Thursday, January 31, 2013

Irvine Housing Blog

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Open House Review: 8 Cove

Posted: 31 Jan 2013 04:00 AM PST

This week I visited a townhouse in Woodbridge’s gated Arborlake community.  At 2700 square feet, it is bigger than many townhomes; however, the layout is so confusing that all of the families touring it when I was there (three others) couldn’t figure out how it all fit together.

The basics:
Asking Price: $749,900
Bedrooms: 4 + extra room
Bathrooms: 3
Square Footage: 2,700
Lot Size: N/A
$/Sq Ft: $278
Days on Market: 22
Property Type: Attached Townhouse
Year Built: 1978
Community: Woodbridge

HOA dues are $497 per month and there are no Mello Roos taxes.

This townhouse has its own two-car garage facing the street and a gate leading to a private courtyard as you enter the property.  The courtyard is large, with two separate stairways leading up to the building, causing many of the visitors (including me) to think it was a shared space leading to multiple units.  However, both stairways lead to this home – the front one is the main entry and the one on the side leads to some of the bedrooms.

The main entry features a wall of windows and, as soon as you go inside, a newly-tiled travertine staircase takes you up to the first floor of the house.  The living room is at the top of the stairs.  A fireplace is surrounded by frosted glass half-walls that overlook the entry.  On the opposite side of the room, sliding doors lead out to a long balcony that runs the entire length of the unit.  The balcony overlooks the sports fields of Lakeside Middle School so, while it is a nice view, I imagine it gets noisy on school days.

The living room flows into the dining room, which has space for a large table and a huge window looking out to the balcony.  A wetbar with granite counters and white cupboards line another wall.

A door from the dining room leads into the eat-in area of the kitchen, which has more sliding doors to the balcony.  This space is so large that it needs to be filled with more than just a table to avoid looking empty.  It could serve as a casual family room, a replacement for the formal dining room (freeing up that space instead), an office, etc.  The kitchen has been recently remodeled, with granite counters and white cupboards matching those in the dining room.  It features stainless steel appliances and travertine floors matching the entryway.  It is a good size and well-laid out, with a small window to bring in some light.

Next to the kitchen is a laundry room (no sink) and, across from that, a small bathroom with a single sink and a small stall shower.  The downstairs hallway has a coat closet and two sets of floor-to-ceiling linen cupboards.  At the end of the hall is the first bedroom, currently set up as an office.  Big double doors lead into the average-sized room.  It has a small closet, a window overlooking the courtyard, and a door out the back.

A back door from the office leads to the side stairway that I originally saw from the courtyard.  It has stairs going both up and down, as well as a door across the hall, which is why so many of us were confused and thought there were multiple units.  The door across the hall actually leads to another large room that is part of the same house, but not accessible from the inside at all.  It has a sloped ceiling that is very low on one side and a couple of big storage closets, that aren’t fully finished and have lower ceilings.  The carpet was very dirty and would have to be replaced.  This room could make a great home office, especially for someone who saw clients and needed a truly private space.  A skylight helps to brighten the room.

The upper floor of the house is accessible from the outside stairwell and from an inside staircase in the main hallway.  There are three bedrooms, including the master, and an additional bathroom.  The two secondary bedrooms are a good size, one with bigger windows and a bigger closet.  Both have standard, 6-paneled door closets.  The bathroom they share has only one sink and a shower/tub combo.  One of them has a door leading out to the side stairwell.

The master bedroom is big, with vaulted ceilings and a large balcony overlooking the middle school.  The bathroom has travertine floors, granite counters, and two sinks.  It also has a large bathtub, with a showerhead as well, but it lacks doors or even a curtain rod, so something would have to be installed to use it as a shower.  The master has two large closets (neither is a walk-in).

The parts of the house that have been remodeled are really well done.  However, the carpet throughout the house is dirty and definitely needs to be replaced.  The side stairwell is also grungy and, since it does only belong to this unit, I would probably clean it up and make it nicer.  The garage is extra long, so there is plenty of space for storage or a work area; however, it doesn’t have direct access to the house (only to the courtyard).  

The windows are original and most don’t have any sort of window treatment, so people at the middle school would easily be able to see in the large, rear-facing windows.  There are other units on both sides, so several of the rooms, including most bedrooms), share walls with the neighbors.  The HOA fees are astronomical.  On the plus side, it’s incredibly large for a townhouse, has an association pool, and is extremely close to the North Lake Beach Club and lagoon area.  The strange layout and high HOA fees would keep me from making an offer, so I am curious to see how long this one stays on the market.

6 properties, not yet on MLS

Posted: 30 Jan 2013 11:05 PM PST

If interested, contact Shevy at or 949-769-1599.

1) Marbella, Irvine
ready 2/7/13, make  your offer today

2) Keller, Santa Ana (southcoast metro)
rehab finish date 2/15/13

3) North View, Anaheim Hills
Eviction stage (do not disturb occupant)

4) Hoover, Buena Park
eviction stage  (do not disturb occupant)
350 ft addition from MLS listing

5) Las Solanas, Westminster
1st of March
625k or 585k as-is

6) Rain Tree, Laguna Hills
590k or 560k as is

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Element Workshops Cancelled, But Stay Tuned

Posted: 30 Jan 2013 04:00 AM PST

If you were planning on going to this week’s public workshops on the update for Irvine housing policies and goals, don’t. According to Irvine’s website, they have been postponed:

“The Housing Element Public Workshops scheduled for January 28 and January 30 at the Irvine Civic Center have been postponed. Notice will be posted once the workshop dates have been rescheduled. For more information, please contact Amy Mullay, Senior Planner at 949-724-7454 or email” –City of Irvine Website

If you are reading this after the fact, my regrets. But if this is something that you are interested in, you now have more time to inform yourself and plan ahead. 

