Monday, April 21, 2014

Poll: Americans Prefer Real Estate Over Stocks, Gold

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Real Estate is still top choice for the "best" long-term investment. 

Poll: Americans Prefer Real Estate Over Stocks, Gold

Americans have renewed confidence in real estate as a great investment. In fact, Americans believe real estate is the “best” long-term investment, followed by gold, stocks, mutual funds, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds, according to a new Gallup Poll of about 1,000 adults who were asked to choose the best option for long-term investments. Bonds were the least favorite investment among the options Gallup surveyed.

In 2011, Americans surveyed said the most popular long-term investment was gold. That also marked a time when gold was at its highest price and real estate and stock values were lower than today, Gallup notes.

“With housing prices improving across the country, Americans are regaining faith that real estate is the best choice for long-term investments,” according to Gallup. “Home ownership is also associated with views of real estate as an attractive investment opportunity.”

Americans with higher incomes are the most likely to say real estate and stocks are the best investments – “possibly because of their experience with these type of investments,” according to the Gallup poll. Higher income Americans are most likely to say they own their home (at 87 percent), followed by middle-income earners (at 66 percent) and lower-income earners (36 percent).

Home owners are slightly more likely than renters to say real estate is the best choice for long-term investments – 33 percent versus 24 percent, respectively, according to the Gallup poll.

Source: “Americans Sold on Real Estate as Best Long-Term Investment,” Gallup (April 17, 2014)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

International buyers like the Southern California real estate market

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Southern California is still red hot for international buyers. Vacation home purchases surged in 2013 while investment home properties slightly declined.

International buyers like the Southern California real estate market


Home buyers outside of the U.S. really like the Southern California real estate market.
A lot, according to the California Association of Realtors “2013 International Clients Survey.”
And they are especially high on Southern California, according to the association.

Of the homes purchased by international buyers last year in California, 35 percent were in L.A. County, 22 percent were in Orange County, 20 percent were in San Diego County and 14 percent were in Riverside County, the association said.

The international community is also a fan of our government and financial system, which I know some will find hard to believe.

Eight five percent of the buyers shopping for homes in the state last year said that they only considered purchasing a home in the U.S. because its stable government and financial system would guarantee their home investment.

Fifteen percent considered investing in other countries, including Canada, Germany, Mexico, China, Singapore, Sweden, and France.

Twenty percent of the buyers said they chose the U.S. for its desirable location and climate.
The survey also found that 69 percent of international buyers paid all cash for their properties, compared to 27 percent of traditional buyers who paid all cash and 32 percent who bought their home to live in.

The international set has an eye for style, too. Forty-four percent of the international home buyers purchased homes with designer kitchens, 26 percent purchased homes with a wine cellar, and 9 percent purchased homes with a sauna. Other home amenities that international buyers wanted include a private beach, putting green, heated floors and outdoor kitchens.

The survey was conducted via email to a random sample of Realtors across the state.
It did not ask for the total number of homes sold to international buyers last year.

A separate survey last week from the National Association of Realtors showed that vacation home sales rose strongly last year while investment purchases fell below the elevated levels seen in the previous two years.

Not a surprise, really, because it follows the trend in quarterly reports from market trackers like DataQuick.

The association’s “2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey,” covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2013, shows vacation-home sales jumped 29.7 percent to an estimated 717,000 from 553,000 in 2012.

Meanwhile, investment-home sales fell 8.5 percent to an estimated 1.10 million in 2013 from 1.21 million in 2012.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates fall; 30-year loan averages 4.34%

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Inflation still at bay for now as mortgage rates have fallen again.

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates fall; 30-year loan averages 4.34%

A home under construction in Irvine  

Mortgage rates fell this week as inflation appeared to be no threat, Freddie Mac said Thursday. Above, a home under construction in Irvine in January. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)


Lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at an average of 4.34% this week compared with 4.41% a week ago, according to the widely watched survey from home finance giant Freddie Mac.

The decline in rates, reflecting a belief that overall inflation remains at bay, was also seen in 15-year fixed loans, which dropped from an average 3.47% to 3.38%.

Start rates for adjustable-rate loans also fell, according to Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac asks lenders across the nation about the terms they are offering on popular loan types to borrowers considered low risk and with 20% down payments or equivalent home equity in the case of refinance loans.

The borrowers would pay less than 1% of the loan amount to the lenders in upfront fees and discount points. It's possible to obtain lower rates by paying additional discount points.
US 30 Year Mortgage Rate Chart


Friday, April 4, 2014

Ned Fox builds an open, casual atmosphere at Playa Jefferson

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Creative office space development at Playa Vista in area of Southern California known as "Silicon Beach". The new trend in casual work spaces.

Fox pivots from constructing high-rises to joining the newest trend in commercial real estate — making so-called creative office space.


Playa Jefferson developers 

Developers Ned Fox, left, and Stuart Gulland in front of Playa Jefferson, their new office complex in the rapidly evolving planned community of Playa Vista. (Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times / March 31, 2014)







Tuesday, April 1, 2014

US home prices rose in Feb. despite weaker sales

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Prices for existing homes rose 12.2 percent in February from a year ago. Factors such as bad weather combined with higher mortgage rates has reduced the volume of home sales to its lowest levels in 19 months. There is still a tight supply of homes for sale as inventory remains low which keeps prices high as demand still outpaces supply.

US home prices rose in Feb. despite weaker sales

April 1, 2014 8:01 AM ET  By By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home prices rose in February from a year earlier at a solid pace, suggesting that a tight supply of homes for sale is boosting prices despite slowing sales.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic says prices for existing homes rose 12.2 percent in February from a year ago. That was up slightly from January's year-over-year pace of 12 percent.

On a month-to-month basis, prices in February rose 0.8 percent from January. But CoreLogic's month-to-month prices aren't adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as winter weather, which can depress sales.

Snowstorms, rising prices and higher mortgage rates combined to reduce home sales in February to their lowest level in 19 months. The number of available homes remains below the level typical of a healthy market.