April 9, 2009

Why be a peasant tenant, when you could be Sir Homeowner?

Egads… I have so many back-logged mails from Burbed reader Herve, it’s time for another Herve week. Here’s Day 4:

570 HILMAR St, Santa Clara, CA 95050 | MLS# 80776245
570 HILMAR St Santa Clara, CA 95050
Price: $949,000

821262788-570
Beds: 2
Baths: 1.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,708
$/Sq. Ft.: $556
Lot Size: 4,500 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Country English
Year Built: 1935
Stories: 2
Neighborhood: Santa Clara
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80776245
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 425 days
Unsold in 90 days
Country English home with storybook charm & class * Remodeled & restored (e. g. , foundation, roof, heat/AC, etc. ) * Rich architectural detail * High ceilings * Basement with interior access * Plentiful storage * 3rd bedroon suitable as office * Poetic gardens * Convenient location in gracious, strollable neighborhood * Walk to Santa Clara University and shops

Hey! It’s an East Coast-ish house here in the West Coast. It’s got a basement, it looks all Tudor-ish. Even a set back garage. Heck, if you buy this, it’d be like being a noble in England, but living in Santa Clara instead. I mean, come on! The style is even called “Country English.”

So, Sir Homeowner, what’s keeping you as peasant tenant?

The price has even been reduced! It’s now back to the price that this house was sold for in January 24, 2008. Consider it a steeaaallll, Sir Homeowner.

Comments (70) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:27 am

70 Responses to “Why be a peasant tenant, when you could be Sir Homeowner?”

  1. Herve Says:

    Its big sister is for sale too (and looks like a better deal even for $50K more). Lack of respect for both though.

  2. Joe Says:

    This home must be owned by one of those Bostonian transplants to the Bay Area. The problem with this home is it’s too uptight and proper for California! Who needs a basement in the Bay Area, what, to shelter oneself from the beautiful weather?

    Overpriced and out-of-place.

  3. nomadic Says:

    I’d love a basement. Just think of all the crap you can store down there! ;-) Hey – you could supplement your income by renting out space to store your friends crap too! And make a nice wine cellar if you’re so inclined.

  4. nomadic Says:

    I want to see the “poetic” gardens. They sure didn’t capture it in the backyard pic.

    Wouldn’t hurt to ditch that huge god-awful thing in the front entry too – can you say “claustrophobic?”

  5. A. Lewis Says:

    My wife is from the East Coast and all the housing she ever had back there had basements. She’s been disappointed how few places in CA have them.

    I get more psyched about a nice garage than a nice basement, myself, but I can certainly see the appeal. As rumpus room for the kids, or home theater, it’s a great location for many homes for that.

    I’d consider it a big plus on any home I was looking at, all else being equal.

    You can also hide the bodies there.

  6. anon Says:

    I’ve seen this house many times and every time I laugh. Does anyone remember when I was ranting about homes that languish on the market at WTF prices? Well, this particular house was one of the ones that triggered that. What fun to have it featured on burbed.

    Let’s take a closer look at this thing. There is tons of deferred maintenance. If you look at it from the outside, the thing is quite literally falling apart. I guess that’s part of the charm.

    The owner appears to be from the east coast iirc based on propertyshark information. George something? I’m too lazy to look it up.

    It’s been on the market 425 days. That’s four hundred twenty five days. More than a fricken year. No price drop. Hold your breath, sir home owner – the market turnaround is just around the corner. Keep bleeding cash – you shouldn’t have to sell for a loss…

    And, the best part – as we all know – is the fact that you can get to the basement from the inside! wowzers! I’ve never seen that in the bay area before…

    Sir homeowner, your house is trash.

    You’ll be lucky to pay someone to take it off your hands.

  7. steve Says:

    no time for detailed analysis, but I just took a look at Juliana Lee’s March report, and I’m stunned. Palo Alto inventory is piling up at historic rates, houses between 1.4 and 2M no longer sell in MP, and Los Altos prices have truly fallen off a cliff (comps seem to be down 25% down YOY).

    There are some very nice houses that continue to sit on the market, and I must admit I’ve been tempted, but it would be foolish to think about buying right now. March was a complete disaster (look at the in contract numbers), and with rumored jumps in jumbo rates “coming soon” I don’t see how things can stabilize anytime soon.

    alarmist, drug-smoking steve signing out…

    ps, another great house, herve. perhaps anon should be writing the MLS blurbs for these treasures.

    pps, well, that stress test exercise was fun. I’m glad we discovered that all 19 banks are solid as long as they have unlimited access to the taxpayer bailout funds. nice.

