Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Flat sales and falling prices"

The L.A. Times Real Estate cover story this morning says, "'A bit of a hybrid' situation this spring favors sellers in some price ranges and buyers in the middle sector." Which is what we see on the Westside, inventories up from a year ago and rising, with pickier buyers. Good now to see the Times saying it, especially the last quote.

As the spring buying and selling season hits its stride, the local home market looks like two different places, depending on the price range.

It's a buyer's market in the broadest swath of homes, priced from about $550,000 to $10 million. ...

Already, L.A.-area agents are starting to see the ramifications of tighter lending practices. Escrow companies don't report the number of purchases that fall out, or the reasons, but agents who work with low-income buyers believe they are seeing more deals sour.

"Maybe 15% are falling out," said Solorio, who works with many low- or no-down-payment clients.

"Buyers think they're going to qualify. They have a 'friend' who's going to get them the loan," he said, but then the mortgage doesn't materialize. Others have credit problems, he said, that scuttle the deal. ...

And buyers aren't rushing. Houses, in general, are taking longer to sell. In Los Angeles County, homes stayed on the market an average of 54.6 days in March 2007, up from 36.8 days a year earlier. In March 2004, it was just 20.9 days.

"Buyers think if they wait a little longer, they are going to be able to grab a better price, a lower price," agent Solorio said. ...

There is more to chose from. The California Assn. of Realtors' Unsold Inventory Index in Los Angeles County — a ratio of listings to sales — rose to a 9.6-month supply as of last month from a 5.2-month supply in March 2006, Appleton-Young said. In March 2004, it was at 1.2. ...

Despite the overall uptick in the median price of a home in L.A. County, UCLA economist Ratcliff sees a less rosy picture ahead: "flat sales and falling prices."

2 comments:

thg said...

Who are these folks who keep leaving messages on your blog about Costa Rica?? (see yesterday's comment)

one more thing- can you tell me anything about the high end sale of 2325 25th Street in Sunset Park SM? Looks like it went for 2.1 MM in November. How many days was it on the market? How do sales like this one affect the "average" price realtors like to quote?
Thanks

Westside Bubble said...

More than one message about Costa Rican real estate and I'll start deleting....

What I have on 2325 25th (4 bed, 3 bath) is it was listed about 9/29/06 for $1,949K and sold pretty fast (listing gone 10/17), above its asking price of $2,100K.

That would pull up the median for the month, as the most expensive sale last year in Sunset Park. Although Ocean Park is the same zip code, 90405, and has more houses over $2M.