Daily Briefing: Mortgages soar, rally planned, Bel Air Greens public meeting, and more

Daily Briefing: Mortgages soar, rally planned, Bel Air Greens public meeting, and more

Kendall Balchan and Mark Talkington image

Kendall Balchan and Mark Talkington

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May 10, 2022

📅 It’s Tuesday, 5/10.

🌤️ Today’s weather: Intermittent clouds and 83 degrees.

🎶 Setting the mood: Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan.

💉 Situational awareness: The entire staff of The Post has now had Covid. It sucks. But we’re grateful we were both vaccinated and boosted and encourage you to reconsider if you are not.

This is a 5-minute read. Ready, set, go  …


Leading off: Mortgages soar along with home prices

Another month, another housing report from the Greater Palm Springs Realtors (GPSR), and the news is familiar: Prices are up, and inventory is scarce. But with mortgage rates climbing, even more people are getting priced out of homeownership throughout the Coachella Valley.

Driving the news: Mortgage rates are now over 5%, and home prices in Palm Springs are up about 40% year-over-year.

  • In April 2022, data shows the average-sized home in Palm Springs sold for $1.4 million. In April 2021, the average-sized home here sold for just over $1 million.

Playing with a mortgage calculator gets really depressing, really fast.

  • If you’re putting 20% down and have perfect credit, your monthly payment on the average Palm Springs home sold last month — before taxes, insurance, and possible HOA fees — would be about $6,000 at current mortgage rates.
     
  • Last April, with the average-sized home in the city selling at the $1 million price point and interest rates near 3%, your mortgage payment would have been about $3,400 a month.

Paying a premium: If you can find a home, don’t put much faith in the sticker price. The GPSR data shows those successfully landing offers in Palm Springs paid 5.2% over asking for a detached home and 4.2% above asking for condos, townhomes, and other attached dwellings. 

  • More than half (56%) of all homes sold in the Coachella Valley sold above list price last month. That’s the highest percentage in history.
     
    • Last year at this time, about 32% of homes were selling above asking. In a typical year? That percentage should be at 10%.

What else? Consider the following:

  • Across the entire Coachella Valley, the median price of an average single-family home continued to rise — averaging $670,500 in April — a gain of 19.8% over April 2021.
     
    • Compared to two years ago, the average price is up an “astonishing” 52%.
       
  • Condominium and townhome prices in the Valley also continued to increase, with an average sale price of $479,450 — a rise of 37% from a year ago and 60% from two years ago.

Supply-side: On May 1, there were 859 units available to purchase in the Valley, which is 149 units more than last year.

Demand-side: Homes in Palm Springs are on the market for about two weeks before being purchased, compared to 27 days last year.

Looking ahead: It’s not all doom and gloom. Realtors say they are “somewhat encouraged” by the slight increase in inventory over the past two months.

  • Yes, but: “We are still far below normal ratios of three and four months and these low ratios point to continuing upward pressure on home prices.”

In brief: Keeping up the pressure

Advocates for women’s healthcare rights spoke up outside Palm Springs City Hall last week.

After last week’s leak of a draft decision from the Supreme Court that would effectively overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, local advocates for women’s healthcare are committed tokeeping the issue front and center.

More local action: To keep up the momentum, Courageous Resistance and Indivisible of the Desert are holding a rally on Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. at Frances Stevens Park.

  • Nationwide movement: Saturday’s protest is a part of the “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action organized in part by the Women’s March Foundation and Planned Parenthood. There are at least 50 similar rallies planned across the country.

Instant outcry: The draft was leaked last Monday, and the next day Democratic Women of the Desert and the local Courageous Resistance chapter organized a rally outside City Hall attended by about four dozen people.

What’s at stake: In the week since the draft was released, legal experts have been sounding the alarm, saying other rights like birth control and marriage equality could be in jeopardy.

  • Total ban: 13 states have ‘trigger laws’ that would ban abortion as soon as the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the closest to California being Idaho and Utah.
     
