Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Irvine Housing Blog

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A Closer Look at Irvine’s University Park Housing Market

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 05:00 AM PDT

Today we will take a look at Irvine’s University neighborhood. First, a quick observation: Like many of Irvine’s neighborhoods, University Park’s price per square foot selling price shows no consistent pattern of increase or decrease when compare to the same month last year.

Now, the numbers: University Park—September 2012:

Area List Price/# of Homes Listed Sold Price/ #Homes Sold Median List/SF Median Sold/SF % Chg Y-O-Y Sold Price/SF
Houses $675K/9 $620K/9 $324 $313 -8.70%
Condos $575K/2 $515K/1  $336  $355 9.6% 
All University Park $660K/11 $594K/10 $324 $323 -5%
All Irvine $750K/381 $530K/210 $365 $323 1.90%

The following graphs show the change in the number of University Park homes on the market (inventory), the price per square foot of University Park houses, and the price per square foot of University Park condos, respectively.

To give more meaning to these numbers and graphs, I am listing some homes that are near the bottom, top, and middle of the price range for homes in the University Park real estate market.

Note: A quick scan of the University Park listings shows that many of these homes are “sale pending.”

4042 Germainder Way

  • Single-family built in 1968
  • Beds/Baths: 3/2 (1,495 sf)
  • HOA Dues: $123/month
  • Mello Roos Tax: No
  • Price: $454,900/$304 per square foot

2 Angell

  • Single-family built in 2008
  • Beds/Baths:5/4 (3,850sf)
  • HOA Dues: $123/month
  • Mello Roos Tax: No
  • Price: $1,495,000/$388 per square foot

10 Senisa

  • Single-family built in 1966
  • Beds/Baths:3/2.5 (1,741 sf)
  • HOA Dues: $179/month.
  • Mello Roos Tax: No
  • Price: $599,500/$344 per square foot

Source: Redfin

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home Architectural Design

Home Architectural Design

Strauss Residence by Alexander Brenner Architekten

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 07:19 AM PDT

This large family house located in Stuttgart which designed by Alexander Brenner Architekten. On the front, a green structure garage clad with rough-sawn wood protecting the house. The Strauss Residence itself can be accessed via piazza. The southern basement is used as an office, whilst the two storeys above it are occupied by a family [...]

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Open House Review: 8 Sparta

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 05:00 AM PDT

Westpark Family Package
8 Sparta $658,000

Turning onto Sparta, I found two small boys playing catch in the middle of this quiet cul de sac.  Around the area neighbors were out on the sidewalk, standing and talking. 

Inside, the atmosphere was equally appealing as I surveyed the open space, sleek wood floors and vaulted ceiling.  It looks like there would be room here for special parties and family time too.

In Significant Numbers, the square footage is 1,560 sq. ft. with a lot size of 3,573. This two level, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath single family home was built in 1988. The $/sq ft. is $422 and HOA dues are $42 a month.  There is Mello Roos tax. This is a standard sale and the home has been on the market for 12 days. Note: This property is now marked as Pending.

Close Up:  The owners have bought another, but the home is still partially furnished to tell the story.  To the left of the entry, there are stairs to the 3 bedrooms and two baths.

Straight ahead, the impressive living room has a fireplace, vaulted ceilings, wood floors, crown moldings and custom draperies. 

There’s room for a comfortable dining area by the bank of windows at the back of the room.  

The adjoining area with cutout window can be a dining area or a family room. It opens to the patio and has a dramatic sweep of glass in a greenhouse window that extends from the kitchen. This open light area could be even more effective with additional outside foliage for drama and privacy.

Backing up this area, the kitchen is a sleek partner with the same wood floors, stainless appliances, a breakfast bar and upgraded granite counters and backsplash. The covered patio has a built in barbecue and raised flower beds.

Upstairs the master bedroom also has a vaulted ceiling and a spectacular shuttered window treatment.  The bathroom vanities have granite counters. There’s a two car attached garage with built-in storage cabinets, and the laundry is inside.


