Dear Westwood Hills Neighbor:
Poppies were popping up all over Southern California during the past several weeks as thousands trekked to witness the “super bloom” splashed across the hillsides as Spring literally ’sprung’ into a panoply of lavenders, golds and yellows in our deserts and canyon areas. What a beautiful site to see.
Traditionally, our Spring selling season is in full bloom — and we are coming off a very strong early 2019 with existing home sales rebounding across the entire country, with the largest month-over-month gain in February since December 2015. Three of the four major U.S. regions saw healthy sales gains according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales in the West rocketed 16.0% to an annual rate of 1.16 million in February. The median price in the West was $379,300, up 3.0% from February 2018. In Southern California, home prices barely rose in February from a year earlier, as buyers continue to struggle with the high cost of housing. We all have to remember that the sales reports we are looking at are reflective of sales when we were experiencing a partial government shutdown, and interest rates also went up as a result.
The six-county region’s median price — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — increased just 1.2% to $512,500 last month, real estate firm CoreLogic said. Sales plunged nearly 12%. The pullback comes after years of steady price increases put home ownership out of reach for many families. Interest rates are down again, and every lender I know is being very aggressive in coming out with new programs all the time, thus making it easier for buyers including those of us who are self-employed such as myself to apply and qualify for loans.
The market remains strong. In the past week, I personally was involved in a multiple offer situation with 12 offers on a charming 2/2.5 home in Santa Monica north of Montana listed over $3,250,000 and since my client was not the lucky buyer, I really do not know what the ultimate sales price is, but I imagine it will be close to $3.5. One of my mentees is currently involved in an offer for a condo in Brentwood with 6 offers. It is listed at $1,075,000 and every offer is all cash. I recently sold a condo in Westwood in 2 weeks, again, all cash.
We all moan & groan about the traffic on the Westside. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse rather than better. The construction on the Metro line continues to proceed as scheduled. Currently there are a number of studies and proposals in the mill that are also dealing with rapid transit between the Valley and the Westside, with the ultimate goal of them reaching LAX. These proposals include an underground tunnel, or some type of overhead system, or closing or adding lanes to Sepulveda. I don’t know how many of you saw the recent article in the LA Times dealing wit5h another proposal to charge $4.00 for drivers’ in rush hour. The boundaries are from west of the 405 and north of the 10 which includes a 4.3 square mile area. Obviously are all of the projects being a work in progress and most likely will be worked on for a while. Hopefully some relief will come in our lifetimes!
What is happening in Westwood Hills? How does the real estate activity for the first quarter of this year compare to that of last year? From an active listing perspective there are the same number of homes for sale this year as there were last year – 5, however currently there is 1 home in escrow, vs. 5 for quarter 1 ’18, and 3 closed escrows this year, and 6 last year. We are seeing inventory increase across the board, and I imagine that my quarterly report at the end of the 2nd quarter ’19 will be different. I have also included some lease information for you as well.
Please let me know how I can assist you with any and all of your real estate needs.