Friday, November 1, 2019

Santa Monica City Council restricts new construction to 45% - Creating potential unintended consequences

The Santa Monica City Council adopted regulations that aim to limit the size of the city’s single-family neighborhoods even though a majority of residents say the new rules will prevent them from renovating their homes to accommodate growing families. The new regulation will restrict the size of new construction to 45%, about a 35% restriction compared to the original 61% baseline. In a bit of good news for those with second story homes, the City Council did allow for homes to be remodeled up to 55% (includes garage space). The revisions will be in place beginning January 1st.

City Hall has spent a year and a half reworking the rules on building height and size that apply to the Sunset Park, North of Montana and North of Wilshire neighborhoods, as well as a small portion of the Pico neighborhood, after residents complained that they were being boxed in by the large houses being built around them — or by two-story homes erecting an additional two-story Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

The issue of lot cover
age was complicated by the ADU issue as California lawmakers recently approved a set of bills that allow property owners to build larger ADU’s (up to 1,200 sq. ft.) as well as a junior ADU’s without it counting against the lot coverage standard. Local and state lawmakers have heralded ADU’s as a way to address California’s housing crisis.

Unfortunately, neither the planning commission nor the City Council sought the advice of local real estate professionals, developers and architects when making such a drastic decision. Some on the City Council were extremely concerned/paranoid that developers would build a large home and then consume the whole backyard with more structures. What they fail to understand is the majority of buyers for new construction single-family homes are growing families with young children that value yard space over building secondary structures. The 45% restriction along with building height and set-back restrictions, will make it very difficult to accommodate a second-level home that can house bedrooms all on the same level per the testimony of architects. This could end up pushing some families away from Santa Monica. A simple adjustment to 50% or 55% would have made things a lot easier from a build-ability standpoint while also accomplishing more appealing looking homes.

Furthermore, the only way to make up for more s"saleable" square footage is to either add very expensive basements or the much cheaper alternative, which is an ADU.  The ADU's would be maximized, and frankly, many will build two-story ADU’s to maximize saleable square footage, thus you will now have properties appearing as duplexes…which will look even more cumbersome/ugly then the homes that created complaints. A two-story ADU will further limit privacy as they would look down directly into backyard space. This will be the unintended consequence of the city council’s decision.

It will not be surprising if upset property owners try to make this a ballot initiative or those in the north of Montana neighborhood approach the city with a plan to create their own set of guidelines.

Mortgage rates rise for the third consecutive week

The average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.78%. That’s 3 basis points above last week’s 3.75% but still more than a percentage point below the 4.83% at this time last year. This marks the third consecutive week of rate increases, which hasn’t happened since April.

The 15-year Fixed rate morgate (FRM) averaged 3.19% this week, crawling forward from last week’s 3.18%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 4.23%. The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.43%, ticking up from last week’s rate of 3.4% That being said, the percentage still sits well below 2018’s rate of 4.04%.

Source- Housing Wire

2019 has been a slower year for LA’s luxury market ($5M and above)

Despite a hot LA economy and near record low interest rates, the luxury real estate market in greater Los Angeles ($5M+) has slowed down since last year with overall sales volume down and the days on market for homes actively on the market continuing to climb. As of August, there were 339 sales of $5 million or more in the L.A. area this year compared with 402 sales at the same time last year, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The trend continues at higher price points but the gap is not nearly as big. There have been 12 sales of $30 million or more this year compared with 13 last year.

Although many speculate about an increase of foreign buyers in the luxury real estate scene, the data show otherwise. Of the 24 home sales of $20 million or more this year, 15 of the buyers were American. The only other countries with more than one buyer were Saudi Arabia and China, which each had two.

Another issue factoring into the decline in luxury sales is the inability to write off property taxes above $10,000 under the recent tax law changes. It has had an adverse impact on the “trade-up” market in which would-be buyers of some $5M+ homes do not want to take on the tax hit, especially if they have been in their current home for a long period of time and paying taxes on a lower property value. Remodeling their current home to fit their needs becomes a more palatable option.

Los Angeles Market Summary and Compass in-depth 3rd quarter market report
Buyers bounced back in the third quarter from being cautious in the first half of the year. The overall number of home sales was only 2 percent below last year, compared to about a 14 percent decline seen in the first quarter.

The improvement in home sales activity was most driven by solid increases in West San Fernando Valley, though other areas saw more sales as well. Still, Eastside communities, which entered the year outperforming their Westside counterparts, saw relatively more slowing in the third quarter. Interestingly, changes to home sales activity varied a lot in this quarter and across regions. Sales of homes in higher priced communities also showed strength in this quarter, particularly areas around Bel Air and Brentwood, as well as Beach Communities to the south.