  8. nomadic Says:

    Funny that it’s been on the market since it last sold. Then again, based on PropertyShark it looks like George bought the little wife (er, EX-wife?) out of it for $950k and promptly put it back up for sale a couple weeks later for $995k. OOPS! They bought the place jointly for $700k in 2004.

    Yes, anon, he lives in PA according to the records. Odd that it looks like it’s falling down on the outside since it was “Remodeled & restored.”

  9. nomadic Says:

    Steve? Have you already seen this $2M cubical house in Palo Alto?

    http://www.zanemacgregor.com/properties/2009/hawthorne_167/167hawthorne.html

  10. steve Says:

    nomadic, I didn’t go to the open house. I was curious , but given the proximity to the train and the lot size, I determined there was no way I’d buy it for 1.5 let alone 1.9, so I scratched it from the list. However, I have walked by it several times.

  11. Real Estater Says:

    #6,

    Wow, anon can actually write longer posts.

  12. Real Estater Says:

    #7,

    Another dramatic report from Steve. I’d actually be excited if I didn’t know any better.

  13. steve Says:

    RE, which of my statements do you disagree with? I’m happy to consider any evidence you have to suggest that:

    1) Palo Alto inventory is not piling up
    2) the 1.4-2M market is Menlo Park is not historically slow
    3) or that prices are not down 25% for the heart of the LA market

    As I said, I only took a quick look, so maybe I misread the data. So, please explain why you know better. Unfortunately, I suspect that you will not respond with data and you will dodge and ignore, as you often do when presented with facts that don’t fit your fantasies.

  14. anon Says:

    “Wow, anon can actually write longer posts.”

    Huh? I’ve eviscerated you with long posts and I’ve destroyed you with short posts.

    Besides – you don’t know how many anons there are.

  15. anon Says:

    Come on excreter, post more.

    I miss shitting on your credibility.

  16. A. Lewis Says:

    #7, Steve: good post.

    You know I’M a believer that this hallowed RBA haven you are talking about is finally walking off a cliff, but I bet plenty of people are skeptical.

    So let’s try to find contrary evidence. Are there still examples of properties that sold since Jan. 1st, 2009, which showed appreciation since 2006 prices? That set new comps in their neighboorhood in terms of price/sqft?

    You know, anecdotal evidence that prices are still going UP in some special RBA neighborhoods. I guess it’s hard to prove that a price on one single house has gone up in the last two years (because there are so few flips in the RBA). But hey, maybe they’re out there – or at least 3 year flips.

    I’d like to see the last surviving corner of the RBA – show me the best, non-Burbed type houses that are still commanding top prices, and selling at a handsome profit for the sellers.

    We need to know the sold price, and it has to be an arms-length transaction.

  17. Real Estater Says:

    A. Lewis makes some good points. Steve is looking at things from angles that align with his personal hypothesis. If you truly analyze the homes on the market, there are very few deals out there, and homes are selling at a good if not spectacular rate. Much of that inventory in PA is not “buyable” to him (or to me). Prices are not down 25% in “the heart of LA”. Steve finds one or two properties with specific issues and extrapolates to the general market.

  18. zanon Says:

    RE: You are right — the market is SOOO complicated.

    Check this place out:
    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/14790-Manuella-Rd-Los-Altos-CA-94022/19526723_zpid/
    Originally listed in 2007 for $15M
    $10M asking price
    $3M zestimate
    Last sold in 1998 for $2M
    DOM — almost 2 years.

    Does that say RBA or what? Look at the dedication!

  19. Real Estater Says:

    zanon,

    That’s just another example of irrelevant data point. A $10M house is simply not part of the LA market. Steve will look at the price drop, and delcare Los Altos market is down by 33%.

  20. Pralay Says:

    Another dramatic report from Steve. I’d actually be excited if I didn’t know any better.
    ———

    Translation: F***, I have no answer.

  21. Pralay Says:

    and homes are selling at a good if not spectacular rate. Much of that inventory in PA is not “buyable” to him (or to me).
    ———-

    If homes are selling at “spectacular rate” why inventory is so high at PA?

  22. Pralay Says:

    To understand what RealEstater means by “sepctacular rate” I went back one of the old threads where some of the Palo Alto properties were discussed. There, RealEstater showed 1227 FULTON St (2nd link in the post) to demonstrate “no downturn here”. How ironic! The property is still in market with description “PRICE JUST REDUCED!!!!”. :(

  23. steve Says:

    nicely done, pralay!

