpayer bailout?

MSNBC's "Banks, U.S. near deal on subprime mortgages" (also here) clarifies it would be investors in these mortgages:

The major thrust of the proposal would be to get lenders to extend for a number of years the low, introductory rates that were offered on subprime mortgages, loans usually offered to borrowers with weak credit histories.

An estimated 2 million of those initial low, teaser rates are scheduled to reset to much higher levels by the end of next year, pushing the payment on a typical mortgage from $1,200 per month to $1,550, an increase of $350. The concern is that many homeowners will not be able to meet the higher payments, triggering hundreds of thousands of defaults.

That would dump even more unsold homes on an already glutted housing market, pushing home prices down further, jolting consumer confidence and raising the risks of a full-blown recession.

By offering a broad approach to extend the teaser rates for a certain period — officials and the industry are debating time periods of two to five years — it would allow between homeowners to keep making payments while the housing industry regains its footing.

Once the industry stabilizes and home prices are no longer falling, it will be easier for homeowners to refinance their adjustable rate loans to more favorable fixed-rate mortgages.

Asked about the proposal on Friday, presidential press secretary Dana Perino said, "The president has been clear that no taxpayer money should be used for any sort of bailout."

The plan under consideration does not include any government funds, but it would mean losses for investors who purchased mortgage-backed securities because they would be getting a lower income stream reflecting the delay in having the introductory interest rates reset. But it would still represent more money than if the mortgage went into default.

But if they can't afford fully-amortizing payments now, how would higher housing prices help? And as if this would end falling prices.

See also Housing Doom's "Most ARMs Not Likely To Be Affected By Reset Freeze":

... at best, this bailout might freeze around one in six ARMs from resetting. The plan, however, will not be able to prevent ANY home values from falling, which means that the risk of loans defaulting remain high.

Added Monday: See Calculated Risk on Secretary Paulson's statement categorizing homeowners, ending with CR's comment:

Whenever the freeze ends, most of the homeowners in the defined group will still face foreclosure. So the purpose of this plan is clear - since the industry lacks the infrastructure to handle the work load, this guideline helps decide which loans to foreclose on now, and which loans to foreclose on later.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Monthly inventory update

11/30 - The usual end-of-year decline is apparent on the Westside, but only slightly in Mar Vista and hasn't turned down at all for Los Angeles County.

SM inventory <$3M is down 4% for the week and down 16% for the month; PP <$2M is down 12% for the week and down 21% for the month; MV is down 5% for the week but only down 2% for the month. Total Westside inventory is down 7.6% to 1,600.

11/23 - SM <$3M is down 10%, PP <$2M is down 19%, and MV is down 5%, largely from last weekend. Looks like they've all passed mid-November inventory peaks for the year. SM peaked in October last year.

11/16 - SM <$3M is down 6%, but PP <$2M is up 7% and MV is up 8%.

No longer active in SM includes 1108 Maple (Looking for Backup), 2317 California (gone), 1621 Ashland (gone), 716 Marine (Looking for Backup), 2516 Cloverfield (gone), 202 14th (Looking for Backup), and 506 Palisades (gone). Wonder what level of price reductions were in the old listings that finally sold?

Some are still selling fast: A new 11/8-listed 3 bed / 3.5 bath at 502 18th for $2,599K is already Looking for Backup, as is the 10/30-listed 6 bed / 4.5 bath at 425 23rd for $4.5M.

11/9 - Continuing last month's rising trend, SM inventory <$3M and PP <$2M are both up 3% for the week, and MV is flat for the week, all from a surge of new listings this week. Our lot-value 704 15th is back on the market, still asking $1.99M. And there were more price reductions.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/ 9/07 64 5 86 120 30 5 105 79 98 6 95
11/16/07 58,084 60 7 78 127 32 9 104 74 106 16 91
11/23/07 54 9 71 133 26 10 93 81 101 19 93
11/30/07 59,108 52 14 67 136 23 11 88 94 96 23 96
12/ 7/07
All Westside

