Home prices in SoCal reach bubble-era highs

By: Andrew Khouri

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

October 24, 2017

Southern California home prices in September tied an all-time high, as the white-hot real estate market continued to surge and raise concerns over housing affordability.

The median price for the six-county region soared nearly 10% from a year earlier, to $505,000, data firm CoreLogic said Tuesday. That matches a price level reached in 2007 before the housing bubble burst and the economy cratered.

In some corners of the Southland, home prices have already risen past their peaks.
In Los Angeles County, the median last month was $575,000, up 9.5% from a year earlier and $25,000 higher than its 2007 peak.

In Orange County, September’s median was $710,000, up nearly 11% from a year earlier and $65,000 from the 2007 height.

Economists have said today’s upswing is more sustainable, driven not by risky lending but by an improving economy, historically low mortgage rates and a shortage of homes for sale. Adjusted for inflation, prices in all counties are under their 2007 peaks; the Southern California median is about 13% below its peak.

Even so, the rising cost of housing is increasingly sparking worries across the state.
A UC Berkeley poll this year found 56% of voters considered moving to find a more affordable home, with a quarter saying they’d likely leave California to do so.

Business groups say employers are having difficulty recruiting workers from outside the state, which some economists cite as one reason job growth has slowed this year.

The surge in home prices isn’t limited to California. Values are up nationwide as the economy expands. But affordability is a far greater problem here, with even lower-cost areas commanding a significant down payment. In Riverside County last month, the median hit $360,000, up 7.5% from a year earlier. In San Bernardino County, prices climbed 8.7%, to $325,000.

Although California has long been more expensive than the nation, research from the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office shows the gap is growing.

Economists generally agree that’s because developers for decades have built too few homes for population and job growth. Experts have cited a variety of reasons for the slow pace of construction, with neighborhood opposition and tight environmental regulations among the major factors.

To help address that problem, Gov. Jerry Brown this year signed a handful of housing-related bills, including ones that would ease some development restrictions and raise money for below-market housing.

However, housing groups and state officials noted the proposals were modest compared with the scope of the housing shortage, and hardly a cure.

Musicians John Trivers and Liz Myers get $8.35 million for Hermosa Beach Home


By Neal J. Leitereg
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

October 25, 2016

Songwriters and musicians John Trivers and Liz Myers have sold their home in Hermosa Beach for $8.35 million — the most expensive residential sale this year in the South Bay community, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The custom three-story home along the Strand in the North Hermosa Beach area was designed by architect Marc Appel and completed in 1990.

The roughly 2,750-square-foot contemporary evokes an urban loft with its unbridled floor plan, vaulted ceilings and two-story atrium. Red steel I-beams lend an industrial note to the living and dining areas.

Other features include walls of ocean-facing windows, a gym/media room and a European-inspired kitchen with a wrap-around countertop. The master suite — one of three bedrooms and 3.25 bathrooms — takes in views extending from Catalina Island up toward Malibu.

Two terrace balconies and a lower-level patio with gate leading to the Strand are among the exterior features. There’s also a two-car garage and a small carport.

The house was most recently listed for $8.795 million, records show.

Kristen Novoa of Vista Sotheby’s Realty was the listing agent. Lynne Lear of Strand Hill Properties represented the buyer.

To date there have been seven sales of $6 million or more in the Hermosa Beach area this year. In August, based on 14 sales, the median sale price for the area was $1.562 million, according to CoreLogic.

Trivers has collaborated on songs for such artists as Tina Turner and Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult. Myers co-wrote the song “Shakin’” from Eddie Money’s 1982 album “No Control” and has orchestrated ballets for Agnes de Mille and the Joffrey Ballet.

The couple’s commercial music business has produced scores used by the “CBS Evening News” and Apple marketing campaigns, among others.