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e-Edge Newsletter v.18 n. 42– Released October 28, 2014

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v.18 n. 42 – Released October 28, 2014

This Week’s Headlines:

California Home Sales and Median Prices in September

The California Association of Realtors released their report on California existing home sales and median prices in September. The statewide median price rose over the 12 months ending in September by 7.6% to $460,940. Home prices in California have been moving higher on a year-over-year basis for over two years. However, the rate of increase has slowed in recent months, an indication that home prices are stabilizing.

Although the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly in September (to 4.16% from 4.12% in August), it was below the year ago rate of 4.49%. Less rapid price gains taken together with low mortgage interest rates should help improve housing affordability through the remaining months of this year.

The number of single-family homes that closed escrow in September edged higher by 0.4% over the month to 396,440 units (seasonally adjusted, annualized rate), but was down by 4.2% compared with September 2013. September also marked the eleventh consecutive month in which sales fell short of 400,000 units and the fourteenth month of year-over-year sales declines.

Inventory levels are slowly improving, but it is still a seller’s market. In September, there was a 4.2-month supply of unsold homes in California compared with 3.6 months a year ago. Last month the supply of unsold homes in Los Angeles County was also 4.2 months versus 3.4 months a year ago. It should be noted however, that inventory figures are calculated by dividing the number of homes for sale in a given month by the actual number of homes sold in that month. This means that when the volume of sales is low (like it is now), the available inventory appears to be increasing faster than it actually is. A six to seven month supply is considered typical for a balanced market.

Here is a year-over-year summary of sales and price activity in Southern California by county. Sales were down across most of the region; prices continue to climb but the pace is slowing.

  • Los Angeles County: unit sales were down by 1.8% over the year in September while the median price increased by 5.9% to $486,030.

  • Orange County: sales fell by 3.6% last month but the median price was up by 3.5% to $696,190.

  • Riverside County: sales of existing homes declined by 2.9%; the median price rose by 7.8% to $316,500.

  • San Bernardino County: sales were up by 3.3% in September; for the third consecutive month, San Bernardino was the only county in Southern California to post a double-digit increase in median price, which rose by 15.1% to $213,940.

  • San Diego County: unit sales edged up by 0.4%, and the median price increased by 6.0% to $519,420.

  • Ventura County: existing home sales dropped by 10.8% but the median price rose by 7.1% to $589,080.
  • (Kimberly Ritter-Martinez)

    Source: California Association of REALTORS

    Ports Post Strong Gains in September

    The total number of containers handled at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in September increased by 8.2% on a year-over-year basis to 1,404,903 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), making September the busiest month for shipping at the San Pedro ports since October 2006.

    At the Port of Los Angeles, total containers handled 9.0% on a year-to-year basis, while container activity at the Port of Long Beach inched up by 1.7% from last year. The San Pedro Bay ports have been on a positive growth track for thirteen out of the past fifteen months, compared with only seven months of positive growth during the preceding fifteen months.

    Imports (loaded inbound traffic) at the Port of Los Angeles climbed by 11.0% year-over-year, rising from 370,786 TEUs in September 2013 to 411,507 TEUs in September 2014. Meanwhile, imports at the Port of Long Beach shot up by 10.2% over the same time period, increasing from 307,981 TEUs to 339,343 TEUs. Across both ports, the number of loaded inbound containers were up by 10.6% from last year.

    Exports (loaded outbound traffic) at the Port of Los Angeles experienced relatively little change, up marginally by 0.2% from 150,380 TEUs in September 2013 to 150,678 TEUs in September 2014. This was the seventh consecutive month of positive year-over-year growth. Meanwhile, exports at the Port of Long Beach moved in the opposite direction, with 118,412 loaded outbound TEUs (excluding empties) reported for September 2014, down 12.1% from 134,676 TEUs in August 2013. Export growth at the two ports (combined) slowed by 5.6% over-the-year.

    Bottom Line: The San Pedro Bay ports together saw imports grow by 6.0% year-to-date when compared to the same period of last year (January to September). On the other side of the ledger, exports ticked up by 1.1% year-to-date. Total loaded containers (imports and exports) expanded by 4.4% on a year-to-date basis. The upward trend should continue through the end of this year. The LAEDC forecasts the San Pedro Bay ports will handle 15.4 million containers this year, a 5.5% increase from 2013. Recent issues with port congestion may discourage some shippers from using the San Pedro Bay ports, leading them to consider alternatives, but the impact of congestion on local trade activity is uncertain at this time. (George Entis)

    Source: Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach

    Events of Interest


    October 30, 2014: 26th Annual Southern California Visitor Industry Outlook Conference

    Hilton Anaheim; 778 W. Convention Way, Anaheim CA 92802 | 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

    Please join us for the 26th Annual Southern California Visitor Industry Outlook Conference to be held at The Hilton Anaheim. Hear from noted experts, representing a range of travel sectors, offer their best assessment of the southern California economic situation and how it may affect your business.

    All attendees receive an electronic copy of PKF Consulting’s 2015 Lodging Forecast. Parking is complimentary and attendees will be able to enjoy a continental breakfast buffet before the conference begins.

    Attendees will also hear from our keynote speaker, Mr. Ed Fuller, the President and CEO of Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) who will discuss the major industry changes in the world today focusing on the new Global market and why it is valuable. He will also offer insight on strategies for increasing Global Visitors and the challenges in this segment.


    November 13, 2014: 19th Annual Eddy Awards Gala

    The Beverly Hilton; 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210| 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm

    The Eddy Awards® is one of the most prestigious awards programs to recognize leadership in economic development in business and government throughout Los Angeles County. The Eddy Awards®, a cocktail, dinner, and awards gala, also supports fulfillment of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s mission to attract, retain, and grow businesses and jobs for the regions of Los Angeles County.

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