             2/9     4/6     6/1     8/3    9/28   11/30 
3/1 5/4 6/30 8/31 11/2

Bel Air-H.Hls.86 86 92 100 103 99 86 99 104 104 86
Bev.Ctr.-M.M. 64 57 48 53 54 65 64 67 75 75 73
Beverly Hills 67 70 56 46 53 49 59 61 62 58 65
B.H. P.O. 94 91 92 88 93 95 92 94 90 93 85
B'wood Vic. 35 36 31 39 38 41 42 46 50 59 57
Brentwood 67 71 73 75 72 68 86 77 89 96 90
Chev.-R.Pk.'8'22 20 19 22 23 22 26 20 28 23 27
Culver City 35 25 20 28 33 36 41 48 49 46 39
Malibu 178 181 192 199 206 220 224 216 216 209 209
Malibu Beach 42 44 51 52 56 58 54 45 43 45 43
Marina Del Rey20 20 20 27 29 28 26 27 26 22 19
Pac.Palisades 64 68 73 82 87 92 78 69 90 106 88
Palms-M.Vista 62 53 52 68 77 73 84 90 87 98 96
Playa Del Rey 7 8 17 20 21 20 21 24 29 27 26
Playa Vista 3 2 3 1 3 5 4 9 8 10 7
Santa Monica 50 50 49 53 61 57 68 72 74 81 67
Sunset-Hwd.H.155 178 159 166 180 168 187 184 215 226 214
Topanga 39 41 36 43 45 54 49 54 55 52 49
Venice 64 64 57 68 70 72 69 68 68 84 75
W.H'wood Vic. 23 32 25 36 42 41 40 36 49 52 49
West L.A. 19 21 25 24 25 34 31 36 40 37 30
Westchester 53 46 47 45 53 52 62 72 82 78 73
W'wood-C.City 33 44 37 42 33 34 29 37 42 50 33
____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Total 1282 1274 1457 1522 1671 1600
1308 1377 1483 1551 1731
Month-month incr. 2% -3% 8% 6% 2% 3% 2% 8% 4% -8%

Notes

LA County inventory via OC Renter. Santa Monica Days on Market (DOM) is for <$3M, and omits Santa Monica Canyon (in City of Los Angeles but S.M. Post Office). Pacific Palisades DOM is for <$2M and count omits mobile homes. "New" is for previous month, or month-to-date for current partial month.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SELLER IS SERIOUS (?!)

Don't you love these? The updated description for this 4 bed / 4 bath house at 2222 Marine shouts,

"ANOTHER HUGE PRICE REDUCTION... THIS SELLER IS SERIOUS."

Really? Originally listed 5/17/07 for $1,975K, reduced to $1,775K in October, we're to believe a new $50K reduction to $1,725K is HUGE and SERIOUS?

"Great space and value in this Sunset Park home. Set on a large landscaped corner lot with room for a pool. Nature views from most windows. The four level split brings lightness and brightness. Large studio apartment with separate entrance and two car garage. This is a MUST SEE! ..."

Nature views, an implication of tranquility ... NOT! It's the corner of busy 23rd street, at the end of Santa Monica Airport, #6 in the map above (from June). And is that apartment legal in R1 Santa Monica?

It's ba-ack on 6th

Remember this 2 bed / 1 bath 720-square-foot tear-down at 2724 6th St. in Ocean Park from July?

Sold 6/20/06 for $1,089K (financed with a $871.2K fixed first and $108.9K credit line), it was back on the market 9/06, asking $1,190K, reduced 10/06 to $1,095K, and off the market 11/06. Relisted 2/19/07 for $1,125K, it was reduced 4/07 to $1,075K, and finally 7/07 to $999K. It went "Looking for Backup" in early September, never left the listings, and is again active. Wonder what happened?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

September Case-Shiller

The September S&P/Case-Shiller data were released today. Los Angeles (includes Orange County) is now down 7.0% from its peak in September 2006 - another 1.2% from August. The national index is down 6.0% from its peak in June 2006 - another .7% from August.

Don't forget, these sales, closed in September, entered escrow July-August, largely before the August credit crunch. That impact will unfold ahead.

