Astoria at Central Park West

This is our first look at Astoria at Central Park West, the towers that missed the peak.

401 Rockefeller 311   Irvine, CA 92612  kitchen

Asking Price: $519,000

Address: 401 Rockefeller #311 Irvine, CA 92612

I dont wanna talk
About the things weve gone through
Though its hurting me
Now its history
Ive played all my cards
And thats what youve done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser standing small

The Winner Takes It All — ABBA

When you look back on the towers built along the Jamboree corridor, you see differing groups of winners and losers. The developers of the North Korea Towers (Marquee at Park Place) were winners. They sold the property out at peak prices and made a fortune. The buyers and the lenders who bankrolled the purchases there are the big losers. The other condos that came a little later have a mixed bag of winners and losers with both the developers and the buyers suffering.

Today’s featured property, Astoria at Central Park West has a clear loser — the ownership entity that developed this property (Lennar has only a small investment). None of these units sold at the peak, and now that we are nearing a long, flat bottom, these units are hitting the market. The early buyers will be knife catchers, but in a couple of years, some of these units will be good buys — at about $300,000 to $350,000.

When this property is completely built out and sold, it will be a nice community. The Jamboree/405 intersection will always be a traffic nightmare at certain times, but the convenience of this location together with a good master plan will make this a successful project in the long term. It is getting from now through build out that will be interesting.

As it stands, the developer does not really want to sell these units because the revenue will fall far short of their financial proformas. Somebody somewhere is taking a big loss on each sale. There will be little economic incentive to finish off the remaining construction and complete the project. Perhaps someone will buy the property inexpensively enough to warrant completing construction, or perhaps this property will sit, partially finished, for another decade.

401 Rockefeller 311   Irvine, CA 92612  kitchen

Asking Price: $519,000

Income Requirement: $129,750

Downpayment Needed: $103,800

Purchase Price: New

Purchase Date: 6/30/2009

Address: 401 Rockefeller #311 Irvine, CA 92612

Beds: 2
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,421
$/Sq. Ft.: $365
Lot Size:
Property Type: Condominium
Style: Contemporary/Modern
Stories: 1
Floor: 3
View: City Lights, City
Year Built: 2009
Community: Airport Area
County: Orange
MLS#: S583769
Source: SoCalMLS
Status: Active
On Redfin: 1 day

Gourmet Kitchen Award

NEW Urban High Rise Living at Astoria at Central Park West. Located in
the heart of the Irvine business district. Unbelievable Amenities:
Large 8,000sqft Clubhouse, 24 Hr. Valet, Concierge & Security,3
Pools, 2 Basketball Courts, 4 Parks, Fitness Center & More! Models
open Daily 10-5pm. Home Includes: Fisher Paykel SS Appliances,
Refrigerator, Washer & Dryer, Granite Countertops, Gourmet

Fisher Paykel SS Appliances? Am I that ignorant? Does everyone else know these brands?

There is no mortgage history on this property as it is new construction. It would be interesting to see the financials of the venture to see just how much money they are losing. At current pricing, I would estimate they are losing $100,000 to $150,000 per unit. These were likely estimated to sell at around $700,000 each. That might happen 20 years from now.

98 thoughts on “Astoria at Central Park West

  1. E

    Third floor. Boo.

    What’s the point of spending “high rise $$$’s” to live on a low floor?

  2. tonye

    The main killer here, again, is the $900/month HOA fees.

    The ancillary killer is the location. This area is a mish mash of new residential, office space, an airport blocking the entire life to the north and no retail/food stores. Plus, the school district is way out in Santa Ana.

    1. bill shoe

      Well put. I agree with later observations that these units are not suitable for families, but I take it a step further. I think these would only be bought by young professionals starting out who didn’t know the area or have any feel for what is where.

    2. NickelDime

      So what you’re saying is… it has none of the benefits of a ‘true’ urban area (nightlife, restaurants, walkability to everything) with none of the benefits of Irvine (schools, master planning, safety given airport proximity). But with the drawbacks (cramped, sharing walls, parking issues, pricing) of both.

      Nice. Sounds like a winner.

  3. Embassy

    Fisher Paykel make odd little dishwashers – like two drawer units that let you run separate cycles and loads, occasionally convenient for single people who don’t like to cook much. They’re overpriced, unless you like paying 800 bucks for a dishwasher with a plastic tub. Definitely a niche brand.

    1. Aventura Resident

      I love my Fisher/Paykel dish drawers. Also very water and energy efficient. Nothing odd about them.

    2. Jeremy

      A friend of mine has an unusually shallow refrigerator space, and Fisher & Paykel was the only manufacturer who made a refrigerator that fit it exactly. It’s a great unit, though I remember him saying it was remarkably overpriced compared to an equivalent standard-sized refrigerator from another brand.

  4. Will

    This is NOT urban living. This is suburban living in a multi-story structure. It has all the disadvantages of both urban living and suburban living, and none of the advantages of either.

