February 26, 2012

Fine for appropriating a non-RBA house: $1,895

Restitution ordered for man convicted of stealing house

120224-tate-courtBy JESSICA M. PASKO – Santa Cruz Sentinel, Posted:   02/03/2012 02:06:34 PM PST

Photo at right: Raymond Tate (on right), convicted house thief, appearing in court with attorney Steve LeBerge, in 2009.  (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ – A Santa Cruz man convicted in 2010 of stealing a Ben Lomond home will have to pay $1,895 in restitution to the rightful owners, a judge ruled Friday.

Raymond Tate sentenced in May 2010 to five months in County Jail and three years’ probation for felony charges of filing false property records and conspiracy. According to court records, Tate was able to use a typographical error on the deed for a Hubbard Gulch Road to pose as the owner of the house and file false documents with the county recorder to support his case.

While the rightful owners were on vacation in 2009, Tate sold the home to someone else. When the owners returned, they found their belongings moved to the garage, the locks changed and a stranger living in their house. The occupant, Daniel Judd, said he bought the house from Tate and later admitted he was part of the plot to take the home. Judd is currently on probation in Santa Clara County.

Burbed will take a hard-hitting stand in opposition to house theft, whether or not in the Real Bay Area.  However, we are obligated to point out the advantages of owning an RBA house, should you be so unfortunate as to find it stolen.  There is absolutely no way that someone guilty of grand theft housing (as opposed to this petty larceny) would be given such a slap on the wrist.  Read further into this story, and you will discover that the legal owners of the house claimed $5,700 in actual damages.  The reduced amount awarded no doubt reflects the non-RBA discount applied to all homes that are not Special enough.

120224-hubbard-gulchThis is the house in question, in case you have any concerns about its worthiness.  It’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath red-tag special, for which the proper owners paid $50,000 for in 2007.  It was also sliding down a hill.  Perhaps it was not sliding when the previous owners paid $130,000 for it just two years earlier.

The disputed house on Hubbard Gulch Road (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

You won’t learn this in the article above, which is woefully deficient in what is otherwise a fascinating story.  But The Sentinel does list several of its previous articles covering all the house wrangling.  Click on through for a twisty little maze of real estate fraud.


Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

May 14, 2009

Santa Cruz is the 4th most unaffordable! 3rd for rent!

Despite falling prices, homeownership out of reach for many – Santa Cruz Sentinel
SANTA CRUZ — Even though the median home price dropped 37 percent last year, Santa Cruz County remains unaffordable for many first-time buyers.

Santa Cruz County is the fourth most expensive place in the nation to buy a home after San Francisco, New York and San Jose, according to Paycheck to Paycheck, a study released Thursday by the Center for Housing Policy, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. The county also was found to be the third most expensive place in the U.S. to rent after San Francisco and Honolulu.

Locally, the median price of a single-family home plummeted from $630,000 in 2007 to $400,000 in 2008, but homeownership is still out of reach for households with income under $130,000, according to the center’s calculations. Meanwhile, a two-bedroom rental cost $1,590 a month on average.



Rank, 2008 Two-bedroom rental, 2008 Rank, 2007
1 San Francisco, $1,658 1
2 Honolulu, $1,631 11
3 Santa Cruz County, $1,590 6
Median home
Rank, 2008 price, 2008 Rank, 2007 price, 2007
1 San Francisco, $575,000 1 $770,000
2 New York, N.Y., $455,000 7 $525,000
3 San Jose, $410,000 2 $649,000
4 Santa Cruz County, $400,000 3 $630,000
Tie Honolulu, $400,000 18 $409,000
SOURCE: Center for Housing Policy

Congrats to Santa Cruz!

Is it any wonder? With its beautiful, warm, beaches, its thriving high tech high income economy, is it any wonder why Santa Cruz is right up there?

I can list 10 reasons why everyone would want to live in Santa Cruz (assuming they couldn’t live in the Real Bay Area). Can’t you?

Comments (33) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:16 am

March 23, 2008

Santa Cruz is saved – because people can’t afford to leave

Housing slump keeps people in Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Fewer people are fleeing the once prohibitively expensive coastal reaches of Northern California, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Thursday.

Santa Cruz County was among a number of greater San Francisco Bay Area counties that saw more U.S. residents staying put last year than any time since 2001.

For an explanation, observers say look no further than slumping home sales and slipping economic opportunity.

“For people to leave the most desirable areas, there has to be motivation to go, like jobs and housing,” said Jim Chubb, a loan broker at Pacific Inland Finance in Soquel. “With the economy shrinking, that hasn’t happened.”


