What Does Sale Pending Mean?

Posted by Justin in Buying A HomeHomebuyers Tips | RealEstateCommunites.com


You’ve come across a beautiful house and it looks picture perfect from the outside – mature trees, beautiful exterior, shiny windows, maybe even a small pond. You check the sign, wanting to give the realtor a call to schedule a tour but much to your chagrin you see a “Sale Pending” sign on to of the realtor card. Does this mean that the home is sold? Does this mean you shouldn’t bother trying to bid on this house? Let’s find out!

Subjects, Contingencies and Pendings, Oh My!

Anytime you see a “subject to” or “contingent upon” but in an ad, that means that the sale isn’t final. The seller can’t accept the buyer’s bid for real until they meet those terms – one of the most common of these is a financing contingency. If the buyer can’t get financing to buy the home, they’ll be off the hook and the seller can search for another buyer instead.

The Seller May Still Entertain Other Offers

But just because a home has an offer doesn’t mean it’s off the market. Sometimes the buyer could back out at the last minute. Sometimes the offer just falls through and they have to find another buyer – but it’s important to remember that once they enter the fulfillment period during the time the home is appraised, inspected or where they’re fulfilling a contingency, they won’t be able to entertain other offers.

What Does Sale Pending, Mean, Anyway?

If the seller is still trying to meet all of those terms before the buyer’s (or buyers!) offer is accepted, they won’t be able to entertain other offers. This means that you can’t swoop in with a better bid, skip the financing contingency or even just offer to put down an earnest money deposit to skip ahead in line. It all just depends on what province you reside in and what their rules are, so make sure you talk with your realtor before you get your hopes up!

But you CAN submit a bid, if you really want to. You may not see anything come of it, and you’ll have to go through an appraisal process, a home inspection to make sure if there are any lingering issues you can get them fixed up before the sale is final and slap that financing contingency onto the home so if your financing falls through, you’re not on the hook.

If You Really Want the Property, It’s Worth it

But if you really want to buy a property, it’s well worth it to explore all of your options. Don’t let that sale pending sign scare you away, especially if you’re willing to go the distance to own this home. Spend some time, talk to your realtor, find out what a reasonable expectation for this home will be maintenance wise, cost-wise, even just the amount of energy you’ll spend chasing it. If it’s had people locked in a bidding war for a few weeks, you might be better just walking away.



Tips For Buying Luxury Real Estate

By Jean Folger | Investopedia.com http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/022714/tips-buying-luxury-home.asp

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There is not one design, style or size that embodies a luxury home. It could be a sprawling 15,000-square-foot French manor set on several rolling acres, or it could be a 4,000-square-foot contemporary home nestled into the side of a mountain. Although it’s difficult to quantify exactly what luxury means, most buyers think they know it when they see it. Across the United States, sales of luxury homes have been hitting records. The number of California homes selling for $2 million or more, for example, reached an all-time high in 2013, as the state rebounded from the foreclosure crisis. The U.S. is not the only place seeing bitg sales of luxury homes. Vancouver, Canada’s priciest real estate market, saw a record 36% increase in 2013 over the previous year on sales of homes priced over $2 million. Prices for luxury real estate have also seen significant increases over the last couple of years. According to Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index, which tracks luxury real estate in 30 metropolitan markets around the world, the hottest luxury market now is Jakarta, which saw price increases of nearly 38% at the end of 2013 over the previous year. Knight Frank defines luxury real estate as homes that were sold in the top five percentile in terms of value. Other double-digit price increases in the last quarter of 2013 over the same quarter 2012 include Dublin (17.5%), Beijing (17.1%), Dubai (17%), Los Angeles (14%), Tel Aviv (12.7%), Bangkok (12.3%), San Francisco (10.4%) and New York (10.4%). Why the Growth? It may seem incongruous that luxury markets are heating up, given that much of the world is still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. Like the financial markets, the real estate market operates under the law of supply and demand. And by nature, there are a limited number of luxury homes for sale at any given time in a particular market. That limited inventory alone can help drive up prices as multiple buyers bid on a single luxury property. Strong Job Market In many metropolitan markets, such as Denver, low unemployment rates coupled with well-paying jobs have fueled the luxury real estate market. Chris Mygatt, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Colorado, said, “We have never seen this kind of frenzy in luxury home sales before. The strongest single market segment for 2013 was clearly the luxury home market. If you include the sales of properties priced at over $500,000 – the top 10% of the market – we saw an increase of 44% year over year.” International Buyers In the U.S., international buyers represent a growing percentage of the real estate market, including the luxury market. From April 2012 – March 2013, international transactions were at $68.2 billion, which made up more than 6% of total U.S. existing home sales (in dollars), and more than 4% of transactions, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR); 2013 Profile of International Buyers. Florida, California, Texas and Arizona were the leading destinations during that period, with the majority of international buyers coming from Canada, China, India, Mexico and the U.K. These numbers represent a small decrease from 2012’s $82.5 billion in sales to international buyers, but NAR believes this is related to the slow growth in some major European economies and that the issue “should dissipate over time.” The publication also cites that international buyers typically purchase higher-priced properties compared to domestic clients: international buyers spent an average of $354,000 versus $228,000 for domestic purchases. Due in part to the tight U.S. credit standards facing foreign buyers, the majority of international purchases are all-cash deals (63%). This can put other buyers who need financing at a disadvantage, since all-cash deals tend to move faster through the process. U.S. Relatively Inexpensive The U.S. is home to only one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, making the U.S. a relatively inexpensive and attractive destination, both in terms of cost of living and housing. According to Forbes Magazine, the top 10 most expensive cities in the world (as of March 2013) are:

