Sunday, November 28, 2010

Irvine Prices in Long Beach: UPDATE II

Here's an oldie but goodie.

In one of the maiden posts on this blog (don't forget the update), I featured this property, sporting a mind-boggling $545,000 wishing price. That 2008 post prompted a decent amount of hate mail (including this idiot whose soaked-diaper logic I eviscerated in a response. The result? We never heard from him again).

Although much has changed since 2008 (not the least of which is the disappearance of whack job bubble-deniers and wrong-headed realtors spitting their delusional venom on this blog) but what has not changed is my ability to ascertain "true values" based on the facts, the numbers, and good old fashioned common sense.

At the time I said:

At $454 per square foot and 260 days on market, this thing isn't going anywhere. Sometimes I get the feeling owners just aren't serious about selling. I don't care how close you are to Belmont Heights, in this zip code the median household income is $30,353. This house is probably slightly above median considering the minor updates, but even if the median income were $50,000 a year, this thing wouldn't be priced more than $250,000.
Well, now it's back on the market as a short sale, priced at $299,000.

Although it remains to be seen whether it will actually drop to $250,000 (honestly, I doubt it. First, when I made that comment very few could foresee the insane amount of taxpayer cash the government would throw at the housing crisis to keep prices inflated. Second, although it's a short sale -- which as we all know means it isn't really for sale by any heretofore relied-upon measure -- $277 per square foot seems reasonable enough to nab a buyer), my craaaaaazy comment two years ago(!), which seemed so controversial at the time, ultimately wasn't that far off.

On the other hand, how did this rambling, incoherent prediction from "HagenindaGHETTO" work out?
Keep the OC folks in OC! Besides, there is more to do here, it's more fun and you don't have to DRIVE everywhere! We deserve to be more expensive! (unless they are buying all cash... then they come first...LOL)

FYI: This home was not a FIXER FLIPPER, the sellers fixed it for themselves but got transferred to Irvine (now that's ironic is it not?). By the way, I know the sellers, they HATE Irvine (even though they are Conservatives) they miss our GHETTO and the fun, and the walking, and the beach and the marina.....

The listing agent will be thankful the stuffed shirt Self Righteous writer of of this BLOG for a PRICE always attracts more potential buyers.

As for the Price:
Half the price...??? Good thing you're an accountant. Just run the comps and talk about the FACTS...
The last thing we need are mendacious comments that give a skewed picture of realty. Dig?

Well, dummy, I ran the comps and I talked about the FACTS and it looks like you were, are, and always will be




(How does that feel? Be honest.)

P.S. I can't help but thinking how pathetic it is that these fucking idiots waited so long to get real and price to reality and not fantasy. If they hadn't been so ignorantly focused on getting their greasy mitts on their "well-deserved" bubble profits, they might have had a shot at walking away with actual profits. Oh well.


One of my first blog posts featured a stunning, if controversial, example of Avarice is Bliss.

This house exemplified the entire premise of this blog: Long Beach, while a great city in its own right, pales in comparison to Orange County regarding schools, low crime rates, incomes, and cleanliness, and therefore cannot possibly justify asking prices that match (and in some cases exceed) the premium levied in OC.

However, Kool-Aid knows no bounds and Long Beach sellers (particularly those in less desirable areas of Long Beach) got drunk on Equity Juice and priced homes in less desirable neighborhoods like they would in Irvine, Huntington Beach, or much nicer cities in LA County.

By putting their greed on display, they held themselves out for ridicule and humiliation. Hence, the impetus and inspiration of this blog.

So, here we are today, more than a year after the home was first listed on the MLS at a laughable $454 per square foot. Like many others, the seller gave up and the property has since been taken off the market ("MY HOUSE IS SPECIAL, DAMN IT! IF THESE BUYERS ARE TOO STUPID TO REALIZE THAT, THEN I WILL JUST TAKE IT OFF THE MARKET. I REFUSE TO BE INSULTED!") and now they are attempting to rent it.

ADDRESS: 1533 E. BROADWAY AVE. (BROADWAY/CHERRY)BEAUTIFUL, LUXURY 2BED/2BATH HOUSE FOR RENT! Immaculate Hardwood Floors throughout House. Skylight in Large Living Room. Fireplace located in Living Room. Luxurious Kitchen with Stainless Steel Appliances. 2 Full Bedrooms with AIR CONDITIONING! Large Attic for Storage. Stacked Washer/Dryer. Wiring available for Direct TV and Surround Sound System! Charming, Large Backyard with Firepit and Entertainment Area. Great Location!!1 YEAR LEASEGardener ProvidedNo PetsTenant Pays ALL UTILTIES EXCEPT WATERMUST SEE!!!!

You are welcome to come into our office and pickup keys to view this unit M-F between 9am-4pm. WE ARE NOT OPEN OVER THE WEEKEND. Please feel free to contact me via email or at the office for further questions.

Actually, they've been attempting to rent it for more than a year, offering a "LEASE or LEASE TO OWN!" scheme--ERR, agreement from the get-go. No bites.

But, I thought "this is a NEW HOUSE." Well, if anything from 1918 could be considered new, I guess they're on to something. By the way, I can give you a sweet deal on a "NEW" Nash 681.

