Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Median Home Prices: Lower End Trends Up; Higher End Trends Down; Beverly Center - Miracle Mile +7%, Los Feliz + 5%, Santa Monica -13%, Pacific Palisades - 15%

What's happening in the market? We took a look at ten neighborhoods to see how median price in 2011 compares to the median price in 2010.

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We examined five neighborhoods in the "central" part of the Los Angeles, where overall, there has been price appreciation.
  • Silver Lake / Echo Park + 4.4% 
  • Los Feliz + 5.2% 
  • Hancock Park - Wilshire 0.0% 
  • Beverly Center - Miracle Mile + 6.9% 
  • Sunset Strip - Hollywood Hills West + 0.6% 
The standout case is Beverly Center - Miracle Mile where median price rose 7%  -- which by any standard would be considered a "hot market."  Surprisingly, none of these neighborhoods showed a price decline.
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We also looked at five neighborhoods in Westside Los Angeles, where the trend has been towards declining median price
  • Venice -3.2% 
  • Santa Monica -12.6% 
  • Pacific Palisades -16.1% 
  • Brentwood + 5.1% 
  • Beverly Hillls -8.8%
The only anomaly of the crop is Brentwood, where prices have increased 5% year over year.  The biggest median sale price declines are in Pacific Palisades (down 16%) and Santa Monica (off 13%).

But what does this mean?  We can draw the following five conclusions:
  1. The composition of homes selling is changing.  Distressed properties (bank-owned foreclosures and short sales) are a greater percentage of the market and, selling at a discount, are driving down the median price.
  2. Median price is up in lower-priced neighborhoods, median price is down in higher-priced neighborhoods.  The high-end market is still deflating as multi-million dollar properties financed with little downpayment and exotic loans (option ARM anyone?) are finally passing through the short sale / foreclosure process.
  3. Hot markets: Beverly Center-Miracle Mile, Los Feliz, Silver Lake - Echo Park.  These lower-priced neighborhoods are trending up.
  4. Not so hot markets: Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills are "trending down."  There is undoubtedly downward pricing pressure as more owners lose their high-end homes.  However, 37 homes have sold for more than $5 million so far this year.  Hardly markets in pain.