Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lake Havasu

From The Lake Havasu Newspaper
Salaries not keeping up with homes

Saturday, June 28, 2008 8:09 PM MST

A two-year-old wage study shows few workers in Lake Havasu City can afford to buy the average home.

The Lake Havasu City, AZ. Area Wage & Fringe Benefits Survey was compiled by the Pathfinders of Dallas, an economic development and corporate site-selection consultant firm, in September 2006, at the request of the Partnership for Economic Development.

“It’s about time to update it, about every two years,” said PED President and CEO Gary Kellogg. “And this time we need more participation.”

The survey shows 81 firms participated in the survey but many of the individual job sectors only had one firm participate — such as auto sales — which Kellogg said leads to results being less than accurate when it comes to the entire community.

Participating employers were asked to report low, average and high entry-level pay. That led to a determination of low average, high average, mean average and weighted average which balances employers of a number of people with those employing few in the same job classification.

Of the 103 job classifications listed in the report, 20 fell below a weighted average wage of $10 per hour, generally the jobs considered entry level. Such as janitor, childcare worker and bartender, bus and wait staff at restaurants and bars.

Another 20 job classifications were reported with a weighted average wage of $20 per hour or more. Including president/CEO/owners with the highest a weighted average wage of $64.83.

Using the May 2008 report by the Lake Havasu Association of REALTORS, of homes sold in Lake Havasu City, few of those earning in excess of $20 per hour can afford a mortgage for the average home in the city.

Using the Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association) loan calculator with the weighted average wage of $31.67 and zero debt, a Lake Havasu City teacher should look at a mortgage of no more than $212,756. That’s almost $30,000 less than the $232,217 average sales price of home in the city in May.

Lenders generally won’t lend when the housing costs (loan, insurance, taxes) exceed 28 percent of monthly income. And total debt shouldn’t exceed 36 percent.

Compounding the problem is that few workers in every field are without debt. And a quarterly study of the cost of living shows Lake Havasu City runs higher than the national average in a number of categories.

The Cost of Living Index compiled by the Council for Community and Economic Research measures the relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas.

Those areas are averaged and the individual communities are compared to that baseline.

In six categories during the first quarter of 2008, the Lake Havasu City-Kingman Metropolitan Statistical Area exceeded the baseline in three — running 8.4 percent higher on grocery items, 39.7 percent higher on housing costs and 0.3 percent higher on transportation.

Utility costs in the Lake Havasu City run 7 percent below the national average, while health care is 5 percent cheaper, and miscellaneous goods and services are 0.1 percent below.

Lake Havasu City participates in the study each quarter through the PED.

Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, R-Dist. 3, said there are two moves the county and city can make, one to offset the lower salaries now and the other to bolster salaries in the long term.

“We need to look at some community housing, available to our police, fire, teachers, those essential service people. I tried to bring some in six years ago but no one was interested and instead it went to Parker,” Johnson said. And we really have to push industrial economic development, like along the I-40 Industrial Corridor, to get better paying jobs. That will lift other salaries when they compete for employees.”

Friday, June 27, 2008


Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but it was taken from a remote control airplane with a small older camera that I don't mind if I lose if I crash! That being said, there are 8 foreclosures in this picture.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Howard Checking In

It has been awhile and Howard just wanted to let you all know that he is still very concerned about the real estate market.
Oh, and this is also the time of year that he was born 10 years ago.
Happy Birthday old man.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Hacienda

There are not many people this house will appeal to, but looking at it makes me a little hungry for chips and salsa.


The sign on the house above says:

"Home 4 #....I am desperate."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Hawaii

Summerland Beach
Montecito, California

Here I am at it again dreaming about one of my favorite places. I have been doing some searching using Hawaii Life RE Services. They have a big map of all the Islands and Citys on the Islands. Its pretty neat to see the mansions. Hawaii Life RE Services gives me hope to some day move there but for now I am here on the mainland. I wonder if there are a huge amount of foreclosures there? If anybody knows let me know. Acording to the Zillow graph on the the Hawaii Life RE Services main page the housing has held up good. There is something about that place that amuses me. Maybe because its not in the media, but still USA.

Modesto Real Estate

Here is an interesting article about the Modesto Real Estate.
From ModBee .com

Good news for buyers: Home prices fall as sales rise in Stanislaus County

last updated: June 18, 2008 10:27:42 PM

Home prices plunged again in May, but sales of existing homes surged.

Median sales prices fell to $215,000 in Stanislaus County, which was $10,000 lower than in April and 36.6 percent below May 2007, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

But the number of existing homes sold soared by more than 89 percent this May compared with a year ago.

Blame foreclosed houses for both the price drop and the sales spike.

"Banks are competing against banks to get the foreclosure inventory off their books, and that's driving the prices down," said Craig Lewis, president of Prudential California Realty.

Lewis won't call it a fire sale, but he said banks are doing whatever they must to get those vacant houses sold.

"They're bargain-priced, which provides a tremendous opportunity for buyers," said Lewis, recalling how Stanislaus County median prices peaked at $392,000 in 2005. "It's probably the best buying window we've had in the Central Valley in perhaps 30 or 40 years."

First-time buyers are competing with investors to grab those deals.

"If the home is priced in the $100,000s, we're getting an average of 10 offers to buy," said John Melo, chief executive officer of Century 21 M&M and Associates. "First-time buyers are out in force ... and we have a lot of Bay Area investors coming in paying cash for homes."

