Author: Hale Andrew Antico

Los Angeles county median home price

Los Angeles County Median Home Price 2020 (2021 update)

Los Angeles County Median Home Price 2020 (2021 update)

The Los Angeles County median home price 2020 can be tricky to determine. There are different sources that say different things, and it’s not clear as of this writing in early 2021 which of the many options will be relied upon by courts and trustees.

This is provided as information only, and is not legal advice. If you are thinking of filing bankruptcy, do not rely upon this information, as you’re assuming all risk and are literally gambling with your home and will have only yourself to blame if you use the wrong numbers for the Los Angeles County median home value.

See a bankruptcy attorney for more updated information before you file.

Average is not Median

los angeles county median home value
The Los Angeles County median home value is not the mean

Before we can determine what the Los Angeles County median home price is, we’ll need to know what it’s not. A median is not the same as the average. This takes us back to high school math, but a quick couple of definitions:

  • Average (or mean): this is where you add up the data, and then divide by the number of data points
  • Median: this is where you list all the data, and then take the number which is at the midpoint

So, as you can see, the median is not the same as the L.A. County average home value.

The Median Changes Over Time

Because the median is the midpoint of all the data, each time there’s another home sale, the median changes and moves. You may figure with a random distribution of data, there would be an equal likelihood that future sales will be about half above and half below the median, keeping the median the same. But home prices change over time and are not static, and particularly during a virus pandemic like the COVID-19 coronavirus we had last year in 2020.

For example, you might find some data sources that list the 2020 Los Angeles County median home price for last year, but only through December. In December, there were a new round of stay-at-home orders, as the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increased.

What impact does a government order to shelter-in-place have on home sales? Can you assume that houses would sell for the same prices in December around the holidays as they do during the summer when people move a lot and kids are usually out of school?

The Los Angeles County median home price is not the same as that for the L.A. area

Los Angeles County is one of the largest counties in the United States, with over 4,000 square miles. While you may find data for the metropolitan area, that’s very different than the numbers for Los Angeles County. Why? Because L.A County goes from South Bay all the way up to the Antelope Valley and Lancaster. The Los Angeles County median home price is pulling together data from all these.

Los Angeles County is home to about 10,000,000 people, while the city of L.A. has “only” 4,000,000. If you use only city data, you’re missing out on home values in remote areas in LA County like Littlerock and Pearblossom on the 138 and on the way to Vegas.

The Median Home Value is not the same as Median Home Sales Price

You can find some sites which average the values of the homes in the L.A. area, or even Los Angeles County. The problem with that is this: you’re using their own estimate about the Los Angeles county median home values, even those that didn’t sell, when what you’re really needing is the sales price of homes that actually sold.

After reviewing all the above, you can see that we’re looking for a very specific thing here, and no one website reports the Los Angeles County median home price, or has information that in 2021 is depended upon reliably as the “go to” source for Los Angeles County median home value information. Over time, maybe one place will emerge, but for now there’s just a few “almost there” entries.

Some Data Sources Which are Close

which data source can provide the los angeles county median home price
Which, if any, of the various data sources can provide the Los Angeles county median home price ?

With all that being said, you can understand the challenge of finding the Los Angeles County median home price.  Most websites are using averages, some have only the L.A. area, and none of them let you have access to the data of all the home sales so you can calculate the median yourself.

 

Zillow: this company is famous for using its proprietary “Zestimate” to approximate home values. For example, if you go here, you can find what Zillow calls “the typical home value of homes in Los Angeles.”

But that number isn’t clear…. What does “typical” mean – average or median? Remember, they’re different.  Home value or home price? There’s no indication this is relying on sales data. And for what time period? Now, at this snapshot in time, last month, this year, or last year?

The website doesn’t say what the Los Angeles County median home price is. It also doesn’t say if it includes single-family homes, is only single-family homes, or something else.

Realtor: This website features real estate, but if you dig down deep enough, you can find market data, research, and trends. It provides data by month, not year, and appears to be providing listing prices, not sales prices.

