Cardiff Kook Rescued

For some background behind the latest prank, click here.

The mastermind behind the epic prank at the Cardiff surfing statue says he can’t stop laughing and smiling.  The controversial statue of a surfer was attacked but not injured by a papier-mache shark in Cardiff on Saturday.

Pranksters constructed the shark’s head around the statue, officially called “The Magic Carpet Ride” but referred to as the “Cardiff Kook” by some locals, without damaging it sometime in the early morning hours, sheriff’s officials said.

“I’m glad that people are having a good time with it,” said Eric, who didn’t want to reveal his last name. “I’m really happy. I’ve heard people say ‘we’re taking pictures for our Christmas card.’ Its great.”

Eric, who is “a waiter by day and sculptor by night,” says he actually came up with the idea a year ago. It took about two weeks for he and about 25 friends to put together the “Jaws-like” creature now getting national attention thanks to the internet. Its made out of newspaper, wood and chicken wire.”

He says about 13 people got together around 4 a.m. Saturday and walked the creation over to the statue. What a sight that must have been. “We were laughing so hard. I couldn’t stop laughing once I put it in,” said Eric. “We were just in hysterics. Everybody was just in such a good mood. It was so funny.”

The statue, created by artist Matthew Antichevich, has been a favorite target of pranks since it was erected in 2007.  Some said the surfer was striking a pose that’s effeminate and said the guy looked like a ballet dancer.  regular look —>>>

From NBCSanDiego

My Topics

Yesterday’s radio show (now available on their website) only lasted 32 minutes, and was a call-in Q&A format – so there wasn’t a full exploration of relevant topics of the day. 

There are other topics to discuss, let’s do it here!

1.  San Diego County attached and detached sales are slowing down:

Sales & Cost June # June Avg. July # July Avg.
2009 3,229 $226/sf 3,334 $231/sf
2010 3,227 $252/sf 1,691 $252/sf

We still have the rest of this week, and there’s always a big rush the last week of every month due to less money needed to close for pro-rations.  But if we tack on the same 974 closings we had between July 25-31, 2009, we’re still going to end up well under any of the monthly totals seen above. 

What will happen?  Will it scare more buyers back to the sidelines?  Perhaps, but hopefully it’ll serve as a wake-up call to sellers that they need to reduce their list price if they want to sell this year.

With servicers being reluctant to foreclose, I think there will be little pressure for sellers to adjust, and we’ll likely see the Big Standoff for the rest of the year. We’ll probably see either sales stagnate and the average $/sf stay above last year’s, or if sales pick up, it’ll be because sellers can live with 2009 pricing. But that’s about as bad as it’ll be.

2.  What is the real threat from the shadow inventory? 

The servicers flat-out tell their borrowers that if they want to be considered for a loan modification or short sale, they need to be delinquent.  This is causing the defaulter counts to swell, but how many are doing it just to get in the adjustment line?  If anything, the defaulter counts are a measurement of the number of future short sales coming over the next 1-5 years, and not a count of those going to be foreclosed in the next six months.

The bank-owned properties not on the open market are a fairly insignificant amount, and if they would push them out faster, it would give home buyers more better-priced inventory to consider – which isn’t a bad thing, when released in limited amounts.

The biggest threat? The borrowers who casually enter the default ranks, then get ticked off at how the servicers treat them, and who then decide to strategically default as a result.  The servicers are on a slippery slope that I don’t think they fully appreciate here.

3.  How much of a discount will be required by lookers, in order to become buyers in 2010?

I think if buyers got a 10% discount combined with 4.5% mortgage rates, they’d be happy.  Would the 10% discount need to be real, or just imagined?  In some areas, if a seller just came off their unrealistic list price by 10% it would be enough to put them well under the other active listings, because they all seem inflated.  Here’s an example:


They started June 3rd with a list price of $1,350,000 after several attempts to sell over the last 2 years.  They lowered the list price early and often, now down to $1,179,000, and you’ll see it go pending any minute – and it sounded like it’ll close near the list price too.  The seller was not in distress, just smart – given the market conditions and other listings nearby.

I doubt that many sellers will do it, and as a result, the rest off the year is likely to be very stagnant.

4.  Double Dip.

I think with mortgage rates in the fours, there will be a buyer for every seller who is realistic.  It might take coming off their list price 10% to 20%, but the demand is there.  Will the double dip materialize in the second half of 2010?  Not according to Wells Fargo Securities:


A couple of excerpts:

Current market conditions appear much too balanced for a repeat performance of steep California housing price declines. We reach this conclusion even as we expect a rising supply of distressed home selling to reemerge over the near term.

So the signs of healing we saw in the California housing market in December have only solidified further over the past six months. It would now take sizable economic or financial shock to fully reverse the progress that has been made. Historically low mortgage rates should provide an important offset to expiring tax credits and a steady supply of distressed properties that are expected to continue to spill onto the market. 

Most likely, only a double-dip recession in California could recreate the conditions necessary for another plunge in California home prices.

I think we can expect more of the same; lots of loitering, and enough sales to get us into 2011, where there will be renewed buyer frustration that things aren’t moving fast enough.

What do you think?

JtR on Radio

Tomorrow (Monday) will be my local KPBS radio debut at 89.5 FM, and before you start…..I’ve already heard it a million times….that I have the perfect face for radio!

Maureen Cavanaugh is the host of These Days, which begins at 9am Monday through Thursday.  I’ll be on the show with SDSU professor and mortgage broker Mark Goldman.  Our portion will start around 9:20am, and it is a call-in show.  If you’d like to try to get past the screener to heckle me, the phone number is 1-888-895-5727.  Good luck!

Here is the link to their web page:


It looks like once the show is complete you will be able to listen to the show, and read the transcript.

“Get Going” on Foreclosures

From HW:

Guidance for dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is not included in the recently passed Dodd-Frank Act, and Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the government-sponsored entities (GSEs) says there is no “silver bullet” for adequately winding down these firms.

Speaking at SourceMedia’s Best Practices in Loss Mitigation Conference in Dallas, Texas, DeMarco said two factors are necessary to establish before this can happen.

The first is that the “hybrid structure of private gain and public risk” needs to be expunged from the operations of the GSEs. The second is that any reform will need a period of transition in order to create the appropriate infrastructure to complete these tasks.

He said that streamlined and transparent loss mitigation is “critical” to saving the GSEs. In the Q&A, DeMarco told an attendee that the FHFA believes the area of principal forgiveness remains “fraught with difficulty,” and in cases “where there is no borrower,” even if homeowners are avoiding contact, then the bank should foreclose.

“If you have an abandoned property or a borrower not willing to discuss or work with anything, then get going,” he advised.

DeMarco added that the government remains committed to providing adequate liquidity and credit guarantees to the US mortgage finance market, saying that the actions of the FHFA will not change that aspect.

Turf to Surf

There was mention of Richard capturing the Opening Day festivities on video, but when he got home he somehow deleted the entire set.  I felt obligated to bring some of the atmosphere to our blog readers, so yesterday we took a half-day off: 

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