Sunday, October 08, 2006

Is the Bubble shifting to the low end?

There are plenty more condo conversions and condos headed our way here in the South Bay area.

First I'll mention San Pedro Harbor View. Brought to you by SoCal Homes, LLC, specializing in condo conversions in places less than 50 units in size. In their campaign to make owners of homes wealthy, and supported by the author of the Automatic Millionaire Homeowner (I don't make this stuff up!), they bring you this San Pedro project.

As best as I can tell, there are 33 units. With the exception of unit #18, which is 1309 square feet, all of them are less than 1000 square feet, and most of them appear to have 2 bedrooms, with the remaining being 1 bedroom.

In the comments to a previous post, I described what I went through when I lived in a condo, in terms of the density and the out-of-control kids. A reader talked about seeing large families visiting the tiny condos in a development he was interested in, with every intention of cramming maybe four children into one bedroom in a small 2 bedroom place.

Now, are you wondering what is happening to the property that used to house the Los Angeles Air Force Base? The base has been torn down. According to the April 24, 2006 meeting notes of the Hollyglen Homeowners Association, William Lyons is planning on building some 625 homes there.

Garden Court will consist of 2 and 3 story townhouses, 1700-2700 square feet, highest price estimated at $900,000. Row Town, along El Segundo Blvd, will contain 1500-2000 square feet 3 story townhomes, in brownstone colors. No price info. Motor Court will have 1500-2000 square feet 3 story townhomes, also decorated in brownstone colors. No price info. Urban, which will be along the Aviation Blvd side, will have urban lofts 1100-1800 square feet, decorated in brownstone colors. No price info. Stacked Flats, which will be in the middle of the property, will be 4 story flats, 900-1700 square feet, decorated in art deco, with 60 one bedroom units, priced around $400,000. Model units will be ready late in 2006 or early 2007. Homes are expected to start selling in late spring/summer of 2007 and be ready for occupancy in 2008.

Wow. The cars from yet another 625 units pouring out onto Aviation Blvd. Just what I've always wanted.

Note that this information does not yet appear on the William Lyon Homes website. In light of what has happened to the local housing market since April, I wonder if William Lyon is rethinking its plans. Aren't the local homesellers going to just love competing with Lyon and Centex for homebuyers?

With all this high-density housing in the works, which is designed to be more "affordable", it makes me wonder if the bubble is shifting to another asset class, namely the very low end housing market, where people can cram their families into these tiny high-density units. It sort of makes me wonder if this is how slums are born.


Blogger Mike said...

the bubble is definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel, which are usually the last areas to jump on the bandwagon, and will likely be the hardest hit this time around. from the print edition of the la times article (not available in the online version) are the 10 zips w/ the largest gains in $/sf over the last 12 months.

area: zip: summer 05 $/sf: summer 06 $/sf: % change

* la: 90037: $264: $365: 38.3%
* la/firestone park: 90001: $308: $404: 31.2%
* la: 90063: $307: $390: 27.0%
* la/watts: 90002: $315: $396: 25.7%
* la: 90003: $331: $415: 25.4%
* huntington park: 90255: $320: $391: 22.2%
* la: 90018: $327: $398: 21.7%
* lynwood: 90262: $332: $405: 22.0%
* la: 90011: $286: $346: 21.0%
* valley village: 91607: $432: $522: 20.8%
* la/august f. haw: 90059: $299: $361: 20.7%
* south gate: 90280: $351: $424: 20.8%

not exactly a tour of glamorous la digs. there was also a map showing the location of these zips and eight were in south or south central la, and one in east la. i couldn't imagine paying anywhere near $400/sf for a house in those neighborhoods. maybe $150, but even then...

6:52 PM, October 08, 2006  
Blogger bearmaster said...

Thanks for posting that!

Perhaps the recent bubble tracker charts have indicated that some of these areas have been doing relatively well:

90018 looks like it may now be just starting to weaken, while 90037 shows a slowing uptrend but does not yet show that weakening.

6:59 PM, October 08, 2006  
Blogger EasyAl said...


Were you used to known as Susan J. Bear. If you were, my daughter used to like the bear pictures at Beartopia site when she was around 1-2 years old. Believe or not, the pictures and links posted there help me to get out of market before it plunged about 5-6 years ago.

Anyway, I have a story on the effect of slow down on home sale on small home builders. About 7-8 months ago, my brother-in-law's wife started to work for a company that sells home alarm equipment in Orange county. She was in the account recievable department. The alarms are typically installed when new homes are built. Many customers are small home builders. The company began to lay off people almost weekly in August. Last Friday, eight of the employees of the AR department, including my brother-in-law's wife, were let go. The company has a lot of receivables in the book. But can not collect most of them because many of the customers were either unable to pay or in bankrupcy. I guess the management figures that the company does not need that many A/R persons when it can not collect most of the receivables. Of course, the sale of the alarm also has declined significantly for some time for the A/R department to be drastically cut.


7:13 PM, October 08, 2006  
Blogger bearmaster said...

Hello Easy Al,

Yes, I am Susan J. Bear. I drop in on the Wall Street Bear forum as SusanJBear. Beartopia was shut down for a while (starting in April 2003), but I reactivated it late last year.

I think I remember saying how much your daughter liked the bear pictures, but she was a toddler then. She must be about 8 now, isn't she? Does she still like bears? I still have all those bear pictures.

I still remain very bearish, with the bulk of my savings in Treasuries via Treasury Direct. I thought I'd have cashed in my savings bonds by now, but nope I still have them, and they are earning great interest. I don't plan to touch those until- hmm, I want to say, until the dollar looks like it starts seriously caving in, but I don't know yet how I will know that.

I will say that this credit bubble seems to have kept the game going a lot longer than I have ever anticipated. Most major bears are probably saying that, while the bulls say that means there is no bust on the horizon. I am seriously wondering about a moonshot in the stock markets that will wipe out all the short positions. Remember the parabolic runs of 1999-2000? The markets of today aren't showing that - yet.

Sorry to hear about your relative's job loss. IMO this housing bust is going to have long-reaching tentacles in this economy, far more than the dot-com bust of 2000, which was painful enough!

7:28 PM, October 08, 2006  
Blogger EasyAl said...

Hi Susan:

Yes, my daughter is 7 year old and in 2nd grade.

For a lot of incoming mess, we will have Alan Greenspan to thank for. Unforturnately, he will not suffer anything significant from his action. He took care Wall Street very well. Now, he is being paid back the Wall Street firms by big speeching fees

9:19 PM, October 08, 2006  

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