Monday, March 23, 2015

North Redondo Beach Market Trends and Home Price Index

The story in North Redondo Beach remains very low inventory and from my perspective this is not likely to change anytime soon for a number of reasons. Let's look at those first, then some market trends and data.

The two biggest factors suppressing new listings coming on the market are that a) many home owners have refinanced and are now paying either less than they could rent their current home for or so little that they have no incentive to move and b) if they were to relocate in the area they are faced with the same lack of inventory problem as everyone else. As a result most are just not about to jump into that quagmire.

An increasingly smaller subgroup may still be underwater or not have enough equity to either sell or refinance. As prices continue to increase, that will change but not bey enough to sway the market.

Remember that we consider a "Seller's Market" to be less than 3 months of inventory on hand. As of this blog post there are 38 active listings in 90278 (not including senior housing or mobile homes). Over the first 2 months of 2015 there were 49 closed sales and so far in March 37 sales putting us on pace for 48 sales in March (although that number may be higher when all is said and done).

If we are averaging about 32 sales per month during Q1 then we have about 1 month and a few days of inventory on hand. Truthfully it feels more like 30 days to me but whatever.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Redondo Beach Golden Hills Homes for Sale: Rapidly Increasing SFR Prices

Ellis Posner Golden Hills Listing on Dixon St
It seems that almost every week we are setting a new high for home prices in the Redondo Beach Golden Hills with increases happening faster than in other surrounding neighborhoods. That's of course great if you are a seller but can be discouraging if you are a buyer. Unless a) you are one of the fortunate few who can secure a property and b) these runaway prices continue unabated.

I recently listed 1748 Dixon St for sale. It is your standard Tall & Skinny 3 bedroom 2.5 bath reverse floorplan house built in 1984 with 2 bedrooms downstairs and the master bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen upstairs. As you can see from the picture to the left, this house has very high vaulted ceilings with the wood in its original condition. The property faces west and has a great open feel with a little but of a neighborhood view (and sunsets). Its not that far from the beach, Manhattan Beach adjacent (location, location, location) and is close enough to Artesia Blvd to take advantage of some extra parking but not close enough for the traffic and noise to really be a factor. Cute, typical Golden Hills Cape Cod curb appeal and all in all a nice property. I listed it for $879K and an offer was accepted over $900K. And it appraised (no simple feat these days). I'm speaking with some other homeowners in the area and the next similar property I list most likely will be at $929,000 or higher if it is newer. And I'm guessing that one will sell for over that amount as well because there is currently huge pent up demand for homes in the Golden Hills.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Redondo Beach Townhouse for Sale: 3 on a lot "C" Unit

No sooner had my listing at 2417 Grant Ave Unit B in Redondo Beach sold than another homeowner on the adjoining lot also wanted to list their home. 2419 Grant Ave Unit C is a rear unit (with yard) 3 on a lot townhome with only one common wall. You can check out the property website at 2419GrantC.com.

Right now, demand is very high for both 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom attached townhomes. Pricing is all over the place but for anything newer larger or with special features expect to pay over $700K. (2417 Grant sold for $725,000 after 5 days on the market.) 2419 Grant is listed for $749,000 and I guarantee it will sell for higher when all is said and done. Some new construction on Rockefeller sold well into the high $8's (almost $900K) and I have sold Casner resales for over $800K.


At the other end of the spectrum, older more worn out (tired) units may sell in the $6's. FYI, if you have one of those, call me. I can help you prepare and stage even older homes to sell for top dollar. Whether you are buying or selling, the general rule of thumb (all else being equal) is that the end units sell for more with most likely a higher value on the rear end townhouse in most instances. 4 bedroom units, of which there are fewer, have come roaring back into popularity as many buyers, particularly first time buyers, have been priced out of 2 on a lots. I'm seeing some overlap, or as I like to say, "inversion" in pricing with older 2 on a lots selling for less than newer 3's.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Golden Hills New Listing on Lomax Lane

I just listed 1705 Lomax Lane for $979,000. This Golden Hills "Tall & Skinny" features all 3 bedrooms upstairs instead of the more typical reverse floorplan with 2 bedrooms down and the living room, dining room, etc upstairs. It is also slightly over 2000 sq ft rather than the typical 1885 sq ft floorplan you are more likely to find.

