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Author Archive

Restricting McMansions

 

mcman

From the Union-Tribune:

Encinitas will explore ways curb the construction of oversized homes that neighbors call “McMansions,” while attempting to balance the rights of property owners.

Councilman Tony Kranz, who brought the idea forward at a council meeting Wednesday night, said that people who own smaller homes in the city’s older neighborhoods shouldn’t have to worry that someone will buy a neighboring home, demolish it, and then build a new structure that towers over all the other houses.

“I just don’t think that’s good for the community,” he said.

His proposal to restrict home sizes divided the council on Wednesday. Council members voted 3-2, with Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Mark Muir opposed, to direct the Planning Commission to explore the idea and bring back some recommendations.

Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer, who voted with the majority, said she supported the concept, but had some concerns about whether the proposed new restrictions might impact home remodeling projects as well as new home construction. If a couple wants to build an addition to their home to accommodate their growing family, they’re not going to be happy if the city bans them from doing so, she said.

Gaspar said she and Shaffer were on the same side when it came to that issue, adding that restrictions limiting home sizes will outrage many property owners.

“The moment you start suddenly talking about decreasing a homeowner’s property value, we’re going to have some problems, I can tell you that,” she said. “So, I would say tread lightly on any ordinance that you’re looking to put in place.”

Read full article here:

LINK

Posted by on Aug 29, 2015 in Encinitas, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Building? | 0 comments

Real Estate and Wall Street

record territory

An article from the latimes.com trying to scare up some fear about the stock market woes this week, with a couple of good quotes about China:

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-socal-housing-20150829-story.html

An excerpt:

Tom Berge Jr., president of the West San Gabriel Valley Assn. of Realtors, has had a different experience. He said three or four Chinese business owners looking to invest in homes have raised concerns to him over economic turmoil in China. But it wasn’t because they might no longer be able to afford local real estate.

“Their fear is the government is going to limit the money that can freely move out of China,” he said.

Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, believes that slowing growth abroad won’t slow investment because Chinese residents will become more inclined to move money into what they consider a safe investment.

“If anything, this is only going to intensify the push to get money out of China,” he said.

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-socal-housing-20150829-story.html

Posted by on Aug 29, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market | 1 comment

Low Inventory Driving Markets

sf

Could prices keep going higher?  Yes, due to the lack of inventory.  It is a game-changer that we haven’t experienced before – usually as prices rise to new levels, sellers tend to flood the market to get out at the top.

Not this time.

Our local NSDCC inventory has been steady – no big rush by sellers to cash in, mostly because they have nowhere to go that is any better.

NSDCC Total Detached-Home Listings, Jan 1 to Aug 15

2004:  3,671

2005:  3,706

2006:  4,369

2007:  3,823

************

2012:  3,151

2013:  3,471

2014:  3,403

2015:  3,474

Could it continue?  Yes, it could.  We all know about how the San Francisco market has been fetching extraordinary prices.  Yet, their inventory is not exploding – instead, it’s going down.

From the WSJ:

A scarcity of listings is sending prices to new highs. In June, the number of new listings in San Francisco was down 23.1% from a year prior, according to the San Francisco Association of Realtors. The average listing spent 26 days on the market, compared with 31 days in June 2014. Median sales prices were up to $1.177 million—a 12.1% jump from a year ago. Real-estate agents say bidding wars are most common on properties priced below $2.5 million, and that buyers often make offers on numerous properties—anywhere from two to 20—before finally winning one.

Read the full story here, with many bidding-war examples:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-san-franciscos-bidding-wars-home-prices-go-ballistic-1440683103

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Bidding Wars, Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market, North County Coastal | 9 comments

Realtor Population

The recent N.A.R-commissioned DangerReport surveyed thousands throughout the industry, and found that the #1 threat to agents was…….fellow agents.

In particular, the inexperienced and incompetent agents that threaten the credibility of others, and the industry as a whole.  Several other obvious threats were mentioned, but none polled higher. A recent Inman survey found the same result too.

