Ex-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez takes hit in real estate market


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Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) is the latest politician to get stung financially for buying a home in Sacramento before the state’s real estate market went south.

The Times recently reported on several current and former lawmakers who bought homes near the Capitol when they were elected, hoping to sell the properties for a profit when they left office, but who instead found their homes worth less than they owed. Some lost their homes to foreclosure.


In 2006, two years after he was elected to the Legislature, Nunez paid $1.25 million for a 3,000-square-foot house on American River Drive in an upscale section of Sacramento. Term limits forced him to leave the Assembly in 2008, and efforts to sell the home in recent years have been for naught. Now comes word that Nunez sold the house this summer for $745,000. ‘There is no question the real estate market has taken a big hit. It took a bite out of us, obviously,’’ Nunez told The Times. But the same market that forced him to dip into personal savings to cover the loss on one house also meant he was able to buy another house at a lower cost than it would have sold for years ago.

‘I took a significant loss on the house on American River Drive but I bought another house,’’ Nunez said. Nunez said he avoided going through a short sale, in which the lender also takes a loss, adding that such an option is for people who cannot afford to do otherwise.

He could afford a loss on the house. After he left office he became a partner with Mercury, an influential public affairs firm with offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Washington and New York.

Despite the experience with the market, Nunez thinks those elected this year should jump into Sacramento real estate, given that prices are low and a new law allows lawmakers to serve longer, 12 years, in one legislative house. ‘If I’m one of those representatives and I come to Sacramento right now, I’m going to buy a house,’’ Nunez said. ‘It’s not going to be a bad investment for freshmen legislators who are going to be here 12 years.’’


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

and Arnold Schwarzenegger joked around before a legislative group photo. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press