Jack Gillespie has been selling real estate in the South Bay Los Angeles since May 15, 1973 (he remembers the exact date). Back then, only one fixed rate loan was available and a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Manhattan Beach Tree Section home went for around $50,000. In 1985 Jack Gillespie co-founded South Bay Brokers with Jim Van Zanten, now one of the largest firms in the South Bay. Jack Gillespie agrees that right now there’s a real shortage of inventory in the South Bay. “We haven’t been this low on inventory since 2005,” he says, when loans were much more easily available. Today, people tend to hold on to their homes because they may not be able to take any equity into a new home if their mortgage is higher than the current value of their property. Also affecting inventory is the school system in the South Bay; people move here so their kids can attend the safe, good schools and they end up sticking around for at least twelve years, if not longer. Finally, speculative builders are just beginning to come back to the beach cities but have been largely gone for the past three or so years. “In the Tree Section, right now there are only 6, 8, maybe 10 spec homes so there’s really nowhere for people in the community to move up to,” Jack Gillespie says. Most new construction is happening on existing homes or involves tearing down older ones.
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