Wednesday, 31 October 2012

2616 Dalton Ave In Escrow!!!

Recently opened escrow on this beautiful property, but we're still looking for backup offers!!!

Specs: Historic exterior, totally redone & updated for the discriminating buyer-- 3 BR, 2.5 BA, new roof, foundation, wood floors, gorgeous kitchen, marble counters in beautiful baths, HUGE den/family room, with banks of windows overlooking deck with big tree in the middle! That's not all--central heat & air, new plumbing, electric, garage off the adj. alley, fully landscaped in the heart of Historic West Adams.

Friday, 26 October 2012

2616 Dalton Ave Price Reduction!!!

The deal on this authentically restored & completely updated 1904 craftsman beauty just got even only $449,000, a $20,000 reduction!

The time is now to make an offer on your own personal slice of revitalized LA history!!!

Specs: Historic exterior, totally redone & updated for the discriminating buyer-- 3 BR, 2.5 BA, new roof, foundation, wood floors, gorgeous kitchen, marble counters in beautiful baths, HUGE den/family room, with banks of windows overlooking deck with big tree in the middle! That's not all--central heat & air, new plumbing, electric, garage off the adj. alley, fully landscaped in the heart of Historic West Adams.

Click the image below for a photo tour!

Click here to view my eCard

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Deconstruction Over Demolition at Wilshire Grand

It's deconstruction over demolition at the Wilshire Grand. Phase one of 'soft demolition' has begun, which includes taking down non-load-bearing walls and eliminating hazardous materials. Next month brings phase two and the heavy machinery, complete with two giant cranes hoisting smaller, tractor-like vehicles to drill through concrete walls and platforms, dismantling the Grand floor-by-floor. When the building is reduced to street level by late next Spring, phase three begins with excavation of the existing foundation and underground infrastructure, a sensitive phase as crews are careful not to expose the nearby Seventh Street Metro Subway tube.

The choice of deconstruction seems a wise one overall, especially to those of us who frequent DTLA, with the triple threat of street closings, falling debris and noxious dust outweighing the broad-spectrum appeal of a good explosion. Chris Martin, architect and overseer on the project, made the call against outright demolition, disappointing pyromaniacs city-wide. He's interviewed by Ryan Vaillancourt of LADTNews here.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Who's the Housing President?

In light of the final presidential debate tonight, let's take a look at how the candidates' housing plans will affect the country's nascent housing market recovery. Despite tonight's proposed topic of foreign policy, it is widely agreed that the first candidate to relate any problems abroad back to our still floundering economy at home will likely emerge victorious. Housing looms as large in our economic recovery as it did in our downfall, so it would follow that the candidate most capable of boosting the housing market has the best chance of fostering an overall upturn. However, according to an analysis by Capital Economics released last week, neither candidates' policy tinkerings will have a significant effect on the pace or depth of the housing recovery. In short, the slow-but-steady rebound will continue no matter who is president, and though each candidate has specific policy proposals that may prove mildly successful, none are enough to significantly affect a market with an apparent mind of its own.

Obama, Romney's Housing Plans Won't Make Huge Difference: Report

While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may have been “frustratingly light on detail” so far with regards to housing, an analysis by Capital Economics reveals the two candidates’ policies may have more in common than they care to admit.

In a Housing Market Update released by the company, property economist Paul Diggle writes that, based on the information Capital Economics has pieced together, “it looks like anyone expecting either candidates’ housing plan to make a dramatic difference to the course of the housing recovery will be disappointed.”

When it comes to the continuation of current housing policies, both President Obama and Governor Romney largely agree. For one thing, both candidates support selling off government-owned REOs to investors, a process that has already been tested to some success. Both favor the greater use of foreclosure alternatives, promoting a shift toward short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure. And both share at least a small section of common ground with regards to principal reductions.

“Obama supports outright principal reductions on underwater mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an attempt to reduce the delinquency rate. Romney, meanwhile, gave a brief supportive mentioned to shared appreciation-whereby lenders forgive borrowers some of their outstanding mortgage balance in exchange for a share of future house price gains-in his housing plan,” Diggle said.

As president, either man will likely face some measure of opposition from the FHFA, which has expressed its opposition to principal reductions and has so far “made for an effective roadblock” on those efforts. Diggle speculated that the forced removal of FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco may be necessary for progress on that front.

In addition, both Obama and Romney seem to agree on paring back the mortgage interest deduction, but neither wants to scrap the deduction entirely. While altering the deduction will probably change the renting/buying trade-off somewhat, Capital Economics’ calculations suggest even without a deduction, buying is still a better deal at the moment.

While there appear to be many similarities in the candidates’ housing plans, they don’t agree on every point. For one thing, “it’s likely that Obama would use a second term to renew efforts towards allowing more mortgage borrowers to refinance onto lower rates,” including an expansion of the HARP program outside of Fannie and Freddie-owned mortgages.

Romney, on the other hand, proposes to create looser mortgage credit conditions by repealing Dodd-Frank. His concern is that the current uncertainty about the definition of a “qualified mortgage” is hindering credit availability. Diggle cited a recent survey by the Federal Reserve that revealed legislative concerns are becoming an “important factor” in mortgage credit for about a third of respondents. However, that issue seemed to worry lenders less than put-back risk, the availability of mortgage insurance, and the house price outlook.

The bottom line, Diggle said, is that while both candidates’ policies would likely be helpful for the housing recovery, neither candidate is likely to improve the current course of housing greatly.

