Posts filed under ‘Santa Monica real estate’

Portrait of a curious market in stats

I run stats every week (and should probably post them here).    The current snapshot is thus:

Single-Family Homes:   1 foreclosure, 5 short sales, 84 total.

Including:

15 2-bedroom, median asking price $949,000.

31 3-bedroom, median asking price $1,595,000.

 

Condos & Townhomes:  5 foreclosures, 9 short sales,  160 total.

93 2-bedroom, median asking price $720,000.

37 3-bedroom, median asking price $859,000.

First, this is a low inventory.  Last summer, which was already low, peaked in early July around 120 single-family homes and 224 condos.    There is  no way that we’re going to get anywhere near there, the numbers have been bouncing around the current range for weeks.

Second, prices seem to be edging *up*, dire headlines notwithstanding.  I want to see the numbers for a couple of more months before I say “trend” instead of  “blip,” but for single-family homes in particular, the rolling average is now more than $100K higher than it was a few months ago.

Interesting times.

 

 

June 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Santa Monica Real Estate: Headlines versus Reality

I read the real estate related articles in the popular press as much as anyone and probably more…if nothing else, I want to know what my clients are reading.   Today’s LOS ANGELES TIMES has a front page story that proclaims, HOME PRICES SLUMP TO NEW LOWS.   Sub-head:  A gauge of housing in 20 metro areas declines in 3.6 percent in March, confirming a U.S. ‘double dip.’

First of all, this is a year over year measurement, not a one month decline as one might infer from the sub-head.   More importantly, only when you jump to page A13 do you read that one year decline in prices for the Los Angeles metro area is only 1.7 percent.    Folks, the LA metro area includes a wide range of neighborhoods, markets, and economic conditions:  from Encino to San Pedro, Santa Monica to Santa Clarita, San Marino to Compton.   Within the LA metro area, the Westside has one of the strongest real estate markets.   While the market isn’t exactly gang busters, prices seem to be edging up, with quite a few properties in the entry range ($500,000 to $1,200,000) going in multiple offers even as other properties sit on the market for a while.

The market could be fairly described as “choppy” or “uneven”…but not the “stagnant” or “declining” picture conveyed by the newspaper headlines.

So, particularly to would-be Buyers, before you head out to the Open Houses with the LA TIMES article fresh in your mind, exercise some caution and don’t count on the newspaper headlines reflecting the local reality.

June 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

Foreclosures: Santa Monica vs. Southern California

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, some 34 percent of the sales in Southern California for the month of August were of foreclosed properties.
In contrast, my weekly statistical analysis of Santa Monica on Monday showed that only 2 of 112 single-family homes and 9 of 196 condos & townhomes on the market were foreclosure properties.    Santa Monica in particular and the Westside in general are very different from Southern California as a whole.  Buyers need to calibrate their expectations on the basis of local market conditions, not the newspaper headlines.

September 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm Leave a comment

Counteroffers, asking price, short sales

Representing a Buyer, I just had negotiations fall through on a Santa Monica Condo.

The asking price was $439,000, my Buyer offered $05,000.    Our estimation of a fair price was $415,000 and thus we were disappointed to get a counteroffer of $434,000.  After a second round of counter-offers, negotiations broke down almost $20K apart.  It happens.   My Buyer was determined not to overpay and the comps supported his position as far as I’m concerned.

But here’s the important thing:   the listing agent revealed that the Seller owed nearly $400K on the property.  The break-even point at which the Seller would not have to put money into the transaction or attempt to work out a Short Pay with their lender would be around $425K.

Finding out what Seller owes and whether they can afford to sell at a reasonable market price is becoming an important step to take in this market.     If a Seller simply can’t sell at what seems to be a good market price to the Buyer, the Buyer needs to move on and find another property.

August 31, 2010 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

Number of condos on market drops under 200

For the first time in several months, the number of condos for sale in Santa Monica dropped under 200.  On my weekly market check on Monday 8/23, the number of condos for sale was 195.   For several weeks, the number had peaked in the 221-223 range before slowly receding.  Whether this is a temporary lull or a trend towards lower inventory only time will tell.    Lower inventory, if it comes, should lead to firming prices.

August 24, 2010 at 8:34 am Leave a comment

New Condo listing: 2 bed, 1 bath $449,000

2264 29th St.  #E.   Located in walking distance to Trader Joe’s, McCabe’s music, and other destinations, this garden-apartment style condo features hardwood floors throughout. Recently remodeled kitchen includes granite counter tops, like-new cabinets, range/stove, and dishwasher. Recently remodeled bath includes double vanity with granite counter top. Both bedrooms have ceiling fans. Parking is one half of a private two-car garage.

Call Jim Brunet @ (310) 508-6878 to schedule a showing.

