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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!

First Time Homebuyers: Feel Like You Have a Tiger by the Tail?

First Time Homebuyers: Feel Like You Have a Tiger by the Tail?

If today's homebuyers want to score big in the hot and active Northeast LA real estate market, it behooves them to think like a seasoned investor.

Many first time buyers in the crazy Northeast Los Angeles real estate market do feel like they have a tiger by the proverbial tail. From their point of view, they looked at dozens of homes for sale in Highland Park or Eagle Rock, dutifully attending open houses. They have competed time after time, pouring their hearts out in charming "I love your house and we are the cute couple you should pick to buy it" letters, scraping together every dime they can, revealing all their financial secrets to people they've never met and probably never will. And then, the 13th or 23rd time they go through this, they win!

They get to buy a house! Now what?

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Federal and State Tax Credits Explained

the best explanation I’ve seen of the two income tax credits that are now available to homebuyers in our grand state of California.
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BUYER/SELLER ALERT!

Californians have a brief window of opportunity to receive up to $18,000 in combined federal and state homebuyer tax credits. To take advantage of both tax credits, a first-time homebuyer must enter into a purchase contract for a principal residence before May 1, 2010, and close escrow between May 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010, inclusive.

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South Pasadena and San Marino, Then and Now

South Pasadena has proven to be similar to Eagle Rock, having about doubled in value over our 9-year time span.

91030 South Pasadena 9 Year Graph

91030 South Pasadena 9 Year Graph

South Pasadena 9 Year Table

South Pasadena 9 Year Table


 

As you can see, the prices are higher in South Pasadena, but the curve has been similar to Eagle Rock.
In the last 2 years:

91030 South Pasadena 2 Year Graph

91030 South Pasadena 2 Year Graph

South Pasadena 2 Year Table 2007-2009

South Pasadena 2 Year Table 2007-2009


 

We see that prices didn’t fall quite as dramatically, but losing a quarter of a home’s value is no small number. It looks like prices have stabilized somewhat in South Pasadena, but we’re not seeing any healthy price increases at this time. Remember, in Eagle Rock we are seeing an actual trending up right now, but South Pasadena didn’t really have the big drop earlier that Eagle Rock did.

Why is that? Perhaps because South Pasadena isn’t as much of a first-time buyer market as Eagle Rock is?
Now let’s look at a zip code that is really not an entry-level marketplace, 91108, which includes San Marino:

San Marino 9 Year Graph

San Marino 9 Year Graph

San Marino 9 Year Table

San Marino 9 Year Table


The general trend from 2000-2006 is generally up exactly like every other zip code around here, but over the 9 years, this zip code appreciated 82%, around 20% less than South Pasadena and Eagle Rock. But now, look at the spike in the asking price versus the sold price. I guess we’re thinking we’re the Beverly Hills of the San Gabriel Valley, aren’t we? But look at the table for the average sold prices in the last 2 years here:

San Marino Real Estate 2 Year Table

San Marino Real Estate 2 Year Table


You can ask whatever you want for your property, but the fact is that people are going to pay what they (and the bank, if there's a loan) think it’s worth. Look at March, 2009—one property sold! In January, only 3 sold. These are really small numbers to try to make any sense out of. This tells me that very few of these homeowners were either willing to sell in the worst part of the market, or that they absolutely had to. Voila! Upon scrutinizing the details on the March 2009 sale, I find that this was a corporate relocation sale. Most of the time, you won’t know from the public data what crisis might have forced a sale unless everything went over the edge to a short sale or a foreclosure.
Here’s the graph of the last 2 years for San Marino:

San Marino 2 Year Graph

San Marino 2 Year Graph


It looks like San Marino was just as hard hit by the downturn as everyone else, as far as sold prices goes. And although the asking prices are going up, the sold prices are not. How long can this go on?

 

FHA raises Buyer Requirements

This just in: according to an article on www.Inman.com , Congress  and HUD (the US Department of Housing and Urban Development) is looking at raising down payment and credit score requirements and lowering seller maximum concession limits for FHA borrowers. This won’t add anything to FHA reserves, but it will significantly limit options for first-time buyers. Check out the full story at http://www.inman.com/news/2009/12/3/fha-will-tighten-in-2010.

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