All politics is local, as Tip O’Neil famously said. And so of course is all real estate. That thought was driven home to me recently by a research report that crossed my screen. A firm called Majestic Research tallied up the latest stats on new home sales around the country. Some markets are clearly in a downturn. Sales have fallen by double-digits in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and suburban New Jersey. San Diego and San Francisco are reporting declines. Average selling prices are also falling. But Los Angeles? Sales up 36%. The average asking price is up 6.9% month over month to $647,000. I know from speaking with friends that existing home sales in Los Angeles are taking longer. Gone are the bidding wars and premiums over the asking price. But how long can Los Angeles continue to buck national housing trends? Do readers have any thoughts on what’s propping up the LA market?
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.