Monday, August 13, 2007

Woe is Woodland HIlls

It seems like Woodland Hills felt the squeeze sooner than the rest of the Valley. Here's a sample of some aging listings. There are plenty more just like these.

4764 CERRILLOS DRIVE, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
(MLS #F1703540)

Price Reduced: 03/27/07 -- $899k to $850k
Price Reduced: 04/10/07 -- $850k to $800k
Price Reduced: 06/30/07 -- $800k to $770k
Price Reduced: 08/12/07 -- $770k to $699k (down 22.25%)
Zestimate: $785k

4787 SAN FELICIANO DR, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
(MLS # 70000877)

Price Reduced: 04/12/07 -- $729k to $714k
Price Reduced: 05/10/07 -- $714k to $699k
Price Reduced: 06/12/07 -- $699k to $695k
Price Reduced: 07/06/07 -- $695k to $675k
Price Reduced: 07/09/07 -- $675k to $665k
Price Reduced: 07/18/07 -- $665k to $650k (down 10.71%)
Zestimate: $697K

22430 SOUTH DOMINGO ROAD, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
(MLS #F1720551)

Price Reduced: 07/12/07 -- $839k to $819k
Price Reduced: 07/16/07 -- $819k to $799k
Price Reduced: 07/25/07 -- $799k to $789k
Price Reduced: 08/06/07 -- $789k to $769k
Price Reduced: 08/08/07 -- $769k to $749k (down 10.73%)
Zestimate: $777k

5021 CALDERON, Woodland Hills, CA 91364 (MLS # FR2050421)

Price Reduced: 03/15/07 -- $745k to $720k
Price Reduced: 08/02/07 -- $720k to $680k (down 8.72%)
Zestimate: $752K


Anonymous said...


What a dump. In what world other than mine does anyone value this hovel at more than $200-$250k?

Kate said...

They certainly are having trouble moving it. I think the biggest problem with San Feliciano is that they converted the attached garage into a master suite and so they had to build a carport in their back yard (which takes up the entire back yard).

As far as Woodland Hills goes, this house is in a pretty good location. It's halfway up the hill. At the top is the Gelson's shopping center and at the bottom is Jerry's Deli and shopping. It's fairly close tot he Commons. Still, I think they will potentially cut another $100k off the price.

Anonymous said...

In the area adjacent to Woodland Hills that I am (sadly) currently residing in, we have great schools (Las Virgenes Unified), but still the development I'm in hasn't sold a home since oh, about February (if that recently). There were two houses on the market in Feb, now there are 5 or maybe 6 (1 FSBO). The asking range is 829K-1.0 million. 4 years ago, in 2003, the average selling price was somewhere around 500K- to maybe 600K depending on the house. One individual cut their asking price from just under a million to just over 900K, but most people are not dropping their prices at all and nothing is moving at all.

Anonymous said...


Do you really see any of these homes being > $500k in the next year or two? CA or not, those are huge prices for these houses.

Thanks for your blog.

Kate said...

Anon in Las Virgenes:

Yeah, it's a big game of chicken. The thing is, nobody has to buy (you could rent) but you might have to sell. So the cards are stacked in the buyers' favor. If jumbo rates stay up, we'll see price cuts a lot faster.

Anon The Second:

First off, you guys seriously should just make up names for yourselves. It would help me out. :-)

As to these homes being worthy of a jumbo mortgage: No. Unless you work out there (which almost nobody does), Woodland Hills is a tough place for commuters. The 101 is a nightmare to downtown and Topanga gets shut down for storms/fires all the time so it's tough to get to Santa Monica. Even if it's not shutdown, it's a one-lane mountain road so it's not exactly smooth sailing. It's also a few degrees hotter in Woodland Hills than it is further East.

BUT, they've got great schools and the retail in the area has really exploded. Plus, a new Grove is planned for this area. So, I think Woodland Hills is probably about to be an excellent investment. I am giving it some serious consideration.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I do love me some Woodland Hills. This is where I want to end up. I have been watching prices like a hawk. They are definitely soft, and will probably come down a bit more, but 600K for some of these areas isn't bad. Though San Feliciano is a small, tight area. Trust me when I say it's all about the elementary school.

