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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

Are California Homeowners Losing Insurance Coverage?

State Farm and Allstate have announced they will no longer sell new home insurance policies in California because of wildfire risks and an increase in construction costs. Here are some facts:

  1. State Farm and Allstate are not leaving the California Insurance Market:  State Farm and Allstate will continue to service and renew policies of existing clients in the state and will continue to offer new auto insurance policies. However, they will not be issuing any new property insurance policies for the time being in California.

  2. What are the implications of the decision for prospective homebuyers?  In certain high-risk areas of the state, there are very few insurance companies willing to write new policies. In some higher risk areas, State Farm was the last private insurance company writing policies. In those areas, unless the Insurance Commissioner is successful in its effort to get more private insurers to write policies in such areas, the generally more-costly California FAIR plan may end up being the only property insurance available.

  3. Why did State Farm and Allstate stop issuing new policies?  State Farm stated that it made the decision “due to historic increases in construction costs outpacing inflation, rapidly growing catastrophe exposure, and a challenging reinsurance market.” Allstate said the company "paused" its offerings "so they can continue to protect current customers." State Farm and Allstate's decision is not necessarily an indication of what other companies will do.

  4. Will more companies follow State Farm and Allstate's move?  There are still a wide range of companies writing policies in California. However, those willing to write new policies in higher risk areas in particular are declining and as stated above, with the departure of State Farm and Allstate, those in more high-risk areas may have no option than the FAIR plan. 

  5. What are the main problems for the insurance market in California?  The California market is heavily regulated and has various strict requirements for rate increases, which were put into place by Proposition 103 in 1988. However, there are two areas where possible changes could result in a better climate for insurance without requiring major changes to consumer-friendly rate increase requirements. Those include allowing insurance companies to have rates that better reflect their reinsurance costs and allowing insurance companies to utilize forward looking risk models. Current law only allows companies to look back when setting rates. However, given the issues with climate change, many insurance companies argue that looking backward does not allow companies to adequately capture risk.

  6. Where can you find more information if you are looking for homeowners insurance?  The California Dept. of Insurance provides several information guides, tips and tools to help you understand home/residential insurance so that you can make the best decision for your situation. You can also call the California Dept. of Insurance Consumer Hotline for assistance.

(information via CAR.org)

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The Worst Home Price Declines Are Behind Us 

 



Some Highlights

  • While home prices vary by local area, they’ve already hit their low point nationally, and now they’re starting to rise again.
  • Last July, prices started to decline, but around February, they began climbing back up.
  • If you put your plans to move on hold waiting to see what would happen with home prices, let’s connect to discuss if now’s the right time to jump back in.
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The Best Time To Sell Your House Is When Others Aren’t Selling

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you should know the number of homes for sale right now is low. That’s because, this season, there are fewer sellers listing their houses for sale than the norm.

Looking back at every April since 2017, the only year when fewer sellers listed their homes was in April 2020, when the pandemic hit and stalled the housing market (shown in red in the graph below). In more typical years, roughly 500,000 sellers add their homes to the market in April. This year, we saw fewer than 400,000 sellers entering the market in April (see graph below):

While there are a number of factors contributing to this trend, one thing keeping inventory low right now is that some homeowners are reluctant to move when the mortgage rate they have on their current house is lower than the one they could get today on their next house. It’s called rate lock.

As a recent survey from Realtor.com explains, 56% of people who are planning to sell in the next 12 months say they’re waiting for rates to come down.

While this wait-and-see approach is right for some sellers, it also creates an opening for more eager sellers to jump in now.

If your current house truly doesn’t fit your needs anymore and you’re ready to move, don’t miss this chance to stand out. When fewer sellers are putting their homes up for sale, buyers will have fewer options, so you set yourself up to get the most eyes possible on your house. That’s why your house could see multiple offers as buyers compete over the limited supply of homes for sale – especially if you price it right.

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

 

“Inventory levels are still at historic lows . . . Consequently, multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties."

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to sell now, beat the competition before it comes onto the market. If you do, your house should stand out and could get multiple offers. Let's connect to get you market ready.

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Why Aren’t Home Prices Crashing?

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There have been a lot of shifts in the housing market recently. Mortgage rates rose dramatically last year, impacting many people’s ability to buy a home. And after several years of rapid price appreciation, home prices finally peaked last summer. These changes led to a rise in headlines saying prices would end up crashing.

Even though we’re no longer seeing the buyer frenzy that drove home values up during the pandemic, prices have been relatively flat at the national level. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), doesn’t expect that to change:

[H]ome prices will be steady in most parts of the country with a minor change in the national median home price.”

You might think sellers would have to lower prices to attract buyers in today’s market, and that’s part of why some may have been waiting for prices to come crashing down. But there’s another factor at play – low inventory. And according to Yun, that’s limiting just how low prices will go:

“We simply don’t have enough inventory. Will some markets see a price decline? Yes. [But] with the supply not being there, the repeat of a 30 percent price decline is highly, highly unlikely.”

As you can see in the graph below, we’ve been at or near record-low inventory levels for a few years now.

That lack of available homes on the market is putting upward pressure on prices. Bankrate puts it like this:

“This ongoing lack of inventory explains why many buyers still have little choice but to bid up prices. And it also indicates that the supply-and-demand equation simply won’t allow a price crash in the near future.”

If more homes don’t come to the market, a lack of supply will keep prices from crashing, and, according to industry expert Rick Sharga, inventory isn’t likely to rise significantly this year:

“I believe that we’re likely to see low inventory continue to vex the housing market throughout 2023.”

Sellers are under no pressure to move since they have plenty of equity right now. That equity acts as a cushion for homeowners, lowering the chances of distressed sales like foreclosures and short sales. And with many homeowners locked into low mortgage rates, that equity cushion isn’t going anywhere soon.

With so few homes available for sale today, it’s important to work with a trusted real estate agent who understands your local area and can navigate the current market volatility.

Bottom Line

A lot of people expected prices would crash this year thanks to low buyer demand, but that isn’t happening. Why? There aren’t enough homes for sale. If you’re thinking about moving this spring, let’s connect.

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Two Reasons You Should Sell Your House

Wondering if you should sell your house this year? As you make your decision, think about what’s motivating you to consider moving. A recent survey from realtor.com asked why homeowners are thinking about selling their houses this year. Here are the top two reasons (see graphic below):

Let’s break those reasons down and explore how they might resonate with you.

1. I Want To Take Advantage of the Current Market and Make a Profit

When you decide to sell your house, how much you’ll make from the sale will likely be top of mind. So, here’s some good news: according to the latest data, the average seller can expect a strong return on their investment when they make a move. ATTOM explains

“The $112,000 profit on median-priced home sales in 2022 represented a 51.4% return on investment compared to the original purchase price, up from 44.6% last year and from 32.8% in 2020.”

Even though home prices have declined slightly in some markets, they’re still much higher overall than they were just a few years ago. To understand what’s happening with home prices in your area and the current value of your house, work with a local real estate professional. They can give you the best advice on how much you could gain if you sell this year.

2. My Home No Longer Meets My Needs

The average person has been in their house for ten years. That’s a long time when you think about how much may have changed in your life since you moved in. And typically, those changes have a direct impact on what you need in a home. Whether it’s more (or less) space, different features, or a location closer to your work or loved ones, your current house may no longer check all the boxes of what feels like home to you. If that’s the case, it could be time to work with a real estate agent to find a better fit.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house, there’s probably a good reason for it. Let’s connect so you can make a move that’ll help you accomplish your goals this year.

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