Local experts weigh in on what the future may hold for Westside communities

Will Home Prices Keep Climbing?

By Monica Trepany

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … Going into 2018, it’s the best of times for sellers in the entry-level market. Buyers, maybe not the best, if properties are priced correctly.

“Home prices in California will continue to increase next year, but at a slower pace,” predicts the California Association of Realtors, which expects a 4.2% bump in 2018. I believe the real gains will follow increased demand in the entry-level markets, with the higher-end markets not experiencing the same increases due to lower inventory and high land value.


Additional demands include:

• Strength of the Rental Market: According to U.S. Census data, L.A. residents pay 51% of their monthly incomes to mortgages versus 45% to rent.

• Strong Job Markets: Last year saw record-breaking office space square footage on the Westside for organizations like LMU (50,000 square feet), HBO (128,000) and Amazon Studios (280,000).

• Millennials Joining the Market: Walkability and proximity to work are big draws to the Westside. Millennials are now 56% of buyers and growing.

However, I would caution that higher-end markets are expected to post gains at lower rates. Larger inventory and tax changes are a few factors. Some wonder how much more they can gain after growth accelerated from 2016 to 2017 at rates of 23% in Marina del Rey, 21% in Venice, 12% in Mar Vista and as much as 46% in Playa del Rey.

The wild cards are interest rates (predicted to rise from 4.0% to 4.3%, which will impact the local market’s already low affordability rate, and
the true impact of the new tax rules, which until digested add uncertainty
to the market.

Monica Trepany is a real estate broker and president of Playa Realty (playarealtyca.com).

Will Women Become More Active in Politics?

By Autumn Burke

Absolutely. We aren’t going anywhere. In fact, women are more motivated than ever. I think the presidential election was a wake-up call for all of us who care about women’s rights, civil rights, immigrant or workers’ rights. If we aren’t willing to fight for equal pay, harassment-free workplaces or to make medical decisions about our own bodies, then there are those who will try and take these things from us. And in the past year, we saw that women, in particular, put on the boxing gloves and got in the ring.

More women ran for public office in 2017 than in any time in our nation’s history. Millions took to the streets with massively attended women’s marches. Millions more spoke out with the #MeToo movement and brought down some of the most powerful titans of industry who had spent years sexually harassing and abusing women. And it was the mobilization of black women voters that changed history in Alabama.

Democracy only works when the governed take responsibility for their government. We cannot sit back and expect that our elected leaders will do what’s best for us. We have to tell them what we want, and sometimes we have to shout. And that’s what women are doing. That’s what I encourage everyone to do. Stand up. Get involved in your democracy. Tell your leaders what you want, or become a leader yourself.

The more representative our government is, the stronger our government is. I grew up watching my mother speak out and stand up for what she believed. And that is what motivated me to get involved. Not every little girl has the example I had. So let me tell every woman and especially every little girl right now that there is a place for you. Your voice needs to be heard. You are important. Get involved politically and make a difference. Two ways to start are Emerge CA and Close the Gap.

Autumn Burke is a member of the California Assembly whose district includes Marina del Rey, Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice and parts of Mar Vista.