Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Neo-Tragedy

Zip 93036.

20 years ago; strawberry fields and a toxic waste dump.
Today; bubblezone, money losing golf course on a toxic waste dump and poster child for why New Urbanism is a crock.

Here's a rough map:


Dot 1 is Riverpark. I've written extensively on this abortion that lives. Check out this gem:

Sales History:
Jan 31, 2007 $641,000
Listing Price History:
Apr 02, 2008 $459,900
Jun 15, 2008 $395,000
Sep 13, 2008 $359,000

Still no buyer! Ten thousand dollars per month doesn't cover the losses since initial purchase. Thing is $359k isn't so bad. The property includes a seperate apartment that could rent for $1000 so what's the problem? The problem is HOA and Mello-Roos. Taking those into consideration the present value equivalent price is more like $550k. Ouch.

Dot 2 is the River Ridge Golf Course. How hard is it to lose money on a freakin' golf course? The City of Oxnard manages exactly that. Classic example of public meddling in the private market.

Dot 3 is the 1990s development zone. Starting "small" with 2800 f on 6000 sf lots the developer and city hubris inflated until we saw 4500 sf on 6000 sf lots and 6000 sf behemoths on whopping 10,000 sf lots. How are those doing?
3428 Glen Abbey Ln.
Sales History
Aug 12, 2003 $599,000
Sep 06, 2005 $919,000
Aug 18, 2008 $782,781
I love the "random number" last sales price. A dead giveaway that the bank owns it. 20% plus arrears and penalties. The "tell" is in the description: "BANK OWNED in Victoria Estates near River Ridge golf. Upscale community amenities including pool, spa and clubhouse. Last sold for over $900k. Custom wood floors downstairs. Oops, did I mention that the last occupants took the carpet and appliances with them. Well, they did, shame on them. Hence the bargain price for over 3600 sq ft in Victoria Estates."

Occupants, not owners. They need you to be the next occupant. So it goes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Smog!


Anybody else see the resemblance Elmer and Paulson?

What to do now that the bluff has been called? On a meta level I'd rather suspend habeus corpus than... oh wait. We've already suspended habeus. Ummm, okay. I'd rather suspend the right to face an accuser... oh wait. Trying again; I'd rather suspend the Enumerated Powers Clause than... oh never mind.

There's some asshat on CNBC saying this is a capitulation bottom. No, this is a measured response such that market manipulators are positioned to make more money. That simple. A capitulation bottom is 15% away. I've thrown away my 9600-9800 in favor of 8800.

Tech Stocks


APPL is doing what it has always done since its first stock offering. Sawtooth rising. Long periods of reliable price appreciation and brief moments of freefall. Repeat. Helped my parents finance some of my college by recognizing this from the Apple II days. What we are seeing is Apple missing the back to school season and the impending introduction of aggressively priced new Macbooks running into a year without a Christmas.

And that's the big news. This is the year without a Christmas. Container volumes in the Pacific ports are cratering. Circuit City is tettering and my long time bullseye Best Buy has got to be hiding something in their credit arm.

Blognote: TARP pt 2 later this morning. Vote discussion afternoon and pt 3 tonight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Reverse Robin Hood Pt 1 of 3

Yes, pointed straight at you. Here are the "details" such as they are with a little clarify language and snarky commentary by yours truly. Without further ado:


From Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- Sept. 28, 2008

REINVEST, REIMBURSE, REFORM

IMPROVING THE FINANCIAL RESCUE LEGISLATION


Significant bipartisan work (necessary for political cover) has built consensus (found enough votes) around dramatic improvements (hopefully Constitutional now) to the original Bush-Paulson (tied to the outgoing adminstration) plan to stabilize American financial markets -- including cutting in half the Administration's initial request for $700 billion and requiring Congressional review for any future commitment of taxpayers' funds (Lie. This still authorizes up to $700b just in phases that require no votes to disburse.). If the government loses money, the financial industry will pay back the taxpayers.

3 Phases of a Financial Rescue with Strong Taxpayer Protections

  • Reinvest in the troubled financial markets … to stabilize our economy the troubled financial markets and insulate share the pain with Main Street from Wall Street

  • Reimburse the taxpayer … through ownership of shares and appreciation in the value of purchased assets

  • Reform business-as-usual on Wall Street … strong Congressional oversight and no some restrictions to golden parachutes


    ----

    End the first chunk. When being force fed a sh¡t sandwich start with small bites and work up an appetite.
    Bill Marsh of the NYT provides an excellent graphic of how large.
  • Friday, September 26, 2008

    Carl Cole - Super Agent!

