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Celebrity Update-Joey Lawrence

Former “Blossom” star, Joey Lawrence just sold his Mediterranean-style home in Calabasas for a whopping $2M. In the famous words of his character, “Whoa!”. That’s a pretty good return on his investment as he purchased the home back in 2011 for $1.44M.

The gorgeous house is in the gated Westridge community neat the Calabasas Commons and features 4600 SF, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 2 living rooms, an indoor gym, a swimming pool with waterfall, and an outdoor barbecue, all on about a quarter acre of land.

Joey originally had the house listed for $2.25M but dropped the price after 3 months of sitting on the market.

The house oozes curb appeal with it’s stucco exterior, red roof tiles, 3 car garage, and circular entryway encompassed in palm fronds.

Beyond the front door is a circular foyer and terracotta floors. The 2-story living room with wood beams, an upstairs balcony, and french doors leading to the backyard is open and bright.

The custom kitchen features Shaker-style cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances and flows right into the cozy breakfast nook.

The living room features a fireplace, a built-in breakfast bar, and built-in bookcases.

The master bath features a gym area with towel and water station.

The backyard has a nice swing set and area for kids to play.

The backyard also has a patio and barbecue area, perfect for entertaining.

Dine al-fresco next to the modern pool featuring a rock waterfall.

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Celebrity Update – Petra Ecclestone

In this months celebrity update, Petra Eccelston, fashion designer and daughter to the Formula One billionaire Bernie Eccleston, has decided to sell the $85 million dollar mansion bought from the Spelling Family in 2011.

The Holmby Hills Estate boasts over 57,000 square feet, and even as extravagant as it may have been when purchased 3 years ago, Petra has apparently spent a fortune remodeling the mega mansion. As you can imagine, the price tag is out of this world.

Petra, along with her husband and young child, have decided to move back to London, and claims will only accept AT LEAST what the most expensive property in L.A. If you’re wondering, the home in reference is called the Fleur de Lys, and sold in March for a cool $102 million.

Prior to Petra purchasing “The Manor” as it has been nicknamed, also known as “Spelling Manor” was named the most expensive residential real estate listing in the United States when it was listed at $150 million by Candy Spelling, it sat on the market for 2 years before being bought by Ecclestone for $85 million.

Needless to say, it has plenty of legroom:

Update for the week ending June 28, 2014

Interest rates dropped slightly this week following a disappointing 1st quarter GDP Report. Q1 experienced a record size shrink in economy. The government had predicted a -1% decline, but the real number ended up being -2.9%. This is the largest shrink in the economy since the recession in the Q1 of 2009, when the economy shrunk by 5.4%. The blame of this economic shrink is being put on an unforgiving winter season that shut down factories, caused major disruptions in shipping, and kept American’s away from malls and car dealerships. Housing construction also slumped. Most analysts believe the economy will bounce back and expand at a healthy annual rate of about 3% during the second half of this year.

The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate fell slightly, coming in at 4.14% down from 4.17% last week. The 15-year-fixed also dropped, down to 3.22% from last week’s 3.30%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 4.46% and the 15-year was at 3.50%. Mortgages for loans over $417,000 are more like 4.25% for 30 year and 3.375% for 15 year terms.

The 10-year Treasury note yield rate ended the week at 2.54% after ending last week at 2.63%. It was 2.49% a year ago.

The Dow closed at 16,851.84 down -0.56% from last week’s close of 16,947.08 The Nasdaq had another strong week, closing at 4,397.93 up 0.68% from last week’s close of 4,368.04. The S&P 500 closed at 1,960.96, down -0.10% from last week’s 1,962.87.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County fell to 8.2% in May from 8.3% in April. it was 10% one year ago. A total of 2,400 net new jobs were added in the county. Countywide around 11,000 more people entered the workface in May and 15,000 reported finding jobs. The state unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% from 7.8%.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 85.2 from 83.5 in May, the highest reading since January 2008. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a reading of 83.5. Consumers are optimistic about current conditions. The number of those who stated business conditions are good rose to 23% from 21.1% while those saying conditions are bad fell to 22.8% from 24.6%. More consumers also believe jobs are becoming easier to get. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey’s consumer sentiment index for June was also up, rising to 82.5 from 81.9 in May.

