Thursday, August 30, 2007

Redondo Beach sales statistics for July 2007

It's annoying that it wasn't until the end of August that July sales were finally updated in Zillow, but better late than never. There are some curious things going on in the July numbers which I will point out. I don't exactly know the reason for them, but it's fun to speculate.

The following numbers are taken from the SALE records in my database. December 2006 has dropped off to make room for July 2007. What pops out is the big leap up in median price.

STAT     JAN 2007   FEB 2007   MAR 2007   APR 2007   MAY 2007   JUN 2007   JUL 2007  
records        48         64        105        114         91         62         78    
MEDIAN   $724,500   $745,358   $755,000   $799,000   $777,000   $764,500   $860,000
AVERAGE  $762,005   $787,799   $813,252   $884,271   $855,228   $830,711   $880,279
MIN      $389,000   $387,500   $370,000   $470,000   $453,000   $485,000   $359,000  
MAX    $2,100,000 $1,878,000 $2,027,000 $1,750,000 $1,640,000 $1,565,000 $2,299,000

I suppose we should cite a genuine market recovery as a possible reason why the median leaped up. But I give that a low probability. Housing remains as unaffordable as ever, and big mortgage loans are getting more difficult to come by. The July DataQuick numbers for RESALE activity look like they could be in a slump, but the July HomeData numbers for ALL activity show median prices that come close to mine. So the bounce must be coming from bigger, new construction.

These numbers for Original Asking Price, Sale Price, Square Feet, DOM, and PCTRED are taken from my resolved SUPPLY records (not the SALE records):

         ORIG     SALE     SQFT  DOM  PCTRED
         ASK      PRICE
MEDIAN   865500   850250   1628   68   1.8
AVERAGE  919373   880372   1735  104   3.7
MIN      375000   359000    619   24  -4.8
MAX     2350000   2299000  3551  475  20.9

PCTRED is the percent reduction between original asking price and final sale price. A negative number here means that a home sold for more than the original asking price - yes, some are still selling for more than list price.

Notice how the gap between original asking price and final sale price has shrunk, both the median and average. Early this year that gap was easily 14% or more. Now that gap runs 2-4%, depending on whether you look at it from the original asking price or the final sale price. Notice also how median DOM has come down to 68 days from about 90 days (3 months) and average DOM has come down to 104 days from about 120 days (4 months).

My broad interpretation of this is that sellers entering the market are waking up. New listings are priced much more competitively than most of the older inventory that is sitting and rotting at still-unrealistic asking prices. Homes that are priced very competitively are still selling, and they are selling relatively quickly. Since the price bounce is coming from new construction, I'm wondering if at least some builders are acting quickly to get new construction off their hands ASAP and move on. Builders aren't hampered by emotional ties to properties when cutting prices. On the other hand, homeowners with great emotional ties to their homes have a harder time cutting prices.

The additional factor that I have to consider is what effect the latest mortgage industry blowups have had on the psyche of buyers. Maybe they have been rushing in to get their dream properties before it gets harder to do so. Remember these are July numbers, before the August financial market woes.

My interpretation fails to address the dip in median and average square feet of sold properties. The only thing I can offer here is that more smaller places are getting sold in pricier areas (i.e., south Redondo).

By the way, I don't know if you caught my 3 part article about the phases of the last housing downturn (just look at the recent archives), but we went through a period where one could lower a price and get a place sold. Early in the downturn, sellers met that suggestion from their realtors with great resistance. Then there was a really ugly down phase where it seemed like no matter how much prices were lowered, properties just wouldn't move. History is rhyming. There was much press, especially last year, about the buyer-seller standoff. But we aren't at that really ugly down phase just yet - at least, not here.

I like to publish my SQFT chart out of my SUPPLY records rather than my SALE records, because sale records often quote square footage of old teardowns on new construction at the same address, leading to errors. From the sale records, it looks like there was more purchased in the 2500 square foot range. The chart is out of supply records. (I end up with more sale records than supply records for a given month - I never capture everything that is for sale in my database.)

