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Falling Down, Falling Down

Posted: 29 Oct 2012 05:00 AM PDT

275 properties for sale as of this morning (Source: Redfin). 154 of them are Single Family Residences ranging from $424,900 to $17,750,000. Many of them are in fact detached condos, wrongly classified as Single Family Residences in the listing. The most popular search of properties within the range of $500,000 to $750,000 yields 74 properties, single family residences and condominiums included.  Inventory is low, and Irvine market seems to be picking up fast.

Here is property that was built in 1978. Let's see how this property and similar properties have reacted to the bubble, the subsequent bust and to the current low inventory.

15 Carson Irvine, CA 92602

Listing Price: $710,000
Beds/ bath: 4 Beds/ 2.5 baths
Area: 2,101 SF
Lot Size: 5,500 SF
Year Built: 1978
Property Type: Single Family Residence
Community: Northwood
Style: Two level, modern
Builder Tract Name: Shady Hollow
Builder Tract Code: SH
HOA: None listed

Property history:
September 1990: $300,000
July 2005: $720,000

Listing history:
06/26/2012: $760,000
07/18/2012: $725,000
09/14/2012: $710,000
09/14/2012: Listing Removed
09/20/2012: Listed for Sale

From the MLS pictures, it’s evident that the house needs some face lift. But in my opinion, a lot of times the MLS listing description and MLS pictures play a very important role in bringing in the customers. For this particular property, the MLS pictures are not something that you would fall in love with.

Case in point, one of the very unflattering pictures of the property:

But there are times, or rather there were times when the inventory was as low as today, and people would just buy whatever was in the market paying the listing price, sometimes paying more than the listing price, creating a bidding war. One of the Irvine Realtors says “remember, all it takes is one buyer” whenever we question the audacity of list price on certain properties. At the end of the day that is the truth - all it takes is one buyer to change the conditions for the rest in the market.

Here is the pricing history for the Shady Hollow homes with similar floor plans since 2006:

4 Lewis $640,000 (340/SF)

None of these floor plans were listed/sold during 2011, but the other floor plans ranged from $370/SF to $390/SF.

43 Lindberg $682,000 ($325/SF)
13 Fulton $725,000 (345$/SF)
6 Earhart $682,000 ($325/SF)

9 Williams $600,000 ($286/SF)
23 Muir $542,000 ($257/SF) – Lowest price
(Here is the listing: Probably the $50-$75,000 price drop is justified based on the condition of the property)
28 Fremont $650,000 ($312/SF)
4 Wright $712,000 ($338/SF)

7 Boone $759,999 ($343/SF)
49 Fulton $725,000 ($339/SF)

None of these floor plans were listed/sold during 2007, but the other floor plans ranged from $271/SF to $464/SF.

7 Lindberg $820,000 ($390/SF) – Highest price
(Here is the listing: There are no MLS pictures, but if you see the property history, it was foreclosed in March 1995 for $216, 750, changed hands for a couple of times and sold for a whopping $820,000 in March 2006)

In the 1990s, these houses sold around $252,000.
They have doubled and tripled their prices from then, but for those who bought during the bubble of 2006, things haven’t improved yet. Will the low inventory push the prices higher or not, we will see in January. In my opinion, January and the election aftermath will chart the path for housing. The new houses will see the prices rise, and but the older houses, especially the houses in El Camino and older parts of Northwood might not cash in the stabilization and rise.

What do you think?
Do you think the prices will stabilize for Northwood and El Camino?
Would you buy in these areas if you were priced out in the newer and better developed areas of Irvine? Would you pay a premium?
Are you keeping an eye on the inventory levels?

Share your views at Talk Irvine, or comment below.


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