Rosedale Update

As seen recently in the Wall Street Journal. Rosedale Azusa is bankrupt.
All Eyes on Land as Auction Nears

Housing developers thirsting for deals are excited for a large land auction that is expected Thursday after US Bank forecloses on a Azusa, Calif., property.

The US Bancorp subsidiary will auction enough land in the Rosedale master-planned community near Los Angeles to build more than 700 homes, people familiar with the matter say. That is big news to builders and real-estate investors, who are finding sizable land deals few and far between.

Some industry experts say the site could command more than $70 million.

Azusa Land Partners LLC, Rosedale’s master developer, couldn’t be reached for comment. US Bank declined to comment.

The site, located in the foothills above the San Gabriel Valley, is part of a project that was to include 1,250 homes, a recreation center, parks and other amenities.

While the housing crash halted progress, developers convinced recovery is imminent are itching to start again. The site has drawn “a lot of interest,” said Richard Gollis, co-founder of the Concord Group, a real-estate consulting firm. Major entitlements and infrastructure already in place are “a significant cost and time advantage for the new buyer,” Mr. Gollis said.

Builder Standard Pacific Corp. says it is eager to bid, but Chief Executive Ken Campbell declined to reveal how high he will go.

L.A.County Home Prices: April 2009

:en:Category:Images of Pasadena, California
Image via Wikipedia

Well, the beat goes on and on…Home prices are still falling, marginally, and the spring/summer sale mood has definitely kicked on. Some, highly desireable, areas, such as Pasadena, are experiencing fast sales and multiple offers, but mainly in the starter homes which in the Rose City means $300,000-$400,000.

For the county as a whole, median values are now $295,000 which, as mentioned frequently here, lacks much meaning for those living in the so-called “desirable” areas since that depressed figure is largely generated from massive losses in a localities-Palmdale [down in one ZIP 57% to an incredible $53,000 median home price], Watts [down 50% in one year to median $130,000], Littlerock [down 52% to $100,000 median] or Compton [down 60% to about $140,000]. In other words, the main pain is being felt either in outlying areas of the county or in traditionally lower-priced sections. These massive drops in value are forcing the median of the whole county down.

So, where are the “desirable” areas which have suffered less? Well, La Verne, for one, is down only 4.6% since last April with a median of a healthy $475,000. Claremont is down only 2% with a median of $545,000. Arcadia is down 7.4% to a median $766,000 in 91006 and UP 11% to a median $929,000 in 91007! Temple City is UP 3.9% to a median of $530,000. Other cities in L.A. County, too, are either showing positive gains over last year or only modest losses–Alhambra is up a tick to median $520,000; Sherman Oaks is up 3.2% to a median of $813,000; Van Nuys is up 4.4% to a median of $473,000 in ZIP 91411, though, admittedly its other ZIPs are all showing losses between 25% to 30%.

Other “desirable” area are quite predictable. Most beach cities are up: Malibu, up 5% to a median $2,000,000; Manhattan Beach up 6% to $1,500,000 median; Redondo, up about 10.5% to a median $990,000 in ZIP 90277 and $708,000 in Zip 90278; Marina Del Rey, up 21% to $955,000, Palos Verdes Peninsula is up 16% over last year to $1,825,000. Only Hermosa Beach has declined a smidge [-5%] to a paltry $1,785,000, based on very few sales. Must be tough!

See the trend? Southern California property is still hot, just not all of it. People are running like mad to buy beach city properties which haven’t been this low-priced in awhile. In fact, there’s a bit of a buying fever in these areas which is also reflected in other affluent cities, such as San Marino [down only 3% to $1.4 million median], parts of Pasadena [91106 up over 60% to a median $800,000, based on very few sales] and certainly Glendale which over its seven ZIPs ranges from up 10% [91202 median $692,000] to down 33% [91204 median $399,000 based on too few sales] to down 4.5% [91205,91206 with medians $528,000 and $578,000] . All of these cities are making respectable showings with hefty median prices, especially when compared to the rest of the country. We are still prohibitively expensive for transferees from other states.