Home prices generally continued to remain flat compared to last year.

Buyers do seem to be motivated by the lower mortgage rates that characterized the latter quarter of this year, especially given the swift increases seen at the end of 2018 which stopped buyers in their tracks. With mortgage rates expected to remain low and possibly go lower, and more balanced dynamics between buyers and sellers, we are expecting the last quarter of 2019 to post stronger numbers compared to last year. More inventory to choose from has also been a welcome reversal from the severely undersupplied housing market that we saw last year.

Lastly, while economic expansion started to slow and fewer jobs will be added to the labor market, consumers should remember that current housing conditions remain particularly favorable. Buyers of homes in the recent decade have paid much larger down payments than during the last housing boom. Consumers are notably less leveraged as well, while financial institutions have put significant checks in place to keep them well-capitalized. At the same time, the levels of new construction seen in the last decade is still 50 percent and more below the levels seen during the last boom. Together, the current housing scenario is much better prepared to weather slowing economic growth than was the case the last time around.

Here is a link to download the full report

Last-minute policy tweak could hand Airbnb a key victory in LA

The L.A. City Council could consider an ordinance amendment by council member Mitch O’Farrell to allow home-sharing at owner-occupied homes that are rent-stabilized. '

The current ordinance, issues a blanket ban on home shares on rent-stabilized units, which make up the bulk of L.A. apartments built before Oct. 1, 1978. There are about 600,000 such units in the city.

The measure, which passed the city’s planning committee last week without opposition, could be a boon to Airbnb and other competitors in the short-term rental space, businesses that have spent the past four years wrestling with Mayor Eric Garcetti and council members over regulation facing their industry.  The ban on rent-stabilized units for short-term stays stemmed from concerns about the city’s lack of affordable housing stock, an issue that has gripped L.A. politics during the Garcetti administration.

Council members moved for the ban last fall, arguing that leasing rent-controlled apartments should be for long-term tenants, instead of short-term guests. O’Farrell moved to undo the ban because the council member’s East Side district is one of several L.A. districts that contains a “high density of older housing stock,” said O’Farrell’s policy director Christine Peters, including myriad “cute, little Spanish duplexes.”

Owner-occupied units engaging in short-term rentals is a natural fit for L.A, Peters said, because there are a lot of entertainment industry workers who can leave on projects for consecutive weeks – enough time to rent out their homes for short-term stays, but not enough for long-term tenants.

Peters noted that the amendment does not allow multifamily landlords at rent-stabilized dwellings to engage in short-term rentals, unless it is their primary residence. It also does not let renters to do so, though Peters said the council member may seek to amend the ordinance at a later date. Affordable housing proponents have not yet spoken out against the O’Farrell amendment.

Source- info pulled from Real Deal

Friday, October 11, 2019

RED ALERT- Santa Monica looking to severely restrict single-family homes

On October 22nd, the Santa Monica city council will possibly finalize regulations that seek to further restrict a homeowners ability to remodel or build a new home. After initiating an interim zoning ordinance of a maximum lot coverage of 55%, the city is looking to further restrict the lot coverage to 45% for two-story homes, making it one of the most restrictive in Southern California.  Some City planning officials are concerned the city is moving way too quickly with these proposed regulations and are STRONGLY ENCOURAGING residents to voice their opinions at the October 22nd City council meeting at 6:30pm and by e-mailing your thoughts to with the subject line- R1 Update. 

The lot coverage used to be 61%, so a drop to 45% would signify over a 35% reduction for two-story homes and when you account for an attached garage, it drops even further.  The City of Santa Monica calculates square footage including outside walls and the full size of an attached garage. The City of Los Angeles measures inside the walls and only counts 1/2 of the garage space.  Currently, the Pacific Palisades has 65%, Mar Vista has between 50-60% based on lot size, Venice has 55% and Brentwood is at 45%.

The city has spent the year considering how to incentivize renovating homes rather than replacing them in the city’s four single-family neighborhoods — Sunset Park, North of Montana, North of Wilshire and a small part of Pico.Unfortunately, in trying to inhibit builders from building "McMansions", the chosen path "over-corrects" the issue and severely inhibits those with inherited floor-plan flaws (i.e.- lone master upstairs), especially those with lots less than 6,000 sq. ft.

Despite input from property owners stating they were comfortable with 55% lot coverage, the city planning commission recommended further reductions.  New one-story homes would cover 50% of the lot and new two-story homes would cover 45%. Homeowners remodeling their existing one-story home could cover up to 55% of their lot but those with a second story would be out of luck.

