Monday, September 24, 2007

No sales and failed flips

This is historic. No houses sold this weekend in Santa Monica (last occurred on August 28th) ... or <$2M in Pacific Palisades ... or in Palms-Mar Vista. None.

A SM listing at 2019 Delaware appears to have expired after six months. A few prices were reduced. Four new listings in Mar Vista. And any open house on Sunday would have looked gorgeous after the rain!

Second, did you see the Curbed LA PriceSpotter item about the 3 bed / 2 bath house at 256 24th (corner of Georgina), asking $2,995K? Nice fixed-up traditional one-story house in Santa Monica, but $THREE MILLION?! I hope it does get a premium over lot value and doesn't get replaced with yet another mansion.

So what's the photo about (enlarge)? I realized that both 2338 Pier, 3 bed / 2 bath (red arrow, above; the contrast of the runway with its tiny neighboring houses is striking!), and 3224 Pearl, 2 bed / 1 bath, appear to be failed flips. Wonder why these sellers got cold feet, if anyone else will step up, and at what price?

Pier sold 3/9/07 for $860K, and is now asking $928K. "This 1920's courtyard Spanish offers an opportunity to rehab or rebuild new on apx 7,000 sq.ft. flat lot with view potential. Plans for remodel included. ..." WarChestSM picked up its flip neighbor at 2314 Pier last week.

Pearl sold 1/19/07 for $835K, and is now asking $949K. "Bring your builder or developer! Charming two bedroom, one bathroom California Bungalow on 6,000 sq ft lot. Well-maintained, updated, newer windows, refinished chocolate hardwood floors, large grassy yard, covered patio, ..."

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's a great photo! I've flown a Cessna 150 from there--it was my first solo flight from Santa Monica. I had soloed earlier at El Monte so it wasn't really a very special event. But we usually took off west.

Buying a house there you can get really get good airplane sounds! Of course if you don't like airplane sounds then it probably wouldn't be very nice.

Anonymous said...

Interesting statistics from Aug/2007 LA ZIP chart. Done in Excel by sorting the dqnews data. 263 ZIPs had enough data to be considered

Bottom 10% percentile SFR (27 zips) up to 402k$
25 zipcodes down in price 2 up in price.

Top 10% percentile (27 zips) including most Westside etc down to about 1170k$
21 up in price 6 down in price

High-end LA seem quite healthy still despite all that gloom. Does anyone know how it was exactly in 1990 - I don't think this was the pattern then - high end was the first one to falter ? How much and when did Palmdale etc plunge then ?
My take on this is the prediction about high-end based on the 1990 may be very difficult here.

Does anyone have some hard facts comparing these housing recessions no opinions - there is so many of them but some hard facts and numbers.

WarChestSM said...

anon,

Go back and look at old posts and some of the comments as well. Westside Bubble has posted a lot of great historical data here and your questions should be answered.

The high end stuff usually holds up the longest but ends up falling significantly in the end. There are generally no areas of "safety" in big market downturns (and yes, we are in the early stages of one now).

Anonymous said...

I add one more piece of statistics from Aug 2007

Zips with average price
Price <= 500k 1207 house sold Avg zip Price -8% down

Price 500-750k 2029 Houses sold avg -2 % down

Price 750k-1mln 510 Houses sold avg +2% up

Price 1mln+ 722 houses sold avg zip price +15% up.

Anonymous said...

"The high end stuff usually holds up the longest but ends up falling significantly in the end"

Does anyone have some hard evidence from previous housing recession to prove this point. I think it actually the opposite the high-price areas are usually is the first to falter due to (un)affordability.

Westside Bubble said...

Thanks for the analysis, Anon. Be sure to see this post from last week if you haven't already, about SM prices' drop in the early-mid 1990s.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this and I am aware SM prices dropped in 90s but did they drop 1-2 years after "low-end" like this is perhaps happening now ? Is there any evidence of high-end vs. low-end time differences at that time.
I thought it was the opposite at that time.
On the graph it does not seem to be lagging behind like now. Now obviously there are big differences between the 2 and I do not think it was like that before. Perhaps (just a thought) low-end overshot more this time (unlike last time) due to subprime and now it corrects itself ?

Anonymous said...

Higher end neighborhoods do indeed hold out longer than lower end neighborhoods, just as outlying regions fall before city centers. But no area is immune and in the end everything falls. This pattern has happened in every housing crash and hit the Westside last time, too.

The reason is obvious. High end areas tend to be populated by those with deeper pockets who can hold out a few months longer than the working class. They've also got more tied up in the properties and are therefore more frantic to "save" the house. And finally we can't underestimate the sheer arrogance and denial that drives reluctant sellers.

In the end though the higher end always falls because fundamentals never change. Plunging low end price tags drag down everything above it for multiple reasons, but the most obvious is the "ladder" nature of real estate. Owners generally sell to move up but if the rung below you has collapsed, there's nobody to offload your current property on. It's turtles all the way down.

Anonymous said...

Any data supporting this theory from the last housing recession ?

Anonymous said...

Westside Bubble,

Coming back to your low
end North-of-Montana
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2983944778720243687&postID=3644508850885421480

627 EUCLID ST
is already looking for backup. After < 3 weeks.

Your call was correct. Euclid was the best as it goes first.