Other parts of the county are down, just moderately…Glendora is down in its two ZIPs about 20% to a median of about $400,000, and sales are numerous and brisk. San Dimas is a great bargain–down 35% to a median $350,000, again with brisk sales. West Covina is down in its three ZIPs about 20% to a median of around $350,000 also with brisk sales. Covina is down a tick below 20% to a median of about $360,000 across its three ZIPs, again with eager buyers recognizing a bargain when they see one.

The worst-hit areas in the eastern part of the county are traditionally working-class where unemployment has hit the hardest–Azusa, down 25% to a median of $250,000. Baldwin Park down 29% to $255,000. El Monte, down about 25% to about $265,000, Duarte down 41% to $260,000. As we have noted over the past year, Pomona leads the way downward with huge drops across its three ZIPs [91768 down 28%, 91767 down 32%, 91766 down 42%] giving medians of $175,000.$205,000 and $159,000–some of the lowest values in the entire county…

The pain is not over, though we can see tiny points of light here and there. Homeowners who are not “upside down” or owing more than the value of their home are well advised to sit tight. Living in a hard-hit area, though, many homeowners have seen their down payments and equity vanish as if by magic. For these homeowners, loan modification or short sale are probably the best bets. Homes that the first to decline and which decline the most are usually the last to recover…unfortunate, but true….

Thanks to The L.A. Times and MDA Dataquick for the data.

L.A. County Home Prices: February 2009

South Pasadena City Hall
Image via Wikipedia

The news is still grim and grimmer for February 2009. L.A. County median home value has now sunk to an almost unbelievable $295,000. This represents a 37% drop over the previous year, but that’s only part of the story as prices had already sunk more than 10% by that date. Remember prices started to slide in September, October 2007.

Part of the reason for the precipitous drop in home values, as mentioned here repeatedly, is the wipe-out occurring in outlying areas, such as Lancaster [over 50% decline] and Littlerock [64% decline] which were offering many new homes to commuters. These homes are now almost worthless and dropping all the time due to adjustable mortgages, sub-prime loans and repossessions, in short the panoply of ills we have all learned about in the last year as our economy has tanked. Other areas of massive decline in L.A. County include Watts [61% down], Firestone Park [-52%], Eagle Rock [-51%] and Boyle Heights [-55%].

In the San Gabriel Valley, the eastern part of the L.A. County, the situation is not so bad, though, as always, working-class areas are hardest hit. In fact, only Pomona in the San Gabriel Valley comes close to the dire drops of northern L.A. County. Across its three ZIPs, Pomona has lost 40% to a median of $200,000 in 91766, 37% to a median of $195,000 in 91767 and in 91767 anothrer 37% drop to a median of $185,000.  Marching these declines are only Azusa at 47% drop to $235,000, followed by South El Monte at negative 38%.

The biggest surprise has to be  La Verne down 38% to a median of $369,000. If this trend holds, in fact, this would make LaVerne the biggest bargain east of the 605 because it has housing stock that is for the most part very well maintained along with a very good school system and plenty of infrastructure support.

For the rest of the east, Baldwin Park is down 31% to a median of $255,000,  Covina is down about 20% to a median of about $350,000 except in the South Hills where it’s down barely 2% to a median of $478,000 with just a couple of sales. Sales are weak  in Glendora 91740 where the median has dropped 25% to  $350,000; even more anemic sales in 91741 show a rise of 36% to a median of $660,000. Neither figure is reliable as sales are too scanty to know what is going on there.

Rounding out the east, Claremont has essentially held its own for the year with a median of  $570,000. Diamond Bar has dropped 11% to a median of $451,000. San Dimas has gained 10% over last year with a median of $543,000. Over its three ZIPs, West Covina has lost over 25% of its home values falling to a median of about $410,000.

On the west side of the 605 Sierra Madre has gained 2% to a median of $745,000. San Marino has gained 36%, but that is based on only 4 sales and so means little. South Pasadena has remained stable with a median of $725,000, again based on only a couple of sales. Arcadia has taken quite a dip-42% in 91006 to $485,000 and 14% negative in 91007 to $750,000. Some of these medians may seem high,but when you’ve paid more than a million dollars for your property, it’s no picnic watching it plumment to even $750,000.

