Friday, February 29, 2008

"Los Angeles" from turning into a vast, broken metropolis stretching from Tijuana to Bakersfield.

From the LA Times:
But it was a reminder, too, that the truly rural outposts of Los Angeles County -- the nation's top agricultural county not so long ago -- are withering away. And this one happens to abut the proposed site of the largest planned community in county history.Neenach -- and a smattering of other forlorn towns hidden between Lancaster and the Grapevine -- will be the subject of a fierce dispute in the coming year over when enough is enough in Southern California.

On one side, advocates will wave studies showing that there are 6 million more people headed this way in the next 20 years, people who will need roofs over their heads. On the other side, activists will point out that once construction starts here -- above the historical northern boundary of the region's development -- there will be nothing to keep "Los Angeles" from turning into a vast, broken metropolis stretching from Tijuana to Bakersfield.

It would all be very apocalyptic-sounding, if only it was the kind of thing that got Neenach bent out of shape.

When the abutting development is built -- if it is built -- it will be called Centennial. It would be the end, for all intents and purposes, of Neenach.

Billed as a "new town," Centennial would be constructed on a chunk of the 165-year-old Tejon Ranch. There would be 23,000 homes, eight elementary schools, three fire stations.

Developers perpare for housing market surge?

The Bakersfield Californian is running a story this week titled " Developers prepare for housing market surge". Please read the story, but before you do, please read what they said in January 2007. Please keep in mind what actually happened in 2007.

Local real estate insiders scoff at predicted 'nose dive'

Jan 8, 2007
By Ryan Schuster, Californian staff writer

Bakersfield's housing market is still healthy and is simply going through a market correction that was inevitable after its meteoric rise, according to several local real estate professionals."I don't think it's all doom and gloom," said Jon Busby, a real estate agent with Bakersfield Premier Realty. "We had the investors that came and the builders that came and drove the prices up. It's just correcting itself now."

In December there were 3,181 homes listed on the market, down 13 percent from the month before, according to a preliminary report on December sales compiled by local appraiser Gary Crabtree. The full report is due out next week.

The preliminary report also shows the median list price of existing homes declined from $289,000 in November to $288,000 in December.

"Listings are going down," Crabtree said. "Sellers have come to the realization that the party is over and they can no longer get the prices they were expecting before. We've reached a plateau and that plateau is holding. It is not taking this gigantic nose dive everyone was predicting."

After being one of the nation's hottest real estate markets in recent years, some have described local market conditions as a bubble and predicted Bakersfield's real estate market will be one of the nation's worst in 2007.

But local real estate experts disagree.

"They are crazy. We don't have one of the worst housing markets in the country," said Ray Karpe, the president of Karpe Real Estate Center and the incoming president of the Bakersfield Association of Realtors. "The market is not bad at all. The market has just slowed. It has gone from a ridiculously good market to a good market. We couldn't maintain that forever."

The real estate slowdown has led homebuilders to scale back their building pace locally.

In November, 120 building permits were pulled for single family residences in the city of Bakersfield, down from 225 a year earlier and 650 in August 2005.

Crabtree projects that home prices will decline by about 5 percent in 2007, but he says more dire national projections are off base.

"They don't see the whole picture," Crabtree said. "They're not here. They don't have their feet on the ground. They don't know what's going on."

Leslie Appleton-Young, the chief economist with the California Association of Realtors, anticipates a 7 percent drop in the statewide median sales price in 2007. She said areas like Bakersfield that had a wave of new construction during the housing boom, adding more supply, will experience greater price decreases.

But she said while the housing market is softening, she doesn't believe it is a bubble.
She said she doesn't foresee a real estate crash like the one in the mid-1990s unless the economy slips into recession, causing mass job losses.

"It's all relative. The housing market in general has been accused of being a bubble," Appleton-Young said. "There has been talk of a bubble for four years. In the last year and a half we have seen a significant decline in sales. But the actual decline in prices has been slower. What is protecting the market is we have an improving economy."

But increased foreclosures and a rise in interest rates could spell trouble for the housing market, Appleton-Young said.

