Due to the Fed increasing benchmark rates, the rates of fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are both continuing to increase at a rapid rate. The current average 30-year FRM rate is 6.70%, and it’s 5.96% for ARMs, as of Sept 30th.
It’s normal for FRM rates to be higher than ARM rates, but that may not be the case soon, because of the reasons for the rapidly increasing rates. The ARM rates are directly tied to the benchmark rates — as the benchmark rates increase, the ARM rates will also increase proportionally. While FRM rates are also increasing, it’s not directly because of the increasing benchmark rate. FRM rates are actually tied to bond market rates. However, since the FRM rates are already increasing much faster than bond market rates, they can’t sustainably go much higher, while ARM rates don’t have that restriction and are quickly catching up.
Any time you are selling your home, you want to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly. The best way to do that is to pick the right buyer. Simply selling to the highest bidder may net the most profits, but that assumes the deal actually goes through. Even if it does, you may have lost time and gained headaches. Instead, make sure your buyer is qualified.
There are a few things to look for in a qualified buyer. The first is mortgage pre-approval. If your buyer is not pre-approved, they may have to back out after discovering they don’t qualify for a loan. If there’s a buyer you otherwise like but they aren’t pre-approved, you can certainly suggest getting a pre-approval before submitting an offer. You should also establish terms in the contract regarding an earnest money deposit and check that the buyer has the money ready. There are also a couple of red flags to watch out for. As cliché as it sounds, if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. In addition, a buyer who isn’t interested in an inspection may not be very serious.
The housing crisis is a well-established issue and many efforts have been made, or are in the process of being made, to address it. Most of these efforts are focused on low-income housing, since it ensures that the greatest number of people are served by it. However, San Diego faces a different issue. A significant number of residents don’t qualify for affordable housing programs and are instead looking at middle-income housing. Unfortunately for the city, they aren’t able to receive federal subsidies for middle-income housing construction.
So now they’re beginning to devise a plan. The city’s Middle-Income Housing Working Group has recommended a combination of immediate actions, short-term plans, and long-term plans. Immediate steps include streamlining codes and review processes, creating a list of public land available for middle-income housing construction, and converting public facilities to mixed-use structures. Future plans include tax modifications, a public rent registry, construction loan guarantees, investing in community land trusts, and redirecting philanthropic funds to middle-income housing.
The Chris Gardner Foundation is focused on helping disadvantaged youths jumpstart their careers, through their Permission to Dream program. AFL-CIO has now announced a partnership with them specifically directed at building and construction jobs. The program will help high school students, particularly students of color, to first complete their education and then secure a union apprenticeship.
If a student is selected for the program, they will first be given resources to help them in their studies as well as an instructional course in apprenticeships. Once they graduate, if they’ve maintained a certain GPA, they will be introduced to an affiliated union in the field of building and construction. The student will be placed into a paid and registered apprenticeship program. Tools and equipment are covered by a stipend, and transportation assistance is provided.
Home prices fluctuate constantly, but have certainly been on an upward trend the past few years. In fact, it may not be quite as noticeable, but they’ve been trending upwards for about a decade. The difference is that the upward trend has occurred at an anomalous rate since 2019. But now, we’re starting to see hints that this isn’t going to continue. Currently, home prices are still high; however, sales volume has been dropping for the past four months, which will naturally lead to price drops.
On its own, rising home prices isn’t the problem; the issue is that they have been rising far quicker than wages. Even a period of flat home prices at their current high level would provide some slight respite to homebuyers, though of course they would benefit more from declining prices. Sellers aren’t going to be as happy in the next few years, especially if they bought recently. If they bought before 2019, they may still be able to sell at a profit, but not as much of one as if they had already sold by now. Without knowing how much prices are going to drop, there’s a risk of negative equity for homes purchased within the past three years, with the risk increasing the more recently it was purchased. If the downward cycle is particularly long or the decrease particularly steep, this could even extend to homes purchased much earlier.
With four months left in a very chaotic real estate year, we want to take this opportunity to lay some ground work for understanding why the market has headed into a recession. And, to keep things on a positive note, we end with a couple of suggestions on how you might profit from this turn of events.
