I'll be Home for Christmas

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents ‘neath the tree

Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
And you’ll be in my dreams

I’ll be home this Christmas, darling
I’ll be coming home to you
And there’s nothing in the world
Gonna get in my way

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow
And mistletoe
And presents ‘neath the tree

Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
And you’ll be in my dreams
I’ll be home for Christmas
Till then you’ll be in my dreams

I’ll be Home for Christmas — Josh Groban



51 Valley Terrace Kitchen

Asking Price: $1,890,000IrvineRenter

Income Requirement: $472,500

Downpayment Needed: $378,000

Purchase Price: $1,850,000

Purchase Date: 7/24/2007

Address: 51 Valley Terrace, Irvine, CA 92603

Sales HistoryRollback
Date………….. Price
07/24/2007 $1,850,000
05/11/2005 $1,925,000

Beds: 5
Baths: 4.5
Sq. Ft.: 3,300
$/Sq. Ft.: $573
Lot Size: 8,400 sq. ft.
Type: Single Family ResidenceREO
Style: Other
Year Built: 2004
Stories: Three or More Levels
View(s): City Lights, Hills, Mountain
Area: Turtle Ridge
County: Orange
MLS#: P608773
Status: Active
On Redfin: 39 days

Gourmet Kitchen AwardFrom Redfin, “Stunning 5 BR 4.5 BA Model Pefect Home in The Executive Guard Gated Communityof the Summit at Turtle Ridge, Large Corner Lot. Professional Landscaped w/ Fountains, Outdoor Fireplace & Built-In BBQ * * Stunning Views * * Gourmet Kitchen w Stainless Vicking Appliances & Built-In Refri * * Expensive Hardwood, Marble Floor * * Venetian Plastered walls * * It’s A MUST SEE. 51 Valley Terrace, Irvine * *”

Asterisks instead of periods? What is wrong with periods?

A Gourmet kitchen, of course. Remember our graphic?

Expensive floor. Ooooh! I am impressed. It isn’t necessarily high quality, it is just expensive. I guess if you are only pretending to be rich, cost is more important than quality.

Venetian Plastered walls? Did they bring an artist in from Venice to do this work?



If the lender can get their asking price, and if they pay a 6% commission, they will lose $148,400 from the original sales price.

BTW, San Diego has been a leading indicator of our market since 2000. They started to bubble first, and they started to collapse first. Have you seen the latest chart?

San Diego Prices

Like many of you, I will be spending time with family over the holidays. There will be a new post every day, and if any of you want to check in and talk about your holiday, it will be a welcome respite from the hardcore housing crash discussions we have been having. I hope you all stop by for a dose of classic Christmas music from Bing Crosby, Josh Groban, and Frank Sinatra. I wish you all a happy holidays, and I will be back next week to finish off 2007 with more coverage of ‘the seventh circle of real estate hell.’


I’ll Be Home For Christmas — Frank Sinatra

66 thoughts on “I'll be Home for Christmas

  1. Irvine Soul Brother

    Nice. Non-Ocean View Turtle Ridge about to plummet. BTW: I like the “Vicking” appliances. I hope that homeowner bragged to people about having “Vicking,” along with their expensive floor, of course.

    Venetian Plastered walls? My theory is that they got some drunk flake from Venice (in LA) to make his art happen on it. Hopefully he sobered up before driving back on the 405.

    Nice chart on the SD property. Looks like their median (not just some of their worst-bad apple properties) is about to roll back to Q1 2004. What’s so amazing to me is that this is all before so many toxic loans reset. Seeing something like that chart, and keeping the loan reset chart in mind makes a return to pre-9-11 pricing seem really, really plausible.

    Thanks, IR.

  2. covered

    “Expensive floor. Ooooh! I am impressed. It isn’t necessarily high quality, it is just expensive. I guess if you are only pretending to be rich, cost is more important than quality.”_IR

    Now, now, IR. I think this agent may be learning. Usually, at least on most of these beasts, I’ve seen “distressed” hardwood floors in the listing. If you were trying to unload a $2mm house, would you want the word “distressed” in there, even as the REO clearly shows it is? I guess “expensive” is the default (oops) descriptor when trying to hook a $30,000 millionaire.

