Issue link: http://read.uberflip.com/i/50011
A YEAR IN REVIEW WHAT HAPPENED? Real Estate trends are easy to explain when they have already happened; projecting them is an entirely different challenge. There is no question that the current trend of declining prices and distressed sellers has been at the top of discussions for almost 5 years already. 2011 has continued to see foreclosures coming to market, an increase in "short sale" sellers (sellers with no equity or negative equity), and a slight decline in overall Real Estate values. Here locally, in the South Bay, the most interesting trend in 2011 is a dramatic drop in inventory levels: over a 35% actual drop in inventory year over year. In October of 2010 there were 4,435 homes for sale and in October 2011 there were only 2,828 for sale. Another interesting fact is that in October 2010, 633 homes went under contract and in October 2011 934 went under contract. A 30% increase in pending sales combined with a decrease in inventory points to the supply of homes running surprisingly low WHAT WILL HAPPEN? Should this trend continue we could finally see a stabilization of Real Estate prices. The stabilization of prices can increase buyer confidence and reverse the downward trend of values. Inventory is one factor that controls pricing but there are outside influences forthcoming in 2012 that can contribute to an adverse effect. A pending Presidential election historically stalls buyers and sellers from making a decision. Also, the overall economy affects people's decisions including, but not limited to, unemployment issues and the state of the job market. The tightening of the lending market is continuing to wreak havoc on buyers trying to obtain financing. Nationally the fall out factor on pending sales is as high as 30% — meaning that almost one third of sales consummated ultimately never close. Research shows that most of these fallen escrows are due to buyers not qualifying for loans, or properties not appraising at the accepted sales price. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? On a more positive note, home affordability is at the highest point in over a decade and this is certainly evident in the South Bay. This is due in part to the median price of homes coming down dramatically from their peak prices in 2006, as well as interest rates being at historical lows. Should interest rates remain low, this could easily create the optimum buying opportunity in Real Estate that many have been hoping for in over a decade. For move-up sellers, the timing couldn't be much better. Even though they may be realizing losses, sellers who become buyers in the same marketplace increase their upside potential for profit dramatically. My usual advice for sellers is that the best time to sell is when the motivating reason to move outweighs everything else. In other words, you may have been relocated for a better job, your home is simply too big and the maintenance is not worth the hassle, or you may desire to move closer to family. The list of reasons why homeowners choose to sell is endless. Always analyze your choices and reasons in order to make a sound decision. What to do in 2012? If you are buyer, get qualified by a reputable lender and buy within your budget. For sellers, seek out a knowledgeable agent that understands the market and knows how to reach buyers quickly and efficiently. Identify through your agent the true market value of your property. Over-priced properties, even in an improving market, simply will not sell. Be sure to thoroughly weigh your personal pros and cons of selling then make your decision. SOUTH BAY Y ou have decided to live in the South Bay: the commute to work is ideal, the school systems fit your needs, the weather pattern meets your approval, and everything is almost perfect. Ah, but what about your budget? You haven't saved quite enough for that $10 Million water front home on THE STRAND in MANHATTAN BEACH or the 4,000 sq.ft. Palos Verdes castle at $3 Million, and honestly the payment on an $800,000, 2 bedroom bungalow in HERMOSA BEACH just doesn't seem to fit the pocket book. Where do you live? Where do you buy? Fortunately, the South Bay is one of the most diverse areas in the entire country. No matter what your budget there are great places to live in the South Bay outside of the Beach Cities and the Peninsula that are not only affordable; they are as diverse as the people that live there. The South Bay has many cities, communities and neighborhoods to choose from. Starting with TORRANCE to the East, it is the largest of all of the cities and houses four separate High Schools. The schools are award winning and the prices can vary from the $200,000 range for small condos, all the way up to and over $1 Million for beautiful single family homes. The most expensive homes are typically located on the most Southern and Western part of Torrance in an area called THE HOLLYWOOD RIVIERA which is bordered by PALOS VERDES and reaches all the way down to the beach. Just West of Redondo Beach is a small community called LAWNDALE which is a very affordable area made up mostly of small single family homes and multi-family units. HAWTHORNE, birthplace of The Beach Boys, is just West and North of Manhattan Beach and is a very large city mixed with homes, condos and apartments that can suit nearly any budget. The most Northern and Eastern sections offer properties in the $200,000 and $300,000 price ranges or you can head West to one of the most popular areas "HOLLYGLEN" which has homes priced similarly to many beach cities homes. North of Hawthorne you will find LENNOX and INGLEWOOD, home of the Fabulous Forum that housed many of the L.A. Lakers championship years. It too is a city made up of a diverse mix of housing including many small single family homes, duplexes, apartments and commercial areas. Along the Eastern borders of the South Bay you will find GARDENA, as well as the TORRANCE "POST OFFICE" area of Los Angeles. GARDENA is home to one of the oldest Japanese communities in the U.S. and the TORRANCE P.O. area is an area that is actually in Los Angeles but uses the Torrance Post Office making the mailing address "Torrance". This area offers some of the most affordable housing in the entire South Bay. To the South, you find LOMITA, WILMINGTON, CARSON and SAN PEDRO. LOMITA is a small city bordering Torrance which includes a hillside area called LOMITA PINES that borders Palos Verdes and offers rolling hills and some views. CARSON is a large city that is home to the Home Depot Center where The LA Galaxy and others play professional soccer. It also houses a state- of-the-art training facility for some of the country's best athletes. You can actually find condo pricing under $100,000 here as well as newer homes in gated communities that are much more expensive. SAN PEDRO, a historical harbor town, is a bustling port city and one of the busiest in the world. The housing in San Pedro has a tremendous mix of single family homes, condos and apartments. Home prices can fall as low as $200,000 and yet still hit beach level prices along the southern coast, which offers tremendous views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island as well as the Port itself. Whether you come for the sun, the fun, the schools or employment, the South Bay is definitely a place where you will find a match for your budget and style of living. Find Your South Bay Dream Home at SouthBayEd.com A VIEW OF THE SOUTH BAY FROM PALOS VERDES. "THE SOUTH BAY" REFERS TO THE SOUTHERN PORTION OF SANTA MONICA BAY, JUST SOUTH OF LAX. THE SOUTH BAY EXTENDS AS FAR INLAND AND EAST AS THE CITY OF CARSON AND ENDS IN SAN PEDRO AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES.