"May we continue to provide shelter for those in need and continue to build chimneys so we'll all still be able to see Santa Claus on Christmas."
That wish is one from a number of friends of this section who have offered some year-ending personal thoughts and wishes that we'll pass along. Most of their suggestions are apt, some in the lighter vein.
The one above, from Bruce Froehlich, director of housing for Prestige Homes Inc. of Culver City, is well stated for this holiday season, a happy occasion for most, but a sad one for many others.
There are those who would consider the ultimate gift a bright new home for Christmas and the new year, and then there are the true homeless families whose plight is far from solved. The price is not right for either group.
With costs for new homes and resale housing continually rising, particularly along the east and west coasts of the nation, the affordability gap continues to widen, even for two-income families.
There is small comfort in knowing that the East Coast has surpassed us as the most expensive resale housing market, with average price comparisons of $158,800 to $136,100, according to the latest edition of Relocation/Realty Update. The national average is now $111,200.
Some years ago, very boldly, we pointed out that amazing housing bargains existed in other sections of the country, and that Californians who just couldn't afford prices here should "go East, y'all." Some of the responses were unprintable.
We'll share the following suggestions and offerings, varied and printable, wishful and wistful, self-serving and magnanimous:
Mel Baker, president of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, where booming Palmdale is trying to cope with the problems that come with being the fastest growing city in California:
"I'm hoping that Santa brings us a good attitude for 1988. The future will be what your attitude makes it. If we all have a lousy attitude, we'll all have a lousy year."
Jon Smock, attorney for the California Apartment Assn.:
"A return to a free-market society. Elimination of government constraints on business development. In short, no rent control."
Bruce Karatz, president of Kaufman & Broad Home Corp., a leading California home builder.: "A 10-year building cycle, or five more good years."
Kirk Hallahan, spokesman for the California League of Savings Institutions, trade group representing the state's S&Ls:
"About 500,000 home resales in California--all with adjustable-rate financing."
Jay Rounds, newly named executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy:
"A preservation-minded buyer for the Ambassador Hotel" and "a complete, professional survey of all the historic buildings in Los Angeles County."
Monte Helm, spokesman for Century-21, major real estate network:
"Two buyers for every house and two sellers for every buyer."
Vicki King, spokeswoman for the Biltmore Hotel:
"I hope Santa brings us 100%occupancy."
Joel Singer, chief economist for the California Assn. of Realtors:
"We want a home in every Christmas stocking by next December."
Gail Hillebrand, staff attorney for the West Coast office of Consumers Union, consumer advocacy group:
"A conflict of interest rule that says no legislator who accepts campaign contributions from the banks or real estate interests can vote on any bill affecting those interests. Also, a lobbying staff as big as the ones the realtors and bankers have."
John Withers, director of government affairs for the Orange County Building Industry Assn.:
"We'd like a solution to our traffic problems. Maybe Santa could bring everybody flying reindeer and sleighs so we could fly over all the congestion. Or maybe he could move Orange County so we don't get all that traffic going from Los Angeles to San Diego."
James A. Edmonds Jr., California real estate commissioner:
"I'd like to see mortgage lenders and the Legislature resolve necessary disclosures to consumers in the real estate lending area and in real estate appraisals as they affect mortgage lending. I'd like to see a joint effort between lenders, appraisers and the Legislature to come up with a procedure that is not overly restrictive to business but is helpful to consumers."
Richard J. Rosenthal, Venice broker and past president of the California Assn. of Realtors:
"I'd like another eight hours a day to take advantage of the (hot)real estate market before it goes away."
Finally and ominously, from Jeff Hyland, outgoing president of the Beverly Hills Board of Realtors:
"I hope '88 is as good as '87 and that the recession will be no more deep than it is long."