December 2008

I know this is a bit out of our normal area, but i couldn’t resist letting you know that the Newport Beach Restaurant Week will be held January 18 through 22.  Here all of us foodies will have an opportunity to taste and expand our culinary horizons.  There will be almost 100 restaurants across the neighborhoods participating. is a link of participating restaurants for this year.  Which ones are you going to try?

My friend just sent me the current gas prices in the area and I’ve updated that information for my blog.  Click on “current local gas prices” in the upper right corner.

The prices are up for everyone.  We all enjoyed the declining prices but it appears that we bottomed out already.  Prices have gone up over the past two weeks.

Southern California home sales in November increased from the previous November, but the median sales price dropped 35 percent from a year ago.

In Orange County, the number of transactions in November increased almost 39% from a year ago but the median sales price dropped almost 32%.

The largest increase in transactions was in Riverside County where transactions were up almost 49%.  San Bernadino County recorded the largest drop in median price at almost 44%.

Yesterday we had heavy rains in the northern Orange County area, as well as throughout the Southern California area.  In Seal Beach, the rains started around midnight Sunday night and rained until late morning Monday.  The balance of the day had a few showers and sprinkles but that was about it.

The weather forecast shows more showers and light rain later Tuesday and through tomorrow.

Unfortunately the storms brought flooding to Sunset Beach.  It primarily centered near 12th Street and PCH.  It often floods in this area – the low elevation is low here.  The water from Huntington Harbor is almost adjacent to PCH on the east side.

This intersection is where the old PCH Furniture Store was located.

Here are some links to stories and videos of Sunset Beach.  The first link is a video which will show you exactly where this flooding took place.  The Los Angeles Times photo will show this intersection as well.

There are signs at Seal Beach Blvd and PCH announcing that Seal Beach Surfing Championships are coming.  The event is hosted by the Seal Beach Lifeguard Association in association with the Katin Surf Shop. 

Proceeds from the event are donated to various local charities. In 2009, most of the fundraising will be donated to the MaGaugh Special Education program and the Surfrider Foundation.

I have been in real estate over 30 years and haven’t seen anything like this market.  If you are a first time buyer and buying a home in the $300,000 to $350,000 range, be ready for five to ten offers on just about everything in the Long Beach, Lakewood and Garden Grove areas.  I am so surprised that everything is moving quick in that price range.  I see higher prices sitting on the market for  longer, even though there have been  a few properties in Seal Beach that went for over 1 mil with several offers on them also.  I guess if you see a home you really like you better buy it before someone else does.  You will probably live in your home for such a long time this kind of market will not matter in the long run.  This happens every ten years or so.  I paid $10,000 for my first house in 1970.  I though it was a lot of money at that time.

The Register had an interesting post describing the “zippy” ranking system for relative strength of the real estate market.  It incorporates three elements: DataQuick’s pricing and sales momentum (year-over-year change) plus foreclosure density (foreclosures per homes in neighborhood).

Based on this formula, Seal Beach ranked second for the past quarter (up from 17th in the 2nd quarter).  Seal Beach is a great place to buy your next home.  Contact me, Pat Hale, by going to my website at or emailing me at

Be sure to read the entire article by clicking on the link above.