Timely Real Estate News……………………….I5 November 2017
Giving Back and Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving coming up next week, Hanukkah two and one half weeks later and Christmas twelve days after that I am once again reminded of my gratitude for all of my family, friends and clients and my wish to Thank You for your generosity and support and to re-in force my wish to give back. We are all so lucky to live where we live and do what we do. I hope we all take the time express that gratitude in any way you can.
Median sales continue steady climb
Stop if you heard this one before: Median sales are going up. Yes, that’s true, but it’s different for this year: All of the major communities I report on each month — Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Post Office, Bel-Air/Holmby Hills, Westwood/Century City and Brentwood — are up as of the first ten months of 2017. Usually, one or two of these communities are down while others continue to climb.
We saw that Beverly Hills Post Office’s median sales through the first 10 months of the year, ending in October, were up 30% to $3.235 million, followed by Beverly Hills up 21% at $5.700 million, Brentwood, up 17% at $3.180 million and Westwood/Century City up 5% at $2.010 million, their highest year-to-date median sales price ever. Bel-Air/Holmby Hills managed to stay positive at 1% over the last 10 months compared to 2016 at $2.211 million.
Lack of inventory remains the challenge not only for the Westside, but all over the country. However, you can’t tell it by sales volume — which is driven by demand, forcing prices up and up — demonstrated by the fact that these communities were up 13.5% over 2016 for the first 10 months at $3.136 billion compared to $2.751 billion a year ago at this time. But, please remember, there are many private sales in the $10- and $20-million-plus category that are not officially reported to the Multiple Listing Service, so sales volume is significantly more for the Westside. According to last month’s high-end sales report, there were 42 homes selling over $20 million, 19 of which were private sales, meaning they were not included the stats that I get from the multiple listing service. However, the median sales prices would be slightly higher for those sales not included.
Compared to a year ago…
One of the key statistics I look at each month is comparing how a community is doing on a year-to-year basis, and October was really an eye-opener. For example, Beverly Hills’s median sales price in October 2016 was $3.102 million but in 2017, it was $7.860, a 153% increase. Bel-Air/Holmby Hills was 83% over a year ago…Brentwood was up 73%, Beverly Hills was up 37%. Westwood/Century was, however, down 3%. As I mentioned in the past one months’ price increase doesn’t make a trend, but we are seeing extremely strong price increases in our most popular communities on the Westside. All of Beverly Hills nine sales were over $3 million.
In comparing Listing Price to final Sales Price, homes are going for near final listing price in the 95% range, although Beverly Hills was down to 88.8% of the listing price. And the biggest sales were $26 million in Beverly Hills, with nine of their homes selling for over $3 million. Both Westwood/Century City and Bel-Air/Holmby Hills had homes selling in the $14 million range.
Marina del Rey is fast moving upward….
One of the other communities I frequently work in is Marina del Rey. The sales volume for Marina del Rey through October 2017 nearly doubled. Located next to the Venice canals and literally dug from a swamp/wetlands area in the 1960s by Los Angeles County, Marina del Rey has been developed into a community with condos and lovely single-family residences. In comparison with October 2016 — total sales through the 10 months of this year was $111 million vs. $58 million a year ago at this time…. an 88% increase in volume. Median sales prices were $1.410 million through October. This can mostly be attributed to Silicon Beach as we have discussed in the past.
A home priced right, sells right away
I know, I sound like a broken record. I have been preaching from Day One in my real estate career — a home that is priced right, will sell right away. It’s not a secret…every smart real estate agent advises their clients of this “Real Estate Law”. And yet we find clients, who unfortunately think their home is so very special that buyers will jump to buy it, and not be concerned about the price. It does happen from time to time, but rarely.
Here’s a great example of the “right way” strategy. A Coldwell Banker manager — recently retired and is starting off her retirement with a move to Normandy, France, for six months. She and her husband, a retired attorney, decided to sell their house before leaving. It’s a lovely home on a tree-lined cul-de-sac in Brentwood, walking distance to Sunday’s Farmer’s Market, and has this fabulous, large lot, with a guest house and large BBQ area, towering trees and is beautifully landscaped.
They priced the home at $3.5 million since the kitchen and bathrooms needed updating, but the value was there, no doubt about it. They had nine offers, two from speculators and seven from end users. They ended up accepting an all cash offer, substantially over the asking price, and 10-day escrow, and ironically, she had just purchased one of the buyer’s books! Good for all of them. So, you see…. pricing your home right serves you in the end. We wish them a happy time in Normandy.
Smart painting choices can make a difference
Painting can be one of the most cost-effective ways to add real value to your home if you’re thinking of about putting your home on the market. It’s a way to add dramatic impact to your home without costing you a fortune, and it’s relatively easy to accomplish.