There's more. Earlier this month S&P/Case-Shiller filled in data from 1980-86, and added separate Low, Middle, and High price tiers to the earlier Aggregate index. Above are these four indices for Los Angeles.

Significant is that the Low price tier rose more than the High price tier in Los Angeles, and the Low tier has fallen while the High tier has mostly plateaued so far. Like Santa Monica? Yes and no.

Above I fitted the Aggregate and High indices to low-end north-of-Montana sales, scaled the same as I posted last month. See the new problem?

The High index doesn't rise enough to fit recent Santa Monica data, yet is too high to fit the mid-1980s data. It appears Santa Monica prices have risen more than the overall Los Angeles High tier.

Which could correspond to a rise in position of Santa Monica among higher-priced communities. But it doesn't change my expectation of prices falling ahead, as they did 25% 1990-95.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why Westside prices will fall

The Dow is back to February levels today (MarketWatch chart, above).

Here are some reasons even Westside prices will fall*, despite the desirability of our close-in, nice-climate location, even without distress sales adding to supply:

  • Likely recession (Roubini, LA Times on bears) will impact stock values (already) and upper-income compensation used by buyers. And don't forget impacts of the writers strike (thanks, iluvwestsidebubbleguy)!

  • Jumbo loan terms and rates are rising as credit markets tighten. See New York Times (via Calculated Risk). We established that even buyers of >$4M houses financed 50-80%.

  • Prices fell 25% (low-end north of Montana) from 1990-1995.

  • When rent is so much less than a mortgage payment on an equivalent house, there's no financial reason to buy in a flat or falling market.

  • Most existing listings (north of Montana, Sunset Park, Ocean Park) already have a pattern of reducing prices.

  • Flippers and spec builders exit the market during a downturn.

  • Most move-up buyers have another house to sell that is in a weaker market, or are selling to a buyer having to sell in a weaker market.

  • Some buyers will select a near-by bargain over an overpriced prime Westside house.

  • Owners of properties that been held off the market waiting for more appreciation or a recovery will seek to sell quickly when they fear a long downturn, or can't wait any longer.

*With the obligatory disclaimer that what seems pretty likely to me could turn out otherwise. Which some of you will argue in the comments....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekly inventory update

11/23 - SM <$3M is down 10%, PP <$2M is down 19%, and MV is down 5%, largely from last weekend. Looks like they've all passed mid-November inventory peaks for the year. SM peaked in October last year.

11/16 - SM <$3M is down 6%, but PP <$2M is up 7% and MV is up 8%.

No longer active in SM includes 1108 Maple (Looking for Backup), 2317 California (gone), 1621 Ashland (gone), 716 Marine (Looking for Backup), 2516 Cloverfield (gone), 202 14th (Looking for Backup), and 506 Palisades (gone). Wonder what level of price reductions were in the old listings that finally sold?

Some are still selling fast: A new 11/8-listed 3 bed / 3.5 bath at 502 18th for $2,599K is already Looking for Backup, as is the 10/30-listed 6 bed / 4.5 bath at 425 23rd for $4.5M.

11/9 - Continuing last month's rising trend, SM inventory <$3M and PP <$2M are both up 3% for the week, and MV is flat for the week, all from a surge of new listings this week. Our lot-value 704 15th is back on the market, still asking $1.99M. And there were more price reductions.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/ 9/07 64 5 86 120 30 5 105 79 98 6 95
11/16/07 58,084 60 7 78 127 32 9 104 74 106 16 91
11/23/07 54 9 71 133 26 10 93 81 101 19 93
11/30/07

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hype in PP!



There's hype, and there's HYPE!! This 3 bed / 3 bath house at 1588 Chastain Parkway West in Pacific Palisades, asking $1,999K, practically leaped out from the other listings, begging to be blogged.

"Priced to sell immediately!

Or not. Listed 9/20/07, price reduced to $1,999K in October.

Showcase! A fusion of sophistication, vibrancy & warmth,w/exciting contemp. colors, paired w/ rich woods & materials. Light & bright corner prop.