    In true urban living, you exchange yard space for convenient access to good amenities, like extensive, reliable rapid transit, and pedestrian access to nearby shops, restaurants, and services. In suburban living you have to drive to shops, restaurants, and stores but you have the enjoyment of more space, including yard space for your own home, and you are far enough away from your neighbor that you can’t hear them argue or know what they had for breakfast.

    Orange County “urban living” means you still have to drive everywhere (can’t walk anywhere) but have no yard and live VERY close to your neighbor.

    For true urban living come up to Pasadena. I live in a dumpy old apartment, but I can walk out my front door and be at movie theaters, coffee stores, Trader Joe’s, Borders, my doctor’s office, etc. in five to seven minutes. That is real urban living. I used to be able to walk to work, but now I have to drive.

    1. IrvineRenter

      “This is NOT urban living. This is suburban living in a multi-story structure. It has all the disadvantages of both urban living and suburban living, and none of the advantages of either.”

      A sad but accurate truth….

      The one advantage it will have is a convenient location. A young person or couple with no kids working in the Irvine business district is the ideal target market for living here. Of course, this demographic doesn’t make the kind of incomes necessary to support prices, and they would probably be better off renting because they will need to remain mobile.

      IMO, these are cashflow investments, and they should fall below rental parity. The only reason you would own rather than rent here is to save money. Since it is in the wrong school district, and since there is no yard, this is not a place to raise a family, so long-term ownership is not desirable. These units should be rented to transitory residents for a few years at a time, and they should be priced appropriately.

      1. winstongator

        So it should be a very high-end apartment complex? Would it make more sense for an investment group to buy it en-masse and transform it to apartments?

    2. LC

      So pathetic a location, that you still must drive everywhere! That is not going to populate the mixed-use dreams of the Irvine Company, because speculators and others will buy these as second homes and corporate apartments. They will mostly sit vacant, if they ever sell.

  5. Will

    Forgot to point out…the HOA Dues are $941 per month. Is that right? That adds a fortune to the cost of ownership.

    1. Geotpf

      That’s two hundred bucks less than the North Korean towers, so, yeah, that’s right. I guess it pays for the doorman and stuff, but geez. High HOA fees like that make rental parity neigh impossible.

  6. IrvineRenter

    If the shadow inventory goes away, it will not be because they are successfully working out loans:

    Mortgage modifications at a snail’s pace

    First gov’t report on progress shows many homeowners haven’t been helped

    WASHINGTON – Only 15 percent of homeowners eligible for the Obama administration’s $50 billion loan modification program have been offered help so far.

    In its first monthly progress report on the plan launched in March, the government on Tuesday detailed big disparities among the 38 companies that have signed up. Several loan servicing companies — including American Home Mortgage Servicing and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. — have yet to modify a single loan.

    So far, more than 400,000 offers have been extended to 2.7 million borrowers who are more than two months behind on their payments. More than 235,000 of those borrowers have enrolled in three-month trials.

    Saxon Mortgage Services Inc. had the best results among the large loan servicers. One in four of its eligible borrowers has a trial loan modification with a lower monthly payment to help the homeowner avoid foreclosure. Aurora Loan Services LLC, GMAC Mortgage Inc. and JPMorgan Chase all had one in five qualified borrowers in a trial loan.

    For each homeowner who makes regular payments for three months, the loan servicer collects $1,000 from the government. If the borrower stays current for three years, the servicer gets a maximum of $4,500.

    When the plan was launched in four months ago, the government said it hoped to help up to 4 million financially distressed homeowners modify their mortgages. The administration says it is still on track to meet that goal, and last week extracted a verbal promise from the mortgage industry to reach 500,000 borrowers by Nov. 1.

    But despite these efforts, foreclosures continue to rise. About 1.5 million households received at least one foreclosure-related notice in the first half of this year, according to RealtyTrac Inc.

    Housing advocates say the plan has been a big disappointment so far. They cite numerous cases in which companies haven’t followed the program’s rules. And when borrowers are denied, they often aren’t told why. In response to such complaints, the Treasury Department says Freddie Mac will be doing random audits to see if borrowers are being improperly rejected.

    The lending industry is asking for patience, saying the industry needed time to implement the program. The administration rolled out the guidelines gradually this year. Much of the program was not finished until mid-May, and the guidelines were updated again in early July.

    American Home Mortgage Servicing, for example, just started the program on July 22, the company said.

    1. Modguy

      American Home Mortgage signed an agreement with the Treasury dept on July 8th, and just a few days ago started sending solicitations to borrowers that have applied for a loan mod and “might” be eligible. There is also a mandatory 3-month trial plan period before the mod can be offered.

      I like how this repoter calls out AHMSI for not yet doing a single mod, when it’s not even possible for us to offer one until November at the earliest… Great fact checking!

      1. Modguy

        Oops, I replied before seeing the last line (“AHMSI just started July 22nd”).

