I am happy to announce that we will be opening a new office in The Marina del Rey/Venice area very soon. There is a large concentration of Lofts and Architectural Homes in the area and we are excited to bring our proven systems and outstanding service there.
If you have been watching the news you probably heard that the market is improving. Prices are starting to go up in some areas and inventory its getting lower. On top of that there are less foreclosures and short sales. What does it mean? It means that if you have been waiting for the bottom to buy, this might be it. It might be the time to make the move and get something at a good price until you can.
This is really cool. Will make life much easier for drivers and bring more people Downtown. Watch the video below!
They did a study to see what place people would prefer to live. Below you can see the answers by sex and age. It seems like females prefer NY more than males, maybe because they don’t like to drive.
Stunned Home Buyers Find the Bidding Wars Are Back
A new development is catching home buyers off guard as the spring sales season gets under way: Bidding wars are back.
From California to Florida, many buyers are increasingly competing for the same house. Unlike the bidding wars that typified the go-go years and largely reflected surging sales, today’s are a result of supply shortages.
Debbie and Bill Wetherell received multiple offers for their home.”It’s a little surprising because we thought bidding wars were done with,” said Andy Aley, who is looking to buy his first home in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The 31-year-old attorney was outbid this year when he offered up to $23,000 above the $357,000 listing price and agreed to waive inspections and other closing conditions.
Competitive bidding in the current environment isn’t producing huge price increases or leaving sellers with hefty profits, as occurred during the housing boom. Still, the bidding wars caused by tight inventory provide the latest evidence that housing demand is starting to pick up after a six-year-long slump.
An index that measures the number of contracts signed to purchase previously owned homes rose in March to its highest level in nearly two years, up 12.8% from a year ago and 4.1% from February, the National Association of Realtors reported on Thursday.
“We very much believe we’ve hit bottom,” said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of a research firm, who was among the first to warn of a downturn seven years ago. Earlier this week, she raised her home-price forecast for the year, calling for a 1% annual gain, up from a 1% decline.
The Wall Street Journal’s quarterly survey found that the inventory of homes listed for sale declined sharply in all 28 markets tracked. Real-estate agents consider a market balanced when there is a six-month supply of homes for sale. At the height of the housing crisis, in 2008, there was an 11.1-months’ supply. In March, there was a 6.3-months’ supply.
Inventory levels in many markets were at the lowest level in years. At the current pace of sales, it would take just 1.5 months to sell all the homes listed in Sacramento, Calif., and 2.4 months to sell all the homes listed in Phoenix. San Francisco and Washington, D.C., each have 3.4 months of supply, while Miami has 4.1 months of supply.
Other markets have plenty of homes. Chicago, for example, has 9.4 months of supply, while New York’s Long Island has 16.1 months of supply. Even in those markets, the number of houses for sale is edging down.
Increased competition is frustrating buyers and their agents. “We’re writing a record number of offers, but we’re not seeing a record number of closings and that’s because it’s so competitive,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of real-estate brokerage Redfin Corp. in Seattle with offices in 14 states.
Nearly 83% of offers that Redfin agents have made on behalf of clients in the San Francisco Bay area this year and 71% in Southern California have had competing bids. Redfin represented a buyer that made the winning bid on a Gaithersburg, Md., home earlier this month after agreeing to adopt the dog of the seller, who was relocating and looking to find a new home for “Buddy,” a white toy poodle.
Inventories are declining for a number of reasons. Some sellers, unwilling to accept prices that are still down from their peak by one-third, are taking their homes off the market in anticipation of higher prices down the road. Meanwhile, investors have been outmaneuvering consumers for the best properties, often making cash offers that are quickly accepted by sellers.
In addition, some economists say that inventory levels are being held artificially low because Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the nation’s biggest banks have been slow to list for sale hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes they currently own. The lenders slowed down foreclosure sales and repossessions after record-keeping abuses surfaced 18 months ago.
Banks and other mortgage investors owned nearly 450,000 foreclosed properties at the end of March, and another two million mortgages were in some stage of foreclosure.
Inventories could rise, putting more pressure on prices, if the banks and other lenders step up their efforts to sell their properties. Real-estate agents say they aren’t concerned. “There’s an enormous appetite for foreclosures. Release the inventory. It will sell,” said Richard Smith, chief executive of Realogy Corp., which owns the Coldwell Banker and Century 21 real-estate brands.
