Sunday, February 10, 2019

New Listings- Brentwood, Marina Del Rey and Palos Verdes

11921 Dorothy Street Unit 204, Brentwood Village- $1.250M -Open Sunday 2/10 1-4 and Tuesday 2/12 11-2 

Spacious 3 bed+2.5 bath condo in one of the premier buildings in Brentwood. The open floor plan encompassing 1,780 sq. ft, features a wonderful kitchen that opens to a large entertainer’s living room with a fireplace and private balcony. The master suite has a large walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom with dual sinks. Other features include A/C, in-unit laundry, bonus storage, secured access to the building and guest parking. Steps to Brentwood restaurants, shops and easy access to all the Westside has to offer.

 4200 Via Dolce Unit 129-Marina Del Rey- $930K -Open Sunday 2/10 1-4 and Tuesday 2/12 11-2

Situated a few short blocks from the beach and the world-class dining and shops of the Marina, no expense was spared for this recently designer renovated 2 bed+ 2 Bath unit that features hardwood floors, upgraded LED recessed lighting and custom finishes throughout. The living room with a custom finished fireplace and wet bar flows into a large private patio creating fantastic indoor/outdoor flow. The Kitchen with stainless steel appliances, apron sink and water filtration system has enough space for a home office and is adjacent to the dining room. Master suite includes ‘his’ and ‘hers’ closets, en suite with dual vanity, soaking tub and separate rain shower. Side by side parking, storage unit, controlled access building with security, 2 pools, and plenty of guest parking.

30010 Via Borica- Rancho Palos Verdes- $1.599M -Open Sunday 2/10 1-4pm 

Located on a picturesque cul-de-sac, this 4 bed + 3 bath home features spacious rooms, plenty of natural light and both ocean and hillside views. Generous living room complete with modern fireplace. Sunlit dining room adjacent to the beautifully-appointed remodeled kitchen. Upstairs you’ll find four airy bedrooms with wonderful light, charming built-ins and walk-in closets. The master suite features a luxurious remodeled en-suite bath and tranquil fireplace as well as a private balcony. Begin and end the day by taking in the exquisite views from Catalina to Malibu! The sprawling patio is an entertainer’s dream and provides both a welcoming seating area with covered pergola as well as an open area perfect for hosting guests. **Co-listed with Caskey&Caskey - Kurt Allen and Judy D'Angelo 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Notes on the market and optimizing the sale price of your home

Recently, I have been asked a few questions regarding the market and thought it would be a good idea to gather them up and address them.

Q: How healthy is the housing market? What do you expect the mortgage rates to do in the next year and how will that affect sellers/buyers?

A: The Westside/South Bay markets definitely softened and depreciated some in the 4th quarter, especially when 30 year mortgage rates were around 5% (20% increase year over year) and the stock market was in a correction mode. However, things have picked up quite a bit over the past few weeks with mortgage rates retreating to ten-month lows and wiping out much of the interest rate increase that stalled out the market. Some properties that did not sell in the 4th quarter and were then taken off the market during the holidays and re-introduced after the New Year at the same price point immediately sold with some receiving multiple offers. Overall, we have shifted from the strong seller’s market over the past six years to a more normalized market with a slight lean toward the seller in price points below $5M. This will continue to be the case as long as 30-year mortgage rates stay south of 4.8%. Despite the drop in rates, the ultra-luxury market is typically favoring the buyer with current tax laws (no longer able to write off property taxes) not helping the seller’s cause.

Q: How do the proposed affordable housing guidelines proposed by the new governor look to impact investment in real estate?

A: Housing supply is limited in Southern California. The new affordable housing regulations may take some builders out of new housing development because of the lack of profitability but new homes/condo will still be in demand. New housing starts still significantly lag behind what was being built before the great recession. The supply will not match the overall needs for the job growth on the Westside of Los Angeles. The change in density zoning around the LA Metro route will provide for more housing units, but on the whole, the demand for existing homes will remain high. The one area to keep an eye on in terms of “over-building” is Downtown Los Angeles where developers do not have to battle restrictive building height requirements and this has led to quite a few luxury high-rise projects that will be hitting the market over the next few years.

Q: Where would you spend your dollars when getting ready to sell your house?

A: It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do. Consulting with a designer/stager to make the house appeal to a broader audience is also money well spent. Depending on the situation, you may only need to paint, accessorize and de-clutter but a full staging is optimal. With a bigger budget, updating flooring, the kitchen and master bath-room provide the most bang for the buck. Q: How important are open houses to sales? Is it more important to have a well-connected and experienced realtor/agent or great open house, which will get my property sold at the best price in a timely fashion? A: Since over 85% of sales involve a cooperating broker, it is really important to work with an agent that has a great reputation and known within the real estate industry for being positive to work with. The good agents like to avoid those with less than stellar reputations. A great agent will assist in every aspect of creating maximum visibility. Open houses are important to have, especially early on in the process when the property has maximum visibility. The most serious buyers will ask for a private showing if an open house is not available, but most home shoppers usually plan on seeing inventory on Sunday afternoons and over 40% of buyers’ state they first saw the property they purchased at an open house.

