Why is it that some areas of the San Fernando Valley seem to survive market downturns better than others?
As we find ourselves in an increasingly sour real estate market, some areas seem to hold their value very well, while others have tumbling prices. Even within the same zip code, some parts seem to be selling for close to what they were 2 years ago, while some areas have come down 35% or more. How can you benefit from this?
First, let’s examine what helps some areas maintain value even in a tough market. Some areas are unique. Studio City, Toluca Lake, and Burbank for example have close proximity to the film and television studios. Encino also has unique benefits – close walking proximity to the boulevard and houses of worship. San Fernando has its own city services. Porter Ranch has a plethora of new housing. Calabasas has a temperate climate and close proximity to the beach.
One thing we notice is that these areas that are more resistant to market downturns, for the most part, tend to be more affluent areas. This does have something to do with it, but this is only part of the bigger picture. Areas with good “pride of ownership” tend to weather bad markets better because homeowners who maintain their properties also generally make payments on time and keep their properties longer. It also indicates a higher percentage of owner occupancy.
Like with other investments, lower-risk assets tend to fare better in rough times. Because these areas have steadier demand, they tend to have less risk, generally speaking.
Now let’s look at some areas of the valley that are not doing well. This is where we can find some deals.
Tarzana: overall, an affluent and nice area. The homes south of Ventura boulevard are some of the priciest in the whole valley. However, homes between the 101 freeway and Burbank are mostly townhomes and condos. This particular “pocket” has come down significantly in price. It is a very dense area and there is a high percentage of renters. However, homes in the area are a great deal for the right buyer. A family of 5 can get a 4-bedroom condo for under $300,000. 3 children each get their own bedroom. Plus you get 2 parking spots, so you eliminate the worry of finding parking in a high-density area. Transportation and shopping are close by, and you have the benefit of living in Tarzana, which is considered to be a desirable area.
Sylmar: Quite the opposite situation from Tarzana. Overall, Sylmar is not one of the more desirable parts of the valley. There is industry in west Sylmar and many parts are high density. However, there are a few pockets to find great deals. Mountain Glen in the northeast corner has very large (1300-3600 square feet) detached homes in gated communities, that were all built within the last 10 years. The location is at the foothills, far from the freeway and really is its own “pocket.” Something comparable in Porter Ranch would run you $700,000-$1,300,000, but here you can get in for about $450,000 -$700,000.
Sylmar also has several new home developments. New home builders are anxious to sell and are offering many incentives to potential buyers, including no closing costs, special financing, free upgrades, and more.
A good real estate agent can help you find an area that works for you. Please feel free to email or call if you have any questions. If you’re just browsing, www.ClarkSellsHomes.com is a great place to window shop for homes all across the valley. Stay tuned for more blogs soon.
Clark Hill, e-PRO
Century 21 All Moves