Duarte is down 27% to $295,000 while Monrovia is down 30% to a median $400,000–both based on quite a few sales. Altadena is down 19% to a median of $443,000. Our major city, Pasadena, as always shows mixed results. In prestigious 91106 the median value is still over $1,000,000, a slight increase, again based on a negligible number of sales. 91107 shows a drop of 10% to $630,000, 91105 a 16% drop to $773,000, 91104 13% negative to $557,000 and 91103 a 34% drop to $310,000 median.

The situation does not appear to be improving significantly, but I can say that many of the stats were based on so few sales as to make them meaningless.  Few sales is also a negative in itself, of course, but  the coming of Spring to the Southland also opens the homehunting season for buyers who this year have an amazing array of help available to them in tax credits, higher FHA loan limits, and various city and county grants.

On the positive side,  perhaps Obama’s Plan will help some of these underwater homeowners. I am always available for discussion at 626-641-0346 or email at drdbroker@yahoo.com. The new administration has presented some plans to help those suffering from the precipitous drop in home values.

Figures are courtesy of MDA DataQuick in LaJolla, supplied by L.A. Times.

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November 2008: L.A. County Home Prices

los-angeles

Well, as we’ve all been hearing, it’s been another bad month for the nation and for L.A. County. Prices are heading–you guessed it!–DOWN, DOWN, DOWN.  In fact, year over year, prices have fallen 35.7% countywide. The median home value is now $340,000.

Of course, the drops are greater in some areas than in others. In general, working class areas are most likely to show the greatest declines and more affluent areas the least. Statisticians are telling us that until now lower-priced areas have lost 44% of value while upper-income areas have lost 22%. That is a reflection of the ability of the rich to cushion the blow. They have more resources to call upon when times get tough. Lower-income folks are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck with no real savings in case of a downturn.

Thus, we note that in our San Gabriel Valley Azusa is down 30.9% to a median of $280,000; Altadena is down 28% to a median $420,000. Baldwin Park dropped 31.9% to $274,000, Covina is down over 30% to $330,000, Duarte has dipped a whopping 42% to a median of $280,000, and La Puente is down over 32% to a median of about $275,000. Pomona is still Heartbreak City for our area, though, with drops of 49%  and 40%  to a median of $230,000 in 91766 and 91767,  and to  44.6% in 91768 to a median of  $210,000. This is truly horrible and is producing a sea of human misery.

Still and all, other areas of L. A. County are doing far worse. In one ZIP in Palmdale prices are down 64.9% to a median of an unbelieveable $80,000. Other Palmdale areas clock in a medians of $253,000 and $129,000. With prices like these, you know that remaining home owners are going to bail either letting their homes go to short sale or into foreclosure.

The lower-priced homes are now in many areas priced below replacement value. So, in other words, prices cannot fall too much further.  So the previous situation of lower-priced homes taking the greater hit in home values  we are told, is about to change. This downturn is so severe and so intense that now the wealthy are also starting to lose their homes in greater numbers.

Some of that is due to true economic hardship. After all, the wealthy are the business and shop owners whose sales are down the drain and the executives who are being downsized. Eventually, with businesses failing, they run out of money as well.  And, as homes in more affluent areas begin to lose value, many owners question themselves: why am I sitting here paying on a $600,000 mortgage when my home is now worth $350,000? Sometimes it’s a business decision to let the home go…It is cheaper to rent the same house, perhaps as much as half as cheap, especially in good areas which have many foreclosures, such as Corona or Rancho Cucamonga. Fear not, though, these massive foreclosures are coming to L.A. County as well.

Areas in L.A. County which until now have maintained are starting onto that downward spiral. In our area,  affluent Arcadia has declined 22.5 % in 91006 to $420,000 while 91007 is down 26.2 to $830,000. These are significant drops.  San Marino with only a few sales is also down 25.5% to a median $1,250,000.  Sierra Madre is down 24.6% to a median of $660,000. Glendora 91741 is down 31.8% to a median of $505,000 while 91740, only partly in Glendora school district, is down 18.7% to $386,000 median.

