Quadruple Take

Columbus Grove is Irvine’s low-price leader with properties routinely trading at 40% off.

40 N Desert Willow   Irvine, CA 92606  3

Asking Price: $750,000

Address: 40 N Desert Willow Irvine, CA 92606


And the world don’t stop
There is no time for cracking up
Believe me friend
Cause when freedom comes
I’ll be long gone
You know it has to end

There’ll be no better time
There’ll be no better way
There’ll be no better day to save me
Save me
Yeah, save me
Yeah, save me
I hope you see what I see

Weeping Willow — The Verve

The people who bought here must be weeping. The values of their high-end properties has fallen 40%, and despite our bear rally, sales prices are not going up here. These properties are much closer to the bottom than to the top, but even at $750,000, the property is still overpriced when you consider the HOAs and Mello Roos.

I have profiled a number of properties on this street: in May of 2009 I featured 14 Desert Willow in Desert Willow Did Not Fall, on April 30 of 2009 I featured 30 Desert Willow in Nine Months as REO, in July of 2007 I featured 28 Desert Willow in Weeping Desert Willow, on May of 2009 I featured 26 Desert Willow in Nine Months as REO. Today we are moving down the street and featuring 40 Desert Willow. It is another huge price reduction — 43% off.

Most of these properties have been REO, and since the prices have fallen so much, and since the financing of these properties is so toxic, we are likely to see capitulation and a complete turnover of this housing stock. Would you keep paying on $1,306,500 in mortgages when the resale value is $750,000? That is the Tipping Point I wrote about last October.

Andy Warhol

40 N Desert Willow   Irvine, CA 92606  4 40 N Desert Willow   Irvine, CA 92606  2

40 N Desert Willow   Irvine, CA 92606  3

Asking Price: $750,000

Income Requirement: $187,500

Downpayment Needed: $150,000

Purchase Price: $1,306,500

Purchase Date: 2/9/2006

Address: 40 N Desert Willow Irvine, CA 92606

Beds: 4
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 2,800
$/Sq. Ft.: $268
Lot Size: 5,576

Sq. Ft.

Property Type: Single Family Residence
Style: Cape Cod
Stories: 2
View: City
Year Built: 2006
Community: Columbus Grove
County: Orange
MLS#: P695049
Source: SoCalMLS
Status: Active
On Redfin: 32 days

This is a beautiful home,spacious,lots of storage, two car garage big
bedrooms and bathrooms, nice kitchen with ample space for cooking and
entertaining family and friends.Beautiful land scape front and
back.****Short Sale****Short Sale

****Short Sale****Short Sale****Short Sale****Short Sale****

The realtor used four exclamation points to go with the four photographs, but she forgot to repeat short sale four times.

This property was purchased on 2/9/2006 for $1,306,500. The owner used a $979,517 first mortgage, a $195,903 HELOC, and a $131,080 downpayment. Obviously, the downpayment equity is gone — bummer. It may be some small consolation to the owner that she has been living “rent free” for more than a year:

Foreclosure Record
Recording Date: 08/25/2008
Document Type: Notice of Default
Document #: 2008000402265

To get a NOD in August, the owner was in default at least 90 days prior, so this owner has not made any payments for the last 15 months. If you divide her downpayment by 15, her lost downpayment comes to about $8,738 in what functions as prepaid rent.

There just isn’t any good way to spin a $601,500 loss….

And so concludes another week at the Irvine Housing Blog, chronicling the Irvine home market since September of 2006.

Have a great weekend.



Growing up in Wisconsin, I used to see the Curling results on the local news. Searching for quadruple, I found this on Youtube:

55 thoughts on “Quadruple Take

  1. Dan in FL

    Lot Size: 5,576 Sq. Ft.

    Holy cannoli that is tiny. I’m looking at a house about that size (when you include pool/deck/garage. For 5.5k sqft lot you don’t need a lawnmower, just a weedeater.

    1. tlc8386

      This is what the Irvine company thinks we want–to use a weedeater–

      I am looking at this group of homes and I wonder how can anyone give us this same crap and expect us to buy.

      These sitting should tell them something are they listening?

      High mello roos, high HOA, small lots and big house on top of your neighbors–wow—and I see so many are lining up to buy.

      IAC you don’t need someone to tell you what we want only look and see what is selling–must be pretty amazing to finally wake up. So how long are you going to sit on your land. Forever I guess.

      Try thinking out of the box, Green housing on decent size lots so we can choose to build our own pool–garden ect. Having the same thing as everyone else really is nothing exciting.

      And selling only to young familes may not be happening if unemployment continues onward.