Redfin: Redfin is another national real estate website, which tracks listings and sales, and helps connect home buyers to realtors. It has market data and trends, but seems to be restricted to only Los Angeles city, not all of Los Angeles county median home price info.

CAR: The California Association of Realtors also has some market data. But it cautions that the data which it is using comes from over 90 associations and counts “single family detached homes only” and “median price changes may exhibit unusual fluctuation.”

Trulia: Similarly, Trulia is a real estate website that tracks home sales and house prices. It has a way to filter for L.A. and show market information at the bottom of the page, but doesn’t show Los Angeles county median home price or value info.  It appears to list home values the way Zillow does, but it doesn’t appear to be relying on sales data.

News reports: You may find news reports from Los Angeles-based newspapers that report data on home sales prices.

Note: you may find some websites that provide spreadsheets of Los Angeles County median home price data, and lists medians by month. Taking the median of the medians isn’t the same as the median of all the sales data, you’re just creating garbage data. To find the true median home price of Los Angeles County, you’d have to have access to all the sales data, something very few people have.

And that’s the problem:  no one person has the data, and different places which are close report different numbers for the Los Angeles county median home value.

While some of these are close, none of these seem to provide “the” number which can be relied upon, especially for something which involves risking your home.

Summing up

Is there one bottom line source for Los Angeles County median home price? No, and honestly, a lot of us are trying to sift through all this information to make sense of it. Maybe in the months ahead, one choice will crystalize as the one we all rely upon.

This will likely be after litigation and people guess wrong and lose their homes in some cases because they guessed wrong on home value.  But for now, there is not one number that we can reliably “bet the house” is the median home price in Los Angeles County.

Be very cautious, use this at your own risk, and best of luck to you in your future.

Contact us

If you’re in Los Angeles County, request a case evaluation, which we can set up by Zoom.


    california median income

    California Median Income Reaches Historic Milestones

    California Median Income Reaches Historic Milestones

    The California median income is a good guide to how well residents in the Golden State are doing financially. The California economy (until this week’s Coronavirus outbreak) was sitting pretty, and its citizens are earning income. The numbers used to qualify for a “straight bankruptcy” have broken some very notable milestones.

    Recent California Median Income

    Starting on April 1, 2020, the California median income for a household of one has broken the $60,000 threshold. The median income for a household of one in the Golden State is now $60,360.

    Even more amazing, a family of four has a California median income of $101,315. This is the first time in recent memory, if ever, that a median household of four in Calif has earned six figures.

    The significance of these numbers — $60,000 and $100,000 — applies to bankruptcy. The Department of Justice uses numbers from the Census as a preliminary measuring stick. They’re used to assess whether a debtor or debtors qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Not everyone is eligible, with the alternative being debt repayment with high income.  In theory, people earning $60,000 and $100,000 would ave a relatively easy time doing a bankruptcy and not repaying their debt.

    See our median income article for a more thorough explanation. Also, you’ll find updated numbers, and the median income amounts used for other household sizes. The values change frequently, and by the time you read this page may have gone down due to COVID-19’s impact on the economy, so check that link for the latest amounts.

    chapter 13 debt limits

    Chapter 13 Debt Limits: One Factor to be Free of Debt

    Chapter 13 Debt Limits: One Factor to be Free of Debt

    Why Debt Limits in Chapter 13?

    There are Chapter 13 debt limits. These figures are set by law and are adjusted regularly, and restrict which cases can be in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As you might know, Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves repaying some or all of your debt. People will sometimes ask, “do I qualify for chapter 13?” The answer, like to many legal questions is, “it depends.” One factor of many involves the Chapter 13 debt limits.

    The purpose is so that the Chapter 13 trustee doesn’t administer cases that are too large and burdensome. At some point, the line is drawn, and let’s face it, in Southern California where this Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney practices, the secured Chapter 13 debt limit is inadequate. If someone has a rental property, they’re probably over the line and don’t qualify, which is hardly fair.

