Recession Still Felt for Half of US Homes

Some markets have recovered very well from the recession, with over 95% of home values in seven of the 35 largest markets exceeding the pre-recession peak in 2006. And in 21 of those 35, the median home value has reached this point. The housing boom and bust didn’t affect every market equally, though, and nor has recovery been the same for all of them. Half of all US homes haven’t fully recovered.

Market stability was a large contributing factor. The boom was enormous in Las Vegas — and the bust shattered the market, with less than 1% of homes having fully recovered value. The Denver market was more stable a decade ago when the crisis hit, and enjoys values higher than 2006 levels for 99.6% of homes.

Other lasting effects of the crisis are rent values and inventory. Though the rate of acceleration is slowing, rent values are still going up. Similarly, the decline in inventory isn’t as fast as it has been, but it’s still dropping. Inventory will eventually recover, but inflation means rent values will continue to go up even when the market stabilizes.

If there is a particular market you are interested in, or just want more info, check out the article and table provided by Zillow here:

Millennials Buying Homes Before Marriage

A trend among Millennials is increasing the percent of unmarried couples buying homes. They aren’t in a rush to get married, but they’re committed, and purchasing a home together is definitely a sign of commitment while being a much more time-sensitive investment. Compared to 1985, the percent of married first-time homebuyers has dropped 18%, from 75% to 57%.

Buying a home without being married can have some added complexity, though. Though most Millennials are too young to think about what will happen when they die yet, it does come up in homeownership rights. Married couples are able to be “tenants by the entirety,” meaning both spouses own 100% of the property and it’s harder to go after one spouse’s debt as long as both are alive. This doesn’t apply to unmarried couples, though. Their choice is between “joint tenancy” and “tenancy in common.” Joint tenancy allows the property to go to the partner after death, while tenancy in common may be better if you want the property to go to your heirs. In either case, banks will hold both parties individually and fully responsible for debt. It isn’t much simpler for single homebuyers who still need to establish inheritance in some way, probably in a will, and are completely on their own in terms of debt.


55+ Options: Torrance

The city of Torrance offers the bulk of opportunities for senior housing in the South Bay. We’ve identified 10 distinct locations with homes exclusively for those 55 years of age and older. They cover a wide variety of living styles, building ages, community sizes, purchase prices and monthly costs.

The available homes change constantly, much faster than this summary of 55+ facilities is updated.  If you have an interest, contact us.  We’re more than happy to go over the differences between different facilities, and the differences between living in a 55+ project and an SFR.  More importantly, we can provide you with up to the minute information about what specific properties are available, and how the cost parameters fit with your personal needs.

Nadine Circle – Maple Ave, Torrance, CA 90505

Built in 1963-64, New Horizons has ~600 units, some in two story apartment style buildings, with a handful of bungalow style in four unit groups. The recreational facilities include a club house with lounge, billiard room, ballroom with a large kitchen, 9 hole golf course, and pool. Additional amenities include the sports facility, with a modern gym, his & her saunas, Jacuzzi, a second pool, lighted tennis court, both ceramic & wood shops plus a ping pong room.



2742 Cabrillo, Torrance, CA 90501

Built in 2006 around a central courtyard, the Meridian features forty-four luxury condominiums. Ten are two bedroom / two bath units, with the remainder being one bed / one bath. The complex offers a gated subterranean garage with one parking space per bedroom. Other amenities include bubbling fountains, a community room with fireplace, kitchen, big screen TV and lots of room to relax. To keep your senior body in good shape there’s a modern, upscale fitness center. All levels of the building are accessible by elevator.





2367 Jefferson, Torrance, CA 90501

Parkview Court is another of the newer senior condo communities. Located in Torrance adjacent to Wilson Park, it was built in 2007-2008. Fifty-nine tastefully appointed residences, with 29 being two bedroom / two bath and the balance being one bedroom / one bath. This gated community features a large courtyard with a recreation center and fitness center.




3550 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

The Gables was built in 2006-2007 and offers 38 newer one bedroom units, and 22 studios. In-unit amenities include washer/dryer hookups, A/C and comtemporary styling. The complex also has a community room, with a large screen TV, free internet access, library facilities and more.







21345 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

Built in 2006, Village Court is five stories high, with parking on the first floor and residences on the top four floors.  There are a total of 112 units: 12 – 3 bed / 2 bath, 68 – 2 bed / 2 bath, and 32 – 1 bed / 1 bath.  Residents enjoy an inviting outside pool, spa and BBQ area. Amenities include an exercise room, large recreation room with kitchen, TV, pool table and reading area. Shopping, restaurants and movie theatres abound, or drive only 1.5 miles to the ocean.

So far this year one 2 bed / 2 bath unit has sold for $540K.  Two more units are currently in escrow.  One is a 2 bed / 2 bath unit, and the other a 1 bed / 1 bath with a den.  Purchase prices will be available after close of escrow.

At publication time, 2 bed / 2 bath units were renting for approximately $2600 per month.

2605 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

Built in 2003, the Trade Winds community in Torrance is four stories high, with parking on the first floor and residences on the top three floors.  With a total of 91 units, Trade Winds has 75 – 2 bed / 2 bath units and 16 – 1 bed / 2 bath units.  The facility offers great amenities: pool, spa, fitness center, clubhouse with full kitchen, TV, library, and billiards table. Resort living close to dining, shopping, parks, freeways and of course the beach!

To date in 2018, 2 – 2 bed / 2 bath units have sold at $525K and $550K.  One 2 bed / 2 bath unit is currently in escrow.  The sold price will be available after close of escrow.  There are also 2 – 2 bed / 2 bath units currently available.  Please call for asking prices.

At publication time, 2 bed / 2 bath units were renting for approximately $2300 per month.