August 17, 2010 at 8:40 am Leave a comment

It’s a tricky market

Wednesday, I wrote an offer on a low-end 2-bedroom condo in Santa Monica.  It received eight offers and my client didn’t receive a counter-offer.  What does this tell you about the market?   It’s strange:  on one hand, the amount of property on the market has risen by roughly 50 percent in the last six months.  Every day brings another batch of price reductions.  And yet…some properties get multiple offers and are on the market less than two weeks.   The moral is that every property is different, and that every property has to be evaluated carefully by Buyers and Sellers to determine what the market value is.   A Buyer can’t assume that offering 5 percent below asking price will be successful; a Seller can’t assume that their property has all the features that induced multiple Buyers to make offers on the property two blocks over.

July 24, 2010 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Q3 2008 versus Q3 2009 Westside statistics

Number of sales up over all on the Westside (about 15 percent if you exclude Topanga) for the third quarter compared to last year, prices varying from nearly flat for Brentwood single-family homes to down 14 percent in Santa Monica to down 20 percent in Venice.  I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating:  all real estate is local, even among various communities within the Westside.   When it comes to gauging the market in your area of interest, you might as well throw away your newspaper and the overwhelming majority of websites.

Tracking other numbers through this year, the market has definitely hit a plateau, most likely the bottom, in Santa Monica.  Inventory—the number of properties on the market—in Santa Monica has dropped by roughly 25 percent in the last eight months.   Median asking prices in several market niches have actually edged upwards in the past couple of months.

Interest rates continue to be both low and relatively stable.   But with unemployment expected to remain stubbornly high for the coming year, consumer confidence will be the key number to watch.

One of the biggest factors about the Santa Monica market is the number of foreclosures…or rather the lack of them.   Year to date, only 4 single-family homes and 20 condos & townhouses that were foreclosures have sold in Santa Monica, a very small fraction of the overall sales.   Unlike other areas as close as the San Fernando Valley, foreclosure sales have not defined and driven the market in Santa Monica.

I plan to post another market report in January examining year over year statistics as well as looking at the latest trends.

Q3 2009 vs. Q3 2008
Real Estate Activity for the Westside

Q3 2008 Q3 2009
Area
# of sales
median price
# of sales
% change
median price
% change
Single Family
Santa Monica
86
$1,850,000
93
8%
$1,600,000
-14%
Brentwood
58
$2,100,00
90
55%
$2,088,000
-1%
Westwood
57
$1,349,000
66
16%
$1,261,000
-7%
West LA
19
$745,000
28
47%
$714,000
-4%
Palms/Mar Vista
97
$792,000
105
8%
$695,000
-12%
Culver City
65
$670,000
63
-3%
$630,000
-6%
Marina del Rey
5
$1,625,000
9
80%
$1,375,000
-15%
Venice
53
$1,120,000
50
-6.0%
$900,000
-20%
Topanga
34
$888,000
20
-41%
$614,000
-31%
Bel Air
42
$1,728,000
42
0%
$1,300,000
-25%
Total Single Family
516
$1,284,000
566
10%
$1,196,000
-7%
Condo/ Townhouse
Santa Monica
149
$730,000
136
-9%
$630,000
-14%
Brentwood 50
$717,000
51
2%
$620,000
-7%
Westwood
167
$684,000
152
-9%
$621,000
-9%
West LA
45
$635,000
52
16%
$545,000
-14%
Palms/Mar Vista
29
$419,000
48 66%
$439,000
5%
Culver City
76
$397,000
92
21%
$350,000
-12%
Marina del Rey
79
$739,000
99
25%
$550,000
-26%
Venice
6
$1,227,000
18
300.0%
$718,000
-41%
Topanga
0
0
1
N/A
$400,000
N/A
Bel Air
1
$615,000
0
N/A
0
N/A
Total Condo/ Townhouse
602
$658,000
649
8%
$560,000
-15%

November 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

2009 versus 2008 Westside Market Report

It’s interesting to track real estate sales in 2009 versus 2008.   Following is a chart comparing the number of sales and median sales prices  in several Westside areas.

The first thing to leap out is that not all areas are equal.  Compare the token increase in the price of Westwood single-family homes with the 42.8 percent drop in prices in Brentwood.

The other thing that strikes me is the overall decline in single-family home prices at 20.6 percent for the Westside as a whole versus only 9.0 percent for condos & townhouses.   To a large extent, these numbers reflect the relatively greater difficulty in securing loans in higher price ranges compared to lower and they are skewed accordingly.   However, the implication is that if you can sell your condo/townhouse and you can get the necessary loan, this is actually a *great* time to move up from a condo/townhouse to a single-family home as the gap in prices between them has narrowed overall.

The market shows signs of bottoming on the Westside, particularly in the lower price ranges, as prices begin to firm and multiple offers pop up on well-priced properties.   As one important marker, there are only 7 single-family homes that are foreclosures in these Westside areas combined.   In places where there are many foreclosures, there is still downward pressure on the market.  Buyers expecting to find the same kind of deals on the Westside are going to be disappointed.

I will post another market update in a couple of weeks when comparisons of the first half of both years can be made.

