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Los Angeles County was hit hard by the 2008 recession, and it has still not fully recovered in terms of home sales volume and construction.

Los Angeles County Home Sales Volume

Until 2015, home sales volume in Los Angeles County was driven primarily by investors. With employment and income improvement in 2018, home sales volume has increased, although at a slow rate of growth.

In 2019, the Los Angeles County housing market may experience a significant price correction. This price correction would be driven by new home construction issues, property turnover rates, mortgage interest rates, and possible changes in the tax code.

Los Angeles County home sales volume continued on a gradual upward slope in 2017. Year-to-date home sales volume for Los Angele County in 2018 is currently 8% below 2017 home sales volume.

Home sales volume continues to feel downward pressure in 2018 as home prices are still rising and wages are not keeping pace. While Los Angeles County median income is $69,300, the median house price in Los Angeles County is $613,100. Under these conditions, a mortgage payment with property taxes, insurance, and fees could be over $4000 per month.

LA homeowner turnover is relatively high today with one in 16 homes selling annually. Still, this is below the peak year of 2005 when one in 12 homes sold. With home prices running higher and average turnover dropping, expect homeowner turnover to decrease in 2018.

LA County’s homeownership rate has historically been lower than the state average, which was 55% in Q3 2018. LA County has a smaller share of homeowners since much of the county is urbanized, and renting is a convenience, if not a financial necessity. LA’s homeownership rate today is right around what may be considered a “normal” (pre-Millennium Boom) rate, which was 48% in 2000.

Prices have continued to rise in 2018, with low-tier prices 9% higher than a year earlier in Q3 2018. Mid-tier and high-tier prices are 6% and 5% higher than a year earlier, respectively. However, the continued Freddie Mac interest rate increase has decreased the principal amount homebuyers are able to borrow while making the same sustainable mortgage payment.

Multi-family construction starts have jumped significantly in Los Angeles County, far outpacing the near-flat trend in single family residential (SFR) starts. This is due to the increased demand for rental housing, evidenced by the steep rise in rents, especially in the urban city-center areas of Los Angeles County. Builders know this, the City of Los Angeles is accommodating and lenders are catching on.

Since homeowners and renters require employment to make housing payments (with rare exception), the jobs recovery is key to the housing recovery. Just over 4.5 million people are employed in Los Angeles County as of June 2018. This is about 200,000 more jobs than at the 2007 peak.

Los Angeles’ jobs recovery rate has slightly trailed the statewide employment recovery in recent years and has begun to slow. From September 2017 to September 2018, the number of jobs grew by a meager 1.2%. Contrast this with the also slow statewide job growth of 1.8% over the same period of time.

As long as income remains diminished across most job sectors, increases in home prices and rents are limited. This is because buyers and tenants ultimately determine sales prices and rent amounts — collectively they can pay no more to buy or rent a home or apartment than their savings and income qualify them to.

Sears filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on October 15, 2018. The company has over $11 billion in liabilities and plans to close nearly 200 stores by the end of 2018. At its peak in 2011, Sears an Kmart had a combined total of just over 4000 stores. It started 2018 with about 900 stores, and plans to close almost 200 before the end of the year.

Number of Sears Kmart Stores in USA

The average store is about 100,000 square feet, and approximately 3300 stores are or will become available. Based on quick calculations, that is about 330 million square feet of retail space. Most of these stores are in high density commercial centers and shopping malls.

With the closing of Toys R Us and other big retail businesses, an enormous amount of commercial retail space is available. The question is, what does the next generation of retail commerce look like?

Many shopping centers are moving away from retail shopping and moving toward entertainment experiences.

California’s population grew at a rate of 0.7% in 2017. The overall trend since 2000 is a declining growth rate. California's population growth rate peaked in 1989 at 3.43%. From 2000 to 2017, the growth rate steadily decreased from 1.55% in 2000 to 0.73% in 2017. Of California’s ten largest counties, Los Angeles County had the smallest increase of 0.3% in 2017. Riverside County had the highest increase of 1.9% in 2017.

Steady population growth is essential for a long-term, stable real estate market. California’s rate of population growth varies from year to year, but it has always increased over time. Only three California counties (Plumas, Sierra and Alpine) saw their populations decrease in the first decade of the new millennium.