San Dimas is down only by 9.8% to a median of $508,000. LaVerne is down only 13.9% to a $439,000 median.  Claremont is down 9.6% to $520,000. These postings show these cities are holding their value well in comparison to the rest of the county. For this, east Valley residents can be grateful despite losing whopping amounts of equity in their homes.

What does the near future hold for our county? I’m afraid it’s more drops in value, especially among the more affluent areas.  Until January 9th, Freddie and Fannie have declared a moratorium on foreclosures both to get everyone through Christmas as well as to allow banks to catch up. Once the moratorium period is over, we will see a tsunami of foreclosures right here where we live. Even a new President will be powerless to stop it.

Where Are Those Foreclosures? An Update

Locally, the rate of foreclosures continues to rise. Previously, the worst of the crisis seemed limited to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, but, little by little the foreclosure boom has extended to the San Gabriel Valley as well.

For some quick examples, let’s look at one of the worst hit areas, Azusa with 27 foreclosures priced from $159,900 to $659,000. As noted here previously, an obvious place where foreclosures will be widespread is anywhere with many new homes. Voila Azusa where home builders have flooded the market in the past 5 years. This is one reason so many foreclosures are occurring there.

Covina is another foreclosure hotspot with 30 currently on the market ranging in price from $184,900 to $729,000. Single family homes priced below $200,000 are still  a rarity, so  the lower figures are usually condos. In West Covina currently 48 repos are on the market, priced from $205,000 to $527,000. Even pricey Walnut has 6: $209,900 to $994,900. Prestigious Claremont has 9 priced from $237,500 to $489,900.

LaVerne has 6 foreclosures for sale. San Dimas has 8 priced from $269,900 to $631,659. Glendora also has 6 with prices starting at $297,000.

In the western San Gabriel Valley fewer new homes can be built as the area has been built up for a long time. Nevertheless, here as elsewhere, foreclosures are abundant. Our largest city, Pasadena has 32 on the market ranging from $219,000 to $649,000. Monrovia has 10: $220,000 to $579,000. Altadena shows 12 REOs, priced from $190,000 to $565,000. Tiny South Pasadena has 3 and Arcadia has 4.

Economic woes have hit Duarte a bit harder and it shows. Duarte has 16 foreclosures ranging from $106,900 to $474,000.

As always, though, the title of Heartbreak City goes to Pomona which now has 119 foreclosure listings, priced from $106,600 to $454,000 for a lovely 4-bedroom in Phillips Ranch.

Besides our own misery, we also know now that nationwide 12 million homeowners are underwater or owing more than their homes are worth. That is definitely true here as well where on average prices have dropped 25% to 30% over the last year, creating many more “underwater” homeowners.  Of course, that presages more foreclosures in the future as these homeowners bail out of their now way overpriced homes.

L.A. County Home Sales: August 2008

It’s now been exactly one year since the sub-prime mortgage crisis first hit Southern California in a big way. Now we know that county-wide our home prices have dipped 35% over last year. The median home price in L.A. County is now $385,000 for single family homes.

In general, prices in the San Gabriel Valley have fared better than the county median. Alhambra, for instance, dropped 15% to $471,000, Arcadia about 8% to around $800,000 in its two zip codes. Pasadena prices gyrate wildly depending upon the area: 91104 has dropped 10% to a $585,000, 91103 has fallen a precipitous 49% to $515,000, 91107 down 7% to $705,000 and 91105 34% down to about $1,000,000. 91106 is actually up 26% to $1,120,000. Another sad story is San Marino down 17% to a paltry median of $1,380,000. On the other hand, Monrovia is down 32% to a median of $405,000. So, for the western San Gabriel most cities are down, but not as low as the county median.

For the eastern San Gabriel Valley, again some areas are holding up well while others are plunging in value. Generally, cities with lower average family income have been hit first and hit harder. Thus, El Monte has dropped in value around 32% to a median of about $320,000. Azusa is down 27% to $315,000, Baldwin Park down 26% to $313,000. A very sad story is La Puente losing about 35% to about $290,000, well below the county median. Heartbreak City, though, is still Pomona plunging about 40% to a new low of around $260,000. Hacienda Heights remains another runner-up for worst city loss in one year: 38% down to $375,000. This means many foreclosures and so many homeowners who cannot refinance their homes even if they have lived in them for years.