    Great blogging here this year by you and your friends. Next year should be really fun. Happy holidays everyone.

  3. Mr Vincent

    An REO in Turtle Ridge? Heaven forbid.

    For 1.8 mill I want private pool and private tennis court. This should be a 900k house.

    5 beds and 5 baths sure take up alot of that 3300 sq feet.

  4. shhhhh

    Given that many shows on HGTV are behind the times (e.g. appreciation-filled “My House is Worth What?”), I’m guessing that this fad has faded more than a few years ago.

    While on the subject, “My House is Worth What?” couldn’t be more annoying. Its premise is “After a professional assessment and evaluation from local market experts, [the owners] get the bottom line on how well their [home improvement choices] will pay off.” – HGTV.com

    #1 – It was created for bubble times during which appreciation was a given and is not very timely to air now.
    #2 – I enjoyed Kendra Todd on the Apprentice but she might be the most aggravating host on any HGTV show. I think it’s her voice.
    #3 – The 9 1/2 month long pregnant pause before the RE ‘expert’ reveals the listing price of the home makes me want to have morning sickness.

  5. Hmmmm

    I am curious as to why it’s for sale after only 3 months? and they are hopeing for a bump in price?

    BTW…does everyone in Irvine use the same kitchen remodel company? Every picture has the same “French Country” look.

  6. awgee

    Hmmmm – It seems the last sale was the lender taking it back due to foreclosure, and now the lender is trying to sell it. It cracks me up that the lender always starts by asking for what the lender has into it with no regards for what the comps are or what someone may be willing to pay. They say that lenders don’t like REO, but by the way they price their REO, it seems like they want to hold onto it for dear life.

  7. TabyCat

    According to my architectural knowledge the worst thing you can ever do to make a room look small is crown molding on an 8 foot ceiling.
    Crown molding goes only with 9’+ height as a visual enhancement.

  8. FairEconomist

    I was going to post some analyses showing that house prices were actually approaching reasonable levels. But, oops, not on this one!

  9. George8


    Just want to thank for leading such a great blog. I wish you and your family a very happy holidays.

  10. mark

    Couldn’t agree more! This show, and others like it, also annoy me when they talk about profit. Unless you’re going to sell and then rent, that $50K “profit” is just going to be rolled-over into another home in the area that’s likely appreciated similarly; i.e. there’s no net gain.

  11. mark

    “Every picture has the same “French Country” look.” Yes, these are all very recently built homes and they all use the most popular trends making each nearly indistinguishable.

  12. buster

    Maybe Santa is gonna come on down the (fake) chimney and leave this lender with a sack of dough to go with the sack of coal they got from the borrower.

    Actually, I think I’ll make an offer. I’ll pay full price but need the bank/bagholder to do a no doc teaser loan with a 1% negative amortization loan for three years. Oh, of course, zero down and completely non-recourse. Then they can put it on their books as a “performing” loan and I can rent (oops, I mean own) it for about $2,000 per month. And no thanks, I’ll pass on that property tax escrow account — trust me, I’ll send the payments to the county.

    Just when the teaser expires is about the time the property taxes will be sending this baby into a tax sale. They did this same deal the first time around, why not try again?

  13. Carl

    Merry Christmas everyone! I’m heading out of the country for Christmas without internet access (thank goodness!) so I won’t be visiting for a couple of weeks. Thank you to IrvineRenter for the entertaining and insightful posts, and thank you to the members of the community for your interesting and civil conversation.

    Here’s to all of you in 2008!


  14. xy31

    I think all those Viking applicances serve the same purpose as the “expensive” floors. To show everyone that you can waste your money. I absolutely loathe those Viking things. They take up too much space, aren’t that great, and break down all the time…but I guess if you can throw your money away that is fine.

  15. buster

    xy31 – I think you meant, “but I guess if you can throw THE BANK’S money away that is fine,” didn’t you?

  16. Mr Vincent


    The only reason prices went up so much is because of the funky lending.

    When a strawberry picker can get a 700k loan….well, you know the rest.