Mortgage rates hit 10-month low and purchase applications dramatically increase

Mortgage rates have now fallen to their lowest level within the last 10 months, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.41% for the week ending Feb. 7, 2019, moderately retreating from last week’s percentage. This is higher than last year’s rate of 4.32% at this time but not nearly as big of a gap as we were seeing two months ago when it was as much as 20%.

Prospective home-owners have applied for loans in droves as mortgage rates have declined over the past few months. Mortgage purchase applications hit the highest level since April 2010 according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.84% this week, sliding from last week’s 3.89%. Notably, this time last year, the 15-year FRM was 3.77%. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.91%, falling from 3.96% the week before. The rate remains higher than this time in 2018 when it averaged 3.57%.

Source: HousingWire

Real estate articles worth checking out

LA rents aren’t budging in 2019 - The analysis finds that the city’s median rent price for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,360 during January. A typical two-bedroom cost $1,750. Both prices were unchanged from a month earlier. Over the last year, prices rose marginally—by about 1.4 percent. That rate of growth actually exceeds averages for the state (0.3 percent) and the nation (1 percent), but falls well under the 3 percent annual price bump allowed under Los Angeles’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

California homeowners face higher insurance costs after fires

As sales plunge, LA home prices are inching up at the slowest rate in years  -Year-over-year, prices are up just 2 percent in LA County, and a measly 1.1 per-cent across all of Southern California.
Chinese buyers continue to expand their presence in the US Housing market-  According to CNBC, Chinese buyers continue to be the top foreign buyers of residential housing for the past six years according to National Association of Realtors.  They have become more active in housing markets in Texas, Georgia and Florida, although California is still a favorite.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Staging is more important than ever

1522 Amherst #101
One chance is all you have to make a first impression on a buyer, and it needs to happen within the first three weeks of being on the market to maximize a seller's leverage and sale price.  Thanks to major technological advantages allowing consumers to access information within seconds, the time in front of a consumer is continually shrinking. An emotional connection must be made early on!

Despite a slowing market, we attracted multiple offers and sold two condos, 1522 Amherst Avenue #101 and 11687 Montana Avenue #209.  They were priced around the true market value and were professionally staged and painted. We cannot emphasize enough how important these steps were in getting the properties sold.

Staging and preparing a house to show in the best light is not cheap but you end up making money on the investment. 

Here are some compelling facts from a 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors regarding staging:

11687 Montana #209
* Professional home staging considers the wants and needs of buyers and taps into their psychology when searching for a home.

*81% of buyers say home staging makes it easier to visualize the property as their future home.

*45% of buyers say it will positively impact the value of the home if it is decorated to the buyer’s tastes.

*Among REALTORS® who typically represent the buyer, 49% report most buyers are affected by home staging.

*Once staged, homes spend an average of 73% less time on the market.

*A National Association of Realtors survey found that the longer homes stay on the market, the further their price drops.

*Buyers are willing to spend 1% to 5% more of the dollar value on a staged home than a non-staged home.

Economic Straight Talk- The U.S. Housing Market- Proceed With Caution

California housing markets have shifted since the summer. The question is, “What comes next?” Compass/Pacific Union economist Selma Hepp and John Burns Real Estate Consulting has forecast the next three years.

Online buyer behavior suggests that sales will decline in the West Coast markets with California home sales expected to post a 2% to 7%  percent decline over the next six months. Some of the downward pressure can be attributed to interest-rate hikes following strong price growth over the last year which took a large bite out of affordability, making it the biggest concern for California housing markets.

Average annual price growth in six California metropolitan areas is projected at 6% in 2019 and 3% in 2020 before declining by 0.3% in 2021.

Additionally, mortgage rates rose by 88 basis points this year, from 3.95% in January to 4.83% in October, resulting in at least an 11% increase in payments without accounting for price appreciation. Note that each 100-basis-point increase in mortgage rates reduces a borrowers' purchasing power by about 7%.

With price appreciation, Californians' monthly mortgage payments are up by as much as 25% year over year: Silicon Valley, up by 25%, San Francisco, up by 19%, The East Bay, up by 17%, and Los Angeles, up by 14%. This reflects the median new home prices, in Los Angeles, the price is $682,000, while in the Northern California, prices range from about $760,000 in Sonoma County to $1 million in Silicon Valley.

Looking forward, mortgage rates will likely reach 5.5 percent by the middle of 2019, leading to fewer home sales. Because of affordability pressure, the LA market is projected to see notably slower price growth over the next three years. Value growth projections over the next three years compared to 2018, which showed a 7.1% rate of growth. That rate is expected to fall to 4.9% in 2019, followed by 3.9% in 2020 and finally a mere 0.8% in 2021.

The bottom line, homebuyers and investors should proceed with caution but proceed nevertheless.

Click below to check out the detailed analysis.


Mortgage rates retreat to lowest level since early October

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 4.94% last week, averaging 4.81% for the week ending Nov. 21, 2018. However, this is still an increase from last year’s rate of 3.92%.

"The downward spiral in oil prices and a volatile equities market caused mortgage rates to decline 13 basis points to 4.81%, the largest weekly drop since January 2015,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said. “Mortgage rates are the lowest since early October and the dip offers a window of opportunity for would be buyers that have been on the fence waiting for a drop in mortgage rates."

The 15-year FRM averaged 4.24% this week, down from last week's 4.36%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM was 3.32%.

Source: Housing Wire