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And... They're OFF!!!

By SP follow SP   2007 Jan 6, 10:28am 17,621 views   139 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    

My six saved searches in ZipRealty (covering Cupertino, Los Altos and Saratoga) are up an average of 15% since Dec 31. A realtor friend of mine had said that her agency was asking people to wait for at least a week after the new year, to avoid the dead season. In spite of this, some sellers seem to be jumping the gun already.

The majority of the listings show a reduction in "zestimate" from the peak which appears to have occured around mid-2006. I haven't spotted too many FB's yet - most of these are folks who bought and owned for a few years, although there are a few "extensively remodeled" flipjobs in the mix.

Asking prices seem a shade (sometimes even as much as a smidgen) lower than comparable asking prices last year - still obscenely overpriced, though.



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100   SFWoman   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 1:59am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


My mom bought the place in 1984 or so, when the pound was about a dollar, it is too bad she didn't keep it, I'm sure it would be worth a fortune now.

Have you seen this today?


Cancellations hit home-builder orders
D.R. Horton, Meritage sales hurt by nervous buyers backing out of contracts

By John Spence, MarketWatch
Last Update: 10:19 AM ET Jan 9, 2007

BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- A pair of residential builders Tuesday said they're still seeing home orders decline as buyers anxious about falling home prices cancel their house purchases.
D.R. Horton Inc.'s sales orders for new homes fell 23% during the first quarter from a year earlier, the company said.
The drop comes as home builders facing higher buyer cancellations in midst of a U.S. housing slowdown offer more inducements to sell houses...."

These 'anxious buyers' are a little late to the housing bear party, aren't they?

101   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2007 Jan 9, 2:33am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Astrid says:

The regular military is not a terribly bad deal except for more senior level officers (if only because the military/civil service hasn’t suffered corporate level executive wage inflation).

Good point about the wage inflation. This is why if we did go to a draft, we should not just draft for the infantry. If the country is in such an emergency mode, we need to draft executives as well to run depots, munitions plants, shipyards, etc. And since jobs at this level are typically done by Colonels and Generals, that is the rank and only pay they should get. Just like the conventional draftee, these upper level folks would have to edure sacrifices such as being assigned where needed, interupted careers, time away from famly, etc.

102   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:55am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


What's up yo!

My experience with the military and gov't in general is that it's already "top heavy". We have tons of guys that want to handle things from an "operational" stand point (we just can't find guys that want to gas up airplanes).

I toured Cubi Point in the P.I (after Mt. Pinatubo erupted) and the guide really let us go any where we felt like. With all the vegatation stripped away we saw buildings I never knew existed. I guess even after 4 years all I really knew was the airfield itself. There where so many "admin" offices, it was pretty obvious "pork". I am still amazed after all these years the sheer amount of people that had 9-5 M/F jobs we could only dream of. Bastards.

103   speedingpullet   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:59am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

OT...but very evil.... ;-)

Wondering how many of the 'million dollar homes' currently ablaze in Malibu were for sale?
I tried looking up 'old malibu rd' on ZipRealty, but didn't get any hits.

I said it was evil, but you have to wonder....

104   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 3:05am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


And did you see the massive effort underway to save those homes! Incredible! You could see fire trucks lined all up and down the road. But don't worry, they'll make out just fine. Gold-man is on his way with a check!

105   speedingpullet   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 3:30am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Well, it is very hot and windy down here at the moment - as the crow flies, I'm only about 10 miles away from the fire. As for the speed and size of the response - well , one of those places belongs to Susan Sommers!!.

But that's CNN for you - they cover about 5 stories a day, to the detriment of any other 'news', no matter how much more interesting and relevant other stories might be.
You need only to remember the hoo-haw about the supposed JonBenet killer being brought back from Thailand to see how easily CNN gets sidetracked. I feel sad for anyone who loses a house to fire accidentally, but CNN's 'smouldering ruins of famous people's houses and cars' just goes to show that money always makes news. Wonder if anyone losing a house in say, Panorama City or Valley Glen would get as much coverage....

As I said, I'm being evil and devisive - but I know that there are several 'beachfront' Malibu properties on Zip...one of which has the dubious honour of being the oldest MLS in the search - listed on 10/17/03 (1180 DOM) and has had two price increases since then - from a paltry 6.2 million to 7 million. Guess 7 million is the magic price for a quick sale, not.
Interestingly enough, only about 1.5 miles away from the fires....

