Thursday, June 4, 2009

Swan Song on Signal Hill

Address: 2155 Ridgeview Terrace Dr, 90755
Asking Price: $1,050,000
Year Built: 2003
Size: 4 beds, 4 baths, 3,322 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $316
HOA Fee: $96
Purchase price: $1,350,000 (ouch!)
Purchase date: 7/2007
MLS#: P672245
On Redfin: 135 days
Down Payment: $210,000 (at a minimum)
Monthly Payment: $6,700
Income Requirement: $300,000
Description: This is a spectacular executive home in a private, secluded and secure gated community on the upper East Side of Signal Hill. Soaring ceilings throughout the home. Unique, split level floor plan with a massive upper level master suite. Stunning Easterly views from Los Angeles to Anaheim and Newport! Many, many upgrades including huge gourmet kitchen with granite counters and center island and stainless appliances. The upper level features a living room with fireplace, dining area and 2 private patios which have gorgeous views to the East. Hardwood floors and high quality carpeted floors can be found throughout. The lower level features 3 more bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a large, central family room that features a fireplace and opens onto the beautifully, landscaped, private rear yard!Plasma T.V's and washer/dryer NEGOTIABLE.

What was this guy thinking? In the summer of 2007, just as stress fractures appeared in the foundation of the economic house of cards, this guy decided to pay $1,350,000 for a home that sold for $750,000 just three-and-a-half years earlier. In Signal Hill?!

Dude, you paid almost DOUBLE what the previous owner paid! That didn't send up red flags?

Also, how did it feel to write those $9,000 property tax checks every year? I'd rather pour lemon juice in a self-inflicted retinal papercut than be in your shoes come tax time.

I haven’t been to Signal Hill in a long time, and I had no idea they built so many of these Orange-Countified monstrosities up there.

From the price and the description, you would think this place was the Hearst Castle. One look at the pictures and it’s abundantly clear that this is just a basic, cheaply-constructed housing bubble box of bland.

Exhibit A, bargain bin Home Depot cabinets and what appears to be cheap-o white tile counters (not to mention builder-grade lights):

(BTW, way to replace that burned-out bulb above the tub. Do you let smoke detectors with low batteries chirp during Open Houses?)

Exhibit B, ultra-cheap aluminum mini-blinds:

The kitchen looks okay, but the cabinets are definitely not those you’d expect in a million-dollar house.

If you slap a seven figure price tag on a house, you better come correct with some crown molding and plantation shutters. Otherwise, it's pretty ridiculous to ask a cool mil.

Here's the bad news, pal:

Assuming you could find a buyer pulling in $300,000 per year that has (at least) $210,000 for a down payment and is totally cool with taking out a ~7% jumbo loan resulting in a monthly debt load of $6,700, your loss will be a staggering -$363,000.

And here's the really bad news:

That buyer doesn’t exist.

And even if she did, she sure as shit wouldn’t be shopping in Signal Hill.

How do I know that? Because during the last six months, only one comparable house has sold. ONE!

And that recently-contstructed 4 bed/3 bath went for $695,000.


Nobody is buying these overpriced Signal Hill goliaths because for the money, there is no obvious advantage over other areas of Long Beach.

What's that you say? These Signal Hill properties deserve a premium because you can't find newer construction this big in LB? Well, I wonder what this 2006-built 5 bed/4 bath home in highly-desirable Belmont Heights would have to say about that:

371 Ximeno

Plus, for this kind of loot, discerning buyers with any brains would move to Irvine:
23 Valley Terrace
62 Sanctuary

Or Rossmoor:
12441 Chaucer
12311 Kensington

...and enjoy top-tier school systems, very low crime rates, Orange County zip codes, and nice, clean surroundings. Signal Hill is adjacent to some of the worst, bullet-riddled parts of Long Beach!

Yeah, man, you’re in trouble. Unless you can find that 210k down, 300k per year buyer who doesn't prioritize her kids' education, you don't stand a chance against this kind of competition.

There simply is no market for these homes. They never should have been built in the first place because in the absence of sleight-of-hand loans and egregiously loose lending standards, Long Beach incomes simply can’t support these prices. And even if they could, the money would go a lot further in Orange County or better, safer, Long Beach neighborhoods.

The fact that Long Beach's Emporer has no clothes has never been more succinctly illustrated than by these types of houses, and I fear for the owners on the hill who only figure this out once it's already too late.


  1. All I can say to this article is "ouch" and double "ouch".

    El Bee, I'd hate to ever have to go against you in court, or a debate (or anything, for that matter).

    I mean, when you posted the Ximeno property, that was just the end of the line right there... I mean that Ximeno property is SWEET, and it's in an area surrounded by mostly safe and soft neighbors, compared to as you said, the bullet flying neighborhood of Signal Hill, where just down Cherry you have at least 6 different gangs, and all kinds of ghetto-ness awaiting.

    I mean, Signal Hill is nice at the top of that hill, but you gotta come out sometime right? And as soon as you drive one block to come out, you're surrounded by, and confronted with reality.

    Of course, you could escape UP on Cherry, and head north to the 405, and PRETEND you don't see everything in the other three directions... (wink wink)

    But yeah, as if you posting that Ximeno property wasn't enough, to see that for the same amount you could be kickin it in Irvine???

    Well damn.

    But you know what I'm starting to realize?

    Is that there are a LOTTTTTTT of suckers out there.

    So I wouldn't say that all hope is lost for this seller.... because there are just so many morons with money out there.

    Which El Bee, brings me to a question, I'd like to ask you, and your wisdomness -

    How do people so DUMB, manage to get so much money?

    I mean, I'm just trying to be humble, but sometimes I gotta stop and wonder how people so much more stupid than I am, come up with so much more loot than me???

    I mean, I know my main problem was that I didn't finish college when I was young, and so that's holding me back from BIG dollars (and I'm pursuing that degree now), but damn.......

    at least I'm smart enough to do some research, and read a blog like this though right?!! haha

    and El Bee, don't think that I'm a stalker, but I now have added your blog to my morning surf agenda, at the office.

    I come in, check bank accounts, check email, check sports news, and then come here.

    Your commentary just cracks me up.

    Don't mean to blow your head up, but I just gotta say it!


  2. Oh yeah El Bee, just a suggestion/request here, but if you setup an email for this blog, you could get PMs/requests/suggestions.

    Don't know if you're interested in that, but just tossing it out there.

    I'd love to get your opinion on a certain property, but don't want to draw everyone else's attention to it. hehe

    Have a good one

  3. You can also sneak down the east side on Hill St. to either Obispo or Redondo. It isn't bad over there.