Some of the nation’s most respected analysts (including Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates and Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics) are predicting recessionary price drops ranging from 10-20% and lasting through the next two years. (Arguing that we’re only looking at a brief correction, pundits at Goldman Sachs and the Mortgage Bankers Association continue to predict single digit growth.) Meanwhile, here on the street, we’re watching prices drop across the board for the second month in a row.
In August we reported that median home prices across the Los Angeles South Bay fell from July, the prior month. Now looking at August sales we find all four areas of the South Bay showed declining median prices again. The month-over-month price drops ranged from 6% at the Beach to 25% in the Inland cities. (See bottom for description of areas.)
Underlining the month-to-month price slippage, three of the four areas also showed declining prices versus the same month last year. Only in the Harbor area are homes still selling for more than they did in 2021. Even there, median price has slid from 9% down to 4% above August of 2021.
2022 Compared to “Normal” Business in 2019
The past two years have seen real estate stumble with the Covid lockdowns in 2020, then skyrocket with the low interest rates in 2021. It’s worth a look back to 2019 to see how the current conditions compare to the most recent “normal” market.
Looking at sales volume in the period January through August of 2019, 1064 homes had sold in the Beach cities. So far this year only 905 homes have sold. That is a 15% drop in sales since the last normal year of business. The trend line for the Beach area has been sliding downward since April.
For the first eight months of 2019 the Harbor area showed sales of 2955 compared to 2945 for this year. That is a drop of .3% – a statistically insignificant change. However, the trend line has been dropping since March. August sales were up slightly from July, which was an unusually slow month for the Harbor area. We expect sales to continue a downward trajectory into 2023.
Palos Verdes home sales for the same period in 2019 totaled 537 versus 568 in 2022. The Hill is the only part of the South Bay where year to date 2022 sales exceed those of 2019. At 6% it’s a healthy increase, too. Despite being the best performing area in South Bay, Palos Verdes sales volume peaked in March and continues to slide. Sales in July were unusually weak, so August shows an upward step in the trend line.
Sales in the Inland area, very much like the Harbor area are down only .4% from 2019 sales for the same period. The difference is statistically insignificant, and the trend line is headed downward.
Declining sales volume creates a larger inventory of homes to sell. As the inventory grows, sellers have more competition and buyers become more demanding and prices start declining. We anticipate continuing growth of available inventory, followed in late fall or early winter by a spate a price drops.
Median Price Up 54% Since 2019
Palos Verdes homes have seen the greatest impact of the Covid-era buying mania. Comparing median prices from the first eight months of 2019 to the first eight of 2022, we find a 54% escalation on the Hill. Normal growth over a three year period would have created 9-10% in price appreciation. Expect much of that excessive price expansion to be erased over the coming months.
Compared to 2019, Beach area median prices have shot up by 32%. This is easily three times normal growth. As we see in the chart below prices started adjusting downward as early as May in the Beach cities.
Since 2019 median prices for the Inland area have climbed 30%. Here in the August 2022 chart below we see Inland area prices have been dropping steadily since May when the median was $910K. During that four month period values have slipped by over $50K.
In the Harbor area home prices have escalated 34%. From 2019 at $565K to 2020 at $607K the Harbor area median grew $40k. Then in 2021, it added another $90K reaching $700K. So far in 2022 the median has reached as high as $830K – another $130K increase, but has now dropped back to $725K, losing $105K off the June median.
Most home buyers are constrained by their income to a particular price range, and salaries have not increased at a rate even remotely similar to real estate prices. Recent studies have shown about 25% of potential buyers were priced out of the purchase market in California by the soaring Covid-era prices.
Interest Rate Shrinks Annual Sales Dollars
In total sales dollars for January through August of 2019, the South Bay weighed in with $5.3 billion. During the same period in 2020 the aggregate amount shrank back to $4.9 billion, followed in 2021 by an upward explosion to $7.9 billion. So far in 2022 the area has reached $6.9 billion.