Specifics for this two level Mediterranean:
Bedrooms, 3
Baths, 2.5
Sq. Footage, 1.560
Lot Size, 3,573
Forced air, central air
Double attached garage
Association pool and spa
Irvine Unified School System
Gas log fireplace
Two parking spaces

What should be considered here?   This three bedroom, 2.5 bath home is new to the market and nicely situated in a quiet cul de sac.  A good use of space and an appealing floor plan with many upgrades  gives the home market energy.  Westpark’s prime schools and parks and convenient location will also play into the buyer’s choice. The lack of a downstairs bedroom, and the house and lot size will also enter into evaluations, weighed against price.

Who will choose 8 Sparta?  An active family in need of good schools and parks in a convenient, but quiet location, might settle here.  Families or couples who entertain, indoors and out, and value a convenient Irvine location will be drawn to this home.
Recent sales: 10 Alexandria sold at $710,000 in May and 17 Alexandria sold for $685,000 in May.   Recent listings: 25 La Comba is listed at $675,000; 59 Eagle Run in Woodbridge is $619,000.

Monday, October 29, 2012

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Falling Down, Falling Down

Posted: 29 Oct 2012 05:00 AM PDT

275 properties for sale as of this morning (Source: Redfin). 154 of them are Single Family Residences ranging from $424,900 to $17,750,000. Many of them are in fact detached condos, wrongly classified as Single Family Residences in the listing. The most popular search of properties within the range of $500,000 to $750,000 yields 74 properties, single family residences and condominiums included.  Inventory is low, and Irvine market seems to be picking up fast.

Here is property that was built in 1978. Let's see how this property and similar properties have reacted to the bubble, the subsequent bust and to the current low inventory.

15 Carson Irvine, CA 92602

Listing Price: $710,000
Beds/ bath: 4 Beds/ 2.5 baths
Area: 2,101 SF
Lot Size: 5,500 SF
Year Built: 1978
Property Type: Single Family Residence
Community: Northwood
Style: Two level, modern
Builder Tract Name: Shady Hollow
Builder Tract Code: SH
HOA: None listed

Property history:
September 1990: $300,000
July 2005: $720,000

Listing history:
06/26/2012: $760,000
07/18/2012: $725,000
09/14/2012: $710,000
09/14/2012: Listing Removed
09/20/2012: Listed for Sale

From the MLS pictures, it’s evident that the house needs some face lift. But in my opinion, a lot of times the MLS listing description and MLS pictures play a very important role in bringing in the customers. For this particular property, the MLS pictures are not something that you would fall in love with.

Case in point, one of the very unflattering pictures of the property:

But there are times, or rather there were times when the inventory was as low as today, and people would just buy whatever was in the market paying the listing price, sometimes paying more than the listing price, creating a bidding war. One of the Irvine Realtors says “remember, all it takes is one buyer” whenever we question the audacity of list price on certain properties. At the end of the day that is the truth - all it takes is one buyer to change the conditions for the rest in the market.

Here is the pricing history for the Shady Hollow homes with similar floor plans since 2006:

4 Lewis $640,000 (340/SF)

None of these floor plans were listed/sold during 2011, but the other floor plans ranged from $370/SF to $390/SF.

43 Lindberg $682,000 ($325/SF)
13 Fulton $725,000 (345$/SF)
6 Earhart $682,000 ($325/SF)

9 Williams $600,000 ($286/SF)
23 Muir $542,000 ($257/SF) – Lowest price
(Here is the listing: Probably the $50-$75,000 price drop is justified based on the condition of the property)
28 Fremont $650,000 ($312/SF)
4 Wright $712,000 ($338/SF)

7 Boone $759,999 ($343/SF)
49 Fulton $725,000 ($339/SF)

None of these floor plans were listed/sold during 2007, but the other floor plans ranged from $271/SF to $464/SF.

7 Lindberg $820,000 ($390/SF) – Highest price
(Here is the listing: There are no MLS pictures, but if you see the property history, it was foreclosed in March 1995 for $216, 750, changed hands for a couple of times and sold for a whopping $820,000 in March 2006)

In the 1990s, these houses sold around $252,000.
They have doubled and tripled their prices from then, but for those who bought during the bubble of 2006, things haven’t improved yet. Will the low inventory push the prices higher or not, we will see in January. In my opinion, January and the election aftermath will chart the path for housing. The new houses will see the prices rise, and but the older houses, especially the houses in El Camino and older parts of Northwood might not cash in the stabilization and rise.