        BTW, a lot of homeowners begging us for this program our going to be sorely dissapointed:

        Our previous methodology was to figure-out the borrowers total monthly expenses (credit cards, cars, food – based on family size – utilities, everything else, etc.) and reduce their payment as low as it needs to be to leave then a monthly SURPLUS based on NET income.

        The Obama plan simply looks at PITI vs Gross Income, and reduce that payment to 31%.

        I won’t bore you with various examples, but if you’re drowning in debt and can’t pay all your bills and we offer to reduce your payment from 35% to 31% of your gross income, but that still leaves you with a monthly DEFICIT you’re not going to make it.

        Or (one more example), what if your gross is $7500/mo., but you only net $2500 (child support garnishment, 401k loan repayments, etc.)… You could be offered a payment near 90% of NET Inc…

        There is no “one size” fits all solution – until the government gets involved!

        1. IrvineRenter

          Is the rigidity of the public program going to cause a great many redefaults? If you can’t make your financial life work within the parameters of the system, the loan modification at best delays the inevitable.

          Who says we don’t have debtor’s prisons? The success of this program turns millions of Americans into prisoners to their underwater house. All will be trapped, but some will escape because they default and accept the consequences to their credit and move on. While they are trapped, I hope their homes are a gilded cage.

          1. tonye

            Prisoners… that’s exactly what The Corporations that own the Government want us to be… here’s your plasma, here’s your big SUV, here’s your supersized Happy Meal, here’s your McMansion…. just keep paying us for the rest of your life…


            Ever read Hesse’s Steppenwolf? The Big Companies want us to be bourgois and socialists like Obama and the American Left are happy to oblige.

            Big Brother is not a Right Winger, He’s a Left Winger Fascist. Ay!

          2. HydroCabron

            So then if a lifelong resident of Glasgow sets an orphanage on fire, he must not be a Scotsman, as no true Scotsman would do such a thing?

            This reminds me of Sean Hannity’s claim that the Holocaust Museum gunman, who railed against Jews and was a 9/11 truther, was left wing. Or that Hitler was left wing, because he was a National “Socialist”. Or that the latest fake birth certificate for Obama is the fault of the left wing, who set up honest Americans by deliberately planting it as a forgery.

            Servility to a hybrid of corporate and state authority may indeed be something which many leftish conformists find comforting, but I can think of plenty of AM radio hosts and NRA types who like debt, authority, and servility to the corporate behemoths just fine.

            Maybe we should just agree to call everyone “left-wing” from now on, with the understanding that present company and their families are always excepted. Just make “left-wing” a synonym for “bad”?

            The only problem is that conservatives, being flawed as all humans are, will occasionally make errors in judgment or ideology which stray too far toward collectivism and authoritarianism, deviating ever-so-slightly from motherhood and V8 engines, which will inevitable taint them as “left wing”.

            I think our system of labels may be in as much trouble as our real-estate sector.

          3. Shannon

            We are always responsible for our own choices. Companies want to make a profit and if people are willing to get themselves into debt that is their own problem.

            President Obama is trying to workout this mess without letting the bottom fall into the point of no return. The administraton is in a difficult position with our economy, housing, job losses. Do we just let it sink and see who swims? or slowly ease into some sort of normality? Honestly, there is no easy answer. I would love to see houses crash so I can buy in a nice area with good schools but at what risk? My husband works for Toyota and it has been a tough year financially. If all these people are booted or shadow foreclosures are thrown onto the market today what will that do for the psychology of individuals? No more car sells, no more service and he and I will have no more paycheck. Cash for Clunkers brought in 100’s of people at his work. They sold out every Prius on the first day. Corolla’s and smaller cars are flying off the shelves. I’m sure quite a few “conservatives” took advantage of that 4500.00 rebate! Also, so many people are buying housing because of an 8000.00 credit that I will have less people competing with me next year when I am ready.

          4. tonyE

            The problem, IMHO, is that in the US the politicians are neither “liberals” nor “conservatives”.

            A “conservative” would be someone who believes in small government, rights of the individual and rights of the States over the Federal Government. In essence an “American Liberal”.

            The “liberals” would be someone who believes in a larger role for all types of Government.

            What we got today is a Government owned by Big Business and operated for the benefit of Big Business.

            We got “progressives” and “christian conservatives” which IMHO sucks. In essence both have adopted the methods invented by fascists (italian and german) in the 1920s and 1930s. They both exhibit traces of intransigence and totalitarianism. The progressives are more populist (nazi) while the “christian conservatives” are becoming American Ayatollahs.

            Either way it sucks for those of us who think the Gov. should stay off our lives as much as possible.

            And yes, btw, Hitler was a leftist. He was a populist socialist. The German Nazi experiment was socialist and nationalist to the core, while the communist experiment was internationalist (of course the commies eventually redefined that as controlled by the Soviets)

          5. tonyE

            The rebate is a bad idea… what is has done is to pull “forward” the demand for cars and when its over sales will crash. It’s really a “bubble” for car sales.