According to staging and color experts, here are some handy hints to brighten up your home…and your price:
1) Don’t choose the wrong finish. Select a finish that correlates with your room’s purpose. Semi-gloss paints are great for kitchens and bathrooms, while matte and flat finishes work best with hallways and kids’ rooms. 2) Pay attention to a room’s undertones: Furniture, cabinets, floors, and even stone fireplaces will influence the colors of walls and other painted surfaces. Test your color swatches in various lighting conditions – -daylight and at night with the lights on. 3) Don’t select the wrong “white”. There are many, many different shades of white — as we all know. Go conservative…take your swatches out and let them sit on the surface for a day or two…experts advise to choose a white with a slight pink or yellow tint, such as a cream. 4) Don’t ignore the ceiling: If you pick the wrong color and have not taken into consideration the ceiling color, you could end up with a mess. “…paint properly, giving the edges along the top a sharp cut in will make the wall pop!” Also, the best color for a ceiling is one that will add to the feeling of height of the ceiling (everyone loves high ceilings!), and 5) Add an accent wall to an odd place. There’s nothing like putting a distinctive color on one wall that is not expected. Adding a pop of color to an accent wall is a popular choice…but don’t make the move ‘jarring’. Use samples and swatches…think about it until you feel comfortable before you commit. If the colors are too bright or too bold, it could turn off buyers.
Having gone through this myself several times, I know how confusing and challenging it can be to make sure you have the right color. Take your time, get lots of samples/swatches, and let it all gestate until you feel comfortable.
Tech markets thrive…others not so much
It’s no secret but the latest report on “Emerging Real Estate Trends” by PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC), pointed out that the five largest U.S. cities fell in favor among investors as secondary markets while blossoming tech hubs proved ascendant. Seattle, the home of Amazon and Microsoft, clinched the top spot in PWC’s nationwide survey of 1,600 property owners, developers and lenders. That’s in keeping with other metrics where Seattle leads the nation. San Jose, Raleigh and Boston, each with their own sizable tech sectors, climbed steadily.
Meanwhile, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix all dropped precipitously, with Manhattan plummeting in the PWC index, while Chicago’s drop was “severe” according to the well-regarded study, issued annually by PWC and the Urban Land Institute.
A young, educated workforce and an overabundance of capital elevated Seattle to the top spot. Survey participants noted a positive outlook for all property sectors in the city, with the strongest outlook for investment and development in industrial and single-family housing.
As I have been reporting for a while, our own Silicon Beach (Venice, Playa del Rey, Culver City and Santa Monica) are all thriving with the import of new technology firms and their property-hungry employees. This has led to price increases and community changes in a number of areas throughout the city.
Is there a drone in your future? Yes...
Once new commercial rules are in place, the Department of Transportation is expected to approve the use of commercial drones —This will be a boon for companies as Amazon who have already tested innovative product delivery. This will not affect the recreational user, but there a many uses already being tested for commercial use.
Drones have proven to be very beneficial, especially for the film and entertainment industries, one of our major enterprises in Los Angeles. But drones are coming…count on it.
Bitcoin….is it real?
There’s been so much written about “bitcoin” …and the question always is: What the heck is that? According to Wikipedia, it’s a worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system. We are all “in to” technology with smartphones, computers, and social media…wouldn’t cryptocurrency be a logical progression?
Well, for many, it is. It was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009. The system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Bitcoin can also be held as an investment. According to research produced by Cambridge University in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
I haven’t seen bitcoin used in real estate…at least, not yet. There are trades and exchanges in real estate that involve consideration and barter, of course. Perhaps bitcoin will find a niche in real estate one day but until there we do, we’ll just rely on the ‘coin of the realm’…the American dollar!
Do you have a Warm Coat?
Baby its cold outside! Under the auspices of the One Warm Coat” organization I am once again collecting coats, jackets, sweaters and any other clothes that you no longer use and taking them to the Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica for them to distribute to their clients. It is very easy, just give me a call at 310 442-1384 and I will swing by and pick them up.
The Day of Giving
For the last number of years, my office has teamed up with Vicente Foods, a local family owned market here in Brentwood at Thanksgiving to collect food and cash for the Westside Food Bank. This took place last Saturday, the 11th and as always it was a truly exceptional day It always amazes me that people who look like they don’t have two Nichols to rub together, come out with shopping bags full of food.. The concept is that people go into the store, purchase nonperishable foods, which they in turn put in the barrels for the food bank to distribute to their clients. Over the years, we have learned that some of the clients at the food bank, had in previous years been donors themselves! This year we filled 4 barrels to the top, and collected $550.00.
Bel Air Crest and Mountaingate Real Estate News
My wonderful listings in Bel Air Crest and Mountaingate are patiently waiting for their new owners to enjoy them. The house in Bel Air Crest is 3 bedrooms/3 baths and has been done to the nines and is very sophisticated and is priced at $2,225,000.
The lovely home in Mountaingate is also 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths also “tooth brush ready” for its new owner and is priced at $2,130,000. Both homes are in gated communities. The holidays are a great time to look for a new home, and sellers are most anxious to show off their holiday decorations. Please give me a call at 310 442-1384 so we can make an appointment and get together.
Be sure to visit me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my web site, email@example.com.