  17. Alan

    Merry-Xmas IR.. thanks for running a great blog.

    Although this house is for the weathy borrower, the problem is that there are too many homes like this one asking nearly 2M which will not sell until the price drops down to 1M, and they have to sell eventually because the lender’s wouldn’t hold them forever; this in turn puts pressure on on the homes/condos priced lower which is why I predict that yesterday’s condo will be pushed down into the low 200s at the end. This is what happened in the last downturn in the early 90’s. After the high end houses cought the cold, everything below got pneumonia.

  18. zaleriana

    With which Viking appliances have you had the break down issues? “Viking” refrigerators are made by Whirlpool; the dishwashers are made by ASKO (or maybe whirlpool); the microwaves are made by Sharp (I think?). They may build their own hoods, but I’m not sure.

    The only thing I *know* they actually manufacture are the ranges. They also probably actually manufacture the grills. Sure, they’re spec’d by Viking, but it isn’t *really* Viking if it isn’t directly related to gas-fired cooking.

  19. zaleriana

    It will end up working both ways, with the eventual equilibrium reached when the prices of these type homes and the entry-level homes make sense w/r/t each other and everything in between.

    Do you think that 1-br units will get down to the low $100s, which I think is necessary for large-ish 2brs to be in the low 200s?

  20. Straight Digs

    Remodeling Online’s annual report also shows that rarely does any remodel of any part of your home increase the value of your home more than the cost of the remodel.

  21. mark

    “…condo will be pushed down into the low 200s at the end…”

    So, if $200K is financed on the average 2009 Irvine condo fixed @ 7% (100 bps higher than today’s rate) for 30 years, the payment would be $1,330. Assuming the additional housing costs are washed by the tax “benefit,” then you’re saying the average Irvine Co. rent will be $1,330 or less in 2009, likely 35% lower than today’s rents?

    Alan, do you understand how unlikely this is? The probability is so remote, that your comment just sounds silly.

  22. mark

    For all you non-So Cal visitors to this site, Winter’s here in Irvine and it’s a blistering cold high-50s morning, and from my office I can see all the way to the snow-topped Los Angeles mountains. It is gorgeous here!

  23. catholic

    If you reading this in Utah, don’t feel bad. OC is the pits. Giant sprawl of fake people, fake houses, fake wealth and most of all fake tits.

  24. Points

    That chart is impressive. Almost back down to 2000 levels as far as prices in SD go? Does anyone know how far behind OC was from SD when the bubble hit?

  25. CK

    People like to mock that “It’s different here” thing, but after spending last week in Minneapolis (where it never cleared 25 degrees the whole week, and looks like a flat, gray frozen tundra), I can gaze out my 8th floor window at Anton and Bristol to a view similar to Mark’s — and safely say “it is different here” does ring true to some extent. We better hope prices never fall to the same level as Phoenix or Minneapolis, or Kansas City — because if we think traffic is bad now….

  26. camsavem

    OC has it’s issues, and yes there are a lot of fake people here, but not a lot of criminals. It’s hard to beat the quality of life here if you like the outdoors. I do triathlons, surf and mountain bike and I can train outdoors year round.

    Last night I went to the Van Halen concert at the Honda Center (10 minute drive) and today I am going to ride the canyon in the 60 degree sunshine. To me that has value, to others……maybe not. Having lived in cheap rural areas with red necks, I will take the fakies.

    Whats the deal with realtors? They sell Multi Million dollar homes and don’t even spell check the ad. When I quote a $100.00 part I make sure I don’t have any typo’s in my text by simply clicking the “spell check” button.

  27. Laura Louzader

    I am always amused by the emphasis on “butter” such as high-end appliances vs. the “bread” which is fine architecture, quality construction, and location.

    Aside from the fact that the appliances will date in 10 years, Viking appliances are nothing but an advertisement that you place hype over value, inasmuch as this line has received routinely low reliability ratings compared to lines that cost a 5th as much money, like Frigidaire (very high reliability).

    After all the shiny appliances are going on the blink and the glossy decorator surfaces are faded and dirty and ragged, you are stuck with the architecture and construction quality and location. If these are all good, then you have a real property worth putting money into even after 80 years.