“The fundamental drivers of the housing recovery will continue to be the very favourable level of valuations and affordability, meaning that the housing market should continue recovering with or without further policy tinkering,” Diggle said.

Friday, 19 October 2012

2616 Dalton Ave Open House!!!

Authentically Restored & Completely Updated 1904 Craftsman Beauty, Open Saturday & Sunday, 10/20 & 21, 2-5pm!!!

Don't miss the chance make an offer on this slice of revitalized LA history!!!

Specs: Historic exterior, totally redone & updated for the discriminating buyer--
3 BR, 2.5 BA, new roof, foundation, wood floors, gorgeous kitchen, marble counters in beautiful baths, HUGE den/family room, with banks of windows overlooking deck with big tree in the middle! That's not all--central heat & air, new plumbing, electric, garage off the adj. alley, fully landscaped in the heart of Historic West Adams.

Click the pic for a photo tour:

Click here to view my eCard

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hipster Flippers

Have you heard? Flipping is officially back! Even ABC News has hopped on the bandwagon, reporting that 25% more houses are being flipped this year over last, with an average profit of $29,000. A tad tight for our taste (love to flip in the 50k and over range), but more biz is more biz...let's just keep the mania a little more tempered than last time, right?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Enough Malarkey

After enduring the malarkey of last night's VP debate, which brought barely a mention of the country's ongoing housing crisis and no consideration for the millions of distressed homeowners facing their own personal 'fiscal cliff' should Congress once again fail to act, today's post focuses on the impending lame-duck congressional session and what it means for borrowers facing foreclosure.

The session is scheduled to begin on Nov. 13, thankfully seven days after what is sure to be a contentious presidential election.  Though it is perhaps too optimistic to be thankful, the hope is that with the election decided, Congress may finally be able to focus on the problems at hand with an eye toward what is best for the country, rather than what makes the best political sense for each side.

The main concern for distressed borrowers will be the future of the mortgage debt forgiveness tax provisions, laws passed by Congress during the housing crisis that ensure any debts forgiven by lenders following foreclosures, loan mods, short sales or deeds-in-lieu will be written off without being taxed as income by the federal government. (State governments have passed similar laws, including California.) The central tenet of these laws, the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, passed the Senate Finance Committee in August but has a chance of being embroiled in the inevitable partisan bickering over spending cuts, taxes and the federal debt ceiling once the lame-duck session starts.

Hopefully for the millions of worried borrowers wrenching their hands at congressional intransigence, the Tax Cut Certainty Act will be treated as a stand-alone bill and the issue of debt forgiveness tax exemption will be seen for what it is: a small but significant succor for millions of Americans facing the loss of their homes, businesses and overall lifestyles.


Kenneth R. Harney, Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2012

Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

No Winter!

Numerous news sources are reporting that the home price forecast is trending toward something we're quite accustomed to here in severely sunny Southern California: no winter!  Real estate valuation firm Clear Capital reports that recent gains seem strong enough to plow right through the usually tepid winter season and into Q1 2013; that is, of course, if our otherwise intransigent Congress can get its act together, agree on a compromise balancing tax increases with spending cuts, and pull us back from the "fiscal cliff."  Consumer confidence and the future of our fragile recovery depend on it...

Home Prices Forecast to Weather Winter, but Will Congress Ice Gains?    

Home prices continued to reclaim lost ground in September with increases recorded for every corner of the country, Clear Capital reported Tuesday. Improvements have been so strong, in fact, the real estate valuation firm says yearly growth is forecast to shake off winter’s chill and continue through the first quarter of 2013.

That is, if federal lawmakers can keep from squashing consumer confidence, and before coming head-to-head with the end-of-year deadline, can agree on a resolution for the $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect—a looming cloud of financial uncertainty that pundits have dubbed the “fiscal cliff.”

National home prices closed out the third quarter 3.6 percent higher than the previous year, according to Clear Capital’s latest Home Data Index (HDI). If the fiscal cliff is averted, the company projects a 2.2 percent gain nationally through the first quarter of next year with home prices defying the typical seasonal trajectory that follows the thermometer’s mercury lower.

Clear Capital’s Dr. Alex Villacorta says housing is making notable progress, with enough momentum to carry improvements well into the new year, but he warns it could all be undone by the 535 delegates representing the American people that sit atop Capitol Hill.

“[W]e’ve turned our focus to the impending fiscal cliff,” said Villacorta, Clear Capital’s director of research and analytics. “With forecasted gains of 2.2 percent over the next six months, the threat of the fiscal cliff could throw a wrench into the recovery.”

Even if Congress grinds out a fix as the curtain falls on 2012 and the cliff is avoided, Villacorta says they run the risk of damaging consumer confidence—particularly among potential homebuyers—if a resolution fails to materialize until just before the year-end deadline. “Confidence is key to turning the recovery’s near-term sprint into a marathon,” Villacorta said. “The sooner businesses and consumers are reassured, the more likely they are to build, purchase, or loan on a house.”

According to Clear Capital, the housing recovery now lies in Congress’ hands. The company draws parallels between recent bouts of economic uncertainty and declines in both consumer confidence and home prices in its latest report.

Consumers reacted negatively to the debt ceiling spectacle last summer with a 14.3 percent drop in sentiment—the largest since the end of the recession—and concurrently, home prices experienced their worst annual declines since the bottom of the market in 2009, Clear Capital reports.