    To qualify for Chapter 13, which is officially called a reorganization bankruptcy, a few things have to be looked at. First, a good Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney will examine your cash flow. That is, can you afford to repay your debts? Or are you struggling to keep your lights on?

    Unsecured and Secured: the Chapter 13 Debt Limits

    Second, you have to compare your debts against the debt limits. These numbers constantly change. And to be honest, we bankruptcy lawyers have to look them up, since in most cases they’re not a factor. And just when we learn them, they change again.

    So, as of 2020, the Chapter 13 debt limits are

    • Unsecured debt: $419,275
    • Secured debt: $1,257,850

    These values took effect on 4/1/2019, and seem to be still be the most current. Normally, you’d check a government website for updated values. However, as of this writing, even the courts are still listing the chapter 13 debt limits that are from before 2019.

    Some Blurred Line Examples

    Even this is oversimplifying things, because where do lawsuits fall? That is, if someone has taken you to court, is it a secured debt or an unsecured one? What if you think you’ll win: does it count as a debt at all?

    Another issue arises with student loans, particularly if you cosigned as a parent plus loan and it’s not really your debt. Or is it?

    Further, tax debt is another tricky one. Is it unsecured, secured  or both? And what if it’s priority, can it also count against the unsecured debt?

    There are a lot more issues that can arise, so you’ll want to consult with a skilled Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney who specializes in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    2021 median income limits

    2021 Median Income Limits to Nail the Bankruptcy Means Test in California Median Income

    2021 Median Income Limits to Nail the Bankruptcy Means Test | California Median Income

    The government recently updated the 2021 median income limits numbers. Using median household income, it again got easier to qualify for bankruptcy Chapter 7, because of another means test adjustment. The means test for bankruptcy decides who qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy eligibility. The first step of this process is comparing your median household income against the California median income limits set by the Department Of Justice guidelines to see if you earn less than bankruptcy median income limits.

    The means test limits adjusts over time.  So, someone may not qualify according to the bankruptcy means test in one month but after the changes they do, or vice-verse. The last updates were in November 2020, and are likely changing again in 2021. Here are the 2021 bankruptcy median income figures to determine who can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Means Test: 2021 Median Income Adjustments

    2021 median income limits
    2021 median income numbers are much higher than in years past

    Every now and then, the government updates the bankruptcy median income limits. They last did it in November 2020. Good news: the California 2021 median income numbers are now even higher, increasing household income for bankruptcy means test qualifying. This means that more people could qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy using the California median income numbers below.

    2021 Median Income for California Households

    Because the California median income changes maybe once or twice a year, these recent changes late last year will be the first numbers used for 2021 median income. You’ll see below there’s talk about household size. Notice also that larger families also get a break, as the amount for each additional member after 4 increases another $9,000. This is helpful for households of five people or more.

    What is Median Household Income

    When reviewing median household income, we start splitting hairs, since not every home is a traditional household. So, things start getting kind of cloudy on what is or isn’t a household. It isn’t always clear who counts in a household. There may be a difference if you have a roommate who pays rent. What if you’re married? Or have kids but they’re adults. Do you live with your significant other, who has their own finances? Would the answer be different if you had kids together, but weren’t married? Maybe they’d all be considered by the government to be in your household. Or, maybe they’re not. Call and let’s meet to talk about it.

    But below are the California median income limits for the various household sizes.

    California household size and California median income for Bankruptcy
    • 1-person household: $62,171
    • 2-person household: $82,418
    • 3-person household: $91,605
    • 4-person household: $105,232
    • Each additional person: $9,000

    These are the California median income numbers as of early 2021. If it’s later in the year or you’re looking for the median household income for a different state, please review the DOJ link above.

    Read Our Means Test Guide.

     

     

    2021 Median Income Isn’t Everything

    If you’re over the bankruptcy median, there’s still hope

    The means test and 2021 median income isn’t the “end all be all.” It’s just a starting point. A person can still file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in some cases, even if they earn more than the median income. The bankruptcy means test would just need to be filled out completely. It’s still possible to qualify.