    Background of Super Agent! In 1988 I moved to Bakersfield, California after 20 years as an educator and school administrator. In 1991 I earned my California Real Estate License and joined a local Century 21 office. As a new agent I received valuable training and mentoring and gained valuable insight into the industry, including working with short sales and foreclosures in the 1990s.

    In 1997 I stepped into the arena of selling new homes and builder lots. In 2001 I moved to the resale market where I was the top sales, listing, and closing agent for in my office. In 2002 I formed a partnership with another agent and developed a successful team which grew to become the top producing team of San Diego based McMillian Realty.

    In 2005 we opened an independent brokerage and continued sales growth to a company averaging 2 closing sides per day for nearly 2 years. In 2005 I began work on a mixed use project in response to an RFP (Request for Proposals) by Cal State University which was granted 'conceptual approval' by The California State University Chancellor's Office and Board of Trustees in Long Beach, California. This 1,100,000 square foot project including a Hotel, condominiumns, office, and retail space was to be one of the largest LEED certified projects in California.

    In Summer, 2006 I left the real estate partnership to focus on a smaller, more singularly focused real estate company, Points West Group. Currently serving Coastal Ventura County, I hope that I may assist you in making "GREEN" decisions that will benefit generations to come when you buy or sell a home.

    Loyalty, Trust, Teamwork, Experience, and Professionalism are amont the qualities that I bring to ANY task. I am confident that I can do my part to help you or your business to achieve its goals and vision.

    Finally, being an ECOBROKER provides many advantages. Call me to learn more about sustainable choices in real estate or check us out at http://www.ecobroker.com/.

    I would love to share with you my enthusiasm for the many neighborhoods that encompass western Ventura County and the our huge potential for saving energy and our environment. I pride myself in providing unparalleled service and look forward to developing a long-term relationship with you. Please contact me if you would like to discuss how I can best assist you with any of your real estate needs.

    Sincerely,

    Carl Cole
    ----
    Crispy & Cole has the rest of the story at No Soup for You!
    As time permits I shall annotate the story above for story it truly is.

    Unhappy?

    That seems to be today's talking point among our elected representative. Their constituents are "unhappy" with the "rescue" plan that needs to be done and done soon. It isn't about unhappy. We the people are telling them "no!" If they push this through then we expect them to fall on their own sword after doing the deed.
    Finally, he [Brutus] spoke to Volumnius himself in Greek, reminding him of their student life, and begged him to grasp his sword with him and help him drive home the blow. And when Volumnius refused, and the rest likewise ... grasping with both hands the hilt of his naked sword, he fell upon it and died.

    Heck, I'll hold the sword.

    As the housing bubble inital shock blast passes we find ourselves in a classic recession (with the heat blast and debris blast still coming). In one of those employment and consumer spending drives GDP and recovery. The JPMorgan scenario puts the worst case unemployment figure at 8.0%. Sorry, that's just wholly unrealistic. CA is already at 7.7%. We'll be ucky to escape an honest 10% nationally and 12% California. Only 12% because our population is so mobile. Expect a population decrease. This is another of my wacky predictions that 6 months from now everyone will say is obvious.

    On the plus side; I've a feeling manufacturing capacity hardware in the US will be a lot more attractive in the very near future between targeted stimuli and dollar weakness. Even if that means boxing it up and sending it to Chindia. [p.s. I live about 5 miles from Haas Automation.]

    All I'm saying is enough of the Bush bashing. Of course he doesn't know what he's doing. NONE of them do. We tested the limits of financial engineering to the breaking point. Guess what? It broke. This is all new territory and the only people with half a brain who have given this scenario any thought are blogging.

    Given the current terms of the bailout I think there is a serious new hazard being created. Yeah, just what we need, new hazards. Every deal has been progressively less generous than the preceding deal. There might be a rush for the exits before the terms get even worse. Banks might start lining up at the confessional talking down their position rather than risk being late to the window. Some points on the bailout bill:
    • The servant of multiple masters serves none.
    • The profits go to debt except those that go to subsidized housing.
    • "Establishes strong oversight board with cease and desist authority" and "Establishes an independent Inspector General to monitor the use of the Treasury Secretary’s authority."
    • "Maximize and coordinate efforts to modify mortgages for homeowners at risk of foreclosure." Seeing what mischief has been promulgated within the commerce clause imagine what this loophole will spawn. It doen't even limit this to mortgages that the Treasury buys fergawdsake.