California's Population Growth in the New Millennium

While many temporary factors influence the rise and fall of California’s population and growth rate, including birth and death rates, migration, cultural trends, and environmental factors, the most critical influence is economics. When jobs are plentiful, and housing is available at reasonable prices, people move into California. A strong economy is an incentive for both interstate and international immigration. A weak California economy causes people to move out or stay away. A state with a lack of good jobs can lose people, as they leave for more job-friendly environments in other states.

The recession of the early 1990s, for example, corresponded with a dramatic decrease in the rate of California's population growth. However, the 2008 recession had no comparable decelerating effect on the rate of California’s population growth. This is likely because the Great Recession, unlike the 1990s recession, was accompanied by a tremendous drop in real estate prices. This drop returned prices to their historic trend of slow but dependable increases.

Immigration and California's Population Growth

Immigration, both authorized and unauthorized, is a critical driver of population growth to California. This includes migration to California from other states and other nations. The largest proportion of international immigrants to California come north from Mexico. According to the US Census Bureau, 38% of California’s population in 2013 was Hispanic, and this proportion has increased annually for the last twenty years. The vast majority of immigrants go to Los Angeles County. Although the state’s birth rate and statewide emigration are both critical factors that influence California's population, immigration averages 58% of the yearly increase in California's population growth for the last 25 years.

Intra- and Interstate Migration

In 2013, five million Californians moved from one residence to another (13% of the total state population). If these, 77% remained in the same county and 21% remained in California. Renters are far more likely to relocate than homeowners: the annual rate of relocation was around 20% for renters and 6% for owners. Men were very slightly more likely to relocate than women, singles were more likely to move than couples, and those with more education (a bachelor’s degree or higher) were more likely to relocate than those with less.

Six California and Arizona hospitals declared bankruptcy in 2018. Medicare is reducing reimbursement to save about $760 million in 2019. The clinic visit is the most common service billed under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS). The change in reimbursement is to make clinic visits site neutral. In other words, doctors at hospitals would be paid the same rate as doctors at off-campus clinics. This change, along with other revenue pressures, shrinks hospital profit margins.

There are 6 hospitals and health systems that have filed for bankruptcy in California and Arizona since January 1, 2018.

1. Coalinga Regional Medical Center:

Coalinga Regional Medical Center, located at 1191 Phelps Ave, Coalinga, CA 93210, closed its doors on June 12 and filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on September 5, 2018. Chapter 9 Bankruptcy provides for reorganization of municipalities, cities, towns, villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts. Coalinga Regional Medical Center owes about $5 million in unsecured debt.

2. Community Medical Center Long Beach:

Community Medical Center Long Beach, located at 1720 Termino Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90804, closed its doors on July 3, 2018, due to the inability to retrofit the hospital to meet California's seismic standards.

CEO John Bishop said in a prepared statement in March: "We exhaustively explored all options to continue operations at Community Medical Center as an acute care hospital. This proved not possible since large portions of the facility would have to be demolished, resulting in a small, 94-year-old hospital with no more than 20 acute care beds, which would not allow for viable acute care operations."

3. Surprise Valley Hospital:

Surprise Valley Hospital is located at 741 Main St, Cedarville, CA 96104. Surprise Valley Health Care District, which operated the hospital filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on January 4, 2018. Beau Gertz, who owned Cadira and Serodynamics labs, was aligned to purchase the failing hospital. Gertz, however, closed his labs, let go of all his staff, and quickly left town in Denver, Colorado.

4. Verity Health:

Verity Health, based in El Segundo, California, operated six hospitals in California:

O'Connor Hospital: 2105 Forest Ave, San Jose, CA 95128
St Francis Medical Center: 3630 E Imperial Highway, Lynwood, CA 90262
St Louise Regional Hospital: 9400 No Name Uno, Gilroy, CA 95020
St Vincent Medical Center: 2131 W Third St, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Seton Coastside: 600 Marine Blvd, Moss Beach, CA 94038
Seton Medical Center: 1900 Sullivan Ave, Daly City, CA 94015

It filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on August 31, 2018, due to excessive debt of over $1 billion.

5. Florence Hospital at Anthem:

Florence Hospital at Anthem, located at 4545 N Hunt Hwy, Florence, AZ 85132, closed its doors on June 18, 2018. It was owed by New Vision Health LLC who filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on May 24 after it failed to contest an involuntary bankruptcy petition from creditors within the required 21-day timeline.