Yet, the agent population in California has been rising.

agent growth

http://journal.firsttuesday.us/the-rises-and-declines-of-real-estate-licensees/2983/

What can be done?

The big brokerages feast off the new and inexperienced by giving them the worst commission splits.  It’s a fine line about training up the agents too, because once they get their chops up, they are prone to leave.

An answer?

Have realtor.com include the sales counts of each agent on their website.

They are the portal that has direct access to all the MLS systems, and are looking for an edge to exploit in their race with the Zillow Group.

The agent sales on Zillow are manually inputted by each agent, who also has to promise that they are truthful.  If Realtor.com culled the sales themselves, they could tout that they were untouched by agents’ hands.

There would be the same complaints as last time, but if Realtor.com held their ground knowing that the stats were accurate, the rest of the industry would have no other choice but to embrace the results.

It would help to expedite the evolution of realtors, which we can see below isn’t happening too fast on its own:

agents dropping out

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop, The Future | 0 comments

Realtor.com is Gaining Viewers

In San Diego, Realtor.com gets our listings automatically uploaded directly from the MLS, where Zillow and Trulia do not.  If you don’t see listings there, it’s because agents don’t know they have to upload manually, or prefer not to use Zillow/Trulia.  Realtor.com is counting on the synergy between the NewsCorp assets to help propel more growth – a discussion:

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, The Future, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 0 comments

Mission Bay Ukes

Officially this is Vacation Isle Park, overlooking the South Cove and Mission Bay Channel.  My Uncle Bob has lived in San Diego longer than me, and neither one of us knew this amphitheater existed!  He’s in the green shirt:

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Wednesday Rock Blogging | 1 comment

Love Letter Deluxe

An excerpt from Quartz:

http://qz.com/486677/buying-a-home-in-san-francisco-love-letter-now-required/

Balog has seen what she calls “love letters” written from buyers to sellers since she started in the business 15 years ago. But in the tech savvy environment, letters might not be enough anymore. In fact, her clients John and Kate Fenwick who work for Google and Liftopia, decided to set themselves apart by making a video. Well, they made the video, but their dog Cooper does the talking.

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Thinking of Buying? | 4 comments

Nordstrom Project Approved

caruso

From the UT:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/aug/25/plan-for-carlsbad-strawberry-fields-plan-draws/

A costly, well-organized campaign to build a Nordstrom-anchored shopping, entertainment and open-space destination on the shore of a Carlsbad lagoon ended with the City Council’s unanimous approval late Tuesday night.

“This project is compatible with my vision and my values,” said Councilwoman Lorraine Wood before the vote. “A true leader makes a decision based on what they feel is right.”

Several hundred people attended the Carlsbad City Council meeting, where more than 130 residents spoke before the council voted to approve the Caruso Affiliated-backed citizen initiative without changes. The only other choices for the council were to call a special election or take 30 days more to study the plan.

“You have my word that we will surpass your wildest expectations,” Rick Caruso, founder and CEO of the company, told the council as he explained his Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan, also called the 85/15 plan, and presented a short video.

Carlsbad is the third Southern California city this year to see a citizen-led initiative backed by private financing power its way around the municipal development review process. The Carson City Council unanimously approved an initiative in April to allow construction of a stadium to be shared by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, and Inglewood approved a similar one in hopes of getting the St. Louis Rams.

Caruso’s initiative has been a polarizing issue for many in Carlsbad. Some speakers Tuesday said it would be wonderful, “a crown jewel for the community” and “an incredible gift,” while others said it would bring much more traffic and pollution, that the publicity campaign was deceptive because it emphasized open space and not the shopping center, and that many people were misled to sign the petition in support of the initiative.

The Los Angeles-based developer and his staff have spent more than three years in Carlsbad, meeting with residents and business owners and hosting bus trips to his shopping center The Grove in Los Angeles. Caruso built a strong following for the project, and many of those residents came out in support of it Tuesday night.

Read full article here:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/aug/25/plan-for-carlsbad-strawberry-fields-plan-draws/

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Carlsbad, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government | 10 comments