Catch a Wave

Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world

Don’t be afraid to try the greatest sport around

Everybody tries it once

Those who don’t just have to put it down

You paddle out turn around and raise

And baby thats all there is to the coastline craze

You gotta catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world

Catch a Wave — The Beach Boys

Link to Video

Isn’t flipping houses a bit like surfing? Just catch a wave and ride it to financial prosperity. Today’s flipper who bought a Pacific Crest home certainly hopes so.

Pacific Crest Front Pacific Crest Kitchen

Asking Price: $979,900IrvineRenter

Income Requirement: $244,975

Downpayment Needed: $195,980

Purchase Price: $791,000

Purchase Date: 8/15/2007

Address: 15 Pacific Crest, Irvine, CA 92602

Knife Catcher Award

Beds: 4

Baths: 3.5

Sq. Ft.: 2,557

$/Sq. Ft.: $383

Lot Size: –

Type: Single Family Residence

Style: Modern

Year Built: 2002

Stories: Three or More Levels

Area: Northpark

County: Orange

MLS#: S504923

Status: Active

On Redfin: 6 days

From Redfin, “4 Bedroom plus 3rd floor bonus room or master suite with full bath, 2nd floor bonus room for games/den, ground floor living/kitchen open floor plan with office or additional family room. Seperate laundry room on 2nd floor. Upgraded tiles on ground floor, fireplace, built-in entertainment center, huge kitchen with center island and lots of cabinet space.”

Only 1 misspelled word. Not bad…



So all of you making $250K, is this your dream home? Do you like the white tile kitchen? Is this an estate worthy of someone with such a high income, or is this a nondescript tract home more suited to someone making $150K? The market will decide.

Kool Aid Man

I have to give this flipper credit for nerve. To drop $791K on a house in this market environment takes courage. I think it is remarkably foolish, but the market may prove me wrong.

In today’s market, this does seem to be a good purchase price at $791K. You would think a buyer would see this as reflective of the overall market, but if you are drinking the kool aid, this is a steal. Of course, this sale went through before our most recent round of credit tightening, so this flipper may regret the purchase, but this regret certainly isn’t reflected in the asking price.

Surfing is fun, but sometimes it does not go as planned.

80 thoughts on “Catch a Wave

  1. graphrix

    Since the forums are down and because this needs to be news now, I am posting this before this post goes up.

    Notice of trustee sales in the 23 business days of August were 594 in OC. So far in the 9 (yes nine 9) business days of September it is 397. Here comes the foreclosure onslaught. This isn’t ugly this is horrendous. The impact of the credit crunch hasn’t even had a chance to effect NTSs. I hate to be a pessimist but I can tell you this is only going to get worse.

    On a per day basis NODs are up and trustee sales are up big.

  2. NanoWest

    Comment 1: You would have to be a complete idiot to purchase a home in august of 2007 with the intention of flipping it. Maybe this truly is the “village idiot” that we need here in Irvine.

    Comment 2: It seems the cross over point when more homes are sold by banks than “homeowners” is not too far away.

  3. still savin

    I cannot believe the number of houses, little crappy houses, boring tract houses and POS teardowns that are asking so much that you have to make $150,000 to afford to live there.

    This does not seem special in any way, why would somebody making that much want to live there ? Its an “Ok” house, maybe even “nice”, but why would you want to spend all that $$ just for “Ok”.

    …and Flipper bumped the price $200k in a month, just like the good old days.

  4. And another thing...

    It’s obscene to ask for 24% appreciation in one month. Even at the height of the boom, I believe 20% – 25% PER YEAR was the highest. And, what has this person done to improve the house? Nothing!

    I think the other Beach Boys classic applies here – “In My Room,” since the flipper will no doubt have plenty of time to ponder his greed in all the rooms before this get sold – if ever.

  5. No_Such_Reality

    Is this someone that bought the place for a penny over the foreclosure price? It’s a $150K below the previous sale in June 2005.

  6. mino2126

    Unreal how can you bump up the price of a home by $200k in just a month. Where is the financial prudence of this?

  7. Cayci

    Asking Price: $979,900

    Purchase Price: $791,000

    Purchase Date: 8/15/2007

    I’m with you on this one. I mean, c’mon. Seriously?

