All posts filed under: L.A. Housing Scene

Baby Boomers Retire In Style: Living The High Life in L.A.

  Baby boomers continue to break the mold when it comes to retiring and “downsizing”. This generation wants to remain active, flexible and mobile – and so selling the family house doesn’t mean moving into a smaller condo. Instead many boomers are opting to move into a high-end luxury townhome or condo with all the bells and whistles of a 5-star hotel resort. Here in Los Angeles, brands like the W and Ritz Carlton Residences are getting in on the act – offering stunning condos in highly desirable locations, like Hollywood, Downtown LA and Santa Monica.  With a 24-hour concierge, valet parking, resort-sized swimming pool, full-scale gym, screening room and other facilities for entertaining including rooftop gardens with views, lounges, fireplaces and wetbars, retirees can enjoy a high quality of life while no longer having to worry about lawn care or home maintenance issues. Having been a guest at the W Residences, I can say that the rooftop views of the Hollywood Hills and iconic Sign, and panoramic views to Santa Monica, are stunning. The rooftop …

The Rise of the Small Lot Subdivision

As the price of land soars ever higher here in California, city planners and developers are turning to novel solutions to maximize housing development on small lots. Having just navigated the sale of a 3-lot parcel in Los Angeles to a large multiunit developer, I know how complex and how rare it is for developers to be able to secure multiple parcels of land in a row in highly desirable neighborhoods. In fact, on the block where we sold 3 duplexes, a 4th owner held back, resisting the opportunity to sell. As a result, this one duplex property will be sandwiched between two large multistory apartment complexes…and its future resale value will likely decrease, due to the loss of privacy and increased density on both sides. The City of Los Angeles has made the opportunity to build multiple homes on small units a more efficient way to generate the greatest utility/value for these small lots. The original law passed in 2004 has helped small lot developers like Modative and Minaret to provide new housing in …

Home Sales Surge Locally

Home sales surged by 24% in February, with the buying season kicking off early this year, possibly driven in part by our very mild winter. Home sales are up 12% this February, compared to Feb of 2015.   Interest rates are lower now than they were at the end of 2015 which is enticing more peeps to get into the home-buying fray. Of course, if you can manage all cash versus getting a loan, your chances of snagging the home of your dreams definitely increases, as it makes you a much sexier buyer. Interest rates have crept up a tiny bit over the past two weeks, but overall are still quite low (under 3.7% for 30-year fixed loans, and 2.96% for 15-year loans). It’s definitely an excellent time to list your home – with inventory at significant lows – buyers are willing to pay a hefty premium to secure the home they want. 2016 is looking good for continued appreciation here in SoCal.

Sawtelle Blvd Officially Embraces Its Japanese Heritage

You know that West Los Angeles segment of Sawtelle with its great Japanese nurseries, designer ramen shops, shabu shabu joints and sushi counters? It’s now officially being recognized as “Sawtelle Japantown”. The city of L.A. is posting official signage to that effect today. Maybe it’s not the catchiest name for a great neighborhood, but it’s nice to see the area hold onto its cultural heritage while evolving and staying relevant. And this strip of Sawtelle is well worth a visit for some of the best Japanese food you can find on the westside, as well as picking up some plants or seedlings from Hashimoto Nursery which has been in business in various forms since 1928. One of the best of the bunch is Tsujita LA’s ramen – but plan on being patient as you wait to get a table for their porky ramen goodness.

No More McMansions – New Ordinance In L.A. City

This week, L.A.’s city council passed a new ordinance restricting overbuilding on lots in 20 neighborhoods throughout the city. Called the Neighborhood Conservation Interim Control Ordinance, the new set of rules  put a two-year ban on the size of new, single-family dwellings throughout L.A. City. The ordinance has supporters in various neighborhood groups, while of course builders and developers are opposed to the new building limitations.

L.A.’s Seller Market: A Tough Time For Buyers

As spring warms up, the number of homes on the market here in L.A. is starting to increase…and while there are houses that nobody wants which sit on the market for a small eternity, for the most part if you have a well-designed house in a hot neighborhood such as Mar Vista, Venice or Highland Park, you are guaranteed multiple offers and a very, very quick sale.  For the listing agent, its all blue skies and clear sailing…And for the seller the only concern is to make sure that every possible dollar is wrung out of the deal… On the flip side, are the earnest serious buyers: if you need a loan to close the deal, you are going to be facing an uphill battle to get your offer accepted. You’re competing against very well-heeled buyers including investors (both domestic and international) with loads of cash and the ability to close in a fraction of the time you’ll need to get your bank to close the deal. Most banks are still so gun-shy about lending money to even …