By Gregory J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 07/27/14, 6:24 PM PDT | Updated: 1 min ago
It was supposed to be a breakout year for home sales.
But after years of recession that bulldozed the Inland Empire housing market, there are still glitches in the road to recovery.
Among those glitches: Homebuyers, or potential buyers, are still worried about their jobs. And tight home inventories of homes for sale haven’t helped.
A summer slowdown might be the result.
Many home shoppers this summer are confronted with a market trying to shake the lingering effects of the Great Recession. From the South Bay through the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and into the Inland Empire fewer are homes on the market, appreciation of home prices has moderated — prompting sellers to hold onto their homes longer — and as a result homes sales are weak.
Just ask local Realtors.
High expectations for a breakout year for better home sales are fading, although expectations vary from market to market, several Realtors said.
In Redlands the number of homes on the market has hit a wall.
“We have no inventory,” Redlands Realtor Perrie Mundy, owner of the Perrie Mundy Group and a 30-year industry veteran, said of the Inland Empire market.
The first quarter of the year looked promising, but it has come to full stop, Mundy said, primarily because people are still worried about keeping their jobs.
“It’s just at a standstill. We have no inventory,” she said. “I think there is just so much uncertainty in our whole economic picture. Everyone wants it (the market) to be healthy and march along but there is a lot of uncertainty and people are wondering if they are going to have jobs tomorrow.”
And there are inventory issues, even for people who are confident enough to buy.
Sherman Oaks residents Mike Pettit and his wife, Tamara, are spending the summer turning door knobs. They are looking to buy their first house and so far it’s been a frustrating, fruitless search.
“It seems like the good stuff goes pretty quickly,” he said one sweltering Sunday afternoon in July while checking out a modest West Hills home priced at $524,950.
It’s within their budget but outside their neighborhood comfort zone.
“I’ve made a couple of offers but I got outbid,” he said. “Some houses that we see have been sitting on the market for a month or two and others you have to write an offer that afternoon.”
The couple found an example of the latter last Sunday, a nice one-story 1,500 square-foot home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Encino with a good elementary school in the neighborhood.
The seller is asking $643,000 and the Pettits, who both have careers in sales, wrote an offer Monday morning for $620,000.
“We wrote it just to get the seller engaged and to get them to understand we’re serious and like the house. It’s just a little bit out of our budget range so we’re offering $620,000, knowing we have another $5,000 to go. I’m hoping ours is the only one they have.”
“We’re still in the house hunt,” Petit said Friday. “We found out that the $620,000 offer we made did not go through. Two people offered the full asking price so there is a little bit of a bidding war going on we can’t afford.”
There have been some success stories for many buyers and sellers.
Riverside residents Poornima and Michael Suiter are in escrow as both buyers and sellers.
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