  1. Hong Kong, China
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. London, UK
  4. Paris, France
  5. Moscow, Russia
  6. New York, NY
  7. Shanghai, China
  8. Singapore
  9. Mumbai, India
  10. Sydney, Australia

Buying a Luxury Home According to the 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers published by the National Association of Realtors, nine out of 10 buyers used the Internet at some point when looking for a home, and 43% of recent buyers first found the home they purchased online. While the vast majority of homebuyers rely on the Internet at some point during their home searches, luxury homebuyers can be at a disadvantage when it comes to finding properties online. Many high-end properties aren’t listed on MLS or search engines. And, in order to protect their privacy, many sellers avoid putting information and photos of the property on the internet. Find a Qualified Real Estate Agent If you are in the market for a luxury home, a qualified real estate agent who knows the luxury market may be your best bet for finding properties that are for sale but that are not necessarily easy to find because of privacy concerns. An agent familiar with the luxury market may have inside information about listings before they hit the open market. And, an experienced agent will be able to help you determine the market value of a luxury property. Most residential real estate is valued using comparables – similar properties in the area that have recently sold. Valuing luxury properties can be a challenge since often there are no similar properties in the area. Financing  The loan process for luxury homes typically takes longer than for smaller mortgages. Even if your financials are in good order, it may take 45 to 60 days to secure a loan. Since it can take extra time, and because the seller of a luxury home is often interested in showing only to qualified buyers, many real estate agents recommend having your mortgage broker, loan officer or personal banker obtain your financing approval early on in the process. Due Diligence As with any real estate purchase, it is important to take the time to properly inspect a luxury home prior to purchase. In many cases, luxury homes are larger and have amenities that may require specialized home inspectors, such as:

  • Pools and spas
  • Fountains and ponds
  • Lawn irrigation systems
  • Exterior fireplaces
  • Automatic screen and awning systems
  • Central vacuum systems
  • Heated floors/driveways
  • Sophisticated security/surveillance systems
  • Landscape lighting

45 Eastfield- sunset     READ MORE HERE…   http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/022714/tips-buying-luxury-home.asp

Biggest Home Seller Mistakes



1. Overpriced Home

Nothing shocking here. This was far and away the most common mistake sellers make that prevent them from selling their home.

If you overprice your home there is a pretty good chance no one is going to want to buy it. Real estate agents do not set the real estate market. A great real estate agent will suggest a price at which to list your home based on comparable homes that have already sold in the market. Overpricing a home to ‘see if you can get someone to bite’ is not a strategy employed by someone really serious about selling. Overpricing a home will lead to missed opportunities with buyers that are serious about buying in the range at which your home should be listed.

The first week during which a home is listed will generally be the time that the most eyeballs are on the home and the largest potential pool of buyers will be exposed to the listing. Setting a price that reflects the market is essential to selling! This is exacerbated in a downward trending market. Many a seller has lost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars chasing a market down after setting a listing price that was outside what the market was willing to bear.

Margaret Goss, a Broker with Baird & Warner on the North Side of Chicago gives you a few reasons that an agent will take your overpriced listing and then shares the repercussions of making the decision to price your home too high.

