L.A. County Home Values for June 2008

Prices continue to slide. June median home value in L.A. County hasĀ  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…

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.