  8. IrvineRenter

    That would be my guess. I doubt it was the bank because they wouldn’t have asked such a ridiculous amount for an REO.

  9. IrvineRenter

    What were the total sales in August? I would be interested to see if the ratio of total sales to REOs has dropped below 2.

  10. ipoplaya

    Not a flipper IR, this property is an REO. Wells Fargo owns it:

    I actually toured this property last week. There’s a nice hole in the wall, right at the perfect height for straight right hand, in the loft area. Musta been a little anger being vented about being foreclosed on.

    Seems like this property had a bunch of HELOCs, all taken out around the same time, and a first @ $700K. $1.2M+ in total loans on this property? Can anyone confirm?

    In NP Square, there are now four of these exact same homes on the market. Three at 3, 8, and 12 Capistrano and this one on Pacific Crest. I believe 3 Capistrano and Pacific Crest are both REOS, and interestingly enough, they are the highest priced at $995K and $979K. The two owner occupieds of this model are at $929K and $939K. It’s gonna get ugly there on these, especially on the one culdy with three properties to be moved…

    Problem with these homes is there in no dining room and the nook area is too small for a regular-sized table. Some people evidently use the living room as a dining room and go without an extra living/seating space downstairs. The third floor attic is cool, except the windows are on the side of the house so they have a lovely view of the tiles on the roof next door. Yards in this neighborhood are meager…

  11. ipoplaya

    It’s an REO IR. Wells Fargo owns it…

    Looks like the previous owner opened up a bunch of HELOCs at the same time in late 2005 for a total value of all mortgages in excess of $1.2M.

    I toured the place last week. There are three other of the exact same house listed in NP Square right now:

    3 Capistrano: I think REO @ $995K
    8 Capistrano: $939K
    12 Capistrano: Range priced $899-929K

    It’s gonna be very ugly very soon in that Hood.

  12. IrvineRenter

    “As many as half of the 450,000 subprime borrowers whose mortgage payments increase in the next three months may lose their homes because they can’t sell, refinance or qualify for help from the U.S. government.

    “Short of the cavalry riding in over the hill, a lot of these people are just stuck,” said Christopher Cagan, director of research and analytics at Santa Ana, California-based First American CoreLogic, the risk management unit of the biggest U.S. title insurer. ”

    That is a pretty grim assessment of the situation.

  13. ipoplaya

    I think I still have that lockbox code written down somewhere if anyone wants to peruse the latest bank-owned addition to our lovely real estate market.

  14. ipoplaya

    Just checked CW’s REO list and the total number of places they own in CA is up to 2,907. Was in the mid/high 2,800’s just a few weeks back, so they are foreclosing way more than they are moving…. At some point, they’ll have to get super aggressive on pricing. Sadly, not a single Irvine SFR owned by them – yet.

  15. IrvineRenter

    I see. It is unusual to see the banks ask more than 10% over their original note (90% of original purchase price.) If they HELOCed this place to $1.2, I their asking price makes sense — at least according to their loss mitigation rules.

    I have to imagine the were still soiling themselves when the market would not bear more than $791K at auction…

  16. No_Such_Reality

    Anybody taking odds on fraud? Or is it just investment stupidity?

    If it’s bought in Mid-2005, you pull another $200,000 (20%) out over purchase price, and still get foreclosed within two years. That almost has to be a first payment default on all the loans.

  17. IrvineRenter

    IMO, one of Irvine’s shameful secrets is all the portable classrooms. Shortly after they opened Oak Creek Elementary the portables popped up. Every campus seems to have them, even the ones they are closing down because they are short on enrollments!

  18. ipoplaya

    I think Wells had the 1st of $699Kish and a 2nd of at least $125K. Makes sense they would bid almost $800K on auction if that’s the case…

    Crap, there have been 7 pre-foreclosure filings in 92602 in the past week, another two in my neighborhood. The condos in West Irvine and Northpark are going under at an alarming rate… Too many purchases in 2005 and 2006 as there were a bunch of move-up buyers that left the area.

    Got some room in your apartment complex IR? I think I need to sell and move!

