Mark Kalame says he’s 30 days from becoming homeless. He’s out of work, and says no one wants to buy the home that was valued at over $750,000 that he, his wife and daughter have lived in for the last 13 years. He's frustrated and says, "I have to undersell it … hope to get 6 for it possibly… it may be 5… who knows.”
He blames the gas leak for keeping potential buyers away.
Ken Sampson, president of Coldwell-Banker in this area, says the gas leak has had an impact. Not so much on property values. That may not be known for a while longer, but on lending.
He says that since the Governor declared a state of emergency many of the big lenders are not funding new Porter Ranch home loans.
Says Sampson, “When we found out when banks would not longer fund loans within 91326 - or say they’ll do it on a case by case basis - it pretty much, almost to some degree, stopped all real estate transactions from happening at that point.”
Sampson points to Kinecta Federal Credit Union which sent an alert to agents that reads:
“Until the SoCal Natural Gas leak issue in the Porter Ranch area is resolved and the Governor’s Declaration of a Disaster Area is lifted we, are unable to proceed with new loan originations in the 91326 zip code area until further notice.”
Sampson says other banks are being weary too. He says, "B of A and Wells Fargo are doing it on a case by case basis. The problem is when an appraiser comes out and does an appraisal he will have to write in his appraisal that the property is located in a state of emergency zone at which point we understand that funding will stop and therefore the transaction will no longer be able to go forward.”
In the 91326 zip code home values can be between $700,000 and over a million dollars, but right now just 77 out of the over 10,000 homes here are for sale. Buyer and seller concern is understandably driven by fear. Sampson says, “I personally believe 100% that everybody is afraid of the unknown.”
Especially Mark Kalame who is looking at the prospect of losing everything. Says the 49-year-old, “Its completely depressing and, I mean, just talk about being mentally, morally crushed by this situation. Your sick your trying to focus on doing the best for your family and you get hit from all sides.”