With a burning housing market, many West Coast buyers are finding that they need to pay excessively high prices for older, less fashionable homes. Kenny Slaught notes that costs have been steadily climbing since 2008, and common reference, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index, reveals that Los Angeles home prices rose to their peak during April of this year since October 2007. Having moved beyond mere recession recovery, Southern California’s larger metropolitan areas are closing in on their former peaks. Slaught says the turnaround stems from a number of factors, which include interest rates, job growth and supply and demand. As current 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are hovering around 3.5% or less, these enticing numbers nearing 3.31 percent (the record low hit in November 2012) are pushing many toward buying. These historically low rates, coupled with strong employment numbers, such as a 2.4% gain in Los Angeles County and a 3.5% rise in Orange County, makes it clear just why values have appreciated in an extraordinarily fast-paced manner. And although home prices vary considerably statewide, the inflated asking price of higher-end homes outpaces all other states with the exception of Hawaii. The feverish demand for housing cannot currently be met by the slim supply available, with many first-timers forced to opt for condominium-style units: obtainable and within a more modest price range.
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