Upper-story maximum parcel coverage of 22.5% is also being proposed. It is currently 30%. The new restriction would make it extremely difficult on people who own homes on smaller lots to have adequate bedroom spaces on an upper level. 

The standards would also encourage accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, which homeowners build in their backyards and rent out.  The state of California is mandating this to help address the housing crisis. Interestingly, property owners who already have homes at the 61% maximum, would be able to build ADU'S, thus covering over 70% of the lot.  Thus creating an even bigger gap between those who already have bigger homes and those who do not.  IF YOU ARE A SANTA MONICA PROPERTY OWNER, MAKE SURE YOUR VOICE IS HEARD.

Mortgage rates fall yet again

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.57% during the week ending Oct. 10, down 8 basis point from the previous week. This is a stark change from a year ago when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.90%

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped 9 basis points to an average of 3.05%, according to Freddie Mac. The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.35%, down 3 basis points from a week ago.

Mortgage rates roughly track the direction of the 10-year Treasury note, the yield of which has fallen by more than 10 basis points over the last month and roughly 100 basis points throughout 2019. Falling mortgage rates have yet again caused a resurgence in refinancing activity. The most recent mortgage application data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that refinance activity was 163% higher than a year ago. The same trend has not occurred when it comes to loans used to buy a home. Purchase loan volume was only up 10% from a year ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported.

Source: Marketwatch

Home prices soared 60% over 5 years in some parts of LA – Inglewood leading the way

Inglewood Stadium Rendering
A surge in in commercial development, the Westside’s tech industry growth, major international investment and a seven-year run of very low interest rates have led to a significant rise in median sale prices over the past five years.

The median sale price in Inglewood climbed 63% from the high $200K range in 2014 to $485K last year, according to PropertyShark. Inglewood is seeing a massive surge in investment thanks to the 300-acre L.A. stadium and Entertainment district that will house the Rams and Chargers beginning next year and the Clippers franchise proposing a new stadium.

Culver City saw the second biggest increase in median prices at 60% from $800K to $1.2M. All but three of the 67 markets PropertyShark analyzed in Southern California saw the price of homes grow and half of those appreciated more than 20%.

Source: The Real Deal

Los Angeles Rent Rankings - Westwood is the priciest ranking 4th nationally

For the second straight year, Westwood ranks as the most expensive place to rent an apartment in California with an average rent payment of $4,944.00 a month. It is a 4.1% jump compared to last year. Westwood ranks 4th nationally behind three areas in Manhattan, New York. West Hollywood’s 90048 zip, comes in 2nd at $4,896 and 5th nationally.

Here are other Westside locations that ranked in the top 50 nationally-

Culver City $3,881.00- 26th 

Marina Del Rey- $3,804.00- 41st 

Santa Monica- $3,787.00- 43rd 

Playa Vista- $3,735.00- 45th 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Mortgage rates retreat after highest one-week increase in nearly a year

The average U.S. fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.64%. That’s nine basis points below last week’s 3.73% and more than a percentage point lower than the 4.72% from a year earlier.

“With both the unemployment rate and mortgage rate below 4% and near historic lows, it is no surprise that the housing market regained momentum with home sales and construction at or near decade highs,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The fall housing market is poised to continue with steady gains in prices and solid sales activity.”

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.16% this week, falling from last week’s 3.21%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 4.16%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.38%, compared with last week’s rate of 3.21%.

This percentage is a significant decrease from the 2018 rate of 3.97%.

Source- Housingwire/Marketwatch

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Mortgage rates tick up slightly to 3.58% but still nearly one percentage point lower than a year ago

Although the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week, the rate still managed to hover near last week’s 3-year low.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.58% for the week ending August 29, 2019, up from last week’s rate of 3.55%. A year earlier, the rate was 4.52%

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.06% this week, slightly rising from last week’s 3.03%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM came in at 3.97%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.31%, sliding from last week’s rate of 3.33%. Once again, this rate sits much lower than the same week in 2018 when it averaged 3.85%.

Source- Marketwatch

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Live above it all in Downtown LA and acquire one of the most desirable units with the largest 2BR floorplans available (1,720 sq. ft.) in Tower 1 of the Metropolis. This luxurious residence is situated in the Southwest corner of the top floor and provides a fantastic floor-plan ideal for entertaining or enjoying a quiet evening watching the sunset. The 11-foot ceilings along with the floor-to-ceiling windows provide an expansive feel and the best views you can find in LA. Other features include custom cabinets in the kitchen along with Bosch appliances, automatic shades in the living room and plenty of storage. Tower 1 provides world-class amenities such as fitness center equipped with steam rooms in both ladies and men's bathrooms, 24-hour lobby attendant, media room, business center and a wide open outdoor space located on the 6th floor that includes a BBQ area, resort-style pool, and dog park. A true gem providing the perfect blend of luxury and A+ location. **The Seller bought the unit for over $2.050M and is ready to move on...E-mail us for more information and to set up a showing.

