1) There is a high number of distressed properties in Ladera Ranch
2) Covenant Hills specifically has high HOA fees, around $400 monthly which equates to $5,000 annually
3) High Property tax rate. The mello roos for properties in Ladera Ranch are generally higher than other communities in the area such as Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto De Caza, Mission Viejo, etc...
I believe that Covenant Hills has had a larger decrease in price for a couple of reasons. First....they are higher priced, often custom, homes. That segment of the market has slowed considerably more over the past few years. Jumbo loans have been very hard to get for many without a large down payment. Also....there is very high Mello Roos and Association dues. I had one client say "I can buy in Laguna for that" and it's true.
I like CH and have had a few clients buy in there....and if you like that area, you might find some great prices right now. Something to think about....as far as slippage? I haven't heard about anything like that in there.
To address your overall issue concerning value, you have to understand Ladera as a whole while synthesizing general real estate market conditions. Understanding that most lots/homes were sold in Covenant at the ultimate top of the market, that region is seeing the largest decline. Other areas of Ladera were built prior to "top" and as such, there are fewer distressed sales which in turn renders a decreased likelihood of a "firesale" That is just one reason for the difference, I could likely write a book on the topic but will spare you the boredom.
The bottom line is that every geographic region has its "issues" - however, if you beleive in a community and see the forest from the trees, you will see that Ladera Ranch is a place that will be at the top of the appreciation list when the market begins to turn. People want to live here and always will. It is the Midwest Dream in Southern California. Other call it "Pleasantville" - either way, there will always be a demand in Ladera.
Though Supply and Demand prcinciples do not typically apply in Real Estate, they do in certain geographic regions where supply is limited. So Cal is one of those regions. Accordingly, supply is low, demand will always be high.
If you are looking in Ladera, you have already come to the conclusion that this is a place you want you and your family (if applicable) to live. The next step is to understand the community even more. Speak with professionals, residents and keep up on publications. With such an articulate question, you will seek out the proper answers and the right decision for YOU will be made.
Good luck in your search!!!!
As far as Covenent Hills coming down faster than other areas of Ladera it was because it was the most expensive, so naturally this area would be the first to fall. Prices will continue to come down to some point as many many people here are upside down or heading in that direction. For every foreclosed home that comes on the market here, there are dozens of ready, willing and able buyers for them.
Come on down and let me show you around: http://www.LaderaRanchLife.com
ask if the owner has one done when've bought the property. When you put an offer on a home you will get a environmental hazard report. You will other teports as well about the property How else can I help you if you want more details Ingrid Ski Realtor
The community keeps a sharp eye on the hillside on the south side of O'Neil (not in Covenant Hills).
You will see markers on the hill for this purpose.
The only incident I am aware of is a minor bit of flooding from the hillside to the west of Oneil. A drainage channel was filled with debris, and a little water and dirt came down the hill into one or more backyards, as a result.
I am not aware of any soils problems in Covenant Hills.
Your analysis period is short enough that a sale or two can easily yield statistics that are fleeting.
Nevertheless, a significant number of the buyers in Ladera Ranch in general went a little overboard when they purchased (25% of the home value spend on builder upgrades was not that uncommon), and then the rapid price increases promoted more refi's than other areas. Additionally, the HOA and Mello-Roos can tally up to $1,450/mo. With our current economy, these kinds of things could cause a one-time drop.
I live in Ladera Ranch, and it is definitely a terrific place to live (the parks are full of 4 ft high 5 year olds and their families playing ball on the weekends).
It was an award-winning development when it was new, and I think it is safe to say that it will continue to be so.
The schools, of course, are top-ranked, and I think it has a bright future, once prices "settle back to earth".
BTW, you may be interested in finding out about homes that are not currently on line ("hidden homes", as I call them), and about the availability of significant Buyer Cash-Backs when you do buy.
You can find out more with a short video at http://www.PublicServiceRealEstate.com/custom1.shtml