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LA Times Loses Another Real Estate Reporter

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What'll likely put a dent in the paper's coverage of local real estate trends, Fishbowl LA reported last night that Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Hong took a buyout yesterday as part of the latest round of layoffs at the paper. Here's Hong's Facebook status, posted this morning: "This is my last story as a Times reporter (front page!). Still working on the next gig, will let you know when it happens." Hong primarily covered residential real estate market trends in California and Los Angeles County. He was also the guy who wrote that March 2008 story that warned the downtown condo market may run into trouble, a story that was slammed by downtown real estate agents and bloggers. That story is still interesting to look back on. On the one hand, the piece reported that the "housing market downtown could fall more sharply and take longer to recover than it might in established residential areas." But there was also this questionable prediction: The piece quoted a South Group developer as saying downtown would only really be viable when the Westsiders moved downtown. "When the Westside empty-nesters arrive, that's when we'll see the real jump in the market," he said. That developer is now out of downtown, according to the Downtown News, so we're guessing those Westsiders decided to stay West. Anyway, Hong's departure follows ex-LA Times real estate reporter Peter Viles' departure back in 2008. There seems to be some shuffling around in terms of coverage when reporters leave given that crime/news reporter Ari B. Bloomekatz is now doing transportation coverage (another reporter was previously doing it after Steve Hymon left), so we'll all see who--if anyone-- covers all those foreclosure, DataQuick, and downtown condo stories now.
· More Names of LAT Layoffs [Fishbowl LA]
· Downtown not the center of it all [LA Times]