On Monday, we looked at what makes a property hot in Boston, so we’re closing the week with a look at a market on the other coast: Los Angeles. The big question: will we see the same trends coast to coast?
We found there really are (hot) pockets of sunshine in the Los Angeles housing market, and this is not according to my trusty Magic 8-ball. We analyzed 2,364 real estate records for single-family listings in Los Angeles County, Calif. that entered the market between Oct. 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008, and sold.
We looked at the Los Angeles real estate market next because, well, you asked.
Here’s a rundown of the neighborhoods with the most listings that sold within seven days on the market; the numbers in parentheses calculate the hot properties as a percentage of the total houses that sold in those areas:
- Beverly Center, Miracle Mile: 12 (26%)
- Brentwood: 12 (27%)
- Los Angeles, Southwest: 10 (12%)
- Sunset Strip, Hollywood Hills West: 10 (11%)
- Westchester: 9 (17%)
For the areas where there were a significant number of hot properties, we compared the listings that sold in seven days or less with everything else that sold in those areas. Our goal was to develop a clear portrait of the hot property, so our buyers would know when they really had to hop to it. And here’s what we found:
- Beds and baths were the same for both types: there was no pattern in terms of bedrooms and bathrooms. Hot and “not” (not properties took more than eight days to sell) properties both had three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The coasts agree!
- Hot properties are bigger, slightly: The median square footage for hot properties was only slightly larger (.2%) than not properties, but the median lot size was 3% larger. Clearly, the LA sprawl doesn’t mean buyers get more space. Boston homebuyers got 13% larger lots with pretty similar sized homes – 1,669 square feet in Boston vs. 1,735 square feet in LA.
- Hot properties are newer: the median year built (1948) for hot properties was four years later than for the nots. Bostonians bought slightly older homes, but maybe that’s because most east coast homes are older?
Hot properties are expensive: it turns out that hot properties weren’t exactly priced to move. In fact, the median list price of hot properties ($1.1 million) was 16% higher. And the high price isn’t just because the houses are bigger: the median dollars per square foot was nearly 16% higher for hot properties ($633) as compared to the nots ($548). The median list price of Boston’s hot properties was $459,000 … you can get two for the price of one in Boston.
There wasn’t a huge difference in the days on market for the hot areas (43) and the entire Los Angeles market (45), but, on average, the hot properties sold in almost five days (Boston hot properties sold in about 4.5 days).
The bottom line is that hot properties are slightly bigger, newer and more expensive. There are distinct areas and house types where properties still sell fast, which continues to support our reason for doing this study in the first place — the real estate market isn’t really clinically depressed; it’s more of a split personality, with the good stuff selling fast, and the rest languishing.
Did you just buy a home in one of these neighborhoods? What was your experience?
Bonus link: The Wall Street Journal reports on the heartwarming side of the housing bust. [Warning: shameless Redfin plug] Read about a couple who escaped their 100-mile, LA-freeway commute.