I saved the link to this article because I thought this guy was quite comical. And Trulia says the median Ventura County sales price is $370K.
2008-02-08: Mixed outlook on Ventura economy
Despite a sinking real estate market and job losses at two major employers, Ventura County could still dodge a much feared recession if interest rates continue to fall and Congress passes an emergency stimulus package, a local economist said Thursday.
“Recession is likely to be avoided in Southern California, but we’ll be close,” said Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast, which released its county projections for 2008. “It’s a slowdown, not a recession.”
But the county still faces a tough road ahead. Sales of existing homes hit bottom in the fall, Schniepp said. The number of mortgage defaults and foreclosures reached record levels in 2007, and the trend will continue through the new year.
“It’s pretty bleak,” he said during a conference in Thousand Oaks. “We’ve got retail sales going down. We’ve got the apartment market that’s softened. We’ve got the Amgen and Countrywide fallout. We have got a housing market that is absolutely at rock bottom… . I think 2008 will be the transition year; 2009 will be a lot better.”
Schniepp said it’s not all bad news. Bank of America announced last month that it would buy Countrywide for $4 billion. He said there is little duplication between Countrywide and BofA operations and that further job cuts would probably occur gradually.
Sales of existing homes last year were down nearly 30% to less than 4,100 homes, the lowest level in 25 years, Schniepp said. Further pressuring the market were default notices – warnings from mortgage companies about nonpayment – which more than doubled to 5,022 last year.
But the median price for existing homes only slipped about 2%, to $673,786, in Ventura County, according to the California Assn. of Realtors. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.
“There is a limit to how far a home can go down. It’s time for buyers to realize they are about as low as they’ll go,” Schniepp said.
Schniepp said he expects home prices to remain steady if a provision in President Bush’s stimulus package survives – raising mortgage loan limits from $417,000 to $729,750 to assist high-cost states – and interest rates remain low.
“It you don’t have to sell, then hold on until 2010. If you do have to sell, sell right now, immediately,” Schniepp said. “And if you’re a buyer, buy new – these are the best deals you’re going to get.”
Among the forecast’s bright spots is commercial real estate. Retail vacancies remain at record lows, and construction is set to begin this year on about 1 million square feet of office space.
Ventura stands to lose up to $10 million of taxpayer money from soured investments in the banking industry — the only city in Ventura County facing such risks.