July 7, 2011
UCLA's most recent Anderson Forecast detailed the future of California's real estate market. Based on 2010 U.S. Census results and Anderson research, UCLA's Senior Economist, Jerry Nickelsburg, predicted that consumers would shift away from inland homes if their commutes required long-distance drives towards the coast. The study has wider implications for all U.S. regions where coastal communities remain desirable places to live.
The lure of suburban developments, often located many miles from city centers, once offered both a relief from the bustle of urban life, and also the opportunity to get more home for the dollar. But with an economy in recovery mode, rising gas prices and hours braving rush hour traffic, commuting costs are outweighing the benefits. Add growing public awareness of a nation hooked on foreign fossil fuels, and the result is a paradigm shift in homebuyer consciousness. The Anderson report paints an unfavorable picture for new home construction throughout California's inland communities. To make matters worse, inland regions depend more on home construction to fuel their economies than their coastal counterparts, which will add another layer of adversity to areas already struggling.
"The UCLA study, while not such good news for areas far from the coast, bodes well for Los Angeles's Westside," says Myra Nourmand, Los Angeles Real Estate Broker and author of the book From Homemaker to Breadwinner.
More than before, consumers are factoring the price they're paying at the pump as well as their commuting time into their overall buying decision. In addition, the current economic slump means that people are working longer hours for the same pay. Thus long commutes add further strain to an already stressed-out workforce. Nourmand believes that these are key reasons why buyer demand remains high in areas like Malibu, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Barbara, and Bel Air.
Historically, the three-part formula for high curb appeal has been prime location, attractive architecture, and sought after square footage. The burst of the housing bubble caused a home's price to take precedence above all else - at least that's what it seemed like based on media reports. Where Nourmand works, however, location, architecture, and square footage remain at the top of buyers' priorities. "None of my clients are short-selling their homes, so you won't find any fire sales among my listings," says Nourmand. In addition, foreclosures and subprime fallout are non-existent within her housing inventory. Meanwhile, comparably prestigious outlying areas, which were often viewed as alternatives to high-end L.A. neighborhoods, have experienced hard times.
"If high fuel prices are the norm - and that's what the news indicates - then demand for property in desirable neighborhoods near urban centers should remain strong," says Nourmand.
To learn more about real estate sales trends and the book From Homemaker to Breadwinner, visit Myra Nourmand's blog at http://www.homemaker2breadwinner.com.
About the Author: Myra Nourmand is the First Lady of Beverly Hills Real Estate. She is a top-producing broker for Nourmand and Associates, a real estate firm specializing in Los Angeles premiere properties. Myra's life experiences have inspired her throughout her career. While raising her children, she became a licensed broker. She quickly earned top sales status, and 20 years later she continues to love her work every day. A native of New York, the author earned her B.A. at SUNY-Buffalo. Myra and her husband, Saeed, have called Beverly Hills home for the last 30 years.