The Real Deal

26 E. Camino Real Ave.


This is brand new construction that was completed in 2007 by an investor who was obviously looking to make some money. It’s a typical McMansion home complete with the ugly 1990s peachy, pink exterior wall color. The interior is actually quite nice with the open layout, big windows and tray ceilings. Unfortunately for this seller, those features won’t be enough to bring in the $2.78MM asking price. I saw this property on Redfin about 4 weeks ago, but it’s posted as a new listing so the realtor took the listing off and re-listed it to reset the days-on-market counter. It’s probably been sitting on the market for quite some time.

Asking Price $2,780,000 ::: Sq-ft 5733
Purchased Price $1,100,000 ::: Lot Size 0.49 acres
Purchased Date 9/28/2005 ::: Beds 6
Days on Redfin 1 ::: Baths 7
$/Sq-ft $484 ::: Year Built 2007
20% Downpayment $556,000 ::: Area Santa Anita
Annual Income Required $695,000 ::: Type SFR
Est. Payment* $14057/month ::: MLS# A08010983

*Estimated monthly payment assume 20% down, 30-yr fixed @ 6.50%

I think this seller drank so much kool-aid during the boom that both he and his realtor are now completely separated from reality. This is suburbia town Arcadia – not Newport Beach, Brentwood or Beverly Hills. My guess is someone making $695k annual income who can afford over $14,000/month mortgage payments won’t chose to live in Arcadia. I for one would prefer a home in Newport so I can wake up to the Pacific Ocean. Even if a buyer preferred a suburbia community in the San Gabriel Valley, they would certainly choose San Marino over Arcadia.

Anyways, I didn’t post this listing only because its overpriced. The main thing I wanted to share with you is this property’s previous sale history. According to Redfin, this particular seller bought in 2005 for $1.1MM, but what’s more interesting are the five transactions before that.

Date Price Appreciation
9/28/2005 $1,100,000 16.4%/yr
9/10/2001 $595,000 >1000%/yr
8/15/2001 $325,000 -21.3%
1/19/1999 $602,000 -5.2%/yr
1/08/1993 $830,000 -1.5%/yr
1/02/1992 $842,727

As you can see, the previous house that stood on this property sold for $842,727 in 1992 during the initial decline of the previous bubble (which peaked around 1990). Over the next 9 years, it’s price reductions take off in a logarithmic fashion starting with -1.5%/yr between 1992 and 1993. Over the next 6 years, it would lose a 5.2% each year before coming to a sale in 1999 at $602k. From there, the market continues to plummet a whopping -21.3%/yr over the next 2.5 years to rock bottom in 2001. That makes a total decline of $517,727 or 61% off from peak to bottom.


But I thought real estate is always goes up and everyone wants to live in sunny southern California so prices would never drop here. What happened? Market correction happened. This is a wake up call for the sheeple to stop drinking the kool aid and face the facts. Arcadia home prices will fall and contrary to what the realtors say, it is not immune to the current market conditions. It wasn’t last time and it won’t be this time either.

:: SavedByGrace

31 Woodland or 31 Flavors?

31 Woodland Ln.


The seller flipper at 31 Woodland Lane must be high on all 31 flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream. The property has been on the market for 257 days and there’s no sign of any price reductions. It was previously purchased for $1.4MM just 13 months ago and the buyers want to make $324,980 for doing nothing. That’s the equivalent of making $25k/month!

Asking Price $1,724,980 ::: Sq-ft 3231
Purchased Price $1,400,00 ::: Lot Size 0.42 acres
Purchased Date 12/6/2006 ::: Beds 3
Days on Market 257 ::: Baths 3.5
$/Sq-ft $534 ::: Year Built 1948
20% Downpayment $344,996 ::: Area Santa Anita Oaks
Annual Income Required $431,245 ::: Type SFR
Est. Payment* $8722/month ::: MLS# 22091982

*Estimated monthly payment assume 20% down, 30-yr fixed @ 6.50%

This is a gorgeous property located in the coveted Santa Anita Oaks area, but after almost 9 months on the market, there’s clearly no interested buyers at $534/sqft. It is highly unlikely that these folks will get their asking price in this kind of market. With much tighter lending standards and widespread news of the housing crisis, it would take a steep price reduction to get it sold. Besides, if I had $345,000 cash, I certainly wouldn’t use it as a downpayment on a depreciating asset.

