Timely Real Estate News……………………………..I5 April 2017
Hot off the Press — Global Luxury replaces Previews International
There is something different about us! Coldwell Banker’s 85-year-old Premier International real estate brand has been replaced! NRT, the company’s parent, announced on April 11, it was introducing Coldwell Banker Global Luxury as its primary brand for its luxury market. The company is dedicating millions to introduce the new brand on both the national and international level with advertising and inserts in the major newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other major dailies. In addition, CB will be aggressively marketing its new brand on the company’s worldwide online platforms, especially on its new website and social media forums.
Previews International had been CB’s signature for more than 85 years, so this is a big change. We have “long been recognized around the world as delivering premium real estate experiences, and we have earned a reputation as a global luxury leader.” When you consider that Coldwell Banker….
• Handled more than $129.6 million in luxury home sales each day;
• Represented affluent clients in the sale of almost 25,000 $1 million + properties;
• Attained a $1.9 million average sales price in 2016 for $1 million+ homes.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury takes the place of Coldwell Banker Previews International® and delivers major enhancements to our luxury offerings:
• Enhanced and immersive certification course
• New global website – coldwellbankerluxury.com – that allows for international networking
• Global referral opportunities at the forefront
• Worldwide distribution of the brand’s flagship Homes & Estates magazine
• Unrivaled focus on luxury content
• Strategic enhancements to our social media platform
The new website will connect 750,000 luxury agents across multiple international brands and syndicate listings globally. “This is a tremendous step forward in our company’s dedication to serving the needs and wants of our local, national and international clients,” Carole Schiffer stated.
Everything is coming up roses…including sales volume
It’s springtime, and the seasons’ blossoms remind me of that famous song from “Gypsy” — ‘Everything Is Coming Up Roses’, sung by that belle of Broadway, Ethel Merman. Our real estate garden is blossoming for sure as we have seen another great month in real estate sales volumes in March for the five communities I report on each month — Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Post Office, Bel-Air/Holmby Hills, Westwood/Century City, and Brentwood.
For these five communities, real estate sales volume is up 22% to $726 million vs. $594 million for the year compared to a year ago for the first quarter…” we haven’t seen this large of an increase in a couple of years on the Westside,” Carole Schiffer stated. “And while we still lag a touch behind in total sales compared to 2007 at this time of year, we’re are more than 30% above median sales prices throughout the Westside.” For example, median sales prices for Beverly Hills was $4.515 million in March 2007 (the beginning of the recession) vs. $5.950 million for March 2017, a 31% increase in prices. In sum, we’re clawing our way back to the pre-2007 levels.
Median sales prices are up, too
The critical statistic in measuring our real estate market are the median sales prices for your community; where are we after the first three months of the year? Beverly Hills is up 31% over this time last year to $5.950 million; Beverly Hills Post Office is up 5% to $2.655 million; Bel-Air/Holmby Hills is down just 1% to $2.158 million; Westwood/Century City is up 12% to $1.975 million; and Brentwood is up 47% year to date to $3.781 million.
In nearby Pacific Palisades. median sales prices are up 21% to $2.799 million compared to same period in 2016. Sales volume for Pacific Palisades is up 19% to $226 million.
What is really trending, however, are the median sales prices increases in these five communities compared to a year ago — Beverly Hills was up 3%, BHPO was up 7%, Bel Air was up 18%, Westwood/Century City was up 23% and Brentwood was up 3%. So, you can see the steady across-the-board growth in our median sales prices compared to where we were 12 months ago.
Hot, hot, hot.anxious buyers boost prices
Competition for homes in this inventory-starved market causes multiple offers and intensive bidding by anxious buyers eager to lock down their home. This past March, we saw homes selling for more than 100% of their list price versus their selling price. For example, Santa Monica was tracking at 101% of the selling price to the listing price, and in Culver City, it was 102% meaning homes were going for more than what they were listed for. “This is not unique on the Westside,” Carole Schiffer stated. “Especially during the start of the Spring selling season (now)…we see a pent-up demand for homebuyers who are now anxious to close their deals. It’s a great time of year for selling and buying.” There are some compelling stories; as you can recall, I am a mentor for new licenses coming into the business. One of my mentees, just had her first accepted offer. This property is in the Hollywood Hills on a small narrow one lane street. It was listed for $725,00 so you know it is small and most likely has “some issues”. Issues, it has…appprosimately 50% of the house was remodeled without permits including the master bedroom! The sellers had 10 offers, all over asking. Fortunately, the inspections have not yet turned up anything that the seller had not disclosed prior to the potential buyers, so now we just must keep our fingers crossed that the bank will approve these changes as well. Fingers crossed!
What’s ahead? While inventory remains our biggest challenge here as it is throughout the U.S., we are seeing the traditional upswing in owner interest in putting homes again on the market. Leasing has become a popular, and viable option for many homeowners because many are not satisfied with their options in finding a new home to purchase. Lack of choice remains a big obstacle to those who want to sell…so leasing keeps other options open. And while mortgage rates inch upward from the last Fed rate hike, they’re still under 5%. As I have said, if you’re contemplating any kind of move and want to evaluate whether you should lease or sell, now’s the time to talk with me. Call me at 310-442-1384.
The drought is officially over. Really.
If the Governor says so, it is so. Governor Jerry Brown announced that California’s drought was officially over last week…and that’s great news. Of course, we all pretty much expected that, but it was good nonetheless to get the “official word”. We also know that our northern brothers/sisters got the lion’s share of the rain and snow, it all goes into the same sell so to speak. Still the Governor cautions all of us to remain water conservation cautious. So do the right thing: Practice Water Conservation all the time!
What are luxury buyers seeking in new homes? Everything!