The declining inventory of older homes is spurring sales of new homes. New home sales are up 16% so far this year, compared with a year ago, while inventories of new homes fell in March to their lowest level since record keeping began in 1963.
Meritage Homes Corp., a builder based in Scottsdale, Ariz., reported Thursday a 36% increase in orders for the quarter ending in March versus the previous-year period.
Even though bidding wars are pushing prices higher, many homes are still selling for prices far lower than a few years ago. Increased demand is “entirely affordability driven, which tells me there will be strong resistance to price increases” by buyers, says Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Valuation Group, an East Brunswick, N.J., appraisal firm.
Rents are rising at a time when mortgage rates have fallen to very low levels. The result is that the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home is lower than any time since the 1990s. Freddie Mac reported on Thursday that mortgage rates fell to 3.88% for the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage, near its lowest recorded level.
Rates are “so low that we can afford a house that was out of our price range before,” said Aarthi Srinivasan, who is looking with her husband for a home around Palo Alto, Calif., one of the country’s hottest real-estate markets.
Ms. Srinivasan says she fears that prices are being bid up too quickly. She says she had her “aha moment” earlier this year while touring a 50-year-old house that needed extensive remodeling. The home, listed at $1.1 million, received nearly 10 offers and eventually went under contract for more than $1.3 million to a buyer who hadn’t even viewed the property.
“There are only so many buyers who are going to be in such a hurry, so we’re hoping it’ll top off soon,” she says. On Monday, they offered to pay more than the $1.2 million list price for a four-bedroom, bank-owned foreclosure. They haven’t found out if they made the top bid.
On the other side of those transactions are sellers like Debbie and Bill Wetherell, who had 17 offers in four days for their four-bedroom home in Danville, Calif. “I was floored. It was so fast, it was surreal,” says Ms. Wetherell. The home sold on Wednesday for $796,000, more than $50,000 above the asking price.
Still, the sale is for nearly $180,000 less than what they paid for the house in 2005. Ms. Wetherell’s husband has commuted to Reno, Nev., for five years and they have decided to relocate.
Housing markets face other headwinds. More than 11 million homeowners owe more than their home is worth. It is a big reason that the “trade-up” market has been stalled. These homeowners can’t sell their current homes, let alone come up with the down payment for their next home.
Mortgage-lending standards remain tough. Real-estate agents say an unusually high share of deals are falling apart because homes won’t appraise at the price that buyers have agreed to pay sellers.
Still, borrowers with stable jobs are looking to make deals. Kelly Pajela-Fu and her husband offered to pay the asking price of $600,000 for a four-bedroom home in Marblehead, Mass., within a day of the property hitting the market.
“We just knew this house would go quickly,” says Ms. Pajela-Fu, a 31-year-old doctor who had lost out on an earlier offer. Their strategy to avoid a bidding war paid off: The sellers accepted their offer before having an open house.
There is a great new development in Atwater Village. They are Loft Like town homes classified as single family homes. They are 3 to 4 level places with garages on the bottom. They feature concrete floors, sub zero and viking appliances, sliding doors, lots of glass and roof top decks. I think they did great job and if you are ok with the area it could be a good option. They are around 2,400 sq ft and priced at $900k. There are about 20 of them and there is a cool pizza place right in front of it. Please call us if you want a tour.
Brockman Lofts goes rental April 18th, 2012 10:10 AM The Brockman building was in limbo for years, but now the gorgeous historical building on top of the trendy Bodega Louie is opening as rentals. The building has 80 lofts and they will start at $2,200 per month. I think it will be a success. The location is amazing and the building was restored with attention to detail. I only wish they were for sale, since we have enough rentals as it is and very low for sale inventory. The Brockman building was in limbo for years, but now the gorgeous historical building on top of the trendy Bodega Louie is opening as rentals. The building has 80 lofts and they will start at $2,200 per month. I think it will be a success. The location is amazing and the building was restored with attention to detail. I only wish they were for sale, since we have enough rentals as it is and very low for sale inventory.