2. Showing Availability – It’s Difficult to Set a Showing

The chances your home will sell when buyers can’t get in to physically inspect the property are minuscule. Sellers need to understand that listing a home for sale is going to lead to some inconveniences in your normal routine. Many serious buyers may want to physically inspect a property during times which may not be convenient for the seller. Knowing this, motivated sellers need to understand that flexibility in when you allow the home to be sold could have a direct impact on the sale of your home.

It’s not uncommon for sellers to see 8, 10, even 20 homes during a showing tour with their agent. If your house isn’t on that list because you only do showings on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, you will miss out on ready, willing and able buyers.

As a seller, realize that the more people that can see the home in person, the more chance you have to find the buyer that wants your home. Eric Kodner, a broker with Madeline Island Realty in La Pointe Wisconsin shares a real life example of an unavailable seller costing herself a sale and a lot of money.

3. Cluttered Space – Unwilling to Depersonalize or Remove Clutter

Sellers are sometimes unwilling to either make the effort, or unwilling to compromise how they live in their home during the time the home is on the market for showings. Serious sellers realize that by depersonalizing the home and removing unwarranted clutter, it allows potential buyers to more easily visualize their own things in the house.

When you live in your home day in and day out, you become comfortable with your own ‘things’. In many cases, however, your ‘stuff’ can make a room feel smaller than it actually is and in some more extreme cases, your ‘stuff’ can completely distract someone from visualizing the potential of a room. We know you are proud of your kids as the shrine in the living room displays all of their ribbons, trophies and diplomas from the last 20 years. But for a buyer, this is only a distraction.

Many agents will make recommendations about ways to remove clutter or depersonalize your home. Some will even suggest that a professional homestager be brought it to completely maximize the space and create a setting maximizes the buyers ability to visualize their own things. The key thing to remember here is these suggestions are not personal and you may have to be a little uncomfortable so that your house puts it’s best foot forward.

Ralph Gorgoglione, a real estate agent with the John Aaroe Group in Los Angeles reminds us that “as a seller, the most important thing to realize is that, yes, your crapola means a lot to you. But it means nothing to anyone else.” Especially a buyer trying to visualize their own stuff in your house.
4. Unpleasant Odors in the House

“Mr and Mrs. Seller, your house stinks!”

Most agents aren’t going to be this blunt. But in some cases they wish they could be. They’ll take a more tactical approach and say something like…..’during the time your house is on the market, it might be a good idea to smoke outside’.

But what they know is that nothing will stop a potential buyer in their tracks faster than a strong odor of any sort. In some cases this could just be the left over smell from last nights dinner. In more extreme cases, agents tell horror stories of entering homes that have a bad smell of pet urine or smoking.

The main concern for the buyer is, of course, “is the house going to smell like this once we move in?” Real Estate agents confirm that many a buyer has passed on a home after coming to their own conclusion on that answer.

Your agent isn’t suggesting a fresh coat of paint and new carpet because they don’t like how things look. They are making this suggestion because they realize that the smoke odor in your home is going to be a major turn off for anyone thinking about buying your home.

Real estate broker Dick Greenburg with Elevations Real Estate, LLC in Fort Collins Colorado even goes so far as to suggest “homes with bad odors don’t sell because buyers are having intense and complex negative reactions that are beyond working around.”

5. Seller Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing

No seller wants to spend a few thousand dollars making repairs to a house you are about to sell. Agents understand that. But they also understand that few buyers want to move in to a house that needs a bunch of work done immediately upon moving in.

One of your objectives to selling your home is to make it as appealing as possible to as wide of an audience as possible. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer doesn’t want a bunch of work upon moving in, you’ve shrunk the pool of potential buyers for your property.

Some sellers may want to offer the buyer a credit at closing for certain repairs. Real estate broker Chris Ann Cleland, with Long and Foster in Gainesville, VA shares with us why that strategy isn’t better thanmaking the repairs yourself before putting the home on the market.
6. Sellers Unwilling to Negotiate with Buyers

Setting a market price on a home is not an exact science. Many real estate agents will give the seller a range in which they predict the home will sell. As a seller, you should always want the most money the market will bear. That being said, the unwillingness to negotiate with buyers can turn away even the most serious buyers.

Price is not the only condition which is open to negotiation. Buyers and sellers can negotiate on dates, fixtures that might stay with the home, repairs and a host of other sticking points. Sellers that refuse to negotiate and are set on digging in their heels are much less likely to find a willing and able buyer.

