Sunday, January 27, 2008

The local fishwrap is reporting of a fashion but doesn't see the import.
Ventura County foreclosures grew from 114 to 542. It was the county's highest quarterly foreclosure total since DataQuick started tracking the numbers in 1988.
...DataQuick estimates that 41 percent of California homeowners who receive default notices can get out of the foreclosure process by bringing payments current, refinancing or selling their homes.

In Ventura County, there were 1,505 default notices in the fourth quarter, a 89.4 percent increase from a year ago.

Okay, 542 FCs last quarter and 59% of NODs going to FC means 888 this quarter.

Sales expected this quarter? 1200. Does anyone hear a train whistle? That isn't the light at the end of the tunnel, that's the fuse burning as the tunnel is about to be closed off. Only 100 people or so each month can expect to sell their homes. This compared to the 850 per month that were selling in 2006. Note to would be sellers; the train has left the station.


incessant_din said...
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incessant_din said...

The rate of jingle mail will far exceed what we've seen lately. I doubt there will be many workouts.

incessant_din said...

By the way, Rob... Any idea when we might expect to see a reasonable valuation on a piece of horse property in Ventura County? I think I can get some work down there if/when my current job implodes. I was looking at the market, and there is no eceonomic justification for prices in Moorpark, etc. Still looking for the rich Argentinian, I guess.

The wife likes the ponies, and I like the space and the potential job. I was looking in San Diego county earlier, and 10+ acres in Ramona is only running about 2x year 2000 prices, down from 3x. I think 2010 might work out for that. We can rent and board for a while. As long as I am looking down south, I might as well look in Ventura County.

Rob Dawg said...

I shall let you know about the second best deal I can find. ;-)

Things are shifting very quickly. the marginal 10ac riding properties had a bounce when rich ranchers were expanding orchards or more correctly selling off to developers and then moving to the edges. That seems to have gone away. We also have a lot of tired doctors and lawyers who bought the odd 27 acre lot types with a mix of row crop, avocado and scrub. those might start coming back on market. That's where I think the values will be. Semi-improved, possibly pre-approved for structures or lot split.

Here is what I'm hoping to get:

sm_landlord said...

Pretty place, Rob.

Looking at that got me thinking, and since you have obviously thought about this more than I have, let me ask a couple of questions.

First, what do you think it would cost to maintain the property? Fencing, brush clearance, unwanted erosion, etc. It seems like a FT job for one person.

What would it take to get Venco to approve construction of a few structures for storage and guest houses?

And of course, most important, connectivity. :-) An associate of mine with horse property in Somis tells me that he is lucky if his 56K modem works, and that DSL is unavailable with no hope in sight. So would you end up having to put in your own microwave service and get the signal over the hills somehow? Or pay the telco heaven knows how much to run a T1 line out?

wagga said...


You could check into this

Akubi said...

Wow, only 10K an acre! I have no idea where Somis is, but that's pretty cheap.
What would you do with 190 acres though?

w said...

Crap Rob, My wife wants that one too. I have driven out there a few times to see it. The problem I see with a lot of these properties is that the owners do not factor into account the mud slide and wild fire threats in their prices. I intend to drive out to a few of these properties after the rains and see if they have been greatly affected. The entrance road to the place on La Loma is maybe a half a mile on a steep hillside with no decent drainage system in place. I remember 3-4 years ago when the summer fires burned right through those properties. With the wrong wind or more fuel these houses would have been lost.

For the most part issenent_din the prices are way out of line. As ag properties the values are way too high. As mansion sites how many people can really afford the $4 million it is going to cost you to buy and build these odd properties? If anyone expects to make more than enough to pay the property taxes by putting in a crop they are in for a rude awakening.

Ogg the Caveman said...

Dawg, that's a nice spread but I have to question whether you'd be happy there. There seem to be no neighbors. Who would come to your tri-tip and $30 wine driveway cook-offs?

sm_landlord said...