The other unusual thing I noticed this month is the big DOM gap between 160 days column and 240 days column. We know DOMs have shrunk. Notice that more than 75% of July sales sold within 80 days (less than 3 months). As for the gap, perhaps there is a growing bifurcation between the old diehards who refuse to budge on their asking prices, and the newer sellers who see the realities of the current market.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

L.A. Times: Blight moves in after foreclosure

Ironic, isn't it. We've spent years gentrifying blighted neighborhoods to get rid of blight, to the point where bloataminiums and bloated SFRs get so expensive that their owners cannot keep up payments, they get foreclosed on and blight comes back in full circle fashion. That's not what this August 28 article by David Streitfeld says exactly, but that's just my observation.

Even if you think you are sitting pretty in your home, because you have it paid off or almost paid off, the financial condition of your neighbors is going to effect your lifestyle, and that could be good or bad. When the gun goes off during a boom, even the turkeys fly. But when there are lots of foreclosures in your neighborhood they can drag down the rest of the neighborhood.

The article talks about Northridge neighbors who are stepping in and voluntarily maintaining an empty foreclosed property in order to prevent problems. Efforts to contact realtors, bank owners, and lenders go nowhere - these neighbors with justification complain about nobody taking responsibility for the property. Tina Hess, the assistant Los Angeles city attorney handling housing enforcement and problem properties says the blight "is coming" and wants to double the number of property inspectors, who have the power to have pools fenced and empty houses secured against trespassers.

In the meantime, squatters are living in Beverly Hills. There is a case of a foreclosed property that should be empty but isn't. Since it was let go too long, the eviction that HSBC, the owning bank, is pursuing, may take many months. At least the squatters are taking the trash out! Darn good of them!

According to a west Los Angeles police officer, if a squatter knows what he is doing, he "can get six months in a place with a kick-ass view."

Rental fraud is thriving. Fraud perpetrators posing as owners are appearing at empty rental properties and offering rental or lease contracts to unsuspecting renters. So some of these purported squatters are otherwise renters with good intentions. They are producing signed leases showing that they've been paying somebody rent. And in some cases it's much easier (and cheaper) to pay them to leave than to take them to court.

And yet another problem is developing - a public health problem. Think about pools of water at foreclosed homes and we've got quite a breeding ground. Algae, bacteria, and West Nile. Right now a health inspection call that's supposed to be responded to within 3 days is running closer to 3 weeks.

Oh we've got quite a spectacle developing. I'm getting a chill down my spine just thinking about how this tragi-comedy will go down over the next few years.

By the way, 100 homes are being foreclosed on a day in Southern California, up from 13 a year ago.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Los Angeles Area home prices continue down in June 2007 according to S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index

S&P/Case-Shiller is the only home valuation methodology I know of that is widely published and shows Los Angeles are home prices actually trending DOWN. The Los Angeles Times publishes DataQuick numbers and the L.A. Business Journal publishes HomeData numbers. Case-Shiller avoids the problems that these other two companies wade into.

According to Case-Shiller, Los Angeles area June 2007 median home prices are down -4.1% YOY, and -0.4% from May. The median home prices in San Diego, a "sister" bubble, are down -7.3% YOY, and down -0.2% from May. The median home prices in our sister bubble to the north, San Francisco, are down -4.0% YOY, and -0.7% from May.

This is a snapshot of values before the latest subprime dead bodies floated up to the surface.

You can view the press release at MacroMarkets (PDF file).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Price disparities and foiled flips

Today I caught this listing on Los Angeles Craigslist:

$965000 Just Reduced! 2021 Perry Ave. Unit A, Brand New Townhome

Date: 2007-08-22, 12:11PM PDT Brand new townhome nearly ready for you to move in. Very low price for new construction townhome in Redondo Beach of this size and quality. Newly completed construction, just finished within the past couple weeks. 4 Bedrooms 2.5 Bathrooms 2320 Sqft. Offered at $965,000

I will not post the realtor's information in case he made a genuine mistake. But what strikes me as terribly suspicious is that according to my notes, this property was listed previously on Craigslist on July 13 for $929,000. Then it was listed in Zip Realty in August for $979,000. So the reduction is relative to the Zip Realty price, but not to the prior listing on Craigslist. It was actually raised.