In the beginning of this year, right under our eyes, Downtown has transitioned into a sellers market. The lack of inventory and the raising demand caused a spike on prices and is getting very hard for the buyers to get what they want. Multiple offers and overbids are very common and some buyers might have missed the boat. The ones that are waiting for prices to go down more, should stop waiting and buy while prices and interest rates are low. This phenomenon does not extend all over the city, but could spread soon.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012
Growth in Urban Population Outpaces Rest of Nation, Census Bureau Reports
The nation’s urban population increased by 12.1 percent from 2000 to 2010, outpacing the nation’s overall growth rate of 9.7 percent for the same period, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau released the new list of urban areas today based on 2010 Census results.
Urban areas — defined as densely developed residential, commercial and other nonresidential areas — now account for 80.7 percent of the U.S. population, up from 79.0 percent in 2000. Although the rural population — the population in any areas outside of those classified as “urban” — grew by a modest amount from 2000 to 2010, it continued to decline as a percentage of the national population.
The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas: “urbanized areas” of 50,000 or more people and “urban clusters” of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people. There are 486 urbanized areas and 3,087 urban clusters nationwide.
The nation’s most densely populated urbanized area is Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., with nearly 7,000 people per square mile. The San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., area is the second most densely populated at 6,266 people per square mile, followed by San Jose, Calif. (5,820 people per square mile) and Delano, Calif. (5,483 people per square mile). The New York-Newark, N.J., area is fifth, with an overall density of 5,319 people per square mile. (See sortable lists.)
Of the 10 most densely populated urbanized areas, nine are in the West, with seven of those in California. Urbanized areas in the U.S., taken together, had an overall population density of 2,534 people per square mile.
The New York-Newark area continues to be the nation’s most populous urbanized area, with 18,351,295 residents. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim is the second most populous (12,150,996), followed by the Chicago area (8,608,208). These areas have been the three most populous since the 1950 Census, when urbanized areas were first defined; however, at that time, Chicago was the second largest. Los Angeles became the second most populous urbanized area in 1960, and the order of the top three has not changed since.
Among urbanized areas with populations of 1 million or more, the Charlotte, N.C.-S.C., area grew at the fastest rate, increasing by 64.6 percent, followed by the Austin, Texas, area, at 51.1 percent, and Las Vegas-Henderson, Nev., at 43.5 percent. The Charlotte and Austin areas also had the highest rates of land area change, increasing by 70.5 percent and 64.4 percent, respectively.
The population within the nation’s 486 urbanized areas grew by 14.3 percent from 2000 to 2010. For any given urbanized area, population increase may be attributed to a combination of internal growth, outward expansion to include new growth, and outward expansion encompassing existing communities that previously were outside the urbanized area.
Based on 2010 Census results, the Census Bureau identified 36 new urbanized areas, including Cape Girardeau, Mo.-Ill. (52,900), Grand Island, Neb. (50,440), Lake Havasu City, Ariz. (53,427), Manhattan, Kan. (54,622), Mankato, Minn. (57,784), Midland, Mich. (59,014), and Sierra Vista, Ariz. (52,745). As a result of changes in criteria and delineation procedures, the Census Bureau identified the Williamsburg, Va., area (75,689) as a separate urbanized area; it previously was part of the larger Virginia Beach, Va.-N.C., urbanized area. As part of its review of urban and rural populations, the Census Bureau also identified 3,087 urban clusters of at least 2,500 and fewer than 50,000 people. Three former urbanized areas are now classified as urban clusters: Danville, Va.-N.C. (49,344), Galveston, Texas (44,022) and Sandusky, Ohio (48,990).
The latest Real Estate market reports were released today and it was the best February since 2008. We can see it happening here, properties are starting to go up and inventory is getting tighter. Interest rates still great and if you want to purchase something at a great price there is still time.
This is a very polemic and sometimes frustrating issue. As a broker I represented buyer and seller on the same transaction a few times. Only 10% of my transactions fall in this category. I praise myself for being a honest broker and I would not compromise my seller or the final price in order to get a double commission. Unfortunately not all agents are like that and with the increase of multiple offers we are starting to see this happening more often. So many times I get calls about listings and the buyers tell me they want to go direct to the listing agent not only to make sure they get it, but also to get a better price. In a recent case there was a loft that sold for $370k and could have fetch close to $500k if the agent was not greedy and wanted to double end. While we still have more good agents than bad we have a few bad apples on our garden.