Q 1 2009 vs. Q1 2008
Real Estate Activity for the Westside

2008 2009
Area
# of sales
median price
# of sales
% change
median price
% change
Single Family
Santa Monica
33
$2,134,235
14
-57.6%
$1,539,500
-27.9%
West LA
9
$840,000
9
0.0%
$590,000

-29.8%

Brentwood
37
$3,000,000
27
-27.0%
$1,715,000
-42.8%
Westwood
33
$1,338,000
23
-30.3%
$1,370,000

2.4%

Palms/Mar Vista
52
$762,500
41
-21.2%
$713,000
-6.5%
Culver City
21
$740,000
29
38.1%
$585,000

-20.9%

Marina del Rey
8
$1,650,000
3
-62.5%
$1,300,000
-21.2%
Venice
24
$1,074,500
12
-50.0%
$831,000
-22.7%
Topanga
8
$842,500
9
12.5%
$700,000
-16.9%
Bel Air
23
$1,840,000
12
-47.8%
$2,150,000
16.8%
Total Single Family
248
$1,233,677
179
-27.8%
$979,302
-20.6%
Condo/ Townhouse
Santa Monica
62
$660,000
58
-6.5%
$578,750
-12.3%
West LA
32
$601,500
14
-56.3%
$672,500
11.8%
Brentwood
30
$670,000
19
-36.7%
$699,000
4.3%
Westwood
66
$700,600
50
-24.2%
$667,500

-6.2%

Palms/Mar Vista
30
$440,750
10
-66.7%
$400,000
-9.2%
Culver City
28
$409,900
34
21.4%
$350,000
-14.5%
Marina del Rey
34
$780,000
35
2.9%
$587,000
-24.7%
Venice
2
$865,000
6
200.0%
$702,500
-18.8%
Topanga
0
0
0
N/A
0
N/A
Bel Air
0
0
2
N/A
$647,500
N/A
Total Condo/ Townhouse
284
$631,852
228
-19.7%
$574,971
-9.0%

June 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

The Santa Monica Market: 2008 vs. 2007

Market Report—January, 2009

It has long been my contention that prices in Santa Monica go up more in an “up” market, down less in a “down” market. The pattern of prices over the last two years would seem to validate that conclusion.

As of January 8, there were 150 condos and 98 single-family homes on the market in Santa Monica.

Median Asking Prices
Single family homes

# bedrooms # on market Median Asking Price
2 BR 23 $1,099,000
3 BR 28 $1,199,000
4 BR 21 $2,375,000
5+ BR 24 $3,922,000

Condos:

# bedrooms # on market Median Asking Price
Studio 5 $399,000
1 BR 32 $458,000
2 BR 85 $764,900
3+ BR 33 $1,349,000

Some interesting numbers are the year to year comparisons for 2007 vs. 2008, both of numbers of units sold and median selling prices.

Single Family homes

Area # sold 2007 Median Selling Price # sold 2008 Median Selling Price
Santa Monica 280 $1,681,750 192 $1,900,000
Brentwood 223 $2,075,000 154 $2,100,000
Westwood 179 $1,351,000 146 $1,338,000
West LA 78 $762,000 45 $745,000
Mar Vista/Palms 310 $861,250 238 $770,000
Culver City 145 $779,000 129 $695,000
Venice 173 $1,170,000 130 $1,150,000

Condo/Townhouse

Area # sold 2007 Median Selling Price # sold 2008 Median Selling Price
Santa Monica 439 $780,000 339 $680,000
Brentwood 250 $714,500 131 $690,000
Westwood 718 $670,000 365 $680,000
West LA 176 $629,500 149 $595,000
Mar Vista/Palms 141 $485,000 107 $419,000
Culver City 202 $440,000 180 $399,500
Venice 38 $925,500 18 $1,112,500

Note that price declines were modest in comparison to what one might expect from reading the newspaper headlines and that for single-family homes prices in Santa Monica and Brentwood actually increased.

Why are prices in the Westside so relatively inelastic in comparison to other areas? In a word, foreclosures. Or, more precisely, the relative lack of them.

Foreclosure sales pattern
Data as of 1/15/09

Single Family homes

Area # sold 2008 # on market now # in escrow now
Santa Monica 0 0 0
Brentwood 4 0 1
Westwood 2 0 1
West LA 2 2 0
Mar Vista/Palms 13 5 0
Culver City 10 2 4
Venice 2 0 2
Bel Air 6 0 1
Topanga 5 2 0

Condo

Area # sold 2008 # on market now # in escrow now
Santa Monica 8 9 6
Brentwood 4 1 2
Westwood 14 4 5
West LA 9 2 1
Mar Vista/Palms 5 0 0
Culver City 15 3 6

More than half of all home sales in December in Southern California were foreclosures and yet very few were in communities on the Westside. One doesn’t have to travel far to find a completely different picture.

Area # sold 2008 # on market now # in escrow now
Sherman Oaks 45 20 8

And this data from Sherman Oaks is incomplete due to overlapping MLS services. The actual foreclosure activity is even higher, I just can’t quickly document it. And as dramatic a contrast is this is from the Westside, areas other than Sherman Oaks are even worse.

Unless the foreclosure pattern changes radically, prices on the Westside in general and Santa Monica in particular will continue to be relatively inelastic compared to prices elsewhere in Southern California.

January 22, 2009 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

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