Hehe. Trouble with those sat systems is the delay. TCP/IP throughput degrades like crazy with long delays in the path.

I don't think we'll see the price on places like that fall far enough that agriculture makes any sense, but who knows? I was thinking more like a family compound than a mansion. As you say, the problem is improving the property and protecting any structures. Other than the cost, there is the potential problem of the planners and local greenies preventing you from installing proper drainage and keeping fuel well away from the structures. If you could buy water at Ag rates, you could put in the equivalent of a small golf course to keep the flames away from the structures, and just let the back 40 burn if a fire comes through. Of course you would put in some avocado trees or something to keep your ag classification. You would end up farming some just to keep up the property, even though it would never turn a profit.

Maybe if it gets down to $2K/acre? At what price would this actually make sense as a family compound site? I imagine it would have get below $500/acre to be worth farming it or running sheep or something.

Anyway, fun to think about.

Lost Cause said...

That's a lot of acres, but the price/acre is supposed to drop when more acres involved. Ted Turner never pays more than $500 per acre...unless you plan on developing a small city.

w said...


Most of this property is very steep and unuseable. It has ag water from the county I believe and maybe 40 acres is marginally farmable but it is far from prime land. Before the housing boom the price of good farmland was in the 25k per acre range. Even properties that will no doubt be skycrapers and malls a hundred years from now. The problem is that with low growth initiatives you can't count on development unless you are an old family with a lot of land already and you are planning that far in advance. All of the land sitting on the market and listed publically is in the 100k per acre range for housing speculation.

To me that 200 acres would be worth buying for maybe a million to have a modest home and a family farm just for fun. But most importantly for privacy to ride horses and shoot at the hills.

Lou Minatti said...

You can buy a slice of heaven in west Texas, literally in No Country For Old Men territory. $40k will get you 200 acres. People are snapping up these lots without having been there. I've been through there many times and I think the land in Terrell County is worth $10, $15/acre tops. Particularly when the buyer doesn't have mineral rights.

Ogg the Caveman said...

The other problem with satellite systems is the direct impact of latency. For a lot of applications (e-mail, web browsing, instant messaging) it's not very important. But if you're doing things like remote administration, online gaming, or VoIP, the extra couple of seconds it takes to get up to the satellite and back down is a bit of a problem.

Rob Dawg said...

I can literally see this land from my window. Friends who live on the street have highspeed cable. I'd say 50 +/- acres could be hill crops or orchard. There is sure to be water rights. The price already seems reasonable but I think we'll see a few similar pieces with infrastructure.

For those who don't know the county can be real jerks. First they want a curb cut fee for any road access then they'll insist on a fully improved abuttment over the drainage ditch, to their specs and BTW they happen to have the number of the only authorized builder. Then the fun starts. The FD will want access for safety and runoff control. On and on. If you aren't born into it they can make life hell.

Rob Dawg said...

First, what do you think it would cost to maintain the property? Fencing, brush clearance, unwanted erosion, etc. It seems like a FT job for one person.

Not as much as you might expect. I'd say $6-8k per year with occasional $5-10k projects. Call it $600/month. Remember there is a lot of don't touch it an it will be fine on the parcel. Then brush crews can be wickedly efficient, a couple days every Feb-Mar for fire safety.

What would it take to get Venco to approve construction of a few structures for storage and guest houses?

I'm sure that is already permitted. Recent changes could probably sneak in some pretty hefty stuff. Farm worker bunkhouses, mother-in-law apartments, emergency helipad that doubles as a tennis court, fire resistant greenspace with tee boxes and greens... you get it.

And of course, most important, connectivity. :-) An associate of mine with horse property in Somis tells me that he is lucky if his 56K modem works, and that DSL is unavailable with no hope in sight. So would you end up having to put in your own microwave service and get the signal over the hills somehow? Or pay the telco heaven knows how much to run a T1 line out?