On its corner lot (up in the far reaches of Palisades Highlands), barely bigger than the house, it looks like the OC in PP.

on street w/much more expensive props.

The street to the upper right passes a guard gate to "The Enclave"; guess those are gated and this isn't.

3 lg. BRs + ocean view loft/office (could be 4th BR) upstairs. Fam. rm. & fab. din. rm. dn. Tuscan gourmet kitch. w/top appls. Master w/2 walk-ins, bar, sumptuous bath. High ceilings, cherry finished wd. flrs, xlnt. laund, 3 car att. garage. Lush pvt. yd, charm frt garden. Summit Club..."

Where's that yard? But I won't forget that "fusion of sophistication, vibrancy & warmth"!

Shall we give thanks tomorrow for the (albeit slow) return of economic sanity?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last weekend

Either house shoppers are buying a house for the holidays, testing their skill at knife catching where prices are lower than others still unsold, or thirsting for Kool Aid, but a number of listings went "Looking for Backup" over the weekend, on the heels of what I reported in the last Weekly inventory update. A few others just left the listings, some I suspect expired.

Santa Monica
651 Navy St., 1 bed/1 bath, LP=$679K, LD=10/25/07 ($120K less than 718 Marine)
664 Marine St. 2/1, $749K, 10/18/07 ($100K less than 724 Navy)
1838 16th St., 5/3, $995K, 10/4/07 (north of Pico)
2404 2nd St., 2/2.75, $1,875K, 6/21/07 (reduced from $2,250K)
424 11th St., 3/1.75, $2,100K, 11/15/07 (lot-value 704 15th still available for $1,990K)
550 15th St., 5/4.5, $3,795K, 11/9/07

Pacific Palisades
16543 Akron St., 2/2, $1,249K, 9/13/07
1464 Paseo de Oro, 4/3.5, $1,825K, 10/8/07
770 Almar Ave., 3/2.5, $1,895K, 7/19/07

Conversely, Palms-Mar Vista listings were up two over the weekend. Crazy market, like the Dow that can be both up and down over 100 points in the same day.

Friday, November 16, 2007

They lie: NAR commercial


YouTube link

Outrageous National Association of Realtors commercial on CBS primetime tonight. Transcript and comments:

Family: When you have a family, it's always a good time to buy.

Blow your nest egg in a falling market, your family will forgive you.

Realtor: It's a great move-up market.

Not if you can't sell your old house.

Man: In this market, there's a lot a options.

That is, a lot of unsold houses at inflated prices.

Woman 1: The Interest rates are low.

Compared to?

Family: Didn't make sense for us for us to spend the same amount of money renting something when we could own it.

As if! And where can you buy for the cost of rent? See the 11/12/07 Fortune article that projects prices will have to fall 28% nationally to return to their historic relationship to rents: "All through the 1990s the multiple of prices to rents nationwide remained between 14 and 15." (page 82)

Woman 2: Working with a Realtor took all the guesswork out.

What did your Realtor tell you about nationally falling prices?

Realtor: This is the best market in years in terms of choice.

Which will get better in prices and selection if you wait.

Narrator: Interest rates are at historic lows, home choices have increased, and prices are favorable. Every market's different. Call a Realtor today.

Lie: interest rates are above their historic lows.

Couple: If we didn't buy now, we would have missed the opportunity on this home. Yeah.

But have had the opportunity of others at better prices. Maybe even this one on a foreclosure.

Weekly inventory update

11/16 - SM <$3M is down 6%, but PP <$2M is up 7% and MV is up 8%.

No longer active in SM includes 1108 Maple (Looking for Backup), 2317 California (gone), 1621 Ashland (gone), 716 Marine (Looking for Backup), 2516 Cloverfield (gone), 202 14th (Looking for Backup), and 506 Palisades (gone). Wonder what level of price reductions were in the old listings that finally sold?

Some are still selling fast: A new 11/8-listed 3 bed / 3.5 bath at 502 18th for $2,599K is already Looking for Backup, as is the 10/30-listed 6 bed / 4.5 bath at 425 23rd for $4.5M.

