To rent, or not to rent?

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Thinking about finding a new apartment in Los Angeles? You might be able to save money by moving in at exactly the right time, according to a new report. A study released this week showed that rental prices in L.A. peak in June, when they are 4.1% higher than in November—the most affordable month of the year to rent. Based on the median price of listings posted on rental sites in 2017, that 4.1% difference amounts to a savings of $85 per month for a 1-bedroom unit.

If you’re renting a 2-bedroom, the best time to do it is December, when prices are 4% lower than in September (when they peak). In 2017, renters saved themselves $103 per month just by waiting 3 months to sign a lease.

Separate reports found that L.A.’s rental prices dipped in October, November, and December of 2017—after rising steadily for the previous eight months. Despite the slight downturn in 2017’s 4th quarter, reports estimate that rents continue to rise across the L.A. Basin at a rate higher and faster than the percentage of price increases on condos (like our listing pictured here) and single-family homes.


Got $32 billion? Then you can afford to buy Beverly Hills.

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If you wanted to buy up all of Beverly Hills, you’d need $32 billion in your pocket based on tabulations by the Los Angeles County assessor. The assessed value of properties in Los Angeles County increased by 6% in 2017 to reach another record level and mark the seventh straight year of increases, according to figures released this week by the assessor’s office. The property roll put the assessed value at $1.416 trillion, up $80.6 billion from 2016.

The county’s largest city, Los Angeles, led the way with a valuation of $568 billion, up 6.6% from the previous year. Long Beach placed second at $54 billion, followed by Santa Monica at $34.4 billion, Beverly Hills at $31.9 billion, and Santa Clarita at $30.7 billion. The fastest-growing cities in the county were El Segundo, with an 11.6% assessment growth; Hawaiian Gardens, up 10.9%; and Avalon, up 9.3%.

If you only have the funds to buy one property, then here’s a handy accounting of 2017’s median sales prices in L.A. County’s 10 most-expensive neighborhoods:

1.      The Colony, Malibu: $13 million

2.      Trousdale, Beverly Hills: $9.3 million

3.      Carbon Mesa, Malibu: $8.587 million

4.      Beverly Hills Gateway, Beverly Hills: $8.020 million

5.      Malibu Cove Colony, Malibu: $8 million

6.      Beverly Hills Flats, Beverly Hills: $7.6 million

7.      Malibu Road, Malibu: $7.446 million

8.      Serra Retreat, Malibu: $6.35 million

9.      Broad Beach, Malibu: $3.85 million

10.   Point Dume, Malibu: $3.785 million


5 Things To Know About 2018′s Housing Market

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Are you thinking about buying a home like our latest listing in Beverly Hills (pictured here)? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s an overview of 5 things you need to know about the housing market in 2018:

1. U.S. Home Price Trends…It’s been a good decade for home prices. After the housing market crash that started in 2008, we’ve seen a steady climb, with some markets rising faster than others. Over the last 2 years, home prices have been rising about 5% to 6% per year on average, according to the Case-Shiller Index. While no one can predict the future, we think it’s quite likely that home prices will continue to rise gradually in 2018.

2. Price Trends By City…There is always a lot of variation from one city to the next when looking at home prices, and that is certainly true today. For example, since 2011, West Coast markets like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have incredibly high home price appreciation. On the other hand, East Coast cities like Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. have seen relatively lower appreciation.

3. Supply and Demand Economics…The appreciation we’ve seen has made this a challenging time for prospective home buyers in many markets, including those who already own a home. With a greater portion of homes out of reach, more people are opting not to “trade-up.” The lack of inventory makes it a difficult proposition even for those who can theoretically afford to buy a home.

4. Credit Constraints for Consumers…The aftermath of the crash brought new regulation and a changing mood in the lending industry. Mortgage lenders scrapped the looser lending criteria that had prevailed in the run-up to the housing crash and tightened their lending criteria. This has significantly curtailed the number of prospective borrowers who can be approved for a loan.

5. Mortgage Interest Rates…Many people expect mortgage rates to increase in 2018 as the Federal Reserve continues to tighten monetary policy and implements the plan to reduce its balance sheet. However, the increase in rates has been predicted for some time and it’s not clear when it will actually occur. Interestingly, mortgage rates have floated in a pretty tight range since 2011.

No one can predict the future, but we can make educated guesses about what will happen to the housing market in 2018. If you’re planning to buy a house this year, you should feel comfortable knowing that it is not a bad time to go for it.


End-of-year Market Numbers Show Strength

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Southern California home prices surged 8.6% in November compared with a year earlier, tying an all-time high that underscores a drum-tight housing market with few properties for sale, according to a report released this week. The 6-county region’s median home price hit $505,000 last month, a nominal record last seen in September and, before that, in 2007 before the housing market collapsed. The region’s median home price hasn’t fallen on a year-over-year basis in more than 5 years. November sales, meanwhile, were essentially flat, down just 0.1% from a year earlier.

 The report, released by data firm CoreLogic, reveals a 7% price increase in Los Angeles County, which moved the County’s median price to $567,000. Beverly Hills condominiums (similar to the ones discussed above and pictured here) closed-out November with an average sales price of $1,147,000. CoreLogic reports a housing market that shows little sign of slowing down due to a combination of strong job growth, historically low mortgage rates, and a shortage of listings.

However, there are potential headwinds on the horizon: The tax bill signed into law by President Trump this month makes key changes to what households can deduct, including a new $750,000 cap on the mortgage interest deduction, and a $10,000 cap on a combination of state income and property taxes. Those provisions could crimp demand in some upscale neighborhoods and lead to price declines, according to some economists. Other market watchers have scoffed at that notion, saying the changes are unlikely to send prices down given the strong demand for housing in SoCal.


What might fan the flames of 2018′s housing market?

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Uncertainty may be the only constant when looking ahead to 2018’s housing market. As fires destroyed homes across California this week, the U.S. Congress mulled changes in mortgage interest and property tax deductions. Will sweeping tax reforms slow an over-heated market? The impact–or lack thereof–has yet to be determined. The real question is: Will the housing supply increase next year?

The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) released figures earlier this week predicting a tight supply condition in 2018, as concerns about demographic shifts, property taxes, and capital gains continue to stall homeowners from listing their properties. While C.A.R. sees an even stronger economy in 2018, lack of inventory, low housing affordability, the likelihood of an interest rate hike, and the ongoing uncertainty in the policy arena provide a less-than-favorable environment for the state’s housing market. C.A.R. projects the number of home sales in California will end 2017 1.3% higher than 2016′s figures, and forecasts 1% growth in 2018 over this year’s numbers.

California’s home prices are predicted to rise next year, as a supply shortage and strong demand continue to dictate the market’s temperature. Higher prices will, in turn, affect affordability. The tug-of-war between these forces will elevate the statewide median home price, but will also keep appreciation in check. C.A.R. sees 2017′s home prices rising 7.2% over 2016′s stats, and predicts a more moderate 4.3% growth year-over-year in 2018.