Some excerpted perspective from an older experienced plugged-in reader:

Us older folks (48 years myself) have seen this all before. I sold my second home in Santa Monica in 1990 which at that time had the same bubble energy of late 2006 here. I had 6 offers within 48 hours, almost all over listing price, which was 25% more than any other similar home sold for in my neighborhood that year.

Back then L.A. was going through a bubble that reminds me very much of what we see here. The buyer had to hold on until 2000 to be able to finally sell it for what he originally purchased the home for, not more. This was a nice area, north of Montana, with many media stars living nearby and listed architectural gems by noted architects such as Neutra, Wallace Neff, Gordon Kaufman, etc., including at that time the bizarre residence of Frank Gehry. This was the “real Santa Monica”.

10 years is a LONG time to have to wait to get your money back…

That it is. Especially if one was sold on “normal” returns or is counting on building equity to fund the purchase of a move-up home.
Perhaps It’s The Market That’s More Unbelievable To Some… [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by nickswish

    Similar story here: bought in Elk Grove CA in 1991. Listed it in 2000 for the same price I bought it for. Had no buyers. Sold it in 2004 for double what I bought it for. The question is not: when do we reach the bottom? It’s more accurately, how long will it stay on the bottom?

  2. Posted by Money Man

    At least your homes came back. In the late 80′s in Texas, my recently purchased home for $190K sunk to a value of $150K, almost overnight. It was sold in 2003 for $203K, but that’s only after spending close to $40,000 in maintenance and improvements over 17 years (including $12,000 for a cracked slab). After 51 years in Texas and 3 homes, I can say that I only made money on the first home that I bought during the 1970′s, as that’s because high inflation took the value up.
    Since moving to California in 1999, I have made about $300,000 on my real estate purchases. Not much, by California standards, but a gold mine compared to my experiences in Texas.

  3. Posted by mac

    Same story here. Bought a property in 1988.. sold it 8 years in 1996 for a 5% loss (not including RE fees)

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    My story diverges from mac’s. Bought in 1987 just as the appreciation was accelerating. The price was dead on the local median price. I watched the median go up and then stagnate and slide in the 90s, but it never dropped below my 1987 purchase price.

  5. Posted by eastbaymike

    Bought in the East Bay in 1990. Sold in 1997 at a loss.

  6. Posted by mark

    611 washington when new was asking 750k 1987?
    I paid 555k in 93 .Sold in 95 for 435k.
    Last sale was 2002 1.7 million 1b 2 bath 1900sf
    I hope to buy it back for 400k in 2010

  7. Posted by McBravio

    Too bad the seller in the story couldn’t have held out until 2006. He would have made a killing!

  8. Posted by Lance

    I’m not speaking from personal buying experience, but I think this drop is more severe than the one in the 90’s. If you look at some of the numbers, the LA and SF metro areas have dropped deeper and much more quickly than then. According to CS, prices dropped around 27% from peak to bottom in the 90’s. This took around 7 years to happen, and then prices started rising again. Consistent with what nickswish said, prices didn’t fully return to the peak for 10 years. In the SF MSA, prices only dropped around 12% during a 5 year time frame, and they took around seven years to fully recover.
    So far in the current fall, prices have dropped by more than 30% in both LA and SF MSA. Remarkably, this has all happened in the past 24 months. For the record – I think that for SF proper, prices are stickier on the ups and downs (i.e. – don’t swing as much as some locales). CS numbers include the entire MSA, so they arguably overstate price changes that are happening in the city. I also think that this correction will be shorter than previous ones due to more market transparency, government intervention, etc.
    With that said, this seems to be an unprecedented correction in California RE prices.

  9. Posted by gotoutintime

    My story: Bought in November of 1981 for $210,000 in the “real San Francisco”, Noe Valley. Sold in August of 2001 for 1.2 M. I guess I should have waited until 2005 or 2006 and made even more of a killing but I was able to move on to another part of California and make a lifestyle change.