Must be one these
foreigners loaded with real hard cash instead of $. I doubt if they reduced the price -we'll see. Maybe it will fall out escrow but I guess now only super-qualified buy anyway.

Now it sets comps for a next year or so for the "low-end" north of Montana. That bubble bursting is still a long time away it seems to me

WarChestSM said...

Data is nice, but booms and busts never follow the exact same paths each time the cycle goes around.

This blog has shown data of closed sales on 90402 lots/homes from the last cycle. What else would be useful? I think it would be extremely difficult to get "data" that explicitly shows weaker areas getting hit first and falling x percent while high end areas lag by x months and fall x percent.

The point is that even if we had such heavenly data in a clean format in front of us, it wouldn't mean all that much because YES, THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT. Uncharted territory with regards to how huge the run up was and the crazy financing that allowed it.

So what to do then? Many on this blog have chosen to get all the data we can about CURRENT conditions so that we can try to get a grasp on what is likely to come.

Almost every piece of data that I have seen with regards to income trends, down payments, financing, adjustments to come, inventory, non-occupied inventory, foreclosures, etc says that we are in for a rough ride.

I think that this blog and my blog have together shown that so far, there is pressure on high end homes but the real stress has been felt in more marginal areas and on more marginal units (converted condos, etc).

Both blogs have shown major price cuts and lingering inventory on even the most high end 90402 homes. My blog has shown many short sales and foreclosures on condos and townhouses (many in more marginal areas of SM). So this taken together would suggest to me that the high end is holding up somewhat (lack of foreclosures and big losses), while the low end is getting hammered. You don't need any data from last time to see this because it is already happening RIGHT NOW.

WarChestSM said...

Be careful about calling 627 Euclid "low end". From the description is looked like something that one would actually want to live in.

Maybe calling it "low/medium" would be best.

So I don't know if this can be thought of as true lot value then...Maybe one could argue lot value is thus less than $2? Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

BTW what is the actual total cost of tearing down a 1500 sqf "tear down" and building standard mid-range "nothing fancy" 2500-3000 sqf 2 level spanish house. I heard quotes about 200$ per foot including tear-down, but have not seen actual quotes. Is 200/per sqf including all finishing inside etc bathrooms appliances etc. Can it be done cheaper without sacrifizing quality ?
Is there somone on this blog who has recent experience in LA to tell us the "real" total bill including "todo" everything.

WarChestSM said...

$200/sq ft would be on the low end for a new, 2 story home in SM. This is what I have found out after talking to 2 architects in the past 12 months.

Architects, landscaping, permits, etc all cost a lot of money and drive the costs up. And then there is the actual construction on top.

But I still think that when demand fizzles, the contractors have lots of room to come down on pricing (I think they have been printing money over the past 5 years).

So yes, I am also VERY interested to know what it really costs and what people are really paying for new construction. Everyone I know who has done construction in the past 7 years has said it cost an arm and a leg (and budgets always go over).

Anonymous said...

"it cost an arm and a leg (and budgets always go over)."

This is what I have heard too but does anyone know more precise estimates :-)

Anonymous said...

I think it is just that nobody wants to admit how much they got ripped by the contractor who "ran into some unforeseen problems"...

Evil Landlord said...

OK, we did an extensive remodel in 2003-2004 that was essentially a "teardown". We left one wall and the footprint and built up. We did it in the City of LA, so no Coastal Commission and no Santa Monica regulations... Permits, construction, Home Depot stock fixtures, bargain basement architect and engineering, flooring, paint, windows- everything except the appliances, furniture and window coverings worked out to just under $180/sq ft

It was delayed by nearly a year and construction costs went over as time passed.

Mr.Mortgage said...

Sadly or happily depending on your position in the market Santa Monica made this list:
CA Tops List of Most Expensive Homes
http://thegreatloanblog.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

$180/sq ft just too tight, it is possible under strict control and minimize Change orders during construction. $225/sqft seems more realistic, labor cost hard to control. Compare material cost in Home Depot, Osh and Expo -> see differences in quality. Good quality windows / doors may cost $250/sf-> about 10% of sqft -> 30k just for windows& door no installation. HVAC about 5K
Example gestimate for SFR in WLA
5000 sq ftx $120 lot = $600 K
1300 sq ft home x $225 = $292.5K ( 3 bd 2 ba)
900 K sound reasonable??

Westside Bubble said...

627 EUCLID ST
is already looking for backup. ...

Now it sets comps for a next year or so for the "low-end" north of Montana. That bubble bursting is still a long time away it seems to me


Thanks for that update, Anon. I agree with WarChestSM's reply, though. $2.3M or so for a fixed-up older one-story has comps back to 2005.

Conversely, the tear-down on 15th reduced to $1,990K seems a fall from tear-downs sold earlier this year for $2,050K and $2,200K.

Perhaps different this time from the 1990s is I'd thought of Santa Monica north of Montana as a leading indicator then, first to rise and first to fall, compared with greater Los Angeles. LA is now falling, but SM still seems still stuck at the top of the hill.

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