    Over the years, this Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney has helped people who earn over the California median income limits still qualify for Chapter 7. In one case, we even helped a family whose annual income was almost double the median household income. They were earning around $150,000 a year, and we helped them get a Chapter 7 discharge (your mileage may vary). However, even if someone isn’t eligible, there is still a way out of debt in Chapter 13.

    Being Under the Bankruptcy Median Income Doesn’t Guarantee Success

    On the other hand, just because someone is earning less than the California median income, it’s possible that they’re not eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy is all about whether someone can afford to repay their debt or not, and the means test is just one factor.

    Note: the median income numbers are not to be confused with the Los Angeles County median home price figures, and each has a different place in evaluating Chapter 7.

    Finally, as the economy is always changing, so does California median household income. We don’t know the next time changes to the median income limits will happen again. So, be sure to check before relying on these California median income limits in the future.

    CONTACT A LOS ANGELES BANKRUPTCY LAWYER TO SEE IF YOU QUALIFY

    Sworn in President Hale Antico

    Attorney Hale Andrew Andrew Named President

    Attorney Hale Andrew Andrew Named President

    Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Hale Andrew Antico was named president of one of the nation’s largest groups of bankruptcy lawyers in late 2019. The CDCBAA, a group of Southern California bankruptcy attorneys, elevated and swore in Attorney Antico to lead the group at its annual Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner. It’s an honor to be chosen to lead such a talented and dedicated collection of bankruptcy professionals.

    Below is Hale Antico’s first president’s message for the CDCBAA‘s January 2020 newsletter.


    Happy new year, and allow me the word play of wishing you great “2020 vision.” As incoming President of the CDCBAA, it’s easy to see an organization that is vibrant, successful, and thriving.

    This success is due, in large part, to past presidents, including my immediate predecessor, Roksana Moradi-Brovia. As her Vice-President the past two years, I was privileged to see up-close how much Roksana cares about the CDCBAA as evidenced by her contagious passion, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. Roksana will remain on the CDCBAA board of directors, and continue helping provide the excellent programs to which we’ve grown accustomed.

    With some recent hindsight, I look back at the success in November of the Calvin Ashland Award Dinner. The CDCBAA Trustee of the Year in 2019 was Howard Ehrenberg. Howard was introduced by a wonderful speech from Peter Anderson, the United States Trustee for Region 16. Howard himself gave an amusing but insightful address, where he highlighted the time-consuming, but often-fruitless search for assets in many offbeat types of cases which Chapter 7 trustees have the duty to perform. Our bankruptcy system relies on a balance of judges, trustees, and attorneys, each important for its smooth operation. Howard’s sense of professional courtesy, compassion, and fairness make him a key member of our community.

    Looking around at the present, we see a bankruptcy landscape where filings remain down overall (28,861 new chapter 7 cases filed in 2019, just above the year prior), continuing a decade-long trend since the Great Recession. The CDCBAA is a valuable community of information-sharing, knowledge, and learning. Members can stay informed with important case decisions, news that affects consumer lawyers (both nationally and locally), and dive deeper in lesser-known areas of our specialty. The slowdown in filings creates an opportunity to invest time in the CDCBAA and to share knowledge with and learn from the community.  

    Peering ahead into the future, 2020 is sure to be an exciting year. We are about to kick off the year with the always-popular Ninth Circuit Review of the prior year’s bankruptcy cases, and the James T. King Symposium coming up this summer, with other valuable programs in between. Later this year, we’ll honor a Judge of the Year, and I’m excited to see who this will be. But mostly, I look forward to the CDCBAA keeping a sharp focus on strengthening the bonds between the debtor bar and the judges and trustees, in elevating the practice of bankruptcy law, and keeping our goal of benefiting the consumer debtor who needs our help, truth, and compassion.

    Hale Andrew Antico is President of the CDCBAA, and has practiced bankruptcy law in Palmdale and Santa Clarita for over 15 years.