I predict more than a few of these behemoths will get cripsy-fried before the end of this.....not just Malibu either. Very little demand for multi-million, 16,000 sq ft 10 bed/12 bath mansions at the moment.

106   speedingpullet   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 3:35am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

To her credit - Susanne Somers said 'well, I dont have a child fighting in Iraq and no one got hurt, so we'll rebuild' (to paraphrase).

Good to know that, unlike CNN, she has a good grasp of what's important in life

107   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 3:54am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


Decades on Market?

Susanne might have been more accurate in saying she doesn't have a "grand" child in Iraq?

Anyway, I agree. There isn't much if any demand for these "McAlbatrosses" be it in Malibu or elsewhere. They are attempting yet another MEW based development out in Lincoln City, OR for those that could use a laugh. They say the surfing there is as good as Maverick! (Only a "little" colder perhaps?)


Aren't these prices per sq. ft. about equal with The Hamptons?

108   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2007 Jan 9, 4:36am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


A new business opportunity, Torch, Inc?

No questions asked, just 10% of the proceeds.

109   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 4:52am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


I have a buddy in Vegas that knew a guy back in Chicago he called "Roman" (as in Roman Candle?). I guess the guy's claim to fame was that no one ever got hurt when he was doing one of his little "jobs".

One of the things I definitely miss about the old overvaluedblogspot was the author's uncanny ability to seek out homes where proximity to water (of any kind) were the primary factor in pricing! Granted I'd like to have a home in Malibu too (not sure what I'd do w/it) but so many of the homes he'd point out were on some canal or back water!

The Olivia Beach development looks to be the 3rd or 4th this "crew" has worked on and these homes anywhere else would go for about 225K (vice 470K) even a few blocks inland! It's just amazing to me how our heads go right out the window when a water view is involved! (It's just not that big a deal).

110   OO   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 4:57am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


any chance the Labor opposition may put up a decent fight in the coming election? I happened to land myself in a pre-dominantly labor state (QLD) over the vacation with the uncontested Premier Beattie, and everyone I talked to seem to have a disdain for Howard, but I suspect that may be due to my sample bias.

111   e   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 5:38am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Check this out!

It's a MLS search system based on keywords and other stats. You can search by "Motivated Sellers" - and find places that have dropped the price by 10%


112   e   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 9:34am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

AAPL is soaring today.

Let's see if this translates to a bump in Cupertino housing prices.

113   OO   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 9:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

OT, iphone is really cool, I would love to get my hands on one.

IMHO, AAPL should not have tied itself up with Cingular, this is a huge strategic blunder. A phone like this is able to sell on its own, it should work with all networks. The Cingular partnership makes no sense whatsoever.

I don't think Cupertino housing price is driven by AAPL, it is not a requirement of the employment contract that all AAPL employees should stay within 2-mile radius of where they work.

114   KurtS   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 11:14am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

So I'll guess that Apple chose Cingular because they also want to sell their gsm phone in Europe. However, a lot of us here don't like Cingular, so I'll never buy the iPhone on that point, let alone for the $500 msrp.
It also looks fragile. I dropped my Motorola 30 ft onto concrete and it still works perfectly.

115   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 12:31pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

good post, ha ha

116   e   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 12:42pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

“Once mortgage holders realize that their homes are worth tens of thousands less than the amount of their loan they are likely to “mail in their house keys rather than make the additional mortgage payments.”

That assumes that they're rational. Dangerous assumption!

117   Girgl   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 1:51pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Someone please help me understand this.

Zillow shows the following sales for a house in my neighborhood (1366 Glenmoor Way, 95129):

Sale History
09/14/2006: $150,000
07/25/2006: $1,300,000

I just know it was listed for $1.25 mil, then sold (once) to the folks now living in there...

Another one (1528 Ardenwood Dr, 95129) was listed for $1.6 mil last year, then the "for Sale" sign just disappeared.
Now Zillow says it was actually sold:

Sale History
07/27/2006: $350,000

What's going on? Does Zillow have incorrect data? Is someone trying to save themselves some property tax? That can't work, right?

118   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:02pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Does anyone feel like completely redeveloping patrick.net into a phpBB-type format, including bringing all the old threads across, and gifting it to patrick, so posts submit properly? No?

119   OO   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:26pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


it is an inter-family transaction. When someone's name is ADDED to a deed, only the portion of the home associated with that transfer is recorded. For example, if the home is worth $1M at market value, and it's co-owned by a couple, adding a son's name will imply that the son gets $330K of the value, therefore, a transfer of value of $330K is recorded.

