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The LA Westside and Foreclosures

by Craig Whitlock

When visiting with guests at my Open Houses, many times I hear the opinion that they should wait a little longer for market prices to drop because they expect another 'wave' of foreclosures to be relased by the banks.  Further discussion reveals that this belief is driven by what they read in the media at which point I explain that those reports are macro-based (i.e. California, Southern California, LA County, etc.) and have little bearing upon the realities of the Westside.

I came upon an article yesterday, April 21st that appeared on the front page of The Los Angeles Times with the headline 'California Home Default Cases Plunge'.  While this is great news in total, with such proclamations as:  

  • 'A 40.2% drop in the first quarter suggests that the foreclosure crisis is easing.'
  • 'The numbers suggest that the housing market won't be flooded by a fresh wave of bank reposessions, which had been seen as a major threat to the market's recovery.'
  • 'Banks have recognized that flooding the market with foreclosures weakens the value of the properties they have taken back and must resell.'
I'm spotlighting this article because its one of the few (if any) that give geographical context relating to the crisis and illustrates my assertion.  Some key points presented affirm that the crisis is rooted in areas far away from the Westside are:
 
  • 'Economists note that further gains statewide are jeopardized by continued high unemployment particularly in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley.'
  • 'Foreclosure activity remains concentrated in these inland areas, which suffer from above-average unemployment.'
  • 'If you get into the Inland Empire, Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto, people are really struggling because the unemployment rate is so high.'
An analysis of foreclosure (REO) activity (for SFR and Condo homes) in the Southland areas where the crisis is based reveals a sharp contrast to the levels of Westside foreclosures:
 
         
                                            
 
 
                                         
 
This is not to say that the Westside doesn't have its own set of problems, for it does.  Unemployment and job security are issues here and many homeowners have been reluctant to list their homes due to depressed market values.   If anything, these factors are having a reverse-effect on market inventory.
 
In the past year, Westside inventory has declined across-the-board as sales pacing has exceeded new inventory growth.   Some of our micro-markets have evolved from a 'Buyer's Market' to a 'Seller's Market' (less than five-to-six months supply of inventory), which could apply upward pressure on pricing. Time will tell.
 
One factor however, that will not be present to influence pricing is the 'next wave' of foreclosures.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - March 2010

by Craig Whitlock

This report will provide a quick overview as to how the Westside micro-markets are trending relative to the same period a year ago.  The key market indicators examined are:

Pending Sales Activity - sometimes referred to as the 'Number of Properties Under Contract'.  This is a forward-looking indicator of current sales activity where there has been an accepted offer and escrow has opened.

Median Sales Price - that point at which half of the properties have sold for a greater amount and half have sold for a lesser amount.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) - a leading indicator of market supply, which directly impacts pricing.  Generally, a five to six month supply indicates market equilibrium while anything less signals a 'seller's market' and anything above a 'buyer's market'.

 LA Westside Homes For Sale - Sales Highlights Chart - March 2010  Information not guaranteed.  © 2009 Terradatum and its suppliers and licensors (http://www.terradatum.com/metrics/licensors)

To view the actual figures for these categories as well as a portfolio of four additional reports trended over the past 12 months:  Properties For Sale, Days On Market, New Properties For Sale and Supply & Demand, visit the Market Sales Data section.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss this data at greater length, just drop me a note or call. 

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Craig Whitlock
COLDWELL BANKER BRENTWOOD
11661 San Vicente Blvd., 10th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90049
Mobile: (310) 488-4399
Fax: (310) 820-1457

Broker/Agent does not guarantee the accuracy of the square footage, lot size or other information concerning the conditions or features of properties provided by the seller or obtained from Public Records or other sources as presented in this website.  Interested parties are advised to independently verify the accuracy of all information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.  Information herein deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

CalBRE LIC 01827537