Wednesday, September 25, 2013

LA Home Prices Still Going Up, But Not Quite So Crazily

My website: 

Los Angeles real estate market still hot based on July's Case-Shiller Index with prices up 20.79 percent compared to a year ago and up a little 2.1 percent over June. Prices seem to be stabilizing. While home prices still up rate of increase has slowed.

LA Home Prices Still Going Up, But Not Quite So Crazily

Tuesday, September 24, 2013, by Eve Bachrach


Standard & Poor's is out with the July edition of the Case-Shiller index, which tracks home prices in 20 cities across the country. Today's report follows the trend we saw over the summer: in Los Angeles, prices are way up compared to a year ago (20.79 percent) and up a little (2.1 percent) over June--pretty much mirroring competitor DataQuick's report. But for the third straight month, the gain was smaller than the previous month's. And, as the chart above shows, we're now about 18 months into vertiginous price increases, but still well below the peak of seven years ago. Nationally, all 20 cities saw home prices go up in July compared to June, but 15 saw the rate of increase slow down, just like LA.

· State O' The Market Archives [Curbed LA]


Friday, September 20, 2013

Lower Westside' booms with new homes, creative firms, entertainment

My website:

Beach areas on the lower westside continue growing due to influx of positive grow in both housing and jobs. Good news for the area. Many new venues coming soon to accommodate the growth.

The area north of LAX and southeast of Marina del Rey that real estate brokers have dubbed 'the lower Westside' is drawing an influx of new housing, young-skewing firms and entertainment outlets.

'Lower Westside' is thriving 

The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, a prominent mall next to the 405 Freeway, will replace stores with restaurants, arcades and other venues that favor recreation over commerce, its owners said. The mall already has a luxury theater complex. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / September 5, 2013)



Monday, September 16, 2013

With new technology center, Microsoft expands its turf on 'Silicon Beach'


'Silicon Beach' is southern California's technology zone which currently includes YouTube, Google, Netflix and Facebook . Microsoft recently just opened up offices in Playa Vista. They will also now be closer to Xbox their entertainment venue in Santa Monica. With all these technology oriented companies it will boost the local economy and further increase the demand for housing in these areas.

With new technology center,  Microsoft expands its turf on 'Silicon Beach'
Brian Watt |

Microsoft opened new offices in Playa Vista Thursday, adding to its presence in the technology zone known as Silicon Beach.

Elected officials, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Congresswoman Maxine Waters were on hand to cut the ribbon on the new Microsoft Technology Center.  The center will be the base for about 130 Microsoft employees and replace offices in downtown Los Angeles.

“If you think through where our offices have resided, it’s always been where growth is,” said Mark Kornegay, the new General Manager of Microsoft, Southern California.  He said the company opened offices in downtown Los Angeles during a period of revitalization there.  “Now, Silicon Beach is where a number of companies have invested, a number of our customers are, so this is the area where there’s a tremendous amount of growth and Microsoft continues to follow that growth.”
Scott Case , the Director of the new technology center said the company needs to be closer to its customers in the entertainment industry. The list of those customers will look familiar to anyone who follows Hollywood.

“SONY Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Disney, these are all entertainment companies and large organizations, and we want to enable their thousands of employees,”said Case.

The Playa Vista offices are also closer to Microsoft’s own entertainment venture: the Xbox Entertainment Studios,  which opened earlier this year further north on the shores of ‘Silicon Beach’ in Santa Monica.  There, the company is working on interactive TV and other original content for the Xbox console.

The new offices feature several spaces where business customers can experience Microsoft's software and gadgets and make plans for how to use them.  Meeting rooms are named for Los Angeles County beaches:  Hermosa, Zuma, Venice.  The offices and cubicles are all unassigned and available to employees on a first-come, first-served basis. 

YouTube, Google, Netflix and Facebook are among the well-known tech names that have set up shop within Silicon Beach, along with hundreds of lesser-known start-ups. Amazon is also reportedly working on a deal to move its studios to Santa Monica.

“Silicon Beach is absolutely the real deal,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the ribbon cutting. “More and more in technology, people are looking at the content of technology, and we know content in Los Angeles.”  

Garcetti said he’s focused on helping video-game maker Riot Games  move down the beach from Santa Monica to Playa Vista.  That would bring at least 1,000 more employees. Garcetti said he wants to “create the infrastructure for technology to succeed in L.A.," so he’s also pushing to get computer coding taught in public school classrooms.  


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Southern California home prices hold steady in August, sales hit high

My website:

Median home prices in the Southland were 24.6% higher than last year. Increase in sales was low though due to low inventory of homes available for sale. With steady median prices the past two months it may signal an end to dramatic prices increases as prices are finally easing a bit. Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area there was only a three month supply of existing homes for sale in July. A supply of six to seven months is considered normal.

