Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Article from Los Angeles Times Real Estate Section

Real estate brokers and investors say would-be buyers misunderstand how the drop in housing prices has affected desirable neighborhoods. Just because an abandoned house in a troubled part of San Bernardino County might be going for $200,000, it doesn't mean you can get a nice place in Sherman Oaks for that amount -- or even twice that amount.House hunters are trying to pounce on deals from sellers they expected to be frantic -- if not curled in the fetal position. What they're finding instead are bidding wars as low interest rates and pent-up demand in traditionally stable or chic areas have kept prices up -- not as high as the market's peak, but not nearly as low as they had hoped."The biggest problem," said agent Phyllis Harb, "is that people are overreacting to housing statistics, thinking they can come in and make an offer 20% below price."As sales figures and home buyers' anecdotes are underscoring, when the residential real estate bubble burst, it set off several distinct sprays that created false hopes and confusion.Though nearly 20,000 homes in Southern California sold in March, a 52% jump from a year earlier, a sizable number of those transactions occurred in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where foreclosures exploded. In the region overall, foreclosure sales accounted for 55% of March's deals.