    If not, you have a bad property in a fading neighborhood that all the trendy appliances and furnishings in the world won’t redeem.

    None of this takes away from this house. It’s a nice house, but is it $1.8MM nice? If not, the appliances are not going to lend it value it wouldn’t have otherwise.

  28. lendingmaestro

    Of course not, why would it? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s upgrade is another man’s disdain.

  29. TimTooth

    Instead of Gourmet Kitchens, let’s just start calling these overblown faux French things “Cliche Kitchens.” In a few years they will be the equivalent of 70’s Avocado Formica.

  30. Mike

    This house is much more that it’s worth. I say current market value of 1.2 mill. And in another 2 years down to 1 mill.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  31. Mike

    I remember when I was in NYC for a business trip in the winter of 2006. The local news channels called it blizzerd 06.
    It was so cold, I couldn’t believe how people could actually live in a place like that. I was very happy when I landed in John Wayne airport and felt the warm sun on my face and the 65 F weather. There’s no place like home and no place in the world like the OC.

  32. Mike

    I remolded my house in Irvine and love it. But I went with Thermador and Sub-zero. I spent 110k, but I live in the house and enjoy it very much. Plus it’s paid off.

  33. skek

    Did you see the home office? I love the 10 inches of space between the stairway bannister and the pull-out desk drawers. Yikes.

    A home office is a critical component of the next house I buy, yet I can’t recall seeing a well done one in any house I’ve looked at. They are either bedrooms (which is wasted space, especially if they have full baths) or they are wedged into awkward spaces that don’t function well.

  34. furious sugar

    Wow! Down $210K from asking price. Great house for the money. Owners are going to take a bath on this one.

  35. shhhhh

    Great comment, Laura.

    You are so right regarding the quality of the construction which should be a long-term buyer’s top priority; especially with the 30-year fixed mortgages coming back in full force.

    Once buyers wise up, ‘upgraded’ kitchen and baths will no longer sell a place. That is short-term investment speak.

    Good bones is key. Any homes like that out there in Irvine?

  36. Crusader

    Squeal! Squeal! Is my house really worth that much?
    Now I can go out and HELOC some more money for more even lavish “improvements’.

  37. Eric Ogunbase

    I wonder if there will be “Vicking appliances” in federal prison.

    Bad joke, I know.

    Merry Christmas from me to you, IrvineRenter. Thank you for providing us with a great blog. All the best in the new year.

  38. Yi

    thanks for writing this great blog. i’ve been reading this for about a year now. i really enjoyed all the informative discussions of real estate and economy, i have learned a lot from your posts. but lately i found that some of the comments are attack rather than discussion and that kind of bother me. e.g.:

    “If you reading this in Utah, don’t feel bad. OC is the pits. Giant sprawl of fake people, fake houses, fake wealth and most of all fake tits.”

    i thought this kind of comment may make others who want to have more meaningful discussions on the post shun away from posting their comments. i understand there are a lot more readers from outside OC now. i just hope that the neutral culture & great discussions will continue in your blog.
    Merry Christmas!

  39. MMG

    thats what I was saying yesterday about that Condo, at some point when other cities become attractive, Irvine will have to return to earth. and it aint different here :mrgreen:

  40. crankpot

    I hate to be a broken record, but as I’ve said before on this blog, for $1.89 million, or $1.7 million, or $1.6 million or etc. I want to be living in Laguna Beach with an expansive ocean view, not a tract development in Irvine (even if it is gated).

  41. cd

    I agree with Crankpot but will take it another step further. I better be somewhere near Lanikai Beach with Kayak on the grass. OC is a nice place to live but it’s not paradise. Don’t fool yourself into thinking thiers no crime, head a mile west and you’ll find it.

    The traffic is out of control and it has zero culture. Last time I surfed there was more litter in the water than a santa ana street. All in all a nice place with good people and fake ones. Like every city or county it has its bad points and good points.

    Having lived there and in the bayarea I would lean towards the bayarea as a more dynamic place to live. OC is kinda of like OZ and the curtain is slowly being revealed.