    RE, now that your taxes are done, it is great to see you back in full trollish form — dodging, ignoring, inventing, distorting and refusing to deal with specifics, as predicted. I suggest you embrace A Lewis’ challenge and focus on unimproved apples and comparable sales. You might learn some things about a market suffering from the beauty pagent effect. Heck, you might even convince me that those 2000-2004 prices I am seeing with increasing frequency are once-in-a-lifetime anomolies and I better buy now.

    I’d also suggest you read today’s IHB. It’s packed with great advice on how to value a home, and both buyers and sellers should understand its message:

    http://www.irvinehousingblog.com/blog/comments/149900-and-falling/

    btw, how did unlce sam treat you this year? great, I would imagine, since all your income is completely sheltered.

  24. Pralay Says:

    Prices are not down 25% in “the heart of LA”.
    ——-

    You mean Real LA, right?

  25. Pralay Says:

    btw, how did unlce sam treat you this year? great, I would imagine, since all your income is completely sheltered.
    —-

    LOL! Steve, when you are talking about RealEstater’s fictitious finance, you need to be tolerant enough about all the contradictions.

  26. DreamT Says:

    #23 – Nice to see IHB’s front page featuring one of my all-time favorite songs (Skeletons of Society)

  27. Pralay Says:

    Nobody is taking the “great deal” at PA.

  28. Pralay Says:

    Addition to #22:

    1252 Cedar St: Listed for $1588K, Sold for $1300K.

  29. zanon Says:

    RE: I never claimed it was a $10M property. Just like it proved not to be a $15M property.

    It will be whatever it sells for. My point was that it’s been sitting for over 600 days on the market. 600 days! RBA is where the sellers never have to sell.

  30. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>How ironic! The property is still in market with description “PRICE JUST REDUCED!!!!”.

    Great. Does that mean it’s in your range now?

  31. Pralay Says:

    Let’s look at PA graph here for Feb data:

    When was the PA inventory so high (124) before Feb 2009? Not in last ten years.

    When was number of sale (14) so low before Feb 09? Not in last ten years.

  32. shelby Says:

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/apa/1115287296.html

    perfect for a exec or couple!!!

    yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

  33. nomadic Says:

    zanon (#19) – that house was BUILT in 2007. Sales price before that isn’t exactly relevant. The price cut is juicy though!

  34. nomadic Says:

    Here’s “proof” (well, maybe on RE’s planet) that the Los Altos market is alive & well! How about 24% appreciation in just two years?!

    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Los-Altos/12871-Atherton-Ct-94022/home/641739

    At the original list price, it would have been 37% but I’m sure they realized they were just being greedy.

  35. anon Says:

    Yes. Many sellers realize they are being greedy and reduce their begging prices accordingly.

  36. steve Says:

    steve quoting steve on RE: Unfortunately, I suspect that you will not respond with data and you will dodge and ignore, as you often do when presented with facts that don’t fit your fantasies.

    RE responding to steve and his own works as discovered by search guru pralay: [silence]

    Yep, just as I thought. All hat, no cattle.

  37. anon Says:

    A true coward.

  38. david Says:

    i live on the east coast (boston) and haven’t seen houses like this here. is this what commenters think east coast houses look like? where (outside of mcmansions in NJ) are there houses like this one? and basements aren’t really an important part of architectural style. this house is a mishmash of “old world” styles, french country w/ a dash of tudor; each window is cribbed from a different house. imho the stereotypical “east coast” style is colonial, which is simple and symmetrical, or at least stylistically cohesive.

  39. zanon Says:

    NOMADIC: Yeah, doesn’t that just make it weirder though? They buy what is probably an OK house for $2M, spend several years building a crazy japanese style mansion, and then list for $15M. Wait 300 days. List for $10M. Wait 300 days. etc…

    Are builders that dumb?

    As for the juicy $5M price cut, if they had first listed for $20M and cut to $10M, would that make it more of a bargain??

  40. Real Estater Says:

    The stock market, being a forward looking indicator, is showing that recovery is just ahead. The employment numbers is a lagging indicator, and will likely remain weak for a couple more quarters.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh off a foreign trip heavily focused on global economic troubles, President Barack Obama is getting together with his top economic advisers as the U.S. recession shows signs of abating.

  41. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    >>When was the PA inventory so high (124) before Feb 2009? Not in last ten years.

    So what’s your point? Talking about raw data without analysis is useless.