Fannie Mae’s monthly economic outlook predicts that home sales will likely fall this year for the first time in four years. Existing home sales fell for the first quarter of the year but were up in both April and May. However for the first four months of the year existing home sales were down -7% year over year and new home sales were down -3%. Fannie Mae is predicting that total home sales in 2014 will be down -1.4% with new home sales up 11.3% and existing home sales down -2.4%. They are predicting mortgage rates will rise only slightly to around 4.3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

The National Association of Realtors® reported that all four regions of the country experienced sales gains compared to a month earlier. Total existing home sales rose 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.89 million in May, up from 4.66 million in April but still -5% below the 5.15 million reported in May 2013. The 4.9% monthly gain was the highest seen since August 2011.Total housing inventory is also on the rise, up 2.2% to 2.28 million, a 5.6 month supply which is 6% higher than a year ago when 2.15 million existing homes were available.

The median existing home price was $213,400, which is 5.1% above May 2013. Distressed homes accounted for 11% of May sales, down from 18% in May 2013. The median time on market for all homes was 47 days in May, down from 48 days in April; it was 41 days on market in May 2013. Existing-home sales in the West rose 0.9% to an annual rate of 1.09 million in May, and are -11.4% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $297,500, which is 8.4% above May 2013.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development sales of new single-family houses in May 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000. This is 18.6% above the revised April rate of 425,000 and is 16.9% above the May 2013 estimate of 431,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2014 was $282,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 189,000. This represents a supply of 4.5 months at the current sales rate

The California Association of Realtors® reported that the share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – rose in May to 89.2% up from 88.4% in April and from 78% in May 2103. May is the 11th straight month that equity sales have been more than 80% of total sales.

California pending home sales fell in May, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* dropping -3.4% from a revised 114.1 in April to 110.1 in May, based on signed contracts and down -10.6% from the revised 123.2 index recorded in May 2013. The year-over-year decline in the PHSI was the first double-digit decline in three months. In Los Angeles County, distressed sales made up 11% of all sales, down from 12% in April and from 23% in May 2013.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home 20-City Composite Index for April saw a gain of 10.8% year over year and 0.2% from the previous month. Both of these numbers were below what was predicted. Los Angeles saw prices rise 14% year over year and 0.7% from March.

We are now seeing some flattening of prices across the region. While prices are substantially higher than they were a year ago we are seeing homes priced at or below the very highest sales beginning to sit. It is time to pay more attention to pricing! We have seen virtually every sale be a record price for a couple of years. At least for now that appears to be ending! This will be a relief to buyers. Get in contact with the buyers that lost out on so many homes due to multiple offers. Some have given up. Now it may be their time!

Call today to receive economic submarket reports regarding:

  • Calabasas Homes For Sale
  • Sherman Oaks Homes For Sale
  • Hidden Hills Homes For Sale
  • Studio City Homes For Sale
  • Tarzana Homes For Sale

Contact Aaron Today To Learn More 

  • Encino Homes For Sale
  • Walnut Acres Homes For Sale
  • Woodland Hills Homes For Sale
  • Bell Canyon Homes For Sale
  • Luxury Condominiums and Townhomes

Economic update for the week ending May 17th, 2014

Home mortgage rates dropped this week to the lowest levels of the year! This was due to a combination of some lower than expected profits on Wall Street, worries that the stock market may be topping out, and an influx of foreign money looking for safety. Money moving to treasury bonds rather than stocks drives rates down.

In a positive sign for the economy, the number of Americans filing first-time jobless benefits fell last week to a seven-year low. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000 in the week ended May 10, making this the lowest reading since May 2007. The number of continuing unemployment benefits also hit a new low, it fell by 9,000 to 2,667,000 in the week ending May 3 which marked the lowest level since December 2007.

California reported that the economy added 56,100 jobs in April. This far exceeded the 14,600 added in March! The state unemployment rate dropped to 7.8%, a 6 year low!

In a positive sign for the economy, the number of Americans filing first-time jobless benefits fell last week to a seven-year low. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000 in the week ended May 10, making this the lowest reading since May 2007. The number of continuing unemployment benefits also hit a new low, it fell by 9,000 to 2,667,000 in the week ending May 3 which marked the lowest level since December 2007.

