You Should Know: Distressed Share

Where are all the bargains, anyway? I get asked that question a lot, usually by my buyers who are looking for a deal — and who wouldn’t be? Everyone wants to pay less for their house, and if there’s a bargain out there believe me I’ll find it for you. But the opportunities these days are precious and few, and when they do pop up a bidding war is the frequent result. Bye-bye bargain.

So what happened? Where’s the “shadow inventory” of foreclosed homes that banks were supposedly sitting on, just waiting for the right time to flood the market? The answer varies by region, but here in LA County, thousands of foreclosed properties have already been packaged by banks and quietly sold off to institutional investors. Read this informative article by the Wall Street Journal’s Nick Timiraos. He talks about the downward-shifting ratio of the “distressed share,” ie. the percentage of bank-owned or bank-involved properties like foreclosures and short sales. The smaller that number gets, the healthier the market. But bargains, it seems, will only get harder to find.

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Photo of an unfinished housing development courtesy of and Google Earth

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FYI Quick Read (x2)…

Tiffany Hsu of the LA Times reports today that home prices were up 3.8% in July, their largest year-over-year leap since 2006. “The real estate market is ‘clearly seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel,’ said CoreLogic Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi.”


And Vickie Elmer of the NY Times writes that, with interest rates remaining so low, homeowners have been trading out of their “jumbo” mortgages to refinance into conventional loans. “‘It’s an opportunity not to be missed,’ said Melissa Cohn, the chief executive of the Manhattan Mortgage Company, adding that her customers like the idea of locking in a lower rate.”

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A Home or Art?

That’s the question posed in an article by James B. Stewart, published yesterday in the NY Times. “If it’s $100 million, is it art?” We’ve seen these stratospheric prices attached to certain unique properties in places like LA, Miami, NYC. So what’s the answer? I can only speak from my own experience: a home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

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Photo courtesy of the New York Times

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Mid-Century Post and Beam in Glendale

List Price $620,000

3BDs/1.75BA in 1,776sq. ft./lot size 7,206 sq. ft.

I like the lines on this 1964 home — and like the value, too. It’s on a nice street in the Rossmoyne / Verdugo Woodlands neighborhood. That’s a wraparound deck outside, featuring excellent views.

Open-beam ceilings are common in this style of home, and wow do they look great.

And get this: around back there are not one but two two-car garages. Convert one to a studio, guest house or office? Could be. Get in touch with me here and we’ll go take a look, see if this mid-century post and beam home is right for you.

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Listing courtesy of Herbert Lambert, Rodeo Realty

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FYI Quick Read…

An article in the LA Times this morning by Jim Puzzanghera illustrates that U.S. home prices rose 2.3% in June in the nation’s largest cities — the fourth straight monthly increase. “We seem to be witnessing exactly what we needed for a sustained recovery: monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change,” said David M. Blitzer, chair of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The market may have finally turned around.”

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1950 Modern (x 2!)

Both need work, but that won’t deter people. These two mid-century gems are likely to be snapped up quickly, so call me asap if you want to take a look.

House #1: List Price $799,000

3BDs/1.75BA in 1,918sq. ft./lot size 6,797 sq. ft.

The “Par 4 House” in prime Mt. Washington is on the market for the very first time. What an opportunity. It has three gently sloping bonus lots and views clear to Catalina Island.

Can you say “original?” The place is virtually untouched, although the third bedroom was added in 1960 (by the original designer/builder). It’s near the coveted Mt. Washington Elementary School and is a trust sale, offered “as is.”

House #2: List Price $399,000

3BDs/2BA in 1,592sq. ft./lot size 7,557 sq. ft.

This second 1950 home is located on a nice street in up-and-coming Glassell Park. As you can see it has a pool and also features sweeping city-lights views.

Plenty of room to move around in here, which means lots to work with as you update this house and make it your own. Like the first property, this is a trust sale offered “as is.”

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Mt. Washington listing courtesy of Hattie Ramirez, Coldwell Banker – Los Feliz

Glassell Park listing courtesy of Jeff Yarbrough, Keller Williams Beverly Hills

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FYI Quick Read…

There was good article this past weekend in the La Canada Valley Sun concerning the latest turn (no pun intended) in the 710 Freeway extension debate. Seems CalTrans/LA Metro have taken all “surface route” options off the table, which is great news for some but continues to anger residents of northeast LA communities like Pasadena and La Canada Flintridge, among others.


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Stately English in Pasadena

List Price $2,450,000

4BDs/4.5BA in 4,713sq. ft./lot size 25,143 sq. ft.

I previewed properties in Pasadena’s San Rafael Hills today and here’s a standout. Sitting behind iron gates on lush grounds, this sprawling home has the feel of a proper estate — including a detached guest house with kitchenette for your “staff” (or parents, or post-college child, or out-out-town guests…)

Definitely has one of the coolest living room ceilings I’ve ever seen, as well as many other details plus all the modern updates that you’d expect. Believe it or not this a “newer” home (built in 1980). And the pool area will transport you to another place. Want to take a look? Contact me here.

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Listing courtesy of Gretchen Seager, Sotheby’s International Realty

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