Friday, August 18, 2017

Mortgage rates continue to hold despite economic/political uncertainty

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped one basis point to 3.89% for the week ending August 17, 2017. This is down from last week when mortgage rates hit 3.9%, but up from last year’s 3.43%.

The 15-year FRM also decreased slightly, hitting 3.16% for the week. This is down from 3.18% last week, but up from 2.74% last year.

However, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 3.16%, up from 3.14% last week and 2.76% last year.

Although most economists predicted the Federal Reserve will raise rates three times in 2017, weak economic data is now leading some experts to say the chance of a third rate hike in December is less certain.


Partners Trust Comprehensive Los Angeles Mid-Year Report + a few key highlights

**Please note this report doesn't just cover the also covers Malibu, Downtown LA, Pasadena, South Bay and the San Fernando Valley.

Overall sales volume is up around 12% compared to last year in most Westside locations despite tight inventory.  Cheviot Hills/Rancho park was up over 40% and the Hills of the Westside (Beverly Hills Post Office, Holmby Hills, Bel-Air, was up over 25%.  All Westside communities saw increases in the average sold price except for Westwood. However, all this means is that less higher-end homes traded hands in Westwood as the area is still appreciating in value. Days on market continue to decrease in most areas but that is not necessarily the case in the market above $5M.

The outlook for the rest of the year is strong. In terms of the buzz regarding off-market activity...only about 5-15% of the sales in most areas are happening off-market and the buyer better be willing to pay a premium in most cases.

Check out the latest Partners Trust Los Angeles Mid-Year report.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Updated Westside Earthquake Map - Could bring development restrictions

Check out the recently updated Earthquake fault map for the Westside via this LA Times article.  This could bring development restrictions to Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and other Westside areas.

Articles on local development news around the Westside, Westchester and DTLA

 34 story tower planned for Brentwood -The project, located at 11770 Wilshire Boulevard, would replace an existing commercial building with 376 units of housing.

Santa Monica will force developers to build the most affordable housing in the state -
The Santa Monica City Council voted Tuesday to require developers to make 20 to 30 percent of all new condos and apartments built in Downtown affordable for low-income earners.

Howard Hughes Rendering
Update on the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center- $30M makeover set to wrap in 2018 

Art's District rendering
Mapping the Arts District’s never-ending parade of development- 23 projects in the pipeline right now in one of LA’s hottest neighborhoods- check out an interactive map 


National real estate articles for your edification

CNBC- JP Morgan points to a low risk of a US housing correction Multi-generational living making a big comeback

Home Prices hit yet another All-Time high – Increased in 87% of measured markets 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Notes on a Realtors Scorecard- The buzz from the street and networking meetings...

*New Construction continues to be in high-demand all over the Westside/South Bay and with that, tear-down lots are selling at strong premiums provided sellers have solid representation and don’t sell directly to a builder.

*In the past seven years, the value of land has exploded on the Westside. Lot values have grown 75-120% (depending on the area) while the average sales price has only gone up 45%-65%. A gap between new construction and tear-downs has opened up to the point that homes that were once considered livable while making a few upgrades, is now being scraped.

*Marina Del Rey might be the hottest market over the past 90 days, as entry level townhouses seem to be up about 10% in just three months. At one point the Marina was flying under the radar while areas like Playa Vista were on fire.  Properties that were selling for around $800K three months ago are going for closer to $900K now…

*Entry-level price points across Los Angeles continue to rise at a very strong pace, especially under the $2M mark. They type of multiple offer activity we are seeing from inner-city areas like Leimert Park, Jefferson Park, West Adams to the entry level condo in Culver City and Santa Monica is crazy. We were just involved in a multiple-offer situation for a condo on Girard Avenue in Culver City. The 1,200 sq. ft. 2+2 townhouse with a generous outdoor space had over 200 people at the first open house and attracted 15 offers at the $779K list price. Despite being across from a school and about a mile from the popular downtown Culver City area, the unit is in escrow for around $860K! Three years ago it sold just under the asking price for $615K. At the higher-end entry level points, we are seeing the same thing. It is almost impossible to get a house North of Montana in Santa Monica that is not a tear-down for less than $4M and small South Santa Monica homes in decent shape are trading for $1.750M+.

*Wealthy families and individuals are getting very aggressive when it comes monopolizing properties on the Westside/South Bay. They are buying properties, especially single family homes, at a quicker pace then we have ever seen before. Whether they are buying for their children or just investment purposes, these buyers are aggressive and feel the best long-term leveraged investment is real estate. A few principles have clearly stated to their agents that in the long run, the best financial investment they have ever made is Westside/South Bay real estate.

*Despite rates being about 15% higher than at this time last year, we are still seeing solid price appreciation. 

*The higher-end price point in each micro market is the only area that is somewhat struggling yet even then the choice properties are still moving quickly.

*The historic rains we received earlier in the year has led to a back-log of construction and some developers are hiring any subs they can to finish jobs which means the quality on some projects will be sub-standard.

*Speaking of historic rains, those of that live in the hills/fire hazard zones, should take note that officials are expecting this to be one of the worst fire seasons in years. The extra plant and grass growth will die during the summer months creating extra fuel for wildfires and the Los Angeles Fire Department wants to make sure everyone living in hillside areas is properly clearing brush near their homes. California also has a massive amount of dead trees from the recent drought so this combination is extremely combustible…

*Pricing your property for sale correctly at the outset is the key.  We can't over-emphasize this enough.  Proper marketing and pricing within the first 10-14 days can be the difference in $100K’s of thousands of dollars to the seller depending on price point. If a property doesn’t sell in the first few weeks in this fast moving world, the first question a buyer asks is “what is wrong with the property?”...not the thinking you want from a perspective buyer. 

Compared to 1985, today’s interest rates give buyer’s 122% more buying power!

Sometimes we forget just how important the impact of interest rates have on the value of your property and what a buyer can afford-- check out the info below...Where would property values be today if rates were more like 6.5%?