  42. Lionel Says:

    “The stock market, being a forward looking indicator, is showing that recovery is just ahead. The employment numbers is a lagging indicator, and will likely remain weak for a couple more quarters.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh off a foreign trip heavily focused on global economic troubles, President Barack Obama is getting together with his top economic advisers as the U.S. recession shows signs of abating.”

    As a rebuttal, I borrow the words of Tyler Durden over at zerohedge…

    Tyler Durden said…
    you are correct that it is about perception. let’s rewind a month ago when the perception was 180 degrees of what it seems to be today. what has changed in the interim? nothing about the macro economy, nothing about collapsing trade, nothing about plunging cash generation from Commercial Real Estate loans and CMBS, nothing about europe which is a powder keg, nothing about skyrocketing foreclosures which the banks are merely holding onto in hope housing picks up.

    what has changed: banks “profitability” – the non recurring nature of their gains will become more and more evident as treasuries keep falling, pushing agencies higher and mortgage loans to pre QE levels, making refis more problematic, and with fewer AIG mass unwind “kisses” the non-mortgage banks will be stuck to generating trading revenue the old fashioned way as IB revenues are dead (talk to any M&A or underwriting banker and see what they do all day).

    – the stimulus plan? TALF is already a disappointment and an overkill at that, PPIP is the next overhyped shoe to drop.

    – the deficit? well, nothing much needed to be said here except that the Fed’s balance sheet will soon get so hot from monetizing debt that if the “mass cash” on the sidelines really jumps in we will get hyperinflation much sooner than the Fed can deal with it.

    – consumer spending and savings? probably the biggest nut. at this rate consumers merely gauge their spending power by their 401(k). it is not for nothing that i invoke the magical powers of the PPT to make it seem to ordinary middle class investors that they should go out and spend like it is 2007 all over again.

    my bottom line: a problem beget by overleveraging and overspending can not be solved by overleveraging and overspending. It can, as you say, delay the final outcome, which will merely be much more pronounced when it does come. In the meantime can the S&P hit 900? 1000? go back to all time highs? who knows – everything is possible as investors flip cause and effect in the market and determine by looking at the Dow that the economy is saved.

    http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/

  43. zanon Says:

    Stock market rally is all about banks making money. This is not surprising given the amount of taxpayer $ that’s been pumped into them. Also, the gift of ZIRP means they borrow at nada and lend, at high rates, to the very best of credit risks. Spreads are killer in banking right now, and they are minting money.

    I went long financials a couple of months ago, and have been very pleased. If I lived in NYC, I’d be hopeful.

    Out here in PA… it’s all not so much. Welcome to the Obamaboom everyone! Rich bankers, 10% unemployment and rising. Yes we can!

  44. steve Says:

    I shouldn’t be, but I am still amazed that, in our hyper-partisan world, we are willing to bow and scrape before our Wall St masters in such a non-partisan fashion. Yes we can, indeed.

  45. Pralay Says:

    So what’s your point? Talking about raw data without analysis is useless.
    ——

    LOL! After “useless aggregate data”, now useless raw data.

    And of course you got to be wondering about our RealEstater’s “analysis”. Oh, that would be just based on “well attended” open houses. After lots of analyses he figured that those open houses are attended by “not just by neighbors”. Now that’s called Real data of Real Bay Area.

  46. zanon Says:

    It *is* totally shocking, steve

  47. nomadic Says:

    Yes, zanon (#39) it does make it very weird.

    As for the juicy $5M price cut, if they had first listed for $20M and cut to $10M, would that make it more of a bargain??

    I didn’t mean “juicy” as in a bargain. LOL. Just juicy as in a large sum. Just how the heck do they do comps on houses like this anyway? Did the original price come from thin air?

  48. nomadic Says:

    Lionel, you’re absolutely right (or the blogger is :-) ), the rally is all about perception. Just because Wells Fargo posted a nice profit doesn’t mean WaMu/Chase and BofA don’t have a million bad mortgages to write off. The fundamentals are still bleak. Here’s a nice commentary I found last night. Appropriately titled “Happy days are here again? Really?”

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/09/markets/thebuzz/index.htm?section=money_markets

  49. anon Says:

    Question of the day:

    How does an entity that requires billions in government bailout money post a “profit”?