You can easily walk to Jefferson Elementary School from this location or bike to the Strand in Hermosa Beach. There are numerous updates such as cherry wood floors throughout, double pane vinyl windows, plantation shutters, new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, a frameless shower enclosure and rain shower head in the master bathroom, custom closet fittings, granite countertops, and a high end gas barbecue in the backyard.

The master bedroom is huge with high vaulted ceilings and faces south for some views of Palos Verdes. It has two ample walk in closets. The other 2 bedrooms also share a bathroom.

There's direct access to the 2 car attached garage which also has some nice built ins for storage. If you like granite, wood and travertine, you will love this house. Great location for anything the South Bay has to offer and conveniently located near restaurants, parks, shopping and more. MLS SB15045104. Open house Sat-Sun March 6-7th from 1-4PM. More photos at 1705lomaxlane.com.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Real Estate Listings in North Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach Golden Hills Tall & Skinny SFR
As we get into the traditional buying season I'm starting to see a steady flow of new listings. I was very pleasantly surprised by what has come on the market this week and want to share some thoughts on properties I viewed this week at the Broker's Open house tour on Thursday.

Before I do that, here's where I'm seeing deals really priced at right now. I'm emphasizing really priced at because many agents are still substantially under pricing new listings in order to get multiple offers over the list price. The new agent game seems to be how much over they can drive the final sales price which they then turn around and use to secure their next listing. The danger of this ploy is that in the 30 days or so it takes the sale to close the public becomes very confused as buyers new to the market don't get what's going on. So. as always, buyer beware.

Whether you are buying or selling right now, here's some broad pricing guidelines.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Are Home Prices in El Nido Poised to Take Off?

I've been thinking for a while now that home owners in the Redondo Beach "El Nido" neighborhood may start to see their home values appreciate faster than Redondo Beach in general. Before I get into "why" here's some background information for those not familiar with El Nido.

The area is name after El Nido Park located on the eastern side of Inglewood Ave past the railroad tracks. In Realtor speak, it is MLS Area 153. For everyone else here's the borders: south 190th St to where it intersects Ripley; follow Ripley to the Galleria Mall; eastern border Torrance. Some of the homes east of the railroad tracks are in the Torrance School system and have Torrance services although they have Redondo Beach mailing address. (More on that later.)

While there aren't as many homes in this neighborhood as in other 90278 neighborhoods, they are mostly Single Family Residences (SFRs) on good size lots and many are the 3 bedroom, 2 bath that everyone seems to be looking for. And surprisingly these 3/2/ houses have been priced lower, yes that's lower, not a misprint, than similar properties just south of 190th in Torrance. So that gets me to thinking, we have an inversion of pricing going on that will undergo a correction at some point. I think.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Zillow Home Values in Redondo Beach CA: The Map is not the Territory

Great read if you are in the business or interested in the market.
Let me start by saying I really like Zillow. I've been an advertiser since 2006, am a Premier Agent with 55 Five Star Reviews and just finished reading their book and really loved it. In fact, everyone in the business should read the book. And every home owner. Might as well throw in every first time buyer as well. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's all admit their "Zestimates" are just plain wrong. Or at best highly inaccurate bordering on misleading.

Even their CEO, Spencer Rascoff has more or less admitted the same in a recent LA Times article.

In fact, here's what he said: Zestimates are a good "starting point" but nationwide they have a median error rate of about 8%.

Let's digest that a little bit and then maybe regurgitate.

The median price of the houses I sell is about $750,000. That means that half my sales are above that and half below. It is not an average of my sales. But let's take $750K with an error rate of 8%. Is Rascoff saying that Zillow can be off by $60,000? Yes, he is. More specifically, on the "How accurate is the Zestimate?" tab, while they give themselves 4 stars for accuracy in the LA area, that's based on 36.8% of the homes selling within 5% of the Zestimate. if you are selling $200K homes I guess that's ok. But for $2M properties, not quite sure that really works.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Redondo Beach Townhomes for Sale: New Listings from Ellis Posner

I just listed a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom in MLS Area 152 "Villas South". This is a middle unit of a 3 on a lot at 2417 Grant Ave and is very unique in that it is much brighter than you'll usually find in this type of construction. Here's why.