On the up side, West Covina has dropped around 20% to a median of about $400,000. La Verne has dropped only 8% to $562,000, San Dimas is down 14% to $450,000. Even Covina has dropped only about 20% to about 410,000 median. Claremont is down 17% to $508,000. Glendora is split with 91740 down 23% to $385,000 and 91741 down a mere .6% to $595,000. Therefore, most areas of the eastern San Gabriel Valley are holding up quite well and are areas where buyers continue to flock.

The devastation in Pomona and La Puente is continued further east. Riverside Couty has lost 40% of its value in one year to a new median of $235,000. These are numbers unheard of in Southern California in years. Buyers realize the bargains, too, and are snapping them up as fast as they come on the market. About half of these accelerated sales come from foreclosures or short sales.

What’s the outlook for the future? Sad to say, but it looks as though the decline will continue albeit less quickly. Realizing the incredible values available, the smarter buyers are trickling back into the market or even flooding in the case of Riverside County, snapping of the new and nearly-new home bargains. Once the national elections are over and we know which party will be running the country, stability will most likely return. At that point, as night follows day, surely investors, now a trickle, will become a flood amidst these unprecedented bargain properties.

L.A. County Home Values for June 2008

Prices continue to slide. June median home value in L.A. County has  slipped to $425,000, down $10,000 from last month and 26.7% over May of last year. Our neighbor Orange County is down a remarkably similar 25% to a median of $550,000. Remember prices started their precipitous drop starting last August when the sub-prime mortgage crisis first hit the news and lenders in a panic changed their guidelines almost weekly if not daily. Prices plummeted starting last August so we still have a couple of months to go…

As always, the biggest drops, up to 50% and even above are in Lancaster and the Antelope Valley. Add to that Watts with a 52% drop to a median of $196,000, Compton and other parts of the City of Los Angeles. Similar blue-collar areas in the San Gabriel Valley did better, though it’s still catastrophic. El Monte dropped by about 20% to a low of $350,000; South El Monte took a 30% hit to a median of $342,000. LaPuente is down 35% to about $300,000. Baldwin Park is also down 30% to a median of $300,000. Azusa clocks in at 30% down toa median of $320,000. Pomona averaged over a 30% loss to a median of about $300,000. Duarte is holding up surprisingly well, having lost only 18% to a median of $392,000.

A big surprise is Hacienda Heights which has lost 40% of its value, down to a median of $392,000. Other cities in the San Gabriel Valley aare dipping below the L.A. County median–West Covina to about $399,000, Whittier with five residential ZIPs has three averaging around $350,000, but 90602 and 90603 while still losing 20% in value show median prices of around $475,000. Pasadena, our largest city, is also a mixed bag. Altadena has dropped by 24% over last year, but still posts a median of $524,000, well above the county average. Southwest Pasadena posted an eye-popping 50% increase in value to a median of $1.250,000, while Pasadena 91103 which includes Linda Vista dropped a stomach-churning 58% to an average of $446,000.

So, which areas are still making it? Well, San Marino, not unexpectedly, is still raking it in with a 22% rise over last year to a new median of $1,699,000. Obviously, some buyers are still out there. South Pasadena jumped over 50% to a new median of $1,270,000. Collapsing freeways running through the town apparently don’t deter the very well-off. Our previous champions, Palos Verdes and Rancho Palos Verdes, both have now dropped about 5% to just above the $1,000,000 median mark. Must be tough.

Our own Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne are not doing too badly. Glendora has dropped by about 8% to a median of around $480,000, while San Dimas has dropped 15% to $450,000 and La Verne has plummeted 28% to a median of $479,000. Covina is down around 20% to a median of about $400,000.

Each month continues to show declines. The drops are less radical each succeeding month, yet it is hardly much consolation to homeowners who watch their equity fall away with each passing minute. This crisis is not over yet. Prices most likely will continue to decline for the next few months at least. What most of us homeowners can do now is simply: hang in there…

L.A. County Housing Prices for May 2008

Think things are getting better? Not really…at least not in the housing market. The good part is that homes are actually selling. The bad part for homeowners is that prices continue to slide.