  19. ipoplaya

    Have you seen the new school site at Harvard and Barranca? They didn’t bother to build a single building. Just slapped in a bunch of portables… A whole entire school of portables. It goes rather nicely with the industrial feel of that area and the ambiance of the Waste Management transfer station.

    My wife teaches in IUSD and it all comes down to a budget decision. Funds are tight and portables are way cheaper (they good great long-term lease rates evidently) than the cost of new construction. When all the builders aren’t busy making new houses and materials costs come down, we’ll probably see some school construction to replace the portables.

  20. ipoplaya

    At least Myford is only a short distance away and its a great school too… Hauling kids from NP and NP Square up to Pioneer Middle would be a pain in the butt though.

  21. caliguy2699

    So, to sum up…

    Hole in the wall, no real dining room, nook too small to be useful, yard too small, no granite or upgraded appliances in the kitchen, one of four of the same models for sale.

    Yep, $979,900 sounds about right to me. NOT.

  22. caliguy2699

    Sounds like Irvine took the portables concept right out of South OC’s playbook. Seems like it’s the standard to open a new school, and then phase in portables over the next couple of years. There is also an entire school in Aliso Viejo (Foxborough) that was opened with only portables. Talk about not having any character. I felt bad for those kids. When I was in elementary school, I had a solid three years before I had to go to class in portables.

    When I was in high school, we had no portables and a nice open lot on the side of the school. When I graduated, that lot was full of portables as well.

  23. IrvineRenter

    “Got some room in your apartment complex IR? I think I need to sell and move!”

    I gave up on apartments early this year. When I told my wife 2010, she told me we better rent a nice house. Always obey your wife 🙂

    I have to wonder what impact all these foreclosures are going to have in the short-term rental market. I have heard the Irvine Company has had some vacancy problems of late, so perhaps they can simply absorb these foreclosed families. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some volatility in rental rates with all the transitions.

  24. IrvineRenter

    In Florida in the late 1990s there was a series of lawsuits over portable classrooms. The State responded by passing a law prohibiting them. They gave every school system in the state 3 years to shut them all down. Needless to say, there was a construction frenzy, and some districts didn’t make it in time. I don’t know if this law is still in effect, but it was a great thing for Florida students.

  25. CK

    The designated overflow school for Hicks Canyon is Ladera Elementary in Tustin Ranch, which scores out better than both Hicks and Myford — and almost all Irvine Elem schools. Interstingly, Pioneer Middle School also scores better than all of IUSD middle schools. I’ve done a lot of research on the TUSD schools serving Irvine — and they don’t seem to be any worse than the IUSD schools. One thing I prefer about the TUSD schools (at least Elem) are that they are gated and more secure than the open campuses of IUSD. Drive by Hicks and then go across Culver to Canyon View — You will defnitely notice that Hicks appears more secure. We have not made a final decision on NP vs. Northwood or Woodbury — but I am confident that regardless, the schools are fine in either location.

  26. FamilyGuy

    I’ve been absent for a while now because we just welcomed a new son into the family! Yeah!!!!

    It’s funny but I actually missed the IHB chatter while I was away. It’s good to be back.

    A little off-topic, but I have a question for anyone who might know – there is a garden at Irvine Ctr and Harvard. It caught our attention because we have seen various people there milling around, picking vegatables, etc, and can’t figure out what it’s all about. Anyone know what this is?

  27. No_Such_Reality

    Stressed and panicked people don’t make good financial decisions.

    I remember when Villa Siena first opened, so many people in the process of getting a divorce were living there.

    I suspect we’ll see similar this time around, the flagship IAC properties will fill with people hopping from frying pan to fire on cash flow.

  28. ipoplaya

    You know, I think the general opinion amongst teachers is that they prefer portables. They are often newer, nicer inside, you have control over your own AC, etc.

    A number of our friends that are teachers have been bummed when they had to move from their portable to an regular classroom.

  29. IrvineRenter

    Congratulations! 🙂

    You would have enjoyed some of our discussion on the FED rate cut. They are still going in the forums…

    I haven’t seen the garden plot you are asking about.

  30. N Cty

    Rents are going to go up–will get worse with higher inflation period coming.