Don’t be insulted by low offers. Buyers want to get the home for the best price and on the best terms they can. Just like a sellers wants to sell for the best price on the best terms. It’s rare that either party walks away from a negotiation with everything they want. Motivated sellers understand this and are willing to negotiate.

Debbie Reynolds, a broker with Prudential PenFed Realty in Clarksville Tennessee, cautions sellers against being unwilling to negotiate as well as second guessing your original listing price.

7. Bad Photos in the MLS

This one will most likely fall on your real estate agent. But knowing that bad photos in the MLS can be an impediment to the sale of your home, as a seller it’s imperative that you demand great photography from your agent.

Studies show that greater than 85% of people are going online as a part of their research for buying a home. Most buyers will probably first be introduced to your home online. Poor photos could be cause for them to disregard your home before they ever set foot in it.

The photos used to market your home are generally the first impression any buyer will have of your home. When picking an agent to list your home, ask to see examples of photos from previous listings. Do their photos make you want to take a look at the home?

Never let your home go on the market without photos! If it means waiting a day or two before listing, wait. A large number of potential buyers in your market will be exposed to your home the first day it goes on the market. Having great photos the first day the home hits the market is a must.

Tammie White, a REALTOR® with Benchmark Realty LLC in Franklin Tennessee tells us why “it is crucial to have professional photographs to show off your home.

8. The Home is Just Plain Messy

You were late for work this morning so you ran out of the house without picking up from last night’s dinner. Not a big deal…..unless you have potential buyers that will be stopping by.

Some people may be able to look past the dishes stacked up in the sink, but enough buyers won’t be able to look past the mess. Remember, buyers want to envision their things in your house. The more obstacles you put in the way, the harder time they have connecting with the home emotionally.

Take the time every day to make sure everything is cleaned up and the home is in showing condition.

Woody Edwards, a REALTOR® with First Choice Realty in Chesterfield Virginia is reminded of an old saying his grandmother used to have, “never leave home until the home is in dying condition“. This couldn’t be more true than when selling your home.

9. Sellers Who Like to Play Tour Guide During Showings

Almost every real estate agent who participated agreed that sellers should leave the house during showings. Some sellers want to stick around and make sure buyers see all the important features of a home. The problem with that………as a seller you don’t know what’s important to a buyer.

Sellers that hover around during a showing will make the buyer nervous. They won’t feel comfortable discussing things they like or dislike about the house with their agent. In addition, most buyers like to explore a little bit. Interested buyers tend to do things like open cabinets and check in closets to get a better sense for the entire home. A hovering seller can make this very uncomfortable for some buyers.

Bottom line……leave the house when it’s being shown. Your presence there will only make things worse. Karen Feltman, a real estate agent with Skogman Realty in Cedar Rapids Iowa gives you a couple ofspecific ways that a seller’s meddling during showings can hurt or kill a deal.

10. Picking the Wrong Agent

You decided to list with your aunt or with your friend that just got in the business. You paid no attention to their experience or what they do to market a home. Maybe not the best idea.

Real Estate agents will often suggest interviewing more than one agent. You’ll never know if your aunt is going to do a good job of marketing your home for sale if you have nothing to which to compare her.

Don’t be scared to ask a real estate agent questions about why they are a better choice than anyone else you may be considering. Just like with any profession, there are good real estate agents and there are bad real estate agents. Anita Clark, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker in Warner Robins Georgia shares a great list of potential questions you will definitely want to ask before you pick an agent.


Millennials: How to Sell to Today’s Youngest Homebuyers

Posted by   • Categorized as Industry News

As with any generation, the Millennials have their own unique likes and dislikes – ranging anywhere from music to food – and one trend which seems to be significantly different from any of their predecessors is their preference in real estate.

In 2013, Generation Y accounted for roughly one third of all home sale, a number which will only rise as time goes on. While this can be a great thing for younger agents and brokers who can relate to these new homebuyers, this transition may not be the easiest for many of the seasoned veterans working in today’s market. The truth is that the median age of realtors today is 57 years old, a substantial difference from the median age of first-time buyers which is currently 31.

