Richard Buckisch Real Estate
Richard Buckisch

Richard Buckisch Real Estate

Category: General

1st quarter 2016 California housing affordability

Strong wage growth and level home prices buoy California housing affordability

Twenty-two regions see improvement, with eight of nine Bay Area counties posting higher

• Thirty-four percent of California households could afford to purchase the $465,280 median-priced home in the first quarter, up from 30 percent in fourth-quarter 2015 and unchanged from 34 percent in first-quarter 2015.

• A minimum annual income of $92,571 was needed to make monthly payments of $2,314, including principal, interest, and taxes on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.01 percent interest rate.

• Forty-one percent of home buyers were able to purchase the $389,910 median-priced condo or townhome. An annual income of $77,575 was required to make a monthly payment of $1,939.

LOS ANGELES (May 9) – Higher wages and lower seasonal home prices combined to push California housing affordability higher in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the previous quarter, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. Affordability was flat when compared to the previous year as rising home price offset income gains.

The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in first-quarter 2016 rose to 34 percent from the 30 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015 and was unchanged from first-quarter 2015, according to C.A.R.’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI).  This is the 12th consecutive quarter that the index has been below 40 percent and is near the mid-2008 low level of 29 percent.  California’s housing affordability index hit a peak of 56 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

C.A.R.’s HAI measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California.  C.A.R. also reports affordability indices for regions and select counties within the state.  The Index is considered the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for home buyers in the state.

Home buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $92,571 to qualify for the purchase of a $465,280 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the first quarter of 2016.  The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $2,314, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.01 percent.  The effective composite interest rate in fourth-quarter 2015 was 4.07 percent and 3.97 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

The median home price was $483,810 in fourth-quarter 2015, and an annual income of $96,790 was needed to purchase a home at that price.

Condominiums and townhomes were also more affordable compared to the previous quarter. Forty-one percent of California households earned the minimum income to qualify for the purchase of a condominium or townhome in the first quarter of 2016, up from 39 percent from the last quarter of 2015. An annual income of $77,575 was required to make monthly payments of $1,939.

Key points from the first-quarter 2016 Housing Affordability report include:

• Compared to affordability in fourth-quarter 2015, 22 of 29 counties tracked saw an improvement in housing affordability, three experienced declines, and four were unchanged.

• Affordability improved greatly in the Bay Area, with eight of nine counties seeing an improvement. Southern California, Central Coast, and the Central Valley also saw higher affordability, compared to the previous quarter.

• Housing affordability in Southern California improved from the previous quarter in every county, with Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Diego counties leading the way.

• During the first quarter of 2016, the five most affordable counties in California were Kings (58 percent), San Bernardino (57 percent), Merced (55 percent), and Kern (55 percent).

• San Francisco (13 percent), San Mateo (16 percent), and Santa Cruz (18 percent) counties were the least affordable areas of the state.

Housing Affordability slides (click link to open)

Affordability peak versus current*
Annual income peak versus current*
PITI peak versus current*
Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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Traditional Housing Affordability Index

C.A.R. Region Housing
Affordability Index
Median Home
Monthly Payment Including Taxes & Insurance Minimum
Qualifying Income
CA SFH 34  $           465,280  $               2,314  $             92,571
CA Condo/Townhomes 41  $           389,910  $               1,939  $             77,575
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 35  $           436,850  $               2,173  $             86,915
Inland Empire 48  $           297,850  $               1,481  $             59,259
S.F. Bay Area 27  $           723,060  $               3,596  $           143,858
US 60  $           217,600  $               1,082  $             43,293
S.F. Bay Area
Alameda 23  $           731,640  $               3,639  $           145,565
Contra-Costa 38  $           543,570  $               2,704  $           108,147
Marin 20  $       1,093,750  $               5,440  $           217,610
Napa 24  $           646,960  $               3,218  $           128,718
San Francisco 13  $       1,332,500  $               6,628  $           265,111
San Mateo 16  $       1,170,000  $               5,820  $           232,780
Santa Clara 22  $           970,000  $               4,825  $           192,989
Solano 47  $           368,610  $               1,833  $             73,338
Sonoma 26  $           583,210  $               2,901  $           116,034
Southern California
Los Angeles 31  $           458,900  $               2,283  $             91,302
Orange County 23  $           713,680  $               3,550  $           141,992
Riverside County 42  $           342,930  $               1,706  $             68,228
San Bernardino 57  $           233,490  $               1,161  $             46,455
San Diego 28  $           554,320  $               2,757  $           110,286
Ventura 30  $           622,520  $               3,096  $           123,855
Central Coast
Monterey 27  $           500,000  $               2,487  $             99,479
San Luis Obispo 26  $           540,830  $               2,690  $           107,602
Santa Barbara 21  $           680,920  $               3,387  $           135,474
Santa Cruz 18  $           746,500  $               3,713  $           148,522
Central Valley
Fresno 52  $           219,590  $               1,092  $             43,689
Kern (Bakersfield) 55  $           220,270  $               1,096  $             43,824
Kings County 58  $           201,340  $               1,001  $             40,058
Madera 50  $           217,050  $               1,080  $             43,184
Merced 55  $           192,060  $                   955  $             38,212
Placer County 48  $           411,640  $               2,047  $             81,899
Sacramento 48  $           297,620  $               1,480  $             59,214
San Joaquin 47  $           295,000  $               1,467  $             58,692
Stanislaus 50  $           254,440  $               1,266  $             50,623
Tulare 52  $           193,900  $                   964  $             38,578