I am almost certain the realtor will email me back and tell me I must have confused Unit A with Unit B, which is listed for $929,000. But I don't think so.

How convenient that old Craigslist listings expire, and they aren't retrievable by archive for over six months.

And what's with this other Craigslist piece?

Great price/location for lovely 3 bds, 2.5 bath RB townhome!!! New 
carpet/refrig/stove, lg closets, pool, suana, jacuzzi, 2 car parking in subterranean 
garage plus private storage conveniently located near unit at front door. Downstairs 
has laminate cherry wood/carpet floors, private 1/2 remodeled bath, living room 
w/warm flagstone fireplace, formal dining area, kitchen w/pantry & laundry room. 
Upstairs has spacious master bedroom w/private en-suite bath and w-2-w closet, 2 more 
bedrooms and another bath w/granite countertop. Super location near 405/105 fwys, 
shopping, gyms, restaurants, beach, 2 blks to Manhattan Beach! Vacant, Move-in 
condition & Priced to sell. Pets ok. HOA pays water,trash,ins,landscaping.

By the way, I've been to open houses for condos in this building, and they make me feel claustrophobic.

This particular condo unit has been through some financial distress and now it looks like another failed flip is taking form. (At least I *THINK* it was through financial distress - check out that price difference between June and Sept 2005.) Here is the recent price history:

June 21, 2005:   $495,000
Sept 15, 2005:   $570,000
July 15, 2006:   $587,000

The realtor listed it in Craigslist around June 1 for $609,000. I got the impression from the original Craigslist posting that it was a remodel. The property finally made it to the MLS and after a few price reductions now sits at an asking price of $579,000.

They are still out there, trying to extract gold from the goose.

Other measures of Los Angeles beach cities market activity, July 2007

Shorewood has published July numbers.

For the beach cities (El Segundo; Manhattan, Redondo, and Hermosa Beach), average days on market (DOM) has edged down to 39.

I am waiting for more Redondo Beach sales to show up in Zillow before I run calculations for July, but I have no reason to believe yet that true time on market for Redondo Beach has changed significantly from about 3 months (median) to 4 months (average).

For those of you unfamiliar with it, I use a homegrown measure of "supply strength" AKA "demand weakness" as a measure of market internals. It's simply a comparison of inventory to sales on any given month. It's an experimental measure to see if it is useful as a leading indicator of market health. My calculation shows a beach cities market "bottom" appearing May 2005 when supply was extremely tight. There was a peak in I-S/S October 2006 and then supply again started tightening more relative to sales. The ratio bottomed again March 2007 and has been crawling back up since.

For July, Shorewood reports inventory at 533 and sales at 143. Sales declined by over 16% YOY.

I-S/S bottomed around May 2005 but it wasn't until June 2006 that the median price peaked, suggesting a possible year lag before the stress from extra inventory started to have a visible impact on the market.

Median price bottomed December 2006 and then smoothly climbed back up again to a new high May 2007. (The line looks almost looks too smooth.) It is now down from that high. Let's see what happens. I hope we don't have to wait a year from the I-S/S bottom in March to see an impact on prices.

We must keep in mind that the more recent construction consists of bloat in the high end range, with no construction of anything new below 1600 square feet. It is clear that sales of higher-end homes for the affluent are keeping the market going.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Los Angeles Beach Cities Resale Activity for July 2007

For Los Angeles County, median prices of resale SFRs and condos continued to rise for the month of July, at least according to DataQuick, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.

These numbers can be unreliable due to the statistics of very small numbers (and a number of other reasons). Nevertheless, as we have nothing else to go on I will present these July charts.

The median SFR price for L.A. County, though up 6.7% YOY, is unchanged from June.

I would not pay too much attention to the El Segundo (90245) numbers. There were only 4 SFR sales in July that contributed to that spike, there was only 1 condo sale, and there were NO condo sales in July 2006. For the condo charts I retained the same price from June in order to continue building a moving average, and so I could maintain a moving YOY comparison.

Also, remember that as these are statistics for RESALES, not new construction, projects like Centex Fusion won't appear in these figures.