They want it all — smart technology in every facet of home design and maintenance…single-story homes around 5,800 to 7,000 square feet, six-plus car garage to showcase their toys and designer-styled kitchens with lots of commercial appliance upgrades just in case the someone wants to have their own Food Network show.
Tech is huge — They expect smart house automation, such as LED wall pads where they can adjust lighting and thermostats. Voice activation, top-of-the-line security systems and infrared exterior cameras are all a given with any luxury homebuyer. Let’s not stop there….they crave spacious walk-in closets in every bedroom, which are a huge selling point. Buyers love oversized closet space, especially with built-in organization systems.
When it comes to family rooms, great rooms and living rooms, one feature that’s becoming common is a collapsible window wall, where the barrier separating indoor and outdoor living literally disappears into the wall. These have been around for a few years, but are becoming more common place.
Storage is always key, open flow to living areas and this is just referring to the indoor kitchen. Most of these homes have a fully decked out exterior kitchen with many of the same features from inside.
In bathrooms, steam showers and body jets are always a winner. Even the small things like touch-less plumbing fixtures, heated toilet seats and electric bidets give these homes that added touch of luxury.
We don’t have enough space to list all of the other fantasies luxury homebuyers want, but there is nothing ‘out of bounds’ these days. Developers and builders are pushing for ‘out-of-the-box’ features that overwhelm buyers who want the very best. There are limits, of course, and luxury buyers are more willing to push their envelope for ‘more and better’ choices.
Free rent gets a developer’s foot in the door…..
Make no mistake about it…when real estate developers offer artists free rent to ‘up cool’ a neighborhood, there is only one objective in mind: Converting an off-the-grid neighborhood to a trendy area that can be developed for upscale housing and increase developers’ revenues and profits. This is happening all over the U.S. as housing prices soar and inventory remains sluggish, Millennials in particular are hard pressed to find affordable housing so the next choice is to find inexpensive housing close in….usually in not-so-trendy neighborhoods, hoping to get in on the ground floor before it’s discovered.
So, whether it’s a cool jazz nightclub that attracts young adults, a trendy coffee shop or art gallery, the area is soon “discovered”…millennials move in…paint, fix up, and gentrify their neighborhood, and voila! It’s a trend that’s been going in America for years, so that is not about to change. What is interesting is the story of a Boyle Heights community association protesting the renting of a store to an art gallery…”we don’t want art galleries in our neighborhood” because it leads to gentrification and raising of home costs, forcing long-time residents to leave.
All one has to do is look at the areas around USC, Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, the Mount Washington area etc. to see how home prices have risen along with the expansion of its art galleries and cafes. Seems like they go hand in hand, doesn’t it?
Vacation homes take a ‘hit’….drop in sales
The National Association of Realtors stated that vacation home sales in 2016 tumbled for the second consecutive year and have fallen 36% from its recent peak high in 2014. Rising home prices in recent years plus strong job growth that has boosted demand has resulted in fewer bargain-priced properties to choose from, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.
Investment-home sales in 2016 rose 4.5% to 1.14 million from 1.09 million in 2015. Owner-occupied purchases jumped 12.5% to 4.21 million last year from 3.74 million in 2015 – the highest level since 2006 (4.82 million).
With home prices steadily rising, an increasing share of second-home buyers financed their purchase last year. The share of vacation buyers who paid fully in cash diminished to 28% (38 % in 2015), while cash purchases by investors decreased to 35% from 39% in 2015 and 41% in 2014.
Have you gotten involved with any of the ancestry investigation services?
During the holiday’s my family did and the results were very interesting. Basically, we knew that the roots of my family on both my Mother and Father’s side were from Eastern Europe, and these results proved that information to be correct, but we did learn a bit more and are in the process of digging deeper. My Maternal Grandfather was a stow away, and so we really did not know when he was born and where. Now we do. We were able to track his birthday & place, his departure from England and arrival in this country and how he lived the early part of his life here. We also have been able to get in touch with other members of our family that we have lost touch with so hopefully we can continue to stay connected with our family. It is a fun thing to do, but can be insidious as once you get going it is hard to stop!
Are you familiar with the concept of cross marketing? Basically it is when one business helps in marketing another person’s business or organization and that support is returned in kind. It is a wonderful way to get your message out to many more people and enrich your marketing programs For example, around the end of the year, I shared information with you all about a book written by one of my Bel Air Crest neighbors entitled “Buzzy & Thomas Move Into the White House” written by Vicki Tashman. and she in turn promoted my real estate business particularly in my specialization of working in gated communities in West Los Angeles. I would love to work with you and your business and/or organization. Please let me know if you are interested, I would love to hear from you. 310 442-1384.
We have leased my lovely listing on Folkstone Lane in Bel Air Crest to a family moving here from Australia, and are now looking for some more new neighbors for some additional homes also in Bel Air Crest!. They will be coming on the market in the next few days, one a 4 bedroom/3.5 bath3 story that has been updated and includes an elevator and 4 car garage, we are asking $12,500 a month. The other home will also be on the market in the next few days, is fantastic, has been updated as well, has 6 bedrooms 7.5 baths, library, den and pool. The asking price will be $37.500 a month. I will have photos of both of these homes in a few days. In the meantime, I too am very much dealing with low inventory as I have a number of buyers for homes in both Bel Air Crest and Mountaingate and have nothing to show them as they have already seen everything that is on the market. Please let me know if you are thinking of selling your home
I hope you had/have a wonderful Spring holiday.
COUNT ON CAROLE
There is nothing more irritating, more frustrating than to have a Realtor who doesn’t follow through…who doesn’t keep their promises. I demand the highest level of service from my ‘team’, and you should demand the same from your Realtor. You can count on me to give you the diligence you deserve. Diligence counts! Carole Schiffer. The Westside Expert