    Woman Facing Jail

    Disclose, Disclose, Disclose: Woman Facing Jail for Bankruptcy Fraud

    When you file bankruptcy, you’re signing a stack of papers under oath, and then you’ll be asked, under penalty of perjury, whether they list all your assets, income, and about any recent transfers. The wrong answer could land you in jail for bankruptcy fraud.

    A woman in Michigan recently pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud. Wait, jail? Bankruptcy is just forms, right? Just before filing bankruptcy, she had received a $12,000 workers’ compensation award, then made it disappear, then lied about the whole thing. Now she faces five years in prison, $250,000 fine, or both.

    The sad kicker is this: in California, this likely could’ve been avoided. Had everything been disclosed, and then properly exempted, she’d be free today, enjoying her discharge and money. Had she just told the truth to her bankruptcy lawyer, and then in the bankruptcy papers, a good Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney could have exempted the award, and she’d have it to spend when the bankruptcy is over.

    By trying to save a few bucks on maybe the best bankruptcy lawyer, she’ll not only lose $12,000, but maybe twenty times that, and her freedom. Contact me today for a consultation, and let’s guide you to a honest fresh start.

     

    California bankruptcy exemptions can save your house.

    California Homestead Exemption to Save Your Home (2021 update)

    California Homestead Exemption – 2021 update

    The California homestead exemption can help you save your home from creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is liquidation; the bankruptcy trustee can take your stuff. They don’t take the shirt off your back, but at some point they draw the line regarding what you can keep. These are the bankruptcy exemptions, and each state has its own. The California exemptions include a way to protect some home equity.

    There are two sets of California bankruptcy exemptions. Bankruptcy attorneys call these the 703s and 704s. The California homestead exemption is found in the 704s, at California Code of Civil Procedure 704.730.

    The California Homestead Exemption 2021

    In 2021, California homestead exemption increased dramatically. What this means to the person contemplating filing bankruptcy is that more of their home equity can be protected. They really do take houses in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Previously (see below), the amount of home equity which could be protected was inadequate and hardly kept up with the inflated Calif real estate.

    But then in 2020, COVID-19 struck, and people were suddenly unable to pay their rent and mortgages. Partially in response to the pandemic, the state legislature passed and the governor signed a dramatic increase to the California homestead exemption.

    The result is a system which depends upon the location where the house is, and has nothing to do with marital status or age. And this makes sense, as a homeowner in Ventura County probably has a higher home value than someone who owns a home in Barstow.  So, now homeowners who’ve lived at a home for 4 years or more get a minimum of $300,000 of home equity protection, and a maximum of $600,000 of California homestead exemption.

    READ: Some guidance on the Los Angeles County median home price might be

    The trick is no one knows for sure what the data source for county median is. And if you haven’t lived at the property long enough, you don’t get the above protections. So you will want to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney before you risk your house.

     

    The Three Homestead Exemptions in California Before 2021

    The California homestead exemption can save your house.
    Don’t risk losing your house in Chapter 7. Talk to a experienced bankruptcy attorney about the bankruptcy exemptions and homestead exemption in California.

    Firstly, there’s the bankruptcy exemption that a single homeowner gets. This is in subsection (a)(1). In 2020, a single person who lives in a house gets to protect $75,000 of home equity under the California exemptions.

    Secondly, there’s a higher exemption for a married person’s residence. This is in (a)(2). The California homestead exemption for a married person is $100,000.

    Finally, if you can tick one of three boxes, you get the superduper $175,000 homestead exemption in California’s bankruptcy exemptions. To level-up and qualify for this, you have to either be:

    • 65 years old;
    • have a disability that prevents gainful employment; or,
    • 55 years old, and make below a certain income level that changes from time to time

    This may seem simple, but what is “disabled?” What is “as a result of?” What is the income level, and which time period is measured? You’ll want to speak to a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your area. But in the right circumstances, someone filing consumer bankruptcy can protect a lot more house equity under this third option.

