If you’re worried about listing your home during the pandemic, or if you want to take advantage of the increased inventory and buy a new home, there is a protocol for doing so safely, even in heavily impacted areas of California.
You should discuss with your agent the things that can be done to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some things you can do while others your agent will be better able to do. You can leave interior doors open prior to a showing to ensure visitors don’t need to open doors. Also, you can open windows before and after showings to let in fresh air.
In addition to opening windows for a showing, use disinfecting wipes or spray to clean surfaces that you expect may have been touched frequently, such as countertops, cabinets, light switches, and door knobs.
You and your visitors should wash hands or use hand sanitizer, wear masks or other protective face covering, and practice social distancing. Any disposable protective gear should be discarded when leaving.
The listing agent can discuss the precautions with the buyer and/or buyers’ agent. They can discuss taking care to avoid touching surfaces as much as possible and other safety measures, as well as check to make sure everyone is symptom-free.
The California Association of Realtors (CAR) provides a poster guiding the actions of visitors to minimize risk, which should be posted near the entry. CAR also provides a form called the Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) which requires all involved to certify that they are aware of the safety requirements. That form should be signed by the agents, seller, and any visitors.
Be sure to call or email us for more information about safely showing property during the pandemic or regarding other aspects of buying and selling in difficult times. We each have over 25 years of experience in good times and in bad.
It’s no secret that California has exorbitantly high home and rental prices as well as increasing homelessness. What may be less obvious is that the issue lies in housing construction. There simply aren’t enough affordable units being built.
That’s why California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has established ambitious housing goals for the next decade. In order to be eligible for DHCD funding, a county such as Alameda County would need to plan to build 441,000 more housing units between 2022 and 2030. If that sounds unachievable already, take note that Alameda County is still behind by 188,000 units on its 2022 goal. As far as affordability, Alameda County has similar goals as other large metros for income distribution: about 45% to above-moderate income households, about 15% to moderate- and low-income respectively, and about 25% to very-low-income households. Local jurisdictions are also going to need to adjust their zoning laws to accommodate the new goals.
Co-living and co-housing are two types of housing arrangements that may be confused. Both are types of “intentional communities” — that is, communities in which the residents share some or all of the space. There are important distinctions in how that space is shared, though, outlined in July/August 2020 edition of NAR’s SRES newsletter.
In a co-living arrangement, all residents share a single dwelling, and the residents are not relatives. Each resident will normally have a private bedroom and possibly a private bathroom. The rest of the rooms are communal, including the kitchen, dining room, living room, and laundry area. This will be familiar to college students living in dorms, but it’s also a potentially beneficial housing arrangement of seniors who may not be able to afford their own housing space or may need assistance.
Co-housing communities, on the other hand, are more private, and likely more expensive. Each party in a co-housing situation may or may not be a single individual; they could be couples or families as well. In any case, the living unit is not shared with other parties, and no room inside the dwelling is communal. Instead, the communal space all exists outside the dwelling, in the form of activity rooms, pools, meeting rooms, or similar such areas.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of 55+ housing choices, but a reference point for the more commonly known, age-restricted accommodations available in the Los Angeles South Bay. We welcome your input, but cannot guarantee inclusion.
- Breakwater Village, 2750 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
- Courtyard Villas Estates, 3970 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
- Gables, 3550 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503
- Meridian, 2742 Cabrillo Ave, Torrance, CA 90501
- Montecito, 2001 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
- New Horizons, 22603-23047 Maple Ave and 22601-23071 Nadine Circle, Torrance, CA 90505
- Pacific Village, 3120 Pacific Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
- Parkview Court, 2367 Jefferson St, Torrance, CA 90501
- Rolling Hills Villas, 901 Deep Valley Dr, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
- Sol y Mar, 5601 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
- Sunset Gardens, 24410 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
- Tradewinds, 2605 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
- Village Court, 21345 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503
Independent/Assisted Living/Memory Care Facilities
- Belmont Village, 5701 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; 310-377-9977
- Brookdale Senior Living, 5481 W Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503; 310-543-1174
- Canterbury, 5801 West Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; (877) 727-3213
- Clearwater at South Bay, 3210 Sepulveda Blvd,Torrance, CA 90505; 424-250-8492; (previously Wellbrook)
- Kensington, 320 Knob Hill Ave, Redondo Beach, 90277; (424) 210-8041
- Manhattan Village Senior Villas, 1300 Parkview Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; (310) 546-4062
- Silverado Senior Living, 514 N. Prospect Avenue, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; (310) 896-3100
- Sunrise of Hermosa Beach, 1837 Pacific Coast Hwy Hermosa Beach CA 90254; 310-937-0959
- Sunrise of Palos Verdes, 25535 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505; 408-215-9608
Independent Living Only
- Casa De Los Amigos, 123 S Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; 310 376 3457
- Heritage Pointe Senior Apartments, 1801 Aviation Way, Redondo Beach, CA 90278; (844) 220-4169
- Seasons at Redondo Beach, 109 S Francisca Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; (310) 374-6664
Mobile Home Parks
- Skyline, 2550 Pacific Coast Hwy, Torrance
- South Bay Estates, 18801 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance
- South Shores, 2275 25th St, San Pedro
More and more seniors are looking for a financially viable way to retain their independence as long as possible. Co-living is a promising solution, which means finding the right housemate for you. Here are a few tips to help, taken from an article in the July/August 2020 edition of NAR’s senior newsletter.
Don’t limit yourself to only looking for other seniors to be your housemate. College students are often looking for co-living situations as well, so such an arrangement could be mutually beneficial. You may look for other types of individuals that are not usually home, such as business professionals or frequent travellers. It’s okay if you and your housemate have differences. Learn to appreciate those differences and enjoy your time together.