    They won't even tell us who ordered or why they must pass by Sunday. The two things that stick out are the need for a recess to campaign and the opening of the Asian markets. What's the hurry? We don't even have single digit accountability. $100b for x, $200b for y. How tough can it be to get it right to the nearest one hundred billion dollars? No deal.

    Mission creep; And still no major HB bankruptcies? Banks are one thing but when these guys go tango uniform unemployment will skyrocket. You think $2500 per person is expensive? Wait until underfunded unemployment funds are recapitalized at the state level. Scuttlebutt is that the HBs are trying to get in on the deal. The automakers already got their raw meat. Remember when $25 billion was worth mentioning?

    I'm not afraid of a much needed recession. I am very afraid of the efforts to prevent it.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Little Cabin in the Sky


    You're going to be hearing this stock phrase used more often in the housing market; "Round Trip."

    People rode the stock/house up and now down. Today's moral hazard lesson is:
    1600 Betty St, Wrightwood, CA 92397
    Price: $182,000 BEDS: 2
    BATHS: 1 SQ. FT.: 780 $/SQ. FT.: $233
    LOT SIZE: 4,268 Sq. Ft.
    YEAR BUILT: 1932 MLS#: I08135172
    ----
    Fairly typical for the area. Equally typical is the ownership record:

    Sales History
    Date Price Appreciation
    Nov 14, 2005 $230,000
    Mar 20, 2007 $285,000 17.3%/yr
    Aug 14, 2008 $243,347 -10.6%/yr
    ----
    Gee who do you think paid two hundred forty three thousand three hundred and forty seven dollars? Buyer #1 held for 14 months and made $55,000. Buyer #2 probably put down 20% and lost everything to the bank who...
    Wishes they can only lose $61k. Good luck with that Mr. Bank.
    ----

    Meanwhile a few blocks over we have the patient investor:
    1446 Laura St, Wrightwood, CA 92397
    Price: $299,000
    BEDS: 3 BATHS: 2
    SQ. FT.: 1,152 $/SQ. FT.: $260
    ON REDFIN: 542 days
    Sales History Jan 19, 2001 $120,000
    ----

    That's what this cabin is worth. $100/sf. Round trip.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Performance Art D.C. Style

    For those of you who didn't or don't want to watch the performance here is everything he said:

    2 minutes to mention tuition.
    3 minutes to try to lay this all on housing.
    5 minutes to "domino effect." Last time somebody used that term we had a land war in Asia.
    8 minutes to 401(k) and farms.
    9 minutes to bipartisan outreach.
    Ain't never gonna say bailout or recession.
    10 minutes to pay now or pay later.
    11 minutes to propose congressional oversight. Put Ron Paul in charge!
    12 minutes to the these are underpriced sales pitch.
    13 minutes to more regulation.
    14 minutes "times of real trial."
    God bless us one and all.
    ----
    We don't deserve democracy if it can be taken this easily.

    Vote for...


    Yes, I know. This is never going to be a "political" blog. Then again this is not about politics but anti-politics.

    The Presidential casting of every McCain vote in California is worthless. Wasted.

    Let me explain. McCain will never carry California without already having enough electoral votes to gain the office with or without California. Yes, a twelveth of the electorate is irrelevant to the contest. This frees us leaners in both directions up to vote conscience and/or message.

    "None of the above" has its attractions.
    Green would encourage a nanny state.
    Cthululu is unlikely to accept a draft.
    Whointheheck is the Libertarian candidate this year? Says volumes that I don't even care.
    There's an answer. Understand, he doesn't stand a chance. He is not in my opinion even qualified. And that's a pretty low bar seeing as I consider all four big ticket candidates qualified. Echoing the attached graphic, I find the 2008 candidates a case of the evil of two lessers. So, here's the answer:
    Write in Ron Paul.
    Okay, I just washed my hands. Call me Pontius. This is a message vote. And none of this secession stuff. California would never allow the USSA to retain nuclear capability after the split.