There is also some confusion about whether the loan balance is subtracted from the transfer. In any case, when you see a transaction obviously out of whack from the market prevailing value, it implies a transaction within the family by adding a party's name to the ownership.

120   Girgl   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:31pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

OO Says:
it is an inter-family transaction.

That makes sense. Thanks for shedding light on this!

121   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:33pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

oh, got it - there was a 'magic word' in it after all...

OO Says:
any chance the Labor opposition may put up a decent fight in the coming election? I happened to land myself in a pre-dominantly labor state (QLD) over the vacation with the uncontested Premier Beattie, and everyone I talked to seem to have a disdain for Howard, but I suspect that may be due to my sample bias.

no, no chance, heh. Labor have put up Kevin Rudd as alternative PM, he is calm, rational, articulate, and, most importantly, a fervent 'socia1ist Christian', where Labor hope that he will out-Christian the Conservatives' tokenistic claims to Christianity in the scared, Christian, conservative electorate. Unfortunately, he is a little too dull and colourless and not combative enough to win on the 'charisma' effect, in my estimation. Time will out. The main reason John Howard has stayed in for so long is that he 'appears' honest and sincere to the naive, he is a slippery liar who always talks his way out of trouble with a convincing rebuff, and changes and borrows policies from other parties as needed to keep people happy -- but people don't particularly like him -- he's just someone who appears reliable. He also slashed the govt deficit and brought it back into a healthy surplus very quickly. Other than that, the parties are approximately equal in terms of mediocrity. I find the Conservative Ministers completely unpleasant and unacceptable human beings and always wonder who voted for them -- everyone I know vocally denies voting for them after each election. ;)

Conversely and perversely, every state govt is presently Labor, altho they can't win a trick Federally. I don't know how that works. Except that Labor is increasingly centrist/right wing and conservative in general, having been co-opted by the Right ages ago. And Qld had a particular notorious National Party Premier for a very long time, to be replaced by Beattie.

There has been an increasing mistrust of big party politics in the electorate, and both parties are losing preferences to minor parties and independents, which worries the Labor govts at state level. There could be more seats returned to Greens, Independents and other small parties in the next NSW state election in March 07 (as much as is possible in a two-party-preferred voting system which is not proportional or truly representative).

122   OO   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 2:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

oops, I meant intra-family transaction.

123   Lost Cause   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 3:04pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

San Francisco Says:

January 8th, 2007 at 7:39 pm
Did 4th Qtr 2006 California foreclosure rate just beat 1st Qtr 1996?

4th Qtr 2006 91,292

Is that a record? That is a seriously large number.

124   Bruce   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 4:17pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

A Note from the Hinterlands

I've just returned from Charleston, West Virginia, where my brother is a broker for Merrill Lynch and my sister-in-law an associate for a local Coldwell Banker affiliate. I asked them how Charleston was weathering the effects of the current RE market and got faintly puzzled looks from both.

While there hasn't been much interest lately in large, new homes, a number of which have been built since the mid-nineties for non-natives, the sale or purchase of SFHs continues at the same modest rate typical of the past twenty years or so. She has four in escrow at present. None of her clients make use of unconventional financing.

According to my brother, the rise in valuations experienced elsewhere over the past seven years had no local equivalent - Charleston's residential average values have fallen modestly since 2000.

Charleston is a small, urban capitol city. Macy's and Starbucks and Marriott are there. Benz, Lexus and Jaguar also. I wonder if coastal America is aware of such places and also how many fly-over locales are similar. It was like entering an alternative, parallel universe.

125   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 4:43pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I added a note to the comments.

I added a note saying she looked pretty...

126   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 5:28pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Charleston is a small, urban capital city. Macy’s and Starbucks and Marriott are there. Benz, Lexus and Jaguar also. I wonder if coastal America is aware of such places and also how many fly-over locales are similar. It was like entering an alternative, parallel universe.

