Sunday, May 10, 2009

A $200,000 Loss, But Not a Short Sale

Address: 232 Junipero #C1, 90803
Asking Price: $340,000
Year Built: 1967
Size: 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,175 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $289
HOA Fee: $162
Purchase price: $520,000
Purchase date: 10/2007
MLS#: S09052105
On Redfin: 1 day
Down Payment: $68,000
Monthly Payment: $1,900
Income Requirement: $97,000
Description: Great 2 bedroom, 2 bath McKenzie built condo located in the historic Carroll Park area of Long Beach. Walking distance to Bluff Park and the beach!!! Features include a good size master bedroom, hardwood floors in living room and hallway, travertine marble in dining room and kitchen, decorative crown molding throughout, large remodeled baths, beautiful kitchen with built in wine cooler, balcony of the dining area and laundry in the unit. Immaculate complex features a nice lobby with travertine floors and a Terrazzo courtyard that's great for barbecuing and relaxing! Refrigerator & washer/dryer are included! This is truly a wonderful unit and a great area!!!!

Wow, a strong close with four exclamation points!!!!

This clean little apartamento was purchased in late 2007 for a trousers-soiling price of $520,000. That's right--more than half a million clams for this place.

The crazy thing is, even though the asking price of $340,000 represents a catastrophic loss of $200,000, this is not a short sale. Someone please explain that to me. You're telling me they put $200,000 down?

If that's the case, the payment should be $2,300 before tax write-offs--a substantial monthly nut, but not insane for someone making a good income. So then why are they selling in this horrendous economic environment? Job loss? Job transfer? Divorce? I simply can't make sense of this.

Anyhow, if there was in fact a $200,000 down payment in 2007, in just two short years it's gone, baby, gone.

Here is the sales history:

Apr 09, 1992 - Sold $125,000
Sep 20, 1995 - Sold $95,000
Jul 30, 1998 - Sold $127,000
May 27, 2004 - Sold $354,000
Oct 03, 2007 - Sold $520,000
May 09, 2009 - Listed $340,000

As you can see, at $340,000, we are below 2004 pricing in a fairly desirable neighborhood. That doesn't bode well for the other nearby idiot sellers still clinging to the fraudulent idea that they will get out of this housing crash without substantial financial pain:

$419,000 2100 E 2nd St #305
0.11 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,132 Sq. Ft.

$409,900 2100 E 2ND St #301
0.11 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,109 Sq. Ft.

$425,000 2100 E 2nd St #403
0.11 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,143 Sq. Ft.

$359,900 2121 E 1st St #307
0.15 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,264 Sq. Ft.

$395,000 2131 E 1st St #304
0.15 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,451 Sq. Ft.

$599,900 2105 E Ocean Blvd #17
0.22 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,459 Sq. Ft.

$400,000 2538 E 2nd St #107
0.26 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,347 Sq. Ft.

Here's a little perspective for you regarding the level of delusion in this neighborhood. Notice the difference between the Listed price per square foot versus the Sold price per square:

That's a $75 disconnect between Wishful Thinking and Harsh Reality. How's that sense of entitlement working out?

Hell, among this crowd #C1, asking $289 per square, looks like a great deal. In my opinion, it's still overpriced for a place with only one parking spot, but the HOA is low, the square footage is decent, it features a clean, simple (non-upgraded) kitchen, has in-unit's a nice little flat and has some good things going for it.

I think #C1 has a decent shot of finding a buyer this summer (with a 10-15% price reduction, it will be very close to meeting fundamentals such as 3.5X median income, local rents, etc.). The real issue here isn't necessarily whether that buyer will be a knife-catcher; it's what a sale at $290,000-$300,000 means for the delusional nearby sellers. A sale will serve as an ominous comp for the adjacent sellers hoping their neighborhood is still "immune" from the ongoing housing crash.

(Love you, mom)


  1. you know what gets me about those listed vs. sold graphs on redfin is that the SOLD line is starting to RISE!!!!!

    I don't see how this is possible with already WTF prices, and unemployment spiking.

  2. Carl,

    I hear you. That little blip upwards is very frustrating. But you have to factor in a few things. 1) Seasonal increase in sales, 2) Crazy low interest rates, and 3) Pent-up demand. Yes, it exists. Plenty of people are just tired of waiting and thanks to #2 "it's close enough" from a monthly payment perspective (equity burn is another thing entirely, but in this country it seems to be all about making the "monthly payment" work, even if you have to finance the BMW for 84 months) to make the leap.

    Don't let it get you down. I think the fall and winter are going to be particularly harsh because 1) The seasonal increase in sales will die off, 2) Interest rates might be starting their inevitable rise by then, and 3) Most of the "pent-up" buyers with down payments will have already bought.

    And don't forget your point, which is 4) Unemployment that shows no signs of improving.

  3. Knife Catchers please..
    ~200k in two years,
    That'll be close to meadian income x 3.

  4. El Bee,

    I know. It is hard to think that I may have to wait until 2011/12, rather than 10/11 for normalcy to return to the LBC.

    I have to keep looking at the Alt-A Reset charts floating around the interwebz, and looking at the median household income for 90808 and realizing that at $83K (high end), the median home price should be $332K with a generous 4x multiplier.

    But hey, it may give us one more year to retire a majority of my debt. So that's a positive. Of course, it may require that I stop going to Tracy's and instead head to Joe Jost's.