The thing to know about Woodland Hills is that there are a lot of little differences that make a house flirt with a million. The big areas are "south of the blvd", "walnut acres", anything that backs up to or looks out over "hidden hills", and "bell canyon" (which is technically west hills). These locations are premium. And they're usually based on schools, views, lot sizes, and (did I mention?) schools.

Ok, full disclosure ... I grew up in Woodland Hills, I lived there for a bit after college and commuted to Santa Monica, and both my parents are teachers in the valley for LAUSD. So, trust me when I say... small things to the outside eye, make a big difference to the knowing local. There are elementary schools that parents will lie and cheat to get into. When you are "south of the blvd" west or east of topanga will change which HS you go to. The commute to SM is not that big of deal. And finally, the weather difference is minimal, especially when you can be at the beach in 20min flat. Oh, and a friend of mine at UCLA claims that WHls has better air quallity than the rest of the valley, because smog flows east, and there's only one freeway (unlike the 405/101 intersection or the 5/134/170/101 haze).

Having said all that, it helps me out a lot, when people don't like it so much.


Tech Grad Student said...

Kate, I just found your blog from a link on the LA Times. Just thought I'd pop in and commend you on the great job you're doing - it looks like a lot of work!

I am watching the Pasadena area, since I live by Caltech and have been renting a 2 bedroom apartment by the South Lake area for the past 4 years. I've been watching houses in the upper Hastings ranch area go from asking 1.1 million down to about $800K now. It appears to be a march down of about $100K per year. I anticipate the reduction in Jumbo Loans will force those down at a similar rate for the next few years.

I don't know Woodland Hills as well, but from what I gather, these homes will return to their statistical norm probably over the next few years too, and you'll see asking prices march down about $100K per year. It's going to be a long, painful drawn out experience, but it's still financially better by a mile to be renting. Losing $8000/month is so much more painful than anything you can imagine.

Anyway, best of luck to you, but from what I can see, you don't need luck. The right house will come along at the right price in time.

Kate said...

Anon The Third:

(Seriously, People. Make up names if your shy! With all you "anonymous" types I feel like I'm dealing with George Foreman's kids.)

Anyhoodle, I do think Woodland Hills is going to be a sound investment soon. You are right on about the schools, and with that new Grove coming in... it's bound to draw a crowd. And especially if you are already comfortable with the area from growing up there, it seems like a slam dunk.

Suzy Q said...

Hi, I'm the Anon currently (sadly) living in the LVUSD w/ no prices moving (2d Anon.) I've been on vacation a few days since posting. There are surprisingly excellent schools-- LVUSD elem school my son is in is best I'm personally acquainted with, and yes, I've compared and contrasted. In local LAUSD, El Camino Real and many of it's elem. schools seem just terrific. Classic, All-American HS experience. I thought the new Grove was going to be closer to North Hollywood, or am I wrong? The downsides are: it's a REALLY long commute to downtown (you have to leave by 6:15 to avoid traffic, and if you don't it can take an hour and a half), there are very limited restaurant choices (unless you love chain, PF Chang type spots), limited other recreational opportunities-- very far from museums, etc. The beach is more than 20 minutes, only a West Hills/ Woodland Hills apologist would so claim. I'm dubious on air quality, but that's tough everywhere around LA except for the beach communities. Also, the fires can get close to the edge of the valley. I didn't grow up in LA. As an adult, I have lived in this area and in the Pasadena area (with family/children) and when I was younger/single with no husband/kids in the Santa Monica/Venice areas. I prefer Pasadena. But if you want a big-ish MCM, if you find a place you can buy on the edge of the hills with a view, and you have/put in a BIG BEAUTIFUL POOL (an absolute necessity in this area which we renting don't have) plus yard with shade for kids, and you love to cook ever night and/or dont mind eating chain food, see I can see that. It could be cool. And also, if you don't have to work downtown, because that commute will eventually drive you over the edge. Nor would I want to cut through Top Canyon every day. But I do think prices HAVE to drop here a lot because NOTHING is moving at even close to prices asking, and, like you said, people get divorced, move for work or other reasons, etc, and have to move. When I buy, or rent a new place (seriously thinking about doing that soon) I think I would prefer to go back to San Gabriel Valley, but Kate, if you decide to move to my section of the Valley, and we can be neighbors, than that might convince me to stay-- :)

Kate said...

Suzy Q;

I'll keep you posted on my move (obviously!).

I think your assessment of Woodland Hills is pretty accurate. Thanks for reading and commenting.