For Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes and the greater South Bay real estate markets
We've culled highlights from multiple resources to provide you with a quick overview of what to expect from the 2018 real estate market. Of course, the South Bay market will follow many of these expected trends however, because our local market fluctuates slightly differently due to a special set of economic and community influences, there will be some variations.
No end in sight: Housing market still has legs, economists say
Source: The Orange County Register
After nearly six years of rising home prices, what’s next?
Will 2018 be the seventh year home prices go up? Or the year the market stalls? Will this be the year that tenants get the upper hand over landlords? Or will rent hikes just keep coming?
In other words, will the seller’s market of the past 69 months continue in 2018?
10 economists were interviewed nine forecasts reviewed to find an answer to that question. It can be summed up in one word.
Yes, home prices and home sales are projected to keep rising in the year ahead, although the gains will be smaller. Yes, the supply of homes for sale will fail to keep pace with demand, fueling more cutthroat bidding wars. And yes, rents will keep rising while apartment vacancies stay near all-time lows.
The economists all cite the same reason: “As long as the economy keeps growing, that’s going to give a push to the housing market,” said Anil Puri, director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at Cal State Fullerton.
Southern California home prices are expected to rise at about the same pace as California: 4.2 percent, according to the California Association of Realtors. That would put next November’s median price of an existing house at about $525,000
Southern California single-family home prices have risen $239,000 or 91 percent over the past 69 months, according to CAR.
How much longer can this go on? How soon will prices start falling? Is it safe to buy a home today?
Most economists say this bull market still has some legs, lasting a year or two more at least, if not five.
“It’s debatable whether we’re in a bubble,” said Chapman economist Doti. “(But) is it a bubble that’s about to burst? No.”
Jerry Nickelsburg, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, put it this way: “When you have increases in employment, you have increases in household formation, and that increases demand for housing. That’s what we’ve been seeing.”
To get a grip on the year ahead, economists examined five topics: Prices, sales, mortgage rates, number of homes for sale and rent. The picture that emerges shows a market that still has more room to grow.
Home prices still rising
Los Angeles County home prices will rise 3.1 percent, according to Metrostudy. UC Riverside’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Development has a more optimistic forecast, predicting gains of 5 percent to 10 percent. CAR reported L.A. County house prices up 9 percent in the year ending in November.
Home price gains will continue in the year ahead, just not as fast as in 2017, economists said.
Sales flattening out
Sales have plateaued across the state and region, said California Association of Realtors Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. Which is a bit of a mystery, given the state’s robust job growth and still-low mortgage rates in 2017.
"You have to wonder why aren’t we seeing more sales activity,” said Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. “The population is much bigger, and all else being equal, you would expect to see a larger number of sales.”
The answer to that riddle, said CAR’s Appleton-Young, is a lack of inventory and prices starting to get out of reach for some.
Headwinds from rising mortgage rates
Mortgage rates have average 3.8 percent over the past three years, with just two brief periods when rates got above 4 percent.
Now, economists say, rates are heading up again, and likely will stay above 4 percent for the coming year.
Buyers will have too few homes to choose from
With just 30,000 Southern California homes for sale, 2018 will start with the lowest for-sale inventory in five years.
Why are there so few homes?
People are staying put longer between sales — 11 years, twice the 2009 average, according to CAR. Homeowners also are reluctant to sell because they can’t find another home in which to move.
Homeowners also stay put to avoid capital gains taxes or higher property taxes on a new home. Those who got mortgages when 30-year rates averaged 3.5 percent also are “locked in” because they don’t want to give up their lower house payments.
Because of the newly passed tax legislation, homeowners with home loans greater than $750,000 will stay put to keep their mortgage interest tax deductions.
“For-sale inventory will stay lean because homeowners are not going to move, (and) that’s going to limit the inventory that’s for sale,” CoreLogic’s Nothaft said.
Renters to pay more, too
Los Angeles County apartment rent will rise 3 percent, forecasts show.
Low vacancy rates will keep apartment rents high, economists said.
“As long as the buildings are full and the new development fills up, that’s going to allow rent growth to continue,” said Greg Willett, RealPage chief economist.
When will rent go down?
“We don’t have that in the near-term forecast in the Southern California market,” Willett said. “Usually, you’re talking about a recession and big job cuts for rents to go down.”
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