                          SFR   MEDIAN   %YOY    CONDO  MEDIAN   %YOY  
LA/Westchester    90045   37    $735     -3.9%    n/a     n/a     n/a  
El Segundo        90245    4  $1,650    126.0%     1      n/a     n/a 
Hawthorne         90250   28    $535      1.9%     1     $425     5.8%  
Hermosa Beach     90254   10  $1,255     15.6%     4   $1,092    34.8%  
Lawndale          90260    9    $463    -12.7%     3     $248   -35.6%  
Manhattan Beach   90266   29  $1,843     17.3%     7     $979   -28.7%  
Palos Verdes Pen. 90274   42  $1,421      1.6%     7     $650    -7.0%  
Rancho P.V.       90275   41  $1,240     -5.5%     7     $610    14.6%   
Redondo Beach     90277   21  $1,129     14.1%    22     $700    -4.7%   
Redondo Beach     90278   21    $685     -7.1%    22     $675    -4.3%

The Case-Shiller Index is not yet published for July.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

L.A. Times: Southland home sales hit 12 year low

Out there is a layer of helium, perhaps mixed with a little hemp smoke, that is levitating the median house price in Los Angeles. According to an August 15 story by Annette Haddad, ALL southland counties are showing substantial declines in sales volume. Four out of six counties show declines in median price, one county is flat, and only Los Angeles county continues to show median price gains.

July sales for the record:

County        Median      %YOY       # sold         %YOY
              Price       Change                    Change
Los Angeles   $547,500    +5.3%      6,809          -23.0%
Orange        $640,000     0.0%      2,391          -19.8%
Riverside     $399,000    -3.9%      2,769          -41.9%
San Bernadino $355,000    -3.1%      2,008          -42.6%
San Diego     $489,000    -2.2%      3,106          -13.3%
Ventura       $582,500    -5.1%        784          -16.7%

Market observers freely admit that it is the sale of pricier high end homes that is keeping this market afloat.

"Aside from running outside naked, I don't know what to do to reach people who might want to find this house," lamented one homeowner forced to sell because of skyrocketing monthly payments.

At least some experts are now conceding that the slowdown could spread to the pricier areas before much longer. Michael Carney, a real estate professor at Cal Poly Pomona, thinks prices might fall 5% a year through 2009 before things start to pick up again.

But there may be a growing backlog of frustrated sellers who can't wait.

Monday, August 13, 2007

L.A. Business Journal: Median price bounces back as mortgage crisis widens

Optimism still abounds in the reporting of our regional real estate. According to an L.A. Business Journal article by Rebecca Crowe in the August 13 edition, and Home Data, the same firm from which MelissaData gets its numbers, the median price for a SFR in Los Angeles County is back up to $585,000 in July, up 6.4% YOY, despite a -11.2% change in sales volume YOY, and after temporarily slumping in June by $10,000. And the median price for a condo has hit an alltime high of $450,000, up 7.1% YOY, with sales volume up YOY by 9.3%

Notably, the "desirable seashore and hillside communities continued to defy trends," according to the article. Sales of very high-end homes "continued to be brisk, propping up the median." One regional expert quoted in the article notes that the rate on a jumbo variable rate loan over $500,000 jumped from 6% to at least 8% at some lenders early in August, and that "jumbos are going to be hard to come by because they're now harder to sell on the secondary market." A Re/Max professional notes that "lenders are increasingly inflexible on loan terms" and are "unwilling to extend the interest rate lock on a mortgage" should an escrow fail to close by a deadline - thus leading many potiential sales to fall out of escrow. The same professional notes that homesellers in the lower price and mid price ranges are increasingly competing with a growing list of foreclosures. According to the MLS, 50% of all REO homes are listed under $500,000, and 95% are under $750,000.

These pros have been good at supplying us with numbers, but I disagree with their conclusion that inventories will start declining as frustrated sellers pull their homes off the market, thus allowing foreclosure and bank-owned inventory to "work itself out of the market," leading to some market improvement after Q1 2008. The pros were saying something like this over a year ago, that things would get better as sellers on fishing expeditions pulled their homes off the market. Well, market conditions have deteriorated if anything, not gotten better, despite the purported median price gains.