11/9 - Continuing last month's rising trend, SM inventory <$3M and PP <$2M are both up 3% for the week, and MV is flat for the week, all from a surge of new listings this week. Our lot-value 704 15th is back on the market, still asking $1.99M. And there were more price reductions.

       LA County  Santa Monica  Pacific Palisades  Mar Vista
<$3M New Tot DOM<$2M New Tot DOM Tot New DOM

_________ _______________ _______________ ___________

1/30/06 27,732
2/28/06 29,420
3/31/06 31,819
4/21/06 33,054 35
5/ 1/06 34,032 38 33
6/ 2/06 37,847 56 36 38
6/30/06 42,317 66 40 49
8/ 4/06 45,315 70 34 50
9/ 1/06 46,781 71 27 59
10/ 6/06 47,369 83 25 98 71
11/ 3/06 45,780 80 20 91 77
12/ 1/06 43,103 65 18 72 96 39 20
1/ 5/07 35,646 54 4 60 117 33 6 71 66
2/ 2/07 36,715 38 15 45 124 29 16 61 71
3/ 2/07 41,251 42 14 51 114 26 10 68 79 53 25 76
4/ 6/07 42,857 41 23 49 107 18 8 73 103 52 52 50
5/ 4/07 45,918 46 28 54 92 19 6 82 79 68 37 52
6/ 1/07 52,198 50 25 61 78 17 15 87 78 77 39 53
6/30/07 52,769 42 18 56 81 17 11 92 77 74 33 61
8/ 3/07 54,166 53 28 68 86 23 12 78 76 84 39 68
8/31/07 57,432 57 21 72 98 18 7 69 75 90 40 79
9/28/07 58,973 59 17 74 103 26 9 90 81 87 20 87
11/ 2/07 58,731 62 19 81 120 29 7 106 77 98 35 88
11/ 9/07 64 5 86 120 30 5 105 79 98 6 95
11/16/07 58,084 60 7 78 127 32 9 104 74 106 16 91
11/25/07

DataQuick October

Here are two views of this week's release of DataQuick's October sales statistics. Four southern California counties (above) show Los Angeles prices retraced to early 2006; Ventura and Orange Counties to early 2005; and San Diego County all the way to mid-2004.

The chart below shows detail for Los Angeles County. The median price fell from $550K to $500K in just two months.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New bank owned

Here are two new bank-owned, aka REO, houses listed 11/13. Not exactly 90402, but definitely Westside.

The cheapest listed house in Pacific Palisades, and the only one less than $1M this year, is this 2 bed / 1 bath house at 687 Hampden Place, asking $900K (X marks the spot above; enlarge map). This original 985 SF house on a 2,918 SF lot contrasts with the newer mansions down the hill to the right.

Its description begins, "Reo. Bank owned. Adorable cottage on a quiet street close to the village. ..." I don't have its last sale price, but its County Assessor's valuation of $1,193.4K, recorded 8/16/05, should be close, so a loss of some $300K.

Second is this 2 bed / 1 bath at 4377 Westlawn Ave., in the "Marina Adjacent" part of Mar Vista south of Washington Blvd., asking $737.5K (enlarge map).

"* Lender owned * redone traditional * Granite kitchen * Hardwood floors * great starter home * Great yard with deck + separate guest house for office, rec. room, ETC. Nicely landscaped. All buyers to be pre-qualified by specified loan rep. call for details...."

With the granite, this has gotta be a flip gone bad. It last sold 4/6/06 for $715K. I found it listed 2/26/07 with "Price reduction to $839K!!" Reduced again to $799K in April, it left the market in June. For a buyer now it's like getting free granite. Or catching a falling knife.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Not selling in Ocean Park

To complete the trio, here is the fourth mid-month list of everything in Ocean Park over 30 days on the market (10/15 previous). This one's really stuck: five added, none into escrow, some reduced prices, a couple more in the pipeline.