    A weak housing market doesn’t mean it’s any easier to juggle the cost of keeping a roof over your head in SoCal. Local housing costs rose 5.5% in the year ended in August, new math from the Consumer Price Index shows. For all of 2006, local housing expenses rose at a 6% average pace — the largest jump since 1981. (A similar measure of national housing costs rose at a 2.9% annual rate in August vs. 3.8% in ‘06.)
    For August, key local drivers of housing CPI were:
    • Typical renting costs were rising at 6% rate, just above a 5.8% ‘06 pace.
    • Owner’s costs were up 5.8% in a year vs. 5.4% for all of ‘06
    • Natural gas costs fell 3.5% in a year vs. a drop of 7% for all of ‘06.
    • Electricity costs fell 5.8% vs. a jump of 34% in 2006.
    • Household furnishings and operations were down 1.7% in a year vs. a gain of 3.1% for all of ‘06.
    The CPI for all goods and services in of SoCal rose at a 2.6% annual rate in August vs. 4.3% for all of 2006.

  31. npowner

    I don’t know who beneift the most when NP Square’s proposed elementary school replaced by more new homes. I almost thought some invisible hand played some role in making that school disappea???I think it’s like, if the school was not built by a certain time, the land goes back to the land developer. Well, if I were the school board, and I have the interest of the district, I will just put some portables there. The land is already provided for, what’s the difference between putting portables in Hick Canyon vs. in North Park square. Well, I guess they just have to give the land back to the developer.

    If you put portales in NP square, you can move them after a few years and sell the land and keep the money for the district. Not that I think it will be good for the students, it’s better than let the developer get it back without having to pay.

  32. graphrix

    A big congratulations Family Guy! It’s nice to read some good news.

    As for what that garden is I have no clue. But I am curious and thanks for mentioning it. I may be near there later today or tomorrow so I will try to look into what it is.

    I’m just trying to figure out why having a baby is an excuse to not read IHB? J/K.

  33. ipoplaya

    Congrats FG. Enjoy the loss of sleep, extra noise, etc.! My latest and last just turned 10 months and I can see the toddler coming out in him everyday. Can’t say that I’ll miss the baby stage at all… They are cute, but not much fun.

    Maybe IR should organize an IHB Day at the Park? Get some local realtors, the Irvine Company, lenders, mortgage brokers, etc. to foot the bill for the event and we can all enjoy some free burgers, dogs, and bounce houses for the kiddies. We’ve got realtors that sponsor the advertising and signage for our community garage sale days. Why not a party?!

  34. graphrix

    The total sales for August was 2285 and for resales it was 1961. If I do Rich’s calculation with the NODs August was 1.55 for total sales and 1.33 for resales. Scary that for every 1.33 resale a Notice of Default was filed.

    As for foreclosures/REOs I doubt that it would get to 2. The closest OC has ever come is 3 for resales in the first quarter of 95 but if you add new homes it changes that. Altough as I type this and the more I think about it I do think on resales it could hit 2. Just guessing but if the foreclosures keep increasing at the rate that they are it could happen in either December or January.

    Here is another ugly stat this quarter will be the first quarter since the 1st quarter of 97 that foreclosures exceed new home sales. That has only happened eight times in 20 years.

  35. Mendelssohn

    About that garden, an agent friend of mine told me that it was a “community farm.” She said I could go ‘adapt’ a piece of land and plant any vegetable of my choice…. I have not done it because in my experience, almost every plant I touched turned up dead in about a month!

    BTW, the agent friend got 10 listings in two weeks recently, all short sales and all in Irvine.

  36. NanoWest

    Rents going up……..not likely.

    My guess is there are about 10% too many homes in the Orange County and that it will start to be evident over the next several months. Take a look at Craig’s list and look at all the homes flooding the rental ads. It is really a joke, rentals are listed at premium prices and the owners are demanding >700 fico scores and $8,000 to move in(first plus security). Guess what after about a year on the rental lists, these homes will rent for $2500 with a minimum down payment or go back to the bank.

    That has been the Plan B for all of the new donald trumps and flippers…if I can’t sell I will rent. But guess what, there are not enough renters. I wonder what Plan C is?

