DAILY BRIEFING: Housing report, Kors staying put, and more

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, April 20. Expect sunshine and a high of 88 degrees today. First, some news you need to know …

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Inventory still lacking as home prices continue to soar

By Kendall Balchan

The cost of an average-size home in Palm Springs has increased dramatically since last year and homes are now selling here at a higher premium than anywhere else in the Coachella Valley, with a price per square foot of $600.

Buyers of single-family homes being sold in the city paid an average of $1,304,451 in March. At the same time, data shows those landing successful offers paid 4% over asking for an unattached home and 2.6% above asking for condos, townhomes, and other attached dwellings.

The data, provided by Greater Palm Springs Realtors (GPSR), shows the following:

  • In March, the sales price of an average size single-family home in Palm Springs (2,175 square feet) was up 29.4% from the March 2021 median price of $1,008,330.
  • Average size condominiums and townhomes (1,250 square feet) in the city sold for a median price of $441,798 in March — an increase of 34.3% compared with one year ago.
  • Across the entire Coachella Valley, the median price of an average single-family home continued to rise — averaging $660,000 in March, which is a gain of 20.2% over March 2021. 
  • Condominium and townhome prices in the Valley also continued to increase, with an average sale price of $450,000 — a rise of 30.4% from a year ago.
  • An average of 174 properties were sold each month in Palm Springs during the three months ending March. 31. One year ago, that number was 198.
  • On April 1, there were 678 units available to purchase in the Valley, compared with nearly 742 available units available on April 1, 2021.
  • While Palm Springs detached home buyers paid above the asking price for most homes, the scenario was not uncommon anywhere in the Coachella Valley. All 10 of the communities tracked by PSRAR saw homes sell for a premium.
  • The average time on the market for single-family homes was lowest in Coachella (18 days) and highest in Bermuda Dunes (33 days). In Palm Springs, single-family homes sold were in escrow an average of 19 days compared to 29 days the year before

When home sales are broken down by city, the report shows the largest decline in sales in La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage. The cities showing consistent growth remain Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, and Indio. 

Data from the March 2022 Greater Palm Springs Realtors report shows housing inventory continues to remain scarce.

One of the standout graphs on the report shows the steep drop in housing availability, with the Valley’s current inventory sitting at 678 units. The report states, “We continue to find it worrisome that there was no seasonal rise in inventory, which almost always occurs between October and April. It’s worrisome because the seasonal pattern now points to even lower inventory as we move toward September.”

The report concludes that the only hope for more inventory is a surge of new listings but judging by last month’s trends, that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

? Briefly

This downtown parking garage has been a mess for police to deal with. On Tuesday they said progress is being made on beefing up private security.

NO COACHELLA FOR PSPD; GARAGE IS FOCUS: Palm Springs police said Tuesday they are not assisting the Indio Police Department with patrolling the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, breaking with the department’s practice dating back several years. “We completely pulled out of working the event this year,” Capt. Mike Kovaleff said Tuesday, explaining that Indio police call on multiple departments in and around Riverside County for crowd control during the two-weekend music festival. “We are focused completely on Palm Springs.” Among the focus here, he said, is a downtown parking garage that has become a hotbed for late-night incidents of violence and public disturbances. To that end, explained Sgt. Frank Guarino, the department is continuing to work with a private security company and city officials. The security company currently has one guard to patrol the garage from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Wednesday through Monday, but hopes to add more, including patrols during the daytime.

KORS STAYING PUT: Contrary to reports on social media, former mayor and current Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors said this week he and his husband James Williamson are not moving out of the city when his term ends later this year. “James and I are likely going to travel and spend some time living in Europe,” Kors said via email, adding that Williamson is from Scotland and that his family still resides there. “We’ll then return home to Palm Springs.” Kors was first elected to the City Council in 2015 following a career in law, legislation, and government service that included time as the executive director of Equality California and assistant regional counsel for the US Environmental Protection Agency. He served as mayor between December 2019 and December 2020 – the first to serve in that role after Council members began rotating into the seat following the move to district-wide elections.

PUBLIC TRANSIT MASKS: One day after a federal judge in Florida struck down a federal mandate requiring masks on public transportation, transit agencies across Riverside County started dropping face-covering mandates on buses and trains. The Coachella Valley’s SunLine Transit Agency announced that “masks are no longer required” on SunLine buses or SunRide vehicles, although face coverings are still recommended. Similar announcements were made by The Riverside Transit Agency, Metrolink commuter rail service, and more agencies in Southern California.

? Today’s events

  • The Morning Coffee Book Club meets on Zoom starting at 10:30 a.m.

  • The Palm Springs Public Arts Commission meets on Zoom at 4 p.m.

  • The next PALS (Planning Ahead for LGBTQ Seniors) drop-in discussion is today at 4 p.m. on Zoom.

  • The Palm Springs Airport Commission meets at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom.

  • The Mizell Center’s 3rd Wednesday Speaker Series presents a panel discussion titled “Jazz in Palm Springs: Past, Present & Future” today, starting at 6 p.m.
Highlights of what’s happening today in Palm Springs. Find complete listings on our community calendar.

? What to watch for

  • The Palm Canyon Theatre’s next production, Monty Python’s Sir Spamalot, runs April 22 through May 1.

  • shredding and e-waste collection event is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, from 8 a.m. until Noon outside Palm Springs City Hall.

  • The Annual Preservation Matters Symposium is scheduled for this weekend, April 23 and 24, at Palm Springs Convention Center.

  • The next Lez Out Loud comedy show is slated for April 23. Emcee and Comedian Mina Hartong is joined by two other comedians during the event at Runway Bar and Grill.

  • The Books vs. Badges charity basketball game between Palm Springs High teachers and staff and Palm Springs Police Department officers is scheduled for April 26 at the high school gym.

  • third community meeting regarding the planned homeless navigation center along McCarthy Road is being held virtually  5:30 p.m. on April 27.

  • Desert Winds Freedom Band has its next performance on Sunday, May 1.

  • The Palm Springs International Jazz Festival is scheduled for the weekend of May 14 and 15 at the historic Plaza Theatre in Downtown Palm Springs.

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