Los Angeles real estate- lower interest rates have strengthened LA’s housing market after a slow start to the year

Compass Chief economist Dr. Selma Hepp has published an in-depth article examining the Los Angeles real estate landscape.

Here are the key takeaways-

* After a large dip in housing market activity starting in the last quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019, housing markets in recent months have mostly bounced back to where they were last summer.

 * In July, total sales in Los Angeles County trended at the same level as July of last year, with an increase in sales of homes priced between $1 million and $2 million, up 5 percent year-over-year, being offset by slower sales in other price segments.

*Strong activity among homes priced between $1 million and $2 million bring the levels of homes in that price range to the highest level in the last five years.

*Some West Side communities, which experienced slower market conditions since last year, have finally seen more activity. Most notably, sales in Malibu and Beach Communities North have posted the first annual increase since last summer, up 11 percent year-over-year. The impact of wildfires has had a considerably negative impact on the area with overall year-to-date decline in sales of 26 percent. The most recent uptick was driven by strong sales of homes priced below $2 million while higher priced sales continue to lag.

*For-sale inventory is once again trending below last year’s levels with July’s year-over-year decline for the overall inventory down one percent, and inventory priced below $1 million down 5 percent. Declines follow almost a year of year-over-year increases. And the lower priced inventory is now 24 percent below the 2015 levels.

Also, here is the Compass July 2019 Market Real Estate Market Update which provides a quick summary of the overall market and more detailed statistics on specific areas. 

Wire-Fraud continues to be an issue in real estate transactions- Here is how you avoid the scam!

Recently, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau published a fraud alert for wire transfers of earnest money, down payments, closing costs and loan payoffs.

Here’s how you can avoid a wire-transfer scam:

1. Never follow wire-transfer instructions sent via email. Verify the closing instructions, including the account name and number, with your trusted representatives either in person or by using a predetermined phone number. Similarly, never email financial information.

2. Pay attention to email addresses related to the transaction. A legitimate address like could be confused with a spoofed email like or

3. Keep computer security patches and antivirus software up to date. Change your password every 90 days and enable two-step authentication on your email account.

4. Suspect a scam? Contact the bank immediately and request a wire recall. To recover large, international wire transfers, ask the bank to contact the local FBI office and request a Financial Fraud Kill Chain.

Monday, August 26, 2019

From Manhattan Beach to Brentwood- catching up on some of our sales activity

3201 Pine Ave, Manhattan Beach (5+4, 3,260 sq. ft.- Selling Agents)- This outstanding property was acquired for $3.025M after being listed for $3.1M. It has been updated/upgraded with a contemporary coastal color palette and designer selections throughout. The curb appeal starts with the flagstone walk way, groomed gardens, and a charming Dutch door entryway. Soaring two-story ceilings draw in natural light and offer a dramatic setting in the formal areas. The dining room features crisp, white wainscoting and patterned floor inlay details. The custom kitchen centers around an over-sized Calacatta marble topped island. The kitchen is finished with a high end appliance package. A cheerful breakfast nook, a sun-filled family room and the kitchen all enjoy a seamless feel that opens direct to the private backyard retreat

13041 South Icon Circle, Playa Vista (4+5, 3178 sq. ft.- Selling Agents)- Encapsulated by lush landscaping this enchanting Playa Vista home sold $2.575M after originally being listed for $2.8M. The seller, Jeanie Buss (see LA Times article) outfitted the home with top of the line audio/video equipment and other fine details that were included in the sales price. The home features a chef's kitchen w/expansive center island, wine fridge, compacter, wet bar, large pantry, stylish chandelier & breakfast nook. Relish indoor/outdoor living in the dining space that flows to the deck w/heaters, chic light fixtures & warm fireplace. Relax in the sumptuous master suite w/high ceilings, expansive windows welcoming floods of light & hotel-like bathroom w/dual sink vanity, exquisite glass shower, soaker tub & grand walk-in closet w/endless built-ins. Jeanie Buss article-

11921 Dorothy Street #204, Brentwood (3+3, 1,760 sq. ft. –Listing Agents)- This spacious 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath unit sold for $1.2M after being listed for $1.250M. The property sold for a similar price of a third floor unit with a few more upgrades. Located in one of the premier buildings in the heart of Brentwood, the open floor plan features a kitchen with granite counter-tops, stainless steel appliances and ample cabinet space while opening to a light and bright entertainer's living room with maple hardwood floors, fireplace and access to a balcony. The spacious master suite has a fantastic walk-in closet with custom built-ins and en-suite bathroom with dual sinks. A few blocks from elite Brentwood restaurants, shops, boutiques, Whole Foods, and convenient access to all the Westside has to offer.