            This is exactly what got GM into trouble when they started with the big rebates (cheap money) in ’01. They kept creating “artificial demand” where there was no organic demand. Eventually, when everyone got their GM SUV sales crashed… It sort of worked while money was really cheap as customers kept rolling their debt onto the next car, all along financed by GMAC and Wall Street but at some point credit tightened and GM went bankrupt.

            Obama is playing with fire and IMHO we’ll all get badly burnt soon.

          6. Shannon

            The rebate is a great idea. Very little profit is made on the cars themselves. The profit is made through finance and services throughout the years of car ownership. Loyalty to a company that treats you well and you are looking at generations of customers. Also, less demand for gas because people are turning in gas guzzlers. The newer cars are also safer, especially for parents turning in their kids clunkers and putting new drivers in cars that won’t break down on the freeway, air bags, anti-lock brakes etc… People aren’t using their housing atm to buy these cars. That is just not available anymore.

          7. tonyE

            The rebate is an AWFUL idea. It penalizes those who were frugal and bought efficient cars and it rewards those who bought fuel guzzlers and squandered oil resources.

            The rebate should be for all… take ANY old car and get a new one that gets at least 26 mpg, then you get 3500 bucks. Get a new one that gets at least 33 mpg and then get 4500 bucks.

            No new pickups, no new SUVs, no new Minivans… My ass about safety… if so why is it that so many old cars don’t qualify.


          8. Shannon

            The rebate is a GREAT idea!

            You must be a “just say no”. I remember bushie giving tax incentives for those gas guzzlers. hmmmm

          9. avobserver

            Here is a good article on why this Cash-for-Clunkers scheme is such a terrible idea:


            I agree with tonyE that this is nothing but an attempt to artificially boost short term sales by “borrowing” demand from future. If the requirement were 15 MPG difference I might even buy in this environmental benefit argument. But 2 MPG for trucks and 4 MPG for cars?? What we have here is basically a $3 billion money transfer from tax payers straight to auto manufacturers and dealers.

          10. Lee in Irvine

            “I remember bushie giving tax incentives for those gas guzzlers.”

            Yeap … if the gross weight exceeded 6k lbs, a self-employed person could deduct up to (I think it was) $100,000 off their income.

            Kinda like this:
            $225,000 Revenue
            -$75,000 Business Expense
            =$150,000 Income
            -$75,000 4.4L BMW X5
            Poof = $75,000 Taxable Income
            You like that trick?

            We sure did sell a lot of fancy SUVs in the early part of this decade.

          11. Shannon

            How can someone lose or win an argument based on opinion? Our opinions differ.

            Bottom line again. Clunkers off the road. Kids put into safer cars. Business doing great. Future earnings for services. Money made over 5 years on financing. Hybrid’s selling out, 40mpg. and… Auto Manufacturers being able to keep employees working, making money so they can pay their bills ie money back into the economy not to mention all those earnings for new car registrations.

            Perfect idea, nothing is Great idea. yes

          12. Sanchez

            Except a X5 only weighs around 5k pounds and it wouldn’t qualify. Even a suburban only weighs 5600lbs. There is actually no luxury suv that would qualify. The deduction was to help small-businesses purchase medium duty trucks they needed to do their business.

          13. CapitalismWorks

            This tax benefit was an extension of light truck related rules designed to benefit farmers and small business owners. When they were written the modern SUV didn
            t exist.

          14. david

            So Toyota is having a tough year. Why do you think those of us who don’t want cars right now and don’t work in the industry should be forced to subsidize car buyers, dealers and manufacturers? Should we care if Bush robbed us as well, to benefit the auto industry?

            And BTW, this is unlikely to do little but shift auto demand forward in time. Meanwhile, spending or saving must decline elsewhere in the economy because the government money comes from somewhere and, despite what many believe, the government is not their own personal money tree. The reality is the “stimulus” spending simply means that the politically favored government sector takes earnings from producers through taxes or borrowing, or from dollar holders through money printing/dollar depreciation, and transfers it to themselves.

          15. Shannon

            This is all about getting businesses up and running and creating jobs. Just like any tax write off for small businesses, large corporations or writing off property taxes.

            On a side note:
            The Bush incentive was giving Hummer owners almost 90k in write offs. Is this at all logical or comparative for Cash for Clunkers?


          16. Lee in Irvine


            I’m not an accountant, but trust me, I’m confident the X5 qualified for the deduction. It’s based on gross vehicle weight, not curb weight.

          17. Norcal

            One good aspect of the rebate is that new cars have better emissions; with luck, we taxpayers are buying cleaner air.

          18. david

            Would be nice to get something, yet many of the junkers would be nearing the end of their useful lives anyway, even without the subsidy.

          19. tonyE

            What a bunch of strawmen arguments.

            This had nothing to do with safety, fuel efficiency or whatever. This had everything to do with Obama helping his Union buddies in the Big Three (OK, two and attaHalfaFiat) get some work at the expense of all of us.