Each time the Federal Reserve System (fed) increases the short term interest rate the pool of potential buyers shrinks again. As this is written, the Fed is preparing to increase the rate by at least .75% in mid-September and two more increases are anticipated by the end of 2022.
At the current rate of declining value, we estimate the 2022 annual sales value to be approximately $9.5 billion, a decrease of 27% from 2021. Remember that huge budget surplus California had last year? Do not anticipate another this year, and possibly not for a couple of years as the state works its way through this recession.
The Silver Lining in the Cloud
One theory of success in real estate is “Buy low, sell high.” Flippers subscribe to that concept, buying at the bottom, updating and selling at the top of the immediate market. Another theory, not as well supported, but statistically more profitable, is “Buy and Hold.” Buy a piece of property at the best price you can and use it or lease it but – never sell it.
A deep market adjustment doesn’t come very often, so when it does one should take maximum advantage. At the moment it appears there will be a heavy price contraction starting late this year. We’ll know better in late fall and early winter, but all indications today are that a wise property investor should be preparing to buy at the bottom of the market – soon. We constantly search the Southern California coast for outsstanding investment bargains. Tell us what you want to invest – we’ll tell you where to buy.
For purposes of comparing homes in the LA South Bay, we have divided the South Bay into four areas. Each is composed of homes of roughly comparable style, geographically similar location and physical characteristics, as well as approximately similar demographic characteristics.
The areas are: Beach: comprises the cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach; PV Hill: comprises the cities of Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates; Harbor:. comprises the cities of San Pedro, Long Beach, Wilmington, Harbor City and Carson; Inland: comprises the cities of Torrance, Gardena and Lomita.
I’m looking forward to this upcoming songwriter’s show. Tuesday September 20, 2022 7-9PM. with JOEL RAFAEL, FREEBO, ALICE HOWE AND JODI SIEGEL!
Joel Rafael is a legendary artist in the folk and Americana world. He has worked with such legends as David Crosby, Graham Nash, Van Dyke Parks, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz, Jennifer Warnes and more…his songs are guaranteed to move and inspire you.
Freebo and Jodi go back decades. As many of you know, he played bass with Bonnie Raitt for ten years, as well as many other legends (Ringo Starr, John Mayall, John Hall of Orleans, Dr John and more including my friend Maria Muldaur.) Also, many years ago Freebo produced a record that Jodi and her good friend Will Brady did called “Beer and Donuts”. Freebo has also had quite an interesting career as a singer/songwriter, guitarist over the last ten years or so, with many solo records to his name, songwriting awards and as a producer.
Alice Howe, before hooking up with Freebo (as her musical partner and producer), was already winning songwriting awards and creating a name for herself in the folk world. She has a new record coming out, “Circumstance” produced by Freebo, and it was recorded in Memphis at Fame studios. She will play some new and older stuff I’m sure, and will be backed up by Freebo on some tunes.
Jodi Siegel has created a heady and dynamic stew of musical influences (blues, pop, R & B, soul and jazz) into a sound and a style that make her a triple threat; songwriting, singing and guitar playing. Jodi’s fine-tuned solo performances are likened to a “one-woman” band!! Her truly original style can fill a room with explosive slide guitar, jazzy vocals and a fun, easy going rapport with her audience. She can go from funky bluesy grooves to folk, to jazz and back again with ease. She’s an old soul with a fresh sound.
Project Barley’s is located in Lomita (south of Torrance/Redondo on PCH). They have great food,(Gourmet pizza, sandwiches, gluten free/vegan options and of course wine and beer! ! For more information check out their website https://projectbarley.com/
Hope to see you all at this fabulous, one of kind, musical event…no reservations, so arrive early to get a table.
You may have heard of a home equity loan, but you may not know what it actually is. A home equity loan uses the accrued value of your home as collateral against a loan, and typically allows you to borrow up to 85% of the difference between the home’s value and the balance due on your mortgage. If you fail to pay back your loan, you may have to sell the house to pay it back. This is similar to a home equity line of credit (HELOC), but unlike a HELOC, a home equity loan is a one-time event with a fixed interest rate. The interest rate tends to be higher than the rate for a standard mortgage loan, but lower than rates for most credit cards. Normal regulations for mortgage loan approval apply to home equity loans as well.