  42. catholic

    When real estate falls apart so will everything else in OC. There’s hardly any other type of employment down there. (Anything south of Wilshire Blvd. is just a Prairie) So selling bubble sized real estate to each other OCians is the only way to survive.

  43. Melanie

    It’s almost entertaining, until I start to cry about my mortgage payment and my homes value. When do you think things will start to go up in value again? Any thoughts?

  44. ipoplaya

    Surprisingly, you don’t know what you’re talking about catholic. Probably not the first time you’ve heard that I suspect. Data is a couple of years old, but the make-up hasn’t shifted very dramatically:

    The following is a summary of data regarding the Santa Ana-Irvine-Anaheim metropolitan area nonagricultural labor force:

    Size of non-agricultural labor force: 1,460,000

    Number of workers employed in . . .

    natural resources and mining: 600
    construction: 91,800
    manufacturing: 183,200
    trade, transportation and utilities: 264,300
    information: 33,500
    financial activities: 131,200
    professional and business services: 259,600
    educational and health systems: 130,400
    government: 153,200
    leisure and hospitality: 164,500
    other services: 4,730

    Real estate is NOT the dominant industry in OC. In terms of largest concentrations of employees, leisure and hospitality is probably #1. Ever heard of Disney? They are the biggest employer in the OC. #2 employer in the county is the University of California system (UCI) again nothing to do with real estate, and #3 is probably still Boeing and last I checked, they sold planes, not houses.

  45. alan

    Sorry I didn’t reply yesterday… this may be a bit late.

    Your price to rent analysis may apply to an ultimate price support level that comes some time after the bottom, but is not valid for the bottom that we will hit.

    Think of housing stock as a pyramide, on the top the 16-30 M dollar homes in the Bay and at the bottom the trailer parks. Your Irvine properties are somewhere inbetween.

    There are will now be a lot of very expensive homes that will be looking for new buyers, but the buyers wouldn’t be there anymore so homes that went for 4-5M at the peak will have to come down to sell. So this home no longer competes with other 2M dollar homes in Irvine, it now competes with homes that used to cost 3-5M elsewhere in the county. Now to sell, the sellers will have to cut their prices, putting downward pressure on the homes priced below. This takes another year to unwind but the process has already started. The problem is too much product seeking too few buyers. You will get some support as people abandon the inland areas to return to the coasts but renters wouldn’t be able to jump in in large numbers because they wouldn’ have the down or qualify for loans anymore because free money is gone. In this type of market correction, condo’s fare the worst. People would rather own a detacted 2500 sq ft SFR with a yard in say HB, FV or San Juan than an apartment in Irvine.

    Only after the laws of supply and demand have returned and inventory drops to supportable levels will rules of rent-buy equivalent pricing kick in. This is what happened in the last bust. Not enough high end homes have come down in price yet to compress the pyrimad below but it’s just a matter of time now.

  46. YNotRen4Now

    I’m curious, maybe someone can clarify : I see this “gourmet kitchen” in a lot of listings. Does food actually taste better when it is prepared in a “gourmet kitchen” ? I’d hate to think I was depriving my wife, who loves to cook.

  47. djd


    I think it’s mostly about making things easier for the people who use/clean the kitchen. Example: I’ve used a Wolf stovetop a few times, and I especially noticed that it has dual flame rings on each burner – making it much easier to accurately control low heats. Perhaps you could ask your wife what tasks seem harder than they could be, or are required conspicuously often: there may be relatively inexpensive ways to improve.

    Of course, some kitchens are so ill-suited that it’s difficult to cook at all, which probably does impair the quality of the results. I think they’re pretty rare, although a few of IR’s profiles have ones that qualify.

  48. re_fan

    Is there a similar chart for home prices in Irvine?

    Also, has there been any study or research as to what proportion of homes have been refi or purchased with ARM financing or any other type of financing that will reset? I realize there are plenty of stats for this in proportion to all loan originations… however i’m wondering if anyone has considered this for the overall irvine market.

    In other words… out of all the homes in irvine, how many have some form of ARM financing? Also, what is the average leveraged amount?

  49. bathroom design

    An interesting blog. Poem on coming home aloang with real estate listing. Glad to see an exceptional initiative

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