What do you think?
Do you think the prices will stabilize for Northwood and El Camino?
Would you buy in these areas if you were priced out in the newer and better developed areas of Irvine? Would you pay a premium?
Are you keeping an eye on the inventory levels?

Share your views at Talk Irvine, or comment below.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

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Closed Sales from 10/18/2012 to 10/25/2012

Posted: 26 Oct 2012 09:39 AM PDT

Date Sold Address Zip Tract Sold Price Beds Sq Ft
Columbus Grove          
10/19/12 27 Juneberry 92606 Kensington Court $570,000 3 2125
El Camino Real          
10/23/12 3 Saint Paul 11 92604 Heritage Park $400,000 3 1223
10/25/12 5 Greenwood 92604 Smoketree $389,000 3 1517
10/22/12 4121 Fireside Cir 92604 Greentree $600,000 3 1800
10/22/12 6 Riveroaks 92602 Rutherford $830,000 3 2200
10/22/12 20 Inglenook 92602 Campanile $875,000 3 2460
10/25/12 19 Delano 92602 Bel Aire $935,000 5 3097
10/18/12 37 New Dawn 92620 RoseGate $2,200,000 5 4800
10/18/12 23 Ericson Aisle 92620 Northwood Villas $404,900 2 1279
10/18/12 12 Calandria 92620 Orchard Glen NW $590,000 3 1414
10/19/12 2 Mansfield Dr 92620 Mahogany $2,010,000 5 5200
10/22/12 6 Christamon W 92620 Park Place $750,000 4 2336
10/24/12 8 Leesburg 92620 Glen (NW) $553,500 3 1424
10/25/12 9 Garnet 92620 Somerton $1,400,000 5 3700
Oak Creek            
10/19/12 19 Medlar 92618 Kenwood $979,000 5 3123
10/19/12 52 Danbury Ln 92618 Cobblestone $555,000 3 1500
10/22/12 140 Tangelo 92618 Lake Condos $280,000 2 994
Portola Springs          
10/19/12 46 Wild Trails 92618 Ironwood $578,990 3 2092
Quail Hill            
10/19/12 79 Windchime 92603 Sage $520,000 3 1300
Rancho San Joaquin          
10/22/12 36 Navarre 139 92612 RSJ Villas $388,000 2 1145
Turtle Ridge          
10/18/12 56 Shade Tree 92603 Canyon's Edge $942,000 2 2330
10/22/12 216 Coral Rose 92603 Ashton Green $460,000 2 1181
Turtle Rock          
10/19/12 49 HIGHLAND VIEW 29 92603 Highlands Townhomes $462,500 2 1369
10/22/12 10 Windflower 92603 Highlands Garden $1,250,000 4 2956
10/24/12 36 Black Hawk 92603 Shady Canyon Custom $3,500,000 4 5500
10/25/12 16 Bluff View 92603 Highlands Lusk $1,955,000 5 4366
University Park          
10/19/12 2 Mimosa 92612 Terrace $580,000 3 1539
University Town Center          
10/19/12 33 Auburn Aisle 92612 Oxford Court $370,000 2 1019
10/19/12 10 Menlo Aisle 159 92612 Oxford Court $435,000 2 1350
10/22/12 3891 Blackthorn Street 92606 College Park $605,000 4 1873
10/23/12 25 New Jersey 92606 Revere $694,900 4 2100
West Irvine          
10/23/12 71 Glen Arbor 126 92602 Wisteria $570,000 4 1730
10/23/12 83 Sorenson 92602 Wisteria $470,000 2 1220
10/18/12 10 Almador 92614 Las Palmas $480,000 3 1486
10/19/12 90 Costero Aisle 284 92614 Tiempo $370,000 2 1107
10/23/12 10 Cosenza 92614 Vista West Park $730,000 4 1950
10/24/12 1 Santa Catalina Aisle 92606 Ravenna $650,000 4 1900
10/18/12 166 W Yale Loop 92604 Estates $418,000 3 1900
10/18/12 18 Woodsorrel 92604 Creekside $750,000 4 2044
10/19/12 18 Springwater 66 92604 Townhomes $450,000 2 1120
10/19/12 49 Rushingwind 29 92614 Willow Creek (WB) $725,000 3 2186
10/19/12 31 Orangegrove 92604 Grove $559,900 2 1495
10/22/12 6 Thicket #63 92614 Woodbridge Reserve $338,000 2 1098
10/24/12 34 Sparrowhawk 92604 Villager $313,000 3 1212
10/23/12 33 Hallmark 92620 La Casella $605,000 3 2090
10/23/12 32 Roycroft 92620 La Casella $830,000 4 2643