            The bottom line is that we are now seeing a “bubble” in car sales.

            Many of the people who bought the cars now are likely to be the ones least able to afford them, so we’ll see what happens.

            At the very least, the resale value of the cars that sold in large quantities (save the Civic turns out) will sink like a rock. Just like homes bought when money was cheap, when money gets expensive those homes drop in price.

            Note: I mentioned the Civic because Honda dealers did not “deal” in price. American Honda is keeping production constrained… I guess they are to auto manufacturing what the Irvine Co., is to developers.

            And, of course, just you wait when the hysteria with CARS goes away. Once the free money is gone sales will tank, and TANK.

            CARS is to auto sales what amphetamines are to the human body. We saw it with GM, now just wait and see how sales tank even further.

          20. Lee in Irvine

            One good aspect of the rebate is that new cars have better emissions; with luck, we taxpayers are buying cleaner air.

            Can you people not see WTF is going on here?

            It sounds to me like what we’re doing is supplementing people who drive old jalopies to go in to more debt. Put them on another payment plan. That’s real smart! All at the expense of our children.

            Hey … I got a question. When does the next generation of tax payers start calling us thieves? They never agreed to all these bailouts, subsidized loans, TARP, stimulus packages, etc, etc, etc. They didn’t cause this problem, we did, and because we refuse to deal with it, they’re gonna pay for it.

          21. Shannon

            A lot of assumptions in your argument How would you possibly know this?

            “Many of the people who bought the cars now are likely to be the ones least able to afford them, so we’ll see what happens.”

            “It sounds to me like what we’re doing is supplementing people who drive old jalopies to go in to more debt. Put them on another payment plan.”

          22. Lee in Irvine

            Lee in Irvine says – “It sounds to me like what we’re doing is supplementing people who drive old jalopies to go in to more debt. Put them on another payment plan”.

            Shannon says – “A lot of assumptions in your argument How would you possibly know this?

            I think my statement above speaks for itself, but I’ll add this — Most people that drive old clunkers don’t have an extra $20k – $25k to pay off the balance of the new vehicle, therefore they’re forced to go onto a payment plan.

            I drove my Honda Accord into the ground before I sold it. The brand new car I replaced it with, wasn’t financed or leased, but paid for with one check. One day I was driving an old car with oxidized paint on the hood, trunk and roof, then the next day a new 3-series. I guess my point is, not everyone that drives an old clunker is poor, but most are. And the last thing they need is another monthly payment.

          23. Shannon

            Lee, that is you. I also keep cars for a very long time. Most people don’t. Some of the cars with rebates and 4500.00 CfC were going for less than 12,000.00. With a small down payment that would make a loan payment very reasonable. The benefits for the program out weigh any negativity. Like I said before and others added onto: Safe cars, clean air, less gas guzzlers, manufacturing, your local window tinter, future services needed, finance money, your local radio installer, parts maker, the list goes on. I should also add that we are taking a much neede vaction because of the increase in sells we have more cash flow than 6 months ago. The Marriott will be benefiting directly because of Cash for Clunkers. See you all next week.

          24. skipj

            Amen, Lee. A car note is just stupid, and a new car is guaranteed to lose about half of it’s value within 4 years.

          25. newbie2008

            You wish it was a McMansion. The condo will only be <1000 sf will be a more likely outcome.

            Right Winger, Left Winger, D or R, it's all the same with debt enslavement and reduction of liberty. Under a right winger or a left winger, a slave is still a slave.

            Americans need to be trained how to do math instead of these mantra's"
            Democrats bad, Republicians good.

            Republicians bad Democrats good.

            Bad policy from either party is still bad.
            Still the same game, pump and dump.

            Many of the clunkers looked better than the car I'm driving.

          26. Sanchez

            Looks like you’re right on the old version of the law. It got changed in 2004 by President Bush.
            Turns out it is more of an example of why govt. should generally keep their hands out of things. People are far too opportunistic to not create all sorts of unintended consequences.

            A good op ed on why cash for clunkers is bad. the basic idea is that no actual wealth is created from it, and it is actually a really inefficient way to allocate capital.
            LA Times Op Ed

          27. LC

            There certainly is no such thing as “extreme left-wing” since it pretty much became a thing of the past along with the Viet Nam War. The only extremists in this country are the right wingers.

        2. winstongator

          7500 -> 2500 is a pretty big leap. My take home after insurance, 10% 401k contri, and taxes (0 dep to avoid the spouse income bumping bracket problem) is 55%. An extra $1500/mo in other expenses means that ‘owner’ probably shouldn’t get a mod. If they were at 35% PITI-DTI (pity-ditty), their payment > net income. This person should enter the FC system and not delay the inevitable.

          If the 401k loan repayment is the big chunk of the $1500/mo, and it went to the dp, points to it being a very bad decision.