  • Preparing for influx: One nonprofit estimates the number of people of childbearing age whose closest clinic is our state could rise from 46,000 to 1.4 million if Roe is overturned.
     
  • Safe haven: Governor Newsom and other lawmakers say they’re committed to making California a safe haven for people seeking abortions.

🤠 AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

coffee graphic

🐎 The veterans doing a coast-to-coast covered wagon ride we told you about on Monday stopped by American Legion Post 519 as promised. Jesus Reyes caught up with them. (KESQ)

🌊 Upcoming surf parks in Palm Springs and nearby are “like a fantasy … like Dubai.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

🐵 A chimpanzee that may or may not have been a movie star passed away Monday at ‘Casa de Cheeta’ on East Francis Drive. (The Desert Sun)

⚖️ A suspect in the fatal shooting a Palm Springs resident at the Cabazon outlet stores entered his plea. (NBC Palm Springs)


📅 On tap

Bel Air

⛳️ Today is the last opportunity to provide input at a public meeting on the application to convert the former Bel Air Greens golf course into lots for single family housing. Preliminary plans indicate the possible development of more than 70 homes. 

Driving the news: The leaseholder of the former golf course on El Cielo Road, Albert Howell, received a lashing for his plans at the last public meeting on the topic on April 6.

  • Wide open spaces: More than 100 people tuned into the last meeting, many spoke about wanting to preserve some of the last open space in the city.

Another buyer: Oswit Land Trust recently received a $4 million grant to purchase the land from its owners, five members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

  • The group says if they bought the land instead of developers, it would be preserved.
     
  • Due to grant restrictions, they can only pay market rate for the property.

Tonight’s meeting: This is the second and final public meeting that was required by the city.

Details: The meeting starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. Find the link and instructions on how to make a public comment here.

🗓️ Also today:

  • The Palm Springs Sunshine sisters are having coffee, at Koffi, at 8 a.m.
     
  • ONE-PS (The Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs) holds its monthly membership meeting this afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Palm Springs Pavilion.
     
  • The PSUSD Board of Education holds its regular meeting today in person at 4 p.m. at the District Administration Center. 
     
  • Jazz on the 2nd Floor runs from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.

📌 Looking ahead:

  • The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast is Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

  • The Palm Springs International Jazz Festival is this weekend at the Plaza Theatre. It’s part of the Oasis Music Festival, which starts Wednesday.

See our complete community calendar or list your event.


And finally …

Palm Springs International Airport Executive Director Harry Barrett (left) and Rep. Raul Ruiz.

Rep. Raul Ruiz toured Palm Springs International Airport Monday, touting $17.2 million in federal funding earmarked for the facility through a bipartisan infrastructure package and the American Rescue Plan.

  • Harry Barrett, who was promoted to executive director of the airport last week after serving in the role on an interim basis, along with Palm Springs City Councilmember Dennis Woods, served as guides.

By the numbers: The airport is in the midst of a growth spurt, fueled by the popularity of Palm Springs itself. More than 2 million total passengers used PSP in 2021, and records continue to be broken.

  • Under construction: In the past year, changes to the ticket lobby, baggage system, and passenger boarding bridges were all undertaken.
     
  • Future plans: During a working session last week, city staff outlined how some of the federal money will be spent. Expect to see a lot of work on the actual airfield, as well as improvements to restrooms and carpeting.
     
    • “We’re very pleased with the progress we’re seeing at the airport,” said Mayor Lisa Middleton.

Yes, but: Earlier Monday there were reports of a long line that formed due to insufficient staffing at the security checkpoint.

  • “What’s going on @flyPSP?” one passenger asked on Twitter at 6:39 a.m. “Only one TSA security person at Palm Springs airport. Hundreds of people stuck in line waiting. Many missing their flights.”

🧛‍♂️ Kendall is catching up on Dracula Daily, a newsletter that delivers the novel to your inbox each day.

🍨 Mark is celebrating his mom’s birthday and will have a bowl of ice cream in her honor.

📝 Miss a day? Read past newsletters here.

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