They seem a bit thick-headed, no? They refused to lower their asking price to a reasonable figure and the property didn't move. They refused to ask a reasonable rent and it's still vacant after a year.

I'm going to let this seller in on the most closely-guarded secret known to man. This wisdom is guaranteed to save the housing market in one fell swoop, but it has been elusive to all but those who travel in the darkest, most remote corners of the universe. But now I will unleash it upon the world for all to see, so that our housing market and the current misery and financial hell may end once and for all. And here it is:

Lower the price, dick.

You may have read there has been an uptick in sales recently. There is no complicated, macro economics-heavy explanation for this other than prices are cliff-diving. And when people can afford homes without bullshit, negative-amortizing, interest-only, Harry Houdini loans, homes start selling. Real simple, folks.

And if this seller had accepted this truism from the outset, he could have saved himself a year's worth of carrying costs, which at the time I estimated at $3,500 per month ($42,000 in a year!), and a lot of stress. Assuming this termite tent could get $2,000 per month in rent (which, judging by the time it's been sitting unoccupied, is yet another case of this individual's greed-faced lunacy), they are still bleeding cash to the tune of $1,500 per month! OUCH!

Incidentally, the Irvine property I compared this house sold for $540,000 in March. That was only $9,000 off the original asking price. Yikes, for a corner location? How much "equity" do you suppose that buyer has lost since his purchase?

The point is, Irvine can clearly get away with those prices, but our Long Beach seller learned after a year on the market that Alamitos Beach ain't Irvine.

If you'll recall in the original post, a local realtor and an offended resident posted invective comments with absolutely no analysis or data to support their misguided, rose-colored assessment of Long Beach real estate. They instead offered personal attacks and meaningless insults, but couldn't refute my opinion that:

"At $454 per square foot and 260 days on market, this thing isn't going anywhere. Sometimes I get the feeling owners just aren't serious about selling. I don't care how close you are to Belmont Heights, in this zip code the median household income is $30,353. This house is probably slightly above median considering the minor updates, but even if the median income were $50,000 a year, this thing wouldn't be priced more than $250,000."

I mean, it doesn't take Dionne Warwick and her psychic friends to call that one.

The fact is that homes are still overpriced and prices have a way to go before they meet market fundamentals (I'm not talking about the much-vaunted "bottom," I'm just talking about when a home purchase is a sound investment) and as long as banks have a large inventory of REO properties and that tidal wave of Option ARM resets is looming just off the coast, buying a property today is nothing more than a backstage pass to the Financial Agony show at the Wiltern (I heard Slayer is opening).


  1. Insanity still reins. I live in a suburb of San Francisco. House down the street, bought new 30 years ago, for $230,000., went on the market for $900K. (Went to the open house- in response to a question, saleman said "The house is about 20 years old"... Yeah, and Pamela Anderson is around 30)
    After no takers for 90 days, de-listed, until "Things get better next spring".
    Good luck with that!!

  2. Dave in Alamitos BeachMonday, November 29, 2010

    Speaking of insanity, I rarely post new listings but this one today made me just shake my head:

    When I first moved to LB in 2002, I looked at one of these units that faces 1st Street. It had a garage and was listed for $225K. I thought that price was barely on the decent side of insane, but I had two cars to park and if you don't have two spaces, you'll lose your mind within one week in this neighborhood.

    I can't believe that anyone would be pricing something over twice as high as 2002 prices in the year 2010. What are people thinking?

  3. Dave in Alamitos Beach: "What are people thinking?"

    Seller: "Oh fuck, I paid $573,000 for this piece of shit! I can't price it according to what it's actually worth because I'd be broke, so I'll try a wishing price and hope somebody bails me out of my poor decisions."

    P.S. Not only did that lazy fuck neglect to take two seconds to make the bed, he left his bottle of Jerkin' Jergens in full view. Sick.

  4. This home was certainly priced way too high. I'm curious what you think the appropriate $/sqft is for this neighborhood?

  5. looks like the government's attempts at kicking the can down the road are exhausted. Here comes the next wave down in southern california real estate.

  6. Dave in Alamitos BeachWednesday, December 01, 2010

    But the seller didn't pay that much anyway. It's the banks that paid that much since most people went zero down. You'd think the bank's would clean up the, um, morningwood leftovers. Ugh.

  7. el bee - My wife and I love the blog. The link below is to a video tour of this home produced back in November 2007. I don't want to ruin anything by describing it for you, but let's just say that its too good to miss.

    We've actually toured the home and think that you're right on the money at $250K, maybe lower depending on how the economy turns next year. Some items of note: there are no baths in the bathrooms (shower stalls), the second bedroom is quite small and the attic is not finished or completely floored even though it seems that way in the video. The kitchen is nicely done, the dining/living area is spacious and the back yard is great.

  8. Hi el bee

    I baby sat this house for six months and it is all that you said. Bill Stayart was the listing agent and a finer 'walker on the fine line of legal' you could not find. You fail to mention that it sits on a busy street between many bars, the lot is too small for any commercial conversion (can't get enough parking spaces to do anything with the lot) and the height limitation is 28 feet - so 2 stories max. Still available though if you are interested!! Steve