English Garden Gate

Foreign cash buyers are quite active in Northwood. They have served to keep prices elevated to WTF levels in my favorite neighborhood. 🙁

30 Garden Gate Ln   Irvine, CA 92620  kitchen

Asking Price: $639,000
Address: 30 Garden Gate Ln Irvine, CA 92620

Here we sit in tombstones in the mud,
like it’s where we want to be.
It’s impossible to feel sacred in this lie,
in this aerial fantasy.

If this streets air ain’t up to par,
I’ll take my clothes, and take this strange behaviour.
Not only liked but loved as well.

It’s only been a year,
English garden,
and you’re farther away,

English Garden
— Silverchair

English Garden

I like this neighborhood and its English Garden. It must be popular with foreign cash buyers (FCB) too. Who else would pay $435/SF to live in this neighborhood?

The owners of today’s featured property bought in 2002 for $399,000, but they only used an $82,000 mortgage… although, I am a bit suspect. My record may only have the second mortgage. Either that, or the owners put 80% or $317,000 down. Was this owner part of the first wave of FCBs to hit Northwood? He probably will not be the last.

30 Garden Gate Ln   Irvine, CA 92620  kitchen

Asking Price: $639,000

Income Requirement: $120,980
Downpayment Needed: $127,800

Purchase Price: $399,000
Purchase Date: 8/20/2002

Net Gain (Loss): $201,660
Percent Change: 60.2%
Annual Appreciation: 8.5%

Address: 30 Garden Gate Ln Irvine, CA 92620

Beds: 2
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,468
$/Sq. Ft.: $435
Lot Size: 3,367 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Single Family Residence
Style: Cottage
Stories: 1
View: Hills
Year Built: 1998
Community: Northwood
County: Orange
MLS#: S589057
Source: SoCalMLS
Status: Active
On Redfin: 6 day




30 Garden Gate Ln   Irvine, CA 92620  kitchen 2

Conventional wisdom says you should not paint with “custom” colors because it turns off potential buyers. This is true; however, if you are a “special” buyer who likes the colors, it can make you fall in love with the place. I really like the green in this house…


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

Have a great weekend.


42 thoughts on “English Garden Gate

    1. Freetrader

      Yes, we can thank the Asian buyers for helping to boost both the property prices and the school test scores.

    2. Chris

      Wow, I didn’t realize Singapore has Korean as one of their spoken languages.

      Like what most non-Asians would say: they all look the same.

    3. thevendor

      I am disappointed every time I see an example of someone not taking the time to learn the culture(s) of their own neighborhood. Zion market is a Korean supermarket. HK market (Irvine) and also Freshia (Tustin) market are also Korean Markets. I say Korean in that they sell items mainly from Korea. About half the market shoppers will be Korean. Chinese and Vietnamese make up the majority of the rest of the shoppers.
      Did you know there is a great little Russian market in Irvine…nevermind all the small Indian markets?
      If you a foodie like me, you can take full advantage of all the different treats at each location.
      Note to all you IHB readers in Irvine. In general, these Korean markets have Fruits and Vegetables for much less $$$ than Ralphs, Albertons, Vons and any other store you can name. Plus you they have fruits and vegetables not found at traditional markets.
      These markets are a great benefit to living in Irvine.

      Getting back to the subject at hand: 640K for a 2 bedroom?!?!?!?? Augh. 399K seems to high.

      1. tonye

        Yep about the foodie part.

        Irvine is really great for that:

        Marukai in Costa Mesa for japanese -great veggies too.

        Frezia in Tustin for korean -korean BBQ and garlic galore!

        Super Irvine for persian and middle eastern. Try the roasted eggplant and red peppers, flat breads and a great price on Feta cheese blocks!

        Niho bakery for chinese breads and sweets.

        Then you got Trader Joe’s

        Costco for the big _american_ things (the new one in Tustin is bigger than the one at the Spectrum.