      Good schools without young families really mean nothing if we don’t have great jobs.

      1. Geotpf

        People aren’t really buying a house when they buy in Irvine. The are buying the great schools and the low crime rate and a short commute-they are buying the location. To enjoy those benefits, they have to have a place to sleep at night, so they need a house as well. If they didn’t care about location, they would have bought the 1.7 acre estate with three houses and a tennis court that sold for $306k, or the .66 acre golf course house with 6,224 square feet that sold for $362k, both out here in Riverside. But location and the benefits that come with it matter much more to a lot of people than lot size.

        1. CK

          I agree with this….I really don’t want a big yard if I am too exhausted from my commute enjoy it. We have a 5,000 sq ft lot right now, and it is plenty adequate for our purposes. Yeah, its small — but really, how many places anywhere in California have lots big enough for flag football games? Beyond size, though, my biggest beef with Irvine lots is the lack of privacy in most SFR tracts. From our 2nd floor window we can peer into the backyards of 5 adjacent homes….so certainly they can do the same to us. The only way you get a private yard in Irvine is to back to a busy street, or pay $1.5M+ in a hillside location.

      2. NickelDime

        Your definition of “green housing” doesn’t meet the industry-accepted definition, which revolves around environmentally friendly prinicples — it’s more than the materials/techniques used to build the home. Green housing means you walk to your services, use a community pool (rather than your own pool, which would be a “waste of precious water”), and higher density housing. Gone are cul-de-sacs and pie-shaped lots and the SUV in the 3 car garage. Reference Woodbury, TIC’s ‘new urban’ model. It smells like communism, but I can see value in some of the principles.

        I have referenced Burbank, CA on this site before as coming the closest to ‘utopia’ in housing design in Southern California – mostly because it combines the best of both models urban (mid century design, gridded streets, rec centers, architectural variety, mass transit, access to jobs) and suburban (great schools, greenbelts, walking/biking paths, shopping, sidewalks, excellent PD/FD, libraries).

        Sorry to rant, but I think it’s a fallacy that Irvine has the lock on master planning. In fact, I think they have largely been winging it for the past decade or more. Case in point: Great Park, Columbus Grove, Central Park West — each have shifted plans and designs based on market forces, not based on following a master plan.

        IMO, the city has drifted too far from the balance that originally defined Irvine.

      3. DarthFerret

        The contradiction of pitching “green” housing and a pool in the same sentence is shocking. Especially in a desert climate.


    2. tonye

      Standard size lot in Orange County. As I recall, 5000 to 5500 sq feet is a standard “city lot”.

      Besides, we all got gardeners and the water is pricey. A smaller lot is cheaper to maintain.

  2. MalibuRenter

    43% was my initial forecast of price drops for LA/OC, if the bubble bursting was not accompanied by a recession. I put in another 13% for a “garden variety” recession.

    That was 2007, when I was still having difficulty estimating overshoot. Now I’m estimating 65% off peak at the bottom, maybe 70%. It depends on interest rates and underwriting policies at the bottom.

    1. thrifty

      Malibu Renter: I agree. I think many of the asking prices in ocean close areas for homes/condos in the 20-30 yr old age group are going to bottom out around $170-$200/ft2.

      1. NickelDime

        So a 2k sf home at the beach… $400k OR LESS? Sorry charlie. Too many $100k+ households out there.

        Assume inflation cancels out interest rates, and unemployment still climbs.

        You may have to wait until we have a TRUE mass-exodus from Cali. And even then…

          1. NickelDime

            Talega continues to crater. But it’s like buying a place in Santa Paula. It ain’t the beach, and there are very few jobs that far out.

            I agree they will drop further, but you’ve got to remember that there is a floor on incomes. Banks are going to be hard pressed to foreclose on gainfully employed loanowners. There’s a game-playing factor on a significant # of defaulters – they are fine going in either direction. On the margins prices will continue their downward spiral, with unemployment, tepid supply of credit/qualified buyers, and the negative feedback loop winning out over inflation, government intervention, and sticky pricing.

          2. thrifty

            I’ve often wondered where workers living in Irvine commute that people in San Clemente can’t – given the distances people in California drive. I know people who lived in Palos Verdes in the early 70’s who routinely commuted an hour (or more) each way to downtown L.A. No community has a better climate than S.C. – And Talega homes are just as big and a lot newer.

          3. NickelDime

            I s’pose. It’s all relative. I just see it being the furthest south in south county, which has traditionally been so constrained by the 5. your job options quickly narrow when you start to plot palatable opportunities on a map.

            workers living in irvine usually don’t commute far, if at all (ie live/work locally).

