Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just how bad is Zillow?

This poor house has burned its first owner and now it is burning the bank. Probably something to do with the $9000 taxes and multithousand dollar annual HOA fees. But this isn't about the house but about just how bad Zillow has gotten as an estimator of property values. When the bank took this back at $340k zillow didn't believe it. They thought it was worth more. $394,000.

Redfin knows better becasuse the bank is having trouble selling it:
337 Kiawah River Dr
Oxnard, CA 93036
Price: $247,000
SQ. FT.: 2,084
$/SQ. FT.: $119
COUNTY: Ventura
LISTING #: 3661102
SOURCE: Bank-Listed Foreclosures
STATUS: Bank Owned
ON REDFIN: 61 days
So. What does Zillow have to say about a house built in 2006? Here let them tell you with their price graph going back to 1999:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interest Rates Matter

It was pointed out that rising interest rates reflect on home purchase prices. How much? Check these out. 5% is $5.36/$1,000 borrowed. At ~13% that's doubled. In other words what once cost $1,000 now needs to cost $500 to keep payments the same. Be sure to look at the total life payments figures as well.

And in case you thought 13% was too high:

Friday, July 24, 2009

1994 Pricing and Zillowho?

People are talking about home prices making a "round trip." Well here's a peach that is sitting with 1994 prices. A month on market and still for sale.

1685 Twin Lakes Wrightwood, CA 92397
$131,000 2 Bed, 2 Bath | 1,179 Sq Ft on 0.14 Acres (6,000 Sq Ft Lot) | MLS ID #374968

Sale History
07/01/2009: $165,251 * (back to the bank)
02/15/1994: $127,500

And what does Zillow think?:
Zestimate: $235,000 30-day change: -$3,000 Value Range: $159,800 - $253,800

How can they ever expect to be taken seriously.

This house should cost $700/month to buy and rent for $800. 3 years ago this would have sold for $250k.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Daily California Watch 11

What? you thought it was over? As predicted the Counties are screaming. LATimes:
Less than 24 hours after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders announced a plan to close California's massive budget deficit, Los Angeles County officials moved to sue the state, a union for government workers said it might strike, and Republicans threatened to back out of the deal over a provision to cut the number of prison inmates by 27,000.
Shocked, shocked i tell you. And another budget buster CalPERS lost 23.4% last year. Expect another $25b contribution from taxpayers to retirees.

finally, a story about "spiking."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Daily California Watch 10

That didn't take long.

The budget deal is dead. No, not from a vote, not from the secret revenue projections leaking. not from the municipalities revolting. not from the bond markets closing. No, this from CalPERS who today released 2009 performance. 23% declines in assets. Correction; 23% declines in acknowledged loses to assets. What that means is that according to "the rules" the State and municipalities need to make them whole again. Ain't gonna happen.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System reported a decline of 23.4% for its latest fiscal year ending in June, marking its worst year ever.

The pension fund saw its value fall by $56 billion from the previous fiscal year to $180.9 billion.

"The result is not a surprise," Joe Dear, Calpers chief investment officer, said in a prepared statement. "The System has more than enough cash through contributions and income from investments to meet our present liabilities."

Still, Calpers has signaled to its members that they should expect higher contribution rates in the future to make up for market losses.

Some of Calpers's worst-performing assets were private or "alternative" investments, which have attracted the interest of many public pensions and endowments in recent years. Real estate was hardest hit, falling an estimated 35.8%, and private equity was next in line with a 31.4% decline. Figures for both of these categories reflected the 12-month period ending in March.

Cash, up 1.4%, and the fund's global fixed-income, which earned 0.6%, were the only reported assets to finish higher.

The value of the fund dipped as low as $160 billion in March before rebounding by about $20 billion in the final three months of the fiscal year, according to Calpers.

Separately, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, the second-largest public fund, reported a preliminary decline of 25% for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, with its market value of assets falling to $118.8 billion.
Suck it up teat latchers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Daily California Watch 9

Budget 0.9b seems to be available for comment:


LATimes and the IOUs.


This plan won't survive contact with the Counties or the unions.

Daily California Watch 8

Quiet. too quiet. Finally it seems the idiots in Sacramento are coming to the realization that none of the knobs on their instrument panel are capable of changing the reality outside. Doubtless careful followers were expecting a breakthrough last night as the weekend staff marathon produced a workable budget for the gang of 5 to endorse and then stuff down the State's gullet.

What happened? Short answer; the numbers don't add up. Just like February except no do over in 3 months.