A home equity loan is frequently called a second mortgage. Homeowners frequently still have some balance due when they take out a home equity loan, which means they now effectively have not one but two mortgages. In addition, the money is often used to finance the down payment on a second home. However, this isn’t the only purpose of a home equity loan. You don’t need to have a mortgage to get a home equity loan — if you don’t have one, it just means your balance due is zero, and therefore there is potentially a higher ceiling on loan amount. Furthermore, the money gained from a home equity loan doesn’t need to be used for a second home, or anything relating to homes. It’s simply your money, and can be used without restriction.
Traditionally, income inequality has been measured by something called the Gini coefficient. The Gini coefficient is measured on a scale from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning no inequality and 1 meaning a small number of people control the entirety of the wealth. While the Gini coefficient is an excellent indicator of whether or not there is inequality, it does nothing to tell us where it came from except in the case of extreme values. A new measure, the Ortega parameters, seeks to correct that.
It’s commonly thought that the wealth gap is primarily between high-income earners and low-income earners, and that the middle class is effectively nonexistent. That isn’t always the case, and the Ortega parameters can determine where this analysis is accurate and where it is not. There are two separate measures that make up the Ortega parameters: inequality between low-income and middle-to-high-income earners, and inequality between very high income earners and the rest of the population. If a population has low inequality on the first scale and high inequality on the second scale, it simply means that a small number of extremely wealthy individuals live there, but the overall inequality is actually fairly low. The Gini coefficient would not notice this nuance and just rate it as highly unequal. Determining the cause of inequality can also help to devise countermeasures: in areas with high inequality between the lower income earners and middle income earners, the solution is a higher minimum wage; in areas with a few very wealthy individuals, that is better fixed with taxes on high income earners.
The typical house in California is two bedrooms. This is traditionally considered a pretty standard starting point for homeownership. However, many individuals in California can’t even afford to rent a home of that size, let alone buy it. Between October 2020 and September 2021, the average Fair Market Rent value for a 2-bedroom home in California was measured at $2030 per month. Ideally, rent should be at most 30% of your income, meaning that in order to afford to rent a 2-bedroom home, a household would need to earn $6766 per month, or $39.03 per hour. With the average renter income being $25 per hour, a dual-income household is mandatory to be able to afford to rent a 2-bedroom house. Minimum wage workers have it even worse — at a minimum wage of $14 in California during that time period, even dual income is not enough. Minimum wage is barely higher now at $15 per hour.
So what about smaller homes? Well, unfortunately, it’s still not good enough. The average FMR for a studio — which would only be able to comfortably house one person — is $1394. But at $25 per hour, the most one person can comfortably afford is $1294 per month. At $14 per hour, minimum wage workers could only afford to pay $728 per month, which is a little over half of the rent for a studio. This is assuming full time employment, as well, and not all households have full time workers. Taking the average household income, and making sure to use only 30% of it for rent, the average household could only afford a rent of $706 per month, even less than a full time minimum wage individual.
Last month saw four new legislative changes in the field of real estate. Two bills were enrolled, AB 1738 and AB 2817. AB 1738 goes into effect in 2025, and will require builders to install electric vehicle chargers in some types of buildings. This includes multi-family dwellings, hotels and motels, and some nonresidential parking facilities. AB 2817 establishes a rental aid grant program that will provide grants directly to homeless people as well as participating landlords. SB 1126 was passed in the Senate, requiring employers to set up a retirement program or CalSavers payroll deposit savings program by the end of 2025. There was an amendment to SB 897, which increases the maximum height of an ADU from 16 feet to 25 feet.
In addition, three bills were just enrolled first day of September, AB 2221, AB 2053, and SB 869. AB 2221 includes various changes to make ADUs easier to get approved. AB 2053 requires annual regional housing reports indicating progress on meeting housing needs. SB 869 requires at least 18 hours of training for managers and assistant managers of mobile home parks.
