Housing Affordability in Southern California Is Once Again Raising Its Head

March 2014 Prices for Long Beach
Sales of lower to medium-priced homes have become a challenge. 

First time buyers are feeling the effects as inventory levels remain low, and multiple offers are a continuing feature of the market in many instances.   In the last year, some zip codes in the Long Beach area saw a 20% increase in the average price of a single family home, yet sales volume is low.  Younger, first time buyers are the most impacted by the increase--financing has higher requirements to meet and many younger buyers have heavier debts. 
"Housing affordability is really taking a bite out of the market," said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Assn. of Realtors. "We haven't seen this issue since 2007."
Investor activity in the market has actually leveled off since 2013 as prices have risen, and combined with some buyer frustration and buyer loan qualification issues, this combined effects have actually left many homes on the market for longer, a paradoxical effect to the competition over certain homes.   The March stats for Long Beach, for example, show a 20% range increase to the average and median home prices of $450,000 to $504,000 for the last 12 months, as well as a very modest 15% increase in supply of inventory.  But that inventory is still well below the 6-month supply level, but still, it's an increase. 

So it's unknown how long this slowdown in the lower ranges may be here, but if you're a solidly pre-approved homebuyer who is financially prepared, seeing some houses sit on the market a little longer could mean the chance for you.


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