Discuss on Talk Irvine:,3235.0.html

Thursday, October 25, 2012

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Open House Review: 5 Birchwood

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 05:00 AM PDT

This week, I went to Oak Creek for the very first time.  I had seen the apartments before, but hadn’t ever explored the community of homes.  I really liked the community feel, with nice houses, lots of children playing outside, and easy access to the elementary school, parks and swimming pools.  I visited the open house at 5 Birchwood to get my first glimpse inside an Oak Creek house.

The basics:
Asking Price: $829,900
Bedrooms: 4 + bonus room
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 2,907
Lot Size: 4,300
$/Sq Ft: $285
Days on Market: 142
Property Type: Single Family Home
Year Built: 1999
Community: Oak Creek, Ashford Tract

HOA dues are $137 per month.  Mello Roos taxes are approximately $3,500 per year and are scheduled to end in 2022.

The home is located near the end of a cul-de-sac, so it was quiet and I could envision my children playing out front with their friends.  There is noise from the nearby 405 freeway, but I didn’t notice it much when I was inside and it was basically white noise that faded into the background.

I entered the house in a white tiled entryway and immediately saw the living and dining room on the right.  It’s really just one room used for both purposes, without any actual distinction between the two.  It’s not a particularly large space, but there is room for a sofa at one end and a dining table at the other.  Since many new homes these days don’t even have a formal living room, it is certainly a nice extra space to have, regardless of how you use it.  The whole room is carpeted (all the carpet in the house is new), so while it is nice in the living room, many people prefer tile or wood in the dining area.

The kitchen and family room are at the back of the house.  The kitchen shares the same white tiles as the hallway and the family room has carpet to match the living room.  With white tile counters, white appliances, and light brown cabinets, the kitchen has a clean but somewhat boring look.  The room is large with ample counter and cabinet space, plus a walk-in pantry, but it isn’t fancy in any way.  There is a breakfast bar at the counter plus a small space for a table between the kitchen and family room.

The family room has a brick fireplace at one end and a wall of windows looking out to the backyard.  Like the other rooms, it is a very generic space without any special design features, but it is clean and spacious.

The backyard is pretty small.  It has a small grassy patch (the grass has seen better days) and a tiled patio area.

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms.  The master is a big room, but doesn’t have a sitting area or retreat.  The windows face the backyard, so they point toward the freeway.  The master bath has a separate tub and small stall shower and two sinks, all done in plain white tile.  The walk-in closet is huge.

The other three bedrooms are all a good size.  Each has a sliding closet (two have three doors; one only has two doors).  They share a bathroom with two sinks and a shower/tub combo, again done in white tile.  There is also a laundry room on the second floor.

My favorite part of the home is the third story bonus room.  It runs the full length of the house and features one large room plus two small alcoves.  Neither alcove is really big enough to use as an office or exercise space, so the current owners have one set up as a closet and the other with a cozy chair.  The main room can be divided into multiple areas, making a great place for a guest bedroom, office, gym, and/or playroom.  The only negative to the room is that it was very hot.  I would install ceiling fans and make sure the windows were kept open; on particularly hot days you would definitely need to run the air conditioner.


I like 5 Birchwood for a few reasons.  First, the bedrooms are all a good size.  Second, the bonus room is a great added space.  Third, I thought the overall layout of the house worked well.  The downside is that, for a newer house, it feels very generic and boring.  It didn’t have the nice features that many new homes have, such as granite counters, crown molding, or built-ins.  Obviously, none of these are necessary and they could be added if they were truly important to the buyer.  Despite the lack of these features, the house is clean and doesn’t feel old or outdated in any way.  The owners are eager to sell and it has been on the market for a long time, so I would recommend making a lower offer.  I think this is a wonderful house for a family with young kids and it can probably be purchased for a good price.  They have already reduced from an initial asking price of $849,900 and I think it should come down even more.

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