How California home prices got sky-high

Just ask Michael Soussa. The 31-year-old, who works in engineering sales, grimaced his way through an open house in Eagle Rock. The three-bedroom house had all the hallmarks of an on-trend flip: dark hardwood, Edison bulb light fixtures, subway tile in the kitchen.

But the $649,000 price tag — $549 per square foot — was “ridiculous,” he said.

“For a single guy, 31, who makes good money, it’s very difficult to buy a home,” Soussa said.

With home prices in much of L.A. at pre-recession levels, or exceeding them, first-time buyers are struggling to break into the market.

To be considered, buyers must often put down big down payments or even full cash offers. They have to agree to the seller’s terms, such as a long —  or short — escrow period.  And there’s no forgetting the “love letter,” a personal appeal written to the sellers. Real estate broker Carol Huston recalled the buyer who sent a photo of herself with a pet frog to the sellers.

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