    N.B.: Saying Kalifornia is irrelevant is not exactly correct. 20% of the money for the campaigns will most certainly come from within the State.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Foreclosure Screamin'



    All the lawns are brown
    And my equity fey
    Ive been for a walk
    Now I'll walk away...
    On a foreclosure day
    Id be safe and warm
    If it weren't for Bernake
    Foreclosure screamin'
    On a bank holiday

    Stopped into a bank
    I passed along the way
    Well, I got down on my knees
    Got down on my knees
    And I pretend to pray
    I pretend to pray
    You know the banker likes the tale
    Banker likes the short sale
    He knows Im not gonna stay
    Knows Im not gonna stay
    Foreclosure Screamin'
    Foreclosure Screamin'
    On a bank holiday

    [repeat first..]

    Bank Inventory Explained


    How long does it take to sell a bank owned property? Too long. This is our old friend La Plata.
    La Plata Redux [Wednesday, February 06, 2008]
    The Sunny Side of the Street [Wednesday, January 30, 2008]

    Here we are 8 months later and now there's a sense of urgency:
    Huge Reduction to price for all CASH TRANSACTION. Must close by 9/30/2008. Call for details. Look at this price!!! BRING ANY OFFER. Seller is extremely motivated. A cash transaction will have even more flexibility. Call for details. This home is Bank Owned. Price reduced.

    Let's go through that one by one.
    Huge Reduction
    Listing Price History
    Date Price
    Jun 17, 2008 $769,000
    Jul 18, 2008 $739,000
    Sep 04, 2008 $709,000
    Sep 09, 2008 $699,000
    10% is not even a market moving reduction.

    Must close by 9/30/2008.
    Or... what? It will go back to the bank? Too late. Will be pulled off the market? This false sense of urgency is not a viable strategy in this market. There is a reason for 30 Sept. as that is the closing date of the banks quarterly reports. So, the drop dead date is about what the owner needs. Needs based home sales have moved on from desperate sellers to looking for wishing prices to banks looking for wishing dates.

    This isn't a fixer or troubled neighborhood. Move in ready and still languishing on the market. And it will stay on the market until the price gets reasonable.

    Sales History
    Date Price Appreciation
    May 16, 2001 $449,000
    Aug 05, 2003 $540,000
    Jan 18, 2008 $771,923

    Based on retracing the run up of the go-go years it looks like a 2004 price would be ~$575,000. It doesn't make sense relative to renting until we get back to 2000 prices. Oh, wait. This charmer was built in and first sold in 2001 as were all the neighboring houses. Underwater; it's not just for individual houses anymore.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    One Million Visitors


    Equity v. Equities

    The core of our implosion du jour is that the rest of the world thinks US is too rich relative to their nations and needs to be made poorer now that our ability to raise living standards around the globe is slowing. Sounds simplistic but everything for the last near 40 years has been about establishing social justice/equity. The global warming hoax, NAFTA, free trade, outsourcing, intellectual property theft, on and on all serve the end goal. Now we have a "financial crisis" of global proportions and who gets the bill?

    Our masters are pleased. The bit has been set and the plowhorse has not bucked.
    The Chicomms smile an inscrutable smile having done what Cousin Nikita could not. They have successfully hanged the decadent west with a rope we sold them.

    CalculatedRisk writes: U.S. taxpayers may bailout foreign financial institutions and even foreign governments.

    Truth be told the correct wording is; "U.S. taxpayers may bailout foreign financial institutions especially foreign governments."

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Now I'm Nervous



    Paulson has refered to the recent government actions as "emergency quadruple bypass surgery." I sure hope I have a better personal outcome than this plan. 4 months this week for me. Day 1 for the banking industry.

    For your repeated refresh pleasure the FDIC Bank Failure Friday List.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Casey Scores Again


    Wannabe Celebutard™ in Seattle last summer courtesy Deflationland.


    The boi spins straw from gold the Anit-Rumplestiltskin.

    This is the 5 day chart of Goldspring somebody dropped 6 million shares a few minutes ago wiping out Casey's entire world. The trainwreck that is Casey continues. This is what he thinks:

    The picture gets even better when you single out GSPG. Here is my trading history:

    03/19/2007: 1,300,000 shares @ $0.0034 ($4,420)
    09/11/2007: 200,000 shares @ $0.0007 ($140)
    02/28/2008: 439,900 shares @ $0.0205 ($9,031)
    01/29/2008: 340,000 shares @ $0.0189 ($6,439)

    That’s 2,279,900 shares for a total cost of $20,030 plus transaction fees
    ...
    Back to OPM and the power of leverage…

    The interest on $20k i used to purchase the stock is tricky to calculate because it’s spread across several accounts. One of those accounts is at 0% APR at the moment.

