John Skinner

Thoughts on the current Westside market and what to expect in 2019

As I stated above, according to various title services, volume is down about 13-15%. We have definitely experienced some market softening with condos at all levels and single family homes above $3M. We have seen a little price depreciation but the softening is more along the lines of a normalizing market. Multiple offers are still common but not as plentiful. The entry and mid-level price points per neighborhood are still appreciating but not at the clip we have seen the past five years.

We are definitely at the end of a summer lull. Some colleagues feel this is a sign for a depreciating 2019 market and when you combine that with lower sales volume throughout the year, they have a point.  However, we had a very slow July/August period the past two years and saw things pick up nicely in September and October and frankly, inventory has been dreadful since the beginning of this summer. We have buyers who are ready to go but they have very few properties to choose from.

Silicon Beach is continuing to grow at a very strong pace (ex: Google is in the process of purchasing the Westside Pavilion) providing plenty of high paying jobs; the stock market is still on a bull run and a day does not go by that I do not receive e-mails from agents looking for pocket listings.

Overall, I am expecting things to pick-up again over the next few months (many people are waiting to put their properties on the market after Labor Day weekend). 2019 should be stronger from a volume perspective and most economic forecasts call for a 5% appreciation in home values next year.  If interest rates continue to float around the 4.5% mark, I agree with this assessment. However, if rates get to around 5%, I believe we will see a potential decline in values across all price ranges. Mortgage rates will have increased almost 25% in just two years.  When you combine that with losing the ability to write-off your property taxes above the standard $10,000 deduction provided, it creates an affordability issue for most buyers.

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