Freshly back from their annual West Coast tour, Andy Hill and Renee Safier have landed a weekly gig at the world-famous Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. The new owner has remodelled the club and established a full schedule of varied entertainment. Andy and Renee have the first showtime at 5:30-7:30pm every Tuesday. Get there early and take advantage of the easy parking (by Hermosa standards) and 4-7pm Happy Hour.
Do yourself a special favor and show up on September 13 for the Patrick’s Birthday Celebration. Renee says there will be cake!
Renting out your home, especially for a short period, can seem like a simple way to turn a profit without much effort. However, there’s a fair bit that goes into getting the home ready to be rented out. Just like if you were selling your house, you need to make sure there’s interest, which means making a good impression on potential renters.
The easiest way to do this is by repainting your home, which is something you’d probably do if you were selling as well. It may even be more important when renting, though, especially if you aren’t going to allow your tenants to repaint. Buyers may think they’re just going to repaint anyway, so they don’t care what color the walls are. But with tenants, you want to be sure to choose neutral colors that won’t offend anyone’s aesthetic.
You should also be sure that all the legal details are worked out. You may feel the desire to skip the middleman, but that’s not a good plan. A real estate agent will help draft a lease that protects both you and the tenant. Property management companies remove much of the headache of being away from the property. Regular maintenance can often be left to property management companies. That said, if the house is not in good condition from the outset, tenants won’t be interested enough to sign a lease. Make sure to take care of repairs before you start.
Vinyl has become a very popular option for flooring. It has a few important advantages going for it. Vinyl floors are both cost effective and durable, making them an attractive alternative to hardwood flooring. Many people also consider vinyl to be aesthetically pleasing. However, you can’t take advantage of that durability if you don’t know how to take care of it.
Spills and stains can become permanent if not dealt with quickly. Start by just wiping it up with clean water, then switch to a vinyl cleaning solution if you have one. For tougher stains, you can use a paste made with baking soda and water. Rub the paste into the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it up. If that doesn’t work either, try rubbing alcohol. As for regular maintenance, you should be sure to mop or vacuum the floor at least once per week. Wax polish isn’t necessary, but you should occasionally clean the floor with a mixture of baby oil, vinegar, and water.
The aftershocks of the Great Recession are already here. We’re currently in the midst of a second, undeclared recession, albeit a less severe one. The lower severity doesn’t necessarily mean lower impact, though. Government assistance is what pushed us through the Great Recession, and that’s unlikely to occur again.
A recession doesn’t have to mean a market crash, but it’s a very real possibility. Some areas are at higher risk of a crash than others. The highest risk metros are those with high loan-to-value ratios, home flipping, new residents, and rapid home price growth. In California, these metros are Riverside, Sacramento, Bakersfield, San Diego, Stockton, and Fresno. Those aren’t the only areas that may be affected, though. Market problems in any one area will also cascade to other regions.
As a result of the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase benchmark rates, both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages have been increasing. Rates are now beginning to reach a stable point. Of course, the rates are in constant flux, but the fluctuations are starting to level out. This doesn’t mean a reversal of the recent increases; the 30-year FRM rate is levelling at somewhere around 5.5%, which is still relatively high in comparison to recent years.
What it does mean is that the uncertainty regarding rates is decreasing. With this, the popularity of ARMs will drop, as uncertainty is their primary drawback. They had experienced a surge of popularity while FRM rates were similarly unstable, since FRM rates tend to be higher than ARM rates during the same time period. This is despite the fact that ARM rates also drastically increased between July 2021 and July 2022, from 2.48% to 4.30%.
In heated markets, it’s difficult for buyers to negotiate prices down, since their competition will likely be offering more. Now that the market has begun to cool, buyers are looking for ways to pay less. The answer is greater scrutiny of home defects — not to avoid purchasing defective homes, but to reduce the home’s value so they can offer less for it.
Sellers are always required to disclose any significant defects or malfunctions they are aware of in a large range of categories. These categories are walls, windows, ceilings, doors, floor, foundation, insulation, driveways, roof, sidewalks, fences, electrical systems, plumbing, and sewer or septic systems. While it can be difficult to prove that a seller was aware of a defect and the notion that it’s significant is subjective, it’s good advice for the seller to disclose anything they know. Since there’s a high chance something will have to be disclosed, buyers are jumping on the chance to leverage this to negotiate a lower sale price.
