"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

September Newsletter

September, 2015

Dear Neighbor:

In my last letter, I mentioned that the market was showing signs of slowing after almost 2 years of frenetic activity.  It has, and there are now roughly twice the number of homes for sale in Palos Verdes as there were a year ago, although the number then was about the lowest I can remember in my 31 years in this business.  As usual, when this happens without any outside event, I suspect that an affordability threshold has been reached, where there simply aren’t enough people who can afford the higher prices to sustain the prior level of activity.

There is another factor that may also be coming into play.  You have probably heard of the website Zillow.  This is a site whose attraction is the idea that they can objectively tell you what your house is worth via their “Zestimate”.  In my listing interviews lately I have had potential sellers cite the “Zestimate” as the value of their house, so I dialed up Zillow, and Holy Moly:  the “market values” they show are ridiculous.  They used to be hit and miss (you cannot, after all, determine the value of a house in Palos Verdes from a cubicle in Seattle, or wherever they are), but the ones I’m now seeing are all high, and not just by a little.  So I have a new theory:  Zillow has been after me for years to advertise on their site, which I refuse to do because they do a disservice to the public by misleading them as to values.  However, there are plenty of agents who do advertise on Zillow, which is how Zillow makes money.  I suspect that Zillow may provide high values as an inducement to the unwary homeowner to click on one of those advertising agents, thinking that they can somehow obtain that price.  If enough houses are listed at over-market prices, the market slows down.  So the message is:  please don’t be influenced by Zillow as to the value of your house.

As you may know, as a 67 year resident, I occasionally lecture about PV history.  Due to the interest and response I get, I am going to start including little tidbits of PV history in these newsletters.  This one is about the origins of Via Pinzon in Valmonte.  In 1949 my parents built one of the first two houses on the west end – 4205.  $10,000 for the house, $2000 for the lot, 2 bedroom 1 bath, about 1200 square feet.  They bought the plans out of a catalog.  We were lucky to have indoor plumbing.  Pinzon at that time was a dirt street and the only problem was that the Art Jury would not allow occupancy on a dirt street.  So my parents got together with the Normans who had just built 4204 across the street, and paved the street.  There is a picture of me somewhere, in the driveway on my tricycle with my dad in the background running the steamroller.  There are no curbs on Pinzon, and at least initially, that was because my dad and Mr Norman couldn’t afford them.  Once the street was paved, many more homes were built, and by 1960 I don’t think there was a vacant lot.  The street was named after Vicente Pinzon, the Captain of the Nina, one of Columbus 3 ships.  And no, I didn’t know him.

If you belong to a group that would like to hear my talk on PV history or Real Estate Myths and Realities or, for that matter, The Other Reasons Japan Lost the War, or if you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, give me a call at 310 613-1076, and visit my website:   www.DanaGraham.com.


Dana H Graham                                                                                                                                                            DRE #00877973


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