        3. thrifty

          Let’s assume that a lot of effort is put into a mtg mod and the magic ratio is reached because of the lowered (total) monthly payment. What’s to prevent the homeowner from buying again on their mastercard or visa or whatever.. and immediately exceeding the ratio? Then what happens?

          1. Modguy


            the 31% is the HOUSING payment only. Many of these folks will still habe overall debt ratios far higher (if they have cars, cc, etc.).

            If the total dti is over 55%, you will receive a letter with the mod saying you “must” agree to attend HUD sponsored debt counseling… BUT, there is no follow up and no enforcement.

            On this I agree with Obama: if the lender agrees to give you a 31% payment (PITI/HOA), then the rest of your debt is YOUR problem. (personal responsibilty plays some part in this, as much as folks want to blame the lenders – see what’shisname post above).

      2. grabasnorkel

        “I like how this repoter calls out AHMSI for not yet doing a single mod, when it’s not even possible for us to offer one until November at the earliest… Great fact checking!”

        Yes, yes, you poor, poor innocent maligned mortgage turned mod people. I just feel terrible at the awful treatment you get at the hands of the media.

        Thankfully the government is there to keep your oversized paychecks flowing while they throw taxpayers and their grandchildren under the bus.

        You must be proud.

    2. scott

      On timing and process to handle mods, I’d just note that back in early April we locked in a 4.375% rate on a 30 yr fixed to refi our old 5.625% mortgage. We are closing next week, 4.5 months later. Now if this bank – one of the two largest in the country – takes 4.5 months to underwrite and fund a FNMA conforming loan with a 40% LTV, >810 FICO, DTI in low teens, how can they possibly handle mods that will be ‘messy situations’ any faster?

    3. grabasnorkel

      “Housing advocates say the plan has been a big disappointment so far.”

      Yeah, “housing advocates” ha ha. What were the housing advocates doing when these horrible loans were being made.

      That’s right, they were cheerleading these loans, some of the worst loans ever made. And it’s yet another way to cornhole the taxpayer.

    1. Lee in Irvine

      It looks like San Diego County continues to drive this bus, about 1-year ahead of Orange County.

      Our problem is very simple (much like SD County). The OC does not have enough qualified buyers to sustain prices at the top of our real estate market (not even in the middle price range). As the high-end continues to decline, it places more weight on everything down below. Sure there will be blips in the market, where it seems like prices are stabilizing. But we cannot have a sustainable bottom in real estate until prices at all ranges can be supported by available financing.

      This is not rocket science, but simple arithmetic.

  7. irvineliving

    I walked through these a couple of weeks ago. The smallest closets you’ve ever seen in your life. I left laughing at the thought of anybody buying.

  8. NickelDime

    I love that a “valet” is considered an amenity. I consider it an open hand asking for a tip every time the car is fetched 15 steps away. That should add 40 more non-deductible dollars to the $941 HOA fee.

    1. ockurt

      I used to go to this 24 Hr Ultra Sport gym that had a valet. One of the reasons I stopped going. It was costing me at least $50 extra a month.

      Can’t imagine paying that to someone everyday…

      1. Aventura Resident

        Rather than stop going altogether, why not just park in the structure and walk into the gym? 24 Hour will validate your parking anyway. The logic of your story escapes me. Same with the person above who thinks that small closets will prevent anyone from buying a condo.

        I think I need to stop reading these inane comments…

        1. ockurt

          I used to do that smart-ass, until they started blocking off sections of the structure for various business activities and you couldn’t find a spot after work to save your life.

          Plus, I got a better deal at a 24 Hr Fitness up the street. Pre-paid 3 yrs then it’s $49 yr for the rest of your life.

  9. IrvineRenter

    Irvine might be safe, but why is it so weird?

    Irvine may have grabbed the safest city crown five years running, but clean streets and well-manicured lawns don’t mean there aren’t a few strange skeletons in the community’s closet.

    Failed hits with alleged links to foreign governments, bodies kept on ice for days, “evil” twins and samurai sword murders – these aren’t plot points for a particularly dark film noir, they are just a glimpse at the darker and stranger side of one of America’s pre-eminent planned communities.

    So, don’t let the low violent crime rates fool you; Irvine has had its fair share of shocking, baffling and just plain strange plots, arrests and convictions throughout the years.

    Click below to take a trip through the darker side of the city’s past, and decide which tale deserves top spot as “Irvine’s strangest crime.”

    See the link above for a list of story links.

    1. ockurt

      I always thought the samurai sword one took the cake.

      My former neighbor was an Irvine cop and he used to tell me some strange stories…many of them don’t make the paper…

      1. tonyE

        Hey, it was an authentic samurai sword. This is Irvine, we got standards to maintain.

        Honestly, though, I’m surprised no HOAs are involved. I imagine HOA Directors might be likely targets. I spent two years in our HOA Board and I nowadays I pretty much ignore the whole gang.

