My fiance and I are renting in Moorpark, CA and want to move closer to L.A. Is buying or renting better? We need some advice and aid in our search

Asked by Sarah Witt, Moorpark, CA Mon Apr 23, 2012

Hi, My fiance and I are currently living in a shared rental house in Moorpark, CA and are interested in moving in closer to L.A. He is an actor and would need to be going in for auditions to Studio City, West L.A. areas. I am unsure of what area I will be looking for work, but I know I am not a big commuter and thus far my work commute time, to Westlake Village, has been only about 20 min. so I've been spoiled. We are tired of wasting money on renting and can't afford a high monthly payment right now, but that may change when jobs change for us. Is it possible to get a better deal buying? I'm unsure of what the housing market is doing here. We are looking in the Calabasas, Woodland Hills area right now - kind of a middle ground for both of us at the moment. I'm noticing that there aren't many affordable rentals in nicer areas - we can only do about 1200/month and we are over apartment living. We need some advice and help in our search. Thanks.

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Ted Mackel’s answer
Ted Mackel, Agent, Simi Valley, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2012
This is the best time to be a buyer and the absolute worst time to be a buyer.

It is the best because price and interest rates are at all time historical lows. Affordability has never been better.

It is the worst because there is no inventory - most markets between the west San Fernando Valley and Moorpark have less than two months supply of inventory and some neighborhoods have less than one month supply. When market supply gets tight - The carnival barkers come out and try to convince buyers that if they dont buy now they are going to miss the boat. Do yourself a favor and run from those people.

There is a projected 2 million homes nation wide that are 90 days or less behind in payments. I have seen numbers in California that suggest that 1 out 107 mortgages is behind. I doubt the banks will flood the market with homes, they have not done so in the last three years. I just dont see how they are going to change their strategy, but what this all means is that with a large problem still existing in the distressed market, is that as soon as inventories go back to normal levels, the excitement will end as fast as it started. For example, just before Thanksgiving and Christmas we had a pretty average supply of inventory and houses were selling without the craziness we are seeing now.

In many cases right now, payments including taxes and insurance (and HOA if there is one) are below rental rates - this is a big driver in the market and has been going back to 2009. If buyers come in and start running prices up and that payment equals or exceeds rental rates - everyone will be signing the blues in a sluggish market again.

Depending on your target price, West Hills, Chatsworth are seeing some good pricing, Woodland Hills and Calabasas are going to be a higher price point.
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Jeff Smith, Agent, Thousand Oaks, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2012
Hi There- If you send me an email with your contact info I can send you a detailed rent vs. own analysis free of charge. It will break down the numbers for you and provide a clear picture of the benefits of renting and or owning. In today's market interest rates are about 4% +/- . It costs about $477 for every $100,000 you borrow based on 30 year loan amortization. I am happy to help you compare the numbers with a detailed report if you email me directly at It will take me about 15-30 minutes to prepare the report for you once I have a few basic pieces of information. Have a great Monday.
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Frank & Jeni…, Agent, Moorpark, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2012
I believe the time is right to buy but you would be in the 200,000. dollar range for a unit at around 1275.00 monthly including taxes but if you purchased a condo or townhouse there will be HOA fees that range from 50. to 300. additional. Visit our web page at MHPGROUP.NET and used it as you like since it is very user friendly. If you have any other questions, comments or concerns feel free to call us. Regards,
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Barry Shapiro, Agent, Camarillo, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2012
The closer you go to the metropolitan areas of L.A., such as the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood & the Westside housing for rent and home prices will become even less affordable. Avoid Calabasas and Woodland Hills if you are seeking affordability. Sit down with a lender and discuss your situation in detail -- but you'll need to spend 2X (minimum) that $1200/mo level for a $300K entry-level condo. Home prices are expected to remain relatively low over this decade. Concentrate on your careers for now, and look to become homeowners once you've established job stability.
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