Traditional Housing Affordability Index

STATE/REGION/COUNTY Q1 2016 Q4 2015   Q1 2015  
CA SFH 34 30 34
CA Condo/Townhomes 41 39 41
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 35 32 35
Inland Empire 48 45 47
S.F. Bay Area 27 24 27 R
US 60 58 61
S.F. Bay Area
Alameda 23 22 25 R
Contra-Costa 38 37 42 R
Marin 20 17 19
Napa 24 21 29 R
San Francisco 13 11 12
San Mateo 16 14 14
Santa Clara 22 20 22
Solano 47 45 48
Sonoma 26 26 31
Southern California
Los Angeles 31 27 31
Orange County 23 21 22
Riverside County 42 39 42
San Bernardino 57 53 58
San Diego 28 25 28
Ventura 30 26 28
Central Coast
Monterey 27 25 29
San Luis Obispo 26 26 30
Santa Barbara 21 20 R 16 R
Santa Cruz 18 21 22
Central Valley
Fresno 52 49 51
Kern (Bakersfield) 55 55 57
Kings County 58 61 62
Madera 50 48 51
Merced 55 55 60
Placer County 48 44 46
Sacramento 48 46 49
San Joaquin 47 38 39
Stanislaus 50 40 43
Tulare 52 54 57

Take a Look at Glendale’s Plans For a Park on Top of the 134 Freeway

Image via Space 134

Glendale’s plans to cap part of the 134 Freeway with a park are finally really starting to take shape. (There’s a plan to cap the 101 in Downtown and in Hollywood, plus a plan for a 60 Freeway cap in East LA and two 10 Freeway caps in Santa Monica, but none of those projects has moved very far in a long time.) New renderings for the cap park—Space 134—show what the 24-acre green space could look like, and give a better idea of how the park will be laid out, says Urbanize LA, citing a website from Glendale’s Community Development Department.

Working with the firm Melendrez, Glendale officials have created a concept plan that has the park set up as a kind of link between Glendale’s downtown area and its residential neighbors to the east. The segment of the park between Central Avenue and Louise would be oriented toward downtown, and would include a restaurant, a mobility hub with bike parking and rental facilities, and transit connections.

A rendering of the park looking west from Brand Boulevard.

From Louise east to Balboa, in the more residential areas, there would be a playground, community centers, and sports courts. There would be three event spaces throughout Space 134, but the one in the downtown section could handle large-scale events like festivals. Much-desired walking trails will run the length of the cap park.

Space 134 will eventually extend for a .7-mile length of the freeway between Central and Balboa avenues, but will be built in phases, with the first phase to be built between Central Avenue and Brand Boulevard. Glendale’s planning on private and public funding sources to help pay for the cap park, which it hopes to start construction on after 2020.

Why Your Agent Wants You Pre-Approved Before Showing You Homes

Ever had an agent deny to show you a home because you weren’t pre-approved for a mortgage? It’s not because they’re mean, or they don’t value your business… it’s actually because they’re looking out for your best interests.

Let’s face it, shopping for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. You may have the desire to buy, but you lack the ability. Let’s cover some basics…

What is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is written assurance from a lender or broker that you’re able to borrow money to purchase a home up to a certain amount. It’s based on the income, employment and asset documentation you supply at the time of application, in conjunction with your credit history.

5 reasons to get pre-approved

1. It carries more weight than a “pre-qualification”.

A pre-approval differs from a pre-qualification. With the former, the lender has actually checked your credit and verified your documentation to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular time period such as 30, 60 or 90 days). A pre-qualification can be useful as an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on your home, but it’s a less accurate indicator of your ability to purchase. A pre-approval always carries more weight.

2. You’ll know how much house you can afford.

Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting allows you to know how much house you can realistically afford. Knowing this narrows down the options and makes the selection process more efficient. Not to mention, it protects you from the unpleasant surprise of realizing the home you fell in love with doesn’t fit your budget.

3. It adds clout to your offer.

In many markets, homes attract more than one offer. If the sellers are weighing one offer against another, they may lean towards the one accompanied by a pre-approval letter. That’s because pre-approvals instill confidence that the buyer is financially capable of purchasing their home.