Southern California home prices hold steady in August, sales hit high

On the market

"For Sale" signs mark homes in Menifee in southern Riverside County. The median sales price was $385,000 last month in the six-county Southland, unchanged from July and June, real estate firm DataQuick reported Thursday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

September 12, 2013, 9:59 a.m.

Southern California home prices remained flat in August from a month earlier and sales hit a seven-year high for the month as more homes went on the market.

The median sales price was $385,000 last month in the six-county Southland, unchanged from July and June, real estate firm DataQuick reported Thursday. Prices were 24.6% higher than last year.
In Los Angeles County, the median price rose 28.1% to $429,000 in August, while the median in Orange County was $560,000, 25.8% more than last year.

Home values have shot up sharply this year as traditional home buyers rushed into the market eyeing historically low mortgage rates amid an improving economy, but found few homes available for sale and significant competition from cash-carrying investors.

Buyers purchased a total of 23,057 new and resale houses and condos in the Southland last month. That was 2.8% more than August 2012, but down 0.8% from July.

This year’s sharp price gains, as well as recent mortgage rate increases, have eaten away at affordability and frustrated many would-be home shoppers, while raising questions of how long the fervid pace can continue.

But the steady median price figure over the last two months could signal that dramatic price increases are easing as more homes come on the market.

"Home shoppers have more properties to choose as we begin to see a ‘supply response’ to higher values," DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement. "Price pressures appear to be easing, though, amid higher mortgage rates, more supply and fewer cash and investor purchases."

The number of listings rose in August from a month earlier and a year ago in the Inland Empire as well as in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, according to Listings declined in San Diego county over the month and year — the only Southland region to do so.
Still, inventory remains extremely tight.

In the L.A. metropolitan area, there was a three-month supply of existing homes for sale in July, the latest data available from the California Assn. of Realtors. A supply of six to seven months is considered normal.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mortgage rates rise, Freddie Mac says, but jumbo loans are cheap

My website:

Wow... an unprecedented new phenomenon. A trend of jumbo mortgage loans being less expensive than smaller conforming loans which usually have a cap of $417,000. In Los Angeles and Orange counties a higher cap limit of $625,000 applies due to high home prices. With interest rates rising 30 - year fixed loans at Wells Fargo are at an average of 4.75% up full percentage point than a year ago. Conforming loans are at an average of 5%.

Mortgage rates rise, Freddie Mac says, but jumbo loans are cheap

Sold sign in San Francisco

A sold sign at a home in San Francisco, where housing prices have soared. Mortgage rates rose slightly early this week, according to Freddie Mac. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / July 30, 2013)

September 5, 2013, 12:40 p.m

With interest rates rising, it's getting harder to find a great deal on a home loan these days -- unless you're rich enough to be looking for a jumbo mortgage.

Mortgage rates rose early this week, Freddie Mac said in its latest report, with lenders offering a 30-year fixed home loan to solid borrowers at an average of 4.57% -- up from 4.51% last week and a full percentage point higher than a year ago.

Rates for 15-year fixed mortgages and adjustable loans also edged higher, a trend Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft attributed to a healthier-looking economy. He pointed to stronger growth in the gross domestic product and other indicators.

Additional positive economic reports Thursday drove the yield on the 10-year Treasury note -- a benchmark for fixed mortgage rates -- to nearly 3%. That was its highest level since July 2011, and home lending rates were volatile but continuing to move higher, mortgage professionals said.

Freddie Mac asks lenders each week about the terms they are offering to people with good credit, enough income to cover payments and 20% down payments. The borrowers in the latest survey would have paid lenders an average of 0.7% in upfront discount points and fees to obtain the quoted rates.

The improving economy also has contributed to another trend -- heavy competition among lenders to make jumbo mortgages. The outsize loans, too big to be backed by Freddie Mac or its sister finance company, Fannie Mae, are written mainly for affluent residents of the East and West coasts, where home prices have risen rapidly over the past year.

The Mortgage Bankers Assn. says jumbo loan rates are now lower than those for smaller, so-called conforming mortgages that can be sold to or guaranteed by Freddie and Fannie. It's a trend that Brad Blackwell, executive vice president of No. 1 mortgage lender Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, called "unprecedented."

"This is a new phenomenon -- something we've never seen before," Blackwell said in an interview.
Fannie and Freddie guidelines cap conforming loans at $417,000, with higher limits in areas where home prices are high. Los Angeles and Orange counties are among the places with the highest limits -- currently $625,500, although pressures are building in Washington to lower the cap.

Blackwell said Wells Fargo was making jumbo loans with no upfront costs to borrowers at 4.75% on Thursday, compared with conforming loans at 5%.

The difference in rates was even greater for loans that are fixed for seven or 10 years before becoming adjustable, he said.

US 30 Year Mortgage Rate Chart