  50. nomadic Says:

    Wells Fargo didn’t get any bailout money, from what I recall. They’re the ones who stepped up to say they’d buy ALL of Wachovia without government assistance. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  51. vtek Says:

    #50, you’re wrong on both counts. Here’s an news except about the bailout that Wells Fargo received.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/09/eveningnews/main4788018.shtml

    Meridith Whitney, a former analyst for Oppenheimer Funds said that the reason why banks posted first quarters gain is because FASB agreed to drop the liquidity discount rule which allows bank to mark up their illiquid assets. This is a temporary gain. Wait until the end of this month when the results of the stress test come out. We could be seeing some big banks going down. I could be missing something else here. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  52. nomadic Says:

    Interesting article! Thanks, vtek.

    I guess the answer to anon’s question is “that’s your tax dollars hard at work!” (cough, cough)

  53. Pralay Says:

    Follow up from #31.

    Yesterday I mentioned Feb 2009 chart. March 2009 chart is published today.

    Feb inventory: 124, Number of sale: 14
    March inventory: 140, Number of sale: 24

    Now that’s called selling homes in “spectacular rate”.

  54. burbed Says:

    @38 david:

    My apologies if I’ve offended anyone in Boston. I saw The Departed a few times. I don’t want any trouble here…

  55. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    We can all check websites and read charts, but what is your point?

  56. anon Says:

    try to interpret the charts. therein lies your answer.

  57. steve Says:

    without presuming to speak for Pralay, I believe the point was that your criticism of comment #7 was baseless. furthermore, sharply rising inventory and rapidly declining sales are leading indicators of collapsing prices.

    feel free to educate us, though. we are all still waiting for you to back up your meaningless conclusions with any data (raw, aggregate or anecdotal).

  58. Pralay Says:

    <i.We can all check websites and read charts, but what is your point?
    —–

    Homes are selling at “spectacular rate”. ;)

  59. Real Estater Says:

    >>furthermore, sharply rising inventory and rapidly declining sales are leading indicators of collapsing prices.

    Is that your point, Pralay? Basically, continuation of “Palo Alto is going to fall any minute now”?

  60. Real Estater Says:

    Steve says,
    >>feel free to educate us, though.

    Before I can educate you, I need to understand what is your position. I’ve heard your position, but I’m still waiting for a straight answer from Pralay.

  61. Pralay Says:

    we are all still waiting for you to back up your meaningless conclusions with any data (raw, aggregate or anecdotal).
    ——-

    Don’t worry. Pretty soon he will come up with visitor statistics of some “well attended” open houses. Nothing could be more reliable that this stat.

    SP/LP numbers? That’s so old and obsolete method of measuring market condition.

    Price per square foot? That’s obsolete measurement too.

    Low inventory to sustain price? That’s obsolete too.

    Now all the matter is number of visitors. That’s the New Method to measure market condition invented by New Chuck Norris.

  62. Pralay Says:

    Is that your point, Pralay? Basically, continuation of “Palo Alto is going to fall any minute now”?
    —–

    To achieve credibility, don’t you think you should point to the post where exact quote has been said?

  63. Pralay Says:

    Before I can educate you, I need to understand what is your position. I’ve heard your position, but I’m still waiting for a straight answer from Pralay.
    —–

    LOL! So typical of RealEstater – “I am not going to answer Steve unless I hear Pralay’s answer of my trollish question.” :)

  64. Pralay Says:

    Meanwhile, do you guys remember “happiest place on earth” – a place of “no recession, no layoffs, no downturn, no hurricane, no snow”?

  65. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,

    >>1252 Cedar St: Listed for $1588K, Sold for $1300K.

    You mean that 989 sq. ft. house only sold for $1314/sq. ft? That’s more than “peak” price for 94301.

  66. anon Says:

    “Before I can educate you, I need to understand what is your position. I’ve heard your position, but I’m still waiting for a straight answer from Pralay.”

    Translation:

    Before I can do X, I need Y. I do not have Z therefore, I cannot do Y.

  67. Pralay Says:

    You mean that 989 sq. ft. house only sold for $1314/sq. ft? That’s more than “peak” price for 94301.
    —-

    Isn’t that cute? First RealEstater says “well worth buying at $1606/sq. ft. due to the precious lot size. It seems buyer did not feel the same way and gave a lowball offer (and seller took it in no time). Now RealEstater is talking about $1606/sq. ft. $1314/sq. ft.

  68. zanon Says:

    RE is not a troll. He’s a gem.

  69. Pralay Says:

    RE is not a troll. He’s a gem.
    —–

    Especially his brain – solid rock. I don’t think anybody can disagree on it. :)

  70. Pralay Says:

    Translation:

    Before I can do X, I need Y. I do not have Z therefore, I cannot do Y.
    —-

    Well, that’s just a “well rounded” logical flaw by someone who lives around smart people.


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