However, a preliminary gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment showed a loss. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary May reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 81.8, down from 84.1 in the previous month and below expectations of economists who predicted an 84.5 reading. 58% of consumers did say the economy had improved, up from 49% in April.

The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate hit a new low for the year, falling to 4.20% from 4.21% last week. The 15-year-fixed fell to 3.29% from last week’s 3.32%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 3.51% and the 15-year was at 2.69%. Loans over $417,000 are a little higher: 4.5% for 30 year fixed and 3.6% for 15 year fixed

The 10 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.52%. It was 2.61% last Friday and 1.87% a year ago. Last May and June is when we saw a spike in interest rates last year, so the year over year increase will be gone by June. We will even see a year over year drop if rates stay stable or even rise slightly!

After a volatile week of ups and downs, the closing numbers on Friday showed little change. The Dow closed at 16,491.31 down -0.55% from last week’s close of 16,583.34. The Nasdaq closed at 4,090.59 up .46% from last week’s close of 4,071.87. The S&P 500 ended the week at 1,877.86, down -0.03% from last week’s 1,878.48.

DataQuick reported that the median sales price in the six-county Southland region rose 1% from March to $404,000 and up 13.2% from $357,000 in April 2013. The median price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 25 consecutive months. A total of 20,008 new and resale houses and condos sold in the Southland, up 13.4% from 17,638 sales in March but down -6.6% from 21,415 sales in April of last year. On average sales generally increased 1.4% between March and April since 1988 when DataQuick started counting these statistics. Southland sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for seven consecutive months but last month’s was the smallest decline since last October and although April 2014 sales were lower than April 2013 sales they were higher than the amount of homes sold in both April 2012 and April 2011. In Los Angeles County alone, sales were down -7.0% year over year from 7,140 to 6,642 while the median price rose 11.6% from $395,000 to $441,000.

Respondents to Fannie Mae’s April 2014 National Housing Survey continued to express positive feelings about the real estate market. The amount of respondents who believe it is a good time to sell a house rose to an all-time high of 42%. The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to buy a home held steady at 69%. Consumers are less optimistic about their ability to get a mortgage, 45% of respondents said it would be easy to get a mortgage today, down -7% from last month. Those who believe prices will rise was up to 50% from 48% and the expected price increase rose from 2.7% to 2.9%, Also, 52% expect mortgage rates will continue their rise, while only 7% believe mortgage rates will go down. Consumers who feel that the economy is on the right track was also up by 3% to 35%.

Data released by the National Association of Realtors® showed that the median price for an existing single-family home was up 8.6% year over year in the first quarter to a median price of $191,600.This was down from a 10.1% year-over-year increase in the fourth quarter. The median rose annually in 74% of the metropolitan areas tracked by the NAR and 22% saw double-digit price jumps. In the first quarter of 2013, 89% of all the tracked metros saw year-over-year price gains. For the first quarter of 2014 monthly inventory was at 1.99 million homes, a five-month supply and 3.1% higher than the first quarter of 2013. Existing-home sales fell -6.6% year over year for the quarter to a seasonally adjusted 4.6 million. The West saw a drop of -12.4% year over year in existing home sales and had the highest regional price increase, up 14% for the quarter to $282,100. The Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Santa-Ana region saw a median price increase year over year of 17.6% to $406,200.

The CoreLogic Case-Shiller indexes show that home prices rose 11.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the same time period a year ago. Overall home prices were up 20% over the low point reached in the fourth quarter of 2011 but were still -21% below the peak reached in the first quarter of 2006. It is predicted that price appreciation will slow to 5.3% annually for 2014 which is above the long-term annual average of 4.5% recorded since 1975. (I am not buying this! Even though its a national number.) For Los Angeles the fourth quarter change was 20.3% higher than the previous year and a 5.2% ( we have already far exceeded this, so I’m not buying it either!) overall price increase is predicted for the year. CoreLogic a source used to track foreclosure properties, which are no longer prevalent in the marketplace. They didn’t predict that too well either, as we never say the flood of shadow inventory they predicted. Nor did we see the years and years of foreclosures they predicted. Nor did the “new normal” where prices don’t rise come to fruition. I don’t know how long I am going to include them in my report!