In Santa Cruz County, the number of U.S. residents moving out between July 2006 and July 2007 is still greater than the number moving in, by 1,977, according to the census report. But that’s just two thirds of how many left the year before and half of how many left the year before that.


Congrats! Santa Cruz is saved! Because people can’t leave as fast anymore! Hah! It’s probably the Mystery Spot that keeps pulling them back in!

More good news!

Median home price rebounds to $682,500

The median sales price for a single-family home in Santa Cruz County rebounded to $682,500 in February, up from $599,000 in January.

The median is the mid-spending point of what sold, and in February, typically a slow month, 70 homes sold. That’s the fewest number of February sales in 11 years, according to Gary Gangnes of Real Options Realty, who attributes the uptick from January to the change in the mix of sales.

Properties under $500,000 accounted for 19 percent of sales in February, down from 33 percent in January while the high end of the market sprang back into action.

Properties selling for more than $1 million accounted for 24 percent of the sales in February, up from 14 percent in January.

Three oceanview homes in Aptos were the most expensive homes sold: 940 Via Malibu, $2.6 million, 278 Beach Drive, $2.6 million, and 313 Kingsbury Drive, $2.4 million.

And if those homes sold for those prices, just imagine how much the house you buy in Santa Cruz will sell for tomorrow. It’s called leverage and OPM (Other People’s Money). A $500k loan could be worth $2.4 million tomorrow

Is missing out on this opportunity something you can afford?

Didn’t think so! Now’s the perfect time to buy, as usual!

(Thanks to Burbed reader Scott!)

Comments (8) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:22 am

January 5, 2008

Santa Cruz to bypass housing woes

SantaCruzSentinel.com – Top Stories
Santa Cruz County is expected to bypass the statewide housing trends in 2008.

Alan Nevin, economist for the California Building Industry Association, said his statewide prediction for smaller homes and lower prices might come true in San Luis Obispo but not in Santa Cruz.

“The problem in Santa Cruz is supply,” said Jeff Becker of DMB Associates in Hollister and association chairman. “You’re not going to see smaller homes there at lower prices. Builders can build larger and always have a buyer.”

Thanks to Burbed reader Scott for sending this in.

Personally, there was never a doubt in my mind that Santa Cruz would buck the housing woes trend. After all, it’s got the Mystery Spot and the world famous beaches – foreigners of all stripes with their powerful currencies are flocking here to buy up second homes and villas to retire to.

Congrats Santa Cruz on these great prognostications from those in the RE business!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:52 am

April 14, 2007

Higher prices are better for buyers in Santa Cruz

Burbed Reader Scott sent me this note today:

Thought you might like this latest piece of illogic from Santa Cruz, that it’s in the interest of the buyer for prices to remain high (see midway through the article):

Let’s take a look at the article…

Median home price up to $747,000 – By JONDI GUMZ – Sentinel staff writer – April 13, 2007
Why don’t sellers simply lower the price? Because that doesn’t help the buyer as much financially.

Here’s why.

Say a buyer wants a condo priced at $500,000 and plans to put 10 percent down. That’s $50,000 out of pocket. The closing costs, which include loan fees, interest, taxes, title insurance, appraisal and recording fees, may run another $7,000.

If the seller dropped the price by $7,000 to $493,000, the buyer would save only $700, having to come up with a down payment of $49,300. Plus $7,000 in closing costs.

“It’s a way to help buyers get in when they’re short of cash,” Gangnes said.

Well that does seem a little fishy… Scott explains why:

No mention about property tax or the mortgage amount for that matter.  We’re also taught that months of supply is the only factor determining price. I’ve told this Jondi Gumz reporter to stop using Realtor Gary Gangnes as her “authoritative” source of info, but it’s ovbioujsly to no avail.

So I guess it’s a great time to buy in Santa Cruz, with prices at a record high then it’s really, really good for the buyer!

Oh come on Scott- don’t you know? It’s always a good time to buy or sell real estate!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 3:26 pm

February 20, 2007

"As We See It: No housing collapse here" in Santa Cruz

As We See It: No housing collapse here – – – February 19, 2007
Some who aren’t in the housing market are waiting patiently for prices to come down to an affordable price. Of course, people’s idea of “affordable” can have a big range.

But so far, we don’t see a collapse in prices coming. And without that, we also feel confident that businesses connected to real estate will continue without major problems.

Nationwide, and even statewide, the story might be different. But when you’re talking about the coast of California, don’t expect real estate prices to bottom out.

Thanks to Burbed Reader Scott for sending this one in.

Indeed, Santa Cruz is pretty special – perhaps if you spend enough time at the Mystery Spot, this opinion piece and its lack of economic backing will make sense.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:34 am