Despite a brief rise in home prices in California in March, nationwide prices in April decreased due to a "glut" or distressed properties. The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey reports that despite reports of bidding wars, prices still declined. It's possible this is due to lower appraisals. The Survey quoted one real estate agent as saying, "...many times the appraisals don’t come in at the [contract] price. The appraisers are keeping the [transaction] prices down even when buyers see the value and are willing to pay more."
It seems appraisers are seeing downward trends from numbers in November, which would account for the low appraisals.
The high number of distressed properties are also dragging down prices, with average sales price to listing price staying at around 95% consistently.
The good news is that in Northeast Los Angeles, we haven't had any personal issues with low appraisals. Our listings are still selling pretty quickly with multiple offers, and some even above asking price, especially in the Echo Park area.