Stability, Bullishness

By Dave Fratello | December 17th, 2010
We know 2010 has been better in local RE than the years just before it. That's been clear in the tone and coverage here at MBC. We followed the facts in years when the indicators pointed to trouble, and we've done the same this year as the picture brightened. (See, for instance, "Front-Line Views of the Rally," from March.)

What is driving the improvement, or whether it's sustainable, is a question for another day.

As we near year-end, has run an analysis of various real estate markets for Forbes magazine, and the mag has deemed the market in Manhattan Beach "the most stable housing market in the Los Angeles metro area." Forbes adds:

It is the priciest city to make our list: The median home is worth $1.2 million, almost three times the typical home in the Los Angeles metro area. The foreclosure rate in Manhattan Beach is almost non-existent, with only one in 5,376 homes facing foreclosure.
The basis for that claim: Zillow "focused on identifying a city in each [market] where home values had appreciated for at least three straight quarters, the rate of home sales was healthy and foreclosure rates were lower than in the metro area."

Who's not proud of a mention like that?

Meantime, the Easy Reader this week features a front-page "Real Estate Roundtable." The article may greatly disappoint most of the paper's readers – who are in the beach cities – since almost all of the free-flowing "roundtable" chatter concerns the PV Peninsula. Besides that focus, it's long on generalities.

But there are some big claims about the region's housing markets, and a few specific statements about MB.

Asked to speculate on the future of the region's RE markets, one participant says:

I think the market is going up. I’m a “glass-half-full” guy anyway, but I think that five or ten years from now we will look back and say that right now was an incredible time to buy real estate.
Another exchange is more specific, and short-term:

Question: How much appreciation might today’s buyer see out over the next five years, averaged annually?

Answer: Let me give you a conservative number. I don’t think we will see much appreciation this next year, but the year after that maybe a couple percent. In three to five years, total appreciation might be 25 percent or so.
Whoa, 25% right on the horizon – and that's "conservative?"

The same participant offers this specific comment on MB, the last line of the Easy Reader story: "What I anticipate is that the Manhattan Beach market will definitely have quick appreciation. I just think the demand will be there."

After a year of improvement, you see the ever-common optimism of the RE profession kicking up. We'll see if they've got it right – as soon as 3-5 years from now.

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