No news except I continue to see a weird stalemate. Two pilots fighting over control to chose the crash site. No links because there's nothing that qualifies as news or content. Believe me, I tried.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Revisiting Old Friends

Last September we looked at:

Little Cabins In the Sky two Wrightwood fantasy offerings. First:

1600 Betty St, Wrightwood, CA 92397
Price: $182,000 BEDS: 2
BATHS: 1 SQ. FT.: 780 $/SQ. FT.: $233
Where are we today, 9 months later? Foreclosure. Asking $115.000. Not selling.

Then there's the Lazurus Long of the mountains:

Meanwhile a few blocks over we have the patient investor:

1446 Laura St
, Wrightwood, CA 92397
Price: $299,000
SQ. FT.: 1,152 $/SQ. FT.: $260
839 dys on market. Recent price reduction: $265k.

This idiot started at $344k in April 2007. They'll be lucky to get 40% of that eventually.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Daily California Watch 7

Federal oversight? Trading sandboxes in my opinion. [Financial Times]

Welfare queens may suffer. [NPR]

Magic budget tricks. [SJ Mercury News]

Movie title suggestions. I would have picked "Red Heat." [bizjournals]

Sucks to be dependent on a dysfunctional State. [Reuters]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Riverpark Parked

HT to "w" but face it, we all saw this one coming years ago.
Economy delays RiverPark retail center in Oxnard

Ventura County Star reports:
Work on The Collection — which will include a 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, a 16-screen Century Theatres cineplex and an REI store — has slowed, reflecting the pace of the economy as a whole, said Colm Makem, president of Shea Properties, the developer.

“We’ve moved the opening to the fall of 2010,” Makem said Monday. “Basically to reflect the slowdown in the economy and that’s why you’re seeing a slowdown in the construction.”

The company, which has other commercial and residential developments in California, Arizona and Colorado, has had to adjust work on those projects as well. The hope is the opening of The Collection will correspond with the upturn in the economy.

“We own a lot of real estate and we’re trying to pace the development with the economy,” Makem said. “Most economic forecasts are showing a turnaround in 2010.”
Another Oxnard Albatross. Backgrounder from 2003 ArchNewsNow.

Daily California Watch 6

Selma, a California city with planner generated problems.

Dan Walters actually churns out a readable piece.

Treasury reveals why warrants are not being accepted. [small PDF file]

And finally. While the budget crisis occupies everyone's attention there is a subversive campaign to invent a new crisis; water.
Reservoirs at 20% capacity.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How It Starts

3,500 Vale Workers In Canada Walk Off The Job
Manufacturing.Net - July 13, 2009

SUDBURY, Ontario (AP) -- Thousands of union workers at Vale Inco's nickel mine operations in Ontario are on strike after 85 percent of union members rejected the company's contract offer.

The United Steelworkers union said Monday that all of Vale's Canadian operations have been shut down and the company's nickel inventory will quickly be depleted.

At issue were proposals by Vale to exempt new employees from its benefit pension plan and to reduce a bonus tied to the price of nickel.

Steelworkers Ontario director Wayne Fraser says about 3,500 workers are now on strike.

Vale Inco is the nickel mining and processing division of Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce.

Supply disruptions, production slowdowns. Nobody understands why depressions start but they do.

Ironbark iron will

One of these is not like the other:

Acutually I suspect there are a lot like this. It reads like the entire California bubble. Round trip to 1996?

Property History for 2050 Ironbark Dr:
Date Event Price Appreciation Source
Jul 11, 2009 Price Changed $259,000 -- VCRDS #90011584
Jul 10, 2009 Listed $299,000 -- VCRDS #90011584
Apr 03, 2008 Sold $360,000 -35.3%/yr Public Records
Mar 22, 2008 Delisted
Jan 17, 2008 Price Changed
Dec 12, 2007 Price Changed
Nov 08, 2007 Price Changed
Oct 07, 2007 Price Changed
Sep 09, 2007 Listed
Jul 16, 2007 Sold $491,807 -13.6%/yr Public Records
Jul 09, 2007 Delisted
Mar 09, 2007 Delisted
Mar 09, 2007 Price Changed
Jan 01, 2007 Listed
Jan 01, 2007 Listed
Jan 24, 2006 Sold $610,000 67.8%/yr Public Records
Feb 12, 2002 Sold $79,000 -12.5%/yr Public Records
Oct 16, 1996 Sold $161,000 -- Public Records
Like sands in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

The Check Is in The Mail

"Pending Sales" == "The check is in the mail." When Realtors® start paying income taxes on their pendings rather than their closings I'll start paying attention to pendings. - Posted by: Rob Dawg | Jun 9, 2008 11:28:22 AM (on The Big Picture)

Good to see the WSJ is on the job:
The National Association of Realtors is trumpeting a fourth consecutive monthly gain in their report of pending home sales. The index tracks the number of contracts signed on homes, which increased in May by just 0.1% from the previous month. Pending sales are up 6.7% from a year ago.