  37. lendingmaestro

    A coworker’s sister works for CW REO dept in Plano TX. They are getting over 500 REO’s a week and climbing. They keep hiring for that dept because they are continually understaffed.

  38. ice weasel

    Let me take this from another angle. Granted it’s bank selling it but one would think they, even more than a RE agent, would motivated to sell this property.

    It’s as poorly marketed as most $350k starter homes in my neck of the woods, maybe worse. Five pictures. All mediocre or worse. They depict a generic home, in a generic subdivision with no character at all. It’s as inviting as an autoclave. The fixtures, to my eyes, say cheap contractor grade and frankly the walls floors have that, ready-to-rent cheap apartment air to them. No view. No character. This is a moderately upholstered jail cell with a nice mortgage tied to it.

    A million bucks (more or less) for this? I don’t care what you make, you’d have to either desperate or desperately stupid to desire this property.

    I will never, apparently, stop being amazed at how poorly marketed real estate is.

  39. IrvineRenter

    I used to do all my searches on They have most of the MLS listings there, and they update frequently.

  40. PadreBrian

    It’s a California law that 30% of all classrooms must be portable units. EVEN new schools.

    The stated reason is they can be moved in case of a school closing down due to an earthquake. The real reason: Trailer manufacture lobby dollars. lol.

  41. Purplehaze

    Looks like the banks are going to try to go for the 20 percent appreciation so that whoever is trying to represent the bank in selling this POS can at least claim that they tried selling it. Unfortunately the representatives at the bank do not care about the hole the bank is in either. All they care about is job preservation. Once their listed price falls flat on its face, these so called reps will lower the price citing market conditions. But in order to cover their rear end, they will claim that they tried to sell it WTF!

  42. mark

    This is a national statistic. The LA Times or OC Register did a story a few weeks ago showing where the subprime loans were made, and very few were in OC, and virtually none in Irvine.

    Irvine prices don’t live in a vacuum, but the subprime foreclosures may not come close to the carnage in the 909, central CA, etc.

  43. No_Such_Reality

    “Here is another ugly stat this quarter will be the first quarter since the 1st quarter of 97 that foreclosures exceed new home sales. That has only happened eight times in 20 years.”

    Not to nit-pick, but that would 20% of the time. Hardly something to call rare. In fact, it is something that plays towards it’s probable happening as a normal course of action.

  44. No_Such_Reality

    Drive the neighborhoods you want and compare with the OC Register. Long term landlords that are capable of holding the property likely still use old fashioned tried and true methods of a sign in the yard or the paper as a last resort.

    Craigslist is filled with flakes and wishing prices.

    Those using RE agents have pay the RE agent which means they’re going for max money.

  45. SawItComing

    Have you considered private school? I sent all my kids to Carden Hall in Newport untill we moved out of state. Great school, no comparable school here so my kids are in public school…They are so far ahead it is pathetic.

  46. ipoplaya

    Stockton and Sacto – that’s foreclosure central.

    Of CW’s 2900+ REO properties in CA, there are only 5 in Irvine and 3 in Tustin right now. Kind of wish they had some more in NP and NW to help drive those comps down…

  47. mark

    Agreed. Every person who purchashed within the last few years with any loan other than a 30-year fixed in Irvine (& elsewhere) should be seriously concerned right now. Refinancing will likely require a serious amount of cash to be brought to the closing table.

    Otherwise, they’ll need to hope the LIBOR declines (or whatever index their loan’s tied to) and just manage the higher payments after the adjustment.

    It’s no fun making the 30-year fixed mortgage payment when your value is declining. I can only imagine how difficult it is when your value’s declining and your payment’s adjusting upward.

  48. MMG

    that’s what I was thinking, I’d rather buy a smaller house than I could full afford( south OC) and put my kids in private school.

  49. IrvineRenter

    I agree with your point as well. The Inland Empire is going to get wiped out by this. The high desert will do poorly as well. Both of those fringe markets will be hurt much more on a percentage basis than Irvine.