Median home prices in L.A. County–remember it’s one of the biggest, if not THE biggest county in the entire country–are down 26% from May 2007 to $435,000.
Some parts of the county are far below that–Palmdale, down a whopping 46% to a median of $170,000, La Canada/Flintridge down 36% to a measley $905,000 median, Maywood down 45% to $286,000. There are others, of course, but the outlying areas are hardest hit, followed by working-class cities where folks are the first to feel the effects of a recession in job loss.

Of course, our government continues to tell us we’re not in recession with facts and figures to prove it. For most of us out here in the trenches, it sure feels like a recession.

What about the San Gabriel Valley? How are we doing? For the most part, we are doing better than average. Azusa is down 26% to a median of $334,000. That’s an average percentage drop for the country and Azusa’s median price was always lower. Baldwin Park, LaPuente, Pomona and El Monte are all down more than average [30%, 28%,28%, 34% respectively]. The new medians in those cities are $311,000; $315,000; $295,000; $307,000. All are lower than the county median and always were. Again, these are lower-income communities where the recession will hit first. The foreclosure crisis is hitting here hardest as well.

Then, what about the rest of the San Gabriel Valley? Well, the rest is mostly better than the county average, though home prices are still considerably lower than last year. Covina in all ZIPs is down about 20% to around $400,000. Glendora in 91740 is down 20% to $390,000 while 91741 is down 16% to $496,000. Most Pasadena ZIPs are down. Diamond Bar is down 17% to $557,000.

In some of the better news, some cities are down by far less than the county average. Claremont is down, but only by 13% to $485,000. San Dimas is down 15% to $434,000 and LaVerne is down 14% to $527,000. The shifts from month to month are mainly due to the number of homes sold. And which homes are sold. More and more now, only the lowest-priced homes are selling quickly or the highest-priced homes which are, nevertheless, priced considerably less than last year.

East L.A. County even has a couple of success stories. San Marino continues to do well, rising 15% over last year to a median of $1,800,000. Pasadena’s prestigious 91105 is up 16% to $1,800,000 and 91106 is up 18.5% to $736,000. Well done, Pasadena! Whittier is down in all ZIPs, except 90601 which is up 6% to $491,000.

What does this good news say? To me, it says that buyers are just waiting to snap up bargains, even to the point of driving prices up to get into desirable neighborhoods. The proof is in the rest of L.A. County where other areas are also increasing in value–Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Bel-Air, Venice, though areas perceived as over-priced are still losing–Brentwood, Beverly Hills, most of Santa Monica, Malibu...

Values are shifting. Buyers are selecting bargains and leaving the rest.

The lesson? If you’re a buyer, now’s a good time to buy, particularly as mentioned in a previous post, mortgage rates are starting to rise. For homeowners who are happy in their homes–please ignore this and just continue to live there. Prices will rise again in a few years. If you do want to sell, though, you must price your property appropriately or it will never sell.

Update on Prop 98 NO, Prop 99 Yes

Well, once again the forces of light have prevailed against the dark as the people of California have resoundingly defeated Prop 98 and voted for Prop 99. Perhaps the era of tricking the dummy voters has really passed and proponents of such measures will have to clarify exactly what their measures will mean in the future. As it is, smart voters have got their number.

Statewide, the NO vote to Prop 98 was 61% to a meager 39% yes, so the defeat of this tricky measure was overwhelming. To seal the deal, voters came out 63% YES on Prop 99 to 38% no. Voters clearly DID understand what they were voting for and made their feelings completely clear. L.A. County, which does have several large cities which voted in rent control years ago, including the City of Los Angeles itself and Santa Monica, followed statewide trends in voting almost identically. Orange County, predictably, was split almost 50/50, while San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura Counties all more or less reflected statewide proportions.