U.S. homebuilders are less confident in the short term this month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index was down to 45 from the revised reading of 46 in April. This is the lowest level in 12 months and indicates more builders view conditions as poor rather than favorable. Builders are optimistic about prospects for the next six months, that index rose 1 point to 57.

The National Association of Realtors® delivered its predictions for 2014 during the Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said existing home sales will probably be around -3% less than last year to just over 4.9 million but should rise to over 5.2 million in 2014.

The California Association of Realtors® reported that the statewide median price reached its highest level since December 2007. It was $449,360, up 3.2% from the March figure and up 11.6%over last April’s $402,830. The statewide median price has increased year over year for the past 26 months.

Closed sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 394,070 units in April, up 7.4% from 367,020 in March but down -7% from a revised 423,690 in April 2013.This was the ninth straight decline on a year-over-year basis.

Inventory was down to 3.5 months from March’s 4 months but still up from 2.8 months in April 2013. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 33.8 days in April, down from 35 days in March but up from 27.9 days in April 2013. We really need to reach a 6 month supply to be in a normal market where prices stabilize.

For Los Angeles County the median sold price in April 2014 was $406,750, up 2.8% from March’s $395,660 and up 12.5% from April 2013’s $361,630. Sales were up 23.3% from March but down-6.3% compared to April 2013. The average amount of inventory was 3.5 months, down from 3.9 months in March but up from 2.6 months in April 2013. The median days on market was 39.5 days, up from March’s 39 days and from April 2013’s 29.2 days.

The Commerce Department reported that U.S. housing starts rose strongly in April and building permits hit their highest point in nearly six years. Starts rose 13.2% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.07 million units which is the highest level since November 2013 and up26.4% over last April. Starts for single-family homes rose 0.8% but the real movement was in multi-family homes which rose 39.6% to a 423,000 unit rate. Groundbreaking for buildings with more than five units hit the highest level since January 2006. Permits to build homes rose 8% month over month and 3.8% year over year to a 1.08 million unit pace which is the highest since June 2008. Permits for single-family homes were up 0.3% while permits for multi-family homes rose 19.5%. Permits for buildings were up 21.8%.

We are still seeing rapid gains in prices in our marketplace. It’s hard to predict when these gains will begin to taper off. Many areas have exceeded their 2007 highs. Keep in mind that adjusted for inflation the same price in 2007 is about 19% lower today! We still have room to run! Eventually prices will need to stabilize. I would think we will begin seeing the gains start to taper in a way that appreciation is more in line with inflation in 2015 or 2016! Until then we are still going to have an inventory problem in which demand exceeds supply and drives prices up. Although we are off our lows in inventory, anyone on the street knows that there is a lot of homes that are severely overpriced. These people that would not waste their time in previous markets have an “who knows, I’ll sell if I get stupid money” attitude. Well priced homes are going quickly. Many with multiple offers! We will know that price gains are tapering when the multiple offers are less common, and well priced homes begin to take a little time to sell.

Call today to receive economic submarket reports regarding:

  • Calabasas Homes For Sale
  • Sherman Oaks Homes For Sale
  • Hidden Hills Homes For Sale
  • Studio City Homes For Sale
  • Tarzana Homes For Sale

Contact Aaron Today To Learn More 

  • Encino Homes For Sale
  • Walnut Acres Homes For Sale
  • Woodland Hills Homes For Sale
  • Bell Canyon Homes For Sale
  • Luxury Condominiums and Townhomes

Economic Update May 2, 2014

The Labor Department announced that the economy added 288,000 jobs in April and the unemployment level fell to 6.3%, the lowest level since September 2008. This was a huge increase that exceeded expectations. The number of jobs added in February and March was also revised upward. However the labor participation rate also went down with a drop of 806,000 fewer Americans in the work force. More unemployed people stopped looking last month than found jobs. That was unexpected, but all in all it’s the best sign we have seen that a more robust recovery is taking hold.

It was also announced that factory orders were up 1.1% for March after increasing 1.5% in February. Orders for core capital goods were up 3.5% which indicates business investment. Orders for durable goods rose 2.9%.