Make sure they aren’t too different, though. Take the usual precautions to determine whether you and your housemate are compatible, such as shared interests, lifestyle, and privacy expectations. You and your housemate should complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Your safety is also important — meet first in a public place, have friends with you, get references and maybe even a background check or credit check.
Throughout the country, Black homeowners pay an average of 13% higher property taxes than White homeowners. This is because of assessed values, which are on average 10% higher in Black and Latinx neighborhoods relative to the sale price. Local governments use higher property tax rates to push for gentrification, which they know new white owners can pay but the minority families already living there cannot. White buyers are also more easily able to appeal their property tax assessment.
The problem is worse in California, where Prop 13 is limiting property tax rates on unsold homes by basing property tax assessments on the value at time of sale. The proposition is designed to protect older residents who are on a fixed income and could otherwise lose their homes. But there are some negative consequences for low-income buyers. As soon as the home is sold, the new buyer is potentially facing significantly higher property taxes than the previous owner was, which prices out some people who are otherwise able to afford the purchase itself. And in the meantime, local government has less revenue from property taxes, so they have to make up the difference elsewhere. This often comes in the form of sales tax, which, because the rate is identical regardless of the buyer’s income, is proportionally a larger burden for Black and Latinx indivduals who tend to be lower-income earners.
Taxes aren’t the only issue Black and Latinx people face, though. When the economy crashed in 2007-2009, minorities were disproportionately affected because of discriminatory lending practices. Lenders would statistically charge higher fees to minorities with equal qualification as whites, or steer minorities towards subprime loans regardless of credit history. This meant they were less likely to be able to pay their mortgages after the crash. With all these barriers to homeownership, Black and Latinx individuals lose out on one of the largest sources of wealth, owning a home.
In order to help combat COVID-19, the U.S. Green Building Council has established new LEED safety guidelines. The new recommendations cover layout, materials, air quality, and smart technology, and are focused on senior care facilities.
The guidelines suggest that facilities renovate to create more single-occupancy rooms. Flexible layouts and multipurpose rooms can help to address both current and future concerns without needing additional space. Uncoated copper alloys are best for knobs and rails, as the copper alloys have an antimicrobial factor. Curtains should be replaced with glass or plexiglass. Countertops and floors should use nonporous or less porous materials such as quartz and Corian for countertops and porcelain, vinyl, or wood for floors. Ventilation is of utmost importance, particularly in bathrooms, and should be maintained regularly. Touchless features go a long way, such as automatic doors, touchless faucets, and voice activated lights.
California bill AB 3173, introduced in February, would require some cities and counties to permit microunits in areas zoned for multifamily residences. The city or county must have a population of 400,000 or more to qualify for this requirement. Because of the way zoning laws operate, the bill would not apply on city land in a city with a population under 400,000 even if the county has a population over 400,000. The bill also establishes size and affordability requirements for the microunits.
Using 2019 population estimates for cities and the 2010 Census data for counties, the bill would apply in 8 cities and 21 counties. Eligible cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland. It’s possible that Bakersfield, with an estimated population of 384,145 last year, has now passed the 400,000 mark. Eligible counties are Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Sacramento County, Contra Costa County, Fresno County, Kern County, San Francisco County, Ventura County, San Mateo County, San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, Sonoma County, Tulare County, Solano County, Santa Barbara County, and Monterey County. It’s very likely that Placer County, with a population of 398,329 at the 2010 census, has now surpassed the requirement.
Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, a particularly contentious national election, and weeks of nation-wide civil rights protests, It looked like there was no way 2020 could ever be called a normal year. Then we learned about a growing recession. So halfway through the year, what do we see?
Prices – Up and Down
The South Bay is a nice place to live. Here, the real estate market is frequently shielded from the vagaries of the nation at large. And it’s no different this year. In this chart we compare the average sales prices during the first six months of 2019 versus 2020, by zip code. In nearly all cases the average property price is still going up. Torrance was very nearly flat and 90274 actually dropped slightly. (If your zip code or city is not included here, and you would like statistics, give us a call.)
Volume – Mostly down
With prices are still climbing, albeit slower than they were, what about sales volume. Here we see some negative impact. Hermosa Beach is the only local city not experiencing a drop off in sales. In Manhattan Beach, for example, sales are off by 38% for the first six months of this year. South Redondo is off by 35%. Torrance and the peninsula cities are all down by roughly 5-10% from the number of homes sold in the same period of 2019.
My Crystal Ball
Our Market Trend chart is designed to show whether market conditions generally favorable for sellers or buyers. The year started as a buyers’ market and moved even further toward buyers in February. Since then we have been seeing a slow, but steady movement toward a sellers’ market. Things could change dramatically before the year is out, but right now the red trend line indicates the probability the South Bay will be in a sellers’ market before the end of 2020.
California proposed a Universal Basic Income bill in February, which would be administered by the State Department of Social Services, called AB-2712. This May, AB-2712 was amended, establishing new requirements for eligibility as well as shifting administration to the Franchise Tax Board.
Under the amended UBI bill, the CalUBI Program would be an opt-in program that granted $1000 per month to eligible California residents over the age of 18. The amount is unchanged from the February version, but the amended bill establishes new requirements. The new requirements are:
-Currently reside in California
-Lived in California for the past 3 consecutive years
-Not currently incarcerated in a county jail or state prison
-Income no greater than 200% of the median per capita income in the county of residence
In addition, the amendments make this income non-taxable under state tax law, and won’t affect income eligibility for state programs. Rather than a flat value-added tax of 10% proposed by the original bill, the amended bill gives the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration until July 1, 2024 to report on the feasibility of a value-added tax.