    Lets just estimate high and make it $400.

    So as long as my investment is going up more than $400 per month, I’M IN THE PROFITS!

    2.3 million shares at a dollar cost average of 0.9¢ each. When GSPG hit 6¢ he was sitting on more than $100,000 in profits. Well only half as Galina is entitled to the other half but let's not start that soap opera. Anyway, last quote was 2.1¢ meaning he's got a nice double maybe $20,000 although the fees and interest have taken probably 1/3rd to 1/2 that and cap gains another 10-15%. And what is Flippy doing? Enema cleansing and fasting. Nero fiddled.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Shotgun Wedding


    After the ceremony is she still legally your cousin? Banks are already so incestous we might as well make it legal.

    Post your guesses for BFF and/or wacky marriage proposals.

    What I Did On My Summer Vacation


    The time stamp reads 06/23/08 04:26:06 PM

    This was when I knew WaMu was doomed. I can't think of more clich├ęs rolled into one picture.

    Don't strain your eyes. Here are a few of my artsy fartsy pics from the trip:

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Another Shoe


    Gosh, it is fast becoming "I told you so" week around here. This latest from Bloomberg:
    U.S. Mortgage Rates May Wreak Havoc After Libor Gain

    Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The biggest jump in the London interbank lending rate in at least seven years could wreak further havoc on the U.S. housing market and there's nothing the Federal Reserve can do about it.

    About 6 million U.S. mortgages, including almost all subprime home loans and 41 percent of prime ARMs, are linked to the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, according to First American CoreLogic in Santa Ana, California. Today's daily rate more than doubled, with smaller gains in the one-week and one-month rates, as lenders demanded higher compensation for risk after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed and the value of American International Group Inc. fell 84 percent in a week.

    Daily Libor rates are used to calculate monthly adjusting mortgage resets, including some so-called ``option ARMs'' that allow borrowers to defer payments by increasing mortgage balances...


    2% Fed Funds Rate ain't gonna save these poor homemoaners. I'm fixed at under 5% and my HELOC is tied to the FFR at Prime.

    Those interested can get the key rates snapshot here.

    Those 41 percenters are overwhelmingly in California and most are entering into their reset periods. Time to drag out another acronym; FRD, first reset default.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    What I Saw at Disneyland


    This is either too funny or too sad. In line for the railroad the man in front of us was wearing a very nice Nouveau Riche University polo shirt. Poor me, I was relegated to my $1 thrift store Izod. Normally that would be just a silly observation but when he moved on to board he almost forgot his bag. A Disney Vacation branded bag with brochures for Disney fractional timeshare ownership sales info.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Freefall Monday


    First, did I call extraordinary events? Come on, did I? Did anyone think "Asian Overflow" was about pendulous breasts?
    Back from Disneyland. Much to the chagrin of Mrs. Dawg I watched the world financial industry crumble to the tunes of "It's A Small World..." on my iPhone.

    • BofA merger (stock swap) with Merrill. Circle the wagons.

    • LEH officially filing bankruptcy. Make no mistake. The participants wanted to do a deal and the Fed and Treasury were ready to facilitate any deal. What happened is so bad they won't even talk about it. Barkclays and BofA looked at the books. There was no good bank part. So bad they must have told Paulson "you don't have enough money."

    • Quadruple witching Friday.

    • Somebody is going to do an index P/E calculation going forward. IMO over 40 by their methods, over 50 by mine. I eliminate survivors bias.

    I am revising my call for Dow Industrials 9600 lower. At least 8800. Remember I've been talking about all the trends of the next few quarters starting with stairstep events. What the first step.

    I reiterate my call for an emergency rate cut of 50bp. That means my WaMu HELOC goes to 4.5%. That'll help them, not.

    • The glod and sliver pops are fear and something interesting. Call it a physical squeeze. Lots of people want to hold the coin and the dealers have gotten a bit sloppy in actually having the metal on hand. I'm not talking illegal; just in the mail, in process, awaiting customs, awaiting assay, in transit, any number of excuses as to why "I want my bullion" is being met with "Sorry, there will be a delay." And behind the scenes there is chicanery. Their sources are undoubtably juggling a small physical supply amongst multiple customers. Hedging, leveraging and arbitrage.