The markets reacted positively to these reports, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 touching their all-time closing highs before settling back down. After some larger peaks earlier in the week, the Dow closed at 16,512,89 up 0.93% from last week’s close of 16,361,46. The Nasdaq closed at 4,123.90 up 1.19% from last week’s close of 4,075.56. The S&P 500 ended the week at 1,881.41, up 0.95% from last week’s 1,863.40.

The Dow ended April by closing at a record high of 16,580.84, up 0.75% from last month’s close of 16,457,66. The Nasdaq ended April at 4,198.99, down -2.01% from last month’s close of 4,198.99. The S&P 500 ended the month at 1,883.95, up 0.62% from last month’s 1,872.34 close.

The GDP for the first quarter of the year showed that cold weather put the freeze on economic growth. The economy showed a 0.1% GDP growth in January, February and March representing the slowest three-month growth in the economy since the end of 2012. Growth in the second half of 2013 was at a 3.4% rate. Economists had predicted a 1.2% growth rate. Consumer spending however, grew 3.0% in the first quarter which was in line with 2013’s fourth quarter growth of 3.3%. Economists are viewing this as a temporary setback and expect the economy’s growth rate to return to between 2.5 and 3% in 2014.

This positive view was also substantiated by the Fed which elected to further taper the bond purchase program to $45 billion per month, down from $55 million. The committee plans to bring quantative easing all the way down to zero by the end of the year. This will eventually lead to higher interest rates. I’m surprised that rates have been so stable this year as the Fed has reduced their purchases of Treasury Bonds and Mortgage Securities.

The Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year-fixed rate fell slightly to 4.29%, the rate was 4.33% last week. The 15-year-fixed was also down slightly to 3.38% from last week’s 3.39%. A year ago the 30-year fixed was at 3.35% and the 15-year was at 2.56%. Loans over $417,000 are about 4.5% for 30 year fixed and 3.625% for 15 year terms.
The 10 year Treasury bond yield ended the week at 2.60%. It was 2.68% last Friday and 1.66% a year ago.

According to the Conference Board, U.S. consumer confidence slipped in April to 82.3 after hitting a six-year high of 83.9 last month. The percentage of consumers who said jobs are plentiful dropped to 12.9% from 13.8% and the amount of those who said jobs are hard to get rose to 32.5% from 31.4%. Those who expect jobs to be more difficult to get over the next six months rose to 15% from 14.1% last month. The expectations index rose to its highest level since August, up to 84.9 from an upwardly revised 84.8 last month.

According to a report from the Census Bureau, the nation’s homeownership rate hit its lowest level in 19 years during the first quarter of this year with 64.8% of homes in the U.S. being owner occupied. Rental vacancy rates remained near record lows coming in at 8.3% while the median rent hit an all-time nationwide high of $766 per month. The homeownership rate has fallen across every age group except for senior citizens. Homeownership in the West is below the national average, coming in at 59.4%.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 12.9% in February compared with 12 months earlier but down from a 13.2% year-over-year gain in January. Home prices fell in 13 of the 20 cities in February compared with the previous month. Los Angeles registered an 18.2% increase year over year and was up 0.5% from February.

The National Association of Realtors® reported that pending home sales rose in March. The Pending Home Sales Index was up 3.4% to 97.3 from an upwardly revised 94.2 in February. This is -7.9% below the March 2013 index reading of 105.7. In the West along the index increased 5.7% to 91.1 but is -11.1% below March 2013. Existing home sales are expected to total just over 4.9 million this year, a bit below the nearly 5.1 million in 2013. The national median existing home price is expected to grow between 6-7% in 2014

Call today to receive economic submarket reports regarding:

  • Calabasas Homes For Sale
  • Sherman Oaks Homes For Sale
  • Hidden Hills Homes For Sale
  • Studio City Homes For Sale
  • Tarzana Homes For Sale
  • Luxury Condominiums and Townhomes

Contact Aaron Today To Learn More 

  • Encino Homes For Sale
  • Walnut Acres Homes For Sale
  • Woodland Hills Homes For Sale
  • Bell Canyon Homes For Sale