BIG BUCKS: THE MOST EXPENSIVE REAL ESTATE SALES LAST WEEK

The storied home of a pioneering film family, the former residence of a pop star and newly built estates in Pacific Palisades and Arcadia were among the most expensive real estate transactions in the Greater Los Angeles area this week. $25 million -- Beverly Hills In the 1200 block of Laurel Lane, a home built for film pioneer Samuel Goldwyn Sr. -- and later owned by his son, film producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. -- sold after coming to market in April for $32 million. Set on two acres, the estate centers on a Georgian-inspired Traditional designed by architect Douglas Honnold and completed in 1934. Within the 11,000 square feet of living space is a formal dining room, a paneled 35-millimeter screening room, six bedrooms and five bathrooms. Click here to read more.                             Continue reading

HOW HIGH ARE PROPERTY TAXES IN YOUR STATE?

States tax real property in a variety of ways: some impose a rate or a millage—the amount of tax per thousand dollars of value—on the fair market value of the property, while others impose it on some percentage (the assessment ratio) of the market value, yielding an assessed value.  Some states have equalization requirements, ensuring uniformity across the state. Sometimes caps limit the degree to which one’s property taxes can rise in a given year, and sometimes rate adjustments are mandated after assessments to ensure uniformity or maintenance of revenues. Abatements are often available to certain taxpayers, like veterans or senior citizens. And of course, property tax rates are set by political subdivisions at a variety of levels: not only by cities and counties, but often also by school boards, fire departments, and utility commissions. Click here to read more.                           Continue reading

DOES CROWDFUNDING HAVE A FUTURE IN REAL ESTATE?

New York’s first real estate project financed significantly though crowdfunding is set to open, a step forward for a nascent investing model that has yet to prove itself in commercial property. AKA United Nations, an extended-stay hotel-condominium on East 46th Street near Second Avenue, will start taking guests Sept. 10. Sales of the suites have already begun. Of the $95 million it cost to buy and fix up the existing hotel, $12 million was raised from online pledges. It’s “the first ever crowdfunded building in New York coming to completion, from A to Z,” said Rodrigo Nino, chief executive officer of Prodigy Network, which is gut-renovating the building with partners. Until now, “everything has been about promises.” Click here to read more.                           Continue reading

BIG BUCKS: THE MOST EXPENSIVE SALES IN LOS ANGELES REAL ESTATE LAST WEEK

The homes of a fashion mogul, a film producer and an Emmy Award-winning actress were among the most expensive residential real estate sales in the greater Los Angeles area last week. $47,851,500 -- Beverly Hills Guess co-founder Maurice Marciano sold his home in the 1200 block of Benedict Canyon Drive to hotel and casino magnate Steve Wynn in a deal that closed outside the Multiple Listing Service. Though details are sparse, property records show that the contemporary-style home was built in 2004 and has eight bedrooms and 13 bathrooms in 19,299 square feet. Click here to read more.                           Continue reading

KITCHEN AID: DESIGNERS WEIGH IN ON WHERE TO SPEND ON KITCHEN REMODELS

Even grilled cheese tastes better when made in a stylish kitchen. For those who love to cook, a gourmet kitchen is the dream. However, unlike a living room or bedroom, this space is much harder to remodel. Kitchens can't be rearranged at whim, cabinets can't be easily changed, and counters -- well, there's very little you can do to hide 1980s laminate countertops. (Their existence is proof that not everything comes back in fashion.) But don't shelve your dream just yet. It's possible to get a luxurious look for under $50,000, which is close to the average price spent on a budget kitchen remodel. We asked designers where they'd splurge, where they'd save, and other projects to consider for a space worthy of your culinary creations. Click here to read more.                         Continue reading

SELLING STRATEGIES: SETTING A PRICE FOR YOUR HOME

One goal when you're selling your house is to get as much money as possible. It can be tempting to overprice. There's always a chance you might score big. Right? Technically, yes. But that doesn't mean testing the market by setting your home's price above what the house is worth is a good strategy. In fact, there are many reasons not to test the market this way. 1. You won't get offers (but your neighbors might). It's great to be a good neighbor, but unintentionally sacrificing your sale to help your neighbors sell their homes might be going a bit far. Click here to read more.                       Continue reading

BEHIND THE BOOM: THE FACTORS DRIVING INVESTMENT IN LOS ANGELES REAL ESTATE

Encouraged by Los Angeles’ positive economics and high real estate values, big money investors from around the world are pouring billions of dollars into commercial multifamily residential real estate development throughout the Los Angeles region. The region is experiencing strong job growth, according to a Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC) report, with employers adding 105,000 in 2014 and potentially 104,000 more jobs this year.   Strong demand for housing, specifically in the Los Angeles area multifamily housing, set off a construction boom beginning in 2013 that has steadily accelerated.  The other construction accelerator in Southern California has been hospitality projects. According to numerous sources, new multifamily/mixed-use development is expected to remain robust for at least the next few years, as robust rental rates and for-sale property values remain strong.  Click here to read more.                       Continue reading

DOWNTOWN LANDMARK CONVERTS TO CONDOS: A GUARANTEED SUCCESS?

The last time an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles was converted to condominiums was 2006 — shortly before the housing bubble burst. But now, with young professionals pouring into the up-and-coming neighborhood, an acute shortage of condos has prompted the owner of a landmark Art Deco-style apartment tower to put 74 units up for sale. Apartments at the Title Guarantee Building rent for as much as $6,100 a month for a penthouse, but real estate investor Admire Hill figures it can make even more money selling the units. Prices are expected to start at $500,000 for a 750-square-foot unit at the building at 5th and Hill streets. Click here to read more.                       Continue reading

CAN TWO BUCK CHUCK BOOST YOUR HOME VALUE?

There are plenty of Southland shoppers who value their local Trader Joe’s. But that value may run deeper than many imagine, according to a newly released analysis from RealtyTrac. RealtyTrac’s study shows that if you live near a Trader Joe’s your home has appreciated in value more quickly than if you live near a Whole Foods Market. Now there’s an analysis I never would have dreamed up. The study shows that homeowners who live near a Trader Joe’s have seen an average 40 percent increase in home value since they purchased, compared with 34 percent appreciation for homeowners near a Whole Foods. Click here to read more.                     Continue reading

THE BUBBLE MYTH: THE LA REAL ESTATE MARKET IS NOT ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE

As home prices rise ever higher in Los Angeles, some are beginning to wonder if the region is in another housing bubble, one that's ready to burst. Real estate blogs add to the hysteria by pointing to the most ridiculous listings, the million-dollar bungalows in need of a complete renovation, the $3-million teardowns. But the data suggest that the market is not, in fact, on the brink of collapse. Using the all-transactions house price index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, I examined price history in Los Angeles County, adjusted for inflation, from 1975 to the present — 1975 being the first year data were available. Along with some short-term fluctuations, we can see four major housing price cycles in Los Angeles since 1975: Click here to read more.                   Continue reading