In the past those contracts would give a pretty good indication of what existing home sales would look like when the NAR reports its May numbers a few weeks later. These days the report’s reliability as an indicator is shakier. More pending sales appear to be falling through, as financing becomes harder to reach or as buyers and sellers renege on pricing.

In April, for example, contracts signed on homes rose 6.7% from the previous month, but existing home sales in May—when a lot of those contracts should have closed and been reported—increased by just 2.4%. Indeed, for nearly a year, the pending home-sales index appears to be over-predicting closed sales relative to historical levels, notes independent housing economist Thomas Lawler.
[emphasis added]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Daily California Watch 4

Update: Bumped back to top post because of new news.

SacBee blogs:
Not once in the two decades since California's Proposition 98 school-funding formula became law have lawmakers bucked education groups to suspend it – so Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's push to do so has rocked the Capitol.

Socialists blame Arnold.

Arnold stays proud.

The Candidates bluster.

Wyoming thinks they have problems.

No Fraud Here

Jun 12, 2009 Listed $ 58,000 -- MRMLS #I09064513
Sep 16, 2008 Sold $142,200 -36.6%/yr Public Records
Jul 27, 2006 Sold $377,500 51.6%/yr Public Records
Sep 18, 2003 Sold $115,000 17.7%/yr Public Records
Mar 17, 2000 Sold $65,000 -24.2%/yr Public Records
Oct 23, 1998 Sold $95,860 3.0%/yr Public Records
Aug 28, 1996 Sold $90,000 >1,000%/yr Public Records
May 15, 1996 Sold $45,000 >1,000%/yr Public Records
May 08, 1996 Sold $39,000 -70.4%/yr Public Records
Oct 10, 1995 Sold $78,773 -- Public Records

Refin listing here.

I mean come on. July 2006, $377,500? A worn out 1924 construction in a run down part of San Berdoo?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Daily California Watch 3

Sunset in the Golden State. Impasse day 9.

NYTimes gets it wrong again.

Muni fallout.

Balanced? NFW.

Ideology trumps reality every time.

And for a bit of humor, this from the comments. Hat tip JP.

R.I.P. Califorina 1849-2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bowl Season

It's time again for fabulous Fridays at the Bowl. Tonight we get fireworks too!

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Bill Conti, conductor
Monica Mancini, vocalist
Dave Grusin, piano
Brian Stokes Mitchell, vocalist

From "Moon River" to "Days of Wine and Roses," Charade to Victor/Victoria, and The Pink Panther to Peter Gunn... join the LA Phil and a stellar lineup of special guests on a journey celebrating the unforgettable legacy of music for film, television and orchestra by the four-time Oscar-and 20-time Grammy-winner, legendary Hollywood Bowl Hall of Famer Henry Mancini!

Yes, those are my seats.

California Musical Interlude

Late celebration of the Summer Solstice.

And more on the cost of illegal immigration:
A new study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) examines the costs of education, health care and incarceration of illegal aliens, and concludes that the costs to Californians is $10.5 billion per year.

Kicker? Publication date 1994. Gee, sucking away $10-$20b per year every year for a generation was bound to catch up with the State. Add to that the similar rate of wealth extraction over the same period to Federal balance of payments and it should be no surprise the State is insolvent.

Daily California Watch 2

Illegal Immigrants strangely transform from asset to liability. Hoocoodanode?

California Scheming. When Barrons weighs in it's serious.

Pay Cut for Doctors denied. WSJ.

Finance Director talks turkey. Reuters.

Education Stiffed. marketwatch. Hat tip HomeGnome at CR.

Hah! try to escape? We will go back to the old borders!

Three Headed Dawg

WSJ report via CNBC summary:
Cerberus Capital Management is still declining to let investors out of its main hedge fund, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a letter to clients reviewed by the Journal, Cerberus chairman Stephen Feinberg said the firm is revamping investor terms on its main hedge fund.