Just on this, and astrid's thoughts about relocating to Canada, Oz, etc, you have to weigh up factors like cultural difference, whether the perceived benefits of a benevolent welfare state override the 'homesickness' factor, nature of job markets, and so on. e.g. it's possible to relocate somewhere inside the US to get relief from the housing market. I just drove through some 'secondary' Australian towns, which never exceed popn 100,000, and there ain't much there -- generally not a Benz or a Lexus to be found. There are really only 5 major capital cities to choose from - Sydney (4M), Melbourne (3M) and Brisbane (2M) on the east coast, and Adelaide (1M) and Perth (1M). And Canberra, popn 500,000. Adelaide and Perth are remote feeling. Sydney's urban planning is poor, Brisbane is 'OK' altho hot and humid, Melbourne is classy and well planned but has cooler and unstable weather. Housing affordability is poor in Sydney in particular - like Hollywood, it's a nice place to be if you're rich. Canberra is a haven for bright, time-wasting public servants pretending to be efficient and effective. The wage structure in Oz is generally flatter, you would be crazy to relocate here from US if you were a doctor or lawyer. And commodities are a little dearer than US, although cheaper than places like UK, altho getting fresh temperate and tropical fruits and seafood etc is pretty straightforward. Australia is still more like UK than US in culture, altho it is also somewhat intermediate between the two, and still shows some of its cultural heritage of being drawn from the convict hulks on the Thames ;)

127   Bruce   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 6:48pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Sean, if I appeared to be suggesting Charleston as an alternative for Bay Area residents - and reading over my post, I see it could make that impression - I must say it is the kind of town only a lifelong denizen could love.

However, as we gauge the impact of real estate speculation and voodoo credit, I thought a reminder of those portions of the US which stand outside the familiar coastal model was in order. Places like Charleston or Bangor or scores of similarly unremarkable burgs contribute a fairly substantial, hardworking core to the country's prospects.

128   ozajh   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 6:55pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


Canberra is a haven for bright, time-wasting public servants pretending to be efficient and effective.

Way, WAY too kind. (And I are one :))

129   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2007 Jan 9, 10:30pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

SP's link says:

"Get 15-year, fixed mortgage. Be sure that the payment is no more than 1/4 of our take-home pay."

I bet this sounds like exoticly conservative advice in a world that thinks using 30 year life sentence mortgage is acting frugal.

130   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2007 Jan 9, 10:35pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

DS Says:

"Australia is still more like UK than US in culture, altho it is also somewhat intermediate between the two, and still shows some of its cultural heritage of being drawn from the convict hulks on the Thames"

So, do you have the Family Leg-Irons mounted over the mantle?

131   SFWoman   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 9, 11:26pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


I had the BEST lobster chowder in Bangor once. Yum.


I saw your comment. She is the cutest real estate agent. I added a comment too (although not about that). There is nothing at all unreasonable about anything she says, but the real estate investor guy apparently thinks she's insane. "What, people should only buy what they can afford? Good God, then their neighbors will think they are poor, poor I tell you! You wouldn't want people thinking you can't afford that McMansion, would you?" (That's the thought bubble I picture over his head.)

132   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 12:04am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


Loreena Yeo is da bomb! How many realtors have even heard of Dave Ramsey let alone strive to adhere to his principals! Some time back a client brought Dave to my attention and I've been a fan ever since.

In part that's why I was disappointed mortgage acceleration wasn't rec'd more openly. I absolutely hear where Headset is coming from and have also adopted the "30 Years to Life" mindset when it comes to mortgages. At this point, even if I DID find a home (at a price I was willing to pay) a 30 Year is just out of the question! How can any right thinking person consider themselves "retired" when they have another 20+ years left on their mortgage?

133   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 1:15am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

DS and ajh,

Good points, though arguably being like America would argue in Australia's favor. I spent my life in China and the US, two countries so big that they're always acting as though the rest of the world does not exist (except as quaint vacation spots or source of consumer goods). I wouldn't mind something a bit different. With the option of dual citizenship, I doubt I'd hurry into a permanent OZ based job (I have heard that wages are much lower there). I just need to get my foot in the door before I'm too old to immigrate.

Is it true that Aussies drink their beer at room temperature?

134   speedingpullet   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 1:23am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

DS Says:

“Australia is still more like UK than US in culture, altho it is also somewhat intermediate between the two, and still shows some of its cultural heritage of being drawn from the convict hulks on the Thames”

When I went to Victoria a few years back, I got the feeling that the culture was English but the geography was much more like a very dangerous Wild West. Consequently, the nice, polite, conservative English zeitgeist is mixed in with the sort of pioneer attitude needed to live in a big, hot, dangerous country. I'd guess it was much the same as the American attitude up until the start of the 20th C

Personally, I'd give my right boobie for a job offer in Melbourne ;-)

IIRC, these days there's a certain cachet in having Crims as ancestors.

