Sep 21

Family Activities In Los Angeles

Activity Schedule from your Hacienda Heights Realtor Diana Wood

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor   Sept. 29-Oct 31
Live your nightmares aboard the haunted Queen Mary and join our cast of ghouls, spirits, and undead for an unforgettable, frighteningly authentic haunted experience.
The Queen Mary, Long Beach
(877) 342-0738 /

SCV Walk to End Alzheimer’s   Oct. 8
The Alzheimer’s Association/California Southland Chapter hosts this walk to raise awareness and funds for support, care and research relating to Alzheimer’s Disease.
7:30-11am / Bridgeport Park: 23520 Bridgeport Lane, Valencia
(800) 272-3900 /

Geranium Festival and ArtWalk   Oct. 8
Dog pageant, art walk and rock climbing complement good old fashioned sack races and pie eating contests at the city fair-themed event.
11am-4pm / Barnes Park, Monterey Park
(626) 307-1388 /

West Covina Food & Wine Festival   Oct. 8-9
A unique event for food and wine enthusiasts at two beautiful locations! The first day it will be held at South Hills Country Club and the second day it will be held at the Historical Hurst Ranch.
(626) 277-6072 /  

Diamond Bar Restaurant Week   Oct. 8-14
Our local chefs are excited to showcase special menus at promotional prices! So gather your family and friends to enjoy 7 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner deliciousness!

Dia de Los Muertos Art & Music Festival   Oct. 9
Vendors will be present including food, artists, designers, and organizations. Take part in the Miss La Catrina Contest, Tribute Car Show, or the Alter Contest.
10am-5pm / Historic Uptown Whittier

Taste of the Pier King Harbor & Waterfront  Oct. 9
Presented by Redondo Pier Association and King Harbor Association. Benefiting Cancer Support Community.
12-5pm / Redondo Beach Pier

Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair   Oct. 9
Join us for a free day of fun and pet adoptions! Our pet fair attracts more than 10,000 attendees to this annual event.
11am-4pm / Hart Park: 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall
(661) 297-5961 /

Toy Drive to benefit Boys & Girls Club   Oct. 13
Network with local business owners. Free raffle prizes and giveaways. Complimentary appetizers and beverages.
6-8:30pm / Brookdale Uptown Whittier: 13250 Philadelphia St.
(714) 396-5120 /

Craft Beer Festival   Oct. 14-15
Hosted at the Jack Rose Track at CSULB. All proceeds benefit the CSULB Hospitality Department. 40+ brewers, food from Legends and Naples Rib Co (along with three food trucks) and live entertainment. Ages 21+.
California State University, Long Beach

Long Beach Zombie Fest   Oct. 14-16
Live Music, Haunted Maze with Interactive Scare Zone, Escape Room, Walking Dead Interactive Experience, Thrill of the World Workshops, Cosplay Contests, Ultimate Shock Show, Infamous Zombie Walk, Sideshow Museum, Interactive Reptile Exhibit with Fear Factor Attraction, Costume Contests and so much more.
Rainbow Lagoon Park: 350 E. Shoreline Drive  
(562) 495-5959 /

Diamond Bar Barktober Fest   Oct. 15
Games and giveaways, costume contest – prizes for top three winners, photo booth – free souvenir picture with your pet, pet service and product vendors. Also, IVHS will be on hand with adoptable dogs and microchipping for $30 per dog.
9am-1pm / Pantera Park: 738 Pantera Drive
(909) 839-7000 /

Temple City Classic Car Show   Oct. 15
An afternoon of vintage cars and live entertainment!
12-4pm / Temple City Park
(626) 285-2171 /

American Heart Association 2016 Heart Walk   Oct. 15
Our team is participating to promote physical activity to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
7am / Santa Clarita – Bridgeport Park: 23520 Brindgeport Ln.

Belmont Shore Art Walk & Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest   Oct. 15
This event will showcase the works of diverse artists who will use chalk as their medium, and the sidewalks of Belmont Shore as their canvas.
11am-4pm / 2nd Street, Long Beach  
(562) 434-3066 /

Long Beach Oktoberfest   Oct. 15
Activities include contests, live bands, Oom Pah, German food truck, and more!
12-6pm / Shoreline Aquatic Park: 200 Aquarium Way

Trick or Treat for Hunger   Oct. 15
We are seeking volunteers to go door-to-door to collect canned food and non-perishable items, which will later be distributed to residents in need.
8:30am-12:30pm / Smith Park: 6016 Rosemead Boulevard  
(562) 942-2000 /

Arturo Sanchez, Sr. Halloween Parade   Oct. 15
Marching bands, service groups, equestrian groups, dancers, and more in this annual family event.
11am-3pm / Pioneer Blvd. & Mapledale St., Norwalk
(562) 929-5521 /