The letter cites weak market conditions that are still preventing Cerberus from giving clients their money back. Cerberus also says significant macro risks may affect future results. The letter also notes that the firm has had difficulty selling existing positions.

Cerberus says it has created a special vehicle to let some investors cash out over time.

In December of last year, Cerberus suspended withdrawal requests, joining a group of hedge funds that had halted redemptions. Feinberg also said in the letter that Cerberus plans on avoiding headline-grabbing deals like its ill-fated investments in automaker Chrysler and lender GMAC.
"...the firm is revamping investor terms..." Got that? Changing the terms unilaterally. S'okay we are all now so used to this it barely merits mentioning. The real problem is these people are in the markets with two sets of books. THey admit their assets aren't worth what they'd fetch in the markets but won't adjust their books accordingly. Obviously this isn't just Cerberus which means pretty much everyone in the markets is playing with fantasy trades.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Goldspring Will Save Him

Remember Casey and 6¢ Goldspring? Broke down through a penny today and looks to be on the boat across the Styx.

Daily California Watch

SEC calls California IOUs securities.

Arnold cuts more pay

Pot will save us

Political theater in Sacramento

California cedes the lead
From that last:
Plenty of American states have budget crises; but California’s illustrate two more structural worries about the state. Back in its golden age in the 1950s and 1960s, it offered middle-class people, not just techy high-fliers, a shot at the American dream—complete with superb schools and universities, and an enviable physical infrastructure. These days California’s unemployment rate is running at 11.5%, two points ahead of the national average. In such Californian cities as Fresno, Merced and El Centro, jobless rates are higher than in Detroit. Its roads and schools are crumbling. Every year, over 100,000 more Americans leave the state than enter it.

But not to worry, we still have beach babe eyecandy:

Can't Happen Here

Notice how there is a condemnation of St. Vincent dePaul and Salvation Army and other various socialist slants in the text. Well at least in 1933 those concepts were considered socialist. I think they changed the name to "Hope Now."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Timmay Makes a Poopy

US lurching towards 'debt explosion' with long-term interest rates on course to double
The US economy is lurching towards crisis with long-term interest rates on course to double, crippling the country’s ability to pay its debts and potentially plunging it into another recession, according to a study by the US’s own central bank.
UK Telegraph article here.
In a 2003 paper, Thomas Laubach, the US Federal Reserve’s senior economist, calculated the impact on long-term interest rates of rising fiscal deficits and soaring national debt. Applying his assumptions to the recent spike in the US fiscal deficit and national debt, long-term interests rates will double from their current 3.5%.
Everyone with an ARM is in trouble.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Blood of Tyrants

Remind me again. What were those grievances with a remote and unresponsive government back in the 1700s?

Friday, July 03, 2009


Corny, contrived and ultimately capturing the essence of the day. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Opportunity to Social Climb

Okay, enough slumming. Here's the other end of the market.

Craigslist is where you'd sell your $1.7m home right? What could go wrong? Read the description:

We are in Lake Sherwood and have this amazing home for sale. We are building in Malibu, and will be moving soon. We know its hard to find financing these days so we are offering a A.I T D. It is a wrap around financing, and will allow you to take title of our home, and you can refinance with in 5 years. We will leave the 1st, and 2nd Trust Deed in our name, and you make all the payments. You are on title, so you own the property!!

To get into a home like this you need full employment documentation, Bank verif's for down payment, and at the Minimum, 30% down.

Here is what we are asking!!!

We owe $1,400,000
Home appraised in december 2007 $1,790,000 (but we will get an updated appraisal. Comps are at 1,600,000 right now)

You Assume the 1st TD at 1,200,000 (payment $5,900)
You Assume the 2nd TD at $200,000 (payment $700)
You pay the Balance to us $175,000. (we would accept a $100,000 payment now, and $50,000 in 4 months)

That's less then 10% down, and no qualifying!!!!!

For more details and to set up an appt to see it, just call.

Map here.


Via Redfin:
15643 La Verida Dr Victorville, CA 92395 Price: $48,000
BEDS: 3 BATHS: 2 SQ. FT.: 1,399 /SQ. FT.: $34
LOT SIZE: 9,240 Sq. Ft.
MLS#: C09070393

Single story ranch style home near the 15 frwy for commuters. Features double door entry, living room/dining combo with step down and fireplace, den, country kitchen, laundry in the garage, roof evap cooler, covered patio, composition roof and wood fencing.

And get this: Last Sale: $282,000!