I picked this house to profile because it depicts the naive mentality of buyers during the boom. This flipper put the house back on the market just 4 months after it was purchased hoping to make a quick buck. Regardless if he truly believed in forever double-digit appreciation or not, it was greed that sparked the flame. As of January 2008, he can either reduce the price and take a moderate loss or hang on and end up losing a lot more down the line.

As a side note, this is a beautiful house and in a sense captures why I love Arcadia. It isn’t one of those ugly McMansions, but a well design traditional ranch style home. Although its kitchen and bathrooms seem a bit dated, it has wonderful landscaping and curb appeal. Because of its size and location, it could be a million dollar home, but the market has clearly made a statement that it’s not worth $1.7MM. The flipper just doesn’t want to hear it.

:: SavedByGrace

The City of Arcadia

We can go in depth into why this isn’t Sierra Madre Housing Blog or Pasadena Housing Blog, but it’s simply because I live in the Arcadia area. I frequent its restaurants, use its roads, go to its parks and spend much of my time here so it’s convenient for me to scope out properties, keep up with the news and track local market trends.

And with that, I will provide some insight into the city which this blog is based on so readers from all over the world understand its economical, social, geographical and historical background.


Arcadia is located in sunny southern California about 15 miles northeast of Downtown Los Angeles, nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Its surrounding cities include Pasadena, Sierra Madre, San Marino, Temple City and Monrovia. Per the US Census Bureau, it has a total area of just under 29 sq-kilometers. It’s comprised of two zip codes: 91006 and 91007.



Like all the cities in California, it used to be inhabited by Native American Indian tribes before the Spanish missionaries entered the picture. As they moved in, the Gabrielinos suffered both enslavement and exposure to deadly, new diseases. Shortly after, a large portion of the city today was sold to a wealthy Scottish immigrant, Hugo Reid, who held it for over 35 years before selling it to Lucky Baldwin in 1875.

It was Baldwin who brought in more business to the town, growing it to a population of 500 before the cities official incorporation in 1903. Many of today’s streets such has Baldwin Avenue and Santa Anita Ave (named after Baldwin’s daughter, Anita) stems from his heritage. Today, Arcadia is an upper-middle class suburban city with an estimated population of 57,000 people.


The city’s economy is largely supported by recreation and trade. The Santa Anita Race Track brings in substantial revenue through frequent horse races. The Westfield Mall (previously known as the Santa Anita Fashion Park) is a big shopping center in the area. It was recently expanded in 2005 and discussion for further expansion is underway to build the biggest retail mall in the county.

Aside from the two financial giants, Arcadia has a slew of small businesses in its downtown district, along with a handful of chain restaurants along Huntington Drive and a couple of corporate office buildings to bring in revenue for the city. The Methodist Hospital on Huntington Drive is also a contributor.



There are many parks in the city, but the most prominent one is the Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The area on which it resides and the park itself belongs not to Arcadia, but to the Los Angeles County when its 111 acres were handed over back in 1947. The Arboretum is home to the famous peacocks that roam the grounds and beautiful surrounding neighborhoods.



It’s also home to the Ruth and Charles Gilb Historical Museum which documents the city’s heritage. Not far from the museum is Arcadia’s High school and public library, which was incorporated in 1920 and expanded throughout the years – including the renovations made in 1996. It consists of a new auditorium and over 160,000 items such has books, articles and tapes.


