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Most recent articles

Vacancy Rates

Buy rental properties! San Diego’s vacancy rate is also 2.9%, same as L.A.


https://calmatters.org/articles/frequently-asked-california-housing-crisis-questions-answered/

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing | 0 comments

Master Bath Remodels

Thumb through any home decor magazine, and you’ll see a master bathroom with a soaker or shower as the showpiece. Ta-da!

Homeowners, it turns out, are splurging to scrub up, according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Ninety-one percent of homeowners in the study added a spacious shower to their master bathroom (after tearing out the tub), and many added on deluxe features, like a body sprayer or rainfall showerhead, for an improved, spa-like space.

The average cost for a large-scale remodel of a master bath (sized over 100 square feet) was $21,000, shows the study. Master bath renovations cost more in pricey markets, however. In San Francisco, Calif., for example, a major remodel averages $34,100.

Accompanying a luxury shower is a soothing gray and white color palette, according to the study. Nineteen percent of homeowners installed white countertops in the master bath, and 40 percent painted its walls white. Fourteen percent added gray cabinets, as well, to complete the tone-on-tone look. The majority of homeowners (90 percent) changed the overall style of the room, some to contemporary (25 percent), some to transitional (17 percent), and some, still, to modern (15 percent).

  • Statement showers; lose the tub : Showers are the top feature to splurge on during a master bathroom renovation (42% of renovating homeowners). Of those making master shower updates (81%), more than two-thirds increase its size. Many homeowners remove their master bathtub (27%) to make room for a larger shower (91%).
  • Aging in place drives spend: Homeowners 55 years old or older spend nearly twice as much as those under 35 on renovations of master bathrooms over 100 square feet ($22,800 vs. $12,500, respectively). Older homeowners are significantly more likely to integrate accessibility features, as three in five have no plans to move in the next 10 years.
  • Millenials crave more space: One quarter of homeowners opt to increase their master bathrooms. Many of those who are keeping the bathroom size as is find it too small for their needs (30%). Millennial homeowners (ages 25 to 34) are more likely to increase their master bathrooms than are other homeowners and are more likely to be unhappy about the size when not changing it.
  • San Fransiscians spend the most on remodels: Among the top 20 U.S. metro areas, homeowners in San Francisco spend the most on a master bathroom remodel, averaging $34,100 for a major remodel of a larger master bathroom (over 100 square feet), compared with $21,000 nationally. Overall, costs vary significantly by scope of remodel, size of master bathroom and regions.

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Tips, Advice & Links | 2 comments

San Diego’s October Report

This company surveys real estate agents every month around the country – here is the October report from San Diego realtors:

Low inventory is the constant theme, but there are 5,157, houses and condos for sale in the county currently.  Maybe we just need to get better at correcting the reasons why those aren’t selling, and boom, we’d have instant inventory!

Price-wise, I would disagree with the 16.7 time-to-sell index. Prices are at least as good as they were in May, and instead of 3-6 buyers for every house, we’re down to one or two. You only need one!

When is the best time to sell? When everyone else isn’t!

https://barclays.qualtrics.com/CP/File.php?F=F_1XQQPvQoRlyFy6N

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Market Conditions | 1 comment

Bubble Talk

Excerpted from MND:

Someone must have passed a law; if it is November, you must publish something debunking bubbles.  The saturation point is near, but the latest contribution, from Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sean Becketti, provides a better (and much longer) analysis than most, so we will attempt to summarize his arguments as to why, despite rapidly rising home prices, we aren’t in a bubble.  Or as he says, “Not yet.”

The concern, he says, is understandable. Scars remain from the last bubble and there are plenty of warning signs regarding a new one:

  • House prices have been on a tear for the last five years, growing about twice as fast as the long-run average and outpacing income growth by a cumulative 42 percent over the last 17 years;
  • The number of large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with unusually-high house-price-to-income ratios has grown from five in 2011 to 17 today. At the height of the last bubble there were 27.
  • An increasing share of MSAs with relatively stable construction costs nonetheless have suspiciously high house prices per square foot.

