Rising home sales, moving company shortages putting SoCal residents in bind

Southern California's blistering-hot real estate market isn't just driving up prices -- it's also driving sellers crazy trying to find a moving company.

"People are calling up, 'Hey, I need a mover.' Unfortunately we're booked up for the next month," said Patrick Longo, owner of Andy's Transfer & Storage in Glendale with his wife, Jill.

Zillow data shows in December alone, more than 87,00 homes in the Los Angeles metro area switched to "pending sale" status -- a 21% jump from December 2019.

"Real estate is one of those industries that has really gone gangbusters," said Jason Berns, who works with his wife Laura at Keller Williams Realty. The real estate agents say they've been telling their clients to book movers as soon as possible, but that they're still finding it hard to find a company.

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With homes selling faster and for more than the asking price, the housing market is thriving across the country. It's particularly intense in counties like Riverside and San Bernardino, where experts say prices are slightly more affordable.

The Longos say Andy's is currently booked solid for several weeks.

"Book early, get ahead of yourself and give yourself at least a month or two," he told Eyewitness News. "Because you're not going to get anything last minute."

A rise in home sales is just one factor causing the mover shortage. Trucking companies are having a hard time hiring enough big truck drivers. It also turns out considerably more people are moving out of California than are moving in. That means interstate moving trucks are piling up in other states.

"Right now, it's such a volume out of California that these guys aren't getting shipments back in," explained Jill Longo. "It's an exodus."

The Berns are trying their best to help real estate clients who are stuck without movers. In the past, they've let their customers borrow their company's cargo truck for local moves, but are now letting it go even farther. One of their last clients headed well outside of L.A. County.

"They took it all the way to Texas and then they hired someone to drive it back," said Laura Berns.

The Longos say the key these days is to find a mover before you even list your house.

"The last thing you think about sometimes is 'How am I going to get this stuff out?'" I'll just call a mover or I'll get a truck,'" Patrick Longo said. "And unfortunately if you wait too long you're not going to be able to get the service."

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