    Spouses Sometimes Count

    A final note: a good thing about, in particular, the $175,000 California homestead exemption is that it extends to the spouse of the person filing Chapter 7. So if the debtor is, say, 63 years old, but their husband is 67 but really doesn’t want to file bankruptcy, the 63 year old who does file Chapter 7 bankruptcy gets the $175,000 homestead exemption in California anyway.

    Be careful in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  It’s not always the best type of bankruptcies.

    Learn the differences between Chapter 7 bankruptcy vs 11 vs 13.

     

     

    You really should talk to a qualified Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer, as you get what you pay for, and it’s not worth risking your home. If you don’t do this right, you’re literally gambling with your house.

    Joey Lawrence bankruptcy

    Joey Lawrence Bankruptcy Ends

    Joey Lawrence Bankruptcy Ends

    Some actors from the 1990s show “Blossom” have gone on to fame and fortune. Mayim Bialik has struck gold on “Big Bang Theory.” Others like Joey Lawrence, not so much. Despite earning over $500,000 in 2015, he took home just $60,000 the next year. Joey didn’t cut back enough on spending, couldn’t keep up. In 2017 a Joey Lawrence bankruptcy was filed, claiming over $355,000 in debts.

    Joey Lawrence bankruptcy
    Joey Lawrence from Blossom

    With all that half-million-dollars income in 2015, Joey Lawrence still qualified for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. How can that be, you ask? Apparently he could barely cover his 2017 overhead, and passed the bankruptcy means test for Chapter 7. Now, in 2018, the Joey Lawrence bankruptcy has ended.

    The Chapter 7 trustee was able to liquidate over $75,000 in assets for the benefit of Joey Lawrence’s creditors. Often, taxes are priority debts and get paid first, before the other, nonpriority unsecured debts. In the Joey Lawrence bankruptcy, the IRS didn’t even get half its debt. The same goes for the Franchise Tax Board.

    Chapter 7 Can Be Tough

    Chapter 7 involves losing stuff, and while Joey apparently didn’t have income to repay his debts, he had things the Chapter 7 trustee could take. So that’s what happened, and after almost a year, his case is now over and he can move on with his life.

    People think that Chapter 7 is always better, and sometimes it is. But each situation is different and there are times someone is better off in another of the types of bankruptcies.

    Finally, we’re often shocked when a famous celebrity we assume is rolling in cash falls on hard times. But acting is a profession just like being an engineer, sheriff deputy, or registered nurse. It’s human nature to spend what we earn. However, when the overtime is gone or next acting gig doesn’t come, not everyone adjusts their spending. The Joey Lawrence bankruptcy is a example that could be any one of us.

    credit after bankruptcy

    Credit After Bankruptcy Discharge Doable – study from LendingTree

    Credit After Bankruptcy Discharge Doable – study

    Last week, LendingTree, the largest online lender, released study results about credit after bankruptcy discharge. It followed people after their case was completed. This is consistent with my article asserting that there is indeed credit after bankruptcy discharge.

    credit after bankruptcy
    Yes, Virginia, there is credit after bankruptcy.

    The researchers learned that a credit score of 640 or more was achievable after bankruptcy:

    • one year after bankruptcy for 43 percent of borrowers
    • two years after bankruptcy for 65 percent of borrowers

    In fact, the researchers concluded:

     

    People recovering from a bankruptcy are in a similar position to anyone who needs to repair their credit standings. The study finds no indication that people in the aftermath of a bankruptcy will have a harder time accessing credit than their peers who did not file for bankruptcy (except for potential mortgage loan embargos caused by the Fannie Mae policy discussed above).  Some people may even find themselves in a much better position to recover, thanks to a reset of their debt-to-income ratios.

    See also LendingTree’s pointers for how to rebuild credit after bankruptcy discharge. This validates everything we’ve been teaching people, and shows that even if you feel trapped by bad credit, a bankruptcy can provide the fresh start you need.