New house listings plunge in L.A. County during December

Rising mortgage rates and end of year quiet season cause business to grind to halt

From left: Stephen Kotler and Zane Widdes
From left: Stephen Kotler and Zane Widdes ( Zane Widdes, Stephen Kotler)

The number of new house listings has slid downward in Los Angeles County for months, but there was a marked decrease in the last month of the year.

In December, there were 1,151 new residential listings in Los Angeles County, compared to 1,794 new listings in November, a decline of nearly 36 percent, according to a new signed contracts report from Douglas Elliman.

“This is a triple threat of seasonality, lack of inventory and interest rates,” said Stephen Kotler, Douglas Elliman’s chief executive officer for brokerage on the West Coast.

The month-to-month comparisons of new listings showed a decline because the market was still dealing with the shock of rising interest and mortgage rates, Kotler said. The market was further hobbled because
the residential real estate business typically grinds to a halt during the December holidays. Further compounding a slowdown, the residential real estate business often loses momentum during election years and 2022 was no exception, Kotler said.

The Elliman Report gave a different picture for listings on a year-over-year basis. There was a 14.4 percent increase to 1,151 new listings last month compared to 1,006 new listings in December 2021. One reason for the increase was that there were more listings on the market in late 2022 compared to the bonanza market of 2021, the report said.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Los Angeles politics threw a curveball into the market, Kotler said. The Measure ULA transfer tax for home sales higher than $5 million was approved by Los Angeles voters in November. The anxiety over the transfer tax contributed to some sellers listing their homes during the past month, he said. Kotler forecast luxury listings will further increase in January because of the tax.

Signed contracts dipped 6.2 percent in December in a month-to-month comparison. In Los Angeles County, 1,541 homes sold last month compared to 1,643 homes in November. In a year-over-year comparison, there was a 39 percent drop in new contracts, according to the report.

Declines in home sales were echoed across the nation. A recent Redfin announcement said that pending home sales dropped 32 percent in December 2022 in a year-over-year comparison. The level of home sales is the lowest level since 2015.

But what goes down typically bounces back up. Veteran Los Angeles agent Zane Widdes said that homeowners often wait out the holiday season slowdown and list their house in January. However, no sale will be easy in a Los Angeles market that will continue to be stressed.

“We’re going to be doing more staging, more preparing the property, more concierge work,” Widdes said. He helms the Zane Widdes Group affiliated with Keller Williams.

Read more