  10. NoNamePlease

    I am a divorced professional, nice income, live alone, need quick access to the airport for business. So I am *seemingly* a good candidate for this sort of location. I have cash on-hand for a down payment and the income stream to buy this.


    I am renting about a mile away in an Irvine Property apartment, a 2-2 for a $1800. Same location, same amenitites, same access.

    Why would I waste money on this plus the $900 HOA? For only $900 more a month I can rent the same thing a 10 minute walk away?

    1. KO

      NoNamePlease let me spell it out:

      right now you are a renter = loser

      you could be an owner = winner

      Finances, economics, convenince, common sense have nothing to do with it. Just ask my Realtor.

    2. Dustin Bouch

      My thoughts exactly. I feel like I am the target demographic for these high rise condos in the Irvine area, but they just don’t make sense to me. With a $1000 HOA fee, these properties will never be a better deal than the rentals in the area. And the rentals offer all the same amenities. I just don’t get it …

  11. wheresthebeef

    500K for a “luxury” 2 bedroom apartment plus the $900/month HOA is insane. There is no way any of these will sell at the current price.

    A big part of buying a condo is using it as your first home and then possibly renting it out as you move up to a SFR. There is no way on earth that these places would make sense as rentals.

    Seeing this reinforces my belief that we are nowhere near the bottom. This place at 350K might make sense…even then I would be leery.

    1. Geotpf

      Wanna bet? These are selling for $365 a square foot.

      From the Redfin listing:

      Median Condo Values
      Select a place below for more pricing guidance. List $ $/Sq. Ft. Sale/List
      Business District $499,000 $380 98.5%
      Irvine Business Complex $499,000 $380 98.5%
      92612 $515,000 $376 98.2%
      Irvine $479,900 $345 98.0%
      Orange County $300,000 $258 98.1%

      They will sell for within 5% of list. Of course it doesn’t make financial sense to purchase these right now, especially with the huge HOA fee. It hasn’t make financial sense to purchase (as opposed to renting) almost anything anywhere in Irvine in at least the past five years-but that hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of people from doing so.

      1. Marc

        No way will they sell. People are stupid, but most have learned their lesson (until the next bubble starts) in the last five years. So have the banks. These units are interesting neither for investors nor for owners, so who will buy them? No one.

        1. Geotpf

          The price per square foot is below the area. It would be interesting to follow up in six months time and see if there was a recorded sale and at what price.

  12. Sue in Irvine

    IR..does this place also have mello-roos? And is this the place with the roof top pool? Just asking. No way would I live there.

    1. Sue in Irvine

      If they do pay mello roos that would be even more ridiculous if the schools they feed to aren’t even in Irvine. I think part of mello roos goes to the schools.

  13. Property Owner

    So, it seems like craziness in the market is at almost all price levels below a million.

    As some of you know, I recently put my house on the market (in escrow now), and have been looking for our next home. In the four houses I have made offers on, I have been outbid on all. It seems as if most of these houses go for asking or above.

    I know that the $500K and below market is absolutely on fire from what my friends have told me but it seems as if the $700K-800K market is burning hot as well. Multiple offers and lots of cash. I thought the 700K-800K market eliminates a huge portion of the population with tight credit. I know FCB’s are buying like crazy but EVERYTHING?

    So, from those in the ‘know’, where do you see the market going in the next month or two and into the rest of the year? There is too much distortion and shell games going on for me to gauge where it is going short term.

    1. Geotpf

      The home purchase market is always busier in the spring and summer as opposed to the fall or winter. I would expect prices to dip a little bit come November or December. Unless this mythical shadow inventory actually appears, prices will go back up come spring of next year.

      I believe, ignoring seasonal factors, Irvine is at a bottom. Now, it’s still above rental parity, even at the bottom, especially on the high end, so the actual best choice is to rent. But if you must buy, November or December of this year is the best time.

      Now, low end markets (Corona, Riverside, and beyond) are significantly below rental parity right now and have been for some time. But it looks like it will always be cheaper to rent in Irvine than to purchase there.

      1. tonyE

        I haven’t seen many For Sale signs in the neighborhood…. Which is rare because in late spring and early summer they used to pop like tulips in a Dutch spring morning…

        This is TR, btw. I dunno about TRidge, although I think that area has not hit bottom yet. To paraphrase the old hippie saying: “They may be coming down hard but they’re still miles above us”.

      2. IrvineRenter

        “But it looks like it will always be cheaper to rent in Irvine than to purchase there.”

        I don’t think so. Past history says that it is cheaper to own than to rent at the market bottom. If Irvine were to stay elevated above rental parity, it would be against past history — not to say it is not possible — it would truly have to be “different” this time. Since bubbles are characterized by late influx of foreign cash and tales of it being “different,” I am on the side of history; prices will still fall.

    2. wheresthebeef

      No one knows where the market will go in the near term. I do not that a good feeling about the long term (next 5 or so years). There are too many factors that could really shake things up: interest rates going up, foreclosures increasing (shadow inventory coming on line), unemployment continuing to rise.

