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.


Tyrone said...

Love those cabins, #1.

Sold for $120K in '01. BWAHAHAHA

They got a long, long way to come down.

Agent #777 said...

The question I have is shouldn't Zillow be showing foreclosure or REO sales in "nearby similar sales" as well? When I am researching, I would like to see ALL sales in the area, and I can show a couple specific examples where this is not happening.

sm_landlord said...

Do those cabins have full utilities, or are we talking propane tanks, radios, and generators?

It's already 92F up there today, you would need A/C big time - I notice those places don't have it.

Betty Street is probably worth less than what it sold for in 2000, which was $64K according to Zillow.

Jim the Realtor said...

Nothing that jumbo shrimp, Santa Barbara wine, and price won't fix in Wrongwood....

Rob Dawg said...

Yes, they are full year round houses with all the amenities. But no, a/c is not necessary. This is probably the hottest day up there in years and the humidity is low and the atmosphere is rarefied so it cools quickly in the valley. Yeah, a lot of these are going to go into the estate and get sold for a pittance by the heirs.

LOL! Yes, jumbos and Merlots make everything go away... except price.

Nobody wants these now that appreciation no longer justifies holding and declining rents make them poor rentals.

Anonymous said...

Most Calis made more in mortgage fraud than many hard working people around here make in a lifetime. Suck it and die CA.

TJandTheBear said...

Yeah, fantasyland.

Once they come down to reality, though, might be nice for a close weekend getaway. Of course, I wouldn't even think about it until Rob says it's okay.

At least those cabins look & feel like cabins. I stayed in a friend's place in Big Bear and was surprised to find it in a "cabin suburb" instead of buried in the woods.

TJandTheBear said...

OT, but... just noticed a recently cleared out storefront with a big "ONLY $0.88 PER SQUARE FOOT" for lease sign on it. Typically don't see specific prices promoted, let alone in such monster letters.

Rob Dawg said...

You can have the second great deal. ;-)

Already, these prices almosr make sense as rentals. Another 15% is where i see the entry point. Then at 20% buying for personal use.

Pleather Murse said...

I'm in the process of buying a townhouse in the Phoenix area right now. 1400 sq.ft., 3/2, $32K ($22.85/sq ft). Not a fixer-upper. Decent HOA, working class area.

TJandTheBear said...

Rob, I'll take that deal!

Hmmm... just followed the Zillow listings on those two and both of those *are* in "cabin suburbs" too, just further apart and with lots of trees. Far better than my friend's Big Bear place, but still pretty dense-packed.

When I think cabin, I typically picture something where you're up a dirt road and it's damned difficult to see any neighbors. Of course, that kind of place would probably preclude "all the amenities". There has to be a decent compromise in there somewhere. ;-)

Lou Minatti said...

Rob, I think these places are becoming priced within the ballpark of reason.

This is verging into the "affordable" territory, and these houses aren't $500,000 shitshacks in Compton like we saw 2 years ago.

Sure, they may go down some more. Is there something bad about Wrightwood that would prevent this place from being considered as a good retirement destination? Looks OK to me.

1.44MB said...

Remind me again of the name of the fairly large fault line that bisects Wrightwood?

Rob Dawg said...

Glad to see why I follow Wrightwood as an indictor finally being appreciated.

WWood is a community in the real sense. 6000 sf lots are plenty for the modest houses. The entire valley is surrounded by forest making it feel very uncrowded. It is rare for half the houses to be occupied most of the time.

A great great place for an active retirement. Not least because it is 3 hours from everything. A nice place to live with no jobs for any age except teenagers who get into trouble. Idle hands and all that.

That fault? Some little thingy San Andreas or some such.
Zoom in. Straight down Robin Rd.

H Simpson said...


Need a job to pay for it?
Say no more you wood lovers.


Peripheral Visionary said...

I'm with tj on hating "cabin suburbs". The suburbanization of many remote communities has got to be one of the most tragic aspects of the recent housing boom; lots of them in Utah, Idaho, Montana, etc. On the other hand, many of those same communities are absolutely collapsing (like the private ski resort fiasco), and eventually wildfires and decay will thin them out.

I echo Rob's comments on Wrightwood having some appeal; it's not bad for a retirement or an artist, etc. A little chunk of Vermont lodged in Southern California. It's the areas around it that are in serious trouble; the rest of San Bernadino County is seriously overbuilt, and lacks all the charm and isolation of Wrightwood.

w said...

Does anyone have a feel for what is going to happen in places like Sun Valley, Idaho? Or Mammoth?

Will there be once in a lifetime buying opportunities? Has there been much movement on prices yet?

Property Flopper said...

Rob - good for active retirement... so long as you're healthy. Sucks when a decent hospital is three hours away.

Peripheral Visionary said...

@w, depends, a LOT, on the community. The problem is that wilderness towns have economies that are heavily dependent on outside factors; that's why when the economy shifts, they can turn into literal ghost towns. Given that much of the appeal is seclusion and access to the wilderness, it's the "mountain subdivisions" that are most at risk. People don't buy a home in the mountains so they can live in the Shady Meadows Development, Phase III, in a tiny townhouse with no yard on a cul-de-sac with outrageous HOA fees.

As such, I think the heaviest damage will be in the most overbuilt communities. That could be an opportunity, if all you're looking for is a place to park your skis a few times a year, and don't have to have anything resembling a view or direct access to wilderness; if so, there are countless condos in Park City, Sun Valley, etc. whose prices will be crashing--but even then, renting will still probably be cheaper. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a real retreat, or for something that's going to retain value, I would look as far away from the heavily developed mountain communities as possible. There's no risk that woodlands and mountainsides will turn into dilapidated, rundown, heavily vandalized ghost towns. Even a few years ago that would have seemed like a highly unlikely fate for the mountain communities, but I think it's becoming increasingly likely, with huge numbers of vacant units and abandoned development projects.