Tuesday, July 22, 2008

real estate

If you regularly read my blog you know that we've been on the quest to purchase property somewhere in the Santa Barbara area. We are moving along in our journey and have a contract on a condominium in Buellton in a new development called Juliette Walk. We're excited about the possibilities and more than a little nervous about the size of the mortgage plus commuting costs. Closing is scheduled for August 22 - two weeks after the wedding. We were trying to make this summer as low stress as possible.

We've been more sensitive to the market since we began looking and have been very aware of the craziness of the entire issue of housing in California since we moved here. In Santa Barbara it is not at all unusual to find 15 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment. People rent out garages as living space. Renters often pay by the bed and that fee could be a mortgage payment in much of the country. We know of at least one family of 5 that is renting an open porch... and many people live in their cars. We have an incredible shortage of housing and the affordability index is probably the worst in the nation. At the same time, our county planners recently OK'd the construction of a 13,000 square foot home on the mountainside just west of Goleta.

Today's LA Times has an article that caught my eye. Candy Spelling - the widow of Aaron Spelling - purchased a new condo for $47 million which is a record for the US at $2,848 a square foot. The new condo is only 16,500 square feet (yes, that is the correct number of zeros) which is a huge drop from the 56,500 square foot home she currently lives in which is affectionately called - The Manor. Her lawyer observed that her current home is "awfully big for one person." Well, duh. I guess 16,500 square feet is more reasonable. It is unclear what the asking price for Manor will be when it goes up for sale. After all, it does include 11 bedrooms, 16 baths, a bowling alley, a gift wrapping room, and sits on 6 acres. It is the largest house in LA county. The condo will be ready to move in next year so Candy will have time to downsize.

In the meantime, there are three other houses in the LA area in the same ballpark price wise as Candy's new condo - a 10 bedroom, 12 bath, 18,000 square foot beachfront in Newport Beach for $38.5 million. An 8 bedroom, 11 bath, on 1.2 acres in Holmby Hills (the same neighborhood as Candy's current home) for $45 million. And a 3 story on 4.2 acres in Beverly hills with 9 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, pool, tennis court, etc... at $49 million.

They were all a little out of our price range plus the commute to work would have been too far.


Michael Mahoney said...

How many people could live in those homes, or on those properties, if they were developed into reasonable housing. Ahh.. but that doesn't bring the tax money in.

Candy's house, while extravagent, is not near a record. High end apartments in New York are pushing $5000 a square foot. And a flat in Hong Kong just sold for $41000/sf. It's just rediculous.

Oh well. The mansion I have waiting for me in heaven will put them all to shame!

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

Are you serious? 15 people in a 2 bedroom? A family on an open porch & people rent out garages?

Wow. Just wow.

I don't think the problem is quite that bad in GA: at least not where I am, though I am sure there are parts of ATL & the inner Metro area where there are some homes like that.

Good luck in your quest.