What does it all mean? It means for sure that Orange County is apparently at war with its previous incarnation as a far-right bastion. Maybe we’ll see some surprises there in the next election which is, of course, the BIG ONE in November. It may mean that statewide voters are sick of tricky politics. It may also mean simply that voters were willing to delineate eminent domain back to the point we had all thought it belonged prior to the Supreme Court’s shocker Kelso decision in 2005. It may also mean that statewide voters think that rent control decisions belong with the individual communities where they have always been.

So, if you want to abolish rent control, do it in your local city council. If you don’t have the patience or can’t see that happening where you own property, then, the best choice is to buy rental property in areas where there is no rent control. Those areas include almost all the San Gabriel Valley, from Pasadena, Monrovia, Arcadia to Glendora, Azusa, Pomona, Claremont as well as San Bernardino and Riverside County cities. I am here to help. Right now, we have outstanding properties available in Pasadena…In fact, amazing deals. Just give me a call at 626-641-0346.

April Prices for San Gabriel Valley & L.A. County

Here we are almost to June, and now we have the April real estate prices for L.A.County.

As we’ve come to expect, prices are DOWN. For April 2008 as compared to April 2007, prices are down 21%. Since last year the sub-prime crisis hit in August and lenders almost stopped lending for about 7 months, we can expect that downward total to keep plummeting until at least August 2008. And, yes, prices will keep going downward, though at a slower rate until the end of 2008 and into 2009.

Again, as mentioned in previous posts, this is not so shabby really as prices were rising at a rate of 20% and in some places almost 30% for four years straight. The Affordability Index sank to an all-time low and sales stagnated. Now, at least, led by foreclosures and short sales, prices are down to more affordable levels for buyers. And, buyers, especially first-timers, so vital to a healthy real estate market and missing in action for years are returning.

So, where are we this month? L.A. County prices are down 21% for single family homes to a median of $450,000 and condos are down 14% to a median of $307,000. Given the vastness of L.A. County, that doesn’t mean much because everything depends on location.

Thus, Malibu prices are down 20% to a median of $1,735,000, while Pomona’s three zip codes are down 36.7% to a median of $273,000–big difference…. Then, we have Rancho Palos Verdes, a seeming winner just a couple of months ago, down almost 19% to a median of $968,000. Compare that to Baldwin Park down 21.7% to a median of $365,000.

So, which areas are the big winners? There are very few…In the San Gabriel Valley, San Marino’s values jumped 20% to a median of $1,465,000; San Dimas managed a 7% increase in value to a median of $530,000. Claremont and Glendora [91741] eked out a 3% increase to a median of $550,000 and $619,000 respectively. Way to go! Other cities increasing in value include parts of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Culver City and Hermosa Beach.

The rest of county posts pretty grim numbers—unless you are a buyer, of course.
Pomona was one of the hardest hit in this area followed by Arcadia [down over 20% to a median of $696,000 averaging its 3 zips], Azusa [ down 23% to a median of $355,000], Covina [down 24.4% to a median of $401,000 averaging its 3 zips] and the beat goes on… Diamond Bar is down 7% to $560,000; Duarte is down 8% to $442,000; even Sierra Madre lost almost 30% to a median of $680,000, while Monrovia is down 9% to $543,000. La Verne leads the pack with a whooping 31% loss in value to a median of $450,000. Pasadena has lost double-digit value in every single area even prestigious 91105.

To better understand what is happening, we do need to keep in mind several factors. First, home owners in some of the originally more inexpensive areas such as Baldwin Park, Covina, Pomona have more modest incomes and so are more likely to suffer in the current economic downturn, losing their homes to foreclosure in greater numbers. Foreclosure sales are about the only game in town at this point, and so are leading the downward price trends in the more inexpensive areas as first-time buyers come into the market.

Conflicting information for properties in more desirable areas–San Marino way up, for instance, while neighboring Arcadia and South Pasadena are way down, San Dimas is up while La Verne is way down when both share the same school district–is more problematic. Often, as with Rancho Palos Verdes, for instance, a few more months of statistics will give us a better idea. Initially, RPV looked immune to the crisis, but as this month’s stats show, it’s turned out to be every bit as vulnerable as neighboring Redondo Beach down about 21% over its 2 zip codes. Time will tell what is really going on.