Living La Vida Local

residents were identified as white; similarly, 12.5% of U.S. residents and 32.4% of California residents, respectively were of Hispanic or Latino origins.

The state’s net population growth amounts to more than 500,000 people per year, according to the State Department of Housing and Community Development. California now needs 220,000 to 250,000 new housing units annually to keep pace with the needs of its growing population. Today, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom vintage bungalow in Venice today sells for upwards of $800,000.


Foreign Investors are Losing their Appetite for U.S. Real Estate

As the "degree of difficulty" in finding attractive real estate investment opportunities increases, foreign investors are losing their appetite for U.S. real estate, according to a survey of the members of the Assn. of Foreign Investors in Real Estate.

While overall spending will increase both globally and in the U.S., respondents reduced the U.S. percentage of their total global real estate acquisitions from 71% in 2004 to 55% in 2005. Greater percentages of their portfolios are being invested in Eastern Europe and Australia.

Almost 60% of respondents surveyed said it had become "very difficult" to find attractive real estate opportunities in the U.S., compared with 38% in 2003 and 32% in 2002.

The U.S. continued as the No. 1 country for stable and secure real estate investments.

For the third year, Washington, D.C., ranked as foreign investors' top global city and the best city for investment in the U.S.

An annual Coldwell Banker comparison of homes sold in 344 typical, middle-management neighborhoods in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, found that La Jolla, Calif., was the most expensive community and Killeen, Texas, was the least expensive.

The cumulative average sales price of the 319 U.S. markets surveyed in the home-price index is $401,767, up 13.3% from $354,372 from the same period last year.

For the third year in a row, the study's most expensive market is La Jolla, Calif. ($1,875,000). The most affordable market is Killeen, Texas ($131,328).

Of the markets surveyed, 52% have an average home price of less than $300,000.

Nine of the country's top 10 most expensive markets are in California. Greenwich, Conn., rounds out the top 10 list. Other high-ticket areas outside of California are along the East Coast, including Boston ($1,260,000), Rye, N.Y. ($869,125), and Bethesda/Chevy Chase ($829,750). Note that Manhattan (N.Y.) was not included in the study due to a lack of single-family homes.

Markets that come closest to the national average sales price of $401,767 are Minneapolis, Minn. ($397,133) and Edina, Minn. ($404,150). The study also found that Fresno, the least expensive market in California, was a mere 3% below the national average.

Among the top 10 most affordable markets, three are in Texas (Killeen, Arlington, Fort Worth) and two are in West Virginia (Beckley, Parkersburg).

California has the greatest variance within the same state at $1,485,542 between La Jolla at the high end ($1,875,000) and Fresno at the low end ($389,458).

Among the major cities included in the home-price index, the average home price for San Francisco was $1,300,000, with Boston averaging $1,260,000 and Chicago $815,000.

The top-10 most expensive markets overall in 2005 are: La Jolla, Calif.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Beverly Hills, Calif.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Newport Beach, Calif.; San Mateo, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; and Greenwich, Conn.
The top-10 most affordable markets overall in 2005 are: Killeen, Texas; Minot, N.D.; Beckley, W.V.; Arlington, Texas; Billings, Mont.; Tulsa, Okla.; Parkersburg, W.V.; Fort Worth, Texas; Yankton, S.D.; and Grayling-Roscommon, Mich.


More Million Dollar Homes In California

California million-dollar home sales in 2005 surged to a new peak for the fourth year in a row, as appreciation pushed a higher portion of overall sales into the seven-figure category, DataQuick real estate information service reported.

One in 13 homes sold for more than a million dollars last year, up from one in 20 the year before. A total of 48,666 California homes sold for a million dollars or more last year, up 47 percent from 33,107 in 2004. The total was 19,080 in 2003 and 13,871 in 2002.

The median-sized million-dollar home was 2,480 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The median price per square foot for all million-dollar homes was $516, up 5.6 percent from $489 a year ago.

There were 2,902 condo sales in the million-dollar category, up 73 percent from 1,677 a year ago. Most were sold in West Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

Statewide, in 2005, there were 310 sales for more than $5 million; 327 sales were in the $4-$5 million range; 990 in the $3 million range; 3,937 sales in the $2 million range; and the rest between $1 million and $2 million.

Ross in Marin County and Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County were communities where virtually all home sales were in the million-dollar category.
Several new million-dollar home markets emerged last year, mostly because of sales of newly built large homes on big lots. The areas include Corona and Norco in Southern California, and Union City in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Around 10 percent of the buyers paid cash, down from 15 percent in 2004. Of those who financed their purchase, the median down payment was 28 percent of the purchase price.