When a homeowner sells the home they live in, their most common move is to use the proceeds to buy a replacement property, if they haven’t already done so. While it seems like homeowners would always remain homeowners, it does happen that people transition from homeownership to renting. But in most cases, the seller has decided to sell high and then rent for a short time while waiting for prices to bottom out. This is called timing the market.
This is not what’s happening now. Home prices and mortgage rates are both high, which is pricing homeowners out of their current home — and pricing 80% of them out of the market entirely. They aren’t waiting for a better time to buy; they’re simply no longer able to afford ownership. They become renters by necessity. Fortunately for people in such a predicament, it may not last too horribly long, though certainly longer than they would have wanted. It’s expected that prices will reach bottom around 2025.
Most of the time, vacations don’t last that long — a few days or maybe a few weeks. Homeowners are generally okay with leaving their homes unattended for that length of time. But what if you’re vacationing for the entire summer or winter? It’s simply not practical to leave your home vacant for three months or longer. You may want to rent out for home for the length of your vacation.
A three-month rental contract may not seem like a long time, but is actually considered a long-term contract, not a short-term contract. So it’s not any more complex of a process than any other standard rental contract. The most obvious benefit is the income generation, but there are less obvious reasons to want to keep your home occupied. Vacant homes are the primary target for burglaries, so if you have tenants in your house, you’re less likely to be a victim of crime. Tenants can notify you of any problems that arise, and also take care of regular maintenance such as mowing the lawn, though you should make sure to include this in the contract.
The 2022 recession appears to be coming in stronger and faster than predicted. Year to date home sales in the South Bay have dropped -17% compared to 2021 sales through July. Month to month, the change from June to July was -12%. The July drop followed a lackluster June performance of only 1% over May which was itself down -13% from April.
Money was cheap and readily available in 2021, and the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) was fore warning everyone that the mortgage interest rates were going to rise. The number of homes sold sky-rocketed, purchased both by owner-occupants and by investors hoping to snag interest rates at the absolute lowest in decades. Along with that came the bidding wars and the escalating prices. Looking back, one can readily see a correction in the making. At the time most experts were considering 2021 a trade-off for all the transactions lost during the 2020 lockdowns.
The last year we could consider normal was 2019. Compared to 2019, the number of homes sold during the first seven months of 2022 is nearly identical, hinting at a return to normalcy. However, a deeper look shows recent months dipping as much as -25% below 2019 sales volume. If sales volume continues to drop at this pace, we can anticipate starkly lower prices before the end of the year.
Steeply climbing interest rates have cost today’s buyers over 25% of their purchasing power so far in 2022. Some of those potential buyers will simply buy a less expensive home. Some of them will wait and save longer for the down payment. Some of them will become permanent renters. On the other hand, sellers have fewer options. They can decide not to sell, if that’s possible for them, or they can lower the price until a buyer can afford the home.
Median prices fell in all four market areas for July versus June of the current year. The overall drop was approximately -5%. (See chart below for detail.) So far in 2022, median prices have remained higher than those from last year. But, since April of this year median prices have consistently fallen on the year over year comparison. As noted earlier, we anticipate the median price dropping below last year sometime this fall or early winter.
We hear this question a lot, and the answer is an unequivocal “No.” In the end result, chasing the elusive “bottom of the market” is a fool’s quest. By definition, when one recognizes the bottom of the market, it‘s already gone. We recommend that when you find a home that meets most of your needs and is within your budget, you should move on it.There are several reasons.
First, because the Fed is already projecting future interest rate changes which could easily eclipse the savings to be found in a correction. Alternatively, those future rates will prevent some potential purchasers from qualifying for a loan.
Second, because economics today is a web that reaches around the world. As we have seen just in the first few days of August; allowing grain movement on the other side of the world will affect our stock market, and available interest rates overnight. We live in a very volatile world and a perfect deal today may not exist tomorrow.
