Where is the market headed?

It's odd being a Realtor these days, because everyone keeps cautiously asking me "oh, how are you doing?" as if I was just diagnosed with a life threatening disease. People ask me almost every day, and they are ready for my sad and depressing answer, extending a consoling pat on the shoulder before I can even utter a word. It is kind and understandable, and I appreciate the thought. It's also very challenging to convince people that I am actually doing just fine, better than fine really, and the market is not nearly as bad as it looks on CNN. In fact, 2007 was my best year ever and my 2008 is on track to top that. It's hard to convince people too that the market locally (the Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Sunset Strip) is not in a nose dive. Not even close. Maybe some locally relevant and current numbers would help the case.

Currently on the market in the Hollywood Hills, Sunset Strip and Los Feliz between $750K and $2.5 Million...

279 homes are available
56 are in escrow
100 homes have sold and closed escrow in the past 3 months

These are not stats that indicate a market in big trouble. In fact, in some micro markets the numbers actually indicate a trend towards sellers and not buyers. Its really hard to convince people of that! But just ask the 6 buyers who were overbid on my recent sale on Cumberland Avenue, or my clients who just missed a home on the Strip when a cash buyer swooped in and paid over full price. These folks will confirm....it doesn't really feel like a buyer's market if you're actually out there looking for a home. Overall the numbers indicate balance. There are about enough homes for the current demand. And as the housing "crisis" shakes out, the demand for properties is growing quickly. The stats don't show another key issue. Many of the properties listed right now are not exactly the cream of the crop, and that's helping prime properties sell for more. If you can learn one important thing about Los Angeles real estate and values from my update, it's don't generalize.

Now I confess, I am not a numbers geek. Already some of you are ready to whip out spreadsheets and data to prove there's a bubble bursting. My quick summary above doesn't say how much these homes are actually selling for or if the median price is 3% less than yesterday. I simply know what I see from being out there. What I know is that people continue to buy houses in Los Angeles for all the same good reasons they did 5, 10, and 75 years ago. What I know is that you can't tell the real story of the Los Angeles real estate market on a graph or chart. Our properties differ in style, desirability, size and price range far too much to be placed in the confinement of an excel spread sheet. Desirable listings are bucking the trends every week, selling quickly and for terrific prices. Buyer's who are ready to grow roots in our great city are braving the national news everyday and signing escrow papers. Home-owners who have been waiting for the right moment to move up are taking advantage of this time.

If you're ready to sell or buy, I would love to hear about your unique situation and help you too. Because wherever the market is headed, I'll be there with you.