        Albertson’s for sodas

        And, for Spaniards: La Espanola (OK, it’s up in Long Beach…but close enough for a drive).


        for real chorizo, butifarras and stuff like that.

        And the restaurants are really good too, even if the got rid of El Conejo at Walnut -my favorite cheap mexican food joint-.

        Now, where’s that Russian market?

        Yep, the diversity in Irvine really has created an international foodie’s.

        BTW- we don’t shop at the 99 Markets. They stink and the vegetables are awful, in my experience.

        1. CK

          Agree on 99 Ranch. Since Zion and HMart opened we have not stepped foot in either of the 99 Ranch in Irvine. And neither my wife or I are Korean.

          1. tonye

            Thanks, no problem.

            So you’re like half Castilian and half Catalan… something like Los Reyes Catolicos at home, huh?

            Mom from Madrid and dad from Barcelona… That must have been one interesting conversation at the dining room table!!!! I suppose discussions of futbol and spanish politics were strictly verboten.

            Enjoy La Espanyola. The original owner is from Valencia. When you walk into the factory store… it’s like a charcuteria in the Mother Country. The aromas are indescribable. Morzillas, jamones, chorizos, butifarras, fuets, cheeses, etc… It’s a treasure grove of Iberian Colesterol. But hey, that’s what the Red Wine’s for, huh? ;-D

            Best place to buy spanish saffron.

            It’s hard not to walk out without spending 200 bucks.. and before Christmas you better bring your credit card. Hope you like turron.

            Your mother will love it, and love you for it.

            Mine considers me an Einstein because I found that store eons ago.

            Get ready for some good food.

  1. John

    Two flaws with this model–only 2 bedrooms and the garage is tandem. Like so much of the housing stock in Irvine, there are big compromises. A house with a good-sized backyard will have a “great” room that’s too small for more than a couple of people (see 7 Tradition). Or to buy under $550,000 means you are buying 1,400 square feet that hasn’t been updated in 30 years. But you can count on having a wet bar!

    I’ve been following Irvine (and hitting the open houses) for 2 years now, and I swear, this is a unique market–unlike anything else in the U.S. (I’ve owned homes in the northeast and midwest prior to moving here.)

    I really appreciate what IHB does, but I still can’t make sense of why people are paying more than a half-million to live in substandard homes–even if it is centrally located and the safest city in the U.S.

  2. Lee in Irvine

    The price on this home is like a crude joke, especially considering about 10% of the neighborhood is either delinquent or in default. I wonder if realtors disclose this info to their clients? LoL

    BTW, I kid you not, all the home-debtors below are within 500 feet of the WTF listing profiled above.

    49 Sconset Ln, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $572,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    124 Winslow Ln, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $417,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    53 Turnbury Ln, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $523,500 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    39 Darlington, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $544,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    3 Candlewood, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $755,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    Darlington, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $544,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Notice of Default.

    162 Kingswood, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $480,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    9 Blue Spruce, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $999,999 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    1102 Timberwood, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $431,200 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    618 Timberwood, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $407,200 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Pre-Foreclosure.

    Darlington, Irvine, CA? – more info »
    $544,000 0 bed 0 bath
    “This property is a Notice of Default.

  3. Alan

    “Conventional wisdom says you should not paint with “custom” colors because it turns off potential buyers.”

    That goes directly to the heart of whether or not the house is the home that you want to live in as you like, or an investment that you intend to trade. I’d say one of the main benefits of owning a house is to be able to paint, remodel, decorate it to your own tastes and interests, so that it is the place you want to come back to every day. I know a guy who put a hydraulic lift into his garage so he could better indulge his hobby of restoring old cars.

    Either paint it white when you want to sell if you think that will help, or let the bank deal with it if they foreclose.

  4. BeachRenter

    That was the single worst home description I have ever read (er. tried to decipher). English as a second language aside, USE A SPELL CHECKER and if you don’t, certainly don’t use all caps to highlight your idiocy. The house is alright but therein lies the problem in SoCal – nondescript, small, semi-attached housing is on the market for well over 1/2 million – The rest of the country still looks and laughs – Sure a lot of them would like to live here but not at this price.