6. Gilbert Hospital:

Gilbert Hospital, located at 5656 S Power Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85295, closed on June 16, 2018. It is affiliated with New Vision Health LLC and Florence Hospital at Anthem. Both hospitals closed due to financial issues.

First launched in 2008, California's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program was designed to address the need for sustainable energy building construction and energy-efficient retrofits. PACE finances "green energy" upgrades and installations for residential and commercial property owners. These energy upgrades include solar panels, heating and cooling systems, water pumps, LED lighting, insulation and more.

Over 220,000 California homes have been upgraded using PACE financing. In theory, PACE is a win-win situation for homeowners and local governments that establish the program. Property owners get free or low-cost energy upgrades and save on energy bills and the city is repaid through a tax assessment on the improved property.

PACE Energy-Efficiency Program's Primary Problem

The primary problem with PACE is that the energy savings did not offset the PACE lien payment on the property tax bill.

The PACE financing program qualifies homeowners based on home equity and not the ability to repay. This causes an unaffordable tax bill. This was also true for many participating mortgaged homeowners paying their property taxes through escrow, whose monthly fees jumped to cover the PACE tax assessment.

These high property tax lien assessments led to numerous defaults, which increase in 40 California counties from 245 in 2016 to 1,110 in 2017. These property homeowners face tax lien foreclosures, which do not eliminate the PACE lien.

A lender's main issue with the PACE program is their first-lien status. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac no longer insure mortgages associated with PACE-participating homes since the lien takes repayment priority in a foreclosure.

This so-called “super lien” has become a headache for real estate agents as well, since it stays with the property and makes it difficult for PACE-participating homeowners to sell.

Some cities have voted to end their PACE programs due to increasing complaints and foreclosures.

Many real property related professions are advising their clients against PACE financing.

Data shows that a man is 50% more likely to buy a home without a cosigner than a woman. But not all cities in the US share this home buying imbalance.

One of the worst home buying mistakes you can make is to buy a home you cannot afford. Of course, both you and the home loan originator will work to make sure you can afford your mortgage but sometimes mistakes happen. Data suggests women are more likely to buy a home which limits their long-term financial flexibility than men are. On average women have mortgage-to-income ratios 7% larger than men.

Where women are buying homes in the United States:

1. Santa Fe, New Mexico

287 women bought homes in Santa Fe in 2016 without a cosigner, compared to 269 men. This means women bought homes around 6.7% more than men. Men who bought homes in Santa Fe still had higher average incomes and as a result tended to buy more expensive homes.

The average female who bought a home in Santa Fe had an income of $81,100 and took out a mortgage of $239,500. The average male had an income of $92,400 and took out a mortgage of $255,300. This state is also a good place for women to buy homes, as New Mexico has some of the lowest property tax rates in the country.

2. Santa Rosa, California

With 739 mortgages going to women and 727 going to men, women outbought men by about 1.6%.

Both men and women in Santa Rosa earn large sums. The average single man buying a home without a cosigner earned $126,000 and the average woman in the same context earned $109,300. Both men and women in this metro area may be buying homes they cannot afford. The average mortgage-to-income ratio in Santa Rosa was 3.5 for women and 3.45 for men. Assuming a 20% down payment, this would mean the total home value is 4.4 times women’s average income and 4.3 for men. As we mentioned earlier, this is higher than most experts recommend.

3. The Villages, Florida

The Villages is a retirement community located in central Florida. Men without a cosigner bought homes 1.3% more often than women did.

Income inequality for homebuyers in The Villages is slightly better than the national average. The average home-buying female had an income equal to 89% of the average home-buying male income. While that figure isn’t ideal, it is the second-lowest figure in the top 10.

4. Hot Springs, Arkansas

The effects of income inequality become more apparent in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Men only buy homes 4.5% more than women here. However, the average home a man buys without a cosigner is worth 20% more than the average home a woman with the same background buys.

The average male without a cosigner takes out a home loan worth 1.9 times his income. For a woman that number is 2.4.

5. Springfield, Illinois

Illinois’ capital takes fifth. Here men without a cosigner buy homes 6.2% more often than women without a cosigner. Unfortunately for women, they are not only less likely to be buying homes, they are also likely to be earning less than men. The average man buying a home without a cosigner had an income of $68,200 compared to $53,200 for the average woman.

The average man without a cosigner took out a mortgage of $128,000. For the average woman that number was $110,000.

