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Uncovering the History of the Secret Garden

Posted: 21 May 2012 05:00 AM PDT

A million dollar dream of 2005 turned into a trap for many buyers in 2009 with the properties in that area selling for a discount of around $200,000. With the chatter of the possible bottom in the ‘Summer of 2012’, the Camelia tract of Northwood II saw a lot of activity despite of good location, and excellent schools. Now that ‘Summer of 2012’ is almost here, I wanted to go back in history and see if those that bought in the frenzy of 2009 made a good decision. So, instead of comparing two identical properties for sale in the same village, I will compare a property on the market now with a property that sold in 2009.

The property I have picked is 52 Secret Garden in Northwood. Karen covered the open house in her blog post last week. Also, a discussion on Talk Irvine validates interest in the property.

Here is the sales history of six years for identical properties in the same tract. The selling price seems to be stable around $300/SF. The peak was in 2006, at $381/SF. The bottom so far was at $275 in 2009.

Year Sold


Sale Price

Price/ SF


25 Grape Arbor


$381 – Highest


26 Teak Bridge

26 Grape Arbor

42 Secret Garden

61 Secret Garden










59 Fire Thorn

71 Secret Garden

25 Grape Arbor

62 East Bamboo

64 Secret Garden

27 Secret Garden









$276 - Lowest





27 Torrey Pine

60 Corn Flower






56 Fire Thorn

61 Crab Apple






32 Torrey Pine

30 Secret Garden

61 Secret Garden







For comparison I chose 71 Secret Garden sold in 2009. It defines the bottom for the Camelia tract so far at $275/SF.


52 Secret Garden

71 Secret Garden

Listing Price


$843,000 (Sold)

Original purchase price

$1,008,000 Sept, 2005

$1,018,000 Nov, 2008

$1,130,000 April, 2005


Price/ SF



HOA Dues



Monthly Mortgage


(30 YR Fixed, 3.875%)


(30 YR Fixed, 5.25%)

Source: CNN money

Down Payment



Property Tax (1.0595%)



Mello Roos



Annual Tax + Mello Roos



Monthly expenses



52 Secret Garden


71 Secret Garden

Similar homes in the area have rented for $4200-$4300. In my opinion, it hasn’t made much difference considering the plunge in mortgage rates.What do you think? Was the worst over in 2009, or is it yet to come? Will the Camelia tract go below $290/SF again?


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