I consider the reporting of these numbers a gross abuse and misuse of statistics. Indeed, the entire article is a gross misuse of statistics. But we don't have much else to go on right now. Here are the beach cities numbers. Prices are MEDIAN prices.

-------------------- SFR ---------------------
COMMUNITY        ZIP    July    %YOY       July      %YOY
                        Sales   Change     Price     Change
El Segundo      90245     6     -40.0%  $1,270,000    42.2%
Hermosa Beach   90254    25     108.3%  $1,400,000    21.5%
Manhattan Beach 90266    28     -26.3%  $1,812,000    25.0%
Redondo Beach   90277    16     100.0%  $1,077,000    -4.9%
Redondo Beach   90278    22      -4.3%    $732,000   -11.3%

------------------- CONDO --------------------
COMMUNITY       ZIP     July    %YOY       July      %YOY
                        Sales   Change     Price     Change
El Segundo      90245     4    -42.9%     $541,000   -30.9%
Hermosa Beach   90254     2    -50.0%   $1,050,000   110.0%
Manhattan Beach 90266     3     50.0%     $870,000    -4.2%
Redondo Beach   90277    25      8.7%     $810,000    14.2%
Redondo Beach   90278    25      8.7%     $810,000     5.3%

The most expensive SFRs in Los Angeles County are in Santa Monica 90402 (median SF+39% YOY); Beverly Hills 90210 (-6.3%); Malibu 90265 (-15.5%); Pacific Palisades 90272 (+45.7%); Manhattan Beach 90266 (+25.0%); Brentwood 90049 (+3.2%); Beverly Hills 90211 (+9.1%); West Hollywood 90069 (+29.3%); and Palos Verdes Estates 90274 (+1.4%). The most expensive condos are in Beverly Hills 90212 (+24.2%); Century City 90067 (no sales 07/06, so no YOY comparison); Handcock Park 90004 (+229.4%); Redondo Beach 90278 (+5.3%) and 90277 (+14.2%); Brentwood 90049 (+40.3%); Pasadena 91105 (+24.8%); Santa Monica 90403 (+18.3%); Marina del Rey 90292 (-2.6%).

The places of greatest SFR median price erosion, according to this article, are Glendale 91207 (-32.0%); West Los Angeles 90025 (-26.8%); San Pedro 90732 (-25.5%); Bel-Air 90077 (-25.2%); Rowland Heights 91748 (-23.4%); Canoga Park 91304 (-21.1%); Mid-Wilshire 90036 (-17.3%); Santa Clarita 91390 (-16.9%); and San Gabriel 91776 (-16.7%). For condo prices the places are: Torrance 90504 (-42.7%); Phillips Ranch 91766 (-41.4%); West Hollywood 90048 (-33.8%); El Segundo 90245 (-30.9%); North Hollywood 91602 (-29.9%); Agoura Hills 91301 (-29.4%); Pasadena 91107 (-26.1%); Inglewood 90301 (-25.6%); Calabasas 91302 (-24.6%); and La Crescenta 91214 (-23.4%).

In theory, the places that were supposed to be hardest hit by the subprime implosion are the lower income areas, e.g., around South Central and Carson, such as zip codes 90037, 90044, 90745. And the areas that are supposed to be "immune" to the fray are very high-end areas. But if you look at those lists of the places that are enjoying the greatest price appreciation and the most price erosion, it's not so straightforward. Why is West Los Angeles, a relatively tony area, experiencing price erosion, while neigboring Rancho Park 90064, a comparable area, experienced a 328.6% increase in sales volume YOY and a 26.2% median price increase for SFRs?

The data in the article, as presented, does not bolster that assumption. The assumption is probably true, but this monthly snapshot does not prove that damage has been inflicted by credit tightening. When you look at an area like Baldwin Hills 90008, and observe that there was 1 condo sale in July 2006 and that there were 0 condo sales in July 2007, then you cannot make any conclusion about condo price trends in that area for 90008. This is the problem with breaking out data into such small pieces. It is not statistically valid to say that median condo prices in Hermosa Beach increased 110% YOY on the basis of 4 sales in July 2006 and 2 sales in July 2007.