The update to the Irvine housing goals and policies is a state requirement. The document produced is called the housing element. The next housing element that the city council adopts will set Irvine’s housing policy through much of 2021; therefore, it is worthwhile to put in your two-cents worth when this planning cycle come around. I will be watching for the new dates and putting in my two-cents worth as time and information availability allow.

Here is the definition of the housing element from the state website:

 “State law recognizes the vital role local governments play in the supply and affordability of housing. Each governing body (City Council or Board of Supervisors) of a local government in California is required to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the city, city and county, or county. The housing element is one of the seven mandated elements of the local general plan. Housing element law, enacted in 1969, mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. The law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address housing needs and demand, local governments must adopt land use plans and regulatory systems which provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development. As a result, housing policy in the State rests largely upon the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements. Housing element law also requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) review local housing elements for compliance with State law and to report its written findings to the local government.”

And to brush up on matters related to the housing element, here are some past posts concerning the Irvine Housing Element:

·       Council Members Differ on Inclusion of Set-Aside in Housing Element

·       What is the Condition of Irvine’s Housing Stock?

·       How Healthy is Irvine’s Housing Ladder

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Open House Review: 10 Morning Glory

Posted: 29 Jan 2013 04:00 AM PST

Turtle Rock Peters View Townhome
10 Morning Glory - $1,099,000

Winding up the hill and turning onto Morning Glory I discovered another special spot in Turtle Rock.  Having just seen a single family home at 14 Hillgrass, a short distance away I was wondering how this home would compare.

The answer was obvious, from the secluded location to the elegant interior and splendid views this Peters View home on Morning Glory competes quite well.

Significant Numbers: New to the market, this 3 bedroom, two bath split level single family townhome is 1,998 sq. ft. on a 7,182 sq. ft. lot with city lights and hill views. Built in 1979, the HOA dues are $379. The $/sq.ft. is $550. There is no Mello Roos and this is a standard sale.

Close-Up: A dramatic entry and living room with two story ceilings, sleek fireplace, and light filled windows easily commands attention.  The home is vacant but the floor plan and dynamic design is a winner and it is easy to imagine the flow of a party around the brick floored atrium or festive dinners in the formal dining room. Plantation shutters, ceramic tile, carpet and marble flooring are all effectively used.

The kitchen is remodeled with maple cabinets, pull out drawers, granite counters and a breakfast bar. There is also a garden window with a view. The family room with built-ins, and atrium complete the flow of the split level floor plan. There is also an enclosed patio.

There are two main floor bedrooms with bathroom. Upstairs there is a private master suite with double vanity, dressing area and views. 

Bedrooms 3
Baths 2
Sq. Ft. 1,998
Lot size 7,182 sq. ft.
Double garage
1 common wall
Laundry in garage
Irvine Unified School District
Association pool and spa

What will be considered here: The 7,182 sq. ft. view lot and good sized distinctive townhome will weigh in along with a prime Turtle Rock location, and excellent schools and recreational facilities.

Who will move into 10 Morning Glory? An active family will see this home as a natural in a great setting. Someone looking for a prime spot in Irvine will be attracted too. Two downstairs bedrooms with bath adds to the home’s flexibility for guests and a home office.

Recent listings nearby:  107 Weathervane, $1,275,000.                              

Recent sales: 5 Morning Glory, $1,000,000 in November; 5 Starlight, $869,900 in October and 18 Southern Wood for $965,000 in September.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

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Aldeas of Oak Creek

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 04:00 AM PST

Inventory on 25th January 2012: 2-1-6.

Irvine seems to be settling in the new normal of low inventory. As expected, property values are rising steadily keeping pace with the declining inventory. Condominiums that foreclosed for around $500,000 are now back into the market after some sprucing up for a bigger price tag. Good news for sellers, good news for Realtors and Brokers, and great news for flippers. Flipping as a career choice seems to be making sense again, just as day trading is.

72 Alevera St, Irvine CA 92618

Bed rooms/ Bathrooms: 4 Beds/ 2.5 Baths
Area: 1500 SF
Year Built: 2002
Type: Detached Condominium
Builders Tract Name: Aldea
Builders Tract Code: ALDE
Builders Model Code: 4
Elementary School: Oak Creek
Middle School: Lakeside
High School: Woodbridge

Listing Price: $639,000
Price/ SF: $426
HOA Dues: $175
Monthly mortgage: $2,295
Annual Property Taxes @ 1.033: $6600
Annual Mello Roos: $1480
Monthly Taxes + Mello Roos: $674

Fixed Monthly Expenses: $3144

This house was foreclosed in November 2012 for $498,000.
Inventory has gone down 23.1% in Oak Creek, and listing price/sf has gone up by 3.7%.

Comparable properties in the neighborhood:

1. 50 Alevera, 3 Bedroom-2.5 Bathroom detached condominium listed at $430/SF.
2. 16 Alevera, 4 Bedroom-3 Bathroom detached condominium sold for $403/SF in November 2012.
3. 85 Alevera, 3 Bedroom-2.5 Bathroom detached condominium sold for $416/SF in October 2012.

What do you think?  Will the prices continue moving upwards to adjust to the spiraling inventory levels and push us into a bubble prematurely? Or does Irvine deserve a bubble bigger and faster than the rest of the nation because we are the safest, most desirable and fashionable city, and most recently one of the best run cities in the country? Will you still buy in Irvine if you see prices go up by more than 20% annually on the homes that you wanted to buy?


It’s too soon to predict buy and hold, but flip seems to be the mantra of the moment.


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