Friday, November 8, 2013

Santa Monica has a strong October- 81% of sales over asking!

After a slow month of closings in September with 18, the pace picked up a bit in October with 22 Single Family Residences being sold.  A big difference in the past two months is how many homes sold at or above the list price. In September, only six of the sales were at list or higher while 18 were this month. 

The average sales price came in at $1.996M (more closed sales in Ocean and Sunset Park) compared to $2.431M last month. The average days on market was down to 43. It was 56 last month.   The average sales price was $3.5% above the list price.  Last month it was barely above at 0.5%.  The average price per square foot was $962.11. 

Please be careful when using price per sq. ft. when analyzing value.  The lot size and location must be comparable or price per square footage does not work due to the land values being so high.

Let’s look at a few sales that stood out:

South of Montana dirt goes for $1.8M- 911 22nd street- This 3 bed/2 bath, 1,270 sq. ft. home on an 8K sq. ft. lot, sold for $1.780M, $230K above the list price!   This home was sold to a developer/builder and they will either tear it down or perform a major remodel. The bidding for this property was intense with 16+ offers being received by the listing agent.  The winning bidder most likely closed all cash with no appraisal and a very short inspection period, if any.  Partners Trust represented the buyer.  The 90403 zip (between Montana and Wilshire) is really hot with people priced out of 90402 realizing they still get a great location and the same schools. The key is finding homes that are not surrounded by mutli-family buildings.

Ocean Park charmer goes 275k over asking- 1420 Sunset Avenue, located just north of Penmar golf course, is a 4 bed/3 bath house on about a 7K lot. The square footage was not published in the MLS due to some rooms not being permitted but we heard it was 1800+.  The property was listed at $1.099M and sold for $1.375M. Despite needing some upgrades (especially kitchen and bathrooms) this home got a lot of attention from young families due to its size and large backyard.  They received over 10 offers.   

Tudor on Euclid creates quite a buzz- 418 Euclid Street- This 4 bed/3 bath, 2,688 sq. ft. home on a 7,500 sq. ft. lot sold for $2.815M, $220K over the $2.595M list price.  The home featured updated kitchen and baths along with well kept hedging in the front yard allowing the new owner to fully utilize it in a private manner if they like.   If a young family bought the home, the private front yard is key with a pool taking up most of the backyard.  The seller received seven offers and it closed escrow in about 30 days.  Partners Trust represented both the seller and buyer.

Probable remodel/rebuild candidate sells for $2.55M on 21st place- 259 21st Place- This 3 bed/3 bath, 1844 sq. ft. home on a 7,600 sq. ft. lot sold for $155K over the $2.4M list price.  The charming home in a fabulous location is in good enough shape to live in for the short term, but will definitely need to remodeled/updated. The seller received over seven offers. 

Important answers to frequent questions about maximizing your credit score

Thanks to John Ciolino at First Capital Mortgage (contact: 310-656-8201), here is some key information everybody should know concerning their credit.  The better FICO score you have typically means you will be offered a lower interest rate from the bank when applying for a home loan.

1- Is it best to pay off your credit cards in full each month?

No, to maximize FICO score, it is best to leave a small balance.

2- If you have a collection account, is it best to pay it off in full?

No, a paid collection is the same as a collection.  A "paid collection" today hurts FICO scores more than an older "collection".  Only pay collection if the creditor agrees to "remove" collection. 

3- If I buy new furniture, would my credit be better if I charged it on my Visa or financed through the store with "no interest" until 2017?

"Deferred" debt has a higher default rate and has bigger impact on credit score.

4- Does is it make sense to close old credit card accounts that you are no longer using?

Not necessarily, one of the FICO factors is length of credit.

5- Which is more damaging to credit?

a. 30 day mortgage late on July '12 on a $1 million dolllar loan  or b. 30 day late on Visa June '13; $64.00 balance?

The more recent debt has a bigger impact on FICO than the amount of debt!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Partners Trust 3rd Quarter Report

The strong momentum of the market for both single family residencies and condos is demonstrated in our latest third quarter report.  Some areas see a dramatic increase in price as well as strong reduction in average days on market compared to 2012.  

However, as you have read in my recent blog postings the market is starting to "normalize" above the $1.5 million dollar mark in the past month.  We still see plenty of multiple offer activity on choice properties due to the lack of inventory especially in choice zip codes. 

If you would like more detailed information on a specific zip code or area on the Westside, please shoot me an e-mail at and we will gladly get the information to you. 

Please click the link below:

US homeownership at 1995 levels despite housing rebound- are investors starting to pull back?

The nation’s homeownership rate was 65.1% on a seasonally adjusted level in the third quarter, the Census Bureau reported. Homeownership hasn’t been this low since the last three months of 1995. 

The fact that homeownership has fallen during the housing rebound shows investors have been a major force in sending home prices skyrocketing. Individuals and Wall Street players have descended on the housing market, looking for bargains and cash flow. They have scooped up many lower-priced homes to flip or rent out. Last month 33 percent of all existing home sales in the US went to “all-cash” sales, a massive part of the market. Since the typical American doesn't have much money saved to purchase homes, these are not your typical first-time home buyers. 

But now, investors have shown signs of pulling back because higher prices have made their investments less attractive. That has raised questions about whether first-time buyers will step in to fill the void, which experts say is key to a continued recovery. 

The homeownership rate peaked, on a seasonally adjusted level, amid the housing boom, at 69.4% in the second quarter of 2004. 

(Sources: LA Times and Doctor Housing Bubble)

Fixed mortgage rates move slightly higher- 30-year at 4.16%

A better economic picture sent mortgage interest rates higher this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that a 30-year fixed-rate home loan averaged 4.16%, up from 4.1% last week.

The interest rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage, popular with people refinancing their homes, averaged 3.27%, up from 3.2%.

Freddie Mac polls lenders each Monday through Wednesday about the terms of the loans they are offering to mortgage borrowers with strong credit ratings and 20% down payments or home equity. Borrowers would have paid about 0.75% of the loan amount in lender fees and points to obtain the rates, Freddie said.

(Source: LA Times)

Santa Monica is bracing for a growth spurt

Check out this LA Times article about the future development plans for Santa Monica, especially involving the areas around the new expo rail line which will link the city to Downtown LA. Santa Monica  (2016) is poised for  more growth and depending on people not using cars as frequently.  I sure hope they are correct or the gridlock that is already unbearable in Santa Monica during rush hour will be a true nightmare. 

Link: Santa Monica is bracing for a growth spurt