Crabtree said last year he routinely saw between 20 and 30 notices of default filed a month. The numbers jumped to 41 in November 2005 and 179 in November 2006.

Local appraiser Jeremy Jans anticipates the local market will actually pick up a little this spring, despite a possible increase in home listings some are predicting.

"Although we will not get back to where it was, it will be a strong market this year," Jans said.

"We are a unique market. We always react a lot slower than everyone else. We are a lot more affordable than other places."

Bakersfield's relatively affordable housing market compared to the rest of the state has prevented a more dramatic market correction, according to Delores Conway, the director of the
Casden Forecast at USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate.

"It's slowing like all places are slowing because the speculators are pretty much gone," Conway said. "Bakersfield has been fairly strong, partly because of lower prices and the shift in population into central California.

"In Southern California we are pretty much land constrained. Bakersfield can still build. As long as the builders don't get crazy, there still is demand. It's just that the housing market is returning to more of a normal level."


Unemployment rate up 13% YOY

If we are losing jobs who will buy all of these homes? If there are less people employed who will rent all of these homes that are available for rent? What will be the impact on prices?

Bakersfield Californian:

Kern County’s unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent in January, up from 9.4 percent in December and 8.8 percent a year before, according to data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

Most of the 11,500 jobs lost countywide between December and January — 8,600 of them — were farm-related, data show. The second-largest category of jobs lost that month was that of trade, transportation and utilities, where 1,000 positions were eliminated. In no main category were jobs created in Kern that month.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fremont also said it faces a "significant liquidity risk"

Fremont stock is tanking after hours based on big news.

From Yahoo News:

Fremont General Corp., the holding company for Fremont Investment & Loan, said Thursday because it might have to record more write-downs than it originally recorded and is considering putting itself up for sale.

Fremont also said it faces a "significant liquidity risk" and has opted to defer some payments on its junior debt, sending its shares down in late trading.

The company said in connection with ongoing reviews and as it prepared its year-end financial statements, it found it might have to record additional asset write-downs and reserves, which could require the bank to adjust its regulatory capital downward.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

High end starting to go down. $300,000 plus price reductions.

This home, at 19480 PADRON CT, Bakersfield, CA 93314, has been reduced $305,000 since it was listed in July 2007.

Price Reduced: 08/29/07 -- $1,300,000 to $1,000,900
Price Increased: 09/14/07 -- $1,000,900 to $1,900,000
Price Reduced: 09/16/07 -- $1,900,000 to $1,095,000
Price Reduced: 02/14/08 -- $1,095,000 to $995,000

This home at, 3006 SPRINGBANK CT, Bakersfield, CA 93311, has been reduced $301,000 since it was listed February 19, 2007.
Price Reduced: 06/20/07 -- $1,250,000 to $1,225,000
Price Reduced: 08/08/07 -- $1,225,000 to $1,199,000
Price Reduced: 02/04/08 -- $1,199,000 to $949,000

Where will all the children go?

Michael Jackson facing foreclosure:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's famed Neverland Valley Ranch in California will be foreclosed and sold on March 19 unless the pop star pays a balance of nearly $25 million, property records showed on Tuesday. celebrity columnist Roger Friedman reported on the Web site that Jackson has been formally apprised of the foreclosure and that legal documents have also been filed with the Santa Barbara County Recorder's office.

"You are in default of a deed of trust ...," Jackson was told in the five-page filing, according to a copy of the document published by "Unless you take action to protect your property it may be sold at a public sale."

According to the documents, if Jackson fails to pay the outstanding balance, estimated at $24.5 million, Neverland would be sold to the highest bidder at a public auction on the courthouse steps.

The county recorder's Web site shows that a Notice of Trustees Sale was filed against Neverland Valley Ranch on Monday but no further details were available and a spokeswoman for the office declined to comment.

Jackson's publicist, Raymone Bain, did not return calls seeking comment on the foreclosure notice.

The onetime "King of Pop" has owned the 2,800-acre (1,133-ha) ranch in the rolling foothills above the California coast since 1988, naming it after the whimsical island where children never grow up in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan stories.

