Housing market continues to cool

This article was originally published by the Los Angeles Times and written by Jack Flemming on September 24, 2022

This week’s stories showcased the vast range of Southern California properties, from a 64-square-foot tiny home all the way up to a 1.5-million-square-foot shopping mall.

But first, let’s start with the market itself, which continued to cool for the fourth straight month. In August, Southern California home sales were down 28.3% compared with a year earlier, and the median price held steady at $740,000 — the same mark as July, and $10,000 less than the median in June.

The main culprit for the slowdown is mortgage rates, which soared past 6% last week, the highest average since, you guessed it, 2008. The rates are pricing many Angelenos out of the market entirely, leaving both buyers and sellers frustrated in the wake of the pandemic’s record-setting market.

The week’s biggest story — in terms of square footage, at least — comes in Arcadia, where we revealed the new owner of the Westfield Santa Anita mall: Wen Shan Chang.

Chang is a real estate investor from Bradbury, and he spent $537.5 million on the 1.5-million-square-foot complex in August. The blockbuster deal closed just a few months after Westfield’s owner announced that it would sell all 24 of its U.S. malls to focus on the European market.

Over in Benedict Canyon, we got the scoop on a battle brewing between celebrity residents over the proposal of a luxury hotel smack dab in the middle of a residential area.

The developer, Gary Safady, is trying to erect a hotel on a 33-acre site with 58 rooms and eight private residences. He’s got some stars on his side, including Mark Wahlberg, Ashton Kutcher and Orlando Bloom.

The opposition has some A-listers as well, including Dr. Phil, actress Jacqueline Bisset and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. They’re three of several hundred neighbors who signed testimonials decrying the project, claiming it will bring traffic and noise to the typically quiet community.

Get your popcorn ready, because the fight is far from over.

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