As I study both general market conditions and conditions in sub-markets, I review multiple data sources. One source of interest is Altos Research. Altos employs a so-called “Market Action Index.” The most recent Altos report continues to indicate a seller’s advantage in our market. The report provides “more sales demand and fewer homes listed have contributed to a relatively long run of increasing prices. Current supply and demand levels show no sign of prices changing from their current trend.”
Does this market commentary matter to you? Yes and no. Markets matter, but what matters more is activity “on the ground” – in our distinct communities, neighborhoods, blocks and, of course, homes. That’s where an understanding of changing conditions, comparable property values, and transactions can give both buyers and sellers a competitive edge. There is no app for that; it takes 4 decades of market experience to give you the insight into your home’s value.
And speaking of changing conditions, no development this year is more noteworthy for those of us who live on the Westside than the launch of Expo Line. More than just a transit milestone for Los Angeles, the Expo Line has affected and will affect residential property conditions for a generation.
The new Expo Line light rail extension from Culver City to Santa Monica doesn’t open until May, but rental prices are already way up along the new track. An analysis by RadPad shows that, on average, rents have risen nearly 15 percent in the neighborhoods around the forthcoming stations, with an increase of more than 45 percent at the Westwood Rancho Station. Both numbers far exceed the already sizable 11.6 percent jump in citywide rent prices that occurred in 2015.
The data comes from a study of rental prices for one-bedroom apartments along each of Los Angeles’s future rail lines. In RadPad’s analysis, rental prices along the Expo Line have jumped the most significantly in the past year, suggesting that the soon-to-be-operational rail system is luring renters to the area. It is quite possible that some renters are willing to pay a premium for easy access to public transit.
While Angelenos on the Westside may need sometime to adjust to living near public transit systems, soaring rents along the Expo Line suggest that increasing sales prices in Expo adjacent neighborhoods may be just ahead.