3970 Sepulveda, Torrance,  CA 90505

Built in 2007, The Courtyard Villa Estates is located just west of Hawthorne Blvd in southwest Torrance.  The complex features upscale comfort, secured entry, and is close to restaurants and shopping. Four stories high, with subterranean parking, the complex includes 42 units;  a central courtyard, lush landscaping, recreation facilities with a pool table, game table and kitchen as well as a gym/exercise room.

Each unit is located on one level with no stairs. There’s a private laundry room inside each unit. Most units have a two bedrooms, while a few are set up with a den as an alternative configuration.  All have two bathrooms, outfitted with natural travertine counters and flooring.  Kitchens are extra large with center islands, granite counters and travertine flooring.

Since the first of the year, one penthouse unit has sold at $720K.  No units are currently available.


24410 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

Built in 1987, Sunset Gardens is located across from the Crossroads Shopping Center in South Torrance.  The complex includes 88 units; 2 – 3 bed / 2 bath, 29 – 2 bed / 2 bath; and 57 – 1 bed / 1 bath.  Amenities feature indoor heated pool, outdoor spa, large recreation room, putting green, shuffle board, elevator, exercise room, game room, community rooms, a roof top deck and BBQ grill area.

All units are single level, enjoy central A/C and heating, a laundry area inside unit, and subterranean secured parking.  (Two and three bedroom units have two spaces, while one bedroom units have one space.)

At publication time there were three units available, including 1 – 1 bed / 1 bath unit at $270K, and 2 – 2 bed / 2 bath units at $380K & $390K.  One 1 bed / 1 bath unit is currently in escrow.  The sold price will be available after close of escrow.  Since January 1, two units have sold: 1 – 1 bed / 1 bath unit at $300K, and 1 – 2 bed / 2 bath units at $400K.

18801 Hawthorne, Torrance CA 90504

Established in 1960, South Bay Estates is a seniors only (55+) mobile home park with 99 spaces.  The homes parked in those spaces are seldom replaced, and almost exclusively are sold to new occupants much as a condominium or SFR would be. The ages, sizes and configurations vary considerably, with the majority being 2 bed / 2 bath in the range of 650-1000 square feet.

The facility offers a comunity pool, a clubhouse with kitchen facilities, a recreation room with pool table, a laundry room and carwash.  As of this writing, space rents are approximately $900 per month.  All residents require approval by the park manager.

Since the beginning of 2018, one unit has sold.  It was a 1967 built double wide with 2 beds / 1 bath and inside laundry.  The sale price was $70K.  None are currently available on the MLS.  It should be noted that mobile homes are sold off-MLS more often than permanently situated homes.


3120 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance CA 90505

Built in 2002, Pacific Village is four stories of living space plus adjacent parking.  There are a total of 61 units: 23 – 1 bed / 1 bath and 38 – 2 bed / 2 bath units.  Located across from Madrona Marsh, the complex offers: free community laundry, pool & spa, secure access, a community room with kitchen, elevators and guest parking on site.

Each unit is on a single level with no stairs, has its own heating and cooling, granite, travertine and tile finishes, balcony/patio and breakfast bar.

At publication time there was one 2 bed / 2 bath unit available and one 2 bed / 2 bath unit in escrow.  Since the first of the year, there have been four units sold.  One was a 1 bed / 1 bath which closed escrow at $270K.  Also, 3 – 2 bed / 2 bath units sold, at prices ranging from $355K to $425K.




Here’s Why 2018 is the Year to Sell

Many people who are seriously thinking about buying or selling are familiar with buyers’ markets and sellers’ markets. Realistically, though, the real estate market can be divided into three phases: buy phase, hold phase, and sell phase.  So what are the indicators of each of these phases, and most importantly, which phase are we in now?

The buy phase is characterized by low prices, interest rates, and sales volume, but high inventory. Paradoxically, another characteristic is low demand, because high demand represents more competition and thus lesser chance for each individual buyer to strike a deal. This is when the average buyer can afford the highest percent of the homes currently on the market.

Hold phase may be an unfamiliar concept to some of you. That’s the time when real estate investors want to hold onto the properties they have bought so that they can accrue value before being sold later. The hold phase is simply a period in between a buy phase and a sell phase that likely has characteristics of both.

One may guess the characteristics of a sell phase are opposite those of a buy phase, but this isn’t strictly the case. Yes, the sell phase has low inventory. Each other category is slightly different. Prices and interest rates are typically rising, not simply a high, flat value, and sales volume is still slow. The other factor is not number of buyers but a statistic called yield spread. Yield spread is the difference between the rates of a 10-year Treasury Note and a 3-year Treasury Bill, and a value below 1.0 is an indicator of coming recession. 1.0 was the exact value of the yield spread in June of this year, and is expected to hit zero around the same time next year. In fact, the current market meets all five criteria to be considered a sell phase, as prices and interest rates are still rising, and sales volume has been flat since 2015. Home prices are expected to drop within the next 12 months, though, so if you are planning to sell, do it now.


Investors Predicting Increase in Renters

Investors are taking a gamble on the future of renting. They are actively seeking out more homes to buy — but not live in — and setting aside funds explicitly for this purpose, expecting that the number of renters will be increasing. However, they don’t think it’s because people can’t afford to buy; investors think more people will be choosing to rent. More than ever, they are looking at single-family homes, as apartment vacancies are growing, and investors believe it’s because more renters are looking for single-family homes.

The target demographic is wealthier renters in metro areas who presumably want to stay in a better school district and are willing to pay higher rents to make sure they have enough bedrooms to house themselves and their children. Some investors are even building new, since inventory is currently low, which would also increase the rental price and therefore mandate more well-to-do renters.