4. It could increase your negotiating power.

In addition to strengthening your offer when compared to buyers who haven’t taken this step, getting pre-approved may give you the upper-hand when negotiating the price. If the homeowner is eager to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer from someone they’ve been assured is financially capable of purchasing their home.

5. It saves time.

Obtaining a mortgage is a lengthy process. Getting pre-approved ahead of time shortens the time between contract to close — this way you’re ready to proceed with finalizing the mortgage once you’ve found the home you want to purchase.

6. Without it, most agents won’t work with you.

Makes sense, too. Right? Think about it: when you hire an agent, he/she will invest countless hours showing you homes over the course of your house hunt. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want assurance that your hard work would lead to a favorable outcome for both you and your client?

Gorgeous Burbank Equestrian Property Honored in Curbed LA!

1930s Ranch in Burbank’s Equestrian Neighborhood Asking $1.249 Million

1522 West Valleyheart Dr, Burbank

Price: $1,425,000
Beds, Baths: 3 BR, 1.75 BA
Floor Area: 2,132 sq. ft.
Per the Listing: “This wonderful Spanish estate blends a custom 1937 brick home with a great equestrian property. Conveniently located in the Rancho area of Burbank, this is one of the finest locations for horses, adjacent to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center with direct access to Griffith Park, yet close to studios, restaurants, and shopping. This property is great for entertaining, but is also incredibly private. Tax assessor says 2 bed, but there are 3 bedrooms, 2 baths (2,132 sq. ft.), a bonus office or studio, a three-stall barn, tack room, and storage. This is one of the few double lots in the area (14,296 sq. ft). There are gorgeous dark plank hardwood and saltillo paver floors throughout,2 fireplaces, a newer roof, updated systems, vaulted ceilings, French doors, and a country kitchen. This is a romantic hacienda with an equestrian flair featuring wonderful ambiance for entertaining, or saddling up and hitting the local area trails. Truly a very special property!”

Anyone with an affinity for listings with animals in their photo galleries is hereby warned to adjust their expectations. While a horse does make an appearance in the gallery of this Big Bad Wolf-resistant residence—which traded hands almost exactly two years ago for $1.115—he or she is unfortunately camera-shy.

My Cypress Park Listing Made Curbed LA!

1913 Craftsman Fixer in Cypress Park Asking $399,000

2923 Jeffries Ave, Cypress Park

Price: $399,000
Beds, Baths: 2 BR, 1 BA
Floor Area: 1,243 sq. ft.
Per the Listing: “Do you have an incredible imagination, a large tool box + power tools, and a love for early 1900s Craftsman homes? If so, you need to take a look at my newest listing in Cypress Park. This 2 bedroom/1.25 bath home offers just over 1,200 square feet of living space, is situated on a 7k+ square-foot lot, and will be offered at $399k. While it’s unfortunate the owner prior to my client stuccoed over the wood shingles and laid some shiny tiles throughout (including a floor-to-ceiling job in the bathroom), there are still all the wonderful built-ins and plenty of original wood trim throughout. This place has all the potential you can handle at a price that won’t make your pocketbook go thirsty!”

Sadly, it’s all too rare to encounter a listing that doesn’t try to sugarcoat a property’s shortcomings. (And even rarer to encounter one that uses the quaint-as-hell word “pocketbook.”) We like the cut of your jib, Richard Buckisch of John Aaroe Group—please keep tellin’ like it is!

LAX’s People Mover

Last Friday, Los Angeles World Airports—the departments that runs Los Angeles International Airport—held a forum to present and discuss information on the transportation plan that will totally transform the way Angelenos get to and move through LAX. Known as the Landside Access Modernization Program, the plan includes a new automated people mover to carry passengers from the Metro system to the terminals, a consolidated rental car facility, new transportation hubs, and more public parking and pedestrian walkways. LAWA has provided Curbed with some of the new glimpses into LAX’s more awesome transportation future.

LAMP is due to be completed, at least partially, by 2023 (in time for the 2024 Olympics, if LA is chosen to host them). A fact sheet from the forum says that construction is expected to begin on the project in the second half of 2017, with “Completion of Phase 1
(including APM & ConRAC)” estimated for sometime in 2023. The materials do emphasize that the light rail station that will ultimately connect Metro to the airport via the Crenshaw Line is a separate project overseen by Metro, and while the agency will work with the LAMP, the project is more of a complement than an actual part of LAWA’s plan (that is, they don’t really have control over it).

An aerial view of one of the Intermodal Transportation Facilities, where passengers will be able to check in, get picked up and dropped off, and hop onto the APM to go to the terminals, a LAWA fact sheet says.

A nighttime view of one of the new pedestrian walkways.

Inside the automated people mover system. Passengers on the APM will only have to wait about two to three minutes for a tram, which will take them to the main terminals.

An overview of LAX once all the new improvements are made.