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If you have driven around or spent any time at the USC campus in the last couple of years you have no doubt noticed the amount of construction and development going on. This week, just ahead of the start of the 2017 school year, USC Village is officially open. Taking up $700 million of USC’s promised $1 billion towards development, USC Village is the largest development in the school’s history, reported by the LA Times.

Sitting on 15 acres and primed to house 2,500 students, USC Village is not just for students. In addition to the student housing, a new Trader Joe’s, Target, Starbucks, and other stores and restaurants will be open to the public, complete with a courtyard to promote hangouts. This project is a huge step in USC’s campaign to elevate the surrounding neighborhood and community outside of the school’s borders.

The new USC Village replaced an outdated, outdoor mall built in the 1970s and brings all the amenities that come with a high-end university project. USC is just one of many schools in the county who are pushing development outward to help better the surrounding communities. New development with retail and food in addition to student housing brings new jobs to the area, like USC’s proposed plans to bring a new research center into the area, which would include housing, a hotel, and restaurants with it.

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One question on many Californian's minds who are looking to buy a home: when will home prices stop rocketing upward? Some experts say not for two years, at least. Obviously, shifts and changes in the economy would affect home prices but there is no break in the upward trend on the horizon.

While "housing bubble" may be coming up in speculation and conversation, the numbers firmly show that we are not in a bubble. Last year, only 4.8% of homes in California had a second mortgage compared to 43% in 2006. And again compared to 2006, down payments last year were on average just under 7% higher than they were. These statistics go to show that there are not as many people over-leveraging their homes.

While home prices are still on the rise, it is not too late to get in! Economists see this trend continuing for at least two years so if you can get in now, you will benefit as homeowner riding the trend of upward movement. Interest rates are still low and a better way to look at prices is that they are lower now than they will be in a year. For more details, check out How high can Southern California home prices go?

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Measure S has been the topic of many debates leading up to tomorrow's local elections. Seeing how Measure S is tied to development, and therefore, real estate, we wanted to give you a breakdown of what it is and why it is so important. It can be hard to find unbiased information on measures (and pretty much anything tied to an election) so your best bet is hearing, or reading, about them from both sides. Since I am no expert on interpreting measures myself, I created a round up of articles to help you educate yourself:

1. First up is a fairly unbiased breakdown of Measure S by Curbed. This article will explains who is involved, what kind of current developments would be affected, a basic breakdown of the measure, as well as arguments for and against. You will not get a very detailed picture here, but Curbed offers a great overview.

2. Now that you have the overview, if you want to get into the details than this article about Measure S on Ballotpedia offers an in depth look. Not only does it showcase a breakdown of what is in included in the measure, but it also looks at financial impact, more detailed arguments for and against, background information, and much more.

3. Next up is a large Q&A regarding Measure S on the LA Times. This article is a little more conversational but full disclosure: the LA Times are funding "No on S" so while this article is still informative, know that it does come from one specific side of the argument. Here is another article from the LA Times focused on the misinformation being spread around about Measure S.

4. While trying to stay as unbiased as possible, the fact that I could not find an article in favor of Measure S from a reputable news source is telling. However, for the sake of hearing what supporters have to say about the measure here is the Yes on S website.

There are plenty more articles out there to further educate yourselves on Measure S. I highly recommend reading about them until you feel comfortable coming to your own conclusion. Don't forget to vote!

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As we have move into February of 2017 we have a very slow week of news regarding real estate, despite the alarming speed the year is going by (we're already in February!). The LA Times takes a look at the future of home buying: virtual reality. There is already one firm that will be utilizing the technology for a new housing project in California. The only Curbed article of interest this past week covers the rising prices of homes in Venice. Apparently the median price rose more than 15% in 2016 as Venice's median is quickly approaching 2 million. And lastly, UCLA published a press release that shows despite Trump taking office, there has been no big shift in commercial real estate in California, as it was predicted. See you all next week and stay dry out there!

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2017 is already shaping up to be a wild ride as the LA Times reports on the Department of Housing and Urban Development has indefinitely suspended a pending rate cut for mortgage insurance within hours of Trump swearing into office. This is a big blow to first time homebuyers looking for a little help. Realtor.com reported on the top 20 hottest markets for real estate and while Los Angeles came in at 17, it's worth noting that the state of California holds 12 of the top 20 spots! Taking a closer look at Southern California, the LA Times highlights the improving economy matched with a shortage of homes for sale has seen home prices go up but sales going down. Read the full story for more details.

First up in our weekly Curbed wrap up, the city council has approved a new 16 story tower by the Beverly Center under the agreement that a portion of the units will be sold as affordable units. And while Southern California home prices in general have been on the rise, Los Angeles county has actually seen a slight dip in average sale price month over month. To clarify, home prices in Souther California are at a near decade high though, so the month over month dip is nothing alarming. Curbed reports on the finalized bid for LA to host the 2024 olympics and depending on how you feel about that, you can either root for or against Paris and Budapest who are still in the running with Los Angeles. Lastly, Los Angeles is looking to make its streets more safe by addressing the high number of traffic deaths in the city (highest in the nation).

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Hello, I hope everyone's 2017 is off to a strong start! Now that the holiday season is far behind us and the real estate market is revving up, let's take a look at what has been happening since the New Year. The Real Deal reports on the city of Los Angeles looking into new rules to protect historic buildings, including giving the city an easier route to prolonging the review process. In a new report, Santa Monica has become the most expensive city to rent in in the United States. Also worth pointing out that Venice is 5th, just beating out San Francisco. Curbed has a fun write up covering downtown LA's construction boom and shines light on the fact that the downtown area has not seen so much construction in almost a century. The LA Time...

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As we edge closer and closer to the holidays, real estate news slows down as well. This week's news stories are not real estate centric, but certainly relate. Apparel News reports that in the month since the election, commercial real estate has picked up in Los Angeles with many business looking for new store fronts to move into. The LA Times have a write up on how the Federal Reserve hike will affect consumers. The first section of the article details how it will have an impact on mortgages.

In this week's Curbed wrap up, Malibu finds out the newly embolden California Coastal Commission is not messing around as they fine two Malibu property owners $5.1 million for blocking public beach access. On the other hand, Watts residents have something to celebrate as LA County has agreed to fund the green makeover of 103rd Street in Watts. Here is a bonus article from Curbed to help you find local gifts made right here in Los Angeles for any shopping that may remain on your list. Happy Holidays!

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Things are starting to slow down as we hit the home stretch to end 2016. The Mercury News published a new story regarding the California Supreme Court ruling on the dual agency case that was heavily featured in the news a few weeks back. The LA Times have a good write up covering a very LA-specific issue in California Real Estate: celebrity and architect name dropping to sell houses. LA Times advises anyone interested to not take those facts at face value.

First up in our Curbed LA weekly wrap up, read why the newly passed affordable housing measure is already in danger. A new proposed residential and commercial skyscraper would bring over 800 new condos to the downtown area. If you want to know what Santa Monica beach will look like a...

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Looking a little down south first, the LA Times reports that the median price for a home in San Diego has surpassed $500,000 for the first time in ten years. In another LA Times story this week, home prices jumped last month and nationally we have reached pre bubble prices for the first time since 2006.

Moving into our weekly Curbed wrap up, it appears Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood are getting ready for a retrofit overhaul. Apparently the Hawthorne Plaza Mall will finally be demolished and replaced, the mall closed back in 1999. Coming as no surprise due to the LA Times article above, but Curbed has their own story about Los Angeles county prices being up 7 percent. And lastly, if you're looking for the proper gray scale to paint your home, Curbed breaks down the best grays to use.

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