Investors typically opt for homes priced at $175,000 or less, Melo said, because they can rent them out at a profit even after paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.

On Wednesday alone, Melo said, his staff made 27 pending sales. Of them, 21 were bank-owned homes, two were "short sales" -- where the lender must agree to accept less than what is owed on the mortgage -- and four were traditional sales.

While low-priced existing homes are selling well, new houses are hardly selling at all. Only 68 new homes sold during May throughout Stanislaus County, which was a drop of nearly 45 percent compared with 2007.

Melo said his agents handle sales in Atwater's Meadow View subdivision, which hasn't sold a single home in 45 days. It has 17 finished houses sitting empty.

"It's hard for the new home builders to compete with the prices on all those bank-owned houses," Melo said.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reduced Pricing

Now, if only the local gas station had one of these signs out front, we would be in business.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dream All You Want!

"Wet Wednesday"
Santa Barbara Yacht Club

I used to race on the yellow boat...Firedrill...a J-24 sailboat. It was the best way to learn how to sail and I had tons of fun.

Ever since I was a wee young lad, and my family took a vacation to Hawaii, I have dreamed of living there. Then, when I was into sailing, I dreamed of sailing to the Big Island. A friend of mine who has sailed around the world told me to go out sailing all day on the worst day, and that is what it could be like to be out on the ocean for weeks at a time. So I picked one of the worst days, popped up the sails and went sailing. I was the only boat out there! It was a long day and very rough on my body, and that is when I was 25 and in great shape. It was a blast, for 8 hours, but I couldn't see myself staying up for 24 hours a day if necessary. The boat NEVER stops moving. I decided to stick close to home and sail from Santa Barbara to the Channel Islands instead to get my fix. Twenty miles is better than 20 days!

One of my long time friends and I have a joke that there is nothing worse than being cold and wet, sea sick, and having your girlfriend break up with you all at the same time. We lived it when he broke up with a girlfriend and I took him sailing out to the Islands on a rough day, and we swam from the boat to the shore just to get on land. We thought the water was only knee deep and could walk in to shore, but it ended up being over our heads.

Thanks for allowing my trip down memory lane...

I like to check out Hawaii real estate almost as much as Arizona real estate. Oahu or Maui would also be nice. The weather would be perfect for me, and I don't even mind the humidity. However, you had better have some bucks if you plan on living there or buying your dream home.

Do any of you have a dream location to live?

Moving Soon

Don't Move Your Belongings Like This Poor Guy

If all goes well, my wife and I will be moving into our new house in September. We found a house that was for-sale-by-owner, which is right up my alley. It is in a nice, quiet neighborhood, and I can hardly wait to start getting moving quotes to get us out of this loud neighborhood. Between the cheerleaders and their loud dance practices, and the gangsters across the street, I've had enough! In fact, I have been stalking the neighborhoods I am interested in buying in to make sure they are nice/quiet places to live. I don't mind hearing lawn mowers and kids playing, but the gangster rap and Harley motorcycle engines are worse than nails on a chalkboard to me. I live next to punks!

So, we're just waiting to be approved on our mortgage, which is looking good and then it'll be a go.

Since we have been in the market to buy a house we have looked at a lot of foreclosures and there are some rough ones out there. They may be priced $20,000 or so less, but they are going to take a big chunk of that to bring them up to par. Not just carpet and paint need to be replaced in the homes, but so do cabinets, tubs/showers, stove/oven ranges, windows, and that's just the inside. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, then it might be right up your alley, but I'm not going to kid myself. The lady we are buying is going to rent back from us for 60 days, because she has purchased a short sale that she is going to have to fix-up.

So this will be one neighborhood I will be happy to say so-long too. The snooty couple that lives next door in their $349,000 house that is oh, I don't know, say $100,000 over-priced, can eat my shorts for completely ignoring me every time I've smiled and said "hello." I hope he enjoys the new "renters." I'm sure he shudders every time that word leaves his mouth. Oh well, six out of 8 houses on the corner we live on are currently in foreclosure. Not looking so good for Mr. Expensive House who is paying nearly $5.00/gallon to commute to San Francisco every day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Two Buck Chuck

Glass Half Full Real Estate Agency:
No Need to Break Your Back Putting the Christmas Lights Up This Year If You Buy This Foreclosure!

I spend a lot of time looking for houses online. Probably too much time. I love it like a wino loves his Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's. It relaxes me, and at least I'm not stumbling around and yelling at the neighbors with slurred speech: "Hey put those guns away or I'll pall the colice!"

One site that is helpful is Free Foreclosure Blog . This service is free and one of the better ones I have found. It's very easy to use, and do a foreclosure search in the city of your choice. Every state is on the map, and there are more cities to choose from than you likely have the time for.

Check it out at Click on any state then you will see the cities from that state. Its fun to do just for pure entertainment. I wish they had pictures of the foreclosures, but that would be the undertaking of the century.

So sit down at your computer, pour yourself a glass of Two Buck Chuck, and search away. Maybe you'll find your boss' house on there...that would be sweet justice now wouldn't it! The Man stickin' it to The Man.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pool Fishing

You would be surprised what's in the backyards of foreclosures. This guy is out doing some fishing in the pool. I guess with gas prices he didn't want to drive to the nearest lake.