Real Estate Insider by South Bay Digs is a new, cutting-edge video web series focused on top-of-the-minute, hyper-local real estate trends and events in the Southern California South Bay communities Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Every episode covers new and significant luxury home listings, current local real estate trends and statistics, and an interview with an influential South Bay real estate professional willing to lend their expertise on relevant and timely real estate market news.
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.
Jack Gillespie does envision prices going back to what they were at their highest point, in August '07. "There are still gaps in the market," he says, "but having so many buyers right now and so few properties, prices are going up."
Jack Gillespie has always had respect for real estate; towards customers, he believes, an agent must always be respectful. "You're a psychologist as much as a broker," he says about helping people with what is usually the biggest financial investment of their lives. "You're dealing with people expanding their lives and expanding their business, and on the other hand, people lose jobs and lose equity."
An agent can create lifelong relationships and help to foster a sense of community; South Bay Brokers has helped many people their final home, the one they always wanted, as well as many first homes for young couples. "People buy homes, have babies, and suddenly those babies are buying homes and having babies," Jack Gillespie chuckles.
South Bay Brokers is a consistent contributor to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, among many other local charity organizations such as Sandpipers and The Jimmy Miller Foundation. "You've got to learn to give back," says Jack Gillespie. "You have to support the infrastructure of the cities that you're working in and have a real interest in them." As a guy from a small town, he's very proud of the local Manhattan Beach fireworks display every Christmas to which he and his wife Maureen contribute each year; it reminds him that Manhattan Beach is a small town in the midst of a bustling metropolis. They've even sponsored the eel tank on the Manhattan Beach pier and lovingly refer to the inhabitants as "Jack and Maureen".
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