FROM Richard Green
Real Estate: Too Expensive to Buy, Too Expensive to Rent If you're actively looking to buy a home in Southern California, you won't be surprised by this week's report by the real estate website Trulia. Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire are three of the country's five most overpriced housing markets. And here's the kicker: housing prices are soaring — but incomes are not keeping up.
The City of Inglewood Looks to the Future The City of Inglewood may have fallen on hard times, but boosters have local officials dreaming about Pasadena—or at least Culver City. The Fabulous Forum will re-open in January, and conversion of the Hollywood Park racetrack into a major mixed-use complex is back on. We’ll hear from an enthusiastic Mayor James Butts—and from others who say, “don’t hold your breath.”
Is the California Housing Market Bouncing Back? It looks like the housing market is back -- or at least well on its way. Standard and Poor's Case-Shiller Index this week revealed that March housing prices were nearly 11% higher than last year's. Several cities, including Los Angeles, had their highest gains in more than seven years. There are bidding wars and all-cash offers. Who are these buyers? What's driving this? Are we at risk for another bubble?
The Housing Market Is Back, Is That a Good Thing? Southern California was especially vulnerable to the real estate bubble, and the median prices of single family homes -- the point at which half of all homes are more expensive and half are cheaper -- plunged in many places. In Compton, the median of $385,000 dropped to $94,000 in 2009, but crawled back up to $185,000 by the end of last year. But low income areas aren't the only places where there's a comeback. In LA's Hancock Park, they're up 85 percent, in the Newport Coast of Orange County, they're up 80 percent. That means a lot of real estate action.
Is California Giving Troubled Homeowners a Break? The housing crisis hit California harder than any state except Florida. In addition, California's considered "bank friendly," because lenders don't have to go to court to foreclose on home mortgages. So, when the Assembly and Senate took up the so-called " Homeowners' Bill of Rights " yesterday, the Wall Street Journal called it the nation's " biggest showdown between lenders and lawmakers ." Attorney General Kamala Harris pushed hard to get the measure passed in both houses, and she's claiming a big win.
Will Mortgage Settlement Help Struggling SoCal Homeowners? On today's To the Point, we heard about the $26 billion mortgage settlement worked out between the Obama Administration, five major banks and 49 of 50 state attorneys general, including California's Kamala Harris . We hear from experts on the front lines of California's mortgage crisis and look the housing situation here in Los Angeles. Will it be changed by the agreement?
Can We Afford to Rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were established to promote the American dream of home-ownership, by subsidizing mortgages backed by the federal government. When the housing bubble burst two years ago their risky loans left taxpayers on the hook for nearly a half-trillion dollars. The New York Times reports that in the first three months of this year, they took over a foreclosed home every 90 seconds, and they now own more homes than there are in the city of Seattle
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."