So to help adapt to this changing market, here are a few tips to use when finding the right property for the youngest of homebuyers:

1. The best things come in small packages
Keeping up with the Joneses – a race to prove cultural and socio-economic superiority through the purchase of material goods – was a common theme in the lives of many baby boomers, and as a result many of them have sought after a big home with a big price tag. While this behavior may not be a problem for some, it has caused numerous problems for Generation Y. Over 50% of Gen Y kids come from divorced homes. Why? Communication between family members and money problems are the most cited reasons, and many believe these problems stemmed directly from having a big house. As a result, the Millennials want smaller houses on smaller lots. This puts less financial strain on those with tighter budgets and also promotes more interaction between family members.

2. Diversity is key, so jump into the melting pot
Many members of Generation Y have been exposed to more culturally diverse areas, and as a result they look for similar diversity. Urban centers offer a buzz and culture which cannot be found in many suburbs – people from all over the world as well as the music, food and arts they bring with them – and the Millennials actively seek out these differences.

3. Look for a greener living
It has been reported 57% of all members of Generation Y prefer products that are environmentally friendly, and this number is expected to keep going up. Builders are responding to this trend by providing homes with energy-saving appliances, as well as insulation made from soy or other natural products, so keep these “bonuses” in mind when trying to sell a home.

4. A short walk can go a long way
One trend which has surfaced lately in the Millennial community is their interest in walkability. Many members of Generation Y would prefer to walk or ride a bike as opposed to driving to work, so keep in mind the different businesses, restaurants, bars, parks, or anything else that is in walking distance when trying to sell a home. Not only does walking or riding a bike encourage a healthier lifestyle, but it further supports the Millennials’ interest in an eco-sensitive living.

Have you noticed these changing trends in buyers today? What are your thoughts?



New jobs, recovering housing market restoring California economy

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune |Daily Breeze

California is on track to reclaim its status as the Golden State, according to a report released today.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.’s 2014-2015 Economic Forecast & Industry Outlook notes that California’s unemployment rate is falling, more people are finding jobs, the housing market is improving and budget surpluses are finally in sight.

The state has regained 70 percent of the more than 1.3 million jobs it lost as a result of the Great Recession, the report says, although the recovery continues to be “very slow.”

“Regionally, the recovery is advancing in nearly every part of the state,” the report says. “Now, after nearly five years of recovery, California is on a more solid footing.”

The report notes, however, that the state is currently grappling with one of its worst droughts on record. Southern California will likely receive little water from Northern California this year and increased conservation and recycling will help the region keep pace with growth and reduce reliance on imported water.

Orange and San Diego counties led the Southland’s growth last year with year-over-year job gains of 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. Los Angeles and Ventura counties were close behind with employment growth of 1.7 percent. But the Inland Empire was still struggling with growth of just 1.2 percent, the report said.

“The Inland Empire has a lot of strength in construction, but that sector was very hard hit in the Great Recession,” said Robert Kleinhenz, the LAEDC’s chief economist, who helped research and prepare the report. “We’re still looking at several years before we recover all of the jobs that were lost in the recession.”

Los Angeles County — boasting the largest county economy in the nation — saw its population surpass the 10 million mark last year and the region is expected to see nonfarm job growth of 1.6 percent this year with another gain of 1.2 percent in 2015.

The county’s unemployment rate is expected to average 8.7 percent this year and 7.8 percent in 2015.

The most current reading from the state Employment Development Department put L.A. County’s jobless rate at 9.2 percent in December.

The county’s biggest job gains in 2014 are expected to come in health services with 12,800 new jobs. That will be followed by employment gains in leisure and hospitality (8,900), professional, scientific and technical services (8,800), administration and support (7,700) and construction (5,800) and manufacturing (4,700 jobs), the report said.

David Aley, an admissions clerk at the West Hills Health & Rehab Center in Canoga Park, said his facility hired more employees in 2013, bringing the total workforce to around 140.

“In health care you’re always hiring and firing … but mostly hiring,” Aley said with a laugh. “People change jobs, moving from one place to another. But we’re always busy.”

Further inland, the report shows that the combined San Bernardino and Riverside counties area has regained more than 40,000 of the 147,000 jobs it lost during the recession, adding more than 14,000 new jobs in 2013 alone.

The Inland Empire’s most recent unemployment rate of 9.2 percent is expected to average 9 percent this year and drop to 8.2 percent in 2015.

“A lot of hope has been placed on the transportation and logistics part of the economy, not just to generate jobs going forward but to also create a sizable number of well-paying jobs,” Kleinhenz said. “Transportation, warehousing and utilities will grow by at least 2 percent this year in the Inland Empire. The job counts have already exceeded the pre-recession peak.”