3910 Spad Place, Culver City (2+2, 996 sw. ft.- Listing Agents)- Beautifully remodeled home by celebrity designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent in the heart of Culver City near the amazing restaurants and shopping that electrify downtown. This global coastal style home sold for $1.160M, ($1,164 per sq. ft.) with a list price of $1.190M. The home features white oak floors, quartz counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and tons of gorgeous designer finishes throughout. The spacious master bathroom has a custom carrara marble tiled soaking tub, and dual sinks. While the master bedroom features dual closets with ample storage. The open floor plan and off kitchen half bath make for easy guest hosting. No detail was left untouched in the remodel. **Alexis Antin did a great job navigating this sale that brought multiple offers after being on the market for about a month

4200 Via Dolce #129, Marina Del Rey- (2+2, 1,532 sq. ft. –Listing Agents)- Situated a few short blocks from the beach, the famous Venice Canals, world-class restaurants and shops on Abbot Kinney, this large 2 Bed +2 Bath sold for the asking price of $925K within two weeks of being on the market. The home features hardwood floors, upgraded LED recessed lighting, custom designer finishes throughout and no detail left untouched or expense spared! The living room features a custom finished fireplace, wet bar, and adjacent private patio. The Kitchen boasts quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, apron sink, water filtration system, adjacent space for a home office, and a custom finished wood bar top that flows into the dining room. **Alexis Antin did a fantastic job with her designer eye to help showcase the property so the client could acquire a higher price per sq. ft. then a comparable property on the same floor that sold at the same time.

7924 El Manor Ave, Westchester (4+2, 1,600 sq. ft. –Selling Agents)- Beautiful Kentwood home acquired for $1.230M with a list price of $1.250M. Located on one of the nicest streets in Westchester, bright sunshine welcomes you into the living room courtesy of oversized bay windows with views to the tree-lined street. Crown moldings, recessed ceilings, and a stately fireplace create an elegant first impression for guests. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and offers stainless appliances, granite counters, custom cabinetry, and innovative storage. Down the hall, two comfortably sized bedrooms are perfectly situated for privacy. The master suite is a brightly-lit sanctuary boasting a charming en suite and French doors to a romantic covered patio.  A detached bonus living space sits at the back of the lot and creates a lovely option for guest accommodations.

30010 Via Borica, Rancho Palos Verdes (4+3, 2,808 sq. ft.-Listing Agents)- Located on a picturesque cul-de-sac, this beautiful home sold within three days of hitting the market at $1.580M, just off the $1.599M list price. Spacious rooms, plenty of natural light and both ocean and hillside views highlight the property. 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 **Co-listed with Caskey&Caskey - Kurt Allen

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Real estate articles worth checking out

The bank of Mom and Dad would rank as the seventh largest mortgage lender -  Parents and grandparents supported the nationwide purchase of $317 billion worth of property—1.2 million homes—last year

Millenials are finally buying homes - According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, the national homeownership rate rose in the fourth quarter to 64.8%, which is a four-year high.

Growth in home prices continues to slow in January  Nationally prices grew 4.4% year over year and .1% month over month

As sales volume plunges, LA home prices are inching up at the slowest rate in years - Year-over-year home sale prices are up 2% in LA County.

Mortgage rates remain subdued

Rates for home loans were little changed near long-time lows, providing a little breathing room for would-be buyers even as policy makers are increasingly taking an interest in housing matters.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.35% in the February 28 week, mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac said Thursday. That was unchanged from the prior week and the lowest in a year.

The 15-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.77%, down one basis point. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.84%, also unchanged.

Source- Marketwatch

% of multiple bids for properties is dropping

Home shoppers in California will likely face less competition in their offers. January showed multiple offer bidding wars saw a significant drop from a year ago, according to a report from Redfin. Only 13 percent of offers written by agents on behalf of their customers faced war—down significantly from 53 percent a year ago.

As we noted last week, due to tight inventory and interest rates dropping again, we are still seeing a fair amount of multiple offer activity on the Westside for properties listed around the true market value. However, the amount of offers is more like two to three compared to the five or seven we were seeing last spring. 

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 (*Under Contract within two weeks)

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 (*Under contract within two weeks)

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 (*Under contract within 3 days of hitting the market)

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

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