Category Archives: Los Angeles

A Multi-Family Investment Portfolio, One Unit At A Time

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Somehow, I never get to be the Top Hat.

I have clients who want to own investment properties. And even though they may own several personal and vacation homes, the idea of putting all of their property investment eggs in one building basket is counter to their successful track record of spreading the risk across different assets.

Regarding real estate, individual investors generally think of the three most common property holdings: office buildings, shopping centers and apartment buildings. And the easiest of these investments to manage and understand is the apartment building — people pay rent, you subtract your expenses and voilà, there’s your net taxable income. (The CPA then works his/her magic by factoring in mortgage interest and depreciation deductions, but that’s something for the next day.)

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Bragging Rights Of The Fraudulent Kind

Morning Coffee

Enjoying my morning coffee and   LA Times, NY Style.

I never thought the Treasury Department’s thresholds for reporting the people behind cash purchases of residential real estate would make me face my bi-Coastal allegiances.

Having grown up in New York, and having lived in Los Angeles for more than half of my life, I’m conflicted. I read the New York Times (electronic edition) every day. I also read the Los Angeles Times (print edition), which, jonesing for a NY experience, I fold in the manner I learned in fourth grade so as to more easily read it on the subway. [That this was taught to me in school as part of the curriculum says volumes about the veneration of The Times. But I digress…]

I identify as a New Yorker, especially when it comes to claiming unparalleled authority on topics such as bagels and pizza. Even more so, I wear the mantle of having grown up in Manhattan with unwarranted snobbery over those from Long Island or New Jersey ― unwarranted as I was simply lucky to have parents cool enough to live in the city, and did not attain that rank of my own merits. Continue reading

Is There Too Much Housing In Downtown LA?

Los Angeles skyline

Even more lights are slated to join the DTLA skyline.

LA is a city with an identity crisis, mainly because it has more identities than “Sybil.”  The “city” part of LA is the downtown area that reached its glory days in the 20s and 30s, hit a decline in the post war years, laid fallow for about 50 years and began its renaissance starting in the late 90s. For what’s supposed to be the economic hub of the city, people can go their whole lives without setting foot in downtown (and truthfully, they’re missing out, but that’s a topic for another day).

Downtown has had a huge residential population boom, going from approximately 14,000 denizens to more than 50,000 over the past 15 years. The tipping point was the introduction of a name brand supermarket that allowed people who always thought it would be cool to live downtown, but were wary of the inconvenience of not being able to get the emergency carton of milk for their Sunday morning coffee, to feel more comfortable. As more units came on line (either through new construction, or the redevelopment of iconic buildings) restaurants, stores, clubs and even a Soul Cycle followed. Suddenly, downtown was a viable place to live. It may also be a victim of its own success. Continue reading

The Election Cycle vs. The Housing Cycle

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 11.48.24 AMThere’s a conversation that real estate agents and their clients have every four years, usually starting in July (sometimes August, and in some cases, even September) based on the question, “So, how do you think the election is going to effect the real estate market?” My stock broker tells me his clients ask him the same thing about the stock market. That said, since you may be interested in asking the question, I’ll reply with the same ever hedging answer I get from him whenever I ask about the market: “it depends.” Continue reading

Beverly Hills Courts Self-Driving Cars (Which Will Ruin Everything)

Beverly Hills Sign

A recent article in the Hollywood Reporter reported that Beverly Hills is courting the manufacturers of self-driving autonomous vehicles as a way to reduce traffic congestion and to be a beacon of modernity to the nation… And I just don’t trust it. I don’t trust it at all.

Here’s the thing: People in LA are called “Angelenos,” those residing in Santa Monica are “Santa Monicans,” but people living in Beverly Hills are… “people living in Beverly Hills” which makes me wary of this whole “self-driving car” thing. Continue reading

Cheviot Hills 1st Quarter Prices Kick Serious A$$!

Yes, that’s an unprofessional headline, but I’m quite enthusiastic about the direction of Cheviot prices (and other stats) for the first quarter of 2013 (that’s January through March for those of you who prefer to measure markets using pennies, nickels or dimes).

The big news is that the Sold Price Per Square Foot is up close to 23% over the average for 2012, going from $531.79 up to $652.63!  Really.  Check it out:

Cheviot by the numbers

Now, I don’t like to pop balloons, so let me let the air out of this slowly — there have only been 10 sales so far this year in Cheviot Hills, with 5 of the ten sales above $1,600,000 (and three of those were above $2 million).  Here’s the list:

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Because so few homes were sold, the $Sold/SF numbers are easily skewed, but the news is still really good, because it shows that we are still in a seller’s market.  There are currently only 5 homes for sale in Cheviot, from $1,250,000 up to $3,795,000.  Of the 5 homes, four of them are priced above $1,750,000. (We’ll be doing a video review of the homes at the end of the week.)

Here’s what I’m thinking that you should be thinking: If you are thinking of selling your home, we have a great selling climate — low interest rates are mixing with low inventory, and very high buyer demand.  Homes are selling in multiple offers, and even off market sales are selling at very high prices.

Yes, it is possible that the market can keep going up, but if the number of homes for sales increases, the market momentum could stall.  Plus, with so few homes on the market, it’s easy to make your home stand out (especially if it’s priced below $1,750,000).

Okay, you know the drill.  If you are thinking of selling, give Chad and me a call.  We’ll give you a free evaluation of your home (and a free notepad… maybe even two notepads).

Look back at the end of the week to see our video update on the market.

What’s happening with housing prices? They are going up, that’s what.

CNN Money reported that we are seeing the biggest spike in home prices since the bubble (here’s the article: http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/26/news/economy/housing-recovery/index.html?section=money_realestate).

To be fair, CNN calls it the “Biggest home price rise,” but if you’ve read anything that I’ve written of late, I prefer to call it a spike because I think it’s a situational rise brought on by two things: low (or no) inventory and low interest rates.

If you are looking for a home on LA’s westside you are experiencing this phenomenon first hand (and either you are celebrating a victory of finally getting a home in this market, or nursing the wounds of yet another crushing defeat in the multiple offer atmosphere). I’ll be posting how I help my buyer clients win at multiple offers (and how I suggest sellers should evaluate offers that they receive) later this week, but here’s what I’d like you take away for now:

If you are thinking of selling, stop thinking and just do it!*
Yes it is possible that the market may go up more in the near future, but it’s also possible it won’t. As sellers “catch on” and more inventory comes on the market, buyers will feel that they have more choices, demand will decrease and prices will begin to settle (or even, gasp, retreat).

Buyer, seller, economist or palm reading psychic, call me and let’s talk!

*Apologies to Nike.