Some of the 50*150 foot lots have driveways facing each other - instead of at the opposite end of each lot. The project at 2417 was built concurrently with 2419 and the mirror image townhomes have almost a courtyard interior feeling the way the driveways are positioned. Plus 9 mature Palm trees running down the center of the driveway. Additionally, the lot to the west has a multi unit building that is positioned on the west side of that lot. So, lots of light and not a feeling of being closed in.

The floorplan is your standard North Redondo Beach "reverse" configuration with 2 bedrooms downstairs and the master bedroom on the upper level along with the living room, dining room, kitchen, and an outdoor terrace for entertaining.

On top of that, the current owners painted and updated the unit in very bright, soothing light colors. So, with the sun coming up in the east and setting in the west, this home is bathed in light all day long. Here's how I described this property in the MLS:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Are You Going to Remodel Your Bathroom?

Improve your 2 on a lot bathroom with this remodel.
I've been sharing a number of home selling tips to help maximize your sales price. Most of my tips are relatively easy to do and inexpensive with high ROI. I'm also getting a lot of questions regarding bathroom remodels as in "is it worth remodeling my bathroom before I put my Redondo Beach home on the market?"

My very general answer is that if a) any improvement helps you sell for a higher price, consider doing it, and b) if you can make a profit on your remodeling investment, consider it. But you also have to look at what your sales price as is will be and are you making your home that much more desirable.

So, as in most things real estate related, the answer is "it depends". But before we get to the "it depends" part of the answer, let's take a deeper dive into some of the considerations, questions, answers and design tips that you'll need to address in your bathroom remodel.

1) What dimensions are you working with? Take some measurements of what you have now and then look into what are the standard sizes for toilet bowls, bath tubs, vanities, etc. If your bathroom's size is not conventional, you costs may go up. If you are just updating the existing footprint with standard products, it can be a lot less expensive and a greater ROI.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Staging and Preparing Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar

Well presented - no clutter.
I'll venture to say that if you are going on a job interview, most likely you would not show up in the same clothes you wore to hang out with your friends the night before (or to the gym). That's assuming you wanted to actually be hired. Or maybe a better example is a first date. Most likely you would want to make a great impression. Same principles are in play for selling your house. You are asking a stranger to a) pay a lot of money, and b) fall in love. No, not with you, with your house.

So, even though we are (here it comes again) in a seller's market, you just can't put a yard sign out, have an open house and expect to get top dollar. You home may sell but I'm assuming that if you are taking the  time to read this you want to sell for the highest price possible. That may require a little bit of work and preparation but it is well worth it.

Hopefully you've read my other posts and finally get it about clutter. Here's the brief recap: take everything you think you don't need to get by on a daily basis and store it in the garage. Then go through the house and look for more clutter and bring it to the garage. This includes extra furniture that's making rooms look small, the computers that should be in a museum, the luggage from your last trip, the stack of books and magazines, extra shoes you never wear at the front door, etc. If your garage gets too full, rent a storage space. Don't worry about the garage being too cluttered, buyers looking in the neighborhood will see lots of garages filled to the brim.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Teles Properties Real Estate Forecast 2015: The New Normal Brings New Opportunities

2015 is shaping up to be a great year for Redondo Beach Real Estate as arguably the entire nation gets back on the game and we see that reflected in our local market. What we'll most likely see is a unique alignment of economic and market forces with jobs and wage growth, low oil prices and low interest rates. This equates to more money in consumer's pockets, and higher confidence in spending. In other words, housing happiness.

In addition to traditional market demand, there are three key market forces at play. First, many "baby boomers" are nearing the age of retirement and may be selling their current homes and looking at other options. Second, first time buyers, many of whom were on the sidelines the past few years, most likely will beat their historic average of being 40% of the market. Third, homeowners who previously did short sales or were foreclosed on and now approaching the point where they have sat out the mandatory waiting period and can now buy again.

As we move out of the housing recovery mode into a more stable period, many economists are referring to these market conditions as "the new normal". Most likely while we'll still see prices increase it will not be at the pace of the past 18 months but will be more moderated in the 4-5% range. Of course, considering the price of homes in Redondo Beach, that still means some nice price gains. The economists are also predicting that prices will rise faster than overall incomes. So if you are thinking of buying, there's really no reason to wait.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Redondo Beach 3 on a lot Townhomes for Sale: Comps, Trends, Market Update

If you are reading this post and asking "What's a 3 on a lot?", welcome to Redondo Beach. If you already own one, congratulations, prices have gone up substantially over the past 18 months. And if you are looking to buy a 3 on a lot, you've come to the right place.