    1. tonye

      Like most good chinese restaurants.. the english menu (description) is not the official one. The real menu is in chinese and you either:

      (a) are a chinese speaking chinese or
      (b) you go with a chinese speaking chinese who orders for you.

      There’s likely a real menu(description) written in Chinese for the people to whom this property is being really marketed for.

      I remember walking into the North Korean Tower sales office years ago. Most of the sales people were chinese. Real chinese who spoke poor english but -likely- great mandarin.

    2. SoOCOwner

      Looks like the description has been modified somewhat. They’ve added “TWO ATTACHED GARAGE WITH VABINETS.” Vabinets?? Maybe this is a desireable feature?

  5. Serenity Now

    The property description needs to be updated with:

    “Irvine Renter’s favorite neighborhood”

    (misspelled and in all CAPS, of course!)

      1. zubs

        I think military people write in ALL CAPS. I read a letter from Oliver North on the internet years ago and it was in all caps.

  6. tenmagnet

    $435/sq.ft for this place is a complete joke.
    FCB price?
    126 Arden, located down the street is larger and priced at $289/sq.ft.

    1. IrvineRenter

      I am pulling sales and rental comps on the Arden property for a post tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how 4.85% interest rates change the values.

      The listing agent says there are over 20 offers on the property and that it will go for over $700,000. I don’t doubt her.

      1. tenmagnet

        I could see that being the case as well.
        Either way, let’s hope it sends a message to current sellers to lower their prices.
        Unfortunately, there are still a large number of overpaying FCBs aggressively looking to buy in that area.

      2. wheresthebeef

        If these places are really fetching the mid 600K to 700K price, they are absolutely prices for perfection. There is no room for any type of price appreciation in the next decade.

        2 bed, 2 bath, tandem garage, 3300 sq ft lot. for that price is borderline insanity. I remember 8 years ago when you could get a decent SFR in Turtle Rock for under 400K (a typical rancher on a 6000 sq ft lot). What has changed so drastically in the last 8 years to justify these prices? I don’t know if there is a good answer.

  7. Gemina13

    Beautiful little home–emphasis on “little.” But I enjoy a house with color. I’ve seen a few that were as garish as a circus indoors, but–aside from a cottage in Altadena where the owner painted his hardwood floors purple, then waxed them–I enjoyed them. I wouldn’t have kept the color schemes, but they didn’t turn me off the houses. The prices did.

    Nearly $700K for a townhome. Unfrickingbelievable.

  8. IrvineRenter

    Do you want to feel the love? I just received some great fanmail from someone named brad:

    Irvine renter said “Foreign cash buyers are quite active in Northwood. They have served to keep prices elevated to WTF levels in my favorite neighborhood. 🙁 ”

    Well, maybe if you save a little and work harder to make a little more, you will be able to have the same buying power as your foreign landlord someday.

    What’s wrong with foreign buyers buying up properties that you could only dream to have? We live in a free society. You are not entitled to anything, you have to work to earn it.

    What the fuck with your shitty bitter mindset? Why don’t you produce something useful for the society so the society can reward you with a decent lifestyle? Getting up at 6AM blogging about houses you can never afford is all your pathetic life has to offer? No wonder you are a renter, section 8 perhaps?

    1. Gemina13

      I have to laugh, because it’s quite likely that “brad” doesn’t do much worthwhile either. He might just be one of the lucky English Garden-neighborhood dwellers, trying to unload his postage-stamp property for a pay-off-my-HELOC-debt-please! price.

    2. Lucky Victim

      I remember a brad in high school.. We were seniors and he was a junior. Crashed our party. Someone noticed him yanking his dingding near the pool. We all ran out at once and he jumped into the pool.. fully clothed. That’s some good quick thinking when I think back on it.