This is one of the reasons why, in my opinion, that housing bubbles take so long to correct. This type of reporting is very misleading.

At least with the stock market, you can get an almost instant opinion on the value of a stock because stocks are so frequently traded. It is very rare that stocks are floated out there, and they have no bids, and if that were the case, the Fed would probably take measures to make sure the markets stay "orderly". (It happened during the 1929 crash, and the bankers pool went in and made bids on stocks to shore up the market temporarily.)

But in the housing market we don't have a way of valuing homes with "no bids", because most homes at any given point in time have no potential buyers. The snapshot we see each month of homes sold represents just a tiny fraction of all the homes in the same area, and the monthly report tells us nothing about the value of all those homes not for sale or that are for sale and haven't sold. So how does a homeowner determine the value of his house when there isn't somebody bidding for it (other than going on a fishing expedition and putting his home on the market to hopefully attract a bid). This opaque pricing isn't usually a problem - until a homeowner wants to sell in a weak market.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Redondo Beach 2007 sales and unresolved inventory statistics snapshot

I thought I should snapshot things and see where Redondo Beach is at the moment in terms of sales and unresolved inventory by SQFT and by DOM.

The first chart shows the square footage of Redondo Beach 2007 SALES. The second chart shows the approximate days on market (DOM) it took for those properties to sell. I've been calculating DOM by when a property is FIRST listed (as in ZipRealty) or otherwise advertised (as in Craigslist). As it turns out, median time on market comes out to about 3.3 months, and average time on market is just a sliver over 4 months, not far at all from what I've been calculating on a monthly basis.

These next two charts are for UNRESOLVED INVENTORY. By "unresolved inventory", I mean, property that has been listed for sale, for which I cannot find a sale record on a public website. It is quite possible that the owners of some of these properties genuinely changed their minds about selling, or decided to rent out their homes instead. I have no easy way of differentiating these properties from those really "on the market." So DOM appears quite high, perhaps misleadingly so, and there is a big lump of properties at 240 days or more.

The final chart is the square footage of SALES versus UNRESOLVED INVENTORY. For sold properties, median SQFT is 1754 but for the unsold properties, median SQFT is 1873. Average SQFT is 1822 versus 1931. There are differences of over 100 square feet in the medians and the averages.

Since I am covering a timespan of roughly seven months I don't think it would be a good idea to talk about prices, since prices can shift substantially in such a timeframe, i.e., a $700,000 home today might have been a $750,000 home in January. However, the percentage difference between the original asking price and either the sale price or current asking price (PCTRED) may be interesting. For unresolved inventory, the median change between original and current asking prices is 0%, and the average change is a reduction of 2.6%. For sold properties, the median change is a reduction of 3.1% and the average change is a reduction of nearly 4.6%.

It doesn't take a PhD in business to surmise that perhaps the successful homesellers are those who have been more flexible on sales price - hence, the greater percent reductions in the sold homes.

I don't know what state of mind lending institutions are in right now in terms of allowing their clients to conduct short sales. In the early stages of the last downturn, they adamantly refused to allow their clients to sell short and forced many directly into foreclosure. Let's hope they're being more charitable this time around.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Los Angeles County South Bay Beach Cities Real Estate $$$ Transacted for July 2007

Despite what you heard in Jim Cramer's histrionics on CNBC on Friday, August 2, mortgage credit is still being issued in abundance and the housing market continues to bumble along. Yes, there are areas in Los Angeles County that show the impact of tightening mortgage lending standards, but the contagion from this tightening has not substantially impacted the beach cities and upscale areas. HELOC problems might be there but they aren't out in front of our faces. Not yet.

As long-time readers know, we've been tracking real estate dollars transacted in most zip codes in the area west of the 110 and south of the 10 freeways as a measure of real estate activity. This is an experimental measure, to see if it is representative of the health of the market in general. It is not the same as tracking median or average price, although as the markets continue along the path of a particular trend I would roughly expect dollars transacted and median price to move in the same direction. To gain a better understanding of the data that is charted here, visit our housing tracker page.