Carl Cole selling real estate in Ventura County now?


Rob Dawg's site:

3:09PM PST - Carl Cole is no longer associated with Keller Willams Camarillo. Praphrasing; "Bothe the distance and difference in markets, it just isn't a good fit." My brief conversation indicated that Mr. Cole was on premises and she asked if I wanted to talk with him. I declined. I expressed my sadness at his circumstance and made it clear I was sympathetic to his having been decieved but that I was not prepared to let happen to Ventura county what happened in Bakersfield. It was at this point that the K-W front office person made it clear he would not be joining the team

Bakersfield Californain:

He is no longer affiliated with the company,” said Cristina Better, team leader of Keller Williams Realty’s branch in Camarillo, at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, The Californian reported Keller Williams Realty recently hired Cole, 60, to work in its Camarillo branch as a broker/associate, according to a Feb 3. advertisement placed with the Ventura County Star newspaper

From Eyewitness

Carl Cole, of the former real estate duo, Crisp and Cole has a new job in a different real estate market.

29 Eyewitness News put a call into the real estate mogul this morning and before getting hung up on, we learned that cole got a job selling real estate on the coast in Camarillo. Keller Williams Reality recently hired Cole as a broker-associate according to its website.

Carl Cole is still under investigation by the FBI i and the Department of Real Estate for real estate fraud.

From the Bakersfield Californian:

Carl Cole, the former Crisp & Cole Real Estate broker and the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation, has a new job selling real estate on the coast

Keller Williams Realty recently hired Cole, 60, to work in its Camarillo branch as a broker/associate, according to a Feb 3. advertisement placed with the Ventura County Star newspaper.

Cole is also listed as a sales associate on the branch’s Web site, which shows he has four homes listed for sale in Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo.

When reached by phone at his new office this morning, Cole hung up.

Crisp and Cole realtors turning on each other.

Looks like the rats are starting to leave the sinking ship. Former C&C realtor Scott Reynolds attorney speaks out for his client, as does Scott Reynolds and Ty Stewart.


Former Crisp and Cole real estate agent Scott Reynolds didn't want to talk with us on camera about his former employer David Crisp, but his defense attorney says Reynolds has been talking to the authorities.

"We have been in contact with the FBI and in contact with the prosecutors, I think that's an open fact right now," said defense attorney Carl Faller

Reynolds bought the property from David Crisp and Carl Cole in July 2006 for $414 thousand with 100-percent financing from SunTrust mortgage. The house went into foreclosure in December, and eventually sold for $240 thousand. That's a loss to the lender of at least $174 thousand.

"David Crisp involved a lot of folks: employees, friends, old high school friends in some land deals that he represented to be totally legitimate," Faller said. "But in retrospect they might have been a little sketchy."

Not so, says former Crisp and Cole broker Ty Stewart.

Crisp is now living with Stewart at a Southern Oaks home.

"I have worked for David and Carl from the very beginning. And I wasn't taken advantage of," Stewart said. "But I can only speak for myself."

"Everybody thinks that his situation is funny, and it's just desserts, so they are having a good time with it. You know, but he's gotta live his life," Stewart said

For now, Crisp is staying with stewart at a home in Southern Oaks.

"They are not bad people. And, I think that helping someone out or trying to put someone's life back together with them is not a bad thing," Stewart said

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Final January 2008 numbers out. We are down 28% from the peak.

January 2008 Numbers. All California county loses are significant - no area was has been spared.

Bakersfield down 17.87% YOY. The median price is now $224,000. The median price peaked at around $310,000. We are now down 28% from the peak.

What does the future hold? Look at inventory and defaults/foreclosures, from the Bakersfield Californian:

The number of bank-owned properties listed on the Bakersfield Multiple Listing Service, an index of properties for sale, topped the 1,000 mark Wednesday, according to Jon Vaughn, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Magic and the host of a morning real estate radio show, Real Estate Today.

The MLS showed 1,017 bank-owned properties out of a total of 5,023 as of Wednesday, Vaughn said.

