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Chatsworth Home Prices Lower Than 1989

[Update: July 14, 2011]: This home sold on July 11, 2011 for $638,000. 

With the peak of the home buying season slowly going behind us, how will home prices fair going into the dreaded fall and winter seasons and more importantly into 2012? Will home prices continue on the painful down slope, make the much needed rebound, or bounce along a flatline like a dead heartbeat on an EKG monitor? 

I dont know the answers but what I do know is that home buying and selling is not for the faint of heart. We are going to talk about the wholesome and friendly area of Chatsworth of the San Fernando Valley. I have discussed Chatsworth real estate before in a post entitled, "Is Housing Making A Comeback in Chatsworth?" This post showcased a home for sale that was chasing the market down for one year with over $200K in reductions. Watching this home for upcoming priced deductions was like watching a daytime TV drama. So much passion and excitement. Well, that is old news and the home finally sold. 

Today, we will be talking about a home in Chatsworth that is cheaper to purchase today than in 1989 NOMINAL DOLLARS. Yes, 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. If its cheaper in nominal dollars, imagine the difference in inflation adjusted dollars. The home sits on almost 0.5 acres with 5 Beds, 3 Baths on 2,924 acres of living space. Included in the home is vaulted ceilings, built in book cases with wet bar, pool and jacuzzi, BBQ, and full size tennis court along with a 3 car garage. Its a beautiful property with all the amenities that a family can wish for. There should never be any boredom in this house. It is located near the horse ranches of Chatsworth and not too far from a railroad line which was the site of the horrific accident between a Metrolink and a Union Pacific train as it emerged out of a tunnel. I almost forgot to mention one important thing, this home is available for $638,000 and is an approved short sale. So snatching up this property should be quick and simple. 

Lets take a look at some items from the listing:

Property History

Apr 14, 2011Listed (Active)$638,000--CRMLS #S11047318
Sep 20, 2010- Delisted (Hold)----Inactive CRMLS #1
Sep 18, 2010- Listed (Active)*--Inactive CRMLS #1
Jul 14, 2006Sold (Public Records)$1,055,0002.4%/yrPublic Records
Sep 19, 1989Sold (Public Records)$703,000--Public Records

Lets dig into the numbers shall we? So is it any surprise that this short sale property last sold in 2006 (at the very peak of the market) with a price tag of  slightly over $1 million. When compared to today's approved short sale price, this home is $417,000 cheaper for an approximate 40% drop in value. The real scare is that this home is $65,000 cheaper than the last sale in 1989. Or the more accurate way to assess this property is through inflation adjusted dollars from the inflation calculator above. This difference translates into $643,070 for a an even steven 50% drop. This is just simply amazing and stunning at the same time.

So I know someone might say, well, 1989 was the last mini-bubble in CA so its not a fair comparison as there were great buying opportunities in the years ahead. Or that this is just one unfortunate situation out of hundreds in Chatsworth that are performing better. Both of those points are true and I cant argue with that. But what I am trying to point out is that what if this was you? What if you purchased in 1989 or 2006 and are stuck with a huge loss on your down payment, equity, emotional ties, loss in inflation adjusted dollars, or whatever else you have tied up in the property.

So for all of those that bought in the peak, lets say you can ride it out, how long will it take to recover and how much will the dollar be worth when you do decide to sell? Is it going to be the same situation as the home discussed here? Wouldnt it be better to put that money to work in other investments?

What this home has taught me is that the housing market can be dangerous and you need to be armed and  prepared for the unexpected like a job loss, health complications, community changes, etc. Make sure you have the required down payment plus a savings account. More importantly, ensure the mortgage is cheaper than renting, otherwise you are better off renting. You can use rent vs. buy calculators and NY Times.

[Editors note:] Literally at the time of writing this post, the home was put into a pending status. If you were interested in this property, I have a feeling there will be more like it. 

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

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