  10. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    gotoutintime – Noe wasn’t “real” in the 1980s. You made a really good buy purchasing before Noe got real.
    RE wisdom in the 1950s : buy in the path of development
    RE wisdom in the 1970s : buy in the path of gentrification
    RE wisdom in the 1990s : buy in the path of “real”ness

  11. Posted by plan C-sparky

    RE wisdom in the 2000s: rent

  12. Posted by Dude

    And to finish it off….RE wisdom in the 2010s: buy in the aftermath of the bubble implosion

  13. Posted by gotoutintime

    @ Milkshake: Yes you are correct about Noe in the 80s. Lucky for me Noe was “real” when I sold in 2001! Saw quite a few changes over 20 years!

  14. Posted by lainsf

    Daly City will be real in 2010.

  15. Posted by fluj

    Daly City is plenty real already.

  16. Posted by Pumpkin Patch

    Just googled the 1980s NYC real estate bubble. I found these articles. Rule of thumb: History Does Repeat Itself:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900E0DD1639F937A15756C0A963948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9500E5D71E39F933A05755C0A963948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9400EEDC1F38F932A35751C1A963948260
    9A0DE6D81130F932A15752C0A960948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0DA1731F934A15754C0A961948260
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40717FA345D0C778CDDA90994DF484D81
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEFDF143AF932A15751C0A96E948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEFDA133AF936A25756C0A96E948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6DA1631F936A25756C0A96E948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEED7173AF935A2575BC0A96E948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE7DE153AF932A2575AC0A96E948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2DB113DF935A25753C1A96E948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7DE113FF93BA25755C0A96F948260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0D6153FF933A1575BC0A96F948260
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0714FF395D0C778EDDA10894D1484D81
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0D81330F933A2575AC0A96F948260
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0715FB3F5D0C768DDDAB0994D1484D81
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30614FB385D0C778CDDA80894D8494D81
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE5DA163BF937A25752C0A966958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6D81430F93BA15752C0A966958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6DE173CF936A25757C0A966958260
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30611FD3B550C748DDDAF0894D8494D81
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F3061FFE3B580C7A8DDDAE0894D8494D81
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F3061FFB3B5D0C728CDDA00894D8494D81
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30616F63D590C758DDDAB0994D8494D81
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE0D61E3EF934A35752C0A967958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DE1131F933A15752C0A967958260
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20610FB3C5D0C728EDDA80894D9494D81
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DD103BF932A35750C0A967958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE7D7103AF936A1575BC0A967958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1D7153BF934A15753C1A967958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DC103DF936A25751C1A967958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEEDF1F3AF933A0575BC0A964958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE1D81E3DF936A25752C1A964958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D9153CF93BA15751C0A965958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE6DC153BF935A15751C0A963958260
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CEEDF1131F93BA15754C0A963958260
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30716F83C5D0C768CDDA80994DD494D81
    This market started to get stronger by 2000 and, definitely boomed these last few years. Today, the same market is troubled, once more.

  17. Posted by Pumpkin Patch

    Just to add to the above history on the 1987-90 housing bubble:
    Median home values adjusted to 2000 dollars. Years are listed as 1980, 1990, 2000:
    CA 167,300; 249,800; 211,500
    CT (NYC tristate area) 129,900;227,200;166,900
    NY 90,000;168,000;148,700
    NJ 119,200;207,400;170,800
    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html

  18. Posted by Pumpkin Patch

    Ooops…I put random dates down for the 1980s housing bubble on the intro…but, the median prices are correct…

  19. Posted by TelHillrenter

    Deja Vu…I work for a real estate developer. In 2005 we bought 2 apartment buildings in the East Bay totaling 48 units. We renovated the property and sold all the units as condos. (The units were already mapped as condos, so we didn’t have to go through that hassle). Apparently as the condo market collapsed in the early 90′s during construction, the developer just rented them out. 15 years as rentals…

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