Three on a lot townhomes are one of the most common forms of housing found in North Redondo Beach, 90278. There are over 1000 of these units primarily found south of Artesia Blvd on Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller and Grant. You'll also find a them east of Rindge north of Artesia Blvd and up and down Mathews. In North Redondo Beach that basically means MLS Areas 151-152. There aren't any 3 on a lots in Golden Hills but you will find a few in El Nido. South Redondo has them as well but they are not as abundant.

While most are 3 bedroom reverse floorplans, there are a number of 2 and 4 bedroom units as well as some standard floorplan properties. Reverse floorplan refers to the kitchen, living room, dining room and one or two bedrooms upstairs. Standard floorplan means that all the bedrooms are upstairs and the living room, dining and kitchen are downstairs.

As close to 75% of the properties conform to the 3 bedroom reverse floor plan layout and the balance are close variations of that theme, these townhomes are usually very marketable.

In 2014 there were 74 sales of 3 on a lots out of a total of 487 Redondo Beach closed escrows. That's about 15% of the market.  Prices ranged from lows of $450K for 2 bedroom units up to $849,000 for 4 bedroom new construction on MacKay.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Homes for Sale in North Redondo Beach: Inventory Low, Absorption Rate High

The North Redondo Beach Seller's market continues unabated with inventory extremely low (even considering seasonal adjustments) and the absorption rate very high. In plain English, what that means is that almost all the homes listed for sale do, in fact, sell and there aren't very many listed for sale. So, if you are thinking of selling your home in North Redondo Beach this year and have reasonable expectations you will be very pleased with the outcome. (And even more so if you hire me to sell it for you!)

Let's take a quick look at some numbers backing up what I am referencing here.

As the graph to the left indicates, over the past 15 months, there have been many times where the absorption rate has exceeded 100% based on closed sales. That means that more homes closed escrow than were placed on the market for sale. Now its not surprising that this metric topped 100% in December because many home owners don't list their home for sale during the holidays or more precisely from about the week before Thanksgiving until after the first of the year. In fact, as you can see on the chart below, the homes for sale rose steadily between April 2014 and September and then started declining through the end of the year.

Its no coincidence that as the homes listed for sale in the MLS steadily increased, the absorption rate decreased. Here's why.

Contrary to popular belief, there is not an infinite number of buyers in the market at any given time. Yes there may be more buyers during the traditional peak buying season in the Spring, but over the past few years with the inventory low the flow of buyers has been relatively steady. In fact, personally, I have sold more properties the last four months of the year for the last three years than I have during the first eight months. But that may be just me.

There's always a lot of discussion about when to place your home on the market with the conservative approach being during the Spring. Based on the data and trend reports, wrong.

Where I see the greatest opportunity is February and March. Probably some other people do also because inventory may peak in February and absorption rate drop. But then you see that reverse by March when inventory drops and the absorption rate hits over 100%.

This year, there may even be more reasons to list earlier in the year as once again all the economists are predicting that interest rates will rise. We've heard that fairly consistently for quite a while now and rates are still at near historic lows. But even a broken watch is right twice a day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Selling a Home in Redondo Beach Part 1: Your Objectives

As I meet with Sellers prior to listing their home for sale, I go through a thorough checklist to get an in depth understanding of their objectives. Not surprisingly, the more specifically the home owner can articulate their goals, the better job I can do for them. So before the "For Sale" sign goes up, defining your goals is the first step in the home selling process.

Of course everyone wants to sell their home for the highest price and save on closing costs (call me I can help you). But beyond that, just like each property is unique, so is each selling situation.

After defining specific goals, the next step is defining expectations. I consistently hear from my Buyers and Sellers that I have exceeded their expectations. I'm able to do that for two reasons. First I ask what their expectations are and secondly I over deliver.

The third component of understanding your objectives is understanding what is most important to you. While everyone wants the highest price, there really is a lot more to selling your home than price. (Don't worry, I'll get you the highest price.)

So, let's take a look at each of these 3 points individually starting with the last: what is most important to you as a seller (other than the highest price). Here's some examples.