I answered before that they have digital cable on La Loma but even if they didn't it would be a simple matter of a couple undirectionals with 2-3 mile range to T1 class nodes.

ratlab said...

Totally off-topic, but check out this story. Does the name Nicholas Fuelling or Res-Com ring any bells?

Rob Dawg said...

The trail of tears gets longer.

Akubi said...

When one is accustomed to a market where people pay 2.2 million for less than an acre, 10K an acre seems like a pretty sweet deal™ – especially if they have digital cable.

Akubi said...

Note that the Sausalito lot referenced above was originally listed at 3.6 million and is in a location prone to landslides.

w said...

Rob, the way I see it for 2 million to just live out there on that property is just crazy. Since it mostly a land deal the real cost of the money to buy it is about 8% from private investor financing. that would be over $13,000 a month not including taxes, development, building, and maintenenace. What could I rent for $10,000 a month or even $5,000 a month? I found a beautiful home in Santa Ynez on 20 acres all set up for horses for $5,000 a month when I was trying to convince a supposed seller up there that they were asking too much for their nearby property. This rental looked like my dream house. In a dream location for those that know the area. Even on the high end renting is so much better than buying.

incessant_din said...

"Even on the high end renting is so much better than buying."

Yeah, but you can't paint the walls ;-)

Interesting find, Rob. A bit bigger than I'd like, and ideally, $5K/acre is the target, but $10K for the right set of conditions (i.e. ease of gaining approval for a boarding/training facility). At $5K per acre, then the cost of land is low enough that I can tell myself it's OK to let it serve as forage for our horses and room to land the gliders, and we don't need a business. At $10K, it's about what is a break-even proposition for most ag or semi-ag uses, beforel you figure in tax breaks and subsidies. That's what lets the PRIME stuff pencil out at $25K... And ponies don't need prime soil, dead level slope, and canal access. Neither do I. It's boring.

A farmer acqaintance was saying that for row crops in the Central Valley, he thought you might need a minimum of 1000acres to make it pencil out.

So maybe $10K/acre for unimproved land, with 7-10ac of flat spot. Bringing power, utlities, and putting in things like handicapped parking and fire water storage are a bit spendy.

w said...


With enough money I bet the renter could paint the walls whatever color he wanted. Part of selling my house and renting two years ago was telling my wife that we could do anything she wanted to the rental as far as improvements because selling was such a great deal.

The properties you will be looking at in Ventura County range from 45k to 100k per acre. Like I said, prime ag land of much more productive value ranges from 60 to 75k recently but was 25k before the boom. Marginal ag land much better than the parcel Rob likes and more developed was in the 15k range and I see it listed as high as 100k per acre right now.

As a side note, all over the rural county roads between the cities in Ventura County are filled with horse boarding facilities. They always look empty to me. There is a constant supply of these facilities for sale. Right now I can think of two that were set up and even home pads developed but not built. One fell out of escrow recently and the other may have closed but I have not checked. There is a bubble in horses like everything else. The US horse population has done something like double in the last 10 years. My wife sees the horses and trailers all over on Craigs list the last few months. It looks to me like a few people thought they would buy a rural property at inflated prices and subsidize it with a boarding facility. There may be a good deal for you in the future.

spooq said...

Personally I couldn't care less, but I'm surprised you guys missed this story -

spooq said...

Whaddya know... the insignificant tech company I have shares in made the news today (TROLL.OL) :D Shame I only have an insignificant amount though ;)

Jean ValJean said...

good catch on the article, spooq.

And if I may, I would like to request a thread for investing and where to put out money. A couple of threads down we started talking about Everbank (???) and other options, and I want to know what you people think of where we can place our money, now that bank savings accounts keep giving us diminishing returns since Helicopter Ben decided to take the savings interest rate into negative territory.


spooq said...

I second the request for an investment thread. I know this is a housing/planning blog, but there are too many good resources here to not tap them.

Au ftw btw.