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Palm Springs-Desert Water Agency raises rates starting July 1

by Steve Enlow - DRE #01368794

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Thousands of people in the Coachella Valley will soon pay more to keep their water running.  Desert Water Agency, the second largest water provider in the valley, will raise rates by about 22%.  DWA said that equates to about $12.64 for an average single-family home.  The rate increase goes into effect on July 1. "Pretty tough, pretty tough on everybody," said Doug Kincaid.  "I don't know how they're going to do it, I don't know how, how you going to do it?"

DWA's general manager David Luker says this is the last phase of an incremental rate adjustment process.  The first took place in 2010, the next 2012, now this one.  The board approved the increase after an 11 year stretch in the 90s, without one.  "We were able to hold cost where they were, do things differently, use less people, but we've kind of run out of that ability," said Luker. 

By law, water agencies cannot charge people more than it costs to provide the service. Despite the increase, a graph on the agency's website shows DWA still carries one of the lowest rates in the region.

Luker says the jump in prices for customers means the agency's expenses are also rising. "There are costs that we can't avoid, cost increases, one this year is electricity," said Luker. 

DWA, like all Southern California Edison customers must deal with an increase of 5-10%.  On its website, Edison points to the growing cost of power as the main reason for the hike. No matter the reason for the utility increases, it could create some major issues for low-income families.  Martha's Village and Kitchen says it's preparing to give out food to more people who might struggle with the new prices.  "Based on the income they have coming in, a lot of times people will choose to stay fed," said Richard Guiss, the director of development. 

Luker says DWA is sensitive to those in need and already works with customers to make payment arrangements. "I may not like to hear some of those comments, but I think that's about my only response is we're as lenient as we can be," said Luker. 

Palm Springs Area-Real Estate: Coachella Valley home supply swells

by Steve Enlow - DRE #01368794

The short supply of houses and condos for sale in the Coachella Valley, a squeeze that was typical over the past year, gained breathing room in January, two new housing reports show.

Inventory increased to 2,948 single-family homes and 1,289 condos for sale in January. The swell is an uptick from 2,690 homes and 1,269 condos in December, according to a report from the California Desert Association of Realtors, which tracks housing data through its Multiple Listing Service.

Last year, the supply across the desert had hit a low point of 1,950 homes and 866 condos in July.

Median prices and the number of sales, however, fell in January from December, according to DataQuick, a San Diego-based firm that compiles reports from public records.

The median price of total homes and condos dipped 4.6 percent to $260,000 in January. But that figure is still a 17.6 percent spike from a year ago in January 2013, according to DataQuick.

Total sales across the valley sank to 761 in January, down 12.8 percent from December and 4 percent from January 2013, according to DataQuick.

Some numbers from DataQuick differed from those reported by the California Desert Association of Realtors.

DataQuick reported that the median price of existing single-family homes dropped 5.6 percent month-over-month to $278,500. But the Realtors association reported that the median price actually increased from $325,000 in December to $375,800 in January.

Valleywide, the most expensive home sold for $3.5 million in La Quinta. The next highest sales were $2.4 million in Palm Desert and $2 million in the Indio and Bermuda Dunes areas.

New construction home sales continued to do well as more tract developments came online. The median price of 33 new home sales in January ballooned from the previous month to $455,500.

Distressed property sales made up 12 percent of single-family home sales in the valley in January, the same as December and a drop from 29 percent in January 2013. Distressed condo sales dipped 2 percentage points to 9 percent of all condo sales in January.

 

Business and real estate reporter Dominique Fong can be reached at (760) 778-4661, dominique.fong@ thedesertsun.com and on Twitter @dominiquefong.

 

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Photo of Steve Enlow - BRE #01368794 Real Estate
Steve Enlow - BRE #01368794
Desert Sands Realty
78000 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 202
Palm Desert CA 92211
(760)880-3675
Fax: (760)262-3232