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Same Old Story, and May Sings the Same Old Song

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 11:30PM

The L.A. Times takes a shot at Downtown in a story just posted, titling it "Downtown not the center of it all". The story mixes a few anecdotes with a dropped median sales price stat for condos to create its conclusion of "signs that downtown's residential boom is slowing, if not stalling out altogether."

What's telling about the journalism is the set of four photos attached to the piece.

The caption for the first reads:

Real estate broker Stephen May has been showing lofts that have been heavily discounted in the once red-hot downtown market. He says the crash has left him with virtually no business.

Stephen May has been preaching doom and gloom in the Times for years now. If he's the sort of person the Times is listening to in making their conclusion, no wonder they reached the one they did.

Way back in September of 2006, months before the early 2007 peak the Times quotes for pricing, May was quoted as saying his business had been cut in half by a crappy market.

In downtown Los Angeles, recently one of the hottest Southland condo markets, there is a glut of units, said Stephen May, a veteran broker with Downtown Residential Real Estate. The broker's sales count through June of this year is half that of the same period last year, he said. Today, seven condo units are listed for every one that sells. Last year, the ratio was 1 to 1.

If May's business was tanking before the market change even started, why should readers of the Times care what he has to say now?

Just a month before, in August of 2006, May was again quoted in a Times piece on the residential market.

"Downtown has gone into a state of paralysis because prices are starting to come down," said Stephen May, a veteran real estate broker who specializes in the area. The dearth of demand and rising supply prompted May to advise one client seeking to sell her condo unit to list it at just $10,000 more than what she paid a year ago.

One might be tempted to suggest that May just has a poor choice in listings. For a while May was showing primarily the Bartlett Building, a Barry Shy converted project at 7th and Spring.

In today's Times piece he's shown with empty units in Little Tokyo Lofts. While that seems like a great project, one would be hard-pressed to find a Downtown residential development located in a worse immediate neighborhood. That's certainly been a factor in how long those units have been on the market.


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