Incidentally, I lived for many years near the Thames in Deptford (South East London), which was the site of many of the Prison Hulks, crammed full of unfortunate souls due for transportation to Oz - many of them for trivial crimes like stealing a loaf of bread. Oh, how times have changed....

135   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 1:48am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

"though arguably being like America would argue in Australia’s favor"
"though arguably being LESS like America would argue in Australia’s favor"

Anyone here have a psychic grammar check helper monkey for sale?

136   OO   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 7:18am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


if you do go down under, hook up with your Columbia Aussie alumni first. The Ivies (mostly Harvard, Yale and Columbia) have some presence down under, but don't flaunt your school name the way one usually does in the US, it is a very different culture and mindset, Aussies don't appreciate that too much.

However, the cost of living is NOT much lower than the Bay Area. In Sydney, the housing cost adjusted for local pay and tax rate is actually HIGHER! Aussies get no tax break on their mortgage interest for prime residence, but tax breaks for negative gearing (negative cashflow) on investment properties, extremely wicked tax system. Some food is cheaper and some more expensive, while gasoline is more expensive. The big savers are education (no difference of school districts, all about the same), and universal medicare (but not in Sydney, because you'll have to wait too long to be treated).

Australia is having a boom of the century, but its boom is indirectly dependent on the US. The biggest export destination of Oz is Japan (#1) and China (#2), accounting for over half of where their stuff are heading towards, but the #1 export destinations by far for both Japan and China is the mothership US. So if we falter, Oz will be very much affected, a country of 20M population is too small to sustain a thriving economy on its own, although it has plentiful natural resources to deplete.

I usually come back from my annual Oz visit thinking that gosh that is a great country and get back in the Bay Area feeling depressed. But after a while, I figure that I've never made a dime in Oz, I have always looked at Oz from the perspective of American wages and exchange rate (sucking big time lately, and likely will get worse), so I don't really know what it feels like to earn the dime locally and spend it locally.

I would suggest that you don't miss Brisbane and Perth on your trip, the two fastest growing regions of Australia, and of the western developed world. There's a very useful immigration site called britishexpats, and the top destination for British emigrants or expats is Australia. There are tons of useful information on that site for the choice of location, cultural adjustment (from British perspective), jobs, etc. Hope you have a good time down under.

137   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 7:33am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


Thanks for your advice. I didn't go to an Ivy League school though. I hope the fact that you didn't know that means I haven't been flaunting my degree too much. My college is a brand X liberal arts college anyways.

138   Different Sean   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 7:57am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Time to dispel some myths, heh:

So, do you have the Family Leg-Irons mounted over the mantle?

Yes, and a framed ticket-of-leave signed by the Gov'nor. No, FALSE, my folks emigrated from UK when I was a young'un, they weren't even transported (unlike the Bee Gees, who used to start fires as juveniles, until the local constabulary 'suggested' the family emigrate to Oz).

Is it true that Aussies drink their beer at room temperature?

FALSE. No, definitely not, not in this climate. That's a joke about the English not refrigerating beer told by Aussies.

many of them for trivial crimes like stealing a loaf of bread. Oh, how times have changed…

TRUE. I saw a doco the other day where a 14 year old girl had been given the death sentence in about 1778 for tricking another girl, taking her outer clothes and pawning them, at a time when people in London were basically starving. The judge thought this was an offence showing incorrigible moral turpitude in a 14 year old that required hanging. Luckily, the new colony needed breeding stock, and her sentence was commuted to 14 years transportation while she was lingering in the barges.

Canberra is a haven for bright, time-wasting public servants pretending to be efficient and effective.

TRUE, unfortunately. I always thought ajh was a private sector, outsourced kind of guy supplying IT services... ;)

I spent my life in China and the US, I wouldn’t mind something a bit different.

While I think of it, I don't know whether you'd find Sydney interesting, as there is a really big ethnic Chinese population there, which facilitates doing business and job-hunting sometimes. (Some people still claim a huge influx of rich HK businessmen caused the Sydney property boom, especially after the lease expired in 1997. It could have been a factor.) Other cities are more 'Anglo' generally, with more European immigration.

139   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Jan 10, 11:32am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      


Thanks for the answers. What a relief to know that Aussies drink cold beer! I don't mind room temperature ale, but I loath to contemplate the taste of a warm Heiferweizen.

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