Culver City Observer -

By Lynne Bronstein
Observer Reporter 

Culver Homes are Selling Fast


February 20, 2013

Buyers Find Less On The Market

Culver City is one of the most desirable places to live in the greater Los Angeles area. But is it currently difficult to buy a home here? That may depend on the buyers and what they want.

Julio Leyva, an agent with Cavanaugh Realty, told the Observer that, “Statistically, prices and sales are both up from the previous year.

“I usually keep track of the market and Culver City in 2012, at least in the areas I surveyed, was ahead by about $35,000 compared to 2011.”

But Heather Coombes-Perez, who with her husband runs Heart Realtors, says there is a “lack of inventory,” i.e: there aren’t that many homes actually for sale. “It’s supply and demand. Those homes that are for sale, sell very quickly.”

The web site Dr. Housing Bubble. com claims that inventory is down by 75 percent from two years ago and the median list price is up over 100 percent. Last

month, the median sales price for a home in the 90230 area code was $647,000—a 17.2 percent increase—and in the 90232 area code, the median sales price is over $700,000—a 14.4 percent increase. According to Leyva, the $700,000 price tag is average for a “starter home” of two or three bedrooms.

Although there is a gain in the median price of homes throughout Los Angeles County, the median price for Los Angeles homes is only $352,000.

Some people think the inventory is “artificially restricted,” because of foreclosures on homes. Various real estate websites list between 60 and 106 foreclosures in Culver City.

Karen Dolce of Dolce and Associates Realtors, says there are actually “very few foreclosures in Culver City,” and that there is probably some confusion because the 90230 area code encompasses both Culver City and Los Angeles, so that many of the listed foreclosures are not within Culver City limits.

“The market has stayed strong on the Westside,” said Dolce. “The foreclosure situation is nothing to worry about.”

The lack of listings at this time is partially seasonal, she added. Listings tend to be sparse early in the year and increase as the year goes by. But there is also the matter of homeowners playing it safe. “I think people listen to the news and think this is not a good time to sell.”

Mike Cohen, realtor and “Mr. Culver City,” thinks the low inventory could be the result of two factors: 1) as Karen Dolce noted: a fervor to buy quickly (people who declined to buy until recently have decided that now is the time to buy, thus depleting the number of available homes) and 2) “Home prices have not gone up to the level we saw seven years ago, so some people are waiting to put them on the market until the rates appreciate.”

As for the foreclosure factor, Cohen explains that many lenders are now trying to “work it out” with homeowners and do “short sales” rather than foreclosing. “Fewer foreclosures means there are fewer properties on the market.”

But he adds, “Prices are “going in the right direction” and seem to have “stabilized.” He does not expect to see any reductions in the near future.

“Culver City is a great place to live. Young families, professionals, are attracted to live here.”

And that means they will undoubtedly pay whatever it takes to do so.


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