“It’s going to make it really difficult for sellers out there who are trying to sell properties,” Vaughn said. The increasing inventory will continue to drive prices down, he said.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

California cities dropping like flies. I thought this mess was contained?

Half Moon Bay is wrestling with unpleasant options for responding to a court ruling that officials say threatens the "very existence of our city government" - a $36.8 million judgment against the city for turning a proposed housing development site into wetlands.

Under the worst-case scenario, officials say, Half Moon Bay would become the first Bay Area city forced to dissolve, and the coastal town's land would become an unincorporated part of San Mateo County.

Vallejo, Ca On The Brink Of Bankruptcy

Coming to a city near you?

The city of Vallejo is on the brink of becoming the first California city ever to declare bankruptcy, City Council members said Tuesday.

Vallejo may run out of cash as early as March, council member Stephanie Gomes said.

"We've spending more than we've been making for 20 years and it's to pay the piper."

Council members Joanne Schivley and Gomes have announced they will host a town hall meeting this Thursday to discuss the very real possibility of bankruptcy.

Crisp Update. By the way "Your soul is in jeopardy"

Be sure to watch the video at the KRAB link.

From KRAB Radio :

As you'll see in the video, I tried to be civil for the most part. But I did call him a name at the end. But I did it for all the right reasons. It's sad that this guy is eating out and cruising around in an expensive Mercedes, while former customers of his are getting put out on their asses because they trusted this guy.

Many of the people he screwed were good, working-class Bakons like you and I. Just people who thought they could buy a house to raise their families in. But really, David Crisp slammed them into unrealistic deals just so he could go on playing Bakersfield's version of Richie Rich.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

SoCal home foreclosures increase 433 percent

Quick math - 1,834 foreclosures times 12 = 22,008 foreclosures. In a county with 140,000 families in homes, this is going to get UGLY!

From Central Valley Business Times:

Homes plunging into foreclosure in Southern California in January increased by 433 percent over January 2007, according to figures compiled by Default Research Inc. of Mt. Pleasant, Pa., which markets foreclosure real estate data.

There were 9,885 homes in Los Angeles County alone that were in one of the stages of foreclosure last month, compared to 6,979 in December, according to Default Research.

Based on population, Riverside County was the hardest hit in Southern California in January 2008 with 8,554 new foreclosures for a foreclosure rate of 6.34 percent.

Kern County is also included in Default Research’s report Thursday. There were 1,834 homes in foreclosure in Kern County last month, a rate of 4.09 percent.

“The word recession has been all over the news for the past few weeks and it is vibrating off the mountains in several California counties,” says Serdar Bankaci, founder of Default Research. “Southern California foreclosures will continue to rise as more adjustable rate mortgages reset and people are unable to make their payments. Combine that with declining home values, the rising unemployment rate and the economic slowdown, and there are sure to be more foreclosures in the coming months.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


DR Horton Website Details

Press Release with details

To all those who already own in these neighborhoods, you have just been fucked! You might want to consider walking away, as you are now 50% underwater on your "investment".

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Now the stronger hands are folding


Allied Van Lines Files for Bankruptcy

Moving company Allied Van Lines Inc., along with its corporate parent Sirva Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday, the latest victim of a heavy debt load and the downturn in the U.S. housing industry.

In addition to its heavy debt load, the company's relocation services business has been slammed by the downturn in the U.S. housing market.

"Specifically, declining home prices have increased the number of homes the debtors have been required to purchase and subsequently sell for a loss," Sirva said in court papers

LV Review Journal:

Developer stops making interest payments on $500 million in land-backed loans

Focus Property Group, one of the largest developers in Southern Nevada, has stopped making interest payments on $500 million in loans secured by 4,800 acres in the Las Vegas Valley, Pahrump and Victorville, Calif., company executives said Monday.

The company said 2,100 acres of the land involved is in metropolitan Las Vegas, 1,700 acres in Pahrump and 1,000 in Victorville. The company started notifying lenders late last week that it would not make its February interest payments.