In many areas dollar volume and sales volume exceed the July 2006 amounts, but we must remember that in July 2006 we were coming off of a drug-like high from speculation and the belief that housing prices would go up more than 10% a year forever. 2006 was an after-party hangover year, and we were in quite a slump to match. So quite a few places show $$$ volume as exceeding July 2006.

A few places are hitting new highs in terms of $$$ transacted, even exceeding 2005.

In a few places, such as 90305 (Inglewood) and 90293 (Playa Vista), sales volume is UP over July 2005. Sales volume numbers must be handled with care, because volume is so small in many zip codes that the numbers become meaningless. As you can see from the more meaningful (i.e., larger numbers) charts below, sales volumes for Redondo Beach (90277 and 90278 combined), and for the beach cities (90245, 90254, 90266, 90277, 90278), have been gradually edging down for a number of years. The expectation is that the high-end market will continue to be the salvation of our local housing markets and the median prices here can remain levitated thanks to more sales of high-end homes. But based on history, I have my doubts that this trick will work.

Dollar volumes exceeded that for July 2005 in 90035 (Park La Brea); 90064 (Rancho Park/Cheviot Hills); 90094 (Playa Vista); 90254 (Hermosa Beach - also exceeded July 2004 dollar volume); 90277 (South Redondo); 90291 (Venice); 90293 (Playa del Rey); 90305 (part of Inglewood); and a few other areas.

90245 (El Segundo) is down compared to July 2006; 90254 (Hermosa Beach) is booming; Manhattan Beach (90266) is down; 90277 (South Redondo Beach) is booming; and 90278 (North Redondo Beach) is what I'd consider flat to down. A well-mixed bag.


Realtors fat and happy, partying like it's 1999...

90094        54.4% 4.4  Playa Vista  
90277        39.1% 0.2  Redondo Beach (south)  
90064        30.8% 0.4  Rancho Park/Cheviot Hills  
90254        26.2% 0.4  Hermosa Beach  
90293        17.6% 0.6  Playa del Rey

Doing well  
90503        16.8% 0.7  Torrance  
90277-90278  14.3% 0.3  Redondo Beach combined  
90266        12.1% 0.3  Manhattan Beach  
90036        11.5% 0.5  Park La Brea  
beach cities  7.7% 0.3  4 Beach Cities combined 

Doing OK 
90732         6.0% 0.8  San Pedro/Rancho PV  

Hanging in there
90066         0.1% 0.5  Mar Vista  
90278        -0.1% 0.5  Redondo Beach (north)  
90034        -0.5% 1.9  Palms  
90291        -4.5% 0.5  Venice  

Slip sliding away
90501        -7.7% 0.8  Torrance  
90304        -9.2% 1.3  Lennox  
90275       -12.5% 0.1  Palos Verdes Estates  
90505       -13.0% 0.3  Torrance  
SW county   -16.8% 0.6  Southwest L.A. County  
90501-90505 -17.1% 0.6  Torrance Combined  
90230       -20.2% 0.7  Culver City  
90045       -20.5% 0.5  Westchester  
90250       -20.7% 1.1  Hawthorne  
90401-90405 -21.0% 0.3  Santa Monica combined  
90245       -23.2% 0.6  El Segundo  
90249       -25.8% 0.9  Gardena  
90292       -28.3% 1.6  Marina del Rey  
90043       -28.5% 1.0  Hyde Park, Windsor Hills  
90717       -29.1% 0.4  Lomita  

About to head off a cliff
90008       -30.0% 0.7  Baldwin Hills / Leimart Park  
90044       -31.2% 2.2  Athens  
90018       -31.6% 1.3  Jefferson Park  
90056       -33.3% 0.5  Ladera Heights  
90007       -34.6% 1.2  South Central  
90019       -35.5% 0.8  Country Club Park/Mid City  
90035       -37.2% 0.4  West Fairfax  
90047       -37.4% 1.5  South Central  
90504       -37.8% 0.4  Torrance  
90062       -38.9% 1.4  South Central  
90016       -40.3% 1.2  West Adams  
90260       -41.6% 0.8  Lawndale  
90745       -45.2% 1.2  Carson  
90232       -45.9% 0.6  Culver City  
90037       -46.8% 1.1  South Central  