718 Marine St. (photo, left), 1 bed/1 bath, $799K LP, 5/25/07 LD (red. 8%)
724 Navy St., 2/1.5, $849K, 5/6/07 (red. 11%)
2614 2nd St., 3/1.75, $1,339K, 8/28/06 (red. 10%)
2613 5th St., 3/2, $1,195K, 6/1/07 (red. 20%)
2614 2nd St., 3/1.75, $1,339K, 8/28/06 (red. 10%) back on mkt
2327 5th St., 2/1, $1,499K, 7/13/07 (red. 6%)
213 Pacific, 3/2, $1,524K, 8/1/07 (red. 2%)
716 Marine St. (photo, right), 4/2.75, $1,589K, 4/20/07 (red. 10%)
2912 2nd St., 2/1, $1,600K, 12/29/06 (incr. 10%!)
2629 6th St., 3/2, $1,750K, 10/3/07 (incr. 3%) new
2404 2nd St., 2/2.75, $1,875K, 6/21/07 (red. 17%)
419 Hill St., 4/3, $1,880K, 10/8/07 new
150 Fraser St., 2/2, $2,395K, 10/4/07 new
2806 2nd St., 3/3, $2,695K, 10/3/07 new
2219 Ocean Ave., 3/3, $3,300K, 9/20/05

Removed listings: (none)

Not selling in Sunset Park

Here's our fifth mid-month review of everything R-1 in Sunset Park over 30 days on the market (10/15 previous). Well-priced listings have sold within a few weeks; these haven't. Eight listings joined the list, while four others are no longer available.

2638 32nd St., 2 bed/1 bath, $829K LP, 6/6/07 LD
2338 Pier Ave., 3/2, $898K, 9/16/07 (red. 3%)
1615 Marine St., 3/2, $985, 8/13/07 (red. 14%)
1717 Robson Ave., 2/1, $1,139K, 10/12/07 (red. 5%) new
3118 17th St., 2/2, $1,149K, 9/7/07 (red. 11%)
2432 21st St., 3/2, $1,149K, 10/10/07 new
2224 Navy St., 2/1, $1,150K, 6/5/07 (red. 8%)
2314 Pier Ave., 2/2, $1,195K, 7/9/07 (red. 4%)
926 Ozone St., 3/2.5, $1,199K, 7/29/07 (red. 15%)
2723 11th St., 2/2, $1,299K, 5/2/07 (red. 3%)
2407 31st St., 3/2.5, $1,395K, 7/9/07 (red. 5%)
3041 Paula Dr., 5/4, $1,395K, 10/5/07, (red. 7%) new
1101 Cedar St., 3/2, $1,399K, 4/11/07 (red. 11%)
1702 Ashland Ave., 4/3.5, $1,449K, 10/3/07 new
1640 Bryn Mawr Ave., 3/2, $1,449K, 7/7/07 (red. 5%)
1702 Cedar St., 3/2, $1,475K, 10/8/07 new
1348 Hill St., 3/2, $1,539K, 9/17/07, (red. 4%) new
1320 Pearl St., 2/1.75, $1,570K, 10/7/07 new
1741 Maple St., 3/2, $1,590K, 10/14/07 new
1337 Ashland Ave., 3/2.75, $1,728K, 8/20/07 (red. 4%)
2222 Marine St., 4/4, $1,775K, 5/17/07 (red. 10%)
2343 29th St. (photo), 4/4.5, $1,895K, 8/2/07 (red. 5%)
834 Maple St., 3/2, $1,975K, 8/24/07 (red. 6%)
2516 Cloverfield Blvd., 4/3, $2,395K, 7/15/07 (red. 8%)

Removed listings:
1108 Maple St., 3/1.5, $1,299K, 9/14/07
816 Wilson Pl., 3/2, $1,299K, 1/18/07 (red. 13%)
2005 Ashland Ave., 3/1.75, $1,359K, 8/2/07 (red. 9%)
1621 Ashland Ave., 2/1.5, $1,545K, 8/13/07 (red. 8%)

Not selling north of Montana

If north of Montana is special and everyone wants to live there, why are houses not selling? Not enough buyers, or are even those buyers price-sensitive?

Anyway, here's the fifth mid-month list of everything north of Montana over 30 days on the market (10/15 previous). Three joined the list and seven were removed, but a number of new listings within the last 30 days will likely join this list next month.

