San Francisco Real Estate: Escrow Out Loud


#44: Hail to the Chief (Economist): Leslie Appleton-Young

This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we have a very special guest star! Leslie Appleton-Young, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the California Association of Realtors (CAR), joins us from her home base in Los Angeles to share some of the wisdom she's known for as well as her great insights into the California real estate market.

[00:21] CAR is a state-wide trade organization for organized real estate with more than 195,000 members and Leslie’s role involves directing the activities of the Association's Member Information Team. Her impressive list of responsibilities also includes overseeing analysis of the housing market and brokerage industry trends, close involvement in the Association’s strategic planning as well as leading the Woman Up Initiative.

[01:42] What is the job of Chief Economist? Economics is only part of what her job entails. Monitoring trends and looking at data on median house prices and sales activity is another part. On the CAR website there are dashboards that enable people to pull up information for localized areas by entering a zip codes or a city.

[05:32] How did Leslie come to work at the CAR? We get a little insight into her background.

[07:16] Leslie has invaluable experience gained during her years working in the male dominated field in the 80’s which were formative in helping her establish her career. She formed Woman Up as an opportunity to give back and offer support to other incredible women in the industry. Leslie’s advice is to say yes when offered opportunities! Do not fear you are not ready because we all tend to figure it out as we go.

[13:30] While she is sharing data on what is going on in the housingmarket Leslie generally also offers some great insights into what it is that is driving those numbers. So, what does she think the biggest trends are that are impacting California’s housing? The biggest factor that dictates where the market is heading is the inventory. The housing supply in California is currently lacking, partly due to a lack of new construction and partly because of a demographic shift. Boomers are not moving out of their homes as often and there are a few transactions.

[17:27] If there is a lack of homes on the market why are we not building more? There are solutions but generally people are against these options, due to the lack of infrastructure to support such growth. As a result, working class families and millennials are moving out and moving to areas where there is more development, cheap retirement options and/or strong job markets eg. Texas, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Nevada. For people choosing to stay in California, they need to re-evaluate what the American dream of home ownership will look like.

[24:06] How has Leslie’s job changed since she started in the 80’s? The internet and access to information has changed some aspects but the one thing that has never changed is the importance of communication.

[28:30] The Bay area, characterized by Leslie as a "petri dish", is an interesting location to keep an eye on as it is experiencing job growth, household growth and income growth but no housing growth. What will the implications of that look like?

[30:45] Matt wraps up with a quick story about being new to real estate and hearing Leslie speak.

Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!

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