6. Prescott, Arizona

In Prescott, men without cosigners bought 763 homes while women bought 686 homes. That yields a percent different of 11.2% in favor of men.

The average home-buying woman here took in an income worth around 77% of what the average home-buying man did. The average woman here who bought a home without a cosigner took out a mortgage worth 3.2 times their income. That number is only 2.6 for men.

7. Lawrence, Kansas

The average home-buying woman in Lawrence has an income of $66,200 and takes out a mortgage of $158,500. Men show similar financial prudence. They have a mortgage-to-income ratio of 2.1.

However, Lawrence men are more likely to buy homes than women: In 2016, men without cosigners took out 333 home loans, compared to 299 for women.

8. Napa, California

In Napa, California we find one of the widest differences between women’s incomes and men’s incomes. The average man who bought a home without a cosigner earned $170,000. For women that number is $121,000. On average women buying homes without a cosigner in Napa earned only 71% of what men buying homes without a cosigner earned.

Napa homes are also expensive, and both men and women may be stretching their budgets thin to afford homes in here. The average woman took out a mortgage worth 3.42 times her income. The average man took out a mortgage worth 2.96 times his income.

9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is known as one of the more affordable big cities in the country. Men without a cosigner were about 13% more likely to buy a home than women without a cosigner in the Philadelphia metro area. Women buying homes here earned about 79% of what men buying homes earned.

10. Rochester, Minnesota

One of the best places for working women is also one of the places where women are buying homes the most. Of the 1,735 homes bought in Rochester without cosigners, 814 went to females and 921 went to males.

This city also has the lowest gender pay gap in the Top 10. This has led to women and men taking out similar-sized home loans. The average women took out a mortgage of $161,000 while the average man took out a home loan worth $171,000.

Over a million more people moved out of California from 2006 to 2016 than moved in, according to a new report, due mainly to the high cost of housing. Housing costs are much higher in California than in most other states, yet wages for most workers aren’t. Even though the minimum wage in San Francisco is $14 per hour - one of the highest in the US - the median house price in this city is $1.61 million. Assuming housing is a third of your net income, you need a monthly take home pay of $36,000 to afford to purchase an average home in the city. This is just one example of what is going on across the state of California.

California attracts highly-educated high income earners who can afford these expensive homes. In the meantime, it is losing many hourly workers who just can't afford to live in the state, including those in construction, retail, and manufacturing.

There are many reasons for the housing crunch, but the lack of new construction may be the most significant. From 2008 to 2017, an average of 24.7 new housing permits were filed for every 100 new residents in California. That’s well below the national average of 43.1 permits per 100 people. If this trend persists, analysts forecast the state will be about 3 million homes short by 2025.

What does it mean?

California homeowners spend an average of 21.9% of their income on housing costs, the 49th worst in the nation, while renters spend 32.8%, the 48th worst. The median rent statewide in 2016 was $1,375, which is 40.2% higher than the national average. And the median home price was more than double that of the national average. The top five destinations for California migrants between 2014 and 2016 were the nearby, but generally cheaper, states of Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Victorville Median Home Price Chart

The median home appraisal value in Victorville California is $244,663 as of May 6, 2018. In recent years, Victorville home values dropped to a low of $113k in January 2012. The median listing price for property in Victorville is $135 per square foot as of March 2018.

Foreclosure rates dropped from a high in July 2008 to a rate of 2.73% in August 2017. Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The mortgage delinquency rate in Victorville is 2.1%.

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Temecula Median Home Price Chart

The median home appraisal value in Temecula California is $464,796 as of May 6, 2018. In recent years, Temecula home values dropped to a low of $261k in July 2009. The median listing price for property in Temecula is $224 per square foot as of March 2018.

Foreclosure rates dropped from a high of 56.67% in September 2008 to a rate of 0.79% in August 2017. Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The mortgage delinquency rate in Temecula is 1.3%.

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San Bernardino Median Home Price Chart

The median home appraisal value in San Bernardino California is $272,707 as of May 6, 2018. In recent years, San Bernardino home values dropped to a low of $17k in February 2010. The median listing price for property in San Bernardino is $201 per square foot as of March 2018.

Foreclosure rates dropped from a high of 87.49% in August 2008 to a rate of 2.88% in August 2017. Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The mortgage delinquency rate in San Bernardino is 2.3%.

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