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When it comes to real estate, and in particular buying your first home, the prevailing rule of thumb is if you can, you should. We have all heard a real estate agent say, “Now is the time to buy!” but to be honest, that has always been the case (with the exception of 2008). This rule is magnified in Southern California where buying a single family residence will immediately begin rising in value.

Touched upon in an earlier blog post, Los Angeles is seeing some unprecedented growth among its population, and real estate development is struggling to keep up. The LA Times did a study on San Diego homes, a city where unemployment is down and wages are going up but homes are not easy to come by. This past year a vast majority of new development was for rent, not for sale. They are making a push for new development of condo units and townhouses with streamlined permit processes and lowering parking restrictions, amongst other things.

You can, and should, expect similar actions to take place in Los Angeles. Average home prices in Los Angeles went up 7.5% in October alone, which drives home the point: if you buy a house in Los Angeles, it can go up in value every month. Thus putting more weight behind ‘If you can, you should’ because being stuck on the other side of home ownership just means houses will continue to get more expensive.

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There are a lot of big things happening in Los Angeles in the coming years, many of which will have an affect on the housing market. Let’s take a look at some big events on the horizon as well as a new study:

First up, a brand new NFL stadium and future home to the Rams and Chargers is under construction in Inglewood. But this is not just a stadium; this is a massive development that will include numerous businesses open seven days a week, not just Sunday. The city of Inglewood is looking to vastly improve public transportation and build out new housing and retail in the Crenshaw/Inglewood intersection. They expect smaller developments to pop up along Imperial as well.

The stadium was pushed back a year due to last winter’s heavy rain fall and is expected to officially open for the 2020 NFL season. This gives Inglewood city officials time to make a decision in early 2018, giving them two years to line everything up for the new stadium. Get more details from the original story.

Next up, and much more far off, is the 2028 Summer Olympics to be hosted in Los Angeles. The 2028 Olympics will have a similar effect as the NFL stadium but it will envelope a much larger chunk of LA. Mayor Eric Garcetti has his “28 by 28” plan that looks to accelerate 28 transportation projects before the 2028 Olympics. Additionally, this correlates well with Garcetti’s goal of reaching 100,000 new housing units by 2021, which is already two-thirds complete.

Big sporting events and lots of housing developments but do we really need all of that? A new study makes a pretty good argument in favor of all the development: the Southern California Association of Governments estimates an additional one million residents in Los Angeles by 2035. That’s nearly a 10% increase to the city’s 10.2 million current residents! At the very least it puts the sheer number of the housing developments into perspective.

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For most first time home buyers, buying a home is just that: finding a new place to call home. But how is that different from moving from one rental to another? While it is true that home ownership can bring some woes, the positives far outpace the negatives and right here in Los Angeles one positive is really starting to pick up the pace.

When you buy a home you are not just creating a new place to call home, you are making an investment. In the Los Angeles real estate market, that investment will reward you handsomely. LA Times reports on a new study conducted by Zillow that the average seller in Los Angeles, who had owned their property for about 10 years made on average $200,000. Across the board, this came out to an average of nearly 54% gain.

In percent gain on sale, Los Angeles ranked 5th amongst a list of 33 metropolitan areas and was the third California city (behind Oakland and San Jose). So if you are in the market, whether you are a first time buyer or onto the next house, rest assured that in addition to finding a new place to call home, you have made a sound investment.

To see the whole list of cities, check out the original article on Los Angeles Times.

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There is a lot of speculation, conversations, and quite often, jokes made about why Millennials are not buying homes. A new study has pointed out what similar studies have been pointing out: that student loans are holding Millennials back from buying homes. And the few Millennials that are homeowners credit student loans as the main reason they don't sell. In addition, the median income for Millennials is $38,000, and to any of you living in Los Angeles most definitely know, that salary will not afford you a house.

Just how high is the percentage of Millennials not buying houses? Here is a quote from the original article on Real Deal LA:

"A new report from the National Association of Realtors looking at student debt and housing finds that 83 percent of millennials who do not own a home cite student debt as the reason."

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How much do you know about case study homes? Most people think it is a general term, any outstanding piece of single family residence architecture. Perhaps that is not wrong. But actually, there are the case study homes, which were commissioned by Arts & Architecture back in the 40s.

The reason for these homes? To create a new standard for post-war single family homes. They outlined the study ahead of actual construction in 1945, awaiting restrictions to be lifted on certain materials (because of rationing during wartime). Originally, eight well known architects of the time would each create their own single family home with a functional design and an affordable price tag. The announcement even stated that each “house must capable of duplication and in no sense be an individual ‘performance.’ It is important that the best material available be used in the best possible way in order to arrive at a ‘good’ solution of each problem, which in the overall program will be general enough to be of practical assistance to the average American in search of a home in which he can afford to live.”

Obviously, some of the case study homes exceeded the requirements but at its inception, these were to be functional affordable homes for the average American. Over 70 years later and the fact that many of these homes are known by name and still considered exceptional, the original intent of the study fell by the wayside at some point.

If you are interested in architecture, chances are you already know about these case study homes and have even visited some of them. If you have not, you are in luck! There are 20 case study homes located in the greater Los Angeles area, and Curbed LA even mapped them out for you.

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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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