Arcadia’s demographics was largely dominated by Caucasians until recently when many Asian families, particularly those of Chinese decent, moved into the area for its safe neighborhoods and good schools. Today, Arcadia is roughly 45% Caucasian, 45% Asian and 10% other. It’s hard to ignore the Asian community when its banks, restaurants, supermarkets and people have taken over many parts of the city.


Arcadia is a great place to live. It has great schools for families with children and offers quiet, safe suburbia neighborhoods throughout. It has housing products for every budget – from apartments and condos to detached units and single family residences. The city has a rich history and great pride in the community. Its proximity to the foothill mountains and nearby powerhouse cities like Pasadena make Arcadia a highly desirable location.

:: SavedByGrace

The State of the Market

The short answer: It’s dead.

The long answer: It’s dead. Period.

Even the permabulls can’t deny the horrid state of the market anymore. You can’t watch the news or read the headlines without hearing the mention of foreclosures, crashing housing market, subprime blowouts and the soon-to-be-even-crunchier credit crunch. It’s a fact, the US housing market is dead and despite what the National Association of Realtors say, it’s not local – it’s national. For several months after the summer 2007 credit crunch, the bulls and the media was able to tread water by publishing their stable (or even rising) median home prices, while conveniently forgetting the cold truth that sales volume fell off the cliff. Now that we’ve gone through the traditional slow fourth quarter RE slump and the complete stop of ludicrous lending, even the median and average home prices are showing signs of distress.

As we start 2008, I expect even steeper and more painful declines in both price and volume. With foreclosures skyrocketing and lending standards tightening (really just back to what they should be), the market will continue to build a huge surplus of unsold homes – in turn driving prices down even further. It’s a vicious cycle that will play itself out regardless of what’s reported on the news. It will not “bottom” in 2008, but rather continue its fall into the RE abyss well into 2009 and possibly 2010.

While the market crash is indeed national, its degree of pain vary by locality. As reported by many in the media, the states that enjoyed the biggest run up during the bubble are now taking the biggest hit. These include Florida, Arizona, Nevada and of course, our beloved California. Those who blindly listen to the NAR or in denial that their paper equity will evaporate into thin air over the next few years have nowhere to hide. I suggest they come to their senses and accept the truth. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, San Marino and yes, even Arcadia is not immune. Desirable, high end communities may hold on a bit longer than say the Inland Empire, but eventually home prices will plummet along with those from the rest of the state. It only took a handful of inflated home sales to push the market up so it won’t take more than a few lowball comp sales to start the cascade back down to earth. In my opinion, it’s already begun.

I’m sure this blog will attract its share of angry homeowners, desperate realtors and unemployeed brokers, but to all of you I say welcome. While the bears keep returning for more schadenfreude, I encourage the bulls to return as well. This site needs both sides to bring balance to the discussion board. I love a good debate backed by hard data and proof from the market. I applaud you in advance for entering a bear’s den and not being shy about your views. And just a closing note for everyone – bulls and bears – let’s keep the discussions civil. A little sarcasm is okay, but name calling and outright personal attacks will not be tolerated.

With that I will open the flood gates for discussion. Let the feud begin.

:: SavedByGrace

Introduction to Arcadia Housing Blog

Welcome! This is an informative web-log chronicling the real estate market in and around the city of Arcadia, California. Along with other cities in sunny southern California, Arcadia has enjoyed a significant increase in its average home price since the start of the real estate boom back in 2001. This site intends to observe, document and track the turning real estate market in this area.

There will be a variety of post consisting of market analysis, property reports, community profiles, and other pertinent housing-related topics. The intention is to share information with readers and serve as a channel for dialogue amongst interested folks. Whether you’re a home owner, renter, real estate agent, contractor, mortgage broker, investor or just a curious individual, I invite you to join us here at Arcadia Housing Blog.

:: SavedByGrace

Tracking the Arcadia and San Gabriel Valley Housing Market