704 15th St., 2 bed/1 bath, $1,990K LP, 8/22/07 LD (red. 13%)
754 23rd St., 4/3.5, $2,395K, 9/27/07
710 23rd St., 4/3, $3,150K, 7/13/07 (red. 4%)
557 12th St., 6/5.5, $3,495K, 6/4/07 (red. 17%)
239 14th St., 5/5.5, $3,998K, 5/29/07 (red. 11%) new
333 14th St., 5/6, $4,595K, 6/29/07 (red. 6%)
533 23rd St., 5/6, $4,790K, 9/25/07 new
620 Alta Ave., 4/3.5, $5,395K, 10/11/07 new
1605 San Vicente Blvd. (photo), 6/7, $22,500K, 8/20/07

Removed listings:
611 14th St., 3/1.75, $2,049K, 9/7/07 (red. 7%)
242 25th St., 2/1.5, $2,399K, 7/7/07 (red. 4%)
256 24th St., 3/2, $2,995K, 9/12/07
202 14th St., 6/4, $3,288, 5/24/07 (red 15%)
721 Georgina Ave., 4/5, $3,450K, 8/21/07
421 23rd St., 6/6.5, $5,000K, 5/24/07
1020 Palisades Beach Rd., 6/6, $10,550K, 7/9/07

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Flopper on 11th

Let's interrupt updating the archives with this new-to-Westside Bubble attempted flipper not succeeding in Sunset Park. It's a 3 bed / 2 bath at 1101 Cedar St., on the corner of 11th St., asking $1,399K. You can kinda see it behind the trees.

The description includes (another SHOUTER): "STUNNING SUNSET PARK CONTEMPORARY REMODEL. BEAUTIFULLY REDONE W/AN OPEN FLR PLAN THE HOME FEATURES: DARK WALNUT FLRS; REMODELED KIT W/GRANITE, MAPLE CABINETS & STAINLESS APPLIANCES; & REMODELED BATHS W/ LIMESTONE & SLATE SURFACES & FLRS. ... 50' PLASMA TV IN LIV RM IS INCLUDED W/ ALL APPLIANCES...." [Really, a 50-foot TV?!]

It previously sold 12/16/05 for $1,169K, then listed 4/11/07 for $1,580K. Reductions to $1,499K in May, and $1,475K in July, and finally to the current $1,399K haven't moved it. D'ya think all the traffic on 11th has something to do with it?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flopper archives

Let's revisit some examples of attempted flipping from the Westside Bubble archives, starting with these two from 8-9 months ago.

First is 2320 Idaho Ave., SM that we first visited March 26. Originally for sale in 11/05 at $1,399K (photo above), it finally sold 4/4/06 for $1,335K. Post-flip it was listed 3/22/07 for $2,395K. After price reductions in May and July, it's still unsold at $2,195K.

It's a 3 bed / 3 bath '20s house with a '60s 2-story addition on a tiny lot (4,750 square feet according to Zillow), next to an alley, across Idaho from the Franklin School playground, "Completely remodeled with hardwood floors throughout, new custom baths, kitchen with stone and stainless appliances."

I wrote then, I predict this one will sit for quite awhile at that price. What's financing plus property taxes on $1.5M costing this flipper per month? It's been nearly eight months, a market when anything reasonably-priced sold fast but is now looking more grim. Ouch!

Second is this 3 bed /2.75 bath house at 12566 Woodbine St., Mar Vista from April 30. Previously closed for $935K on 3/20/07 (listed for $999K on 11/3/06), the flip was listed 4/27/07 for $1,299K, or lease for $5,200.

They redid the interior with, "New kitchen, bathrooms, hardwood floors! All new travertine in kitchen and baths. High end vanities in baths. Master is unbelievable, about 650 sq. ft taking up entire 2nd Floor."

And they threatened, "3 wk. listing or will be rented. Offers due May 4." Well, here we are over six months later, with relistings and price reductions to the current $1,199K, or lease for $4,900. So much for that 3-week deadline. Ouch again.