    I doubt the markets will open under normal rules. Perhaps the uptick rule, but I don't expect the computer trades to be sidetracked until all the fast money is long gone then stranding the poor retail investor. We will hit at least the first circuit breaker, possibly in the first 20 minutes.

    Cramer will be available all day to calm the skittish sheep... err... people. You can bet he'll be in suit and tie.

    And people laughed at my call for ^HGX in the 80s.

    Oh, and the picture? Buffett talked about swimming naked. This is about skydiving naked.

    I Like this One Better


    I'm off to Disneyland so at best a I'll check in a bit while standing in lines. If this picture doesn't inspire a hundred replies you should probably wait until tomorrows' transportation cavalcade of posts. Remember, keep it snarky and off topic.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Let Lose the Dawgs of Snark



    Casey wants to befriend me. What say ye?

    Feel free to say anything else too. If he can cleanse his colon we can cleanse our bile and wonder if he'll ever get around to cleansing his soul. The boi is caught in a reality bubble. He doesn't see anything beyond the event horizon that has trapped him. Still, if he has $250 I'd sure like to sell him caseyserin.info

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Asian Overflow


    This weekend should prove interesting. There are far more than a handful of interesting items to grab hold of and see what develops. The asian markets should give us a clue or at least a peek under the flimsy cloth covering the good parts.

    Reset Shock Mitigation

    Sadly, I have been dragged into the Fed Funds drop next month camp. The Fed needs to give everyone, borrowers, lenders more time to swap out of adjustable products as resets peak. Rate shock on the patient might prove fatal so the Fed is lowering the voltage. This won't help WaMu with the deal they made with me for a prime +0% HELOC however and it surely won't goose new business because the banks are not going to pass the drop through to new loans.
    This is yet another unintended consequence of the nation being placed under house arrest. The velocity of the housing market isn't just slowing, it is crashing. Sure much of the activity 2001-2005 was unsustainable but now we are in a period of significant overshoot to the downside. Lately we've seen "right priced" houses selling quickly but that was a phenomena a mile wide and an inch deep. Next up is a time where even low prices are going to require 6 months or more to close.

    My latest wacky idea is when the time comes to buy more investment properties I'll offer to put $10,000 per $100,000 borrowed into a long term deposit with the same bank effectively self financing at a 10x leverage.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    The Canary is Gasping


    Longtime readers will recall that I've been following Wrightwood, California [zip 92397] as a leading, exaggerated indicator of mega-regional health. If that is the case then there is nobottom in sight.

    I stopped prognostigating last February because I claimed anyone who tried to predict through the summer was worse than lying. There would be just no way to make intelligent analysis. That seems to have been the case. Now is the time I promised to peek out from the bankerdome and see if things have changed. No, things have not changed. Physics assures us we are closer to the bottom than we were at the start of the year but our sensors are not able to located that bottom. Could it be November? I don't know. Could it be Q4 '09? I don't know. Well then, what the hell good am I? Take this one thought away; anybody who tells you anything except "I don't know" is worse than lying. Liars are useful, negative information has value to the perceptive listener. Noise is just noise and ultimately diminishes our capacity to identify the real bottom. Back into my hole for 6 weeks and at the end of October I'll look again.

    Back to 92397. Another sad tale that needs no backstory. The transaction data says it all. 5652 Sycamore St.
    Price: $239,900 BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 SQ. FT.: 1,596
    $/SQ. FT.: $150 LOT SIZE: 6,400 Sq. Ft.
    PROPERTY TYPE Detached, Single Family Residence
    YEAR BUILT: 1936 ON REDFIN: 246 days


    Then we get to the transaction history:
    Sales History
    Date Price
    Aug 26, 2003 $220,000
    Feb 27, 2006 $374,500
    Dec 07, 2007 $325,201

    And the sales pitch:
    * * * PRICE REDUCTION!! BEST DEAL IN TOWN * * * REO / Bank Owned: Come Take A Look At This Ideal Vacation Home, Investment Property, Or Nice Home Without Spending A Fortune. Upstairs is a nice loft-type bedroom. Close To Mountain High Resort. Enjoy the fresh air and blue skies on the nice porch. Sold As-Is.