The Inland Empire’s biggest employment gains this year are expected to come in retail trade (3,200 jobs), leisure and hospitality (3,200 jobs), health services (2,800 jobs) and government (2,500 jobs).

L.A. County and the Inland Empire are both poised for significant growth in residential housing, the study said.

L.A. County saw 15,700 housing unit permits issued last year and that number is expected to rise 34.4 percent to 21,100 permits this year, with another 28 percent gain in 2015. That would bring the total number of permits issued next year to 27,000.

The Inland Empire is primed for even more dramatic gains. The LAEDC said 8,900 housing unit permits were issued last year. That number will rise 53.9 percent this year to 13,700 permits and 45.3 percent next year to 19,900.

Karl Woehrstein, a broker with the Century 21 Amber office in Torrance, said his area is saddled with an all-time low in inventory. The combination of that and multiple bids have driven home prices back up to 2006 levels, he said.

“Usually our multiple listing service would have 3,000 to 4,000 units for sale,” Woehrstein said. “But now we’re down to about 900 to 950.”

The LAEDC report also notes that the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports play a significant role in Southern California’s economy.

The value of two-way trade in the region is expected to rise 4.5 percent this year to $433.3 billion and 6.9 percent in 2015 to $463.2 billion.


Landmark Torrance apartment building sells for nearly $40 million

By Nick Green | Daily Breeze

Torrance >> A landmark 248-unit apartment building on Anza Avenue that was once the epicenter of the 1960s Southern California “swinging singles” scene that attracted national media attention has sold for $37.8 million.

The Milano Apartments complex, originally built as the South Bay Club, was acquired by M West Holdings, a Sherman Oaks-based company that has significantly expanded its commercial and multifamily residential portfolios in Southern California in recent years. Wells Fargo, which touts itself as the nation’s leading commercial real estate lender, provided a loan for the entire purchase amount, spokesman Darryl Ryan said.

The South Bay Club was built in 1964 during the height of the city’s growth boom, when more than 110,000 people moved to Torrance in a 15-year span ending in 1965, according to a 1960s-era League of Women Voters profile of the city.

Originally restricted to singles only in days before housing discrimination laws, the amenities included three tennis courts with a pro shop and a resident coach, gymnasium, two swimming pools as well as volleyball and basketball courts, according to a post on South Bay Yesterday, the Daily Breeze’s local history blog. Articles about the complex were published in Time and Parade magazines at the time.

The apartment complex was upgraded in 2008 in the wake of its 2007 purchase by San Diego-based Fairfield Residential for $56 million, property records show.

Matthew Ellis, senior vice president with the Acquisition & Capital Markets group at M West Holding, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

But the company has said its strategy is to acquire multiunit properties in Southern California located in “stable, in-fill markets.”

The company targets “historically underperforming, underappreciated, poorly operated assets,” according to its website.

The Milano Apartments has a mix of studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom units. It is 95 percent occupied.


Southland housing sales slow

By Andrew Khouri | LA TIMES

Southern California home prices in January posted their smallest year-over-year gain in more than a year, as the housing market showed signs of slowing.

The median home price in the six-county Southland rose 18.4% from a year earlier to $380,000, the smallest increase since November 2012, research firm DataQuick said Wednesday. Sales also fell 9.9% compared to last year.

GRAPHIC: Southern California’s housing recovery

A total of 14,471 new and resale condos and houses changed hands last month — the lowest level for a January since 2011, indicating tight inventory and declining affordability have handcuffed buyers.

“The economy is growing, but Southland home sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for four consecutive months now and remain well below average. Why? We’re still putting a lot of the blame on the low inventory,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement. “But mortgage availability, the rise in interest rates and higher home prices matter too.”

Compared to December, the median price fell 3.8%. Because the median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less, such a drop from December isn’t unusual, DataQuick says.

Buyers likely signed a contract around the holidays in order to close a sale in January. Many families back out of the market around the holidays, slowing the market and giving investors a larger role. Since, investors usually target more affordable homes, that can help bring the median price down.

The share of investor purchases inched up last month. Absentee buyers–mostly investors and some second-home purchasers–scooped up 27.5% of all homes sold in January. That’s compared to 27.2% in December.

Sales fell from a year earlier in all six counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and San Diego. Los Angeles County saw the smallest decline, as buyers purchased 7.4% fewer homes last month.