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

Market Trends: How Long Will Home Prices Continue to Rise?

More good news for those of us looking to sell homes. Home prices climbed 6.3% in May, marking the 39th consecutive month of year-over-year gains, according to a report by CoreLogic. Prices in 10 states, including New York and Texas, plus Washington DC, hit 40-year highs. But for owners and would-be sellers, the silver cloud has a gray lining. The rate at which prices are rising, which topped 10% in 2013, has begun to slow. Moreover, a key factor driving May’s growth, according to CoreLogic was 30-year mortgage rates, which remained below 4% during throughout the first half of the year. Low mortgage rates tend to push up home prices by making it possible for buyers to borrow more. Conversely, even a small increase in rates can add hundreds of dollars to a monthly mortgage bill. Click here to read more.    Continue reading

Los Angeles Still Has Great Homes for Under $1million

A million dollars is a ton of cashola. You could get 5,000 pairs of Yeezys (if they weren'talready sold out, that is). Or you could nab yourself 1,000 MacBook Airs. You could even spring for about 25 Audis. A million might be a hefty chunk of change, but when it comes to the L.A. real estate market, it doesn't get you very far — or so you thought.  Click here to read more.          Continue reading

Are risky mortgage loans on the rebound?

While applying for a mortgage recently, I was rather surprised at some of the loan options I was offered. Banks are now offering interest-only mortgages, balloon loans, and stated-income loans, and that's just what I found in my brief shopping experience. And while I wound up going with a traditional fixed-rate mortgage, the resurgent availability of these loan products definitely caught my attention. To give you an updated picture of today's mortgage market, here's a rundown of the types of loans that were widespread in the mid-2000s, whether they're available today, and whether we should be concerned about a repeat of the crash. Click here to read more.  Continue reading