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Best Places to Live in California

Where are the best places to live in California?

Money Magazine recently published the top 100 cities to live based on area, population, number of jobs, schools, average income and other criteria.  Since we are a California Mortgage Lender, we wanted to focus on the 5 California cities that Money Magazine chose as the best.

California cities that made the list:

#6 Irvine

Irvine made the top 10 list of the best cities to live in the United States. One of the reasons Money Magazine chose this city was based on the great location in California. Irvine is only 10 miles from the beach and has tons of bike trails and parks for an active lifestyle.

#27 Cupertino

This city has a population of 58,700 and is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. This is city is extremely diverse and highly educated. According to Money Magazine, 60% or more of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. If you are looking for high performing schools, then this is the place for you!

#34 Chino Hills

Chino Hills is known for its safe neighborhoods and great schools. According to Money Magazine, this city actually has a higher median income than Beverly Hills! It’s a beautiful area in Southern California with great shops nearby.

#41 Diamond Bar

According to Money Magazine, Diamond Bar is actually most known for their holiday decorating. Neighbors compete in lawn displays and light displays to be known as the best holiday decorator. This city also had the first dog park known as  Bark Park. The only negative thing about this city is the high taxes they have to pay.

#42 Yorba Linda

The last California city to make the list (above the top 50) was Yorba Linda. This city is located in Orange County and has great trails to run and hike on. Money Magazine recognized this city for its beautiful horse trails within the community. If you are going to live here, you need to keep in mind the price tag that comes along with it. Most homes are around $500,000 or higher.

Update on Southland Home Prices

Recent data has been published in the LA Times about the increase of home prices in Southern California due to a drop in the number of foreclosures on the market.

This last month, the percentage of foreclosed homes that made up the market accounted for 24.5%. This number is still relatively high; however, it is drastically lower than the highest percentage back in February 2009 which was 56.7% according to author, Alejandro Lazo, from LA Times.

The new data from DataQuick reported that the sales in the region last month were up 7.5% and the median home price increased by 5.3% in comparison to the same month last year.

Now, why are we seeing an increase in home prices? The real estate market is an extremely competitive market right now. Interest rates are at historic lows as well as home prices.

With those two combinations, we always discuss how that makes up a buyers’ market. It is truly in favor of buyers right now and many are taking advantage. Many homes are receiving multiple offers which are helping to increase the value of homes.

Indicators all point towards an improved housing market with fewer foreclosures.

In yesterday’s post, we even discussed how Fannie Mae is implementing new programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure to ensure fewer hit the market.

According to the LA Times article, Alejandro Lazo stated, “California has a much more streamlined way of dealing with foreclosures as it does not require a court order for a home to be repossessed by a lender. That distinction has helped California…bounce back from the mortgage meltdown better than other hard hit states like Florida.”

Overall, we are seeing positive signs as fewer foreclosures are making up the resales in the real estate market. In the Southland we have also seen an increase in median home prices slightly. These are good signs towards improvement, and hoping the trend continues.


Good News For California Home Prices

Good news for California real estate market. It seems that we are steadily strengthening as the median home price in California increased 6% in April to $264,000.

When comparing April 2011 sales results to this April’s sales, our market performed much better. This is all good news and signs that we are heading in a direction of recovery.

According to Los Angeles Times news, “A total of 38,241 newly built and previously owned houses, town homes, and condominiums sold state wide in April. That was up 2% from March and up 8.6% from April 2011.”

The article also gives statistics of the sales percentage of foreclosed homes in California. In April last month, foreclosed homes made up 30.3% of the resale of homes. This was a decrease of 2.5 points from March 2012 which was 32.8%, and a decrease of 6.1 points from April of 2011 which was 36.4%.

As far as short sales, those are decreasing as well. In April 2012, short sales accounted for 18.3% of home sales, which was down in comparison to March 2012 which was 19.1%. However, these statistics reflect an increase in relation to April 2011, which short sales only accounted for 16.9% of home sales.

Lastly, reports state that foreclosure activity decreased last month to the lowest levels we have seen since the credit crisis began in 2007.

Now these are all signs that our market is recovering slowly and showing more improvement each month. As always, time will tell if the trend continues.

Home Prices at Record Lows


Recent studies have shown that our current real estate market has the lowest priced homes in over 10 years.

This market definitely took a hit, but it looks likes values may slightly increase this upcoming year.

After looking at data for Southern California areas, here are some forecasts for this upcoming year for real estate prices:

Riverside Area                   2nd Quarter 2011 – 2nd Quarter 2012          -14.8%

Riverside Area                   2nd Quarter 2012 – 2nd Quarter 2013          +5.9%

Median Home Price: $180,000

Los Angeles Area               2nd Quarter 2011 – 2nd Quarter 2012         -6.8%

Los Angeles Area                2nd Quarter 2012 – 2nd Quarter 2013        +2.4%

Median Home Price: $343,000

San Diego Area                 2nd Quarter 2011 – 2nd Quarter 2012          -4.8%

San Diego Area                 2nd Quarter 2012 – 2nd Quarter 2013          +2.9%

Median Home Price: $375,000

Orange County Area        2nd Quarter 2011 – 2nd Quarter 2012         -7.4%

Orange County Area        2nd Quarter 2012 – 2nd Quarter 2013         +4.5%

Median Home Price: $515,000

This forecast predicts that after the second quarter this year we will be able to see an increase in home prices finally. Homebuyers should definitely take advantage of this market right now and buy while the prices are at record lows in over 10 years.

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