California Housing Market
March 26, 2007 10:46 AM   Subscribe

How does one monitor the Housing Market of Southern California?

I would like to purchase a condo in the next couple of years and would like to know when the "best" time to buy is. I am a first time buyer and slowly picking up the knowledge to what it takes to buying a place.
posted by matthelm to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The LA Times Real Estate page has some fairly useful links and a news section for home buyers. It might be a good starting point.
posted by jaimev at 11:33 AM on March 26, 2007

I read a few blogs that focus on housing bubble related material. The first two often have a focus on SoCal, the last is more general.

Calculated Risk
The Housing Bubble Blog
Paper Money - A US Real Estate Bubble Blog

Be aware that most of these blogs have a pretty negative view of the market, as do the people who comment. I would use them as a cautionary data point.

You can also check out the new housing future market for cities of interest to you.
posted by procrastination at 12:14 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

…would like to know when the "best" time to buy is.


Not helpful, I know, but new homebuyers are basically screwed right now (I'm one of them), and Southern California is one of the worst of the worst areas.

I think this headline sums it up pretty well: Southland home sales slowest in a decade; new price peak.
posted by designbot at 12:39 PM on March 26, 2007

Housing Tracker gives you a picture of the trends in inventory and price over time for major markets (including, of course, Los Angeles) in the United States.

That said, the premise of your question is flawed; you can read until your eyes fall out of your head and you still will never know what the "best" time to buy is. Trying to time the market is usually folly; if you are plan to live in this place for any length of time just look for one at a price you can live with and ride out any declines in the market while you are living there.

It's always possible, of course, that we're in for a decade long depressed market like Japan experienced a while back. But there is no way to know for sure. If someone claims they can know, ask why they aren't a billionaire like Warren Buffet if they have such prodigious market timing skills.
posted by Justinian at 12:41 PM on March 26, 2007

That said, I do agree with designbot that new homebuyers in L.A. are in dangerous territory right now. I am also one of them. In fact, I'm in escrow right now. I suspect - but do not know - that my purchase is going to lose value over the next 2 years. But since it's not an investment property (I plan to be living there for some time) I will be okay no matter what happens.

Just do not, repeat, do not take one of those crazy mortgages where you can end up underwater if the interest rate adjusts upwards.
posted by Justinian at 12:44 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

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