Water Fest 2016   Oct. 15
Join the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and the County of Los Angeles to learn family-friendly ways to be water smart! The day in the park will include food, games, activities, giveaways, and a raffle.
10am-2pm / Arcadia Park: 405 S. Santa Anita Avenue
(626) 574-5400 /

Calabasas Pumpkin Festival   Oct. 15-16
Inflatable Rides, Carnival Games, Safari Train ride, Pinewood Derby Race, Mummy Wrap Contests, Pumpkin Pie Eating Contests, Live Entertainment, Reptiles & Nature Shows, Pumpkin Carving Demos, Kids Arts & Crafts, Car Show, Delicious Food, Beer & Wine Garden, Craft Marketplace, Pumpkin Pavilion and “Main Street” Business Expo.
10am-5pm / Juan Bautista De Anza Park: 3701 Lost Hills Road
(818) 222-5680 /

The Landscape Expo   Oct. 19-20
The Expo hosts over 600 exhibits and more than 40 educational seminars hosted by successful business experts, entrepreneurs and landscape professionals.
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center

Haunted Maze and Movie   Oct. 21
Admission is $5 per person or individuals may bring 3 canned food items. The Haunted Maze will take place inside the Michael Landon Center and will feature Zombies, Clowns and other creatures that will get your skin crawling! The move will be “Frankenweenie.”
5-9pm / Malibu Bluffs Park: 24250 PCH  
(310) 456-2489 x350 /

Hurst Ranch Harvest Festival   Oct. 22
We have woodworking projects, a petting zoo, leather craft with Cowboy Larry, panning for gold, Native American Indian craft and storytelling, quilting, spinning, weaving demonstration.
10am-2pm / 1227 South Orange Ave., West Covina

Buster Balloon’s Halloween SPOOK’tacular   Oct. 22
Creepy comedy, spooky magic, and monstrous balloon creations guaranteed to have your little monsters howling with laughter and screaming with delight!
2:30pm / Arcadia Public Library: 20 W. Duarte Rd.
(626) 574-5400 /

Glendale K-9s in the Park   Oct. 22
LIVE Police K-9 Demos, Pet Adoptions, Vendor Booths, BBQ/Refreshments, Raffle Prizes, Pet First-Aid Seminars, Low-Cost Pet Vaccinations, Bouncers/Face Painting for Kids, Pet Costume and Speed Contests, Food Truck and more!  
10am-3pm / Verdugo Park – 1621 Canada Blvd.

A Frightfully “Fintastic” Fishy Fest   Oct. 25-26
Get into the spirit of the season at Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium with a “fintastic” Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.
12:30-5pm / 1600 Ocean Front Walk  
(310) 393-6149 /

Malibu Halloween Carnival   Oct. 28
Costume contest, carnival games, trick-or-treat, food trucks and bounce houses.
3-6pm / Malibu Bluffs Park: 24250 PCH
(310) 317-1364 /

Whittier Halloween Capers   Oct. 29
Please join us as we hand out treats at the Grassy Area in Historic Uptown Whittier as well as participating merchants along Greenleaf. Other activities include a costume contest for all ages, kids games, and a photo booth!
3-5pm / Historic Uptown Whittier
(562) 696-2662 /

Paws & Schnauze Pet Expo   Oct. 29
Rescues & Adoptions, Fido Fun Walk/Parade, Parkwide Beer Garden and much more!
10am-5pm / Shoreline Aquatic Park, Long Beach
(714) 375-2188 /

Glendora Community EXPO & Career Fair   Oct. 29
We are working with GUSD and COUSD to involve all the local students to give them a chance to talk with business professionals on what it takes to run your own business.
10am-2pm / Arrow High School, Glendora  
(626) 963-4128 /

Children’s Fall Harvest Festival   Oct. 30
Entertainment includes Main Stage and roving magic acts; performance by Jumbo Shrimp Circus; a children’s participation drum circle; culinary demonstrations; story-telling; a variety of arts and crafts projects emphasizing “Color is Magic” and more.
12-4pm / Rancho Los Alamitos, Long Beach  
(562) 431-3541 /

Prepared Peninsula Expo   Oct. 30
The four cities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula are teaming up in an effort to educate our residents and the broader community on Emergency Preparedness.
12-3pm / Harlyne J. Norris Pavilion, Rolling Hills Estates

Temple City Halloween Spooktakular   Oct. 31
Our Halloween event is back with all the family favorites: carnival games, raffles, food trucks and tons of candy!
6-9pm / Live Oak Park
(626) 285-2171 /

Norwalk Halloween Festival   Oct. 31
Games, activities, live entertainment and a costume contest. Food is available for purchase as well. Don’t miss out on this safe alternative to trick or treating.
6-9pm / City Hall: 12700 Norwalk Blvd.

Rosemead Trunk or Treat   Oct. 31
Costume contest, stage entertainment, food and craft booths.
6-8:30pm / Rosemead Community Recreational Center
(626) 569-2160 /

May 13

How California home prices got sky-high

In California, where the average home price is roughly two-and-a-half times the national average, buying your first home is more than a little daunting.