    At lest the bank is smart. Here's the list prices:
    Date Price
    Jan 09, 2008 $309,900
    Feb 14, 2008 $289,900
    Mar 24, 2008 $275,500
    Jun 10, 2008 $255,000
    Aug 01, 2008 $239,900


    That's smart. Foreclosed Dec 7th and on market one month later at an "aggressive price." Then every few weeks reduce the price by a real amount until it sells. Okay, they obviously massively missed the first price seeing as 8 months and $70,000 (23%) later it still sits. Still they learned and were proactive.

    See the story? Purchased Feb 27th, 2006 at the very tippy top of the market and foreclosed 21 months later for 80% of the purchase price plus fees and penalties. There's also some poor dude out there sucking on 100% loses in his 20% loan. For the record I sold my last property in the vicinity in April 2006 a month later. Whew.

    Surely there is either a personal tragedy or failed scam here somewhere. More likely someplace in between. That doesn't matter. Until basic housing like this manages to sell in an orderly fashion there ain't no bottom. Yet.

    R.I.P.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Wear Your Overalls

    Wow, a 2Br home near the Dawg for under $400k? What's up with that? Are we returning to sane prices? No, like most things too good to be true so is this one. Speaking of too good to be true... Yes, I'm back and promising to blog almost daily including eye candy to keep the posts interesting even when the subject is dull like this one.

    The predialian manse in question is 1563 Calle Aurora.
    Zillow suggests $415,510 - $578,345 based in part upon:
    Single family
    2 beds
    2.0 bath
    Built in 1960
    Unfortunately the listing agent knows better: "LAND VALUE ONLY NO STURCRURE."


    The add promises 2br xba 1200sf of fine suburban living. Here's what it looked like this morning.
    No, not her...
    Or her...
    That's just the hired help.
    Jeez at the bottom, scroll to see. That's why I put them at the bottom. Too hard on the eyes. Maybe the abandoned couch is one of the bedrooms? The jacuzzi if you squint just right could be a bath.

    Man, what mess. putting something livable on this small lot would be a lawyers full employment wet dream.
    The listing is for a half acre but less than half is buildable, the rest is just a wildfire corridor.

    There's going to be a lot of these soon. The holding/carrying costs have got to be eating people alive.

    Last sale and tax info
    Sold 11/18/2005: $864,000
    2007 Property Tax: $9,190

    How would you like to writing a check to the tax man every six months for $4,595? Worse is having to pay almost that much every month on a mortgage on a house that doesn't exist.




    Not to worry, it seems there lots of good help with their own overalls apparently eager to help you strip the property naked.

    Craigslist Trolling

    There are lessons to be learned from each of these. First up the new urban motif:See the Craigslist hype. "Builder is still selling same model & waterfront location for $800,000 plus! $230,000 REDUCTION from original purchase price!!!"
    Talk about flopping. These poor floppers are trying to compete with very same people they've already paid $100s of thousands too much for their product. Selling snowballs in a blizzard.



    Next up is best described as "Lancaster South". $494900 Bank Owned REO - Not a short sale. WOW! (Simi Valley) Don't you just love the high tension pole growing out of the roof?

    Now let us visit our friend "Vilage at the Park." 2/2, 1200 sq/ft, Village at the Park - $319,900! Quick, whip out your calculator. $266/sf plus HOA plus Mello-Roos. What's the pitch? "Check the comps, this one is ready to be sold! Last exact model match sale was for over $80,000 more!"

    Sold 09/12/2005: 391,000
    ***NOT a Short Sale or REO! Just a seller willing to pass on a great price to any willing and able buyer. Quick response time!***

    Next up, the "Corporate Relocation" scam and a new local neighborhood disaster that makes 410 Avocado look good. Be sure to put on your overalls for this one.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    Inflation Lesson

    My Kirkland brand battery went soft on the big SUV. Luck for me Costco has an excellent prorata replacement policy. At ~33 months it was 100%. Good thing too. The records show the battery cost $55.61 price + tax + core charge in November 2005. The new battery would have cost $81.20 had I had to purchase it. Yes, 17% per year annualized price increases. Yes, we are entering a deflationary period and yes, commodities bubbles are bursting. Oil never even tried to hold $100, glod is cratering. Me? I'm looking for a distress sale of junk silver in a few more dollars. Still, the deflation is in things you don't need. It is the stuff you must have that are spinning out of control. The Fed has no clue. Money is far too swift to catch in their vice of devaluation.
    Update: This is almost exactly what my Expy looks like: