Wish Upon a Fallingstar

Welcome to Woodbridge Week at the Irvine Housing Blog. I thought I would begin with the serenade of the delusional kool-aid drinkers: an ode to market denial.

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires will come to you

If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme

When you wish upon a star as dreamers do

(Fate is kind, she brings to those who love

The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing)

Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you thru

When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true

Music by Leigh Harline / Lyrics by Ned Washington

Performed by Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards)

Link to YouTube Video

Fallingstar kitchen

IrvineRenterAsking Price: $419,000

Purchase Price: $400,000

Purchase Date: 5/5/2004

Address: 452 Fallingstar #8, Irvine, CA 92614

Beds: 1

Baths: 1

Sq. Ft.: 863

Year Built: 1984

Stories: 2

Type: Condominium

County: Orange


Neighborhood: Woodbridge

$/Sq. Ft.: $486

MLS#: S488454

Status: Active on market

On Redfin: 38 days

From Redfin, “Light and bright spacious end unit. High vaulted ceiling in living roo m leads up to 2nd story loft. Located in the heart of Woodbridge. Unit has been well maintained and is emmaculate. The garage space for this unit also has a small storage closet. The almost new combo washer/dryer unit could possibly stay. Big closet in bedroom. Central A/C. New water heater w/ permit. Bathtub just refinished along with new enclosure soon. “

Is it just me, or the the meaningless expression “light and bright” make you cringe like nails on a chalkboard? And what is “emmaculate?” Is that like emasculate?



This one is not priced below its 2004 purchase price, but when you see its competition, you can conclude it will probably sell for much less. Either way, after factoring in a 6% commission this seller will lose money on an April 2004 purchase in Woodbridge. Who would have guessed? (hint, I would have.)

I am speculating there has been a recent price reduction as this unit is listed twice in the MLS, and the second one has it at $449,000.

Let’s see what the competition is doing…

43 Fallingstar Front 43 Fallingstar Kitchen

Price: $435,000

43 FALLINGSTAR #27, Irvine, CA 92614

Beds: 2

Baths: 2

Sq. Ft.: 1,056

Year Built: 1984

Stories: 2

Type: Condominium

County: Orange

Neighborhood: Woodbridge

$/Sq. Ft.: $412

MLS#: S483813

Status: Active on market

On Redfin: 70 days

From Redfin, “Fantastic townhome nestled deep within safe & quiet family development. Charming curb appeal is well matched by light & spacious interior. Expansive living room boasting soaring vaulted ceilings & fireplace. Chef’s kitchen featuring wrap-around breakfast bar & attached laundry room. Main floor master suite complete w/ private bath. Upstairs loft/2nd bed also w/ its own bath. Nice patio area. Short walk to pools, spa, lake, shopping & schools! WOW!”

I was OK with this description right up to the WOW! It must be a realtor dysfunction that all caps and exclamation points are required.

This is a 2/2 only asking $16,000 more than the above 1/1. Which would you choose?



Or how about this one:

35 fallingstar front 35 fallingstar inside

Price: $489,000

35 FALLINGSTAR #21, Irvine, CA 92614

Beds: 3

Baths: 2

Sq. Ft.: 1,227

Year Built: 1984

Stories: 2

Type: Condominium

County: Orange

Neighborhood: Woodbridge

$/Sq. Ft.: $399

MLS#: P561835

Status: Active on market

On Redfin: 122 days

Unsold in 90+ days

From Redfin, “Stunning Condo with new interior paint and remodeled kitchen. Originally, 2 bd/2ba + loft. Loft has been converted into an additional bedroom without permit. Huge master bedroom on the first floor accompanied by the huge living room with built in fireplace. Hurry !!! Seller will look at all offers.”

Hurry!!! the seller is desperate (note our three exclamation points). Oh, wait, I guess you don’t have to hurry. It isn’t your problem, is it?


This is a 3/2 only asking $70,000 more, and with 122 days on the market and sitting empty, it will probably come down a lot too. If the asking price drops much further, it will become a 2004 rollback as well.

Woodbridge is a very desirable neighborhood. As I have said before it is one of my favorites, but as we saw last week with Turtle Ridge, even the most desirable neighborhoods are not immune from the fallout of the housing bubble.


26 thoughts on “Wish Upon a Fallingstar

  1. oc-conservative

    Pre-2004 prices. I like it!

    Out of curiosity, as I am not familiar with the rental market, for how much would these places rent? And how easy would they be able to rent out in today’s market?

  2. Mr Vincent

    I see these as either starter homes for someone just out of college, or for someone looking for a retirement home.

    Thus the price should be at least half of what they are asking. Looking at the 1999-2001 price and then adjust for inflation – bingo!

  3. NanoWest

    Seller is desperate !!!!!!!!

    I don’t think the seller is desperate at all. A desperate seller will reduce the price 5% every two weeks until the unit is sold. I think it is a desperate realtor that needs a comission to buy gas for the Mercedes that he/she bought when the going was good.

  4. biscuitninja

    Nice, it looks like the drop is accelerating. I wonder how bad it will be next year at this time.

  5. Irvine_native

    Add this woodbridge home to your WTF file. This home has been for sale since 04/03/2006 and it is a fixer.

    1 CEDARGLEN #29, Irvine, CA 92604
    Bedrooms: 3
    Full Baths: 1
    Partial Baths: 1
    Square Feet: 1,123
    List Price: $535,500

  6. William Jones

    $400K for a one bedroom condo? What madness is this? You could buy a one bedroom condo in parts of New York City for that and their wages are much higher than ours are here in the OC.

  7. oc_fliptrack

    Trouble appeared early in this tract once the music finally stopped last year. These guys will probably end up falling the hardest, along with those dreary Lakepines units in Northwood.

  8. No_Such_Reality

    Checking Craigslist and rentometer, asking price looks to run about $1500 for the 1/1.

    the low 1/3rd of pricing runs about 1600-1800 on the 2/2. Again, published asking price.

    the 3/2, $2400 +/- $200.

  9. oc-conservative

    It would seem that these would make decent rentals if they could be had in the $300k’s.

    Of course, at this point in time, you could get a better return elsewhere than putting equity here, but over the longer term for someone looking to diversify their assets maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?

    Is my cursory math way off?

  10. mino2126

    If that couch got any closer to the fire place it would be part of it. My goodness I know fireplaces are desired but that location is just retarded.

  11. IrvineRenter

    The three bedroom might cashflow in the low 300’s, but I think the 1/1 and the 2/2 need to get to the low to mid 200’s to have positive cashflow.

    Of course, as a diversification move, you might be willing to reach a little higher, but I still don’t think negative cashflow is ever a good idea as you still are betting on appreciation to make the investment work.

  12. No_Such_Reality

    I think the 3/2 starting at about $250K cashflows. That $245/month HOA fee kills the math, add another $250/month for insurance & maintenance/mgmt. 20% down, 8.5% non-owner occupied loan and you get about a 9% tax free return (depreciation creates a tax loss)… 10% down and it drops to 5%.

    The 2/2 and 1/1 are porportionately lower.

    That assumes rents remain, or better yet, rents actually get their asking price and don’t start giving away free months to lure tenants, which we are already seeing.

    For a live in owner, the 3/2, looks like rent breakeven is way up at $400K because of the low interest rates.

  13. Major Schadenfreude

    “And what is “emmaculate?” Is that like emasculate?”


    Why do RE agents believe they deserve their commissions when they can’t even spell?

    Oh well, let the Summer of Rollbacks begin!

  14. Richie

    I just found your blog today, and will be a regular reader. But I read an old article from 3 months ago and have a question about it that I already posted on the blog. I’m not sure if you check old comments or not, so I will ask again here. Sorry for going somewhat off topic.

    How does the affect of rising rents affect the equation of what a house is worth? (My landlord just raised my rent by 11% on my new lease, and I had to take it because there is nothing cheaper available.)

    As the price of homes has been going up, people buy them with the intent to rent them out. And with their large payments, they are asking for high rents. I am in Ventura County. 4 years ago, the rent for an average 3-bedroom house was going for about $1600-$1800/month, but now everything advertised is $2000-$2400/month.

    Will the rise in rents help prevent a massive bottoming out of real estate, or will real estate continue to drop and bring down rent prices with it?

  15. IrvineRenter


    Welcome to our blog. I read almost every comment, but occasionally one will slip past. Below is the response I posted on the other thread.

    House prices will likely bottom out near the rental equivalent value. If the economy stays strong, and unemployment does not become a problem, rents will continue to rise which in turn will support house prices. I suspect the economy will suffer as house prices decline, so rents will probably also be depressed. That has been the historic pattern.

  16. SoCalwatcher

    WOW! That seller must be desperate!!! He/she must be nestled too deep in their ARM quagmire to even think about their chefs kitchen w/Euro cabinets, great room and extensive amenities!!! They are trying squeeze every last drop of equity from that RE juicer!!! I should buy this or I wil be priced out forever!!!

  17. IrvineRenter

    “squeeze every last drop of equity from that RE juicer”

    LOL. I like that one. I may use it someday.

    BTW, nice use of exclamation points 🙂

  18. tonye

    Do you want to know how crazy this is?

    In ’02 we sold our rental house in TR Broadmoor for about 420K net. It was a 3b/2ba home with new roof, tile, carpet, HVAC, bathrooms, kitchen, light fixtures, some windows, garage door.

    Scraped the ceilings, added new halogen cans, etc, etc…. It had a two year old paint job, was tented, no dry rot, thousand dollar halogen range with matching two motor hood.

    Materials were very good: GE Monogram, Kohler fixtures, etc….

    Etc… that was a fixer upper that we fixed, rented and then sold. It has a large, landscape atrium, two japanese maple trees and a large backyard.


    You could put this entire condo into the backyard of that house and the quality of the parts I put in simply make this apartment a joke.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is AN APARTMENT, NOT A CONDO. Heck, I used to live in larger apartments eons ago.

    Price? Hmmm… how about $200K tops? Maybe lower… what would be the rental break even point?

  19. Darin

    The second condo has an agent who describes “charming curb appeal”. No ding for not having a curb, but big ding for charming = green grass, wooden fence, and maybe some agapanthus (dare I say agapanthi?).

    I don’t know ’bout the rest of you, but charm to me is more than paying the association fees to the gardener and not putting anything on your porch per the HOA.

  20. momopi

    Woodbridge HOA is a bit high compared to nearby “old” tracts, but you get 2 lakes and some nice stuff. If you’re buying a lake side home/condo with excellent lake view and a large patio, it’d be a nice place to sit and relax with your friends and family.

    However as an income property, you have to consider the age of the building and termite related issues. I had a massive headache dealing with one termite infested townhouse few years ago and do not wish to repeat.

    On the plus side, it’s close enough to UC Irvine and IVC that you might be able to tap into college students as tenants. Plus the 5 FWY and 405 FWY are both very close.

  21. irvine homeowner

    According to homeseekers.com, 43 Fallingstar is in escrow. I think prices may adjust to some degree over the next year and probably level off for the next 5-10 yrs. What will actually happen is really anybody’s guess. As far as going down to year 2000 prices you’d be dreaming. If prices dropped that low, people would be buying 2-3 houses instead of just one. Prices would immediately jump back up again. As an Irvine homeowner not planning to move in the next 5-6 years, prices dropping would probably benefit me more than prices going up. Up is great as my home would appreciate but to move up would cost so much more. Down would benefit more as I could buy a second property or bigger home at a low price and rent my current home out. There are a lot of people in my situation. When I talk to older people who bought homes in the early 70s, they tell me that home ownership has always been challenging is So CAL but well worth it. Let’s see what happens. All else is spec.

  22. k.o.

    With VDC and VDC Norte, two new housing complexes on the UCI campus, students are less inclined to go further away and pay more. The buildings in VDC are new, decently priced, come with various amenities, and there are free shuttles to and from campus. So, in my estimation, other condos/apts for rent in the area aren’t as desirable as they were 2 years ago…

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