    3. norcal

      Ai yi yi. I was with Brad as long as he talked about saving, but then the ad hominem attacks (ad renterem attacks?) made him sound more whacked out. Is this NewportSkipper with a new moniker? Or do you have a lot of this sort of fan?

    4. Stan

      IR, this is a no-brainer.

      Brad must be in the business of selling insanely overpriced Irvine houses to naive foreign cash buyers. He knows that if the FCBs learn the truth from your blog his scam won’t work any more and he will have to start “producing something useful,” which he is obviously incapable of doing.

      There is nothing nastier than a scam artist in danger of losing his meal ticket.

    5. Chris

      “Well, maybe if you save a little and work harder to make a little more, you will be able to have the same buying power as your foreign landlord someday.”

      Well, not all “foreign buyers” are savers and hard workers. Some are probably Hu Jintao asskissers that have raked or funnel (legally and otherwise) millions within the party.

      There are Madoffs and Stanfords within all nationalities. Some are probably living next door to you.

  9. newbie2008

    Any analysis on the construction cost (replacement and depreciated cost) and current land price?

    The English lessons may be funny or a waste of time and effort, but those comment doesn’t change the sales price nor educate the buyer in making a good offer or foregoing an offer.

    BTW: Zion’s quality seems to be much better than most of the chain markets. I wish Zion would open a market on the south-west end of town.

  10. johny

    I also posted this on redfin:

    The fact that a 200K house in the 90’s now cost 600k or more tells you that this is not a normal r.e. market. and anything that’s abnormal will eventually corrects itself.. i.e. reversion to the mean. That’s just the way nature works. How long will it take to become normal depends on govt. intervention or lack of.

    But make no mistake, the end point will be an average house will cost approx. 3x an average income (ok, so maybe 4x average income given the “sunshine” tax we pay in CA).

    To everyone in this forum: You must be patient if you don’t want to loose your down payment. The time will eventually come.

    However, my feeling is that the housing bottom won’t come peacefully, but it only comes after a forceful shakedown of the financial market. why? because there’re just too many political hurdles for any politician who wants to do it right through legislature. In stead, the US govt. and the rest of the financial world just keep kicking the can down the road until the damp brakes. The politician will take the path of least resistance to get reelected. There’s just simply no political will to do this right since Americans just don’t have the stomach to take the short term pain in exchange for a more sensible, stable, long term economy.

    So yes, housing will be affordable but only if you survive the financial armageddon!

  11. newbie2008

    Johny, Remember that house sits on top of a whole 3,367 Sq. Ft. Lot less sidewalk, set back. You’re talking of serious $ per sf for the land.

    Check out link for some main steam press coverage of the housing market. Most TV news I hear is that we are in a recovery with increasing house prices.


    Housing Crash to Resume on 7 Million Foreclosures, Amherst Says Bloomberg article by Jody Shenn

    “Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) — The crash in U.S. home prices will probably resume because about 7 million properties that are likely to be seized by lenders have yet to hit the market, Amherst Securities Group LP analysts said.

    The “huge shadow inventory,” reflecting mortgages already being foreclosed upon or now delinquent and likely to be, compares with 1.27 million in 2005, the analysts led by Laurie Goodman wrote today in a report. Assuming no other homes are on the market, it would take 1.35 years to sell the properties based on the current pace of existing-home sales, they said. …” see link.

    Hopefully the markets will adjust to what people can afford. No more shacks and loans for 8x income.

    Jobless recovery — for whom? Check out Baltic dry shipping index to see the great EU recovery. Is there a handy and accurate US shipping index?

    Jobless recovery = lower wages, higher prices for goods, higher profit margins, more FC’s, more consolidation, leading to another round of lower wages…. Newbie2008 the new optimist hoping for less lower wages and stead income.

  12. irvine_home_owner

    Hey… FCBs don’t exist… they’re like other 3-letter acronyms that are myths: UFO, IOU, OREO (oh wait, that’s 4 letters).

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