  50. NerdMom

    I sat in on an Irvine Uniified School Board meeting a couple of years ago when there was some discussion concerning the need for an additional high school on the north side given that the existing high schools were near their “ideal” IUSD size of approximately 2500 students. The school board addressed some questions concerning the use of portables at various (read ALL) school and stated that their policy is to use portables only to increase the capacity of the school by 20%. There was no statement concerning that 30% would be required due to eartquakes. That just sounds odd. The schools do not have a 30% allocation and a public hearing is required every time that a portable is added.

  51. Sue

    Huh? The study reads that the peak to bottom MEDIAN price decline for Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine is -11.6%. Where the peak is 06Q2 and the bottom is 09Q1 .

    What does that really mean? I don’t get it, prices of acutal places seem to have dropped by more than that already. The median hasn’t, but the acutal prices seem to have. Even if you argue the median’s skewed by fewer lower priced places selling, and then later it’ll just work it’s way up the food chain, I still don’t get it because both the high end and low end actual prices feel like they’ve dropped more than that already – so when the statistical fun ends, the number’s already wrong.

    What kind of prediction is that?

  52. FamilyGuy

    [Serious and sincere tone] I would call it a reasonable prediction when you factor every property in that geographic sample.

  53. mark

    I love it when someone make a prediction, especially something as amorphous as value, and doesn’t provide how the numbers were calculated. That’s what I appreciate most with this blog.

    It’s hard to currently imagine that the median by Q1 2009 will only be 11.6% lower than the median at its peak in early 2006. I guess if rates get really low very fast and stay low, and 90%+ LTV loans are widely available, 11.6% off the peak is possible.

    I just don’t think fence-sitters/renters will be as disciplined as IR and wait for fair valuations (4x median income) before they jump into the market. There’s something very enticing about a brand new home 20% off its peak with rates very low, even if it still should be fairly valued at 28% off its peak.

  54. tonye

    Maybe it’s time to follow Cramer’s advice and plow under the Inland Empire.

    I wonder if we could grow date palms in Moreno Valley…

  55. Lisa

    There is no reason not to build the elementary school in NPS, this semester Hicks enrolls 875 students its breaks all time record for an elementary school in TUSD. So many portable was built to accommodate 2nd and 3rd grader which is totally unfair for people paying Melrose
    And consider there will be more students in next two years because new apartment in OH and new homes in NPS being built.
    I don’t know how the decision was made, but given current condition, it is not reasonable to me at all.
    Also the consequence is since Hicks takes so many students, so once Hicks will accept 6th to 8th grader student won’t be consider anymore. The consequence is the pioneer middle high now is the biggest middle high in the county. At the traffic time, it takes more than 30 minute to get in and out the school.

  56. south county

    Dont worry the home was sold at auction to an investor group. I saw one in Mission viejo with $1.2m in loans and it was picked up at auction for $680K last month. Remember at the court house you need cashiers checks in hand. The “spread” between the auction price and the filp price needs to be around $200K for the deal to work. Will these investors make a quick $200K maybe? I do know this, as the property sits their asking price drops, and fast. Situations like this do nothing to hold values in neighborhood and as the returns diminish for the investors so will these deals.

  57. TeaLeaf

    Private school, 2 kids, 12 years.
    Assume $10k per year per kid; assume inflation cancels out tuition increases (which is GENEROUS).

    That’s 20k per year x 12 years = 240k.

    Let’s hope the house you buy in south OC is AT LEAST 240k less than the one in TUSD/IUSD.

    Now imagine 3 kids, or a more expensive school (Sage High, anyone?)…

  58. TeaLeaf

    From Wikipedia:

    “Tuition: $23,750 for the 2007-08 school year, up 10% from the $21,600 tuition for the 2006-07 school, and up 70% from the $14,000 tuition charged when the school first opened in Fall, 2000. Sage Hill tuition is $7,000-$8,000 more per year than any other private high school in Orange County, California.”

    Like I said, assuming tuition increases cancel out inflation is generous (unless your income went up 70% since 2000).

  59. John Crenshaw

    That’s insanity. I’m from Ohio and could get a crazy mansion back there for that price…and my neighbor and I wouldn’t have to stare at each other through the windows will using the restroom (read: lots of land). Of course, that is Ohio.

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