It is difficult to spot a bubble before it bursts, but Becketti says there are three defining characteristics.  First, they are fueled by self-fulfilling predictions, i.e. prices rise simply because people expect them to. Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller called them “a kind of social epidemic” where price increases generate enthusiasm among investors, who then bid prices higher. The feedback continues until prices get too high, and the bubble bursts.

That is the second defining feature of bubbles, they do indeed burst. Not just correct, a normal part of the ups and downs of asset prices, but crash, reflecting a sudden realization that prices have become unsupportable.

The third defining feature is the central role easy credit plays in their growth.  When lenders begin to believe that price increases can go on forever, they grow less concerned about whether borrowers can repay the loan.  Bubbles collapse when lenders finally get worried and restrict riskier types of credit. Paradoxically, Becketti says, in the last decade lenders restricted credit, thus pricking the housing bubble and triggering the burst they were trying to avoid.

Hunting for bubbles is problematic.  Since prices might make a soft landing, it is tempting to monitor conditions a bit longer rather than act.  Identifying a bubble can spook people and trigger a crash that didn’t need to happen. Becketti admits that Freddie Mac is “stuck.” A potentially-destructive house price bubble “is one of the key risks we have to manage as best we can.”

The company has talked before about its two-part approach to identifying bubbles, first by comparing the current median house price to the median income (PTI) ratio to a historical norm of 3.5. They have found a national PTI above 4.1 is unusual enough to merit further analysis. It broke through that outlier in 2004, started to collapse in 2006, hitting bottom at 3.3 in 2011. It is currently approaching, but is still under the 4.1 threshold. Because bubbles can be local or regional, Freddie Mac also tracks the PTI ratios for the 50 largest metro areas and as noted earlier, 17 are currently a cause for concern.

The inventory shortage is strong evidence against a price bubble and the slow rate of increase in construction suggests any eventual price adjustment will be gradual rather than a collapse.

A second piece of evidence is a bubbles’ reliance on easy credit. Freddie Mac looks for signs of credit deterioration. Increasing delinquencies and defaults tend to appear very late in a bubble’s life, so it isn’t surprising that the company’s book of business “has exhibited stellar credit performance to date.”

A much earlier sign is an increase in leverage; declining home equity. But the reverse is currently the case.  While house prices have risen rapidly since 2001, outstanding mortgage debt has barely budged. “Homeowners, at least in aggregate, are not funding a spending spree with the equity in their homes.”

So far, no sign of an imminent bubble, however there are those fast-rising home prices. Becketti says maybe they are looking in the wrong places for evidence. The national PTI ratio provided plenty of early warning about the last bubble, enough to have taken corrective action before It burst. But one possible warning sign isn’t enough, confirming evidence is needed.

Read the full report here:

http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/11102017_housing_bubbles.asp

Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions | 6 comments

Smart City

This is a fantastic idea for retirees who don’t need to worry about traveling to work every day – a futuristic city out in the boondocks!  Sun City in Phoenix was the first 55+ retirement community built in the country, and when in opened in 1960, it was way out of town at 99th Ave.

Bill Gates wants to build at the A on the map – which is 339th Avenue!  But he is proposing more than a retirement community – this plan is for the ‘smart city’ of the future.

LINK

Bill Gates is building a “smart city” in Arizona which will feature driverless cars and “cutting-edge” technology.

Belmont Partners, one of the Microsoft founder’s investment firms, has spent $80m (£61.1m) on buying and developing the new community near Tonopah, west of Phoenix.

Mr Gates’ goal is to create a smart city called Belmont on the nearly 25,000 acres of land.

Everything about Belmont will be “forward-thinking”, the company said in a statement.  A total 3,800 acres will be dedicated to office, commercial and retail space.  Another 470 acres will be used for public schools, and homes will be built on 80,000 acres of the land.

Arizona, which neighbors California, home to tech hub Silicon Valley, has long been trying to become the go-to place for innovative technology companies.

Mr Gates’ decision to build his new city in Arizona will be a major boost for the state which has lifted many rules on self-driving vehicles to become a tech hub.

Read More

Posted by on Nov 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, The Future, Thinking of Building? | 5 comments