Sales Volume Down, Inventory Up
In March of this year there was essentially no inventory of homes for sale in the South Bay. Sellers were reporting literally dozens of competing offers on the few homes available. Today, in August, there is easily two months of inventory and homes are sitting on the market for increasingly long periods of time.
Sales in July fell in all four sectors. The Harbor area has now shown declining sales in four consecutive months. PV Hill sales have been off three of the last four months.
The Average Days On Market (ADOM) for the homes sold in July was 17, meaning it took 17 days from the time it was listed on the MLS until an offer was accepted. The ADOM for the homes currently active on the MLS is 46 days, a full month longer than those closing escrow in July.
A lesser known indicator of market condition is the number of homes that don’t sell before leaving the MLS. In July alone, 194 homes fell off the MLS. Of those, 41 Expired never having received an acceptable offer. The remaining 153 were removed because buyers were not showing interest at the listed price. Some of those sellers truly need to sell and will come back at an improved price. Most of them were hoping for a financial windfall and have set aside their plans.
Median Price Falling for South Bay Homes
The median price fell in July for all areas. The hardest hit was the Harbor area with a -6% drop in the median. The Hill was next, with a -5% loss, followed by the Beach and the Inland areas with -4% and -3% respectively.
Of the 116 homes sold at the Beach, 22 (19%) required a price reduction before getting an offer. The Harbor required 59 out of 329 (18%), the PV Hill 9 of 53 (17%), and the Inland area 17 of 153 (11%). Those were price reductions necessary to get an offer on the property, followed by a successful sale. Let’s look at properties active on the market, still trying to get an offer.
As this is written, the Inland area, shows 211 properties available with 77 having taken one or more price reductions already, without receiving an offer. That represents 35% of the currently available Inland homes. Homes at the Beach show 96 reduced of 228 (42%), on the Hill 53 reduced of 140 (38%), Harbor 215 reduced of 547 (39%).
So we see that nearly 20% of the homes sold in July needed a price reduction to get an offer. We also see that roughly 40% of the homes currently on the market have had one price reduction and may need further changes to stimulate offers.
Total Sales Revenue
The decrease in the number of homes sold in July, combined with the decline in median price for those homes pretty much guaranteed that the total sales value would drop as well. Across the South Bay revenue fell from last month by -16%. This will not make our tax assessor happy. Interestingly enough, Los Angeles County Tax Assessor Jeff Prang recently announced with pride a $122 billion growth in County property tax assessments as of January 1, 2022.
The Beach area fared the best, dropping only -2% in value. We noted quite a number of homes being sold as furnished rentals in July, like this one in Hermosa Beach. The Beach Cities are noted for their short stay vacation rentals (often referred to generically as AirBnBs) whether approved by the various cities, or not. Unfortunately there is no official accounting system for these properties. Even if one existed, many of the operators would be very resistant to a governmental accounting which could cause them taxation issues.
For the moment, Beach values seem to be the strongest of the South Bay. The Inland area followed with a -9% decline in total sales dollars. The Harbor area was next, off by -17%.
On the surface homes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula took the worst beating with a -41% decline in value from June sales. We remind our readers that the PV Hill is small by comparison to the other areas. As such, statistical measurements often appear distorted because many of the homes are unique and generate significant sales prices. Having said that, this month was a relatively mundane one for PV. Of the 53 sales, the low was an attached two bedroom, two bath condo which sold at $557K. The high sale was a six bedroom, 8 bathroom house in Rolling Hills which sold at $8 million. (For your valuation purposes, click here to see photographs and descriptions of the two homes.)
Lots of Red Ink
The table below shows the percentage of change in the number of homes sold and the median price of those homes two ways. The yellow shows change for the current month versus the prior month. The green shows change for the current month versus the same month last year.
From a seller’s perspective, these numbers would ideally all be black/positive. When any of them become red it shows a retrenchment in the South Bay real estate market.
From a buyer’s perspective the red ink is a good sign. It means purchasers can get more home for their money. For them, the real savings will come when that last column turns red.