According to just released Los Angeles County Assessor's data, La Habra Heights has suffered the largest decline in property values in its history.
In 2010, $73,980,000 of value was lost. This is equivalent to 148 homes and the land they sit on vanishing.
The decline of 6.3% in value, would erase the entire city in 16 years and is 16 times the decline that occured in the real estate crash in the early 1990s.
Below is a table showing L.A. County Assessor's Data from 1990-2010, showing the staggering and unprecedented decline in property value in La Habra Heights.
La Habra Heights joined Compton, Inglewood, Lancaster and Palmdale for having the largest loss in property value in Los Angeles County.
Cities which La Habra Heights has typically followed in the past; Bradbury, Hidden Hills, Pasadens, San Marino, Rancho Palos Verdes, Sierra Madra and Rolling Hills Estates, all INCREASED in property values this year.
Why might La Habra Heights now be a big loser of property value and desirability?
After the 2007 election, new members Howard Vipperman and Layne Baroldi worked to change the tone of the Council and make changes that favored Developers over Residents. They were joined in 2009 by Carl Westerhoff, endorsed by both.
As a Planning Commissioner and Council Member, Mr. Baroldi lamented that the Codes were too restrictive and limited building.
Others said that strong Codes and protecting residents property rights of views and privacy, while encouraging remodeling, led to a desirable community and increased property values, such as in those communities listed above that did increase in value.
Mr. Baroldi succeeded in putting through his changes; lifting limits on grading and concrete coverage, allowing larger buildings and reducing building permits by 50% (below cost) forcing non-building residents to subsidize developers.
Signalling a committment to developers, Baroldi appointed Ray Fernandez, President of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, and owner of a house construction company to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Baroldi's appointee, Fernandez, has advocated building high-density, low-income housing in the City, suggesting a lot on West Rd as a location. Mr. Fernandez also said he thinks it is up to existing residents to protect themselves from the runoff of new houses.
For two consecutive years the Council raised the Fire Tax in violation of City Law.
The tone of the Council turned against the residents. Howard Vipperman, joined by his wife Karen, criticized people with whom they disagreed, with Vipperman calling resident(s) "stupid", and filing a lawsuit against someone who said something he didn't like.
As Mayors, Vipperman and Baroldi have cracked down on the ability of residents to comment at public meetings.
In early 2009, a resident sought to appeal approval of a large new spec house next door to him. An email of Mr. Vipperman's to City Staff revealed that Vipperman tried to have city staff craft the appeal so it was denied, and try to not have any public comment.
The District Attorney's Office got involved, with the DA writing to Vipperman, "More troubling is the concept of "crafting" and agenda item for the purpose of obviating public comment."
Child's play has been set back since 2007, with the Council banning skateboards, scooters and bikes at the city's only park, and recently refusing to comply with Federal Law to accomodate disabled children at the City Park tot lot.
The constant drumbeat of erosinon of property rights and the rural environment, and negative news and actions by the council has been written about in local newspapers and may be reducing the desirability of the community, thereby reducing property values.
A home's assessed value is based on the purchase price, then rising 2% per year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
The total of all homes in the city, plus new construction and remodeling, along with commerical and income properties (the last two not a large factor in La Habra Heights) is the valuation of the City listed in the table below.
As homes bought at lower prices in the past are sold, typically for a higher price, along with the 2% annual increase, total assessed value historically rises each year.
While the potential value of an individual home can rise and fall dramatically with the real estate market and economy, the total assessed value of the City moves more slowly, but does follow the market trend.
|1990-2010 La Habra Heights Assessed Property Valuation|
|Tax Year||Valuation||Amount of Change||LHH % change||Residential Properties||Number of Multi-Family||Commercial||Total||Los Angeles County Value Change|
|Previous year||Current Year|