            You’re right, though, PV has no freeway access at all. but it’s quite literally a sanctuary in LA, which has a rotten core with family-oriented fringes (PV, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, Porter Ranch, etc.) OC is generally family-oriented throughout, with a few exceptions. In other words, you can justify the commute in LA. In OC, why subject yourself to the extended drive?

          4. Bitter Renter

            As a few other posters have mentioned here, it’s a positive feedback loop, not a negative one. A negative feedback loop is self-stabilizing, while a positive feedback loop is a runaway process. You’re talking about a positive feedback loop that’s exerting downward pressure on prices. Perhaps a good shorthand is “adverse feedback loop”.

          5. Bitter Renter

            Yes, I knew what you meant. It’s just that the financial industry has taken that term from the sciences and is often using it in that completely incorrect way, so just trying to discourage further spread of the incorrect usage.

          6. NickelDime

            fair enough — call me educated. i read the wiki entry before sounding any more asinine and agree — positive feedback = continuing the momentum. negative feedback = reversing the momentum. the momentum is clearly going in one direction !

  3. MalibuRenter

    There are a few homes near me in Dallas which initially came with ~10000 sf lots. They had big mansions on them. The owner of one purchased an older modest home next door and flattened it, producing a nice big lawn. The pattern is now repeating in the neighborhood.

    Maybe it won’t happen in Irvine, but expect it in many older parts of CA. Someone living near a trashed foreclosure will find it an efficient way to get a bigger lawn.

  4. winstongator

    The loss can only be looked at positively by the loss being actually recognized by the bank, and a new owner moving in who can actually afford the home.

    The 2006 price was unaffordable and unsustainable, but somehow people found a way to spin that as a positive. I know the pain of the bubble, through my family’s experience in FL, but I know we can’t turn the machines back on. The degree of poor lending, easy money, and outright fraud was so much that I view the problems of today as a real improvement.

        1. Geotpf

          Actually, it went off the market before the blog post was posted:

          Date Event Price Appreciation Source
          Aug 18, 2009 Delisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Aug 07, 2009 Relisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Aug 06, 2009 Delisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Aug 06, 2009 Relisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Aug 05, 2009 Delisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Jul 31, 2009 Relisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Jul 30, 2009 Delisted * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Jul 13, 2009 Listed * — Inactive SoCalMLS #1
          Feb 09, 2006 Sold $1,306,500 — Public Records

          But judging from the history, it’ll probably be back on sometime next week. I’m getting whiplash just reading that.

  5. HomeBaggar

    Any comment on today’s lovely housing data? Just kind of a burst for the back to school crowd, no?

    1. Walter

      Finally one of the foreclosures came on the market in my neighborhood. Even at 9PM groups of people were coming to look at it. After 3 – 4 days, it went contingent.

      I call it a combination of summer selling season, the moratoriums, the fed printing money to buy mortgages and the $8,000 of free money to close before Nov. People will overpay $30,000 to get an $8,000 tax credit.

      I have three buyers, cash in hand I keep telling them to wait for winter. They are listening so far, but they look at me with a questioning eye with what is going on out there.

      1. avobserver

        Some time I wish I could take a long nap and wake up again in the fall of 2011. Watching housing price correct is like watching paint dry. I just wish there were a fast forward button to push to skip thru these lengthy bear market rallies. It began to eerily feel like summer and early fall of 2007 – stock market kept hitting new highs and RE market was wobbling but still holding up … and the palpable excitement from bubble heads all around but you just could not shake off that nagging sense of impending doom. deja vu all over again….

      2. Geotpf

        Waiting until winter makes sense, IMHO, for purely traditional season pricing patterns. The seasonal difference might be minimal or zero in lower end properties that would qualify for the eight grand, however, simply because supply is so small.

      3. priced_out

        If only first time home owners are buying, and if all first time home owners are being offered an $8K credit, doesn’t that mean that all transactions are happening $8K above where they would otherwise?

        November 1st, all the houses will reduce their prices by $8K, right?

    2. IrvineRenter


      Home sales soar 7.2 percent in July

      WASHINGTON – The U.S. housing market is improving quicker than expected, with home resales in July posting the largest monthly increase in at least 10 years, as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires this fall.

      The National Association of Realtors said Friday that home sales rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million in July, from a pace of 4.89 million in June. It was the fourth-straight monthly increase and the highest level of sales since August 2007.

      Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 5 million, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
      Story continues below ?advertisement | your ad here

      “The housing market, with today’s strong rise in sales, has decisively turned for the better,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist.

      Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about a third of all transactions last month, down from nearly half earlier this year. In places like San Diego and Orlando, buyers are snapping up foreclosed properties at deep discounts, and real estate agents are pressing banks to release more foreclosures onto the market.

      Those sales helped drag down the median sales price by 15 percent to $178,400.

      First-time buyers must complete their sales transactions by the end of November to take advantage of a tax credit of 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $8,000. The real estate industry is lobbying Congress to get the credit extended.

      “It would be unfortunate to see the momentum halted,” Yun said.

      The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose to 4.1 million, from 3.8 million a month earlier. That’s a 9.4-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from June.

  6. no_vaseline

    Okay, it’s 40%. Why?

    Power lines?
    Proximity to the Waste Managment trash sorting center on Construction Circle?
    Subsurface water contamination?
    Local homeless shelter?
    Poor product on small lots?
    Bat*hit crazy residents who’s first name start with J?

    1. irvine_home_owner

      Yes… and why don’t the same home sizes built during the same time in Quail Hill not have the same discounts?

    2. NewportSkipper

      Isn’t this the place where the builders slashed prices in the final rounds? I seem to remember something about that. I dunno what possessed the first in to pony up $1.3 mil for only 2,800 square feet. That gets you into Turtle Ridge and Turtle Rock and is awfully close to Newport Coast numbers.

    3. bltserv

      “I cant smell that sorting center”
      “Its not close to my home”
      “I have plenty of equity”
      “Prices are coming back very soon”


      Oh how I miss her.

  7. Jai

    How the number of home sales are counted?

    Say 10 homes were bought by some ten buyers for their primary living. People like you and me on this blog.
    Another 10 were bought by Banks in foreclosures.
    So what will be in report?
    10 Homes were sold? OR 20 homes were sold?

  8. wheresthebeef

    How on god’s earth did someone think this house was worth 1.3M at the peak? With the HOA and taxes, these places were overpriced to say the least. This place at 650K or 700K might make sense for someone.

  9. NewportSkipper

    Looks like these bottomed out a while ago and the overall Irvine market has been treading water for quite some time.

    1. Geotpf

      That’s my opinion as well, especially in houses (as opposed to condos, although they probably have bottomed too).

  10. irvine_home_owner

    This will probably close for more than $750k.

    This is actually one of the nicer plans by Lennar in this phase. They should have brought this same exact one over to Woodbury but they nerfed it… no 3-car garage… heh.

  11. beerdude

    Why Rent When you Can Buy?


    Here’s the money quote: “It’s a great time to buy,” says Mollie Carmichael, senior vice-president of John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif. “If you can own a home for less than the cost to rent, then it’s a logical financial proposition.”

    Suffice it to say that Irvine (or Orange County) was not on the list of 20 metro areas where it is better to buy than rent.

      1. Geotpf

        Riverside was #14, although they still have owning being a bit more expensive than renting, which in the real world I disagree with strongly.

  12. NickelDime

    IR, I’m hearing raw land has been getting bid up in the last couple of weeks (not to bubble levels, but to levels suggesting there was an overshoot on the down side). Are you seeing that is the case? Does that portend inflation?

    1. Geotpf

      That’s interesting info. Maybe the builders are going to start building again. They see the low supply and are trying to jump in. Thing is, the low supply mainly is in the very low-end markets-not much profit there.

  13. Soylent Green Is People

    ***Is this a short sale***!!! I didn’t know.

    What If All Messages Were Typed In Realtor Case?!!!***

    Three quarters of one million dollars to live in a heat sink 10 miles from the Ocean, under a flight path with less than great schools. If I exchanged the city with Inglewood the same description of this property would fit.

    No sale.

    Soylent Green Is People

    1. tonye

      It’s miles from the flight path to John Wayne. It’s no where like Inglewood. Come on, you _know_ you’re exaggerating.

      Soylent Green… my kind of people.

  14. DarthFerret

    An update on an IHB featured property from a couple days ago: http://www.redfin.com/CA/Irvine/53-Smokestone-92614/unit-42/home/5573585

    #53 Smokestone, price reduced from $362K to $329K. Granted, it’s a short sale, so the list price is meaningless. Also, there will probably be some Chinese investor that comes in and buys it for $450K or something like that. But still, that’s quite a drop in price. If this property sells for list, it will be at least $100/mo below owner-occupier rental parity (tax-adjusted). And that’s inside the loop in Woodbridge.

    Same caveat as before: IF the buyer has a 20% downpayment. This property would have to drop down to an even $300K to be at rental parity using those 3.5%-downpayment FHA loans.


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