Just ask Michael Soussa. The 31-year-old, who works in engineering sales, grimaced his way through an open house in Eagle Rock. The three-bedroom house had all the hallmarks of an on-trend flip: dark hardwood, Edison bulb light fixtures, subway tile in the kitchen.

But the $649,000 price tag — $549 per square foot — was “ridiculous,” he said.

“For a single guy, 31, who makes good money, it’s very difficult to buy a home,” Soussa said.

With home prices in much of L.A. at pre-recession levels, or exceeding them, first-time buyers are struggling to break into the market.

To be considered, buyers must often put down big down payments or even full cash offers. They have to agree to the seller’s terms, such as a long —  or short — escrow period.  And there’s no forgetting the “love letter,” a personal appeal written to the sellers. Real estate broker Carol Huston recalled the buyer who sent a photo of herself with a pet frog to the sellers.

“She said that she loves this house for her and her frog,” Huston said. “But you know, it worked! They thought it was so charming.”

Drayson Helberg, a 29-year-old art director, has only been house-hunting for a few months, but he knows the drill.

“The decent properties are swooped up almost instantly. And the list price is never the actual price,” Helberg said. Multiple bidders drive up the home value. “What are you going to do? That’s the game out here.”

But it wasn’t always this way. Decades ago, California home prices were more in line with the rest of the country.

Supply and demand

At the turn of the 20th century, California’s population really took off. Americans moved west for  the good weather, the beach and the jobs. By the 1950s, California had more than 10 million residents. In Los Angeles, wide swaths of single-family homes were getting built.  

Brian Uhler of the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office said these sprawling developments took up much of the buildable land, giving L.A. its signature suburban look.

“That means there isn’t much buildable land left that isn’t re-developing some old building or re-developing an old lot,” he said.  

Uhler said the best way to create more housing at this point is by building more multi-family buildings, like condominium and apartment complexes. But tall apartment buildings don’t go over well with neighbors who have grown up accustomed to the suburban California look, and fear blocked views and more traffic.

Uhler said in the 1970s, homeowners began to demand — and get — more restrictions on development.

“Things like, only a certain number of units can be built in our city in a given year, or that zoning changes can only occur if the voters approve it,” Uhler said.

And at the state level, lawmakers passed the California Environmental Quality Act, also known as CEQA, in 1970. It aimed to measure the environmental impact of building projects — and hold developers accountable. But developers contend CEQA is being used to delay or stop projects from being built. Whether CEQA should be revised remains aconstant source of debate.

“Not in my backyard”

Development slowed even while California’s population kept growing. By 1980, home prices had risen 80 percent higher than the rest of the country, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. Compounding the problem, wages have not kept up with home prices, both for renters and home owners. 

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has set a goal of building 100,000 new housing units by 2021. But developments continue to run into resistance by neighborhood activists who say city officials are letting builders put up projects with little regard for neighborhood character or sustainability. A campaign led by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation based in Hollywood wants voters to put a two-year moratorium on large-scale developments

Matt Epstein closely watches the real estate market as a broker for Berkshire Hathaway in Los Angeles and the 21-year vice president of one of the city’s largest homeowner associations in Sherman Oaks, with over 2,000 members.

“I don’t think there’s a solution in terms of supply and demand,” Epstein said.

He agrees there needs to be more housing. But, he said, the city’s aging infrastructure — crumbling sidewalks, bursting water mains — isn’t equipped to support more people.

His homeowner group is currently fighting a planned development with300 apartments because members think it will worsen traffic and air quality,  increase crime and lower property values.

Epstein said when homeowners oppose projects like this, it’s not simply because of a ‘not-in-my-backyard’ mindset.

“Fix the backyard first, and then let’s talk about having more guests over,” Epstein said.

Bidding wars

The developments that do get built take years to get through the red tape. In the meantime, more people need homes. The population of Los Angeles topped 4 million for the first time last year.  Historically-low interest rates are motivating more people to buy. But inventory is low, as baby boomers stay in their homes longer.

That creates fierce competition among first-time homebuyers.

Dale Jordan, a ballet dancer and new mom, has made at least nine bids on homes since January. She’s originally from the village of Stonybrook in eastern Long Island, where the median price of a home is half the price of homes she’s looking at in Los Angeles.

“The amount of cash you’re paying, you can buy two or three houses,” Jordan said.

So she’s had to re-adjust her expectations. She offered cash on a house in Glassell Park last month.

But it wasn’t enough. Her broker said there were more than 60 bids. The house sold $725,000 — $150,000 over the initial asking price.

May 09

Real Estate Market at a Glance

The table below contains the latest reported existing home sales series, median home prices, unsold inventory index, median time on market, first-time buyer housing affordability index, and the latest mortgage rates.

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