Buyers Start Your Engines: The Real Estate Market is Operating on All Cylinders

Thanks to robust demand and an ample supply of homes for sale, the U.S. residential real estate market is operating on all cylinders. In fact, Realtor.com calls it the "best buying season since 2006." "Although demand has been strong all year, in June we're finally beginning to see an uptick in supply as sellers become more confident about home prices," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com. Realtor.com also reports that first-time buyers are lining up to buy new homes. 65% of older Millennials (ages 25-34) say they expect to buy a home within three months - up 12% from the start of 2015. The "hottest" markets include San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, and Boston, the company states. Additionally, the median list price increased to $233,000, up 7% year-over-year and up 2% on a month-to-month basis.  Click here to read more.         Continue reading

Is the SoCal Housing Market on the Road to Stability?

The Southern California housing market, known for its dramatic swings, is settling into a more normal, healthy pattern. Home sales are up. All-cash and investor purchases are down. And home prices are rising at a more sustainable pace than in the last few years. Economists said those factors put the regional housing market on a path for growth that won't wash away in a tsunami of foreclosures and ruined credit scores. “The healing continues,” said Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA's Ziman Center for Real Estate Click here to read more.       Continue reading

Assessing the Market: What’s up with Los Angeles Property Values?

Fueled by an increase in home sales, the assessed value of all taxable property in Los Angeles County rose 6.13 percent in 2015 — the largest jump since 2010 — the county assessor reported Thursday. Assessor Jeffrey Prang released the 2015 Assessment Roll, which showed the county’s taxable properties were valued at a net total of $1.264 trillion, a $73.1 billion increase from last year. “The 2015 Assessment Roll provides a comprehensive view of the strength of the Los Angeles real estate market,” Prang said. “The roll illustrates that in the last year, every city in Los Angeles County recorded an increase compared to 2014.” Click here to read more.     Continue reading

WHAT'S UP IN LOS ANGELES REAL ESTATE? NEARLY EVERYTHING!!!

The homes of a former Lakers coach, a Hollywood talent manager and a late toy mogul were among the top residential real estate sales in the greater Los Angeles area last week. $19.5 million -- Beverly Hills A newly built, 6,830-square-foot showplace in the Trousdale area of Beverly Hills sold for $19.5 million, or $2,855 a square foot. Listed in May for $19.9 million, the contemporary-style home sits on about half an acre in the 1800 block of Carla Ridge with an infinity-edge swimming pool, telescoping walls of glass and city and ocean views. Open-space interiors include formal living/dining rooms, a glass-enclosed wine cellar, a gym/office, five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. Click here to read more.   Continue reading

Those are Some Pricetags: America’s Most Expensive Homes

The Ziff family compound in Manalapan, Fla., isn’t listed for sale on any web site. But the 16-acre property, which boasts a 62,200-square-foot main home, is most decidedly on the market, and with a price tag of $195 million—the highest of any home to hit the market in 2015. “Gemini,” as the property is known, lies on a barrier island, with 1,200 feet of Atlantic Ocean waterfront and 1,300 feet of frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway. In addition to the main home, Gemini boasts a seven-bedroom house, two four-bedroom cottages, staff housing with four apartments, and manager offices. The main home has a living room that is literally a tunnel—a below-ground passageway beneath South Ocean Boulevard—with skylights at each end of the living room for light. Click here to read more.                Continue reading

Foreign Investors Keep Luxury Real Estate Prices Surging

While many other aspects of the economy have been uncertain, the luxury housing market in some of the largest, most desirable U.S. real estate markets is surging. Prices in these areas are generally exceeding expectations. Many real estate agents believe foreign investors are the reason for this surge.  Research experts also cite a strong U.S. economy and “financial volatility abroad” for the draw of foreign buyers to U.S. cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and New York. Click here to read more.                  Continue reading

When Did Your City Become Rent-Unaffordable?

The rent has been "too damn high" in New York for so long that today's young professionals might assume it was always that way. Yet it wasn't until the second quarter of 2004 that the median rent exceeded 30 percent of the median household income for young workers, the threshold at which housing experts say rent is no longer affordable, according to an analysis conducted by Zillow. Rents are stretching millennial budgets throughout the U.S. Nationally, the typical worker from 22 to 34 years old paid 30 percent of income for rent in the first quarter of 2015, up from 23 percent in 1979, when the analysis begins.1  In those places, rental unaffordability is a distinct obstacle for people trying to carve out lives and careers, particularly in the nine major cities shown in the chart below, where more than half of households rent.  Click here to read more.                  Continue reading

Marketing the Mega-Mansions: The Brave New World

Rayni and Branden Williams spent months lining up a director, cast and crew for their "lifestyle film." The plot line: A husband takes off for a business trip in his Corvette, leaving his wife to invite friends to hang out in their wine room, gym, massage space, movie theater and infinity-edge pool overlooking the city. But the actors are only a supporting cast to the real star — the $33-million house at 9133 Oriole Way, a modernist mansion with 12,530 square feet of sun-drenched living space nestled in the hills near neighbors such as Keanu Reeves and Leonardo DiCaprio. Click here to read more.                Continue reading

Credit Unions: The Unsung Heroes of Mortgage Lending

More than 100 million Americans are members of credit unions, and not just because they want inexpensive checking. These nonprofit lenders are increasingly winning over borrowers with low-cost mortgages and programs aimed at first-time home buyers. From 2005 to 2014, credit unions grew their share of the mortgage market to 8.3 percent from 1.9 percent of all originations, according to Bill Hampel, the chief economist and chief policy officer for the Credit Union National Association. They picked up a lot of business during the housing crisis, when the secondary market for mortgage loans collapsed. Because member-owned credit unions hold most of their loans in portfolio, they were able to keep on lending when the big banks pulled back. Click here to read more.              Continue reading

Asking Price vs. Selling Price: Market Tales

It's true what they say: real estate is all about location. In some markets, buyers are getting homes at nearly half off the listing price, while properties in other markets are selling for far above asking. On average, homes are selling at 82% of asking price nationwide, according to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. Some areas in California are so hot that homes are going for more than 15% above asking. But in the Tampa, Fla., area, homes are selling for at an estimated 53% below the listing price. Click here to read more.            Continue reading