More Housing-Related News

First, a sincere “rest in peace” for Terri Schaivo, whose recent two week hunger strike on the importance of having a living will or advance health care directive really made its point.

For some reason, there has been loads of news related to housing in Southern California this week… so much, I’ve had to use my 49th userpic space. There’s only one left, and I understand its value is appreciating rapidly. Perhaps I can rent it. Seriously, though…

  • The Daily News is reporting that the Census Bureau is reporting that Southern Californians spend at least 120 hours a year driving to their jobs (equal to three full weeks at their workplace), with a round-trip total of 240 hours a year — or 10 full days spent commuting. But people won’t trade the housing they could get far away for worse near in housing and shorter commutes. However, Los Angeles is not the worst off. The census said that honor goes to New York City, where commuters spend 38 minutes getting to work. After New York, it’s Chicago, Newark, Riverside and Philadelphia, with Los Angeles city residents’ commutes ranking sixth worst in the nation.

    M’self, although I lose the time, I don’t have the stress, for I vanpool to work!

  • The Daily News is also reporting that more and more buyers are turning to the Internet to find a home. The 2005 “Internet Versus Traditional Buyers Survey” found that 62% of buyers made the World Wide Web an integral part of the shopping process, up from 56% a year ago. 63% of first-time buyers said the Internet played a crucial role in the transaction versus 46% for repeat buyers. 86% of buyers went online to find an agent while 75% looked for a home, then an agent. 70% of Net shoppers visited, making it the most popular site; 74% of Internet users visited various real estate company sites. The median age of Internet shoppers is 39 (vs. 46). 85% of Internet shoppers have Masters Degrees or better (vs. 74%). Internet shoppers have higher incomes, and found there houses, on average, 5 weeks faster.
  • I’ve also been talking about the importance of finding good schools in real estate. Bill and Melinda Gates, of Borg, Washington, have done something about it. According (again) to the Daily News, this obscure couple have unveiled a new $45 million Web site that gives educators, researchers and parents unprecedented access to information about demographics, academic performance and spending patterns at public schools across the county. The site, SchoolMatters, provides an easy way to compare schools. For example, it presents the following information about LA Unifried: 60% of households in the LAUSD have incomes under $50,000, which is about 10% higher than the rate statewide; LAUSD spends $7,385 per student on operating expenses, including $4,741 for instruction, compared with $7,256 statewide, including $4,515 per student for instruction; about 1.5% of LAUSD teachers have doctorates, compared with 1 percent of teachers statewide; and 19.5% of LAUSD teachers have emergency permits, more than double the state average.

More food for thought.