      Many people blame the current housing bubble on Greenspan lowering rates after 9/11 and leaving them low for too long. What is happening today? Same thing. Super low interest rates, FHA 3.5% down all to jump start the economy. What if it doesn’t work?

      I am still amazed that people think they are getting a steal when paying 500K+ for a 50 year old 1200 sq ft. s**tbox. A steal compared to peak bubble pricing, but not compared to a normal, healthy market. Let the buyers snatch up the current crop of houses…there will be little or no appreciation for some time to come.

  14. Shannon

    Thanks Bush!

    Dodge Durango
    Sticker price $27,205
    Current law
    Equipment deduction $25,000
    Total tax deduction* $25,971
    Bush economic plan
    Equipment deduction $27,205
    Total tax deduction* $27,205

    Hummer H1
    Sticker price $106,185
    Current law
    Equipment deduction $25,000
    Total tax deduction* $60,722
    Bush economic plan
    Equipment deduction $75,000
    Total tax deduction* $88,722

    * Includes bonus tax write-off enacted by Congress in March 2002 and a deduction for normal depreciation.

    Free gas guzzlers and free houses for everyone. Yeah!

  15. Property Owner

    So, just a little while ago, I was told I was outbid on another property again. I put an offer in toward the bottom of their value range because the property had been on the market for over 60 days. This was yesterday. So today like clockwork, someone swooped in and put an offer for $25K above the max of the value range which is a little less than $75K more than my offer. WTF?
    I guess they sellers were gushing so much at that high offer that they did not even want to counter us (not that we would go up that high anyway).

    Well, lets keep score.
    Offers = 5
    Contracts = 0

    Maybe people actively looking in this market should post their offer/contract scores so we can see how the market is from an active buyers point of view.

    BTW, we still have an offer on a property waiting for a response but not looking good (was told yesterday another higher offer came in of course). We are also going to look at a property later today.

    1. Perspective

      You’re not alone. I have a friend making offers near Seal Beach, and he’s been out-bid three times in the past couple months. Every time he tells me one of these stories, it’s hard to believe.

      1. Property Owner

        Yea. I have two friends that have made over 10 offers on homes in the under $600K market and they were disappointed over and over.
        One of them is still actively looking and the other finally scored a home after bidding $40K over asking price. Amazing.

      2. ockurt

        Recently I’ve seen Hill homes dropping below $700k.

        When we were thinking of moving there we made an offer on a place (about 2 summers ago), but the bank took my HELOC away! Probably best that we waited anyway.


    2. tonyE

      Wait ’till winter. Late Spring and Summer can be crazy with people setting themselves up before the school year.

      Wait ’till a rainy, cold, early February saturday morning (not sunday).

      It worked for us back in ’87.

    3. ockurt

      Property Owner: I know it’s crazy but hang in there.

      My wife and I were outbid on several Irvine properties late last year and early this year.

      1st property was an REO in Westpark, priced competitively so I thought I was being aggressive offering $5k below asking and someone came in and offered $20k above asking. House needed work too.

      2nd property near the lake in Woodbridge, non-REO, very nice single story. I offered $25k below asking, sellers got full price offer and the buyers put $300k down.

      3rd property also in Woodbridge, inside the loop, very well-maintained property next to the elementary school (Stonebrook I think?). It was also competitively priced and I offered about $20k below and I believe that one sold above asking.

      The 4th property we made an offer on finally hit. In Newport Coast of all places, probate sale and the estate was motivated. I paid less than a foreclosure in the neighborhood.

      Anyway, it’s a frustrating process but timing and luck have a lot to do with it. Stick to your budget and don’t get into bidding wars. Do your research, get your ducks in a row, and keep going after it.

      1. ockurt

        BTW, the flip side is if you had to sell like we did on our Irvine condo, it can be a positive as we rec’d. multiple offers and I took one $25k over asking.

  16. Lee in Irvine

    “There is actually no luxury suv that would qualify.”


    I found a list of SUVs that did qaulify.

    BMW X5
    Land Rover Discovery
    Cadillac Escalade
    Land Rover Range Rover
    Chevrolet Suburban
    Lexus LX 470
    Chevrolet Tahoe
    Lexus GX
    Dodge Durango
    Lincoln Navigator
    Ford Expedition
    Mercedes-Benz M-Class
    Ford Excursion
    Mercedes-Benz G-500
    Hummer H2
    Porsche Cayenne
    Hummer H1
    Toyota Land Cruiser
    GMC Yukon
    Toyota Sequoia

    These SUVs doubled on our freeways once the loophole in our tax code was allowed.

  17. LC

    Douchbag central, and it is right next to the 405 freeway. Great, you say? It is still half a mile and two left turns from the on ramp.

  18. SoCal78

    Where did the Marquee get the name North Korea Towers, what’s the meaning? (I’m not up to date on the high rise stuff but did try the search feature first with no luck.)

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