Heading off the cliff, Thelma and Louise - style
90746       -50.8% 1.9  Carson  
90744       -51.0% 0.5  Wilmington  
90303       -56.0% 1.2  Inglewood  
90301       -57.6% 1.2  Inglewood  
90502       -58.0% 1.4  Torrance  
90301-90305 -63.1% 1.4  Inglewood/Lennox combined  
90302       -70.2% 1.2  Inglewood  
90305       -76.6% 3.3  Inglewood

From looking at these numbers, I suspect the subprime implosion has hit areas like Carson (90746), which has a chronic pain ranking of 1.9 (little long-term pain), but has an immediate pain value of -50.8%. Places like Playa Vista (90094) have felt almost no pain, either chronic or recent. Other areas that have held up better than most include Park La Brea (90036). This month's chronic pain range is 0.1 - 4.4:

90094        54.4% 4.4 Playa Vista  
90305       -76.6% 3.3 Inglewood  
90044       -31.2% 2.2 Athens  
90746       -50.8% 1.9 Carson  
90034        -0.5% 1.9 Palms  
90292       -28.3% 1.6 Marina del Rey  
90047       -37.4% 1.5 South Central  
90301-90305 -63.1% 1.4 Inglewood/Lennox combined  
90062       -38.9% 1.4 South Central  
90502       -58.0% 1.4 Torrance  
90304        -9.2% 1.3 Lennox  
90018       -31.6% 1.3 Jefferson Park  
90303       -56.0% 1.2 Inglewood  
90007       -34.6% 1.2 South Central  
90745       -45.2% 1.2 Carson  
90302       -70.2% 1.2 Inglewood  
90301       -57.6% 1.2 Inglewood  
90016       -40.3% 1.2 West Adams  
90037       -46.8% 1.1 South Central  
90250       -20.7% 1.1 Hawthorne  
90043       -28.5% 1.0 Hyde Park, Windsor Hills  
90249       -25.8% 0.9 Gardena  
90501        -7.7% 0.8 Torrance  
90019       -35.5% 0.8 Country Club Park/Mid City  
90260       -41.6% 0.8 Lawndale  
90732         6.0% 0.8 San Pedro/Rancho PV  
90230       -20.2% 0.7 Culver City  
90008       -30.0% 0.7 Baldwin Hills / Leimart Park  
90503        16.8% 0.7 Torrance  
90293        17.6% 0.6 Playa del Rey  
90501-90505 -17.1% 0.6 Torrance Combined  
SW county   -16.8% 0.6 Southwest L.A. County  
90245       -23.2% 0.6 El Segundo  
90232       -45.9% 0.6 Culver City  
90744       -51.0% 0.5 Wilmington  
90036        11.5% 0.5 Park La Brea  
90045       -20.5% 0.5 Westchester  
90291        -4.5% 0.5 Venice  
90056       -33.3% 0.5 Ladera Heights  
90278        -0.1% 0.5 Redondo Beach (north)  
90066         0.1% 0.5 Mar Vista  
90035       -37.2% 0.4 West Fairfax  
90717       -29.1% 0.4 Lomita  
90064        30.8% 0.4 Rancho Park/Cheviot Hills  
90504       -37.8% 0.4 Torrance  
90254        26.2% 0.4 Hermosa Beach  
90401-90405 -21.0% 0.3 Santa Monica combined  
90505       -13.0% 0.3 Torrance  
90277-90278  14.3% 0.3 Redondo Beach combined  
90266        12.1% 0.3 Manhattan Beach  
beach cities  7.7% 0.3 4 Beach Cities combined  
90277        39.1% 0.2 Redondo Beach (south)  
90275       -12.5% 0.1 Palos Verdes Estates

In summary, this is taking a long time to play out, but as one realtor said in the early 90's, when you have to sell, it will "force the issue." More than ever, I believe that extreme patience will be rewarded.

Visit the regional real estate $$$ tracker for details on a zip code.