Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lofty Goals and Expectations

Address: 115 W 4th St #405, 90802
Asking Price: $390,000
Year Built: 1929
Size: 1 beds, 1 baths, 1,226 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $317
HOA Fee: $351
Purchase price: $359,500
Purchase date: 5/2002
MLS#: S563294
On Redfin: 45 days
Down Payment: $78,000
Monthly Payment: $2,300
Income Requirement: $111,000
Description: SHORT SALE APPROVED 5/18/09 BRING OFFER OVER $370K - This contemporary loft space opens up onto stunning city and downtown views with its five south-facing windows: keep them open for ocean breezes and sounds of the city. Abundant natural light is there if you desire if not, the blinds will keep your home a private sanctuary. The Walker building is arguably the finest loft conversion in the city and it is steps away from the Pine Ave Entertainment District, a short walk to the Pike, the Harbor, the East Village Arts District, the Aquarium and of course, the beach. The rooftop common area of the Walker Building features an outdoor fireplace, a built in BBQ grill, a kitchenette and a hot tub that provides a perfect place to watch the sunsets over Palos Verdes and the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Dude, nice description! Long Beach realtors puttin’ in work!

This most recent re-listing has been on the market for 44 days, but in reality this loft has been for sale since August of 2007. Begging on the MLS just a few months shy of two years! Yikes!

As far as lofts go, this is pretty cool.

Maybe too cool. It’s a little cold and industrial for my tastes (and imagine what it will look like without the furniture), but nothing some nice rugs and colorful artwork can’t fix.

I’m very confused as to how many bedrooms this loft has because the description says one, but there are two different photos of beds.

Two-bedrooms would be ideal. That allows owner-occupiers to get a roommate in case they have trouble making that $2,300 monthly payment on their own. The roommate option also makes it more attractive as a rental investment (although the solo bathroom mitigates that appeal).

But the big news here is that the current bank-approved price of $370,000 is awfully close to rolling back to 2002 pricing. Like, within 3%.

And it’s still not moving.

Besides the nutso price, a single garage spot in downtown, apparent lack of a shower (WTF?), and inherent headaches associated with short sales are all likely contributors to the austere lack of interest in this property.

Plus, check out this nearby loft for rent:

LOFT for Rent: Modern/ Industrial Style, East Village Arts District, Downtown Long Beach, 1008 sq ft. 1.5 bathrooms (shower), Corner of Alamitos and 4th St. Large, open ceilings, skylights, ceiling fans, AC, mezzanine level for sleeping area/walk-in closets, custom paint, new carpet upstairs, French doors open to balcony facing courtyard patio. Washer/Dryer, stainless steel appliances, Common area has rooftop sundeck with BBQ, gym/community room. 2 secure tandem parking spots in subterranean garage. $1675 deposit. Available now. Showing property now. BTW.....this loft has been beautifully painted--unlike the stark white walls in the original pictures below. Hardwood flooring is being installed today.

A bit smaller, sure, but it has two (ugh, tandem) garage spots, a shower, hardwood floors, and actual pigmentation on the walls and is asking a mere $1,675 per month. For a little perspective, to compete with that monthly payment our seller would have to drop his asking price to (are you ready for this?) $255,000.



He'd better hope there are still knucklehead knife-catchers out there dumb enough to value "owning" so much that they're willing to pay an extra $625 per month for that vaunted privledge.

And speaking of bong-toke-induced wishful thinking, check out what's happening in 90802 between the List vs. Sold price per square foot:

Boy, they must be selling "Spring Bounce" in dime bags now.


  1. El Bee, you are too good.

    Seriously, your commentary excels both in being colorful, and also astute.

    As for finding that chart on the list versus sold pricing, THAT IS A GREAT FIND!

    What I don't get, is why people treat real estate agents any differently than car salesman... seems to me that many people (knife catchers) have this notion that real estate agents are like doctors, and you should just go with what they are saying, and trust it.

    It's my personal experience, that MOST people are greedy, self-centered, and don't give a ffff about others, so when people are selling their real estate, I just don't get the buyers whom are so overly eager.

    Heck, I guess I'd try to make a killing too, with this type of market make-up, of SO MANY "knife catchers" (I love that term, hehe).

    Anyways El Bee, I'm getting addicted to your blog site.

    Thanks so much.

    I've really been getting educated here.

  2. at least there is a banister.

  3. El Bee,

    Have you checked out this new listing in 90802:


    Not sure where they can get the price they are asking. The house looks nice in and out, but 30k appreciation a year is ridiculous.

  4. Here's another delusional seller...
    $809/sqft sold "AS IS!" Hahaha!! "Price is in the land!" Bwahahahaha!!!

  5. I love your sense of humor. Keep up with the great posts.

  6. I love Anon #2's listing. 3 townhomes on that lot? Really?

    "Investors delite". No I couldn't ask for another.

    freaking realtards.

  7. Anon #1,

    Thanks for sending in that property on Appleton--I will feature that property later this week.

    Anon #2,

    Here is my favorite part, typical of Long Beach sellers:

    Jan 11, 2008 - Sold $462,000
    May 22, 2009 - Listed $850,000

    What on earth makes them think the land is any more valuable than it was when it sold a year ago for half the price? What an idiot.

    P.S. Check out Street View--it's actually a cute, if terribly neglected, little house but it's located right on the alley.

  8. Yosemite,

    Glad you found the blog!

  9. el bee,

    Really enjoy reading your blog.

    I am moving to LB from UK early in 2010.

    I check the usual Craigslist, Redfin, googlemaps real estate etc. and wondered if there were any real estate sites you would recommend that are good for LB in particular?

    Any info welcome.



  10. el bee,

    Really enjoy reading your blog.

    I am moving to LB from UK early in 2010.

    I check the usual Craigslist, Redfin, googlemaps real estate etc. and wondered if there were any real estate sites you would recommend that are good for LB in particular?

    Any info welcome.



  11. Simon,

    You mean, other than the Long Beach Housing Blog? LOL

    Part of the reason I started this blog is because there really isn't much out there for Long Beach. Yeah, LB is sort of included in CurbedLA and sites like that, but this is the only blog I know of that is Long Beach-centric.

    I absolutely love Redfin, but other than that and the sites you already visit I don't have much in the way of recommendations.

    If you have specific questions about certain areas or deals, I'd be happy to publish them on the main page and get reader responses...

  12. El Bee,

    Your blog rocks that is a given; one of 5 that I read daily.

    Good to know I am not missing any major outlet regarding real estate and to be honest I have already zoned into what I want/would like; loft in Walker/Insurance building would be first/second choice for location and design/layout (I work from home so loft makes most sense)

    I have been looking at Belmont Hts as well which is more $$ and traditional SFH but to be honest I am struggling with the suitability and value there.

    I found this on Realtor.com and it has been a big help looking at what people paid back in the day - you can see in Walker building that prices are at the original purchase price threshold/range... so I suspect they will not come down an awful lot more as any bank owned amount would need to be covered (assuming some crazy ass loan taken out with 0 or 5% down...


    I am thinking if I see a place I like and it is similar to the 2002 asking price that it will not be coming down more than another 5-10% unless there is a huge meltdown in the markets - something the Feds will not let happen again it would seem even with the pending Alt-A collapse about to kick-in.